Authentic Coq au Vin

 

Coq au Vin

I learned this Coq au Vin recipe at the Le Cordon Bleu School in Paris, so it should be ‘authentic’, right? The truth is, there are quite a few variations for this dish, but they all have the same thing in common: a chicken stew cooked in wine, accompanied by mushrooms, smoked bacon and onions and sprinkled with parsley. I’ve added some homemade croutons to my dish for a French rustic touch.

Coq au Vin is a French country dish, evolved from the farm where the resident rooster was cooked in a pot when it could no longer ‘service’ the hens. The rooster’s  blood was often used to thicken the stew- in fact, we were given the option of thickening our Coq au Vin with pig’s blood at Le Cordon Bleu. (FYI, no one in my class opted to use this technique, instead thickening the sauce with butter and flour. In fact, the chef said she would refuse to taste our dish if we used the blood!).

There are some variations for this dish: the Cordon Bleu recipe recommends that you first marinate the chicken pieces in red wine, preferably overnight. As a comparison, Julia Child omits this step with her dish, getting right into cooking the chicken with the wine and stock. (I know which method I’d prefer)! Cordon Bleu also recommends cooking the chicken in both wine and aromatic vegetables, such as carrots and celery. The vegetables, which are eventually discarded, help to give your sauce a much deeper flavour at the end.

And finally, this dish is served so that you can identify each of the ingredients on the plate. In fact, most of the elements are cooked separately (i.e. the mushrooms, onions and bacon) and are then all assembled at the end. No more having the chicken and mushrooms lost in an avalanche of sauce- each ingredient ‘takes pride of place’ and can easily be identified. This dish is Country French at its best!

P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! 

Authentic Coq au Vin
Serves 4
An authentic French stew, flavored with thick bacon, mushrooms and onions
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Total Time
2 hr
Marinade
  1. 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  2. 2 carrots, chopped
  3. 2 celery stalks, chopped
  4. 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  5. 1 Bouquet Garni (2 bay leaves and several sprigs of thyme tied together)
  6. 8 - 10 black peppercorns
  7. 4 cups red wine
  8. 1/4 Cognac (optional)
Main Ingredients
  1. 1 chicken, cut-up into pieces, with bones in
  2. salt and pepper to season the chicken
  3. 1 - 2 cups chicken stock
  4. 1 Bouquet Garni
  5. 3 tbsp plain flour
Onion ‘Confit’
  1. 1/2 cup red wine, reduced to a glaze
  2. 1/4 cup white vinegar
  3. 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  4. 2 tbsp butter
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. Pinch salt and sugar
  7. Binding (thickening) agent (beurre manié)
  8. 3 tbsp flour
  9. 2 tbsp softened butter
Garnish
  1. 15 - 20 button mushrooms
  2. 8 ounces speck (smoked slab bacon)
  3. 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
  4. Crusty bread rolls or baguettes, brushed with oil or butter, toasted in oven
Instructions
  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a large bowl; add the chicken pieces to the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight if possible.
  2. Remove chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towel. Set aside the marinade mixture for later.
  3. Heat several tbsps. of oil in a Dutch oven or large casserole dish. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then brown in several batches over medium high heat, about 3 minutes each side. Remove from the pan and drain the fat.
  4. Now add the following ingredients back to the Dutch oven or pan: browned chicken pieces, wine and vegetables from the marinade, flour and Bouquet Garni. Add enough of the chicken stock to cover the ingredients (1 - 2 cups of stock). Place cover on the pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the chicken meat is tender.
  5. While the chicken is baking, prepare the onion ‘confit.’ Place sliced onions into fry pan with some butter, add the water, pinch of salt and sugar. Cover with parchment paper and simmer over medium low heat until the oinions soften and the moisture reduces.
  6. In separate small saucepan, reduce the 1/2 cup red wine until it becomes syrup, add the vinegar and simmer for several minutes. Add this mixture to the ‘confit’ onions and set aside.
  7. Sauté the button mushrooms in butter for several minutes until soft and set aside.
  8. Cut the bacon speck into thin strips about 1 inch long and ¼ inch wide, add some oil to a fry pan and brown for several minutes over medium high heat. Remove the bacon from the pan, pat dry with a paper towel and add the bacon to the mushrooms.
  9. When the chicken pieces are cooked, remove the pan from oven, set aside the chicken pieces, strain the vegetables and herbs from the cooking liquid and discard. Reduce the cooking liquid over medium heat until it reduces to about 2/3 of the original volume. To prepare the thickening agent, massage the butter and flour together with your fingers to form a smooth paste. Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whisk and simmer for several minutes until the sauce thickens. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, adjust seasoning to taste.
  10. To serve, add the ‘confit’ onion mixture to the bottom of the serving dish, arrange the chicken pieces, speck and button mushrooms around the dish and then pour some sauce on top. Be careful not to 'drown' the ingredients with the sauce, you still should be able to make out the individual ingredients in the dish.
  11. Garnish with chopped parsley and several pieces of toasted baguettes.
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu recipe
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu recipe
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

