Tag: Traditional Foods of France

Legendary Dishes | Chaudrée Saintongeaise (chowder of Saintonge)

FRANCE

This chowder is different because the fish is cooked in a langoustine bisque. Some versions use a fish stock but the bisque gives it a distinct flavour. We combined hake and mackerel, and added the stock from the mackerel heads and bones to get a concentrated flavour.

  • 1.5 kg assorted fish (from cuttlefish, gurnard, hake, mackerel, red mullet, skate), cut into equal-sized pieces, marinated in fish sauce for several hours)
  • 1.5 litres langoustine bisque
  • 1.5 kg potatoes, cut into 1 cm dice
  • 150 g onions, chopped small
  • 100 ml cognac
  • 45 ml fish sauce
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

Cook the potatoes. Sauté the garlic and onions in the oil over a medium heat for ten minutes. Bring the bisque to the boil. Deglaze garlic and onions with cognac, pour into the bisque pot. Add the fish and cook at a high heat for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, cook for a few minutes, then serve.


Legendary Dishes | Attignole (baked pork meatballs in pork jelly)

FRANCE

These tasty meatballs are a tradition of Normandy, made by the butchers of the region. Some butchers bake the mixture like a cake and cut it into pieces. One of these days we are going to persuade a Normandy butcher to share their ‘secret’ recipe. In the meantime this is the Fricot interpretation.

  • 500 g pork jelly
  • 500 g pork, minced
  • 500 ml water, hot
  • 400 g fatty pork belly, cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g white bread soaked in 120 g milk
  • 100 g flour
  • 90 g onions, chopped small
  • 75 g shallots, chopped small
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 sage leaves, sliced

Combine the pork belly and pork mince, work in the soaked bread. Follow with the onions and shallots, the work in the eggs, sage and seasonings.

Using wet hands divide the mixture into pieces that weigh between 25 grams and 30 grams, they do not have to be an even amount.

Roll the pieces in the flour to form balls.

Put the pork jelly into a baking tray. Place the meatballs in the jelly. Sprinkle remaining flour over the meatballs.

Bake the meatballs in the jelly at 200ºC for 20 minutes.

Remove tray from oven, pour hot water over the meatballs, bake for a further 20 minutes at 220ºC.

Remove tray from oven, turn meatballs onto pale side, bake for 15 minutes to brown the other side.

Leave to cool.

Serve the meatballs cold in their cooking juices with bread.


Legendary Dishes | Muffins au Fromage (cheese muffins)

FRANCE

Toasted cheese muffins made with Reblochon


French cheese muffins got a makeover when bakers and conectioners realised that Reblochon de Savoie – the creamy semi-soft raw milk cheese of the French Alps – produced an entirely different product to muffins made with semi-hard mountain cheese.

We based our version on the recipe on the Savoyard Reblochon website, because we also believe semi-soft cheese is perfect for these little breads (if made with yeast) or little cakes (if made with baking powder).

We used cermaic ramekins and tin cups with a 125 gram volume.

This is the yeast version. For the baking powder version go here.

We also used white spelt flour whereas soft white wheat flour is more suitable for the baking powder version.

  • 250 g Reblochon cheese / semi-soft raw-milk cheese
  • 250 g yoghurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g white spelt flour
  • 120 ml water, warmed
  • 15 g yeast
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Oil, for greasing

Preheat oven to at 180°C.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

Beat the eggs in the yoghurt.

Stir the seasonings into the flour, add the egg-yoghurt mixture followed by the yeast mixture.

Beat into an homogeneous mass.

Leave to rise for 90 minutes.

Pour or spoon mixture into greased cups or ramekins, two-thirds full.

Divide the cheese into the same number of cups or ramekins, push each piece into the centre of the muffin mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes until golden-brown on the top.

Serve hot or leave to cool completely, lightly toast under the grill.


Legendary Dishes | Langouste Grillée (grilled crawfish)

FRANCE

Antony Batt O’Sullivan of Allihies once made a living catching crawfish off the south-west coast of Ireland, but while the lobster has survived the crawfish is harder to find, and most crawfish sold in Europe is imported from India.

They are needed because grilled crawfish is still very popular, especially in France.

Crawfish with a total weight of 17 kilograms fetched fifty three pounds in the old Irish money in 1974


  • 600 g crawfish
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 10 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt

With a sharp knife cut the crawfish along their length, remove digestive tract and brown material.

Season lavishly, drizzle with olive oil, leave to marinade for 30 minutes.

Cook under a very hot grill for five minutes.

Serve with the cooking juices.


Indigenous Ingredients

Crawfish

Legendary Dishes | Mussels with Butter, Garlic and White Wine

FRANCE IRELAND

Another in-shore fruit of the sea caught by the Irish and sold to the French, who, like their Belgian and Flemish neighbours, eat it daily in countless variations.

Still, it is hard to beat a large bowl of steamed flavoured mussels sitting outside an Irish pub overlooking the wild Atlantic – in the warmer weather of course!

  • 2 kg mussels, cleaned
  • 350 ml white wine
  • 1 bulb garlic, cloves finely chopped
  • 45 g butter
  • 10 g black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 2 bay leaves

Sauté garlic in butter in a large deep pot over a low heat for 20 minutes, without letting it brown.

