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Croque monsieur

10 Jul

Croque monsieur

The croque monsieur is a French café classic. Done well, it’s a toothsome delight of crispy, cheesy deliciousness – too often, it’s a tepid, limp disappointment.

All the more reason to make croque monsieur at home, using good bread, good ham and good cheese, for a great weekend lunch. Continue reading

Passion fruit chocolate truffles

11 Feb

Passion fruit truffles

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about chocolates is the element of surprise. Shapes can be a giveaway – square toffees, dome-shaped cherries and so on  – as is the printed guide when it exists. But until you commit and sink your teeth into a chocolate, you don’t really know what’s inside.

The acute disappointment of biting into a strawberry cream with its cloying taste of cosmetics. The outrage of a square chocolate unpardonably filled with fibrous coconut. The double delight of getting whatever chocolate you and your brother both favour after he went first and chose wrong…;-)  Continue reading

French 75

19 Dec

french75

We won’t be repeating our twelve cocktails of Christmas extravaganza this year, but we did want to mark the start of the holiday season with something festive.

The French 75 (or Soixante-quinze) is apparently named after a field artillery gun, because of the punch it packs. Adam sees it as a gin and tonic for the Christmas season, a time of year when you do things like substitute champagne for tonic water…;-)

I recognise it as the inspiration for last year’s A Cocktail of Two Cities, which had the same London/Paris-gin/champagne thing going on.

A simple, elegant drink, the magic of a French 75 is in the balance of ingredients: gin, lemon juice, sugar and champagne. I went for a 2 to 1 ratio of the gin/lemon mixture to champagne.

Continue reading

Pear frangipane tart

6 Oct

Pear frangipane tart

The Great British Bake-off signature bakes seem to be increasing in complexity as the weeks go by – which is as it should be I guess.

Still, I find myself watching in trepidation, wondering what challenge I’ll be inflicting on myself next…

Continue reading

Crème brûlée

21 Sep

Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée is – without a doubt – my favourite dessert. I love the moment when you crack the crust of caramelised sugar, and the shards shift apart to reveal the creamy custard waiting beneath. I’m already happy before I even raise the first spoonful to my mouth…

Until now, all my crème brûlée moments have occurred in restaurants. But the fourth Great British Bake-off signature bake was crème brûlée, so it was time to give it a go. Continue reading

Celeriac remoulade

24 Jul

Celeriac remoulade

Celeriac is generally considered to be a winter vegetable. Velvety celeriac soup, sausages with celeriac mash, beef stew simmered with carrots, celeriac and shallots – comfort food at its best.

Celeriac remoulade has opened my eyes to its warm weather possibilities. A fresh, lighter alternative to potato salad, we’ve been eating it all summer long. Continue reading

Provençal-style seafood soup

21 Nov

Provençal-style seafood soup

This seafood soup recipe has evolved from a straightforward tomato-based broth, making its way south to Provence with the addition of fennel, orange juice and a splash of Pernod. It now occurs to me that with a can of chickpeas, a half cup of couscous, and a dash of hot pepper sauce, it could easily hop the Mediterranean and land up in north Africa… Continue reading