 

 

‘Little Black Dress’ Chocolate Cake

 

I’ve frequently read that a ‘little black dress’ is an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe- something that can easily be dressed down or up according to the occasion. I must admit I always felt a little intimidated about wearing a little black dress, preferring a knee-length skirt with perhaps some ‘sensible shoes’ instead.

But no more! I’ve come out of the shadows and now proudly parade my special ‘little black dress’- Chocolate Cake– that is! This cake is almost like eating pure fudge with a chocolate ganache icing. And you can add some bling to your cake (little black dress, that is) by adding a dash of edible silver or gold leaf- which you can find at specialty cake decorating stores.

I found this recipe in Delicious Indulge cookbook by Australian author Valli Little. I was immediately attracted to the title of her cake recipe (Little Black Dress Chocolate Cake) as well as the recipe of her delicious-looking cake. But of course, this recipe is not intended only for women, but for all those who love the taste of chocolate.

Chocolate Cake.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! 
  

'Little Black Dress' Chocolate Cake
Serves 10
A rich fudge-like cake and ganache icing turns this dessert into a sexy 'little black dress'!
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Chocolate Cake
  1. 3 cups (500 g) dark baking chocolate
  2. 9 Tbsp. (125 g) butter, chopped
  3. 6 eggs, separated
  4. 1/3 cup sugar
  5. ½ cup thickened cream
  6. 2 tbsp. dark rum or brandy (optional)
  7. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  8. Edible silver or gold leaf to serve (optional)
Chocolate Ganache
  1. 1 ½ cup (250 g) dark baking chocolate
  2. 6 Tbsp. (85 g) butter
  3. ½ cup thickened cream
  4. 2 Tbsp. liquid glucose (glucose syrup)
For the cake
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Butter the insides of an 8-inch (21 cm) springform cake pan and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Place the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water- stir until the mixture melts. Set aside and let cool slightly. Whisk the 6 egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture turns a pale yellow color. Add the thickened cream, rum and vanilla extract and cooled chocolate mixture.
  3. Whisk the 6 egg whites in a clean, dry bowl using electric beaters- continue until soft peaks form. In 3 separate batches, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, using a spatula or large spoon. Do not over-mix; try to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. Pour into the prepared springform pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the Chocolate Ganache
  1. Place the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water- stir until the mixture melts. In a separate pan, heat the cream and glucose until almost boiling; combine with the chocolate mixture and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove the cake from the pan; spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cake and garnish with the silver or gold leaf (optional).
Notes
  1. Edible silver or gold leaf decorations can be purchased at specialty cake decorating stores.
Adapted from 'Delicious Indulge' cookbook by Valli Little
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Crispy Pomegranate-roasted Pork Belly

Pork Belly

I love pork belly and the crackling sensation of biting into that crispy layer of fat! For this recipe, the flesh side of the pork is seasoned with a rub of pomegranate molasses and various spices – which after baking for several hours, ‘blossoms’ into a wonderful gravy for the roast.

