Saturday, July 29, 2006

Scotch Fudge

Scottish Whisky Fudge

Preparation and cooking: 30 minutes
Ingredients to fill a brownie mould:
1 kg sugar
25 cl concentrated milk
1 glass of milk
110 gr butter
1 small glass of whisky

  • Heat the sugar in a large saucepan.
  • Add the glass of milk, and dissolve all the sugar.
  • Add the butter and let it melt.
  • Add the concentrated milk the whisky.
  • Bring to the boil for 20 minutes, whilst stirring.
  • Take a small drop of the mixture and drop it into cold water. If it forms into a firm ball, then the mixture is ready to take off the heat.
  • Whisk off the heat to obtain a texture similar to whipped cream.
  • Butter a mould, a pour in the preparation.
  • Smooth the surface, and level the edges.
  • Leave to cool before cutting into squares.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Flavours of Scotland

Holidays in Britain are over for this year. We were very lucky : no rain, no heatwave and no midges! Just magnificent scenery, moutains and lochs, where it seems that pollution is nowhere to be found. Alone amongst the sheep... We all needed the break!


Scottish cooking is often based on cereals (oats and barley), smoked fish, venison, Aberdeen Angus beef, and of course, whisky! Though we were a little disapointed to find that the price of the latter is exorbitant (due to a 65% tax), and it's much cheaper to buy in France.
The traditional dish is haggis. It's made up of sheep offal mixed with oats, onions, spices and pepper, and is traditionally boiled in a sheep's stomach. Although the description doesn't sound very appetising, it is in fact quite delicious.

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I first tried haggis at this year's Burn's night supper, hosted by the Maule town twinning committee. This event, which is organised each 25th January to comemmerate the birth of the famous scottish poet Robert Burns, features traditional dancing and poetry readings.


On the Isle of Skye, we were lucky enough to stay at the Kinlock lodge, the seat of the Clan MacDonald. The owner is the famous chef Claire MacDonald. A dream hotel. Formerly a hunting lodge, the hotel on the edge of a loch extends a very warm welcome and a dinner menu in keeping with the quality of the location.


A brief glimpse of dinner :


Roast Butternut Squash soup

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Isle of Skye scallops with sweet chili sauce and cream


Sesame roasted tuna on caramelised pears with spring onions and ginger sauce


Fillet of organic Skye salmon, chive hollandaise sauce


Roast fillet of Highland venison, sautéed mushroom cream sauce


Scottish raspberry and blackcurrant suedoise, whipped cream and sablé biscuit


Iced highland strawberry soufflé, with lemon and elderflower compote

... and for breakfast :

Scrambled eggs, bacon, white pudding...


... poached eggs, black pudding and local sausages,


or kippers!

All prepared from local seasonal products.

Holidays just go too quickly...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Crab Maraichere

This is a recipe from the chef Louis Grondard who runs a famous Parisien restaurant called Le Drouant. It should be served fresh, and won't keep for more than 48 hours.

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Ingredients pour 4
Preparation and cooking time : 1h20
1 leek chopped into small cubes
1 potato (preferably Roseval) chopped into small cubes
12 cherry tomatoes
50 cl olive oil
1 tbsp thyme
12 cl crème fraîche
1 bunch of fresh chives
400 gr crab meat
2 limes
1 bunch of dill
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  • Boil the potato and leek cubes seperately in salted water for 6 minutes. Cool under running water.
  • Use boiling water to remove the tomato skins.
  • Cook the cherry tomatoes on a low heat in a pan of olive oil and thyme, then leave to cool.
  • Mix the potato and leek in a salad bowl, add the cream, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Season the crab meat with olive oil, chopped chive, salt and pepper.
  • Using circles (small metallic cylinders around 8 cm tall), half-fill with the potato and leek mixture, then fill to the top with the crab meat and smooth a little creme fraiche over the top.
  • Powder chopped chive over the top, and leave to cool in the fridge.
  • Prepare a vinegraitte dressing from olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper.
  • To serve, dress the circle in the middle of the plate, and place the cherry tomatoes around the side. Add a little vinegraitte (not so much as to overpower the flavour of the crab), and decorate with sprigs of dill and chopped chive.

Serve cold!

Stuffed sole Italian style

A simple little recipe of fish and tomato sauce from Sicily. A magnificent island, with it's Eolian islands and volcanoes. Although a little too hot for me around this time of year, it's ideal in May or September, and its fertile lands provide basil, oregano, olive oil, orange essence, lemons and capers.
Capers are gathered from the flower buds of the Capparis Spinosa plants by hand!


Ingredients pour 4
Preparation and cooking time : 45 minutes
4 sole fillets
6 tbsp olive oil
1 chopped garlic clove
50 gr breadcrumbs
2 tbsp capres, drained and finely chopped
10 basil leaves
4 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Tomato Sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 peeled and chopped garlic clove
1 chopped spring onion
400 gr peeled tomatoes
10 cl dry white wine
Salt, pepper
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  • For the tomato sauce : fry the garlic in a pan with a little olive oil. When golden, remove and discard the garlic. Add the onion, the tomatoes and the white wine to the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, then smooth in a blender.
  • For the stuffing : mix the olive oil and garlic, breadcrumbs, capers, basil and the lemon juice into a paste. Salt and pepper.
  • Place each sole fillet onto cooking film, and spread the paste over the top. Roll up the fillet in the plastic film tightly, the package must be closed.
  • Steam-cook in a steam cooker or over a pan of boiling water for around 5 minutes.
  • Dress with the tomato sauce and basil leaves.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tomato Fondant with basil sauce

Fondant de tomate au sauce Basilic:
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For 6 people
Preparation time : 1h30 minutes
Refrigerator: 4 heures
1 kg tomatoes
1 stick of celery
1 crushed garlic clove
3 leaves or 6 gr gelatin
10 cl single liquid cream very cold
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
4 tbsp chopped basil
3 tbsp chives
6 saffron pistils
10 gr sugar
3 drops of Tabasco sauce
6 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper

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  • Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water and then peel them, chop them into small cubes. Reserve 250 gr for the sauce.
  • Peel the celery stick , and chop into slices of around 1 cm.
  • Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, add the tomatoes, celery, garlic, thyme and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 30 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the saffron 10 minutes from the end.
  • Soften the gelatin in cold water.
  • Filter the tomato mixture using a sieve. Warm the filtered sauce, before stirring in the gelatin off the heat.
  • Add 3 drops of tabasco sauce and the chopped tarragon and basil.
  • Whip the cold single cream. Add two tablespoons of cream to the warm tomato mixture, stir, and then add in the rest of the cream delicately.
  • Leave the mixture to set for 4 hours in the fridge in individual ramekins.
  • Prepare the sauce just before serving. Mix the remaining tomatoes in a blender, and season with salt and pepper. Add in 1 tablespoon of basil, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and mix.
  • Turn out the tomato fondants onto plates with the aid of a knife around the edges. Add the sauce, and decorate with basil leaves and chives.