Friday, April 27, 2012

Tarte Aux Poires Rôties

                                                  portion: 8


3 pears, firm 
30g/1oz melted unsalted butter 
30g/1oz superfine sugar

sablé (cookie dough): 
175g ( 6.5oz) butter, very soft but not melted 
zest of 1 lemon or orange or lime (optional) 
1 heavy pinch of salt 
90g (3oz) icing sugar 
2 egg yolks 80g (2.5 oz) almond meal 
125g (4 oz) all purpose flour
60g/2oz Apricot jam or jelly for “glueing “ and glazing the pears.


  • Prepare the pears first, they need to cool down before assembling the tart. 
  • Preheat your oven at 220C/425F 
  • Peel, core and slice the pears, arrange them on a tray brushed with butter, brush also the top of the slices with butter and sift the sugar on the slices. Bake for about 15 minutes until soft and lightly browned.

For the sablé dough: 
  • Put soft butter (zest if desired) and sugar in the bowl of a standup mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 
  • Whisk at low speed until the sugar is incorporated then increase the speed and go for a couple of minutes until the mixture is fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl if you see that the butter is sticking to the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the yolks, one at the time and mix until incorporated. Stop, add the almond meal, whisk until incorporated, then finally the flour. 
  • Whisk 10 seconds at highest speed after having added the flour. Stop and transfer mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.
  • Preheat the oven at 180C/350F. Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Pipe the dough about 1 cm high inside metal ring mold and bake for about 20 minutes. The tart should be golden, not too dark. 
Take out of the oven and gently remove the ring mold while still hot. Let the tart base cool.
When cookies and pears are room temperature spread a thin layer of apricot jam on the baked dough, then arrange the pear slices.
The make the pears shiny use some melted apple or apricot jelly. Sprinkle with chopped almonds for garnish, if desired.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cornish game hens stuffed with apples, tarragon and Comté cheese

                                                   8 portions


4 Cornish game hens
5 slices country bread, crust removed
2 apples (Golden Delicious or other baking apples)
1⁄4 C mix of fresh herbs (tarragon, chives, parsley)
2 T olive oil
1⁄4 C water
Optional egg yolk
3⁄4 C grated Comté or Gruyère
Salt and pepper


  • Debone hens, heat a wide casserole, coat with oil and brown bones 20 minutes with 1 onion, 1 carrot, and 1 celerystick, browning without any burning. Cover with water, add some bay leaf and thyme, and simmer down over 2 hours till about 1 cup liquid remaining.
  • Remove bones, strain and simmer with 1/3 cup cream. Add any leftover filling from the following step. Season to taste and serve as sauce.
  • For stuffing: finely dice all ingredients and mix. Should just stick together, otherwise add a little more water, egg yolk or olive oil, but be careful not to make a soggy stuffing, which will be too heavy after cooking.
  • Season to taste and place a large rounded tablespoon of stuffing in pre-seasoned half bird, between leg and breast. Optionally remove upper thighbone from hen as well, in order to have more space for stuffing.
  • Fold breast over thigh, or try squeezing into a smallish cooking dish in order to prevent birds from opening up while cooking. (Saves the trouble of having to tie them up with butcher twine. Preheat oven to 400 F(200 C.)
  • If possible, use top broiler heat but place hens on lower rack of oven. After 10 minutes, lower heat to 350 F (175 C), baste skin of hens with pastry brush and continue roasting about 10-15 minutes, or until golden, crispy, and knife inserted into joint between leg and breast does not render pink juices.

Wine Suggestion:

Brouilly, Saumur-Champigny, Sancerre rouge ou blanc, Coteaux-de-Languedoc rouge, Rully white, Limoux white, Condrieu white, Chablis, Pouilly-fume

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chorizo Basquaise poached egg and olive oil crouton

Courtesy of Monica Bhide
                                                   Portions 6


6 eggs
8 peppers red or yellow
3 onions
1 big chunk of chorizo
Olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic


  • First, cut the peppers into 2 pieces and scoop out the seeds and the white part, slice them in julienne (cut into long thin strips). Slice the onions and cut the chorizo into dices.
  • Cook the onions in a saucepan with some olive oil, when they are soft, add the peppers, the chorizo, thyme, and garlic. Cover the pot and let it cook slowly.
  •  In a saucepan pour half water & half vinegar and bring that to the boil. 
  • For the poached egg technique, please see this link  
  • Cut some thin slices of bread roast them in the oven with some olive oil and ground pepper on top.           
  • Place the basquaise in the middle of the plate, then on top the egg and on the side serve it with the bread and some green salad.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Monkfish medallions encrusted with capers and orange zest

                                             6 - 8 Portions


2 lbs Monkfish tail, after filleting 
2 T Olive oil 
1 small bottle capers 
1⁄2 T. piment d'Espelette
Pinch saffron 
Zest from 2 oranges


  • Rinse reserved fish bones, cover with about 2 liters of cold water in a wide pot, add 1 bay leaf and 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 C. dry white wine, bringing to boil. 
  • Skim the floating scum, and simmer till fish stock reduces to about 1 C. liquid. Discard bones, strain, and add 1 C. heavy cream. Simmer and reduce till thick enough to coat back of spoon.
  • If using capers in vinegar, drain and rinse lightly reserve. If using capers in olive oil, drain but reserve oil to thin paste after mixing. 
  • Place all other ingredients besides oil in a mortar and grind up, or use bowl and hand mixer. If necessary, substitute piment d'Espelette with 1⁄2 T. paprika and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper. 
  • Stir in olive oil to make a paste. Pat dry the whole monkfish filets and cover all sides of fish with seasonings.
  • Place in baking dish and bake in 160 C/ 350 F oven for 15-­25 minutes, till white liquid coagulates at bottom of fish and filets are firm to the touch in center. (25 minutes for thicker filets.) 
  • Remove, add cooking liquids left in pan to cream sauce, heat, season and mix well with hand mixer. Sprinkle fish evenly with salt, and slice into fine medallions with very sharp knife after cooling 3-­4 minutes. 
  • Optionally, dress a few greens like arugula or watercress with a bit of olive oil as a garnish.

Wine Suggestion:

Medium dry whites: Sancerre, Pouilly-fumé, Chablis, Muscadet sur lie, Picpoul de Pinet or dry Rosés from the Mediterranean