In order to get the crispy texture of the pork fat, you need to first coat it generously with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt- that helps to draw the moisture from the fat and get it crackling. I know I’ve used the word ‘fat’ quite a few times so far- there’s nothing wrong with fat- it’s what gives food so much flavor!

Some recipes call for slow-roasting the pork belly for many hours and then turning the heat up for the last 10 minutes to make the fat nice and crispy. However, I found that roasting it at 170 C (340 F) for two hours was enough to cook the meat to a tender stage followed up with a short blast of heat to crackle the top layer of (yes) FAT.

I’ve also included a recipe for a Pear and Walnut Salad which pairs nicely with the pork belly.

Happy Easter everyone! We’re all enjoying a real 4-day week-end here in Australia- everyone gets off both Good Friday and Easter Monday as a holiday- most stores are genuinely closed! (I just spoke with my daughter in New York and she said “What holidays?”)

Pork Belly

Crispy Pomegranate-roasted Pork Belly
Serves 4
What could be better than biting into a crispy layer of pork fat seasoned with the flavors of pomegranate molasses
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 20 min
For the Crispy Pork Belly
  1. 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
  2. 3 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
  3. 2 star anise
  4. 1 cinnamon stick
  5. 1 tsp dried rosemary
  6. Pinch salt
  7. 30 ml pomegranate molasses
  8. 2 lb boneless pork belly
  9. Olive oil
  10. Salt
  11. 1 ½ cups water
For the Pear and Walnut Salad
  1. 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  2. 1 ½ tbsp cider vinegar
  3. 2 tbsp water
  4. 100 ml olive oil
  5. 2 tbsp thickened cream
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Mixture of salad greens to serve 4
  8. Walnuts
  9. Thinly-sliced pears, skin on
For the Pork Belly
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 C (340 F). Score the fat side of the pork belly in a criss-cross pattern with the cuts spaced ¼ inch apart. Set aside.
  2. To make the spice rub for the pork belly, add the garlic, thyme leaves, star anise, cinnamon stick, dried rosemary and salt to a mortar and pestle; grind all ingredients together. Transfer to the bowl of a blender, add the pomegranate molasses and pulse until the mixture becomes a thick paste.
  3. Rub the flesh side of the pork belly generously with the paste. Transfer the pork to a baking dish with skin side facing up. Drizzle the skin generously with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt, making sure the salt is rubbed into the cuts. Pour the water around the edge of the pork. Bake for1 ½ to 2 hours until the meat is tender, then increase the temperature to 210 C (410 F). Cook for approximately 10 more minutes until the skin becomes crisp and brown. Remove from oven and let the pork rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  4. To serve, place meat on cutting board with skin facing down and slice into square pieces to serve. Drain the juices from the roasting pan and drizzle over the meat to serve.
For the Pear and Walnut Salad
  1. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, water, olive oil, cream and salt. Place the mixed salad greens in a large bowl and toss with the salad dressing. Add some chopped walnuts and thinly-sliced pears as garnish and serve.
Adapted from Shane Delia's recipe
Adapted from Shane Delia's recipe
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut Milk and Ginger

 

Sweet Potato Soup

I belong to a Cookbook Club at my local library (do people go to libraries any more)? Every month the members meet and share a recipe from one of their favorite cookbooks: this month everyone brought along a sample of their favorite soup and the accompanying cookbook recipe. First, everyone sat around a table and talked about their soup recipe, followed by mass tastings and slurpings of the featured soups.

I was really bowled over by the Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut Milk and Ginger that one person brought along to the group- so creamy and smooth with the underlying zing of the ginger and subtle addition of the cayenne pepper. I added some shallots and garlic to my variation of this soup in order to add more depth. I also added a bit of thick cream at the end to cut the ginger taste a bit and to take this recipe to the next level of ‘manna from heaven’. Yes, you won’t be bored with this soup!

Note: I added some chopped chiles and a few basil leaves as garnish for my soup, but those are optional.

I can’t wait until next month’s meeting, which will feature PIE recipes. I’m already thumbing through my favorite pie cookbook, Ms. American Pie by Beth Howard, to pick my next recipe (should I choose Mississippi Mud or Cherry Pie?) The only drawback to my Cookbook Club is I always wind up buying one or two new cookbooks (although I guess I should check them out from the library-  that’s what libraries are for, right?

