Posted in Dessert

Dessert: Bastille Day Puddings (Soufflés chocolat noisette)

 

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Joyeux 14 Juillet!

For the uninitiated, Bastille day is the celebration of the storming of the infamous Bastille prison in Paris at the start of the French revolution in 1789. It was a reaction against the oppression of the Monarchy and the ancien regime. An enormous gap between the rich and poor in France saw most of France crippled by famine and disease, while the royalty and aristocracy enjoyed a lavish life of luxury.

In the lead up to the revolution, those who did not resign themselves to the absolute power of the King (Louis XVI) were incarcerated in the Bastille prison in Paris. The storming of the Bastille was therefore a momentous occasion for la liberté (freedom) of the French. However, it also officially marked the beginning of a very turbulent time for France. The French revolution did not end until 1799.

 

Visiting Versailles in winter, the Palace of Louis XVI before he was fled
Visiting Versailles in winter, the Palace of Louis XVI before he fled

The legacy of the revolution continues in France today. La révolution française established the motto of France: liberté, fraternité (brotherhood), égalité (equality) which still underlies French culture. Today, many French people are passionate about fighting perceived inequalities, and fervently stand up for their rights. You don’t need to visit Paris (or any other French city) very long to witness a French protest. Whether it’s about racial diversity, train drivers’ working conditions (you’re almost guaranteed train delays while you’re visiting), or right-wing politician Marine Le Pen’s latest crazy idea, the French sure do love a good strike, and it’s this passion, evident in almost every aspect of la vie française, that draws me to their culture.

So to celebrate the glorious fête nationale, I have baked rich, fluffy soufflés which I think would please even the fussiest eater. As usual, they are vraiment façile (really easy)! This is a great recipe, the soufflés are gooey in the middle and crispy, almost meringue-like on top.

On an interesting language note, the term soufflé comes from the verb souffler which means to blow, and is a testament to the airiness of the soufflé, and the way it very quickly puffs up when it is in the oven.

Soufflé au chocolat noir et aux noisettes (Dark chocolate and hazelnut puddings)

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Recipe from Gourmet Traveller 

Serves 4

Cooking time: 20 minutes prep + Approx. 20 minutes to bake

55g butter

265g quality dark chocolate (at least 53% cocoa), chopped

3 eggs, separated

2 Tbs caster sugar

35g roasted hazelnuts (or roast yourself on low heat until golden), peeled and chopped

Cream or ice-cream to serve

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsuis. Very slowly melt butter and sugar, preferably over a double boiler to ensure they don’t burn.

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Once chocolate is melted and glossy remove from stove and stir in chopped hazelnuts, egg yolks and sugar. Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks and gently fold through chocolate mixture.

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Immediately divide among four small ramekins and bake for about 15 minutes or until the soufflés have puffed up and just set. Serve with cream or ice-cream.

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Bonne journée et bon appétit!

 

Posted in Mains

Mid-week meal: Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy)

"Burgundy, France" by Megan Mallen. CC licence 2.0.
“Burgundy, France” by Megan Mallen. CC licence 2.0.

Today is about debunking some common myths about shared living.

1. Living in a share house means living off pizza and instant noodles.

Wrong. I live in a share house. Four out of six of us are foodies. We go to markets, check out interesting new cafés that have just opened up and cook interesting things together. I haven’t eaten instant noodles in years.

2. Eating cheaply means eating junk food. 

Wrong again (see above). It’s possible to cook interesting and healthy meals with the cheapest ingredients. Buy produce that’s in-season, pick the time you go to the supermarket (there are often lots of reduced items if you go later in the evening) and shop at markets.

3. Cooking for one of two people = food wastage, and eating the same meal for a week.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. That’s what freezers are made for. Freezing food is also handy if you’re getting home from work or uni late and don’t have the time or energy to cook. I love cooking on Sundays because I usually have all the time in the world.

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy, or Beef in Red Wine):

Serves 4

Cooking Time: 5 mins prep + Approx 30 minutes to cook

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This is a cheats take on a classic French dish. It’s one that my Mum used to make when she lived in a share house, and has made ever since. I imagine the addition of soy sauce would enrage the French, but it’s simple and delicious, and can be whipped up after work with little effort. For best results though, slow cook it for as long as you can to make the meat extra tender.

Historically, this meal was considered a peasant dish, but over time it has been accepted as a classic.

Slow cooking the meat ensures even the worst cuts of meat become tender and delicious. The question of whether it should include bacon or not is somewhat controversial, but I think it adds a nice saltiness to the dish. You could serve it with mashed potato, brown rice, pasta, or crusty bread.

Ingredients:

-500g diced beef (the quality depends on how long you are prepared to cook it for)

-4 rashers bacon, chopped

-1 cup red wine

-1 small can tinned mushrooms in butter sauce

-1 green capsicum, chopped

-1 tsp dried or fresh thyme

-2 cloves garlic

-1 Tbs tomato paste

-2 Tbs soy sauce

-1 brown onion

Fry bacon, onion and garlic together. Brown beef, then add capsicum, tomato paste, wine, soy sauce, thyme and mushrooms. Cover and cook on medium heat until meat is tender and sauce has thickened (about 15 minutes depending on your cut).

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While it cooks, enjoy un verre du vin  (a glass of wine). I usually serve it with brown rice, as the nutty flavour compliments the stew – c’est magnifique!