Posted in Dessert, Mains

Automne à Melbourne

 

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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.

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Moules frites à Bayeux

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:

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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

Method

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.

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Take tomatoes out of saucepan and place in cake pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle oregano and season. Place whole basil leaves on top.

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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.

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Serves 4

Cooking time: 20 minutes to prep, 6 hours to chill

Strawberry layer:

-1/4 tsp lime rind

-2 tsp lime juice

-2 tsp caster sugar

-250g punnet of strawberries, hulled

Coconut parfait:

-1 Tbs hot water

-1 tsp gelatine powder

-125ml evaporated milk

-1 Tbsp caster sugar

-2 tsp shredded coconut, toasted

Method:

Process a third of the strawberries, lime juice and rind, and sugar into a blender and process to a puree.

IMG_1046Thinly slice strawberries. Divide puree among four dessert glasses and top with remaining sliced strawberries.

IMG_1053To 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).

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Enjoy! And keep an eye on this space for some winter recipes coming soon.

Bisous,

Sophie

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Posted in Dessert, Mains, Snacks and light meals

Tarte Tatin: Two ways

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Bonjour à tous!

Ça fait trop longtemps (it’s been too long!)

I have been busy finishing uni (yay!) and planning a very exciting trip to Europe in September. I’ll be flying to Paris for a week of delicious food and wine, before heading to Greece. Mais ne vous inquiétez pas, I’ll be sure to report back with photos of everything I eat while en France.

To make up for my absence I have a jam-packed post for you. Today, we’re talking tarte tatin – upside down tart for the uninitiated.

Trusty wiki claims that the tarte tatin was developed in the 1800’s about 100km south of Paris at the Hotel Tatin. One of the owners, Stephanie Tatin, was so run off her feet in the kitchen while making an apple pie that she forgot about leaving her apples, butter and sugar cooking on the stove. In a desperate attempt to save the tart, Stephanie quickly put the pastry on top of the apple mixture and baked it in the oven. After turning it out, Stephanie found the hotel guests were surprisingly impressed with the caramelised apple tart. And the tarte tatin was born.

While the apple tarte tatin is most common, many cooks have created their own (savoury and sweet) versions.

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I’ll show you a traditional and more modern version of the tart. You really can’t go wrong with this one so feel free to combine your favourite ingredients for the topping. Les fabuleuses tartes (the fabulous tarts) are sophisticated yet deceptively easy to make, making them perfect for your next dinner party. You could even have a French theme and cook one for dinner and dessert like I did here. Pourquoi pas?

For the sake of simplicity, I have used frozen puff pastry in both recipes below, but absolutely feel free to make your own if you have the time! The use of red and green apples makes for an interesting mix of sweet and slightly sour in the traditional tarte tatin.

NB: Both savoury and sweet recipes are my own take on ones from taste.com.au

Tarte tatin au potiron et aux oignons caramélisés (Pumpkin and caramelised onion upside-down tart):

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Serves 4-6

Cooking time: 20 mins to prep + about 1 hour 40 to bake

-1/2 butternut pumpkin, cut into 2.5cm wedges

-1 medium red onion, diced

-Garlic head, cloves separated and unpeeled

-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

-2-3 sheets puff pastry, thawed

-Thyme, to serve

-Salad leaves, to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease and line a tray with baking paper. Place pumpkin, onion and garlic cloves on tray and coat with good olive oil. Season well, then roast for about an hour or until tender. Leave aside to cool.

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Cook balsamic vinegar and sugar on low heat for about five minutes until sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture into the bottom of a cake pan. It’s best to use a round cake pan, but if you don’t have one (like I didn’t on the day), a square or rectangle pan will be fine.

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Arrange the pumpkin and onion over base. Remove skin from garlic cloves and arrange over vegetables.

Turn oven up to 220 degrees celsius. Cut pastry into triangles (for a round dish) or rectangles (for square/rectangle dish) and arrange pastry over vegetables. Fold back any excess pastry and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. Leave to sit for several minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Sprinkle with thyme and remaining pan juices, then serve with salad greens.

Enjoy!

Now for something a little sweeter…

Tarte tarin aux pommes (apple upside-down tart):

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Serves 4-6

Cooking time: 20 to prep + about 25 to bake

-50g quality unsalted butter

-2 medium green apples

-2 medium red apples

-1/2 cup brown sugar

-2 Tbs cold water

-1-2 sheets puff pastry, thawed

-Cream or ice-cream, to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius. Grease and line a round cake pan.

Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add apple and cook for several minutes until golden. Add sugar and water then cook for 2 minutes or so until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for several minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.

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Arrange apple in prepared pan and spoon over the caramel. Cut pastry into triangles and arrange over apple mixture, forming 2 layers of pastry. Tuck pastry in at edge, then bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Stand for 5 minutes, then turn onto plate. Serve with cream or ice-cream.

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I hope you enjoy this tarte tatin feast!

Bisous,

Sophie

P.S Happy Valentines to those who celebrate! What did you cook/bake for your lucky person on the weekend?