Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Cook Up Au Francais

Ok ... so we took advantage of the long weekend and had our first full French cook up ...

2008 has been earmarked for French Food .. no reason apart from the fact that French food is always so overpriced that people mistakenly feel that it is an impossible undertaking for the novice home cook ... BUT with extra hands that are equally unschooled in the fine art of gastronomie ... a mountain is just another geological bump to climb ...
So we girded our recipe book loins, made a shopping list and headed out to Vic market ...
This being Easter Sunday, expectantly but dissappointingly so, the French cheese shop was shut ... so we had to look for another deli to service our needs ... and ended up at the least crowded ... which turn out to be the best choice as the chick behind the counter had time to be patient while we fluffed around trying to get the amounts right ... she must have taken a shine to us ... as we scored a nice bit of french brie gratis ... we then bought the last duck breasts available in the market ... stopped off to buy some alcohol ... Chevalier beer (P's choice ... only because it was the largest bottle ...) and cider ... a quick breeze through the green produce and we were done.
the chevalier ...
the free brie with a cut up french stick from the vietnamese bakery in Footscray

So the menu this time:

2 (yes count them ... 2) entrees:

Goats cheese tart (see pic above)

French Onion soup (with gruyere cheese)


French grilled Duck Breast served with Asparagus (was meant to have Hollandaise but we ran out of butter)
and Creamy Mash with Buffalo Mozarella


Tarte Tartin (we believe it means upside down tart - or overturned tart - or something decidely more exciting when said in French)

You say Tarte Tartin .. I say Apple Flan.

Ok maybe because it was the long weekend ... or maybe because we weren't sure that it was actually going to happen until P rang the front door bell ... but I felt a certain sense of malais come over the whole proceeding ... surprisingly though, this is the most organised we have been ... we pretty much had the 2 entrees banged up before 8 ... and had the main not very long after ...
As should be the case, we started with pastry. P worked his magic over the flour and water for the goats cheese tart ... and M flexed his musle on the puff pastry for the Tarte tartin .. and I sieved!!
goats cheese tart out of the oven - scuse the blurry pics ... i do believe the flash was turned off
goats cheese tart cooling before being served

goats cheese tart plated

Apart from sieving, I busied myself with the onion soup. Fairly straightforward recipe ... basically onions, garlic and chicken stock ... boil away and then add eggwhites and a mixture of egg yolks and red wine vinegar ...
onion soup on the boil
onion soup plated with gruyere

So the verdict ... top marks for the Goats cheese tart ... although it could have done with a bit more bite ... mental note - add a little bit of blue cheese or roquefert.

Onion soup was too vinegary for my liking, although the other 2 loved it ... and as always ... you can still mug for the cameras:

Onto the mains ... it is my very first time cooking duck ... so i was a bit nervous ... and I was combining recipes .. which perhaps wasn't a good idea to begin with .. but in the end it all worked out.

I took the idea of grilling the mushroom with the duck from one recipe .. and then use another (more asian-inspired) recipe for the bastng liquid which was red wine vinegar, chinese rice wine and soy sauce. But i took care to watch the heat while the breasts were on the griddle .... you need to score the skin and salt and pepper generaously ... start skin side down but do not be impatient with turning it over ... at least 8-10 mins on the skin ... searing heat initially, then turn down ... flip over and cook another 4-5 mins on lower heat .. press to see when its ready ... and be sure to rest the meat before serving:

duck breasts with mushroom - resting

duck breast plated with asparagus and creamy mozarello mash

duck breast cooked to perfection ... only slightly pink and very tender

As per ush ... we were too full to really appreciate ... and slightly inebriated!!
After a few fags ... it was time for dessert (never can spell this damn word)

Tarte Tartin - with ice cream - totally scrumptious ...
And that was it ... the rest of the evening ... well lets just say somethings need to be kept private ... but many a secret was out that night!!!

Including the biggest one of all ... P's hidden musical talent!!! Like Oh My Gawd ... Totally!!
And the best part of it all was that I got to play with him ... nice!!!

Righto ... we're going to attempt partridge next ...

oh and P got to hear a bit of the latest Goldfrapp ... as recommended by this blog no less ... so everyone singalong with me:

Only clowns will play with those balloons

What do you want to look like Barbie for ...
Temasek wrote:

Jeez .. you should contribute to this blog ... makes better reading than my tedious ramblings!!! Hope it all works out hun ... trully do!!
27 Apr
dan cope wrote:

No I am only visiting well for what seems like ages. It's hot here! I am nearly broke again, sigh, and am looking forward to celebrating the sixteenth year of the birth of our offspring tomorrow by going to see a Lawyer! Yah. Jase has 2 days off work and we are now heading into family court so he can have access to his kids. I finshed work and flew up here a few weeks ago and it's been pretty stressful. Hopefully I can go home soon to my own room, stuff and not be 100% part of his divorce. Long boring story. How are you? Did you see my textie? Just wanted to say a hi to P and grab a couple of numbers b/c I am soooo Bored up here!!!
hahaha Miss you Cassim. xx
8 Apr

Temasek wrote:

Ok so you're finally in Brizzi ... bitch thats that much further away!!!
27 Mar

dan cope wrote:

oh wow. I am so jealous. how are you all? I am in brisbane. Call me if you get a chance.
Did you like the playing? xx
27 Mar


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...