Thursday 9 June 2011

Recipe: Fondue Parmesan

This was excellent, at two meals during last weekend's Masterchef event - once, served formally on Saturday night, with a  rocket salad in sesame dressing, and then again for Sunday lunch, when we guzzled shamelessly on all of the leftovers. This is very straightforward - you just have to remember to start making the 'paste' on the previous day, in order to give it time to firm up sufficiently to fry without falling to pieces. The 'croquettes' (since that is essentially what these are) should be light and elegantly creamy, but with a good, edgy flavour that definitely sets the taste-buds tingling for more.

For about 24 individual pieces:

Ingredients: 150g Butter; 150g Flour; 750 ml Milk; 3 eggs; 300g grated Gruyère; 150g grated Parmesan; a pinch of Nutmeg; ground Pepper; 150g fine dry Breadcrumbs. Oil, to fry, in a deep-fat fryer.


1. In a bain marie or simmertopf, melt the Butter, then stir in the Flour, until amalgamated, and add the Milk. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Add the Cheeses, Nutmeg and a few grinds of Pepper and mix thoroughly; remove from heat.
2. Separate the Eggs, and stir the yolks into the cheese mixture. Put the egg whites in the fridge until the following day.
3. Put the cheese mixture onto a platter and form it into a rectangle which is about 2 cm thick; place this in the fridge and leave overnight, or for at least twelve hours.
4. After the mixture has come out of the fridge once more, put the egg whites into a soup plate and whisk lightly with a fork; pour the Breadcrumbs into another soup plate.
5. Cut the cheese mix rectangle into individual pieces, each one 2cm x 4cm (no larger or smaller, or they won't cook properly). Carefully dunk each piece first in the beaten egg white and then into the Breadcrumbs.
6. Heat the oil in the fryer to 170 degrees C, and fry the croquettes four at a time for six minutes each.

Serve immediately.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Masterchef Weekend 2011...

  ...has just finished. Despite dire forecasts of rain throughout, it was hot and sunny almost without respite, and every afternoon saw us all taking post-prandial refuge in a much-needed siesta, before rolling up sleeves and getting on with it for the next three courses! Highlights were Jennie's mascarpone ice-cream on Friday night and her veal roast with porcini on Saturday (when the Carducci's also joined us for dinner),

and the Technical Dept took the prizes for starters and dessert with his Fondue Parmesan (light as love...and very practical, as a second serving for lunch the following day was just as good, even after having spent an additonal night in the fridge), and a mille-feuille of fresh raspberries and crème chibouste.

My offerings were a ravioli of asparagus and prosciutto crudo on Friday, and a dartois of frangipane and loquats (from the garden) for Saturday's dinner...and after that I bricked out of dinner courses, and instead made croissants for breakfast for two days out of three, and ended up with pains au chocolat to ring the changes on the last day.

No disasters, and some interesting discoveries along the way - the TD, for instance, produced a beautifully tender blanquette de veau on Sunday, which started with long slow poaching of the meat in a water bath, before adding to it the sauce which had been cooked entirely separately at the same time. I'll be posting the recipes here over the next week or garden duties allow the time to do so - although that may be not such a challenge this week, as we've now entered a period of very welcome thunderstorms, and every half an hour or so we seem to experience another tropical downpour.

Tonight's Dinner:

Chicken Breasts stuffed with Emmentaler, served with lemon-flavoured Spinach.