P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day!

Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut and Ginger
Serves 4
A creamy sweet potato soup with an underlying 'zing' from the fresh ginger
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  2. 2 tbsp. shallots, finely chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  4. 1 tbsp. fresh ginger
  5. 1 can (14 oz/400 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
  6. 3 cups chicken stock, salt reduced
  7. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  8. salt and black pepper to taste
  9. 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  10. 3 tbsp. thickened cream
Instructions
  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot, along with the chopped shallots, garlic, ginger, coconut milk and chicken stock, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes soften.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender, and in batches, purée the mixture until smooth. Add the lime juice and cream and adjust the seasoning (salt, pepper, cayenne) if necessary. Garnish with several basil leaves (optional).
Notes
  1. Increase the amount of ginger and/or cayenne pepper in this recipe if you desire a more spicy taste.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Popovers + my 3-year blog anniversary

Popover

I can’t believe that it’s been three years since I started my blog- time has really flown by! The experience has been so rewarding- the discovering of new recipes, the continual striving for perfection in my food photography (sometimes resulting in frustration), and pleasure in ‘meeting’ new people who follow my blog.

When I published my very first post Chocolate Fondant (Lava Cake) I had no idea what sort of things would lie ahead for me in the blogosphere. Would my posts be flung out into a dead Ethernet, would anyone at all be reading my posts? After posting a few times, I happily discovered that a few brave souls were indeed clicking on my blog to have a look.

The one thing I have discovered is that no matter how many new recipes and posts I publish, Profiteroles with Custard Cream and Chocolate Sauce has consistently been my most popular post. I guess that people just can’t get enough of chocolate cream puffs and spend lots of time searching the internet for that perfect recipe (thank goodness they land on my post)!

Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce- consistently my most popular post

(P.S. I would love it if you would ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page or subscribe to my blog!)

To celebrate my third anniversary, I would like to unveil my recipe for Popovers. Despite being a graduate of a famous Parisian culinary school, I had never heard of Popovers before- until I saw a recipe for them in Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook.

Popovers are a light hollow roll made of a simple egg and flour batter: the batter swells and ‘pops over’ the edge of the muffin tin- creating quite an amazing site as they first come out of the oven. A pocket forms on the inside of the roll, so you can either eat them plain, fill them with jam, scrambled eggs or any other goody that strikes your fancy. I even filled one of my popovers with guacamole and salsa in a Mexican restaurant as I waited to board an international flight back to Australia- yum!

Popovers filled with scrambled eggs

Popover

Popovers work best using a special Popover pan with steep sides, however you could also use a large muffin tin. I ordered my popover pan from Amazon, but I have also seen them for sale at Bed Bath and Beyond in the US.

Popovers are so easy and produce an amazing site first coming out of the oven!

Popover

Popovers
Serves 6
Light fluffy rolls with a pocket ideal for stuffing. You'll be amazed how beautifully they 'popover' the rim of the baking pan!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 large eggs at room temperature
  2. 2 cups whole milk
  3. 1/ tsp salt
  4. 2 tbsp butter, melted
  5. 1 ½ cups all- purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Lightly grease the insides of 6 popover cups (or muffin tins) with melted butter.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk and salt using electric beaters. With the machine running, add the melted butter and then the flour. Mix until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and transfer to a cup with a spout for pouring.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared popover or muffin tins, filling all the way to the top of each cup. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F (180 C). Bake for a further 10 minutes until the popovers turn golden brown and crown above the rim of the pan.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; best served hot or warm.
Notes
  1. You'll get best results from using a special popover pan, but muffin tins could also be used.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Orange Spice Cake

Ornage cake

I would like to dedicate this recipe to my blogging friend, Maureen, whose grand daughter just passed away. Sometimes we get sad news from friends or family and blogging about another recipe at this time just doesn’t seem right. However, dedicating this recipe to her might just help her to ease her sadness, as well as mine.

