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But the original Pot au feu (means Pot on the fire) is a traditional French beef stew. According to many famous French chefs, pot-au-feu is “the quintessence of French family cuisine, and it is the most celebrated dish in France. It honors the tables of the rich and poor alike”.
It is difficult to know when the name pot-au-feu first appeared and when its meaning changed to describe the dish instead of the pot in which it is cooked. While pot was used to describe the rounded pot to cook on the fire at least since the 11th century (even in English), there seems to be no written trace of pot-au-feu until 1673.
In 1600, King Henry IV of France (1553-1610) declared, “I want no peasant in my kingdom to be so poor that he cannot have a “poule au pot” on Sundays.” Poule au pot literally means “chicken in the pot” and the so-called traditional recipe resembles the one of “pot-au-feu”. However, peasants’ food was mainly based on bread, root vegetables, in-season vegetables and soup. They rarely ate meat except salted pork, hog-grease, bacon, or other meat for religious celebrations (or when they dared illegally hunting on their Lord’s land). For people in town, it was easier to buy inexpensive pieces of meat, which needed long cooking.
Cooking cartilaginous meat in the stew will result in gelatin being dissolved into the broth. If the stew is allowed to cool, the broth may turn into a jelly, resulting in an interesting texture. Allowing the stew to cool also allows the removal of excess fat, which floats on the surface and solidifies. In order to give the broth a slightly smoked taste and its typical brown color, onions are cut in half then charred in a frying pan protected by aluminum foil until the onion’s surface is completely black. The cloves are driven into the onions so that both onions and cloves can be removed easily before serving.
Traditionally, the broth is served first with a bit of nutmeg and the marrow (if a marrowbone was used) spread on toasted bread. Oh my God it is so good with a pinch of salt! Heaven on Earth! Then the meat and the vegetables are served with coarse salt and strong mustard, horseradish sauce, and sometimes also with gherkin pickled in vinegar.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise, 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, 2 fresh bay leaves (or 1 dried), 2 pound beef brisket, 3 4″ pieces bone-in beef short ribs
Bouquet garni, meats, and vegetables: 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise, 10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, 10 sprigs thyme, 3 fresh bay leaves (or 1 dried), 3whole cloves, 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, 3 2″-3″ long marrow bones, 2 pounds oxtails, 2 pounds beef bones, 1 pound veal bones, 1 pound veal breast, 5 large carrots (about 1 pound), peeled (2 chopped, 3 cut into 2″ pieces), 2 celery stalks, chopped, 1 onion, quartered, 1 1-pound piece garlic sausage, 2 rutabagas (about 1 pound), peeled, cut into wedges, 1 small head of savoy cabbage (about 1 pound), halved, 1 pound baby potatoes
Sauces and garnishes:1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives, 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh tarragon, 2 garlic cloves, minced, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 cup crème fraîche, 2 tablespoons prepared white horseradish, drained, whole grain mustard, Dijon mustard, toasted sliced country bread
- For brine:
- Bring first 5 ingredients and 8 cups water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature. Place brisket and short ribs in a large baking dish. Pour brine over to cover completely. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove meat; rinse and set aside.
- For bouquet garni, meats, and vegetables:
- Place first 6 ingredients in center of a triple layer of cheesecloth. Gather up edges; tie with kitchen twine to form a bundle for bouquet garni. Wrap marrow bones in cheesecloth; tie into a bundle with twine. If desired, tie oxtails with twine around circumference to keep meat from falling off bones.
- Place brisket, short ribs, bouquet garni, marrow bones, oxtails, beef bones, veal bones, veal breast, 2 chopped carrots, celery, and onion in a very large heavy pot. Add water to cover meat (about 7 quarts). Bring to a boil, skimming off any scum and fat that rise to the surface. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming occasionally, until short ribs are tender, 2-2 1/2 hours.
- Transfer short ribs to a 13x9x2″ baking dish; add 4 cups broth from pot and tent with foil to keep meat warm and moist. Add sausage to pot; continue simmering until sausage is cooked through and remaining meats are tender, about 30 minutes longer. Transfer sausage, brisket, oxtails, and marrow bones to dish with short ribs.
- Place a large strainer over another large pot; strain broth, discarding remaining meats, bones, and other solids in strainer. (You should have about 10 cups broth.) Return broth to a boil; add rutabagas, cabbage, potatoes, and 2″ pieces of carrots. Simmer until vegetables are tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes.
- For sauces and garnishes:
- Mix first 5 ingredients in a small bowl to make salsa. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. Stir crème fraîche and horseradish in another small bowl; season with salt.
