Baguette Pain à l’ Ancienne – Old-fashioned bread

Recipe – Pain à l’ Ancienne I grew up believing bread needs a warm place to proof. One of my most enduring food memories is of mom baking bread. She’d make a starter with some warm water, flour and potato. This was left to activate and ferment overnight wrapped in a blanket. Early the next morning,…

Petite Madeleines

Story – Memories and Petite Madeleines Ingredients: 125 gs Butter, melted, then cooled 2 large Eggs 150 gs Caster sugar 150 gs Plain flour, sifted 1 tsp. Vanilla extract Pinch Salt Extra Flour, For dusting Extra Butter, for greasing Directions: Whisk eggs and sugar with electric whisk or stand mixer until pale and about three times…

Brioche and Camembert Parcels

The Story – Viennoiseries: Neither bread nor cake Brioche dough: 70 ml Milk, Heated to 20-25°C 15 grams Fresh yeast 500 grams Plain all purpose flour 6 Fresh eggs, Beaten 350 grams Unsalted butter, Room temperature 30 grams Caster sugar Brioche and camembert parcels: 6 disks each about 125g Round disks of camembert cheese Directions: The…

Biga (pre-ferment for Italian bread)

Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups Unbleached bread flour 1/2 teaspoon Instant yeast 1 cup Water, At room temperature Directions: 1. Mix flour and yeast in a large bowl. Add water and stir till everything comes together in a coarse ball. If needed adjust the flour and water, the dough should be neither too sticky or too…

Home-made Italian bread

Ingredients: 3 1/2 cups Biga 2 1/2 cups White bread flour 1 2/3 teaspoons Salt 1 tablespoon Sugar 1 teaspoon Instant yeast 1 tablespoon Olive oil 3/4 cup to 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Luke warm water, 32 to 38°C Directions: 1. If your biga has been kept in the refrigerator, remove it at least…

Roasted vegetable stacks with passata di pomodoro

Ingredients: Passata di pomodoro 1,2 kilograms Tinned Italian plum tomatoes, (three 400g tins) 2 stalks Celery, cut in half 1 large Carrot, peeled and cut into 4 equal chunks 1 Red onion, peeled and cut into quarters 1/2 cup Basil 1/2 teaspoon Sugar 3 tablespoons Olive oil Vegetable stacks 1 large Aubergine, Sliced 1 large…

Home-made potato gnocchi

The story  Ingredients 450 g Potatoes 1 Egg yolk 110 g All purpose flour to taste Salt to taste White pepper 1.Bake or steam the potatoes until they are soft. It is important that the potato flesh stay as dry as possible, so do not boil them. If you decide to bake them, prick the…

Chicken Al Emir of Catania

The story – Cooking and the Art of Seduction   Ingredients: 1 Whole chicken, Cut into pieces 1 Round loaf of crusty bread 2 cups Chicken stock 1/4 cup Olive oil 1/4 cup Almonds, toasted 1/4 cup Pistachio nuts 2 tablespoons Capers 2 tablespoons Fresh parsley 2 Eggs, slightly beaten 250 grams Artichoke harts, Cooked and…

Coq au Vin (Rooster Braised in Wine)

Story – A modest man Ingredients: Whole chicken, Cut into pieces 1/2 cup Smoked bacon, Diced 16 Small (cocktail) onions, Kept whole 3 tablespoons Flour 500 milliliters Red wine 200 milliliters Chicken stock 300 grams Button mushrooms 3 cloves Garlic, Finely chopped Black pepper 1 1/2 tablespoon Thyme 3 Bay leaves Salt 3 tablespoons Oilve…

Melanzane alla Mozzarella (Aubergine with Mozzarella)

The story  Ingredients: 4 Aubergine, medium-sized 1 Onion, peeled and finely chopped 800 grams Tinned Italian plum tomatoes 2 Cloves Garlic, finely sliced 2 teaspoons Fresh oregano, finely chopped 4 handfuls Mozarella , grated 1 handful Fresh basil 1 handful Breadcrumbs Olive oil Salt Black pepper Directions: 1. Put a griddle pan on high heat…

Puttanesca

The story Ingredients: 500 grams Tomatoes, Peeled and chopped 6 Anchovy fillets, Chopped 3 Cloves Garlic, Finely chopped 100 grams Black olives, Stoned and halved 1 ½ tablespoons Capers ½ teaspoon Dried chilli flakes 2 tablespoons Fresh parsley, Finely chopped Fresh parmesan cheese Directions:  Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over moderate…

Dutch Pancakes with Bacon and Cheese (Spek en Kaas) – Recipe

The story Dutch Pancakes with Spek en Kaas ——————————————————————————– Ingredients: 2 cups Self raising flour 1 teaspoon Salt 1 Egg 2 cups Milk Butter Bacon Parsely, Finely chopped Cheese, Very thinly sliced Directions: 1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add half the milk. Stir…

Rabbit with Mustard and White Wine Sauce – Recipe

I love rabbit and this my favourite recipe for cooking it. Ingredients: 1 Rabbit, Cut into joints 1 Onion, Finely chopped 2 Cloves Garlic, Finely chopped 2 tablespoons Olive oil ½ cup White wine 2 tablespoons Butter ½ cup Chicken stock ½ cup Full Grain Dijon Mustard 1 ½ teaspoons Fresh thyme, Chopped 1 teaspoon…

The Human Condition and the Mustard Seed

Buddhist legend has it that a very rich man one day discovered that all his gold has turned into ashes. This caused him great grief, so much so, that he took to his bed and refused all food. A friend, learning of his grief, visited the rich man. “You have not used your wealth very…

Octopus Daube – Recipe

After I’d written a rather depressing column about supermarkets I felt like a happy meal. Here’s what I made: Ingredients: 800 grams young octopus 1 onion, medium, peeled and chopped 1 carrot, medium, peeled and chopped 3 cloves of garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 cups red wine 1 bouquet garni, medium 2 tablespoons flat…

Oxtail Stewed in White Grapes (Recipe)

A dish from the vineyards of France and one of the many reasons why I keep on reading Elizabeth David. Ingredients: 2 Oxtails, Cut into joints 120 grams Salted pork or unsmoked bacon, Diced 2 Onions, Chopped 4 Carrots, Diced 900 grams White grapes Salt, To taste Back pepper, Freshly milled Mace or all spice,…

Boeuf bourguignon – Recipe

Perhaps one of the best known French dishes. Serve it to your best friends with your best red wine on a cold winter’s evening. Better do it on a lazy Saturday when you are not in a hurry. And start early, that way you get to spend the entire day with the wonderful aromas. 1 kilogram Beef…