Cafes & Restaurants · Side dishes

Gratin Dauphinois

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In my little French village there is a small restaurant, it sells very simple but rustic food. Its very well known in the region for its Cuisses de Grenouilles (frogs legs) and its Gratin Dauphinois. I fell in love with the gratin and one day decided to ask for their recipe. I never imagined they’d tell me.They told me how to make it and what ingredients to use so I’ve played around with the recipe.

This is a very approximate recipe, I just do the amounts I think necessary.

Ingredients:

800g potatoes

250ml milk

butter

crushed garlic (about 4 cloves)

salt

pepper

nutmeg

300ml cream

Method:

  1. Slice the potatoes  thinly, a mandolin is good here.
  2. Place the potatoes, few knobs of butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg and milk in a pan. Cook until it boils, then reduce the heat and kept stirring for approx. 8 mins
  3. Take off the heat, add crushed garlic and leave it all to cool but stir occasionally.
  4. Mix in the cream.
  5. Place into a buttered gratin dish
  6. Place a few knobs of butter over the top.
  7. Place in the oven for approx. 45-60 mins at 180c .

 

Note for AH & AL:

Make sure the gratin is quite liquid before you put it in the oven, if not it’ll dry up

Desserts

Far Breton

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A Classic Breton pudding, so easy to make! Everytime we visit our family in Brest, Brittany, a Far is produced. The recipe, although there are many variations, is the best one yet. This is my French brother in law’s recipe.

Ingredients:

250g Plain flour

250g granualated sugar

1 litre milk

3g salt

4 eggs

salted butter

250g pitted prunes.

Method: 

  1. Take a large ovenproof dish, I use large oval shaped pyrex. Place quite a few knobs of unsalted butter into it, shove it in the oven at 220c.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together.
  3. Pour the batter into the dish (once the butter has melted)
  4. Add pitted prunes randomly into the batter.
  5. Place in the oven for approx. 40mins, should be quite dark on the top and set.
Aperitif · Side dishes

Cake aux Olives

cake-aux-olives

This is a French recipe given to me by my sister in law. Easy to make and a moreish snack served with aperitif!

Ingredients:

250g Plain flour

4 eggs

1 sachet of dried yeast

150ml olive oil

1 glass of dry white wine

200g stoned green olives (chopped)

200g lardons

200g mature cheddar cheese

Method:

  1. Mix the flour, eggs, dried yeast, olive oil and wine together in a large bowl.
  2. Add the olives, cooked lardons and cheese.
  3. Add a small amount of pepper, no salt!
  4. Put mixture into a loaf tin, or cake tin and cook for 45 minutes to an hour at 200 c.

 

Note to AH & AL

The cake can be a bit damp, make sure its cooked through, once cooled, slice it and it’ll dry out .

 

 

Breakfast · Travel

American Breakfast pancakes

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It took a while to find the perfect, in my opinion, American breakfast pancakes. Always brought out on special occasions, combined with bacon and maple syrup!!!

Ingredients:

2 eggs

5 tbsps milk

150g plain flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

2 tbsp caster sugar

½ tsp salt

1 – 2 tbsp sunflower oil

Method: 

  1. Beat eggs and milk together.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the eggs and milk, beat until smooth
  4. Heat sunflower oil in a pan, place mixture in, cook approx. 1 min each side.

Note to AH & AL:

You may need to add a bit more milk, the batter needs to be quite thick

Side dishes · Travel

Red Lobster Biscuits

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We discovered these biscuits (small scones for the British) on our first visit to a Red Lobster restaurant. It was in Orlando, opposite our hotel. They’re absolutely delicious. We managed to find another Red Lobster restaurant on our travels last summer, this time we were in Austin, Texas. I went just so I could have these biscuits again. So happy to have found a recipe (and adapted) that actually produces something similar to the real thing.