Pour in the wine followed by the bay leaves and black pepper. Bring to the boil, add mussels.

Cover the pot, cook over a high heat, shaking the pot occasionally to redistribute the mussels, until they are all open.

Discard any that are closed.

Strain the liquid, pass through a sieve, into a saucepan, reduce, season.

Serve the mussels with the sauce, and chunks of country bread on the side.


Indigenous Ingredients

Mussel

Legendary Dishes | Tajine de Poulet à la Marocaine (aromatic chicken in a tagine)

FRANCE MOROCCO

There is a strong French influence in this popular Arabic dish. Tomatoes are added to the cooking medium in some versions, and chickpeas cooked in the chicken will add bulk. The traditional dish is spicy and tangy with a strong garlic flavour, whether the influence is Arabic or French. if using a tagine or slow cooker omit the water.

Marinade

  • 1.5 kg chicken, jointed into 10 pieces
  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • 4 oranges, juiced
  • 250 g onions
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 chilli pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Finish (Saucepan Version)

  • 1 litre water or sufficient water to just cover the pieces of chicken
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 60 g candied lemon with salt
  • 30 g smen (clarified butter)
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 tsp turmeric mixed into a paste with 2 tsp water
  • 1 tsp ginger mixed into a paste with 2 tsp water
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • Salt, large pinch
  • 12 saffron pistils

Garnish

  • 10 black pitted olives
  • 10 green pitted olives
  • 4 sprigs cilantro / parsley
  • 4 sprigs thyme

In a compact container large enough to hold the chicken pieces, the garlic and onion, add sufficient juice to just cover the ingredients plus the chilli pepper, cumin seeds and seasonings. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Place the chicken pieces with all the marinade in a saucepan, slow cooker or tagine, add the ginger mocha, oil, paprika, red chillies, smen, turmeric mocha and half of the saffron.

Cook for 90 minutes over a medium heat in the saucepan, 6 hours in the slow cooker at the lowest setting and one hour in the tagine.

Drain the liquid into a saucepan, add the candied lemon, cilantro and remaining saffron, reduce to sauce consistency.

Serve the chicken with the sauce accompanied by rice. Garnish with olives and cilantro or parsley and thyme.


Legendary Dishes | Aubergines Farcies au Fromage et à L’oignon (stuffed aubergines)

FRANCE
  • 1.2 kg (4) aubergines
  • 300 g beef, minced
  • 300 g onions
  • 230 g Reblochon cheese
  • 100 g bacon, cubed
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 30 g butter
  • 15 ml vegetable oil
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt

Preheat oven to 210ºC.

Slice the top off each aubergine, place in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil.

Bake for 60 minutes.

Sauté shallots in butter and a tablespoon of vegetable oil for 15 minutes until they take on colour, add the minced beef, brown. Add the bacon, white wine and seasonings,.Turn heat to low, cook for 10 minutes.

Take the aubergine tray out of the oven and with a teaspoon scoop out the flesh onto a board, chop into mush, add the meat mixture and mix thoroughly.

Put the aubergine-meat mixture into the cavities of the baked aubergines.

Slice the Reblochon. Place the slices on top of each stuffed aubergine.

Put the aubergine tray back into the oven, bake for 8 minutes until the cheese melts.


NOTE

Cheese with the rind left on will hold its shape.

With the rind removed the cheese will melt over the edges and take on a brown sheen. It will also produce a crisp crust.


Indigenous Ingredients

Aubergine
Beef
Onion
Reblochon

Legendary Dishes | Tarte au Reblochon (cheese pie)

FRANCE

Traditionally made with bacon and onion or with assorted soft vegetables like courgettes and spinach, the debate is not about the choice of filling, it is about the pastry crust, whether to pre-bake it. We went both ways and did not come to a conclusion.

We did however make both the bacon-onion and courgette-spinach versions. We suggest you do the same, that way you get to eat it twice!

This pie is suitable for the small Reblochon rounds.

Pastry 1

  • 200 g flour
  • 100 g cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 50 ml water
  • ½ tsp salt

Pastry 2

  • 250 g white wheat flour, t450
  • 125 g butter
  • 2 small (55 g) eggs
  • 3 g salt

Make the pastry, leave to rest in refrigerator for at least an hour.

Filling – Bacon and Onion

  • 230 g Petit Reblochon
  • 200 ml crème fraîche
  • 3 eggs
  • 125 g onion, chopped small
  • 100 g bacon, diced
  • 20 g butter
  • 5 g nutmeg, grated

Butter a pie pan (somewhere around a 24 centimetre diameter).

Roll the dough to the desired shape and place in the pan. Using a fork puncture the pastry in several places.

Or, cover with a sheet of parchment paper, place cooking weights or beans on top and bake for 15 minutes at 180ºC.

Remove and leave to cool.

Brown the bacon in a frying pan, add the onion, sauté for 15 minutes, leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 200ºC.

Beat the eggs with the cream.

Spread the bacon and onions across the pastry base. Pour in cream and egg mixture, dust with nutmeg. Cut the Reblochon into wedges and arrange them a circle on top of the cream and egg mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes at 180°C.