- Transfer vegetables to a platter. Thinly slice brisket against the grain; cut sausage into 2″ pieces. Return meats to baking dish.
- Season broth in pot to taste with salt and pepper; divide among bowls. (Reserve broth from meats for another use.) Serve meats and vegetables with salsa, horseradish crème fraîche, and both mustards in small bowls alongside. Serve with toasted country bread.
Today I’m going to the carnival, and the afternoon visitors will come so I have to surprise them with something delicious, sweet pastry. I decided to make Angel wings since they are traditional carnival treatments. These sweet crisp pastries made out of dough that have been shaped into thin twisted ribbons, deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Traditionally present in several European cuisines angel wings are known by many other names and have been incorporated into other regional cuisines (such as the United States) by immigrant populations. They are most commonly eaten in the period just before Lent, often during Carnival and on Fat Tuesday, the last Thursday before Lent- not to be confused with “Fat Tuesday” (Mardi Gras), the day before the start of Lent (Ash Wednesday). There is a tradition in some countries for husbands to give angel wings to their wives on Friday the 13th in order to avoid bad luck
Ingredients used in the preparation of angel wings typically includes flour, water, egg yolk, confectioners’ sugar, rectified spirit or rum, vanilla and salt.
I ate once in France the bugnes de Lyon, which was a fried pastry are made in central-eastern France, including Lyon and Saint-Étienne, and are closely related to beignets. Traditionally, Lyon cold meat shops sold bugnes just before Lent, due to their high fat content. They are also made in the home as a way of using surplus cooking fat, which would be wasted during Lent. More recently, bakeries make them, respecting more or less the tradition of Lent. French bugnes varieties include crunchy bugnes and soft bugnes. The crunchy variety, known as “bugnes lyonnaises” (“Lyon bugnes”), are cooked in very hot oil with the dough spread out thinly and knotted once or twice. The soft variety, sometimes known as “pillows”, are made with a thicker dough, which is rarely knotted
Of course my grandma prepared for us the Hungarian csöröge which are made from egg yolk, flour, a leavening agent, sugar, salt and cognac or brandy. They are deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are traditional at weddings as well.
And when I was in Rome I tasted the Italian cenci or chiacchiere which are mostly eaten at Carnival time as well. Their various regional names include: frappe (a name shared with similar treats) in sfrappole; bugie and galani or crostoli. Regional variations in the recipe include sprinkling with orange zest or using anisette wine as the alcoholic base.
A romantic trip through feast every moment of the day, from early morning under the soft bed clothes until late in the flickering candlelight. That’s my surprise for Valentine’s day!
Breakfast in bed, of course! To treat someone with breakfast is always nice, especially if it is associated with good long-in-bed-stay-down. What should not be missing on your platform? The perfectly cooked egg, but that is different for everyone.
One bad hard-boiled egg can ruin you for life. At least, that’s what I believed until I learned how to cook soft-boiled and hard-boiled eggs precisely how I wanted to eat them. The perfect hard-boiled egg has no green ring around the yolk; the innards are creamy and mellow; and if you’re in the mood, you can stop short of the hard-boil and make a gooey soft-boiled egg instead. Here is the best recipe:
Ingredients: 6 large eggs, cold from the fridge, Cold water, Ice
Equipment: Saucepan, Timer, Slotted spoon, Bowl
Put the eggs in a pan of cold water: Place 6 cold eggs in a saucepan and fill with cold water, covering the eggs by an inch.
Bring the water to a rolling boil: Set the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil, uncovered. The water should come to a full, rolling boil.
Turn off the heat and cover the pan. As soon as the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from heat and cover the pan. Don’t forget about the pan on the stove and let the eggs boil for too long or they will over cook!
For runny soft-boiled eggs (barely set whites): 3 minutes
For slightly runny soft-boiled eggs: 4 minutes
For custardy yet firm soft-boiled eggs: 6 minutes
For firm yet still creamy hard-boiled eggs: 10 minutes
For very firm hard-boiled eggs: 15 minutes
Tap the cooked eggs gently. After your selected time is up, remove the cooked eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon and tap each gently on the countertop to crack the shell in a few places. Skip this step if your eggs are very soft-boiled with runny yolks or if you’re planning to dye your eggs for Easter.
Place the eggs in a bowl of ice water. Fill a bowl with ice water. Transfer the eggs to the bowl and leave them there for at least 1 minute.
Peel and eat! When ready to eat, peel the egg and enjoy!
