Tuesday, May 19, 2009

French autumn lunch

We had Mothers' Day a week late at our place. On the real Mothers' Day, family members were variously in Sydney, Melbourne, Jervis Bay, Brisbane and Goondiwindi. So we regrouped to have a special lunch the following week.
I created this simple French-styled autumn lunch for Mum.


Pork rillettes with cornichons

Sourdough baguette with continental butter

Roast tarragon and lemon chicken

Bitter leaves with chevre, walnut and pear and a verjuice dressing

Tarte Tatin with creme fraiche

I think probably the standout could have been the tart. This was the first time I had made a tarte tatin and on the day before, I realised I had packed away my cast-iron frittata pan which would have been perfect to use for the tart. Luckily Executive Chef had plenty there and I got another one cheaply. The tart came from Patricia Wells' The Paris Cookbook. She has a very simple and effective recipe for pate brisee (crumbly shortcrust pastry) which worked a treat.

She also says to use the right apples. I used Pink Lady and I think it was a great choice.

There were no real problems making the tart. Probably, the most complicated thing was tipping it out onto the serving plate. The stovetop part was easy and low-stress. The New Farm Deli had lovely creme fraiche. I am definitely making this again!

Chicken-wise, all was well. This is the same roast chicken that I always make, except with the tarragon included. It was in the oven for about 2 and a quarter hours.

Salad- no real issues to speak of.

The rillettes were a bit of a find, at James St Grocer. I had been hunting high and low for ingredients to make my own terrine, but trying to find chicken livers and hard pork back fat in this town with no notice is impossible. If anyone knows a butcher that stocks this stuff without ordering in, I will be forever grateful. Anyway the terrine didn't happen and luckily I stumbled on the rillettes, made by a company in Noosa called French Sin. Basically, rillettes are a fancy version of potted meat. Like confit, but shredded. I have had lovely rillettes in France, solidified with a layer of goose fat on top and with a beautiful creamy texture. These ones were different, more shredded-looking and without much fat at all. Same but different. They were about $20 for a large pot, and they also make a duck and cherry version.

We spread the rillettes on crusty sourdough from the Rock n' Roll Bakery on Logan Rd at Greenslopes.

Pouilly-Fume is a dry French white wine. Dan Murphy's has a few good ones.

Bitter leaves salad

  • baby spinach leaves, rocket, arugula, etc

  • about 50g fresh goat cheese ( I use President imported, can get it at good cheese delis)

  • handful walnuts, toasted

  • 1 lovely Corella pear

  • 1 tbsp Verjuice

  • 1 tbsp Light olive oil

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

  • salt and pepper

  • Juice of 1 mandarin

Finely slice the pear. Wash and arrange the leaves in a serving dish. Place the pear over the leaves. Sprinkle over the crumbled cheese and walnuts. Whisk the oil, juice, verjuice, mustard and salt together to taste. Pour over and season with pepper.

Tarte Tatin

  • 6-8 perfect big Pink Ladys

  • 150g sugar

  • 150g unsalted butter

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • pate brisee, rolled out into a 23cm round and refrigerated

Peel, core and halve the apples each way, once through the width and once through the height. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom of a deepish 24cm cast iron fry pan that can go in the oven. Slice the butter and arrange slices over the sugar. Drizzle over extract. Arrange apple pieces in pan as tightly as possible. Place on EXTREMELY LOW heat on stovetop for about an hour. Try to baste the apples with the liquid if you can. No burnination should occur! Eventually you will have a panful of cooked apples, buttery juices and some caramelisation happening on the bottom. Remove from heat, sit the circle of pastry over the apples and tuck in the sides. Put pan on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated 220C oven for about 25mins or until pastry is golden. If it bubbles over the sides of the pastry, fine. When done, have serving plate (with a lip) ready. CAREFULLY and QUICKLY invert searing-hot pan over plate. If apples stick, just peel them off and re-attach. Serve at room temperature or warm. Delicious!

Here's what a professional tarte tatin looks like- from a Paris bakery.

1 comment:

Karen said...

As a guest at this lunch, I can attest to it's superbness !!!