01/03/2013 § Leave a comment
19/01/2013 § Leave a comment
The doom and gloom of winter is creeping up on me. It is cold outside, dark when I get to work and dark when I leave. There is snow everywhere, which in turn changes to ice, and I don’t like ice! So I thought what better way to take my mind off things, than to make one of my favourite meals to have whenever I go abroad. French style mussels!
To be honest, this is the first time I have used natural mussels (not the farmed ones). These little beauties have a beard that you have to remove which does take a while, but the flavour of these things is incredible and fresh. Try to get these whenever you are cooking mussels. Anyway, let me give you guys the recipe.
- 1kg live mussels (preferably de l’océan)
- 25g butter
- 100ml dry white wine
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 1 shallot
- handful rough chopped parsley
- First things first, you need to clean the mussels. Empty the bag into a bowl, run each mussel under a cold tap and remove the beard. This is the small collection of hairs usually on one side of the mussel, remove it with a side to side motion, carefully does it! If any of the mussels are open, run them under the cold tap for a few seconds and put them on the side, if they close they are good to eat, any that do not close, through them away!
- After the long task of cleaning and de bearding the mussels, chop the shallot and garlic into fine slices and gently cook for 4 minutes in the butter.
- When they become slightly transparent, turn the heat up, add the mussels and the white wine and cover. Steam for 3-8 minutes, until they have opened. Any that have not opened, do not eat them! Whilst they steam, why not pour yourself a glass of wine? Well, it is a french dish right!
- Serve in a nice big bowl and top with the chopped parsley and dig in, remember the extra bowl for the shells.
Perfect on their own with some crusty bread. I added spring onion and a little chili to mine, what did you add? Would be great to hear from you in the comments below! au revoir
04/01/2013 § 1 Comment
The Tarte Tatin, tasty, impressive and beautifully french. If you’re looking for an easy to follow and fool-proof recipe, look no further!
- 320g/11oz plain flour
- 225g/8oz butter (cubed and chilled)
- 110g/4oz caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 6 apples (I prefer Cox apples as they hold their shape and flavour when cooked, Granny Smith also works well)
- 110g/4oz caster sugar
- 110g/4oz butter
- squeeze of lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 250C/Gas 9.
- To make the pastry, sift flour and sugar into a large bowl. Add butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until it reaches a sandy texture. Don’t worry, it will happen! Add the eggs one at a time until the dough comes together. You can do this in a food processor, but where’s the fun in that!
- Remove the dough and flatten slightly, clingfilm tightly and allow to cool in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Whilst the dough is chilling in the fridge, lets start on the filling! First peel and core the apples. Cut them into 8 wedges. Add the wedges to a bowl with the lemon juice (this is so they don’t go all brown and nasty).
- In a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat add 90g sugar and a couple of teaspoons of water. Cook the sugar until it reaches a pale golden colour but do not stir, as this will cause large sugar crystals forming and create a grainy textured caramel.
- Remove from the heat and add the drained apple pieces to the pan in a single layer. Try and create a spiral pattern for that extra special look but be careful as the caramel is VERY hot. Pop the apples in the oven for around 10-12 minutes, just until the apples have softened slightly.
- Whilst the apples are softening, it is time to roll out the pastry. Place a 40cm piece of greaseproof paper on the side, put the dough on top and cover with another piece of greaseproof. Roll the dough until it is around 1cm thick and using a sharp knife, cut a rough circle that is slightly bigger than the pan your apples are in.
- After your apples are cooked slightly, remove from the oven and cover them with the dough, tucking any excess dough into the sides using a spoon.
- Cook until the pastry is golden brown, around 25 minutes, but keep an eye on it!
- After it has cooked, get a plate that is larger than your pan by a few cm and place it on top of the pan. Get a dry tea towel and cover your hand with it and quickly but carefully flip the tart onto the plate. Voila! You have now made a Tarte Tatin, now cut yourself a big slice and serve warm with a good helping of vanilla cream.
Mine is served with some honey apple crisps and some hazelnut sugar decorations, recipes coming tomorrow!
Any questions please feel free to comment below, would be great to hear from you!