Tag Archives: Berries

A Stroll Through The Vegie Patch – The End of Summer

Today I thought you might enjoy a stroll through our Vegie Patch. Lots of photos and very few words – A break from the kitchen…

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Aubergine / Egg Plant

Beans

Beets

Berries

Brassicas

Corn

Courgette / Zucchini

Cucumbers & Cornichon

Flowers

Green Stuff

Herbs & Aromats

Onions

Other Stuff

Peas

Peppers

Potatoes

Pumpkins

Rhubarb from Navarre

Rock Melon

Seed Saving

The Bees

Tomatoes

 

My favourite pics…

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I hope that you have enjoyed joining me on a stroll through our vegie patch.  It’s one of my favourite places to be.  Can you believe that just three months ago, we did not have a vegie patch!  I am looking forward to working and watching it through the seasons ahead.

Until next time…

Happy gardening and…

Bon appétit!

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Links:

The Vegie Patch

Nougat Glacé

Nougat Glace evokes memories of special times spent with beautiful friends. Some years ago, my amazing husband decided I needed to get away, so whisked me off to France for a much needed ten day break and opportunity to be with my best friend, Véronique. Below is a little piece I wrote in my diary about our arrival…

As we pull into the Auxerre station I notice Véronique and Yannick waiting for us on the
platform and wave madly, Véronique notices me and as we go to step off the train they are waiting at our carriage door. We hug and kiss each other – it is so good to be together again.

In the car we chat all the way back to their home and our luggage is quickly stowed in their little gite where we will sleep during our stay, and quickly note the log fire burning in the living area. This is heaven.

Over at the main house we sit down to lunch, the first meal of what is going to be a four day gourmet feast! Our meal starts with Yannick’s walnut wine, a delicious tipple that I have now learnt to make. As sip on the aperitif, we continue to catch up and nibble on chips and pistachios. Entrée was then served – a terrine of foie gras with brioche, all made by my wonderful friend. Next on the menu was a main of braised veal with vegetables from their garden, which was followed by a selection of local cheeses and a basket of bread.. Finally for dessert, nougat glace, a delicious homemade icecream, served with raspberry coulis. I have to add that throughout the meal, Yannick produced an incredible array of wines, carefully selected to complement each course – what a wonderful welcome!

So what is Nougat Glace?   It is a delicious creamy frozen mousse of Italian meringue and whipped cream, that has a selection of dried and/or glace fruits, and nuts carefully folded through. The nougat flavour is created by adding honey to the sugar syrup used when making the Italian meringue. Often made with praline, I prefer to make it with lightly roasted nuts, which cuts back the sweetness a little. It is generally served with a raspberry coulis and little sprigs of mint to garnish.  If you want to impress at a dinner party, this is the way to go, everything is prepared ahead, all you need to do at the last minute is melt a little dark chocolate and plate it up!

As I mentioned, this is a very sweet ice cream, so we find that the tartness of fresh raspberries and a little drizzle of good quality 70% chocolate, helps to balance the sweetness a little. Of course you must use a beautiful honey in such a special treat, and our preferred honey is macadammia honey – just delicious!

Nougat Glacé

A frozen mouse of meringue and cream with all the flavours of nougat. This delicious sweet treat is often served during the Christmas festivities in France. A perfect dessert for the summer.

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • 300 ml pure cream, very cold
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 40 g sugar
  • 40 g pistachio nuts
  • 40 g blanched hazlenuts or almonds
  • 40 g golden raisins
  • 40 g dried cranberries
  • 40 g dried blueberries

To Serve

  • 250 ml raspberry coulis
  • 50 g 70% dark chocolate, melted
  • 200 g fresh raspberries
  • sprigs of mint to garnish

Directions

  1. Beat the egg whites until stiff.
  2. Meanwhile, place the sugar and the honey in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat slightly and continue to cook until the mixture has reached 117° C.
  3. With the mixer beating slowly, pour the honey syrup in a thin stream into the egg whites, then increase the speed and continue whipping until the mixture has cooled.
  4. Whip the cream to soft peaks.
  5. Cut the raisins and into pieces.
  6. Chop/crush hazelnuts and pistachios.
  7. Line a cake mould with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
  8. Gently fold the egg whites into whipped cream, and then gently fold through the fruit and nuts.
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared mould and cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Place in the freezer for at least 12 hours, to freeze.
  11. To serve, turn out onto a flat cake plate, drizzle with a little melted dark chocolate and garnish with raspberry coulis, fresh berries and mint leaves.