Filling – Courgette and Spinach

  • 230 g Petit Reblochon
  • 220 ml crème fraîche
  • 3 eggs
  • 300 g courgettes, grated
  • 250 g spinach, blanched for 5 minutes, squeezed dry, chopped
  • 125 g shallots, sliced thin
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 5 g black pepper
  • Salt, large pinch.

Butter a pie pan (somewhere around a 24 centimetre diameter).

Roll the dough to the desired shape and place in the pan. Using a fork puncture the pastry in several places. Or, cover the pastry with a sheet of parchment paper, place cooking weights or beans on top and bake for 15 minutes at 180ºC. Remove and leave to cool.

The first method will produce a soft crust, the second method will produce a crisp crust.

Sauté the shallots in oil until they have coloured at the edges. Increase the heat to high, add the courgettes and fry, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, leave to cool.

Prepare the spinach.

When the courgette mixture is cold, fold the spinach into it.

Preheat oven to 200ºC.

Beat the eggs with the cream.

Spread the courgette-spinach mixture across the pastry base.

Pour in cream-egg mixture, sprinkle with black pepper and a little salt.

Cut the Reblochon into wedges and arrange them a circle on top of the cream-egg mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes at 180°C.


Legendary Dishes | Pâté de Canard d‘Amiens (duck pate)

FRANCE

This duck pâté, apparently a 17th century invention, is still popular despite many changes to the original recipe. This version includes ingredients that were once typical, particularly the pâté filling. The bacon, duck and veal is chopped and put through a mincer for a coarse mix, which is then sieved into a pâté. The rabbit fillet is left whole. This recipe has a higher proportion of meat, and much less fat.

Dough

  • 2 kg white wheat flour, t45
  • 500 g butter / lard
  • 300 ml water
  • 10 g salt

Filling

  • 1.5 kg duck, de-boned, skinned, chopped, minced
  • Duck heart, liver, chopped, minced
  • 250 g pork belly, chopped, minced
  • 150 g rabbit fillet, whole
  • 100 g veal, chopped, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 g duxelles*1
  • 50 g butter
  • 30 g foie gras, diced
  • 15 g salt
  • 10 g black truffle, sliced, sautéed in butter, cooled
  • Brandy, splash
  • Water

Finish

  • Butter, for dough wash
  • Egg yolk, for, glazing
  • 30 g aspic*2

Prepare the dough a full day ahead of baking. Leave in fridge or a cold place.

Combine all the meat except the rabbit fillet in a large bowl. Add foie gras, truffles and seasoning, then the duxelles and eggs. Add brandy and some water to loosen it.*3

Divide the dough into two pieces, one to cover the inside of the terrine and one for the lid, each with a little overlap.

Stuff the filling into the terrine with the rabbit fillet in the middle, place the dough lid on top, sealing the edges.

Decorate, brush with butter and make two small holes.

A piece of rolled cardboard or foil can be used to make a funnel in each hole. This allows steam out and prevents the pâté from cracking.

Bake at 200ºC for 75 minutes, 150ºC for the last 30 minutes.

Remove chimneys and pour the aspic into the holes, allowing some to overflow.

Leave to cool, place in fridge.

*1: Sauté one chopped onion, five shallots and 25 grams of mushrooms gently in butter over a medium heat.
*2: Aspic for terrines is usually made with marrow-rich bones, usually pig and specifically trotters, slow cooked in a large pot with carrots, leeks, onions, seasoning and plenty of water, reduced, strained, clarified over a gentle bubbling heat with one egg white per 1.2 litres of stock and herbs, usually chervil and French tarragon, enriched with port of sherry, and strained again. For a dense aspic add some carrageen during the clarification stage.
*3: Hard apples peeled, cored and cubed replace the duxelles in some recipes.

Indigenous Ingredients

Duck
French Tarragon
Pork Belly
Rabbit
Shallot
Truffle
Veal

Legendary Dishes | Nüsslisalat mit Frucht Vinaigrette (cornsalad with fruity vinegar)

FRANCE SWITZERLAND

Traditionally the European green salad was an hors d‘oeuvre, a light dish to whet the appetite.

Its association with haute cuisine damaged its reputation in the eyes of less sophisticated diners, who could not see the point of eating tasteless lettuce leaves with insipid vinegar and rancid oil.

The French, Italians and Swiss changed this attitude by developing varieties of wild green leaves specifically for the purpose of serving them in a salad dressed with impeccable oils and aromatic vinegars.

Perhaps the best example of this innovation are the leaf clusters once known in English as lamb’s lettuce and now as cornsalad. Rich in vitamins and minerals, these emerald green leaves are enigmatic because they contain omega-3.

The wild valérian variety (mâche or rampon in France, nüsslisalat or feldsalat in Switzerland, valerianella in Italy) was deliberately cultivated to produce a nutty flavour.

Grown throughout the year cornsalad is now an essential ingredient in European green salads.

  • 300 g cornsalad, washed, dried
  • 45 ml walnut oil
  • 30 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 15 ml apricot nectar / pear nectar
  • Seasonings

Combine nectar, oil and vinegar, dress cornsalad, season and serve.


