Thursday, 1 May 2014

Lunch in Provence

I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I first saw this book. 'Lunch in Provence' by Rachael McKenna and Jean-Andre Charital,  PQ Blackwell Ltd 2012.
This is not just another cook book. It combines art, poetry, travel, customs and recipes. All of the photographs, recipes and narrative are superb and they will transport you from wherever you are to Provence in an instant. Ratatouille Nicoise, Asparagus with slow-cooked eggs, mushrooms and truffles, Hazelnut Clafoutis with Cherries and Raspberries are but a few of the dishes that excite me and I wish I could share them with you. I hope you get a chance to see this book, you will not be disappointed.

This is definitely whetting my appetite for French travels next year.

My sortie to France this year will consist of only 2 days in Lille en route to Ypres to visit the War Memorials but I am hoping there will be time to check in at a couple of cafes and patisseries, hug a bottle of wine and drink a few cups of French coffee. Am I making you all green with envy? I promise to bring back a selection of interesting recipes from my travels.

If you have a favourite place to eat in Lille, especially vegetarian, please let me know because we wont have a lot of time for leg-work and I really want to have the best experience I can.

I hate to leave you feeling deflated so I am sharing my recipe for a French Onion Tart. This pastry just melts in your mouth and the filling is smooth and creamy and so very French. Enjoy!

Tarte à l'oignon

Ingredients - Oven temperature 180 degrees fan forced

For the pastry

200g plain flour
110g butter
Pinch salt
2 tbls cold water
Extra butter for greasing the flan dish

For the filling

300g of thinly sliced brown onions
100g butter
200g carton Crème Fraîche
3 eggs
pinch salt & few grinds of black pepper
4 sprigs of thyme

To make pastry
  • Sift flour into a bowl, add chopped butter and pinch salt and rub the butter into the flour so it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Make a well in the centre and add water, just enough so it comes together to form a soft dough.
  • Wrap this in cling wrap or put in a plastic container and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Butter the bottom and sides of a fluted flan dish
  • Roll out the pastry, leave to rest for 10 minutes, then place this into the flan dish, pressing the pastry into the flutes.
  • Now add some baking paper to cover the base of the pastry, add baking beads and blind bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the pastry is lightly golden brown.
  • Take out the flan, remove the paper and the baking beads.
  • The pastry is now ready for the filling.
  • Melt butter in a large frypan and then add the thinly sliced onions. I use a mandolin to slice them finely.
  • Mix the onions into the butter, turn down to a low heat, cover and cook for about 30 minutes until they are soft and a pale golden colour. Keep checking them to make sure they don't burn or get too coloured.
  • Once cooked, cool in a large bowl.
  • When ready to fill the tart case, place the onions on the base of the tart shell. 
  • Beat the eggs lightly, add the Crème Fraîche, sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper and pour this onto the onions. Add a few more thyme leaves and place in the middle of a pre heated oven for 30 minutes or until the tart is set and the pastry is golden coloured.

No comments:

Post a Comment