Notes:

  1. If you prefer, make a praline from the nuts as folows:
    1. Line a baking tray with baking/parchment paper.
    2. Combine 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in saucepan and heat, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Increase to medium-high heat and cook without stirring until mixture turns golden caramel brown.
    3. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the nuts just to coat them in the caramel.
    4. Immediately, pour the mixture  in a thin layer onto the prepared baking tray.
    5. Allow to cool completely and harden.
    6. Break into one to two inch pieces, enclose in a clean tea towel and then crush using a rolling pin – be careful not to overdo it and turn it into a powder!
  2. To blanch hazelnuts:
    1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
    2. Roast in oven for 5-10 minutes, until the hazelnuts are aromatic, lightly roasted and the skins start to crack.
    3. Place the hazelnuts into a clean tea towel and gently rub together, to remove the skins.
    4. Spread the shelled hazelnuts, in a single layer, on a baking tray.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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Links:

Nougat Glace

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The Little Gite – a perfect little home away from home in the Burgundy countryside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paddock to Plate!

Part of what I am about is using local and home grown produce as much as I can, so recently I purchased another side of lamb from Forge Creek Lamb, and while you can select the cuts that you would like, I prefer to dress the lamb myself. You see I was raised on a sheep and grain farm about 500 km from where we now live, so am quite familiar with the various cuts of lamb, having observed and helped my mother and father dress many during my childhood and teenage years. One thing that I learnt was that there was very little waste. My mother was meticulous ensuring that all the meat was saved and frozen, even the tiniest of skerricks! Fat was rendered down and the fresh dripping was used to fry the BEST fish and chips – usually redfin fish that dad had caught, the bones were used to make stock for soups, the little bits were used to make pies, and so on.   So with that memory, I set to work.

Firstly I set up my kitchen – bowls each for meat to mince, casserole meat and sausage meat set up close to where I would be dressing the meat; a baking dish for the bones; a bag for the fat (I think we’re probably a little more wary of animal fat nowadays, so mainly use olive oil and peanut oil for frying) were close by; my stand mixer was set up and the mincing attachment placed in the fridge; knives steel, hacksaw and chopping boards were layed out; an area with my vacuum seal machine was set up with various sized bags at the ready; and, finally a pile of tea towels were stacked up. Then I set to work….

So this is what happened

  • The loin was boned out and tied at one inch intervals, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and then popped in the fridge for a while, before being cut into little noisettes.
  • Little cutlets were cut, their long rib bones were boned from the flap before being trimmed, and all of the excess fat was removed.

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  • The flap takes time as there is quite a bit of fat to be removed, and invariably you will end up with the odd hole here and there, but they are easily filled with some offcuts. When it was done, it was laid out flat on a large piece of plastic wrap and then rolled up ready for packaging and freezing. The flap is delicious filled with lamb sausage mince, rolled and wrapped in prosciutto and then cooked at low temperature for a while . It makes for a delicious hot meal with veg, but alternatively makes an amazing sliced cold meat for sandwiches or salad.
  • The shank was removed from the shoulder and Frenched.
  • The shoulder was partially boned out.
  • The neck takes quite a bit of work, removing the ribs and cutting the meat away from the vertebrae. But it is well worth the effort with the finished product rolled and slow cooked for a delicious warming meal.
  • The hind shank was removed from the leg and Frenched.
  • The hind leg was totally boned out and butterflied in readiness for summer family gatherings. It will be cooked on the BBQ.

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  • The chump was boned out.
  • Larger off-cuts were set aside for casserole and stir-fry
  • Smaller off-cuts were minced
  • Fattier off-cuts were minced together with seasonings to become sausage mince.
  • Finally the bones were roasted and then placed into a large stock pot with water, onion, celery, carrot, bay leaves and peppercorns and left to simmer away for a few hours. After being strained and allowed to set in the fridge, the fat was removed and the stock was pressure canned in Mason jars for use at a later date.

I know it sounds like a lot of work, and I can’t lie, it is! But I have a beautiful product to work with and the most amazing childhood memories to guide me along the way. I hope that my efforts have ensured that the lamb I cook has been treated with the utmost respect – from paddock to plate!

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Now with all this beautiful Forge Creek Lamb in the freezer, I have the delightful task of coming up with the best way to prepare and serve it. The first meal that I prepared with it used the little lamb noisettes. I simply pan fried them to pink and placed them on a small disk of fried potato.

To accompany these little noisettes we had steamed peas, baby broad beans and asparagus topped with roasted baby rainbow carrots. On the side I put a little roasted beetroot and goats cheese, and to finish it off, I prepared and a delicious sauce with the lamb stock, white wine and aromats. I was so happy with this plate of food, inspired by the lamb and a trip to the local farmer’s market where I purchased all the vegetables to accompany it.

Of course we had to have dessert – Tarte chantilly aux fruits rouges – a berry and cream pie with the first strawberries from our garden.

The work still continues on the corner patch, it is now fenced and has a gate. We’re still waiting for the timber to box the beds, but hopefully it will be ready next week! I have managed to get a few things planted though, including a Boysenberry.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

Links:

Tarte chantilly aux fruits rouges – Berry & Cream Pie

Slow Cooked Lamb Chump

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

Glossary

Corner Patch

Forge Creek Lamb

 

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