I recently saw this recipe for Orange Spice Cakes in Better Homes and Garden magazine. These spice cakes are small and compact, but full of flavor as the candied tangerines, figs and orange syrup yield lip-smacking goodness. If you’re looking for a cake recipe that tastes good but doesn’t require oodles of layers and gallons of icing, then this may be for you!

For this recipe, you can use either fresh figs or dried figs that have been re-hydrated. I found that thinly sliced tangerines work best for the ‘oranges’ because they are small and sweet, although you could also use clementines.

So here’s to you, Maureen- your tears will be slow to dry but in some small way, may this help to soothe you.

Orange Cake

Orange Spice Cake
Small and compact orange spice cakes, served with warm syrup
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For the candied oranges
  1. 3-4 tangerine oranges
  2. 1 ½ cups sugar
  3. ½ cup water
For the cake batter
  1. 1 cup dried figs, stemmed and finely chopped
  2. ½ cup water
  3. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  4. 1 ½ cups sugar
  5. 2 tsp allspice
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 1 cup butter, melted (2 sticks)
  9. 3 eggs
  10. ½ cup milk
  11. 1 tsp vanilla flavoring
Instructions
  1. Thinly slice the tangerines (do not peel first). Bring 1 ½ cups sugar and ½ cup water just to boiling, add the tangerine slices, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the mixture becomes like syrup. Remove the orange slices and set the syrup aside to cool. Grease 6 custard cups or muffin tins with softened butter; arrange several candied tangerine slices in the bottom of each and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C).
  3. Over medium heat, cook the figs and water together on the stovetop for 10 minutes, or until the figs soften. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, allspice, baking powder and salt. Add the melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth using electric beaters. Fold in the figs and liquid. Add the batter to the prepared cups, filling each ¾ full. Place the cups (or muffin tin) in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool for several minutes, loosen sides of cakes and invert onto serving dish. Spoon reserved syrup over cakes and serve warm.
Adapted from Better Homes and Garden
Adapted from Better Homes and Garden
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Al’s Famous Chili

chili

This is Al’s Famous Chili- it’s so ‘famous’ that it’s survived more than 50 years in the family! “Who’s Al?”, you might be asking. Well, Al is my brother who passed away in 2001 at the age of 57.

Al was a real adventurer- he liked to fly his Cessna airplane down into Baja, California- places so remote there were just dirt tracks for a landing field and the term ‘air traffic controller’ didn’t even exist in the local language. Al also liked to scuba dive in Truk Lagoon in the Pacific Ocean, exploring the eerie graveyard of World War II sunken ships and occasionally salvaging a few old bottles.

Alan

Al also had a sense of humor- you never knew when he would sneak a Whoopee Cushion under you as you started to sit down.

And Al, of course, was known for his famous chili. When he and his wife, Diane, were newly-weds, they bought a Crockpot (one of those old round things that are now considered ‘vintage’). A little recipe book came with it, including the recipe for Chili Con Carne. Al decided to try the recipe and the rest is history- his famous chili continues to be served over 50 years later- in fact we had some several days ago during the 2016 Super Bowl.

The recipe is so simple I don’t even need to add any extra tips or explanations- except that the recipe works best in a slow cooker, but could also be put together on the stovetop in less than 30 minutes, if you’re in a hurry.

Here is a photocopy of the page from the little recipe book from over 50 years ago- the page is a little dog-eared and yellowed now, but the recipe is still going strong and still brings to life the memory of Al- we will never forget him!

Al's recipe cropped jpeg

 

Al's Famous Chili
Serves 6
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup olive oil
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 1 green pepper, chopped
  4. 1 pound ground beef
  5. 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
  6. ¼ cup catsup
  7. ¼ cup chili sauce
  8. ¼ cup water
  9. Salt to taste
  10. ¼ tsp paprika
  11. ¼ tsp tsp cayenne
  12. 1 tbsp chili powder
  13. 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  14. 1 can pinto beans, drained
  15. 1 can red kidney beans, drained
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté onion, green pepper and meat. Pour off excess fat and place in the Crock Pot with remaining ingredients. Cover and cook for 4-6 hours at Low Heat. If beans are desired, add to the uncooked mixture.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Strawberry and Cointreau Stuffed French Toast

French Toast

Well, we’re in the midst of political primaries in the United States where candidates are hurling slings and arrows at each other. Will it be Bernie, Hillary, or ‘the Donald’ who wins their party’s nomination? Only time will tell- stay glued to your TV set.