Indigenous Ingredients

Apricot
Cornsalad
Pear
Walnut

Legendary Dishes | Coquilles Saint-Jacques au Sauce (scallops with sauce)

FRANCE

Scallops in a pesto sauce with linquine.


From late October until mid-December every year the coastline of Calvados comes alive to the enigmatic sound of the great shell. The Festival of the Saint-Jacques Scallop Shell in Ouistreham and the Taste of the Sea at Port-en-Bessin are two of the highlights amidst numerous events along the Normandy coast.

The great scallop Saint-Jacques is a sustainable species and the fishers of the region want to keep it that way. They adhere to a strict regime that allows some areas to remain fallow to allow the creatures to reproduce and grow.

In 2018, when French and British boats clashed, the quote for French fishers in French terroritial water was 1800 kilos a day for a boat of 15 meters, 2000 kilos a day for a boat between 15 and 16 meters and 2200 kilos a day for more than 16 meters.

The French consume up 20,000 tonnes a year of the Saint-Jacques scallop, of which half are caught by Normandy fishers.

In 2002, in response to new World Trade Organisation regulations that did not distinquish between the sizes and varieties of scallops, Normandie Fraîcheur Mer obtained a ‘Red Label’ for their Coquilles Saint-Jacques. Dimitri Rogoff, a fisher of Port-en-Bessin and president of Normandie Fraîcheur Mer, said it was ‘the only way to get a quality recognised superior product of our fishery’. In 2009 the label was upgraded. Fisher Claude Beaufils said the label recognised the quality of his work, and the need to return quickly to port to guarantee the freshness and organoleptic superiority of the product.

The Label Rouge requires the shell to be fished at maturity (the size greater than or equal to 11 centimetres which corresponds to a minimum age of two years). The shell must be clean and intact (neither broken nor chipped, neither loose, nor split) and must be able to conserve water to survive. Boxes of shells are numbered and labelled to ensure traceability to the fishing boat and date of fishing.

‘Now, with the Label Rouge, we know what we have bought. For the nuts, it makes all the difference,’ said Frédéric Chevallet, director at Lequertier, a company that markets the unique scallops of Normandy. The arrival of Label Rouge Noix de coquille Saint-Jacques in 2009 allowed consumers to identify the great scallop of Normandy as an emblem of sustainable fishing, distinct from other Atlantic scallops.

The label can be withdrawn from fishers who do not follow the requirements.

The scallop is a source of calcium, iodine, magnesium, omega 3, phosphorus, vitamin B12 and zinc.

Coquille Saint-Jacques is popularily served in the shell accompanied by an assortment of aromatics. And there was a time that still lingers when these scallops were served in a sauce.

Here are some selections.

Naked

  • 32 scallop shells

Heat scallop shells in a warm oven.

Pasta

  • 500 g linguine

Prepare pasta while shallots are frying.

Apple Sauce

  • 1 kg apples (from Calville, Clochard, Rainette), quartered
  • 250 g onions, minced
  • 200 ml cider
  • 50 g butter (beurre d’Isigny)

Bake the apples in a low oven until they are soft, press through a mesh or sieve to produce a compote.

Sweat the onions in the butter until they soften.

Add the cider and compote to the onions, reduce. Keep warm.

Shrimp Sauce

This recipe is also suitable for crab and crawfish.

  • 250 g shrimp meat, cut small
  • 150 g shallots
  • 120 ml white wine
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 15 g butter (beurre d’Isigny)
  • 15 g rapeseed oil
  • 5 g salt

Sauté shallots in butter and oil, deglaze with wine, less than this quantity if a thick sauce is preferred. Stir shrimp meat into shallot mixture, add lemon juice and zest and a little salt. Keep warm.

Pesto Sauce

  • 250 ml crème fraîche / sour cream
  • 150 g shallots
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 120 g basil leaves
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • 30 g butter (beurre d’Isigny)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 15 g olive oil
  • 10 g black peppercorns

Place garlic and peppercorns in a mortar, pound with pestle, add anchovies, pound, add basil, pound, add pine nuts and oil, pound into a paste.

Sauté shallots in butter.

Deglaze shallots with wine, season and reduce. Add cream and pesto, reduce. Keep warm.

Finish

  • 16 scallops, corals and nuts
  • 30 g butter (beurre d’Isigny)

Fry four corals and four nuts at a time in a knob of butter 1 minute on each side in a large frying pan.

Place pasta in large bowls, arrange scallops on top, finish with sauce.

Alternatively serve the scallops in choice of sauce in the warmed shells.


Indigenous Ingredients

Anchovy
Apple
Butter
Cider
Great Scallop

Legendary Dishes | Tourte a l’Abondance (Abondance pie)

FRANCE

The quantities are determined by the size of your baking tins, but the ratio of potatoes to cheese should be no less than 4:1.

Bacon can replace the pork belly, and ricotta can replace the cream and milk.

This quantity is for two round tins each with a diameter of 20 centimetres and a depth just below 4 centimetres.

Dough

  • 250 g white wheat flour, t55
  • 125 g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp water
  • Salt, pinch

Work butter into the flour, add egg and sufficient water to produce a loose dough.

