Saturday, 29 December 2007
Recipe: Crêpes Suzette
Anyway, the dish is another one long overdue for resurrection - the velvety richness of the pancakes in their delicious and unctuous sauce is quite incomparable, and the process of making them could hardly be more straightforward......
Ingredients: 2 Eggs; 80g Flour; 80g butter (melted and cooled); 150 ml milk; a pinch of salt; 3 tablespoons of Oil;10 tablespoons Cointreau (or Maraschino, or Grandmarnier - depends which you have to-hand); finely-gated rind of one Lemon; 4 tablespoons Sugar; 40g Butter (for reheating the Crêpes).
1. In a blender, combine Eggs, Flour, Milk, melted Butter, and Salt. Process for about thirty seconds until thoroughly combined (if necessary, use a spatula to clean from the sides of the blender jar any flour which has stuck there, and process again, to ensure all is completely mixed in).
2. Oil the base of a frying pan, and over a medium/high heat use the batter to make eight Crêpes, re-oiling the pan in between each one. (Some authorities would have you let the batter rest for 30 minutes before use - personally, I've never seen the point and use it straightaway).
You can either use the Crêpes immediately, or else cover them in cling-film for use later in the day - best not to leave them until the following day, though.
3. Fold each Crêpe in half, and then in half again, to make a fan shape.
4. Melt the Butter in a large frying pan, then add the grated rind and half of the Cointreau. If cooking on an electric hob, use a match to light the alcohol; if using gas, merely tip the pan in order to let the alcohol fumes catch. As the alcohol burns off, gently tip the pan, to ensure the base of the pan is entirely covered in the butter/cointreau mixture.
5. When the fumes have died down, place the folded Crêpes in a single layer in the pan; sprinkle them with Sugar, and then pour over them the remaining Cointreau. Repeat the process of lighting the alcohol, and gently rotate the pan to baste the Crêpes with the flaming liquid. As soon as the flames have died down, serve. (NB: if your pan isn't large enough to accommodate all Crêpes in a single layer, do them in two stages; do NOT try to cook them in two layers, as they won't heat through properly!)
Thursday, 27 December 2007
Belforte, for Christmas…….
I think Elizabeth David would have approved – two days of sybaritic self-indulgence with an emphasis on little-but-good (actually, not so much ‘little’ but at least not wild and untrammelled excess). We feasted for lunch both days on smoked salmon and
Christmas Day: an Onion Risotto to start (we’d planned on Risotto of White Truffle, but were met with raised eyebrows in Vettovaglie last weekend when we’d gone truffle-hunting, to be told that there were no more to be had, not even ‘ per milliardi’ – which we weren’t about to spend in any case); followed by slices of the neck of the Goose, stuffed with pâté de foie gras, served on a crouton, and with a sauce of raisins and sweet wine (delicious!); then the Goose itself, boned and roast, stuffed with prunes and served with stuffed Cabbage leaves; and finally Crêpes Suzette (the assembled throng – mainly Dutch - had sampled Christmas Pudding in the past, and had decidedly vetoed it this time around…). Two bottles of a 1997 Château La Commandèrie later, and everybody was about ready to call it a day….
Boxing Day: lazy cooking. A Cassoulet which did its thing in the oven over a number of hours, and released delicious smells throughout the house during the day. Preceded by flamiches, made with leeks pulled that morning from the garden, and tasting all the better for it, and finishing off with an uncomplicated and perfectly satisfying Chocolate Mousse. Some of the last of the 1988 Haut Gravère ……..and that was Christmas done and dusted for another year.
Our habit these days is to spread present-giving over the entire twelve days – 6.30 each evening brings a glass of prosecco and an exchange of presents – rather than to have a glut of the things all on the 25th, and then a denuded tree looking rather sorry for itself and clearly wondering why it’s still there as the New Year comes and goes, and the decorations looking increasingly like guests who’ve forgotten to leave….Our strategy means the tree has purpose right through until the bitter end!
Tonight's dinner....ought to be a dry crust and a glass of water........but is in fact:
Sausages of Cinta Senese,
Frozen Hazelnut Mousse
Sunday, 23 December 2007
Recipe: Parmesan Crisps
This is one of those things where the process is so simple that it barely merits being called a recipe, and yet so delicious that the end result can stop you in your tracks. Perfect to be handed round with drinks - and the understated way in which you can do so, arousing no comment along the way, is the perfect preparation for the first bite, and the raised eyebrows as the taste buds register what's happening!
Ingredients: 150 grammes of Parmesan
1. Grate the Parmesan finely. (The finest Microplane grater does a good job because it produces thin ribbons, not granules.)
3. Using a 2" circular pastry-cutter, place the cutter on top of the greaseproof paper and sprinkle a heaped teaspoon of cheese inside the cutter to make a complete disk; make sure the edge of the disk particularly is well covered. (Do NOT press the cheese down into place - it will melt and collapse delicately into itself as it bakes.)
4. Move the cutter along, and repeat the process. Continue until the greaseproof paper is covered in cheese disks. Leave a few millimetres between each disk - they don't spread in baking like biscuits do.