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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Menu 1


The best in the world, but unpayable!




Lavazza truly is the best (and they aren't even paying me!)
Great desserts -naturally!

Menu 1 (continued)

As I recall, we were just finishing off the Aperitifs, and had done our entrée, which was now in the fridge, awaiting its bread and unsalted butter to tickle our palates. Here is (I hope) the photo which was meant to go with it! (I forgot to mention the raw onion rings!) A wine to go with this would be an Alsace white, dry and crisp, chilled but not frozen! Other whites of a dry type would be acceptable.

Matjes-heringe.

Cotelettes or Escalope de porc a la crème.

(Pork chop or escalope in cream sauce)

This also is a simple dish. You see, since this is the first menu, I’m keeping it really simple.

I needed the following: 1 pork escalope or chop, 1 eschalote or small onion chopped, 1 garlic clove crushed and chopped, butter or margarine for frying (not oil), salt and pepper preferably from the grinders, either crème fraiche, or liquid double cream.

METHOD: Tap the meat firmly to force it to relax.(Discipline is needed after all). Heat the butter/marg without burning or colouring, and throw in the chopped shallot/onion, turn them to cook until transparent, but not coloured. Place the meat in the same pan, and cook as wished. (Pork/veal is recommended to be eaten rose-coloured, it is more tender, chicken or poultry however must be cooked through, beef (and you can use this recipe for a steak as well) depends on personal taste, from red raw to burnt!)

Once cooked, lift the meat out, and place it somewhere warmish, where it will not continue to cook, but will be held warmish – the sauce will warm it through anyway.

In the same pan (now containing only the left overs of onion/shallot/garlic, together with the butter and meat juice) heat up until the contents have taken a light colour (stirring all the time).

Pour in the cream/crème fraiche, and stir well, until the the liquid has reduced and taken on an agreeable colour. If you notice that the cream is too thick, put some water in (not too much) and stir vigorously and let the liquid reduce again. Season from the grinders.

Pour the sauce over the meat, and serve.

Personally I recommend this as it is, with fresh crusty bread to “mop” the sauce with, but pasta’s can be served, or rice, or any quick cooking green vegetable.

A good wine would be a chilled, light (in colour) Rose wine, but a dry white or champagne/sparkling are acceptable. Even a lightish red would be (just) accepted (if slightly cooled)!

There are no tips for such a simple dish, I prefer to use liquid cream, but the important moment is when the sauce starts to reduce – don’t let it go too much, or the cream will separate. If this happens, add cold water (very little) and stir vigorously to return to the reduction stage.

There are many varieties, you can add grated cheese to the sauce BEFORE REDUCING, in which case the dish takes the name of the cheese i.e. “Pork Cutlets sauce Roquefort” etc, or you can add a little tomatoe sauce or puree, or fresh skinned and pipped, correct the seasoning and reduce if necessary. This could take various names, but I like the name “cotellettes de porc en sauce aurora” or “armoricaine.”

(Armoricaine is really used for lobster or fish, sine the colour comes from crushed lobster eggs/spawn).

After this dish, I recommend a pause. If you know how to do it (and I’ll tell you in another episode) serve “trou Normande” before attacking the next course, which is even simpler:

Don’t need the slightest advice. Maybe served with a little champagne well chilled, or with a sweet dessert wine (well chilled).

A chilled “rose d’anjou” (slightly sweet in variety) goes well too.

So to the most simple, but also the most expensive and delicate dish!

The cheeseboard.

Due to the enormous variety available where I live, I am spoilt, and cannot offer advice for your area. Ideally the cheeseboard should consist of 1 or 2 soft cheeses (camembert style – soft and if possible running when opened – tip!! A good camembert has a slight smell reminding one of green cabbage – then it is GOOD!!!), 1 or 2 mid hard cheeses such as Munster, emmental , gruyere, at least 1 blue cheese such as Roquefort, hard cheeses like parmesan are not always necessary. Goat and sheep cheeses are delicious, but depend on availability. Try them if you can.

Bull’s milk cheese is very difficult to obtain and in very small quantities!!

Cheeses should be eaten from mildest up to strongest, can be served with a few grapes, I love them with a little chopped onion (raw) on the side, and fresh crusty bread is the best, although crackers, dry biscuits, toasted bread can all be used. Contrary to popular belief, cheese can be eaten with butter, but only a little UNSALTED butter on the cracker or bread. It does bring out the taste of the cheese.

Only 2 wines are to be considered for cheese. Red and Champagne (which can accompany everything). Basically any red, although a tendency for the stronger, heavier, is to be seen. In a family meal, all the rests of the bottles, already opened, can be taken, to avoid wastage!!!!

So, that was about that – some people like a little green salad at the end of a meal, but that is personal preference.

The final course (before or after the Siesta) is the favourite of many, many people, probably because it just finishes off the necessary “rounding-up” and can be taken in calm and serenity, whilst chatting and conversing with others. I converse at this stage all the time with my cat, and she watches my lips, and replies with an occasional “miaou” but when she starts to “purrrrr”, I know it’s time for siesta! So off to the:

CAFÉ COURSE:

Complete with the Digestifs:

My favourite but nobody can afford it!

I hope this first menu has given you some ideas, and maybe a little hunger! Don’t forget, this is for one person, so think it over before starting.

This will, I hope, be a monthly regular, and I will throw in (free of charge) an occasional “what to do with all my left-over bits and pieces”

Right now, I’m off to TABLE!!

Bonne Appetit!

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