France

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Unusual Fact: There is only one stop sign in the entire city of Paris.

DS Lands
DS Lands
DS Land
DS Land
The Curmudgeon Chef
The Curmudgeon Chef

It is really hard to pick a menu from the most famous culinary country in the world. I read lots of cookbooks, and websites, talked to lots of French cuisine lovers. But when it came down to it, you can’t go past the classics of French Onion Soup, Beef (Boeuf) Bourguignon, Ratatouille and Tarte Tartin. So that’s what we went with and no regrets here.

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Since these are classic dishes, I’m gonna keep this short and sweet and just say that I loved these dishes. They’ve been popular for hundreds of years so no matter which way you do them they’ll be great.

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French Onion Soup recipe by The Beautiful French Cookbook

3oz butter
1lb large onions, thinly sliced
1 tbs plain flour
1.5L beef or chicken stock
salt and pepper
slices of baguette
cheese

Melt butter in a heavy 4L saucepan. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 20 minutes or until they become soft and golden. Sprinkle in flour and stir for 2 minutes. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over very low heat for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Toast the slices of bread on both sides under the broiler (griller). Divide them among four flameproof soup bowls and sprinkle with the cheese. Pour the soup into the bowls and slide the bowls under the broiler, close to the heat source; broil just long enough to melt and lightly brown the cheese. Serve immediately.

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Beef Bourguignon recipe by Food Safari
125 ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 kg beef (preferably wagyu but any braising beef, such as rump, topside or chuck steak is fine), cut into large chunks
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 celery stalks with leaves, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 leek, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 onion, chopped
5 French shallots, halved
10 thyme sprigs
7 bay leaves
300 g speck, diced
500 ml (2 cups) red wine, boiled briefly to reduce acidity
salt and pepper
300 g button mushrooms
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Carrot puree
5 carrots, chopped
salt

Mashed potatoes
6 large desiree potatoes
salt
200 ml milk
100 g butter

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Brown the beef in batches. Remove the final batch of beef from the pan, leaving the oil, and add the carrot, celery, leek, onion and shallots. Sauté for 5–8 minutes.
Place the beef and vegetables in a large baking dish. Stir in the thyme, bay leaves and speck. Pour over the red wine, season with salt and pepper and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to very low and cook for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the carrot puree by boiling the carrots with salt until just soft. Puree.
To make the mashed potatoes, boil them whole with salt until soft. Peel, return them to the saucepan and mash finely. Stir the mash over medium heat for 3–5 minutes to remove excess water (this will also add air to the potatoes, making them light and fluffy). Warm the milk in a separate saucepan and gradually add to the mash. Stir in the butter. Cover the mash with a lid or plastic wrap and keep warm.
Add the mushrooms and carrot puree to the bourguignon and cook for a further 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley.
Serve the bourguignon with the mashed potatoes and sourdough.

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Ratatouille recipe by Food Safari

extra virgin olive oil
2 eggplants, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 zucchini, diced
½ bunch thyme, leaves picked
1 onion, diced
2 red capsicum, diced
1 kg tomatoes, seeded and diced
500 ml (2 cups) tomato juice
bunch of basil, chopped

Instructions

Heat a generous splash of oil in a frying pan over low heat and add the eggplant and one-third of the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until tender. Tip into a large bowl.

Return the pan to the heat and add more oil. Add the zucchini, another third of the garlic, half the thyme and some salt and pepper. Sauté until tender, then add to the bowl with the eggplant.

Add more oil to the pan and sauté the onion, capsicum and remaining garlic and thyme until tender.

Combine all the cooked vegetables in a pot. Add the tomatoes and juice and simmer gently for 1½ hours. Remove from the heat, taste for seasoning and stir in the basil.

 

DSC_0640.jpgTarte Tartin recipe by The Guardian

7 medium apples: 4 Cox, 3 Granny Smith
200g white sugar
50g butter
175g ready-made shortcrust pastry OR
225g plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
120g cold butter
1 medium egg, beaten

1. Peel, halve and core the apples, then put in the fridge, uncovered, for 24 hours.

2. Put the sugar into a 20cm heavy-based ovenproof frying pan along with 50ml water and leave to soak for a couple of minutes, then cook over a medium heat until golden and fudgy. Take off the heat and stir in the butter, and a pinch of salt, until well combined, then carefully arrange the apples in the pan, round-side down, bearing in mind the caramel will be very hot, and put back on the heat – you may need to cut some of the apples into smaller pieces to fill in the gaps. Cook for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and allow to cool completely.

3. If making the pastry, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Grate in the butter, then rub together until it is coarse crumbs.

4. Mix the egg with 2 tsp cold water and sprinkle over the mixture. Mix together into a soft but not sticky dough, adding more water (if required) very gradually. Shape into a ball, and then cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before rolling out.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry (you’ll probably have some left over if you’ve made your own) to 5mm thick, and cut out a circle slightly larger than your pan. Put back into the fridge to rest.

6. Put the pastry on top of the pan and tuck in the edges around the fruit. Bake for about 30 minutes until the pastry is golden, then remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then place a plate, slightly larger than the pan, on top and then, very carefully, using oven gloves, invert the tart on to the plate. Best served warm, with crème fraîche.

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