Then vary your choice of toppings: cooked ham, smoked ham, a slice of smoked eel. A lovely deep, red potion of beetroot and apple. Pistolets and pastries (preferably still warm, fresh from the baker). Pistolet is a typical Brussels variety of bread consisting of a small and round bread roll (bun).
Or make French toast with warm chocolate sauce, they are beautiful couples together! Whether with cream cheese, apple slices and granola. Healthy and crunchy.
Whether we knit a tail with a tantalizing Valentine brunch? Let your lover sleeping late, it is already within the first star! A second star you score effortlessly with your kitchen arts, bubbling drinks and the friendly atmosphere.
Candlelight of course, but still can not feel hunger. At brunch variation is the key to success. Choose anything you’ll find lovely for a late breakfast and surprise with enchanting combinations. Cheese and horseradish cream-filled eggs for instance, with great juices, or sandwiches etc. Cheese-beer- sausage they are also perfect food pairing. If you choose the latter for a man, taste sensation is guaranteed.
Filo pastry filled with cheese and Chorizo
Ingredients: 200gr Rodenbach cheese grated (type of Gouda or Old Brugge, Belgian aged cheese), 12 sheets of filo pastry, 100 g Chorizo, 3 egg yolks, pepper, salt, nutmeg, butter, 1 shallot
Instructions: Fry the shallot and the Chorizo (cut) in a little butter. Remove from heat and add the egg yolk and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Take small porcelain jars (diameter 3 to 4 cm) and butter them. Cut circles from the pastry but make sure the dough comes 2 cm above the rim of the jar. Melt a little butter and butter the filo pastry with a brush. Place the dough in the pot and fill it to the brim with the mixture. Allow 20 minutes bake in a preheated oven at 160 ° C. Carefully serve warm or cold from the jars.
The number of Fastnacht events again is noticeably increasing everywhere by the 40th day after Christmas, the Candlemas on February 2. On this day, in Germany it is common to do the Maschgern (Oberschwaben), the Strählen (Villingen), the Schnurren (Schwarzwald), the Welschen (Schömberg), the Hecheln (Oberndorf) or the Aufsagen the latter word means that the jesters-fools choose the most remarkable incidents of the last year to retell them to the people in an entertaining way.
Donaueschingen where witches rule the carnival
At the Black Forest area in Donaueschingen (Baden-Württemberg area in Germany near the Black forest) rich offering means culture lovers will be in their element. You can visit the Princely Fürstenberg Collections, the Museum Art. Plus and the Carnival Museum or explore Fürstenberg Palace on a tour (fixed visiting hours). The brand new Children and Youth Museum, which opened in 2012, offers spaces for learning and experience, while beer lovers wishing to be initiated into the mysteries of the brewer’s art will adore a tour of the Fürstenberg Brewery. Further attractions including the blue town hall with the musician’s fountain and the St. John’s Church in the Bohemian baroque style can be visited independently or on an experience tour. The residential city also offers a wide range of leisure facilities including a network of cross country trails and a curling rink in winter, an 18- and 9-hole golf course and a bathing lake with a camp site. The more athletically inclined will find a well signposted network of hiking and cycle trails and can also set out on the famous Danube Cycle Trail from the town.
Above of all Donaueschingen’s central location makes it perfect for numerous, impressive day trips to Switzerland, Lake Constance and France. Cosy guesthouses and comfortable premium-class hotels offer superb facilities. The town also boasts numerous attractive restaurants and relaxing cafés serving delicious fare. Upon arrival you will receive the Konus Guest Card, which you can use to travel free of charge on buses and trains throughout the Black Forest area.
It is worth to visit the city at carnival time because of the highlight, -after the fools parade is- the witch jumping above the bonfire. This happens by that on Fat Tuesday meanwhile people are enjoying themselves in historical costumes and in wooden masks, marching, singing and swaying, after the carnival procession, witches appear on the balconies of the historical buildings and throw sausages and bread to the crowd. At the same time when the “fools” arrive at the front of the city hall, a huge bonfire has been lit and begins the major attraction: the witches jumping. They have to jump over the fire with a broomstick in their hands. After the great entertainment a ceremonial burning of the huge straw witch occurs (they bury the winter symbolically). With that the official part of the carnival comes to an end so that people try to reach the taverns, pubs and beer houses in which the waiters serve the costumers in witch costumes.
In Donaueschingen there are plenty of nice restaurants and coffee houses. The most expensive one is the Öschenberg and the best artisanal beer house is the Gaststatte Schlössle where you can order the best local beer the Fürstenberg. However we went to the Hexenweiher’s-the Witch pond’s and we did not regret it since the Italian chef-the striga prepared us really delicious dishes!
