Sunday, 25 September 2011

Recette: Honey and Goat's Cheese Pasties

These little veggie triangles are excellent served alongside drinks or on a bed of rocket as a tasty summer starter. The recipe makes between 8-15 pasties depending on the size of the pastry squares. I'd recommend trying to cut the squares fairly accurately as otherwise the pasties won't be evenly cooked.

You will need:
a packet of ready-made puff pastry
150g goats' cheese log
runny honey
dried thyme
beaten egg yolk (for glazing)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Unroll the puff pastry and use a floury rolling pin to roll it out to approx 2mm thickness. This will be much easier if you take the pastry out of the fridge half an hour in advance.

Cut the goat's cheese log into rounds and place a circle in the middle of each pastry square. Drizzle with the runny honey and sprinkle with the dried thyme.

Close up the squares to make triangle shaped pasties (imagine the shape of an envelope). Don't worry if the finished product isn't very neat; a raggedy edge won't take away from the taste!

Glaze the pastries with a little beaten egg yolk and bake for approx 20 minutes or until golden brown.

My greedy little helpers ate half of them before I could take a blog photo
Serve with a sweet white wine such as a Monbazillac and most importantly, enjoy!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Le Vieux Moulin: Open House

When Chéri asked me to give him a hand on my day off with an open house he was organising at our friend's vineyard at Virollet, I immediately said yes. Not because I'd be getting to spend the day wandering around the vines, learning about asparagus, tasting the grapes and drinking free cognac. Just because I am a kind and considerate copine...
Le Vieux Moulin is one of those places I instantly felt a connection to when arriving in France. The peaceful and idyllic setting of the old windmill and farmhouse buildings nestled into acres of vines and asparagus plants, combined with the generosity and warmth of the proprietors, the Perrochain family, keep me wanting to come back and visit the domain again and again.

Le Vieux Moulin

The aim of the open house was to create an event based on the produce found at Le Vieux Moulin, and notably the pineau and cognac, giving the visitors a chance to see the whole process from the grapes to the bottle. This idea of going directly to the farm to meet the producers and thus promoting local business is something I am passionate about and I think the guests from Chéri's holiday village really enjoyed the afternoon, not least because of the clear and interesting explanations given by the Vieux Moulin staff.

Laetitia showing us how to harvest asparagus.
The visit of the vines and the chai (the place where grapes are turned into wine and eventually into pineau or cognac) left everyone a bit peckish and thirsty. An apéro champêtre prepared by myself comprised of asparagus tart, rillettes, country ham, olives and cheese helped to sustain the troops and luckily the Perrochains were on hand to fill up everyone's glass with a drop of pineau or a cocktail à la pêche. The visitors were then free to stock up on gifts for the family and souvenirs of the rich gastronomy found in the region.

Apéro champêtre

A fun, delicious and enriching experience to be repeated with even more guests the next time!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Wedding Fever

A big congratulations to my brother Stephen and my new sister-in-law Zoe on their wedding day. 

This was one of those days when everything just seems to reunite: good weather (no rain!), a magical setting in the Harrogate countryside, good company, an amazing band, beautiful flowers.

And as not a blog post can go by without mentioning food somewhere I would like to make all who read this jealous with a little menu snippet:

Canapés: French onion tart, honey glazed cocktail sausages, Malaysian chicken brochettes, scallops wrapped in bacon.

Main course (a selection of dishes to share): platter of king prawns, fresh salmon fillets, smoked trout and salmon, platter of rare fillet of beef, smoked chicken, salami and parma ham, green rocket and basil salad, tomatoes with avocado, mozzarella and basil, warm new potatoes.

Cheese: ossau irity, chaorce, tellegio, dolcelatti (Chéri was impressed with the cheese trolley but like a true Français couldn't understand why no French cheeses were on offer!)

Dessert: Trio of Eton mess, Lemon Posset and Chocolate Fondant

All washed down of course with lots of champage, cocktails and wine (from the Languedoc region thus easing Chéri's deception over the non-French cheese!)

A truly magical wedding and a special day spent with family and friends. To Mr and Mrs Gould!