Sunday, January 31
maîtriser l'art de la cuisine française
Not to be behind the 8-ball or anything, but I finally got around to making a French meal in this post Julie & Julia world. I really love French food and the meal I cooked last night was so simple, used minimal pans (just 3!!!) which I always thinks adds to the excellence of a meal, and so bloody tasty that I wondered why i dont cook French food more often, then I remember just how much butter I really used. About a normal 2 weeks worth. Maybe its a telling sign, the last hoorah on my butter love, maybe Im about to give it up? Nah, prolly not. But this meal was glorious.
If you've never used Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child et.al, then you're probably wondering what all the fuss was about, but the book(s) really is(are) a revelation. She makes the art of French cookery easy and essentially understable; it's more like a conversation and a step-by-step guide through a recipe. The text guides you what to do with the dish if you want to cook it ahead. They leave nothing to chance in your own distorted thinking. If you need it spelt out, this book is for you (and me).
Im usually in the cooking camp of chuck in whatever you've got, improvise and adapt to suit. And it usually works. But last night I decided to follow the recipes to a T ( yes , I basted that damn chicken every 5 minutes, yes I added butter and oil to the basting tray, yes I rubbed salt on the bird in the last 30 and then the last 15). I reckon it made all the difference. The poulet roti was the best I'd ever produced. Dont tell anyone but I added the three lonely swiss browns mushrooms in the fridge to the baking tray along with the requisite onion and carrot and minced spring onion(thats the big brown blob you can see on the chicken).
Then there was the accompanying carrottes glacees (next time I'd put in just a fraction of the sugar - it was a stretch for me to add sugar to a vegetable I must say) and as for boiling fresh carrot in beef stock and butter...yum! The gratin dauphinois; superb, but as I was using up the weekly stocks I used regular tasty cheese, not the swiss style as called for, and I reckon the difference would have been phenomenal. Next time.
I would have made a zucchini dish but the glut I was expecting, well, it wasn't . Damn bees arent doing their job and the five i thought would be ready to go had started to shrivel, so not enough for dinner. Im going to have to go out and hand pollinate again this morning. However, for all you suffering a courgette glut, in the coming week/s Im going to do a series on zucchini ala cuisine française, coz they look sublime. courgettes farcies aux amandes (stuffed with almonds and cheese) , timbale de courgettes (molded custard of zucchin with onions and cheese)...I think I may be on the butter for a few weeks yet, there's a duck in the freezer...