But while voters have been ‘stuffing’ their ballot boxes with votes, I have been whipping up my own kind of stuffing recipe: Strawberry and Cointreau Stuffed French Toast. This recipe expands on the usual French toast recipe by adding a stuffing of strawberries and Mascarpone cheese that has been flavored with a splash of Cointreau. Sounds like the perfect dish for a Sunday brunch!

After cooking the French toast on the stovetop, the recipe calls for popping the fry pan into the oven for a few minutes to finish the toast off into a crisp golden brown, This recipe should re-awaken your childhood memories of delicious French toast served on a Sunday morning, this time with an added ‘adult twist’!

French Toast

Strawberry and Cointreau Stuffed French Toast
Serves 2
Thick pieces of French Toast, stuffed with stuffed with strawberries and Mascarpone cheese flavoured with a splash of Cointreau.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 pieces sliced French bread
  2. 8-10 sliced strawberries
  3. 2-3 tsps sugar
  4. 4 ounces Mascarpone cheese
  5. 1 tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  6. 3 eggs
  7. ½ cup milk or half and half
  8. 1 tsp vanilla flavoring
  9. Orange zest (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 360 F (180 C). Slice the strawberries into thin pieces; sweeten with 2-3 teaspoons sugar to taste.
  2. Slice the French bread into four pieces about 1 inch thick. Mix the Cointreau into the Mascarpone cheese and then spread the mixture thickly onto one piece of bread. Add some strawberries on top, then close the second piece of bread on top. Repeat with the other two pieces of bread.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla flavoring and orange zest (optional). Soak the two ‘sandwiched’ pieces of bread in the mixture, turning them over so that both sides are fully coated.
  4. Heat some oil and a little butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Add the French toast and cook about 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for another few minutes until the toast becomes a little crispier. Garnish with strawberries and blueberries and serve with maple syrup.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

 

Esquites – Mexican street food at its best!

Esquites

I was recently introduced to Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad) by my daughter who was visiting from New York. One evening, she agreed to make a side dish for dinner, and while I was preparing the salmon for the main course, I couldn’t help but be wowed by the colorful corn salad she was preparing.

Esquites are kernals of corn slathered with mayonnaise, crumbled cheese, lemon juice, chili powder and cilantro – usually served in cups by Mexican street vendors. “Spicy, crunchy, creamy” are words that can be used to best describe this dish. It worked perfectly with my salmon, but would also be great as a side for a barbeque.

You can use either fresh or frozen corn for this dish, but I can tell you right up front that using fresh corn is the best. I like to char my corn a bit as I cook in on the stovetop, however you can just cook it normally.

For part of the year, I live very close to the Mexican border, in fact, so close that if I’m not careful heading south on the freeway, I might wind up crossing over into Tijuana! Due to my love of Mexican food, I recently took a tour of various Tijuana street food vendors- I tasted tacos stuffed with mariscos (sea food), tostadas topped with ceviche, tortas stuffed with cheese and finely sliced roast beef (and even ice cream served at a shop next to a Sam’s Club) but no Esquites! However, it doesn’t matter since I am now able to make my own!

Interviewing an owner of a Tijuana street food outlet: “What, no esquites for sale?”

