The French eat more offal than many other nationalities. In the Netherlands, I sometimes ate liver or blood sausage but that was about it. In France, I discovered sweetbread, kidney and spleen but I have not yet dared to eat heart or lungs.
A French editor once tested my willingness to adapt to France and the French way of life by ordering me a plate of slightly cooked kidneys with lasagne. The dish looked gross but I did acquire a taste for it. Continue reading Veal kidneys with broad beans
This is one of those French classical recipes that have many variations and of which the roots are not clear. Chef René Lasserre made it famous in his Paris restaurant in 1945, but the dish can have been brought to France by the cooks of Catherine de Medicis , who brought several refinements to the French court of Henry II, not least the usage of forks.
The sweet and sour taste combination, still used in Chinese cooking, was popular in the late Middle Ages as several recipe collection books can attest.
There are apparently also traces of the recipe in Seville, where bitter oranges grew after Arabs took them to there from east Asia.
The French current version uses sweet oranges and sugar as well as vinegar. Continue reading Canard à l’Orange (Duck with oranges)
I love to cook with the seasons and to use seasonal products, provided they are not very expensive such as the morel mushrooms at the moment. One of the early manifestations of Spring is the appearance of young shoots of various vegetables and plants.
Such as bear garlic.
I first ran into this herb in Switzerland where you can find it in the shades in mountain valleys. In fact, you can smell it as the plants grow closely together and emanate a garlicky smell. They are full of vitamin c and have medicinal properties related to the prevention of arthritis, and it is also a slimming agent.
Continue reading Poached Bresse chicken with bear garlic
We had bought some chicken liver at the poultry stall on the market and I had a package of pie dough left in the refrigerator. With some shallots, raspberry vinegar, eggs and cream, I made a nice quiche-like open pie.
Why raspberry vinegar? It is one of those French habits. The vinegar helps to kill any bacteria that might be lurking in the innards and raspberry gives sweetness to the taste. Alternatively, balsamic vinegar or wine can be used with chicken livers.
Continue reading Chicken liver pie
Beef and oyster pie is an old English recipe that stems from the times that oysters were so plentiful that they were cheap enough for the poor to eat. Beef was not cheap but the meat used was not a prime cut. Many recipes use a pint of British ale in the broth.
Beef and oyster sauce is a common dish in Asia, and almost always there is garlic and ginger in the preparation. That became my inspiration.
Continue reading Beef and oyster pie with ginger