Daube de Boeuf with Cèpes mushroom

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It’s a strong belief of mine that delicious food doesn’t have to be expensive food, and a Daube de Boeuf is a prime example of this. Using a cheaper cut of meat but surrounding it with fragrant herbs and a long cooking time means you can save your pennies without scrimping on taste.

The Daube is a stew and derives its name from the pitcher shaped vessel it was traditionally cooked in, called a “daubière”. Don’t be intimidated if you’re fresh out of “daubières”, you can easily use any casserole dish.

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Ingredients:

  • 1.2kg blade steak
  • 2 brown onions
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 peeled carrots
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 cloves
  • 100 g pancetta, diced
  • 50 black olive
  • 150g dried cèpe mushroom

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Method:

  1. Cut the beef into 3-4 cm chunk.
  2. Put the beef, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, onions, Cèpes, garlic, carrots, cloves and red wine in a bowl. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours, stirring once or twice.
  3. The next day tip the meat in a colander over a bowl and leave to drain well.
  4. Heat a large casserole with a little bit of olive oil, add half of the beef and sauté until brown all over, seasoning with salt and pepper, put the meat onto a plate and repeat the process with the other half of the meat.
  5. Add a little more olive oil and fry the pancetta until golden, you can the end bit of serrano ham or prosciutto if you have some. Add the drained vegetables from the marinade and cook on medium heat until the onions are starting to soften.
  6. Return the beef to the casserole along with the marinade, black olives, 1 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper about 20 turn of the mill.
  7. Cook on low to medium heat lid ¾ on for about 2 ½- 3 hours until the beef is tender.
  8. Mix 100g of soften unsalted butter with 90 g plain flour until you have a smooth paste. This is called a Beurre Manie.
  9. When the beef is tender, stir in the beurre manie and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  10. As a side I recommend a delicious macaroni and cheese or steam potatoes. You can also compliment this great dish with a glass of  Côte Rotie “loss” Domaine Pichat  -available from airoldifinewines.com.au

Duck and Cèpe Mushroom Terrine

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It’s summer here in Oz. And to me, as a Frenchman summer means one thing – the season of outdoor aperitif. There are few things I relish more than basking in long, hazy, afternoon shadows cast by the summer sun, sipping on an ice-cold drink and grazing a selection of culinary accoutrements.

When it comes to my favourite nibbles, the Italians get full marks for simplistic perfection with their claim to the melon and prosciutto combo and the Caprese salad. But if you’re looking for something a little heartier but no heavy, the French terrine is an ideal solution.

Yes, they do take more preparation, but your usual terrine mold will make enough that you can eat it over a few days or feed a lot of people at once with impressive flair. Serve it cold from the fridge, sliced, with a side of cornichons and your preferred crusty bread. Parfait!

Duck and Cèpe Mushroom Terrine

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Ingredients:

  • 200g cepe mushroom (You can find these dried at good continental providores)
  • 800g duck meat
  • 2 deboned quails
  • 400g pork shoulder
  • 300g streaky bacon
  • 4 shallots
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 50ml port
  • 50ml brandy
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 Tablespoon green pepper (in brine)
  • ½ jar of cornichons (baby cucumbers)

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Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Dice the shallots, crush the garlic, chop the thyme and keep aside.
  3. Soak the mushroom in warm water for 10 minutes then strain them.
  4. Heat a large frying pan with olive oil. Cut the quail in 4 pieces and season with salt and pepper. Seal the quail in the pan on all sides for a few seconds, until slightly golden. Take the quail out of the frying pan and keep aside.
  5. Then, in the same pan cook the shallots, garlic and thyme for a couple of minutes on medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the port, brandy and flambé it. Put the mushroom mix in the fridge to completely cool it down.
  6. Mince the pork, bacon and duck meat with the coarse grind attachment on your kitchen aid (or other mixer). If you do not have a mincer you can ask your butcher to mince it for you.
  7. In a terrine mold start with a layer of minced meat, press it down, then add the quail, another layer of meat, the mushroom and finish off with meat.
  8. Place the terrine mold in a deep roasting tray and pour hot water into the tray until it sits halfway up the outside of the terrine mold.
  9. Cook the terrine for 2 hours then cool the terrine down in the mold in the fridge overnight.
  10. When ready to serve, remove from the mold and slice into 2cm (or ½ inch) thick pieces.Duc

Christmas Eve Dinner “à la Française”: Part 1

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Joyeux Noël! | Merry Christmas!