Ingredients:

300g plain flour

1 tbsp sugar (granulated)

2 tsps baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsps. Garlic powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (or chilli flakes)

200ml milk

115g melted butter

150g grated cheddar cheese (mature)

To Finish:

¼ tsp garlic powder

2 tbsps melted butter

½ tbsp. chopped parsley

pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 230 c and line a baking tray with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate, salt, 1 ½ tsps. Garlic powder and cayenne pepper (or chilli flakes)
  3. Add melted butter and milk to dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.
  4. Fold in the cheddar chees.
  5. Divide up and drop balls onto prepared baking sheet (makes approx. 12 -16 biscuits).
  6. Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Combine the 2 tbsps of melted butter, ¼ tsp of garlic powder, pinch of salt and chopped parsley, brush the tops of the cooked biscuits as they come out of the oven.
Desserts

Best Cheesecake Recipe : White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake

This recipe is my most used and trusty Cheesecake recipe, it has never failed. I found it in The BBC Good Food Magazine years ago.

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Ingredients:

300g white choc chunk cookies

50g melted butter

600g Philadelphia

2 tbsp Plain Flour

175g golden Caster Sugar

vanilla extract

2 eggs, plus 1 yolk

150ml Crème fraiche

300g fresh or frozen Raspberries

100g white chocolate, chopped into small pieces

1 tbsp icing sugar

Method:

 

  1. Heat the oven to 180 c fan. Crush the biscuits in a bag (use a rolling pin), mix with the melted butter. Press into a 20cm spring form tin and bake for 5 mins. Cool.
  2. Beat the Philadelphia with the flour, sugar, few drops of vanilla extract, eggs, the yolk and crème fraiche until light and fluffy. Stir in half the raspberries and the white chocolate and pour into the tin. Bake for 40 minutes and then check – it should be set but slightly wobbly in the centre. Leave in the tin to cool completely, then chill for 2 hours.
  3. Just before serving, put most of the raspberries in a pan with 1 tbsp of icing sugar. Heat until juicy and then squash with a fork. Push through a sieve. Pour over cheesecake as desired.

NOTE (for AH and AL)

This is the Cheesecake that I’d bake for your birthdays….

I normally use a bit more base, more biscuits, use more melted butter, it helps the base to be more solid.

Also once cooked, leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool, if you take it out, it’ll crack.

Desserts · Travel

The Original Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie RecipeAs a family, we spent Christmas staying in Boston at the Omni Parker Hotel, this is the home of the Original Boston Cream Pie. This is from the website for the Omni Parker House Hotel, Boston

Many don’t realize that the true, original Boston Cream Pie is a culinary creation of Boston’s Parker House, now widely known as Omni Parker House. The recipe below was originally called the Parker House “Chocolate Cream Pie”, and was created and served at Parker’s Restaurant from the opening of the hotel in October 1856.

Boston Cream Pie Recipe

Ingredients:

Sponge Cake

  • 7 Eggs, separated
  • 8oz. Sugar
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 oz. Melted butter

Pastry Cream

  • 1 tbsp. Butter
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups Light Cream
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 3 ½ tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Dark rum

Icing

  • 5 oz. Fondant for white icing
  • 6 oz. Fondant for chocolate icing
  • 3 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Substitution for Fondant Icing

Chocolate Icing

  • 6 oz Semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 oz. Warm water

White Icing

  • 1 cup 10X Sugar (Confectioner’s)
  • 1 tsp. Corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. Water

Directions:

Step 1: Separate egg yolks and whites into two separate bowls. Add ½ of the sugar to each bowl. Beat both until peaked. When stiff, fold the whites into the yolk mixture. Gradually add flour, mixing with a wooden spatula. Mix in the butter. Pour this mixture into a 10-inch greased cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until spongy and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool fully.

Step 2: Bring to a boil in a saucepan the butter, milk and light cream. While this mixture is cooking, combine the sugar, cornstarch and eggs in a bowl and whip until ribbons form. When the cream, milk, butter mixture reaches the boiling point, whisk in the egg mixture and cook to boiling. Boil for one minute. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Chill overnight if possible. When chilled, whisk to smooth out and flavor with 1 tsp. dark rum.

Step 3: Level the sponge cake off at the top using a slicing knife. Cut the cake into two layers. Spread the flavored pastry cream over one layer. Top with the second cake layer. Reserve a small amount of the pastry cream to spread on sides to adhere to almonds.

Step 4: For chocolate fondant: Warm 6 oz. of white fondant over boiling water to approximately 105 degrees. Add melted chocolate. Thin to spreading consistency with water. For white fondant: Warm 5 oz. of white fondant over boiling water to approximately 105 degrees. Thin with water if necessary. Place in a piping bag with a 1/8-inch tip.
Alternate: Melt the chocolate. Combine with warm water. Combine ingredients and warm to approximately 105 degrees. Adjust the consistency with water. It should flow freely from the pastry bag.

