Archive for August, 2009

August ‘Meanderings’ …

All images ©’Meanderings through my Cookbook’ www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Pictured (top to bottom)
Melon & Ginger Ice Cream
Raw Beetroot Salad
Tarte Tatin by Susan Loomis

100_4917 Melon & Ginger Ice CreamLast time I wrote one of these updates I was looking forward eagerly to our French holiday, but that has long since gone and since I have been back it feels as if my feet haven’t touched the ground.  I have cooked several delicious recipes since our return and I will try to add them in the coming weeks.

We managed to find the sunny weeks 100_7594 Raw Beet Salad 1in the midst of what was mostly a very disappointing summer and Brittany was as pretty as I remembered it from my previous visits. We ate a memorable meal on our very first night travelling through Normandy en route to Brittany – always good to have a promising start!  Brittany, it seems, has a Crêperie on every corner and several times we ate Galettes: sarraisan or buckwheat pancakes with a savoury filling (crêpes usually have a sweet filling).  The region is famed for its seafood: we ate Moules Marinières, Coquilles St Jacques (as a Galette filling) and fresh Sardines in the town of Quiberon, with its canning industry and sardine festival.  Sweet regional food included Crêpes, the sweet pancake eaten either plain with melted butter and sugar or with any one of a variety of fillings and Kouign Amann, a butterscotch flavoured sticky cake, but I was disappointed not to see ‘Far’ on sale very often.  (Never mind, I can at least make that one at home – I have posted an excellent recipe for Far Breton on this site!)  Finally, rather than wine, we drank Breton cider and also Kir Breton: a mixture of fruit liqueur and cider (blackberry liqueur was particularly good).

LOOMIS Susan - Tarte TatinI had a break from posting recipes while I was away so there are very few updates for August.  Before I went away I posted the recipe for Melon & Ginger Ice Cream and once I came back, having been inspired by a book I read on holiday I made and posted a recipe for a tasty and unusual Raw Beetroot Salad.  This recipe came from Tarte Tatin: further adventures in a small French town by Susan Loomis, about which I wrote a review and I look forward to trying a few more of Loomis’ delicious sounding recipes.

For a full list of postings since my July Meanderings see below.  (Recipes already posted have been highlighted and the others will appear in coming weeks.)

August Recipes …

Melon & Ginger Ice Cream
Raw Beetroot Salad

Book Review: Tarte Tatin: further adventures in a small French town by Susan Loomis

Read Meanderings ‘a la carte’ from previous months

‘For what we are about to receive…’ September 2009 and beyond

Food for the mind…

Non Fiction Food book
I have discovered a fascinating little book called In the Devil’s Garden: a sinful history of forbidden food by Stewart Lee Allen.  No recipes, but lots of fascinating foodie facts and theories. 

… and for the September table …

I will be trying out a few French style ideas in the next month or so, trying to prolong the holiday a bit I suppose!   Some years ago I made pâté so I will be looking for a good recipe for a simple pork pâté to try out, I have a crepe pan and as I have some French buckwheat or sarraisin flour we can have galettes.  I would also like to try to replicate some more French patisseries: Tarte au Citron and Le ‘Far’ Breton are family favourites.

Recipe books I’ll be looking through (just a few!) …
The French Kitchen: A cookbook by Joanne Harris & Fran Warde – Pub: Transworld
French Desserts by Laura Washburn
A Flavour of Provence by Katy Holder & Susie Ward – Pub: Chartwell Books

Happy Eating!

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Mostly we boil beetroot and serve it very plain as part of a salad, with or without a splash of vinegar.  In the past I made a delicious recipe where cooked chopped raw beetroot was used as part of a beef stew (lovely – must find that recipe and do it again!). I have also seen it used, grated, as an ingredient in a very interestingly coloured cake.  However, we rarely serve beetroot raw so I was intrigued by this simple grated and marinaded dish.  I did adapt it a bit, using Cumin powder rather than seed, (the seed I had in the cupboard was rather old and only fit for the bin!), spring onion instead of shallots and Balsamic Vinegar in place of Sherry Vinegar.  In the end the result was so good that I made another batch the following day.

