Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 24 July 2009 Contents WHAT’S COOKING
Page 8 | 24 July, 2009
It’s midwinter dinner party time and,
by way of a change, why not serve
It is a common perception that all
French cuisine is calorie-rich and
complicated. This could not be
further from the truth. Many time-
honoured recipes are traditional
family dishes that will always be
popular. Why? Because they are
tasty, warming and nourishing.
The French stew, beef provencale
or la daube de boeuf provencale,
is unusual because the meat is
marinated in a mirepoix vegetable
mixture of onions, carrots, and celery,
which provides a lightness to the
flavours. However, being French, wine
and herbs are a must and the orange
rind settles nicely in the background.
Pot-au-feu is a comfort food for the
French – just like a roast dinner is for
Kiwis. A variety of meats are cooked
in stock in a large pot together with
vegetables, and herbs. Often the
stock is served as a soup to start
the meal; the meats and vegetables
follow as main course. Side dishes
appropriate to serve with either of
these casseroles include crunchy
green beans, mushrooms with
verjuice, boiled or mashed potatoes
or artichokes with garlic and parsley.
A classic French dessert is crème
caramel but the recipe I’ve provided
is not so classic as it is prepared in
the microwave – just don’t tell your
guests. Other desserts that can be
prepared ahead include tart tartin,
lemon tart or crèpes. Alternatively,
serve a generous cheeseboard.
This casserole can be prepared
a day ahead. Add the courgettes
Cut the meat into 3cm cubes.
Place in a plastic bag with the
mirepoix. Seal and refrigerate for
12-24 hours, moving the meat
around occasionally. Pour through
a strainer. Reserve the wine mari-
nade and the meat separately.
Pat the meat dry. Preheat the
oven to 160°C.
To prepare the casserole, heat
a little of the oil in a large heavy
casserole suitable for the hob
and oven. Brown the meat in
batches until well coloured. Place
to one side. Sauté the leek in the
casserole in the remaining oil,
until lightly browned.
Add the meat, garlic, tomatoes
and juice, herbs, reserved wine,
stock and potatoes. Season.
Cover and cook in the oven for
11⁄2-2 hours. Add the courgettes
and olives and continue cooking,
uncovered, for about 15 min-
utes, until the courgettes are just
The juices can be thickened with
2 tablespoons of flour mixed to a
paste with 2 tablespoon of butter.
Whisk into the hot liquid and cook
until lightly thickened.
1kg beef blade steak or chuck
Mirepoix: 1 each: diced carrot,
onion, celery stalk, thyme sprig,
2 strips orange rind
11⁄4 cups rich red wine eg Shiraz
Casserole: 1⁄4 cup olive oil, 1
large leek, sliced, 2 cloves
garlic, crushed 420g can
2 each: bay leaves, thyme
1 cup beef stock
400g baby potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
4 small courgettes
12 pitted black olives
This is a simplified version of the traditional
Buy a good quality beef stock or make your
500g each: stewing beef, lamb leg steaks,
skinned and boned chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 each: carrots, celery stalks, sliced
1 medium onion, quartered
1 bunch fresh herbs eg parsley, bay leaf,
5 cups good beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
200g each: cabbage, frozen peas
Cut the meats into 3cm cubes. Heat the oil
in a large, heavy saucepan. Brown the meat
in batches on all sides. Add the carrots,
celery, onion, parsley, herbs, stock, salt and
pepper. Heat, until boiling. Cover and sim-
mer on low heat for 1 hour. Cut the cabbage
into 8 wedges and add to the saucepan.
Cover and simmer for another 15-20 min-
utes, until tender. Stir in the peas and heat
through. If desired, thicken the mixture with
2 tablespoons of flour mixed with 2 table-
spoons of soft butter – whisk into the boiling
liquid and cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve in
soup bowls accompanied by thick slices of
French bread. Serves 6-8.
I used Heilala Vanilla Bean Sugar.
It could be replaced with caster
sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup hot water
1 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk
1⁄4 cup vanilla bean sugar
1 cup each: cream, milk
Place the water and white sugar
in a large, heatproof, microwave
bowl and stir well. Microwave on
high (100%) power for about 20
minutes, until pale gold.
Pour into six #1 individual soufflé
dishes or ramekins. When cool
the toffee will be solid. Mean-
while, beat the eggs, egg yolk and
vanilla bean sugar, until creamy.
Heat the cream and milk then
whisk into the egg mixture. Strain,
then divide the mixture equally
between the dishes or ramekins.
Place the dishes around the out-
side edge of the microwave turn-
table. Cook on low (30%) power
for 15-20 minutes or until just
set. Cool, then refrigerate to set.
These can be prepared 24 hours
before serving. To serve, invert
the crème caramels onto six flat
serving dishes. Serve ‘au naturel’
or with pears that have baked in
a sticky wine then chilled, or fresh
fruit of your choice. Serves 6.
1 medium red pepper (capsicum)
70g pine nuts
500g long green beans
200g streaky bacon, chopped
1 small leek julienned
Vinaigrette: 1⁄4 cup
extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
pinch brown sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
freshly ground black pepper and
sea salt to taste
Halve the pepper and place
under a hot grill until the skin
blackens. Wrap in a towel or
plastic bag to steam. Peel when
cool. Finely slice. Toast the pine
nuts in a roasting pan in a 180°C
oven. Steam the beans for about
5-8 minutes, until crisp tender.
Refresh in icy water. Drain and pat
dry. Sauté the bacon, until golden.
Drain on a paper towel. Sauté the
leek in the bacon fat, until tender.
Remove and drain. Combine the
ingredients for the vinaigrette
ahead of time. To prepare the
salad, place all the ingredients in
a large bowl and drizzle with the
vinaigrette. Toss thoroughly so the
vegetables are well coated. Mound
on a serving plate. Serves 6.
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