Sadly, the days are getting shorter and the weather cooler in Melbourne, but the local markets are buzzing and overflowing with beautiful apples, figs, bananas and pears. I’m getting excited about baked apples, and fruity crumbles.
As it get colder, I’m thinking more and more about my trip to Paris last September, at the end of the French summer. We covered all of the staples that I really miss – moules marinieres (muscles in white wine and garlic), soupe a l’oignon, lots of delicious, slow-cooked meat and a healthy dose of red wine, cheese and Normandy cider.
But the one meal that really stuck out was an endive and scallop salad, followed by beautiful braised beef cheek in a tangy but rich gravy with hints of orange, and lots of garlic. The restaurant was Le Fumoir – a bustling bistrôt on the non-touristic side of Le Louvre. We sat in the library; a small, beautifully lit room away from the main service area where I’m told bookings are essential. Staff were friendly, and fortunately for me, spoke little English (it’s hard to practice French in Paris sometimes!)
As a last little tribute to summer, this blog contains une autre tarte tatin with tomato and basil. It’s sweet, fresh and light – and really hard to stop eating! The tarte tatin is so versatile – and you really can use any of your favourite flavour combinations.
For dessert, there’s a zesty strawberry, lime and coconut parfait that would be an impressive and easy dessert for dinner parties. Trop délicieux!
Tarte tatin à la tomate et au basilic:
Serves 4 with salad
Cooking time: Approximately 15 mins prep + 30 minutes baking
-2 Tbs butter
-1 Tbs brown sugar
-1-2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
-6 Roma tomatoes (seeded and halved)
-1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
-1 Tbs chopped oregano (fresh)
-Handful of fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease a round cake pan or casserole dish.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add sugar and cook until dissolved. Add tomatoes, cut sides up. Turn down heat, and cook tomatoes for about 10 minutes or until they release juices. Add vinegar and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Take tomatoes out of saucepan and place in cake pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle oregano and season. Place whole basil leaves on top.
Cut pastry into triangles and arrange over tomatoes, forming 2 layers of pastry. Tuck pastry in at edge, then bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden. Stand for 5 minutes.
Serve with salad.
Coconut, lime and strawberry parfait:
Cooking time: 20 minutes to prep, 6 hours to chill
-1/4 tsp lime rind
-2 tsp lime juice
-2 tsp caster sugar
-250g punnet of strawberries, hulled
-1 Tbs hot water
-1 tsp gelatine powder
-125ml evaporated milk
-1 Tbsp caster sugar
-2 tsp shredded coconut, toasted
Process a third of the strawberries, lime juice and rind, and sugar into a blender and process to a puree.
Thinly slice strawberries. Divide puree among four dessert glasses and top with remaining sliced strawberries.
To make the coconut parfait, place hot water in heat proof dish and sprinkle with gelatine. Place dish in small saucepan and add enough boiling water to come half way up side of dish. Whisk with a fork until gelatine dissolves.
Beat gelatine mixture, evaporated milk and sugar in large bowl until fluffy (approx. 1-2 mins). Spoon mixture over strawberry mixture and chill for approx. 6 hours (until set).
Enjoy! And keep an eye on this space for some winter recipes coming soon.