30 May, 2014

Café de Paris butter

This is a killer condiment which I’m sure will enhance all sorts of things. It was invented in Geneva, presumably at the Café de Paris, and I believe its original use was for steak. I used it to liven up some frozen cooked lobster, a task it performed admirably. I’m planning to use the leftovers on some grilled mussels for tapas. You can of course freeze leftovers in handy-sized chunks.

The list of ingredients is long, but many of them are items you have on hand anyway (at least, I do). And with a food processor it’s quick to put together. I’ve listed the herbs I used, but you can vary them according to what you have on hand/what you like. If using on steak, a teaspoon of mustard might be a nice addition. Whatever you use it for, the idea is to put it on your chosen food in slices about 50mm thick, and then grill it for a few minutes to melt and brown it.
Recipe for Café de Paris butter »

11 November, 2013

Salted caramel sauce (caramel au fleur de sel)

Salted caramel sauce

Many competent cooks seem to be terrified of making caramel. Why? It’s a doddle. There are only two things that can go wrong: burning it (due to inattention) and crystallising the sugar. The first problem is easily solved: don’t take your eyes off the caramel while it is cooking, and remove from the heat as soon as it is the right colour. As for the second problem, I discovered long ago that using sugar cubes instead of granulated sugar ensures that the sugar will melt smoothly and evenly without crystals forming. So give it a go! This sauce is excellent with ice cream, but useful for all sorts of other things as well — try it with apple slices fried in butter for example.
Recipe for Salted caramel sauce (caramel au fleur de sel) »

9 December, 2012

Romesco sauce

Calçots and salsa romesco

This is a truly classic Catalan sauce. Pounded nuts, usually almonds, are a strong feature of Catalan cooking, used to thicken sauces, whether savoury or sweet. Romesco sauce is very versatile: you can serve it with plainly grilled or baked fish, for example. Or steak. Or even escalivade. A very traditional combination is with calçots, young green onions that are grilled over an open fire in winter and early spring. They’re served on a roof tile to keep them warm, and eating them (with your fingers) is a messy business; when I ate them in a restaurant, I was provided with a bib!

It’s an uncooked sauce which is ridiculously easy to make — it will take you five minutes if you use a jar of peppers and a food processor or blender. I used the method in this video, substituting salt for the anchovies. Anchovies are not traditional, and they make the sauce unsuitable for vegetarians.
Recipe for Romesco sauce »

19 July, 2011

Avocado, orange, and roasted pepper salad

orange, avocado, and roasted pepper salad

This recipe was inspired by a tapa in an Andalusian bar, in a village surrounded by thousands of avocado trees. The dressing is a version of a recipe I learned from Jim Fisher at Cook in France. There, we used grain mustard and served it on a salad of blanched spring vegetables and poached eggs. I toned it down a little here so as not to overwhelm the avocados. I like this colourful salad so much I’m already imagining variations: crumbled feta cheese on top, for example.
Recipe for Avocado, orange, and roasted pepper salad »

18 March, 2010

Hollandaise sauce

This?

Maille hollandaise
Or this?

hollandaise sauce

I know many people buy hollandaise in jars and OK, it’s acceptable. But it’s not true hollandaise. The real thing is easy and quick to make, and is infinitely superior. I’ve seen recipes that faff about with blenders or even food processors, but this is quite unnecessary A couple of small, heavy pans and a whisk are all you need.

A good hollandaise is a perfect blend between the smoothness of butter, the sharpness of lemon, and the velvety consistency of egg yolks. Wonderful with vegetables such as asparagus or artichokes, and with fish. Or, of course, eggs benedict.
Recipe for Hollandaise sauce »

8 September, 2008

Melon chutney

A ripe Charentais melon is a wondeful thing, and we are lucky enough to be able to eat them all summer. When it is perfectly ripe and chilled, it’s a sin to eat it in any other way than as it is, with a glass of Muscat de St Jean de Minervois. If it isn’t, this is another way of using it; it makes a nice relish to serve with grilled duck breast, roast duck, or — dare I say it — foie gras. Quick to make too.
Recipe for Melon chutney »

3 July, 2008

Real vinaigrette

Real vinaigrette

It may seem unnecessary to post a recipe for vinaigrette. But although I will admit to doing it myself sometimes when I’m in a hurry, putting a few ingredients in a jar and shaking it does not result in true vinaigrette in my opinion. Real vinaigrette is an emulsion with the consistency of thin cream, and a hopeful shake will not emulsify oil and liquid; it just blends them temporarily. So this is how you do it properly. It takes longer, but one benefit is that you need less of it, because it sticks to your salad leaves better!

Recipe for Real vinaigrette »

22 February, 2007

Salsa Verde

Recipe for Salsa Verde »

22 February, 2007

Orange sauce for roast duck

Worth making double quantity and freezing some.

Recipe for Orange sauce for roast duck »

22 February, 2007

Caramel au beurre salé

This sauce is utterly divine poured over vanilla ice cream …

Recipe for Caramel au beurre salé »

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