Refrigerate for an hour or two.

Filling

  • 750 kg potatoes, peeled, sliced thin, blanched in boiling water for ten minutes, drained
  • 300 g Abondance cheese, sliced thin
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g smoked pork belly, cubed small
  • 100 ml cream / ricotta
  • 100 ml milk / ricotta
  • 10 g black peppercorns, coarse ground
  • 5 g salt
  • Nutmeg, 8 gratings

Preheat oven to 210ºC.

Divide the pastry into two pieces, push each piece into the bottom and up the sides of the cake tins.

Arrange the cheese slices and pork belly cubes on top of the pastry.

Add a layer of potatoes.

Follow with another layer of cheese and pork belly.

Finish with a layer of potatoes and a few pieces of cheese.

Crack eggs into a bowl, add milk and cream, whisk with six gratings of nutmeg and salt.

Pour over the layers, to cover them completely. Dress with black pepper and one grating each of nutmeg.

Bake for 50 minutes.


Indigenous Ingredients

Abondance Cheese
Cream
Milk
Smoked Pork Belly
Wheat Flour

Legendary Dishes | Mitraillette (potato fries, meat, sauce in bread roll)

BELGIUM FRANCE NETHERLANDS

The mitraillette, a culinary creation like no other, is embedded in Belgian, French and Dutch snack food culture so to think of it as a domestic dish or a restaurant special – a meal in itself – is almost revolutionary, more scattergun than strategic.

Yet there is evidence that a culture for a rustic home-made mitraillette has begun to emerge in recent years.

The home-made fricadelle of Belgium and northern France and the home-made frikandel of the Netherlands have simply reverted back to the original traditon, before the rise of the butcher-made products and the demand for commercial products to serve the snack culture.

Home-made baguettes require a small tweak of the baker version.

Pommes frites are relatively easy to make at home.

Sauces are just as easily made in the domestic environment.

The mitraillette Fricot-style can be assembled from baguettes maison, pomme frites, fricadelles maison, Hollandische frikandel and andalouse sauce.


Legendary Dishes | Pommes Frites (potato fries)

FRANCE BELGIUM NETHERLANDS

Frites are twice-fried, in oil, then in lard.

In Belgium the choice of lard is unrefined beef tallow – blanc de bœuf – the choice of oil is rapeseed, also known as vegetable oil.

  • 2 litres rapeseed oil
  • 1 kg lard
  • 1 kg potatoes, soaked 30 minutes, rinsed to remove starch, cut 1 cm thick, leave to dry

Heat a deep frier filled with oil to 175°C.

Deep-fry chips for 7 minutes at 140ºC, until al dente with some colour.

Remove to a large plate covered with absorbent kitchen paper. Rest for at least 10 minutes.

Heat a deep frier filled with lard to 180°C.

Deep-fry chips at 170°C until they are golden and crisp, about 3 minutes.


Legendary Dishes | Fricadelles Maison (home-made sausages)

BELGIUM NORTHERN FRANCE

The fricadelle has it origins in Europe in 1837 and 40 years later it was known in America where a recipe called fricatelli was featured in Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping published by the Buckeye Publishing Company of Minneapolis and Ohio. This was a book of recipes by home cooks. The fricatelli recipe was contributed by Mrs. W. F. W.

Chop raw fresh pork very fine, add a little salt, plenty of pepper, and two small onions chopped fine, half as much bread as there is meat, soaked until soft, two eggs; mix well together, make into oblong patties, and fry like oysters. These are nice for breakfast; if used for supper, serve with sliced lemon.

Mrs W’s recipe resolves the issue over the quantity of bread, which appears excessive until it is compared with the meatball tradition and the answer to the question, ‘what is a frikadelle?’

It is a meatball AND it is a sausage.

In Denmark the frikadeller is a meatball.

In Liechtenstein the frikadellen is a meatball served in a bread roll.

  • 450 ml milk
  • 300 g cooked chicken, minced
  • 300 g minced meat (from beef, pork, veal)
  • 250 g bread, soaked in the milk, drained, squeezed
  • 150 g onions, cut into small dice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 sprigs marjoram, chopped small
  • 3 sprigs parsley, chopped small
  • Nutmeg, 5 gratings
  • Flour, for rolling sausages
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Fry onions in oil in a small frying pan for five minutes, reduce heat to low, cover pan with a plate and leave to sweat for 15 minutes.

Place the soaked bread in a bowl. Add the chicken and meat, eggs, onions, herbs, nutmeg and seasonings.

Work into a homogenous mass, form into long sausages, roll in flour, fry on all sides in a pan with sufficent oil.

Serve warm with homemade potato fries and choice of sauce or with mitraillette.


Breads of Europe | Baguettes Maison (home-made bread sticks)

BELGIUM FRANCE NETHERLANDS
  • 1 kg white wheat flour, t650
  • 660 ml mineral / spring water, warmed to 38ºC
  • 25 g yeast
  • 20 g salt
  • 10 g sugar

Dissolve yeast in the sugar and 130 millilitres of water.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl, add the salt, yeast mixture and remaining water.

This mixture requires extensive hand kneading, to produce a soft dough that is not sticky, somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes.

