Gâteau Napoléon

July 12th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Recipes No Comment yet

Gâteau Napoléon – a dessert fit for an emperor!

Bastille Day or la Fête Nationale as it is better known in France is our favourite holiday and celebrates a key turning point of the French Revolution.

Country-wide celebrations on this public holiday include firework displays and military parades and most people enjoy spending time with their families and loved ones. Food, as always, takes centre stage.

In celebration of the day and the subsequent rule of Napoleon as Emperor of France, I’d like to share my recipe for Gâteau Napoléon – a type of mille-feuille that is popular for festive meals and is a rich confection of multi layered cake and cream that melts in the mouth. It also remains a firm favourite in Russia after the victory against the French army of Napoleon in 1812 and has become an integral part of that country’s national culinary heritage.

Serves 8

For the dough
1 egg
125 ml cold water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
250 g cold butter
300 g flour

For the filling
200 g butter at room temp
1 can (397 g) sweetened condensed milk
200 g nuts

Method
Mix the egg and cold water using a small whisk. Add the lemon juice and set aside.

Place the butter in a bowl. Gradually add the sifted flour and, using a knife, mix everything until a coarse sand texture. Stir the egg mixture and mix to a smooth dough.

Form a large roll of dough and cut it into 9 equal parts. Shape into balls, place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 180 or gas mark 6.

Roll out a dough ball into a circle of 22cm of diameter -approx. – and bake on a non-stick plate for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat the operation for another 8 balls.

After taking the dough out of the oven, while the discs are still warm, even out the edges to make circles of approx. 20cm, by passing the blade of a knife along a baking circle or mold. Reserve the dough scraps.


Cream the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk and continue to beat until smooth. Put a dough circle on a serving dish, cover lightly with cream and sprinkle with the crushed walnuts. Cover with another dough circle. Repeat until all the dough circles have been used. Cover the last circle of dough with cream but no nuts. Ensure that the dough scraps are well crumbled. Sprinkle the cake with the crumbs to completely cover the top and sides.


Refrigerate for 8 hours before serving.

Mixed mushrooms and pan fried quail breasts tarte fine with poached egg and truffle vinaigrette

July 10th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Recipes No Comment yet

Not going away this summer? Enjoy a taste of France on a plate with my mushroom and quail tarte fine. I will be demonstrating how to make this tasty dish at the Great Yorkshire Show this Thursday 12 July.

Serves 4

– 4 sheets filo pastry
– 4 quail eggs
– 4 quail breasts
– 200g mixed mushrooms
– 1 shallot
– Truffle oil
– White balsamic vinegar
– Salt/pepper
– 50g butter

Brush each sheet of filo pastry with truffle oil. Using 10cm diameter moulds, form tartlets with the pastry and ensure that some extra pastry is left past the sides of the mould. Bake in the oven at 180°C until the pastry is golden.

In a frying pan, brown the mushrooms and finely chopped shallot with butter. Leave for 5mins approx. on high heat.

Poach the quail eggs in boiling water and 50ml vinegar for 90secs. Cool the eggs in an ice bath.

Mix some truffle oil with some vinegar. Add salt and pepper.

In a frying pan, fry the quail breasts with truffle oil until rosé.

Fill the tartlets with mushrooms, add a quail breast and egg on top. Season with the vinaigrette.

Serve with salad.

Chocolate soufflé with rhubarb and mint coulis

July 5th, 2018 Posted by Recipes No Comment yet

Ingredients
Serves 4

For the soufflé
– 200g whole milk
– 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
– 10g cornflour
– 2 egg yolks
– 6 egg whites
– 60g caster sugar
– 4 9cm diameter round moulds

For the coulis
– 200g rhubarb
– 50g caster sugar
– 20 mint leaves

Method
In a bowl, mix the egg yolks and the corn flour.
Heat the milk on the hob and pour into the mixture. Whisk until mixture thickens.
In the microwave or on the hob, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie then pour in the cream. Add to the mixture and mix well.
Beat the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form. Add the mixture and fold gently.
Grease the moulds and cover the base and edges with sugar.
Pour the mixture into the moulds leaving a one cm gap from the top.
Cook in the oven at 190°c for 12 minutes.
To make the coulis, place the rhubarb and sugar in a pan and cook until obtaining a purée. Then pour in a blender with the fresh mint and blend.
To serve sprinkle the soufflés with icing sugar and pour over the rhubarb and mint coulis.

Championing Yorkshire cheese and small producers

June 26th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

As a family, we love our cheese.

My wife Anne originates in the French Basque Country whose people are well-versed in safeguarding tradition. Nowhere is this more true than their food which plays a key role in Basque identity. In particular, people are passionate about their home-produced cheeses which they’ve grown up eating.

In France, as in Britain, we take protection of our cheeses seriously. Roquefort, was the first cheese to be protected by Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (certification based on the concept of terroir) in 1925 – although it has been regulated by a parliamentary decree since 1411!. Since then, more than 40 cheeses have achieved AOC status, including Ossau-Iraty from the Basque Country.

On arrival in Yorkshire, we were delighted to discover that our shared history following the Norman invasion and subsequent influx of expert cheese making Cistercian monks, meant that the area has a rich history of cheese production.

This legacy lives on today in a wide selection of established cheeses including two afforded protected status (Swaledale Cheese and Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese) as well as smaller Yorkshire producers making traditional cheese with milk from their own herds such as Lacey’s Cheese, Lowna Dairy and Ribblesdale.

Our latest favourite cheese is the new Wensleydale Yorkshire Brie, a soft and creamy British alternative to the French classic. Made from Yorkshire milk, the cheese has a deliciously silky texture and is delicious served with a crusty baguette (and a dollop of cherry or blackcurrant jam for Anne – but that’s a whole other story).