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Monthly Archives: June 2010

This
is a small brown songbird native to Asia and Europe, a bunting which is traditionally
eaten as a delicacy in France. The wild bird is caught using a large
net, its eyes are then poked out before being placed into a small cadge.
They are forced fed with millet and oats until four times the natural
size, killed by being drowned in Armagnac and then roasted. Eaten whole,
its bones lacerating the gums so allowing blood to blend with the birds
fat and bitter tasting guts. The eating of Ortolan is regarded as
offensive, so traditionally it is consumed with a cloth napkin placed
over the head covering the face and mouth. This is said to heighten the
gastronomic experience. The sale of Ortolan is now banned by the
European Union.


This month Americans will celebrate Independence Day on the 4th, while the French mark Bastille Day on the 14th. July sees the beginning of the school holidays and we will be awash with wonderfully fresh foods. During July we seem to think more about how we will eat our food, with barbecuing and picnicking becoming popular pastimes. This month sees an abundance of fruit and berries. Vegetables in season this month are: aubergines, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, courgettes, cucumber, garlic, globe artichokes, green beans, lettuce, mangetout, peas, peppers, potatoes, radishes, spring onions, sweet corn, tomatoes and watercress. Fruits in season are: apricots, bilberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, cherries, gooseberries, grapes, loganberries, mangos, melons, nectarines, peaches, raspberries, redcurrants, strawberries and whitecurrants. Seafood’s in season are: Dover sole, grey mullet, haddock, halibut, herring, lobster, plaice, prawns, red mullet, salmon, sardines, sea bass, sea bream, sea trout, shrimps, squid and whitebait. Meat in season is guinea fowl.

Cockscombs are the red fleshy crests that grow on the top of a domestic cocks head, the word is derived from the old French word caruncle meaning flesh .Cretes De Coq are a delicacy in France, the dish consists of cockscombs stewed in lemon juice and butter. They are prepared by first steeping in cold water, then heated just enough to allow the skin to be removed. They are then steeped in ice cold water until the blood has completely drained. Next they are gently heated in a pan with butter, lemon juice and cracked black pepper before being stewed gently for around 20 minutes. Served as required.

I Only Have a Kitchen Because It Came With The House is a culinary handbook, a guide to common culinary terms, herbs, spices, kitchen equipment, fish, meats, nutrition and hygiene. A simple reference manual of common culinary terms including French, Italian and Japanese as well as sections covering herbs, spices, kitchen equipment, fish, meat cuts, nutrition, and health. Discover definitions, descriptions and hints, understand e-numbers and basic food hygiene. I Only Have a Kitchen Because It Came With The House is a useful compilation, a selection of listings and concise and reliable definitions which are intended to help the reader understand and appreciate the culinary art. This invaluable guide contains the terms an experienced chef might use when addressing customers, staff or when preparing menus. No kitchen is complete without it…

This is seasoned lobster trimmings blended with butter. The trimmings are pounded in a mortar to a fine paste, then blended with an equal quantity of butter. The mixture is allowed to melt slowly in a bain marie until the flavours and colours have infused. It is then passed through a fine cloth into a bowl, and allowed to set over ice. Used to enrich various fish and shellfish soups or sauces.

A deliciously moist, rich, dark and flavoursome cake which not to excessively sweet. Take 250ml of Guinness, 225g of salted butter, 75g of coco powder, a cinnamon stick, a split vanilla pod, 300g of plain flour, 400g castor sugar, 1½ teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda, a nut of fresh nutmeg, 2 medium eggs, 200ml of sour cream, 200ml of double cream and 200g of dark chocolate. Preheat an oven to 180° C gas mark 4. Grease and line a 26cm cake tin with baking parchment. Heat 250ml of Guinness in a heavy pan and add 225g of salted butter. Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat when the butter has melted. Sieve 75g of coco powder into pan and whisk until smooth. Add the whole cinnamon stick and vanilla pod. Allow to rest. Sift together 300g of plain flour, 400g of castor sugar, 1½ teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda and a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg. Beat together 2 medium sized eggs in a large bowl. Combine the eggs with 200ml of sour cream. Remove the cinnamon stick from the Guinness mixture. Pour the Guinness mixture over the beaten eggs and cream. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the mixture until just combined. Pour this cake batter into the prepared tin. Bake for about an hour. Remove from the oven and allow cooling on a wire rack. Prepare the icing by slowly heating 200ml of double cream in a pan. Break 200g of quality dark chocolate into small pieces. Add the chocolate to the cream, stirring continuously. The icing should be thick and glossy. Allow to cool slightly. Spread evenly over the top of the cooled cake. As an alternative topping replace the dark chocolate with 200g of cream cheese and add 100g of icing sugar. Dissolve the sugar into the cream and allow cooling before adding the cream cheese. Spread over the cake. Serve as required.

www.thefoodieshandbook.com

This is the French term for parsley butter. To produce blend a few drops of lemon juice together with chopped parsley and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Rub into softened butter. Mould into a cylindrical shape using greaseproof paper. Keep refrigerated until required. Cut into ½ cm slices with a hot knife and hold on crushed ice till required, or place onto the dish being served at the last moment.

This is an Italian hard cheese with a granular texture and complex flavour. It is sharp, fruity, nutty and meaty. It is produced in the provinces of Palma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and Bologna and has European Protected Designation of Origin status. It has been protected under Italian law since 1955. Made from a mixture of fresh unpasturised and semi skimmed cow’s milk. It is completely natural and contains no artificial additives or preservatives. The only other ingredients are rennet and Mediterranean sea salt. The blended milk is placed in copper lined vats and heated to a temperature of 35°C. Calf’s rennet is then added and the mixture allowed to curdle for about 10 minutes. The curd is then broken down into small pieces resembling rice grains. The temperature is then gradually raised to 55°C before being allowed to rest for about an hour. The mixture is then pressed though muslin. The solids are placed into flat and rounded stainless steel moulds which resemble wheels. The remaining whey is traditionally fed to local pigs, these pigs are used to produce the cured ham prosciutto di Parma. The moulds are closed and held tight by a spring loaded buckle. This is released after a few days and an embossed metal plate inserted into the mould, this plate contains the Parmigiano-Reggiano name, the producer’s identification number, and the month and year of production. These details will be imprinted into the matured cheese. The mould is resealed with a leather belt. The cheese is next immersed in a brine tank containing high levels of Mediterranean sea salt for 20 days. The cheese is then allowed to mature naturally for between 20-30 months. Each cheese will weigh about 45 kilos, or 100 pounds.

The enzymes present in yoghurt work well as a meat tenderiser, and this marinade is especially suited to beef and lamb. The herbs may be varied to suit the meat being used, but sage and thyme work well with chicken, rosemary and tarragon with beef, mint and lavender with lamb, or fresh bay and sage with pork. The basic recipe is: 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 150ml/¼ pint of natural yoghurt, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs and 1 teaspoon of ground black peppercorns. Simply combine all the ingredients together and mix well. Use as required.