Leave to rise covered for three hours, degas twice.

The dough should be shaped into long slim loaves, and placed between folds of parchment on baking trays.

Leave to rise for at least an hour, preferably two depending on the ambient temperature.

Preheat oven to 235°C.

Place a bowl of hot water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.

When the temperature comes back up to 230ºC, bake baguettes for 20 minutes.


THE GREAT EUROPEAN FOOD ADVENTURE | Amiens | The Terrine Tradition

We arrived at Amiens railway station, crossed onto the paved Rue de Noyon along to the five-sided square, slipped down Rue Allart into Rue de Jacobins, followed our noses and found ourselves outside Table & Saveurs on Rue de Beauvais, where we were told we would find the best duck pâté in the world.

Such hyperbole can be an exaggeration. We entered and there it was on the shelf among other specialities of the region, pâté de canard d’Amiens – Amiens duck pâté. We came looking for a pâté and found an artisanal gem.

One third duck, pork, chicken liver, rabbit, onion, mushroom, egg and seasoning – all the ingredients of a traditional duck pâté. The artisan is Saint Christophe Conserverie from the tiny village of Petit Chemin near the coast, just over half an hour from Amiens by car.

First, some history. A pork butcher named Degaud is responsible for the original recipe, a deboned whole duck stuffed with rabbit tenderloin, mushrooms and lard, oven-baked in a pastry crust from the 1640s. It became known as pâté en croute, a speciality of Picardy and over the years it developed exquisite tastes – brandy, foie gras, pistachios, truffles, veal and it changed shape. It became a terrine, albeit topped with a thick pastry crust to keep with tradition. Now it is usual to find it as a coarse duck pâté preserved in typical glass pots sealed with a rubber ring.

If duck pâté is forever associated with the historical region of Picardy and no longer thought of as a terrine, the authentic terrine is a conundrum. Terrines, long deep earthenware dishes containing meat of different types and various flavourings, were once products of the French countryside.

They epitomised a rustic food tradition that utilised everything in the wild and discarded nothing from the domestic. Gradually the terrine dishes were filled with mixed cuts from chicken, pork and veal. Modern terrines tended to be made with fish, particularly shellfish, with duck, fruit, veal and contain chicken liver, foie gras, mushrooms, pork belly and truffles but they are no longer wrapped in stretched streaky bacon or in pork caul. Now they are prepared in vessels and sold in those rubber-ringed glass pots and look just like a pâté.

Terrines at Saint Christophe Conserverie include chicken liver, mussel, sheep and samphire, smoked salmon, smoked trout and whelk. The mussels and whelk are prepared in an enriched flour panade of butter, crème fraîche, egg and milk, the smoked fish in crème fraîche, egg, parsley and lemon zest.


THE GREAT EUROPEAN FOOD ADVENTURE | 10 Fish Breakfasts

1 Norwegian Breakfast

Lefse – Potato Cakes

Once upon a time travellers on Norwegian Railways sleeper trains were handed special tickets by the train chief. ‘These are for your breakfast, go to the hotel across from the station,’ the chief would explain to bemused travellers. The sight on arrival in the grand hall of the grand hotel was a grand breakfast, an assortment of hot and cold foods that had no rival anywhere in the world. Sadly this tradition has lapsed. On the sleeper trains between Oslo, the capital of Norway, and Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim and between Trondheim and Bodø in the far north, a modest breakfast is served onboard. The grandiose buffet breakfasts are becoming a thing of the past, but some hotels are clinging to tradition by presenting modest grand buffets. Think of every possible breakfast food that is served across Europe, add the Norwegian love for loaves and fishes, cheeses and crispbreads, bacon and eggs, pickles and potatoes, and then something you never imagined.

  • Breads
  • Cereals
  • Cheese – Brunost Cheese – Gamalost Cheese – Gudbrandsdalsost Cheese – Jarlsberg Cheese – Norvegia Cheese – Pultost Cheese – Ridder Cheese – Snøfrisk Coffee
  • Crackers
  • Crispbreads
  • Eggs – boiled, fried, poached
  • Fishes – Klippfisk (cod), Lutefisk (lyed cod or ling), Sild (herring)
  • Leverpostej (liver paste)
  • Milk
  • Museli
  • Pickles
  • Lefse (potato flatbreads)
  • Potatoes
  • Smoked bacon, grilled to a crisp
  • Smoked salmon, with lefse or toast
  • Tea
  • Toast
  • Yoghurt

2 Welsh Breakfast

Bacon and eggs are a traditional breakfast throughout Europe, cockels and laverbread less so. In south Wales the sands stretch the length of the Gower peninsula. This is the cockel shore – a place of the laver. Laver is a soft purplish sea vegetable found at Atlantic shores, picked from rocks at low tide. It is thoroughly washed in two changes of water, drained, cooked and sold dried or fresh.

  • 8 slices smoked back bacon
  • 400 g laver pulp
  • 100 g oatmeal
  • Cockles
  • Eggs

Combine laver pulp and oatmeal, shape into 5 cm wide, 2 cm thick cakes. Fry bacon, remove, allowing fat to drip into the frying pan, keep warm. Bring heat up, wait until the bacon fat is starting to smoke, then fry the laver cakes, two minutes each side. Serve with bacon, sausages and poached (or fried) eggs … And fresh cockles.