 

 

 

 

 

Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad)
Serves 4
A spicy, crunch and creamy corn salad- from south of the border!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups corn, fresh or frozen
  2. 2 tbsp cooking oil
  3. 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  4. 1-2 garlic cloves, diced
  5. ½ cup scallion greens (green part of spring onions)
  6. Juice from 1 lime
  7. ½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
  8. ½ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  9. 2 oz cotija cheese (or feta cheese)
  10. 2 tsp chili powder, to taste
  11. chili flakes, to taste
  12. salt to taste
Instructions
  1. If using fresh corn, remove the corn kernels from the cobs (using about 4 cobs). Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the corn kernels and stir occasionally until the corn turns golden brown or slightly charred. Alternatively, prepare frozen corn according to directions on package.
  2. Transfer corn to a large bowl, add remaining ingredients and adjust seasoning according to taste. Garnish with a slice of lime and several pieces of whole cilantro (coriander). Serve warm or cold.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie

 

 

Pie (1 of 1) (1 of 1)

Salsipuedes, Baja California

Last week, I went on a drive from San Diego to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico and stopped at a beautiful spot called Salsipuedes, located about 60 miles south of the U.S. border. This spot has beautiful cliffs and stunning coastal views – stopping for a few minutes to drink in the panorama, I wondered at the irony of the name Salsipuedes- which means “Get out, if you can!” in Spanish.

Salsipuedes

What has this got to do with my recipe for Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie? Not much, except that when I sit down to eat this delicious pie, I keep on thinking, “Stop eating this, if you can!” Not an easy thing to do when pumpkin pie happens to be my favourite pie, especially when you add a splash of bourbon and some tasty pecans to the recipe.

A few tips on making the pie crust (see detailed recipe below):

  • Roll out the dough so that about 1.5 inches of dough overhangs the edge of the pie pan. Trim the edge of the dough with kitchen scissors so that one inch remains hanging over the edge.
  • Tuck the ends of the dough under to form a thicker crust edge.
  • To form the fluted edges of the pie crust, pinch the dough together using the thumb and index finger of your left hand- then push your right thumb inward to form the fluted edge.
  • Pour the pureed pumpkin mixture into the pie crust and bake until the mixture sets.

 Pie (2 of 2) (1 of 1)

 P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day!

Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie
Serves 8
Creamy Pumpkin Pie with a splash of bourbon and topped with pecans. Makes one 10-inch pie.
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For the pie crust
  1. 2 1/2 cups (300 g) white flour
  2. 11 tbsp. (150 g) butter, cubed
  3. 1 1/2 eggs
  4. 2 - 3 tbsp. cold water
For the pumpkin pie filling
  1. 1 15-ounce canned pumpkin purée (or fresh pumpkin)
  2. ½ cup brown sugar
  3. 1 ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  4. 1/4 cup bourbon
  5. 3 tbsp maple syrup
  6. 2 tbsp cinnamon
  7. 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  8. 1 tsp ground cloves
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 5 eggs
For the pecan topping
  1. 1 cup pecan halves (approximate)
  2. 3 tbsp molasses
  3. 1 tbsp brown sugar
  4. 1 tbsp butter
To prepare the pie crust
  1. Place flour in large bowl. Add cold butter cubes and rub mixture with palms and finger tips until mixture resembles fine sand. Alternatively, place flour and butter in food processor bowl and pulse until mixture resembles texture of fine sand. (See following link for detailed instructions on how to make pie crust http://www.gdaysouffle.com/2014/01/12/quiche-lorraine-back-to-the-french-basics/).
  2. Add 1 1/2 eggs and stir until mixture starts to form a ball. If required, add 2-3 tbsps. of cold water and mix until dough hangs together in firm ball shape.
  3. Knead the dough several times on work surface and form into firm ball. Roll out the dough until it measures about 1.5 inches larger than the dimensions of your pie pan. Trim the dough using kitchen scissors so that 1 inch of dough overhangs the pie pan. Tuck the edges of the dough under at the edges and then form into fluted edges. Set the dough aside.
To make the pumpkin pie filling
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin purée, brown sugar, condensed milk, bourbon, maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, cloves and salt. Stir in the eggs until combined.
  3. Place mixture in a blender and blend for 30-60 seconds until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Cover edges with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until edges begin to puff and center is almost set. Remove from oven.
For the pecan topping
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the molasses, brown sugar and butter until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Add the pecans and stir until they are fully coated- arrange the pecans decoratively on top of the pie and bake for a further 15 minutes until the center of the pie sets. Cool and serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/