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Showing posts from December, 2012

Crunchie Tuiles and The Kitchen Music of 2012

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Last December I suggested making tuiles out of glacier mints. This year, in my seemingly endless and slightly pointless quest to make tuiles out of unlikely things, I've used Crunchie bars. (In case you've never heard of them, Crunchies are chocolate coated honeycomb bars). Honeycomb tuiles have turned up on the menus of many a fine restaurant but this is the downmarket version. It’s a quick and easy way to produce very tasty, very sweet tuiles that will make a simple dessert a bit more special.

Make sure that your Crunchie bar or bars are cold, break them up a little and place in a food processor or blender. Blitz them until they're reduced largely to powder, although a few slightly bigger bits can add a nice contrast. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Avoid using a fan setting if you can because it might spray the powder around the oven. Line a baking tray with a silicone sheet or some very non-stick paper. Spread a layer of the smashed up Crunchie bar onto the silicone sheet.…

Confit d’Oignon

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What’s the difference between confit d’oignon and onion marmalade? The answer is: one of them is French.

For this month’s Random Recipe challenge Dom of Belleau Kitchen has asked us to select a recipe at random from ‘a book or books you received for Christmas last year’. Now this is a bit of a problem for me because I pretty much gave up the Christmas presents thing quite a few years ago. Looking through my cookery book shelves, though, I came across a book that I seem to remember buying at a charity Christmas fair a couple of years ago. I hope that will do.

‘The Paris Café Cookbook’ by Daniel Young, published back in the 1990s, is actually an American book. As far as I know, it was never published in the UK and it was probably donated by one of the many US expats who live around here.  The book is a guide to the French capital’s cafés and a selection of the recipes you might find there.

The randomly selected  page took me to the Café de l’Industrie and a recipe for confit d’dignon …

Kent Pudding Pie with Cobnut Pastry and Pear

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Pudding pie is an ancient dish from Kent that is traditionally made during Lent but, believe me, it tastes lovely at any time of the year. In fact, what could be better than a pudding in a pie crust?

In case you’re not familiar with them, cobnuts are a form of hazelnut with a long and illustrious history in Kent. I once asked a cobnut grower what the difference was between Kent cobnuts and imported European hazelnuts. His answer was: ‘Hundreds of years of careful growing and the English Channel’. Most cobnuts are sold green and fresh these days and very lovely they are too, but at this time of year some stored nuts are available and can be shelled and ground for baking. Before grinding them you can enhance the flavour by lightly roasting the shelled nuts for around 30 minutes at 130°C (but be careful to avoid burning them). If you don’t have access to the glorious cobnuts of Kent, then you can, of course, use hazelnuts.  Either way, grind the nuts quite finely and ensure that there ar…

Pork with Apples and Mustard

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Contrary to rumour I didn't spend the entire 1980s listening to the Psychedelic Furs and Immaculate Fools, wearing strange clothes and generally making a nuisance of myself - although that might account for most of it. In my spare time I also kept some notebooks full of recipes and various cooking adventures. I recently came across these carefully compiled archives at the back of a cupboard. Skimming through them, I quickly realised that they weren't as carefully compiled as I’d thought. Some of the recipes are precise but in other cases it can be difficult deciding what on earth I was on about.

One of the notes that caught my eye relates to a Michael Smith recipe for pork. Oddly enough, I've already posted a tomato and plum soup based on one of his recipes but I couldn't resist this one as well. I've adapted the recipe a fair bit – the original dish was essentially a stir-fry - but it’s still based on the taste combinations of the original. Michael Smith was a gr…