I have already participated many times in German, Belgian and Swiss carnivals so that I decided this year I should go and celebrate it in Nice, on the French Riviera. Not only because it is the world’s major carnival events (after the Rio’s and the Venetian’s) and I’ve heard a lot of about it, but also because the city is not far from München where I live now.
In present time during the two weeks preceding Lent, it attracts over a million visitors annually (the Carnival spans a two-week period in February this year it will be held from 13th of February to 28th). Every year, a special theme is chosen, and traditional artists create 18 floats and other figurines in traditional “paper mache” for colorful parade. The parades take place day and night, while on the Promenade des Anglais, “flower battles”. So I’m really looking forward to going there and not only because of the flower parade but also because of the gastronomy of Nice!
The cuisine of Nice
I have already visited Nice twice and each time I really enjoyed its cuisine which is typical of Cote d’Azur (and Provence, for that matter) features its regional inflections, at least as compared to other French regional cuisines, with Mediterranean influences materialized in the use and consumption of seafood, fish, vegetables and fruit. However, the concessions made to such influences do not alter the finesse for which all dainty feeders appreciate the French cuisine. Another notable feature of the regional cuisine observed in Nice refers to the extensive use of a wide range of herbs, such as bay leaves, basil, thyme, oregano and, in moderation but constantly, garlic. Not to mention that the olive oil is an ever present ingredient, and this is precisely what distinguishes the cuisine on Cote d’Azur from all the other French gastronomical traditions. I have already eaten in Nice: the Salade Nicoise (insalata nizzarda) which is the very gastronomic ambassador, so to say, of Nice to the world (next to the famed ratatouille). The origins of this salad are not well defined, and the wide range of versions of the Nicoise salad is also pretty confusing with respect to the way it should be cooked and to its ingredients. However, the bottom line is in Nice the likelihood of managing to stumble on the original recipe and product is considerably higher. Thus, the salad is a mix of slices of tomatoes, slices of hard boiled eggs, boiled potatoes (disputably) and steamed green peas, all laid on a layer of lettuce (optional). The entire “edifice” is topped with tuna (either canned or seared) and canned anchovies. I liked very much the
Pan bagnat which is a sandwich (looks like hamburger) a favorite lunch time food in Nice. It is composed from the whole wheat bread, formed in a circle, around the classic Salade Nicoise, a salad composed mainly of raw veggies, hard boiled eggs, anchovies and/or tuna and olive oils and never ever mayonnaise. Sometimes balsamic vinegar, pepper and salt, mustard will be also added. I also tasted the Socca:
It is far from being labeled as a refined specialty, but, on the other hand, its popularity might be attributed precisely to its elementariness. Thus, this type of flat unleavened pancake (crepe) is made of chickpea flour and olive oil, and it is served hot and heavily seasoned with pepper. It stands as an excellent quick snack and, in fact, it is the French version of what the Italians refer to as farinata or cecina, and the Argentineans know as faina. The streets of Nice are replete with food stalls selling socca, so the opportunity to sample it is quite at hand.
I liked very much the Soupe au pistou which is a dish popular throughout Provence, and it refers to a bean soup enriched with pistou-pesto. Pistou is a garlic-based sauce, heavily flavored with basil, all mixed with olive oil. The addition of sundry types of hard cheese (parmesan or pecorino, for instance) to the sauce is optional. Gere is the very best recipe:
Soupe of pistou
The origins of this dish allegedly go back to Antiquity.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 medium onion, thickly sliced, 1 celery stalk, chopped, 1 head fennel, chopped, 1 carrot, chopped, 2 plum tomatoes, quartered, 4 cloves garlic, crushed, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf
Soup: 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 cup diced onion, 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced, 1/2 cup diced carrot, 1 cup diced celery, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme, 1 1/2cups drained and chopped canned plum tomatoes, 2 cans (15 ounces each) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained, 6 tsp prepared pesto or extra-virgin olive oil
For the stock:
In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium heat; stir in ingredients. Cover. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 30minutes. Add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer for 45 minutes. Strain, reserving broth and half the vegetables. Skim fat. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Puree reserved vegetables in a blender. Stir into stock.
For the soup:
Heat oil in the same pot. Sauté onion, garlic, carrot, celery and herbs. Add reserved broth, tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer 30 to 45 minutes. Ladle into bowls; drizzle with pesto or oil.