3 Irish Breakfast

  • 8 potatoes
  • 4 mackerel, filleted
  • 90 g butter
  • Seasonings

Boil the potatoes in their skins. Pan-fry the mackerel in half of the butter, skin-side down first. Serve with the potatoes, split in half, a little butter in each.


4 Sicilian Breakfast

  • 2 squid, cleaned, cut into small pieces
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 5 g chilli flakes
  • Water, for boiling

Bring water to the boil, heat oil in a deep frying pan. Place squid in the boiling water, boil for 90 seconds, then transfer it to the frying pan. Flash fry squid, about three minutes, adding the chilli after two minutes. Deglaze pan with lemon juice, pour over squid, serve.


5 French Breakfast

  • 16 oysters
  • 4 slices thick country bread
  • 4-6 slices streaky bacon
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 15 ml anchovy sauce
  • Pepper, large pinch
  • 4 wooden skewers

Shell the oysters, soak in the anchovy sauce and lemon juice. Season, wrap a piece of bacon around the oyster, skewer, four to each stick. Toast the bread and place the oyster wraps under a hot grill for two minutes.


6 English and Scottish Breakfast

  • 600 g haddock / smoked haddock, cut into chunks
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 350 g long grain rice
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 75 g onion, chopped
  • 25 g butter
  • 5 g parsley, chopped
  • 5 cardamoms, crushed
  • 3 g cinnamon
  • Turmeric powder, very large pinch
  • Seasonings
  • Water, for boiling

Sauté onion in butter in a large frying pan for ten minutes, add bay leaf, spices and seasonings. Stir rice into the onion mixture, add stock, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Simmer haddock in water for five minutes, flake and set aside. Chop eggs into small pieces. Stir the eggs, fish and parsley into the rice, heat through, season.


7 Swedish Breakfast

  • 2 litres water
  • 250 g smoked salmon, sliced thin
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices wholewheat bread
  • 10 g salt
  • Black peppercorns, crushed

Salt the water and bring to the boil. Break an egg into a small bowl, carefully let it slip into the water, reduce heat and poach for three minutes, remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining eggs. Toast bread, place a poached egg on each slice, garnish with equal amounts of the salmon and a sprinkling of black pepper.


8 Turkish Breakfast

  • 1 kg Black Sea anchovy fillets
  • 250 g corn / maize flour
  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • Sunflower oil

Pour flour into a large bowl, dredge anchovies through flour, place side by side on plates. Heat oil, fry anchovies until crisp, drain. Serve with lemon juice.


9 Greek Breakfast

The art of preparing octopus for the grill has consumed the time of Greeks for centuries. The tenderising process alternates between pounding, freezing, baking, marinating and slow cooking. Yet the one method that remains infallible is drying the whole fish under a hot sun in a light breeze.

  • 1 kg octopus, sun dried
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 30 ml vinegar
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tbsp oregano

Blend the oil and vinegar, cut the octopus into pieces. Marinade in this mixture for an hour. Grill under a high heat for three or four minutes until the flesh is tender. Serve with vinaigrette of lemon juice and oregano.


10 Russian Breakfast

Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat describes caviar as ‘the last legendary food of modern times’. Traditionally caviar was made from the roe of wild sturgeon in the nutrient rich Caspian Sea.

It came in four varieties: –

Beluga (pale to dark grey eggs from the larger fish, up to 1000 kg).

Oscietra (various coloured eggs from the smaller fish, 300 kg).

Sevruga (dark grey to black eggs from the smallest fish, 60 kg).

Sterlet (a very small sturgeon that is almost extinct).

Seruga is thought to be too strong for a breakfast caviar, beluga too rich, which leaves oscietra, a light nutty caviar. Because of its flavour, roe from the Icelandic capelin is accepted as caviar and suitable for breakfast.

  • 2 eggs
  • 80 g oscietra caviar / black capelin caviar
  • 45 ml kefir
  • 45 g flour
  • 10 g sugar
  • Baking soda, large pinch
  • Oil, for frying
  • Salt, pinch

Whisk the kefir into the eggs, season, add flour and soda to make a smooth batter, leave to froth. Heat some oil in a hot frying pan, pour a tablespoon of the batter into the centre of the pan, remove from heat. When holes form on the surface, flip over, and after a few seconds press with a spatula into the pan, putting it back on the heat for a minute. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with the caviar.


Food Markets | Grabels

The food market at Grabels in the Languedoc region of the south of France was an initiative from the local authority, with the aim of “strengthening social ties and making fresh and affordable food available”.

The major delegated a team to investigate how this should be done. Jean-Pierre Divet, who looked after agriculture in Grabels, remembered an ulterior motive. “The idea was to bring Grabels back to life on Saturday morning,” as well as “support local small-scale agriculture over everything else as a way of being sure of having safe, fresh food”.

Agronomist Yuna Chiffoleau realised this was going to be easier said than done. “They became aware that there were almost no farmers left around Grabels, and no small-scale farmers in particular and learned that local artisans procured most of their raw materials from wholesale markets.”

