1kg potatoes 200g bacon, diced 30g butter 2 onions, thinly sliced 125ml dry white wine 125ml cream 450g soft rind cheese of your choice, I used Camembert, traditionally Reblochon is used
Peel the potatoes and slice them into 1cm thick rounds. Add the potato to a large saucepan and pour in enough cold water to cover. Season the water with salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the rounds are just tender – about 25minutes. Drain the potato rounds and return to the saucepan. Set aside. Preheat your oven to 180℃. Place a saucepan on medium-high heat and add the bacon. Lower the heat once the fat renders, add the butter and cook for 5 minutes. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until soft and translucent. Add the wine and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the potato rounds and mix through. Pour the cream over and mix again. Spoon the mixture into an ovenproof dish. Slice the cheese into halves, horizontally and arrange on top, cut-side down. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes – the cheese should be melted, bubbling and golden brown on top. Serve immediately.
This is one of my favourite French desserts and really easy to make. Make the crêpes the day before you need them and simply reheat them in the orange-caramel-syrup before serving.
Crêpes: 750ml cake flour 2,5ml baking powder 5ml salt 500ml milk 250ml water 125ml sunflower oil 4 eggs
Orange sauce: 45ml caster sugar 250ml orange juice the zest of one orange 5ml lemon juice 15ml brandy 50g butter, cubed
For the crêpes: Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the whisk attachment. Whisk the milk, water, oil and eggs together in a separate wide-mouthed jug. Turn the mixer on to a low speed and add the liquid ingredients in a very thin stream. Keep whisking and pouring until all the liquid has been added. Turn the mixer on to a higher speed and whisk for at least two minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 1 hour. Heat a crêpe pan/frying pan until hot. Add a small amount of vegetable oil and swirl it around the pan. Pour the oil out and put the pan back onto a medium-high heat. Spoon a ladle-full of the batter into the pan and cook until small holes appear over the entire surface of the crêpe. Flip the crêpe and cook for 1 minute on the other side. Slide the cooked crêpe onto a plate and continue baking the rest.
For the orange sauce: Tip the caster sugar into a non-stick frying pan on medium to low heat. Allow the sugar to melt without stirring it. You want the sugar to turn a caramel colour without burning it – watch it like a hawk and do not walk away from it! Take the pan from the heat when the sugar is brown enough and add the orange juice, orange zest, lemon juice and brandy. Return the pan to a very low heat. Do not panic if the sugar has seized, continue heating over a low heat and stir lightly until the sugar has dissolved completely. Now start adding the butter, one or two cubes at a time while stirring constantly. Keep going until you have incorporated all the butter. Bring the mixture to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly and has a lovely gloss to it.
Fold each crêpe into half, and then fold it again so that you have a more-or-less triangular shape. Gently slide the folded crêpe into the pan and spoon the sauce over it. Serve immediately.
This recipe is traditional French fare and based on the famous boeuf bourguignon served in family-run bistros in small villages all over France except that it is cooked stove-top. I prefer this method as it enables one to literally keep an eye on it without sacrificing on taste. Although it is often served with baguette it is delicious served with creamy mashed potato. I also prefer to cook my beef bourguignon in a Merlot but tradition dictates a Pinot Noir.
Marinade: 800g chuck beef, cut into 4-5cm cubes 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks 16 pearl onions, peeled 1 bay leaf 3 sprigs of thyme 750ml red wine, I prefer a Merlot
Marinate the beef by adding all the ingredients to a large ceramic dish. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
Strain the marinade into a bowl, reserving the liquid. Separate the beef, carrots and onion into three bowls. Pour the liquid into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Skim any impurities off the liquid and keep it warm on a low flame. Line a tray with paper towels and spread the cubed beef onto it. Pat the meat dry and season with 2,5ml salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Put a large saucepan onto a high heat and pour in enough oil to coat the bottom. Brown the meat in three batches, adding more oil if needed. Keep the browned meat aside in a bowl. Add the bacon to the same saucepan and cook on a high heat for about 3 minutes. Add to the bowl with the beef. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until golden. Keep in a separate bowl. Turn the heat down slightly, add more oil if necessary and add the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic to cook with the onion for one minute. Add the tomato paste to the onion and garlic and cook for another two minutes. Now add the butter and allow it to melt before adding the flour. Cook for two minutes while stirring continuously. Drizzle in the beef stock while stirring and then add the wine in a steady stream. Add the beef cubes, bacon, and 2,5ml salt and stir together. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for one hour, checking/stirring once or twice. Remove the lid and add the mushrooms and onions. Replace the lid and cook for another hour and a half, checking every now and then. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Serve the beef bourguignon with mashed potato, rice or French baguette.