Tag Archives: Friends

Smoked Trout

Some months ago, we took our first drive from our new home, across the mountains, to beautiful Bright – what a treat. The drive is an easy five to six hours, and the scenery is simply sensational! As we climbed the winding roads, the scenery continued to change. There were eagles soaring, incredible panoramas and great anticipation for a fun few days ahead. It was autumn and Bright in autumn is always a stunning canvas of autumnal colour. Continue reading

Generous Gifts

I love coming up with new recipes to highlight new produce, and this weekend we received a wonderful gift of home-cured meats from a friend. Mike, Chris and Mon, our son’s future in-laws, visited from Melbourne and came bearing beautiful gifts, including beautiful flowers, some wonderful wine and Mike’s cured meats.

The flowers went straight onto the table, they were so pretty, and the meats were put to good use as the foundation of a couple of amazing anitpasto platters, one as a starter to our evening meal, the other for a light lunch on the terrace.

Meal times were wonderful chatty affairs and we spent a lot of time getting to know each other better, talking about family, funny experiences, food and gardening. Previously we only seemed to catch up at family gatherings where there was little or no time to talk and get to know each other.

On Saturday while they went visiting, I took the opportunity to race into the local farmer’s market -I wanted a little something to send home with them, and the vegie patch is really not quite up to speed at the moment. I also needed to top up our supplies of Wuk Wuk steak.

When they returned they came bearing another gift, a wonderful heritage apple tree for our garden, a Ribston Pippin – another lovely thoughtful gift. Ribston Pippin - Feature ImageI have already worked out where it is going to live and how it will be espaliered… We were so pleased to be able to give them a bag of fresh local produce – potatoes, beetroot, zucchini, corn, eggs, etc. as well as rhubarb from our garden and some Jalapeno Chili and Sprouting Broccoli seedlings. But after they left I was kicking myself, as I also wanted to give them some preserves from the store! Oh well, next time, they will be returning in March to help with some repairs to our home, and there are some cooking projects on the agenda as well.

Now… I wanted something different to cook to highlight one of Mike’s cured meats. Inspired by a recipe Endives Rôties au Roquefort, Chips de Jambon from Saveurs no 234 p59, I created Roasted Belgian Endive (Witlof) with Shadows of Blue Cheese and Mike’s Prosciutto, a recipe highlighting a luscious, creamy local blue cheese, Mike’s amazing prosciutto, and my fig vinegar. It’s a wonderful entrée with the bitterness of the endive, the crispness of the prosciutto, the creamyness of the cheese, the salt from both, and the sweetness of the fig vinegar all complementing each other.

This is a recipe that will definitely be reappearing on our table in the future.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome visitors in the garden

Again, we have been busy in the garden…

The pool garden renovation is now complete and it looks wonderful, thanks to a lot of hard work put in by Gary, and the help of local tradies Johnno and Nic.

Finished!

I just helped by making lunches.

Lunches for the workers

All bar the fencing had been completed when some more wonderful friends arrived from Melbourne for a weekend break. It was so good to see my dear friend Beth again – it had been about seven months since we had seen each other. She and her husband, Steve, arrived late Friday afternoon, after battling the traffic to get out of town and we soon settled in for a lot of talking and a bit of eating. I had our dinner all but prepared when they arrived. A shoulder of lamb from Forge Creek Lamb was slowly cooking on the stove top with the veg prepared as well, including a favourite of Cauliflower Cheese, this time done with goat’s milk, and goat’s cheese, as well as a little parmesan. Dessert was a favourite, crème brulee.

Saturday morning after a lesson of poaching eggs in water, we all went to a farmer’s market in nearby Sale, stopping off on the way to buy some more beautiful fresh eggs for Beth to take home. The wind was quite strong and some of the stallholders weren’t prepared – we all hopped in and helped one dismantle her gazebo before it ended up the other side of town! But from then it was a nice, but blustery, stroll along, checking out what was on offer and for me, to collect my orders from Coltish Pork and Wuk Wuk Beef. Don’t you just love buying from the local farmers. Poor Gary was seen doing a few trips back and forth to the car with our meat and some lovely fresh vegetables!

Using some of the market purchases during the week

Back home we decide to have a BBQ lunch – albeit quite late. Which meant that a variety of sausages picked up at the market were now bound for the hotplate. Fortunately with the Natural Pork sausages being onion and garlic free, everyone could enjoy a sausage. We did, however, also add some of our home smoked hot and cold salmon to the table, along with a nice fresh citrusy salad and a gluten free pull-apart that I made up quickly.

We all enjoyed sitting out on the terrace, chatting, and after a lovely relaxing afternoon and weren’t sure that we’d be able to manage dinner! We did… So just a simple meal of Scotch Fillet (from the farmer’s market) with some mash and green beans, and for dessert… Chocolate Fondant with homemade Raspberry Sorbet!

Chcolate Fondant - Recipe Feature Image

Now whoever tells you that Chocolate Fondant is difficult to make is wrong!!! I have a book that I absolutely love,dsc05899-r “Lunch in Paris” by Elizabeth Band. Elizabeth is an American Journalist based in France and she writes the story of how she went out to lunch with a Frenchman, fell in love and ended up living in Paris. I love this book so much, that I have two copies! Earlier this year when my mother was visiting I wanted to make Chocolate Fondant for her birthday dinner, but horror, we could not find either copy of the book anywhere! Both my husband and I scoured the piles of books (at that stage we didn’t have our bookcases) but to no avail. So there was no Chocolate Fondant, just Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake for the occasion. Not long after both copies came home – I had leant one copy to each of my sisters!

Anyway I digress!

During one of our wanders around the garden, Beth commented on the wasp/bee like insects that were thick and very active around the roses and the Kaffir Lime, I made the comment that maybe they liked aphids, as there were very few to be seen, which is unusual. So after they left I did a little research and discovered that they were Hover Flies, and guess what, they love aphids – I quickly declared these little insects to be welcome guests in our garden.

Moving on, this week Gary and I have erected our garden shed, mainly Gary, I should say. Although I was seen up a ladder on more than one occasion! I love our little shed, it fits perfectly with our house and garden, and it will be right down in the corner patch for quick and easy access.

As we were carrying the shed panels down to the Corner Patch, I was pointing out new flowers in the garden and Gary commented that he loved that even though we were in the middle of doing something, I could still take the time to look around and find things! I must say I am easily distracted in the garden, which is what happened as I was heading back to the house for something and noticed a large number of orange butterflies on the white hebes (a little research and I discovered these to be “Wanderer” Butterflies and apparently they are not so common in this area) – more welcome visitors in the garden. I just had to sit on the lawn and try to get a photograph – I failed as you can see.

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When I was not needed I worked at moving more dirt and setting out two more little beds, which will soon be home to rhubarb and asparagus, as well as being home to my treasured strawberry pots.

Finally, as a treat one night this week I made a delicious meal using another cut of Forge Creek Lamb Sumac and Garlic Lamb with Roasted Tomatoes and Yoghurt Sauce. I so love it when a recipe idea comes together so nicely.

Sumac and Garlic Lamb - Recipe Feature Image

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

Links:

Pool Garden

Chocolate Fondant

Sorbet

Sumac and Garlic Lamb with Roasted Tomatoes and Yoghurt Sauce

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