Eventually the new market launched with 20 stallholders, selling cheese, fruit, olive oil and vegetables. There were five artisans and five producers, but some had travelled a long way to sell their produce.

There were problems ahead!

To resolve the problem, Grabels initiated a colour scheme.

– green indicated own produce.

– orange indicated produce sold by intermediaries.

Stallholders displaying the orange label had to guarantee that they knew the produce and could vouch for it.

In 2016 the people of Grabels celebrated the leitmotiv of International Market Day on May 29 — I love my market. Their market was a success.

With 27 stallholders, who sold bread, champagne, cheese, chickens, condiments, eggs, fish, fruit, honey, jams, mushrooms, pastries, plants, snails and wine, Grabels food market was firmly established.

The colour scheme was revised.

– green indicated local and sustainable produce from the producer.

– orange indicated local and sustainable produce from the local area.

– purple indicated non-local produce from a wider area.

It is branded by the Ici.C.Local (Here it’s Local) trademark – farm produce or local / regional produce – and is now supported by local, regional and national governments.

Grabels market is about the group and the quality of produce, and this makes it a modern market – the epitome of a sustainable food system in action – with indigenous produce and local artisanal products. Agronomist Yuna Chiffoleau always understood this distinction better than anyone. She was there at the beginning in Grabels and is there now to see the results of their astute and careful planning.

“From 2005, I became interested in assessing how direct sales and short distribution channels can help protect agriculture from economic and social duress.”

“I wanted to be a part of the innovative collective action of local groups while making sure that those previously excluded from development processes fully found their place.”

“I wanted to evaluate if and how these new practices raise awareness of environmental and economic issues, and whether they encourage people to change their food habits in favour of more sustainable development. I am very serious about helping the agronomists of tomorrow understand how much their decisions will have consequences in society.”

Code Orange Apples

Grabels is a sustainable future rooted in a sensible past!

Yuna Chiffoleau has achieved much more than she wanted to, and much more than anyone else anywhere in Europe has done. That will always be her legacy!

Legendary Dishes | Barbajuan / Monegasque Barbagiuan (cheese and vegetable pastries)

FRANCE MONACO

The ravioli-like vegetable pastries called barbagiuan belong to Monaco but they are rooted in the culinary traditions of the French Riviera, each area with its own version.

Chard is the vegetable of choice in the principality, spinach in others. Italian cheeses – a blend of ricotta and parmigiano or pecorino – are constants. Leeks and onions complement the greens. Oregano is the obligatory herb. Eggs provide the binding.

Other fillings include cooked rice and squash.

Along the Côte d‘Azur their cheese and vegetable pastry tradition calls for a dough made with egg yolks and olive oil. In Monaco they add yeast and the whole egg. Flour of choice is generally wheat, though spelt, now that it is becoming popular again, is also used.


Barbajuan

This is the Toulon version.

Dough

  • 200 g white wheat flour / white spelt flour
  • 50 ml spinach water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • Salt, pinch

Filling

  • 75 g spinach, blanched, drained weight, retain cooking liquid
  • 75 g onion, chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 g grano padano cheese / parmigiano cheese, grated
  • 50 g short grain rice, cooked in spinach water until soft
  • 15 ml olive oil, for shallow frying
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Salt, pinch
  • Pepper, pinch
  • Rapeseed oil, for deep frying

Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl, add egg yolks, oil and spinach water, form into a smooth dough. Leave to rest in fridge until the filling is ready.

Soak spinach in boiling water for two minutes, drain, chop.

Sauté onion in olive oil over a low heat for ten minutes until the edges turn brown-red, add spinach and heat through. Remove to a bowl.

When the mixture has cooled a little and is still warm, fold in the cheese. When the mixture is cold add egg whites, parsley and rice, season.

Roll dough thin, about 2 millimetres. Make rounds with 12 centimetre diameters. Put 35 grams of filling on each round, fold into semi-circles. Seal edges with prongs of a fork.

Deep fry barbajuans in hot oil for two minutes each side, until the crust turns brown.


Barbagiuan Monegasque

Dough

  • 200 g flour
  • 1 small egg (approximately 55 g)
  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 25 ml chard water, lukewarm
  • 10 g yeast
  • Salt, pinch

Filling

  • 75 g onions
  • 50 g chard, blanched, drained weight, retain cooking liquid
  • 50 g percorino cheese / ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 10 g oregano
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • Black pepper, pinch
  • Salt, pinch
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Dissolve yeast in water.

Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl, add oil, egg and yeast mixture, knead into a firm, smooth dough, adding more water if necessary. Leave to rise for an hour.

Sauté onions in oil for ten minutes. Allow them to brown. Add chard, wilt. Take off the heat, leave to cool, stir in the cheeses and egg yolks for a creamy mixture. Add pecorino to thicken, if necessary.

Roll dough thin, about 2 mm thick. Make 20 short rounds using a cutter or rim of a small cup or glass.

Put one heaped tablespoon of filling on each round, brush edge with egg white, fold into semi-circles.

Seal edges with prongs of a fork.

Heat vegetable oil in a saucpan, deep fry barbagiuans for five minutes.