Step 5: Spread a thin layer of chocolate fondant icing on the top of the cake. Follow immediately with spiral lines starting from the center of the cake, using the white fondant in the pastry bag. Score the white lines with the point of a paring knife, starting at the center and pulling outward to the edge. Spread sides of cake with a thin coating of the reserved pastry cream. Press on toasted almonds.

Desserts

Chocolate Ricotta Cheesecake (Delia Smith)

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INGREDIENTS
For the base:

6 oz (175 g) plain chocolate oatmeal biscuits (Digestives??)
2 oz (50 g) butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
5 oz (150 g) dark chocolate (75 per cent cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
12 oz (350 g) ricotta, at room temperature
1 x 200 ml tub half-fat crème fraîche, at room temperature
2 large eggs, separated
2 oz (50 g) golden caster sugar
3 leaves gelatine
2 tablespoons milk
For the chocolate curls:
1 x 100 g bar dark chocolate (75 per cent cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
a dusting of cocoa powder, to finish

METHOD place the biscuits in a plastic food bag and crush them, using a rolling pin. Then tip the crumbs into a mixing bowl. Now add the melted butter to bind it all together, then press the mixture into the base of the tin, pop it into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. After that, remove it and leave it to cool.
Meanwhile, melt 5 oz (150 g) chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water, then remove it from the heat and let it cool as well.
Next, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, crème fraîche, egg yolks and sugar until smooth and well blended. Now soak the leaves of gelatine in a small bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, and while that’s happening heat the milk in a small saucepan up to simmering point before taking it off the heat.
Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine, then add it to the milk and whisk until it has dissolved. Now stir the gelatine and milk along with the cooled chocolate into the ricotta mixture, until it is all thoroughly blended.
Now, in another bowl and using clean beaters, whisk the egg whites to the soft-peak stage. Then first fold a tablespoon of egg white into the cheesecake mixture to loosen it, and then carefully but thoroughly fold in the rest of the egg white. Next pour the mixture on to the prepared base, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours (even overnight – the longer the better).
For the chocolate curls, melt the chocolate as before, then pour it on to the base of the plate to form an even layer about ¼ inch (5 mm) thick and place the plate into the fridge to chill and set for 45 minutes (the chocolate should be hard enough that if you press the surface it shouldn’t leave an indentation – but without being rock hard).
Then, using either a large-bladed knife held with both hands or a cheese slice, pull the blade across the chocolate, pressing down slightly. As the blade comes towards you the chocolate will form curls (if the chocolate is too hard, it will be brittle and will break rather than forming curls, in which case leave at room temperature for 5 minutes before trying again).
Store the chocolate curls in a sealed container in the fridge until you need them.
You probably won’t need all this chocolate to make enough curls to top the cake, but as the layer of chocolate gets thinner it will be harder to form nice curls, and the remaining chocolate can be lifted off the plate and re-melted for another recipe (or simply eaten!).
To serve the cheesecake, carefully remove it from the tin onto a serving plate, decorate with the chocolate curls and give them a light dusting of sieved cocoa powder.

Desserts · Travel

Oak Alley Plantation Pecan Pie (Louisiana)

 

Last summer, we did a big road trip in Texas and Louisiana. On our travels, we came across the Oak Alley Plantation. We tried their famous Pecan Tart, I managed to find the recipe and it tastes just as it did in the Oak Alley Plantation restaurant.

For the Rich Sweet Shortcrust Pastry, 175g plain flour, pinch of salt, 2tbsp of icing sugar, 110g chilled & diced unsalted butter, 2 egg yolks all mixed with 1 tbsp of cold water.

Ingredients for the Pecan Pie filling: 170g granulated sugar, 2 tips plain flour, 2 tbsp of melted butter, 1 tbsp vanilla essence, 227g golden syrup, 3 eggs and 180g chopped pecans.

Method: make pastry as normal, place in fridge for 20 mins. Roll it out, line a pie dish, prick the base, Place in fridge for another 20 mins. Preheat oven to 190, combine all filling ingredients, pour into chilled pastry case, bake in oven until the crust turns brown, approx 50 mins.