This recipe comes from Tarte Tatin by Susan Loomis, one of two books she has written about life and food in Normandy, both including recipes. I read this book whilst on holiday in France, travelling through Normandy near to Loomis’ home. I knew just had to try this recipe on our return from holiday.  It seemed – and was – so easy! Susan Loomis recommends serving small portions garnished with a strong flavoured salad leaf such as Rocket (Argula) as it has a pronounced flavour. I think would make a wonderful addition as part of a mixed starter of French style crudités.

100_7594 Raw Beet Salad 1

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Raw Beetroot Salad
(Salade de Betteraves Crues)
Serves 6

1tsp sherry vinegar (I used Balsamic vinegar)
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2tbsp olive oil, extra virgin if available
¼tsp cumin seed (about half of this quantity if using powder)
2 spring onions, just the white part, finely sliced (or 1 small shallot)
4 medium beetroot, trimmed, peeled and finely grated
Mixed green salad leaves to serve, preferably including Rocket (Argula) or parsley

1. Combine the vinegar with the salt and pepper and gradually mix in the olive oil. It will thicken slightly. Check and adjust seasoning to taste.
2. Stir in the cumin and onion.
3. Add the beetroot and mix well with the dressing.
4. Leave to marinade for at least 15 minutes before serving.
5. Serve on small plates garnished with the rocket.

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My husband loves the combination of melon and ginger (anything and ginger, actually!) so when I found this recipe I knew we had to try it.  A jar of stem ginger in syrup is a stock cupboard item in our house as it makes a delicious addition to lots of desserts, including fresh chopped fruit and baked bananas, plus one finely sliced piece definitely improves a bowl of uninspiring plain yoghurt or tinned rice pudding. Honeydew melons are plentiful on our market at this time of year and I got a bargain with 2 large ones for £1. I cut a few corners, liquidising and reducing all the melon pulp without adding the water suggested in the original recipe, so the method given below is my version. I was a bit dubious about the unusual smell of cooking melon but I persevered and the finished ice cream smelled and tasted lovely. I also increased some of the quantities just a little, using a whole slightly larger melon than originally suggested and a full rather than a part tub of cream.  I kept the quantities of the other ingredients the same. This amount is just about the maximum my ice cream maker can manage at one go before the bowl needs re-freezing. It is suggested that you could try other types of melon. I would particularly like to try the wonderful orange fleshed Charente melons from the region of the same name in western France. Bright red/pink watermelon, liquidised with mint leaves would also, I imagine, be very refreshing (in the summer I regularly enjoy watermelon & mint smoothies at breakfast). You could make this recipe without the ginger, of course, if you wished.

The recipe has been adapted from a recipe in the book Ice Creams by Heather Lambert, first published in 1982 by Severn Valley Press Ltd as part of a extensive series of paperbacks available from Marks & Spencer.

100_4917 Melon & Ginger Ice Cream

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Melon & Ginger Ice Cream
(Serves 4-6)

1 x 1kg ripe Honeydew Melon
100g/4ozs caster sugar
2 x 15ml/2tbsp spoons lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
300ml/½pint Whipping Cream ((I used Elmlea – 55% less fat version)
25g/1oz piece stem ginger, thinly sliced
1 x15ml/1tbsp spoonful ginger syrup

1. Cut the melon in half, scoop out the pips and remove and liquidise the flesh thoroughly.

2. Pour liquidised melon into a saucepan, add the sugar and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and cook the melon mixture rapidly until it is thick and can run from a spoon in a thin stream. I found that this meant that the liquid was reduced to about half the original quantity. Leave to cool and then chill in the fridge. This can be frozen in batches for later use.

3. Ice Cream maker:
Combine the chilled melon liquid, lemon juice, sliced ginger, ginger syrup and cream. Pour into the machine and churn for 10-15 minutes until thick.

4. Transfer to a container and freeze.

5. By hand:
If you do not have an ice cream maker, add the lemon to the melon mixture and freeze for about 1½hrs or until mushy.

6. Whip the cream until it just starts to thicken, but is not too stiff – it should still fall from a spoon. Fold into the mushy melon mixture and return to the freezer beating twice more at hourly intervals. Cover, seal and freeze.

7. To serve:
Defrost in the fridge for about 20minutes before serving. Serve on a wedge of honeydew melon with a sliver or two more of stem ginger and a few strands of crystallised lemon zest or peel, if available. (I keep the zest used when making Lemon Sorbet.)

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