 

Celebrating Christmas in the summer is still something I can’t get used to after so many years living in Australia. I love white Christmases and all the hearty Christmas foods that are so soothing to eat in the freezing winter. That being said, I absolutely love seafood and so being able to crack into a beautiful, fresh crayfish at Christmas Day lunch is something I relish.

Luckily I don’t have to choose between re-creating the nostalgic feasts of my childhood Christmases and indulging in new summer festive food traditions because I always celebrate Christmas Eve French-style with my brother and his family, and then an Aussie Christmas Day lunch with my wife and hers.

So today, I thought I’d share a perfect menu for both and maybe inspire you enough to share some of my favourite family dishes with yours this holiday season.

Christmas Eve Dinner “à la francaise

Most French families will kick off any family meal with a delicious terrine or pâté. I posted a recipe for a great Huntsman Terrine a while back, which you can check out here, otherwise you can pick up a ready made slice from most good quality delis.

For Entrée, I’ve chosen a duck and mushroom vol au vent. The hero of this, aside from the light-as-air pastry, is the Girolle mushrooms (they’re called Chanterelles in Australia), which hail from my region in France and are delicious and meaty in texture.

For main, I couldn’t go past a beautiful pork loin (with the skin on as crackling is a MUST!) that I’ve filled with a sage, pistachio and cherry stuffing, and a classic garden salad on the side.

Lastly, a true French Christmas treat is a Bûche de Noël, which is a sponge, rolled with and covered in crème au beurre (Italian meringue whipped with butter). It’s super rich but there’s like nothing else. You can flavour them too, so I chose to do coconut, white chocolate and passionfruit.

And there you have it. Joyeux Noël and bon appétit!

Chanterelle Mushroom and Duck Vol au Vent with a Port Sauce

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Ingredients for the Vol au Vent:

  • 4 sheets puff pastry
  • 2 duck breast
  • 50g Chanterelle mushroom (dried)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • ½ bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 50 mL milk

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Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (392 F).
  2. Take the pastry out of the fridge or the freezer (leave it warm up a bit if it’s directly from the freezer).
  3. Whisk the egg and the milk together to make an egg wash.
  4. Using a round pastry cutter cut the 4 vol au vent bases and place them on a flat baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Cut 3 more circles for each one, then using a smaller cutter cut the middle out, so only the outside ring remain. Brush the base with the egg wash and place the ring on top, press down gently to make it stick and repeat the process until you have 3 layers on each Vol au Vent.
  5. Put them in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking them.
  6. Take the Vol au Vent out of the fridge, brush them with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Soak the mushroom in warm water for 10 minutes, then discard the water.
  8. In the mean time, grate the garlic, finely chop the shallots, wash and chop the parsley.
  9. Take the fat off the duck breast and dice them (about 1 ½ cm).
  10. Heat up a medium size shallow frying pan with olive oil on high heat. Cook the shallots, chanterelle mushroom and garlic in the pan for 2 minutes on high heat, tossing from time to time. Then add the duck and cook for about 3 minutes on high heat.
  11. Add the chopped parsley and stir.
  12. Add the port sauce and toss well so that all the ingredients mix together.
  13. Spoon the mix into the warm Vol au Vent and serve immediately.

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Ingredients for the Port sauce:

  •  1 brown onion
  • 4 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 200 ml port
  • 350 ml beef stock

Method:

  1. Finely dice the brown onion, grate the garlic and finely chop the thyme.
  2. Heat up a medium size saucepan with a little bit of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Pour the port in the saucepan and reduce by half, then add the stock and reduce by half again.
  4. Mix a little bit of corn flour with water, enough to make a runny paste. Slowly add it to the sauce until you reach the desired consistency. Check seasoning and set aside.

With the Vol au Vent I recommend a chateau “Briand” Bergerac red available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au