For the pistou: fresh basil, garlic cloves, parmesan
Squeeze garlic cloves then place into a mortar. Add fresh basil to it, chopped and rub them together. Scoop one potato from the soup and in a bowl smash it then add the pistou. Finally grate some parmesan cheese and mix in the potato-basil-garlic mixture. Add to soup this garlicy smashed and flavored potato and mixed in.
Hand made, decadent truffles for carnival that was what I’d made today! I used the best Belgian chocolate for the base and I prepared pralines. I made them with dark and milk chocolate and filled with ganache, buttercream and nut pastes. Then I simply dusted them with cocoa powder, (others with confectioners’ sugar), and decorated with finely chopped nuts, pistachios etc. Some of them I coated in melted chocolate. See the result!
Ingredients: 1 cup heavy cream, 10 oz fine quality bittersweet chocolate (or semi-sweet) 5 tbsp not salted butter, cut into small pieces, 3 tbsp brandy, whisky or other liqueur
To finish: unsweetened cocoa for dusting, dried orange or lemon zest, finely chopped pistachio, 14 oz bittersweet chocolate, nuts etc..
- 1. In a saucepan over medium heat bring cream to a boil. remove from heat add chocolate all at once. Stir gently until melted. Stir in butter until melted. then stir in brandy. Strain into a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- 2. Using a small ice cream scoop, melon baller or tablespoon, scrape up mixture into 20 large balls or 30 medium balls and place on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.
- 3. If dusting with cocoa sift a thick layer of cocoa on to a dish or pie plate. Roll truffles in cocoa, rounding them between the palms of your hands. do not worry if the truffles are not perfectly round..(looks more authentic)
- 4. Alternatively, roll in very finely chopped pistachios. Refrigerate for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
- 5. If coating with chocolate do not roll in cocoa or nuts but freeze for 1 hour. Temper chocolate. you can cover with melted chocolate then refrigerate immediately. In a small bowl, melt chocolate by either method. Using a fork, do truffles into melted chocolate, one at a time, tapping fork on edge of bowl to shake of excess. Place on a parchment paper or waxed paper. If chocolate begins to ticken, reheat gently until smooth. Refrigerate.
Flemish steak is a traditional Belgian, (French, Flemish and Zeelandic Flemish) beef and onion stew made with beer, and seasoned with thyme, bay leaves and mustard. The term carbonade may also refer to a dish of grilled pork loin and certain beef stews cooked with red wine such as beef bourguignon in the east of France, but is more commonly associated with the Belgian dish.
The type of beer used in this dish is very important. Traditionally an Oud bruin, (Old Brown Beer) Brune Abbey beer or Flanders red is the beer of choice with a somewhat bitter-sour flavor. In addition to this and to enhance the sweet-sour flavour, just before serving, it has a small amount of cider or wine vinegar and either brown sugar or red currant jelly is stirred in.
It is often accompanied by french fries or boiled potatoes.
Ingredients: ¼ kg stewing beef, cut into 4cm cubes, 400ml Trappist ale such as Leffe or Chimay, or other dark ale, 3 garlic clove, lightly crushed, 2 bay leaf, 3 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, 2-3 tbsp olive oil, 250g diced pancetta, 2 carrots, 2 onions, 1 leek, 1 tbsp tomato purée, 350ml beef stock, 1 bouquet garni (a small bunch of thyme)
Marinate the beef overnight in the ale with the garlic and bay leaves. The next day, drain the beef from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper and toss it in the seasoned flour until evenly coated. Shake off any excess flour.
Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole until hot. Fry the beef in 3-4 batches for about 5 minutes per batch, stirring occasionally, until it is a rich golden brown all over. You may need to add a little more oil between batches but make sure it is hot again before adding the next batch. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside. Don’t worry if the bottom of the casserole is starting to brown, this all adds to the flavor of the finished dish.
Lower the heat to medium and fry the pancetta in the casserole for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden. Scoop the pancetta out with a slotted spoon and set aside with the beef.
Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/gas 3. Tip the carrots, onions and leek into the casserole and fry, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown – this takes about 12 minutes. Spoon in the tomato purée and continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the beef and pour in the reserved marinade. Bring to a simmer, scraping any sticky bits off the bottom of the pan then add all the beef stock and bouquet garni to the casserole. Season with salt and pepper and bring everything to the boil. Remove from the heat. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours, stirring once halfway through. (The carbonnade may now be left to cool and frozen for up to 1 month. Add 100ml/31⁄2 fl oz more stock to the sauce when reheating.) When the beef is ready, taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Scatter the chopped parsley over the top and serve straight from the casserole, with creamy mash or jacket potatoes and buttered greens or cabbage.