Fish bread, a childhood meal

WE all have childhood meals which will live in our hearts and souls forever. My mother’s fish bread, which she used to make for us a few times a year, definitely falls into this category. Its taste and consistency springs back into my mind with astonishing regularity, causing cravings which are quite impossible to ignore.

Fortunately, the recipe is very simple and makes for an equally delicious starter or light main served with a salad.

Fish bread – serves 4
40g butter
40g flour
½  liter of milk
2 tablespoons tomato paste
250 salmon
250g haddock
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of crème fraiche
2 tablespoons of dill
½ teaspoon of nutmeg

Heat the oven to 180°C.
Chop the fish very finely.
Make a béchamel sauce. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and stir.
Slowly add the milk while stirring, then add the nutmeg.
Divide the béchamel in two equal portions.
Add the tomato paste to one of the portions and mix the fish into the other.
Into the fish mixture add one egg, two egg yolks, the dill and crème fraiche. Keep the two egg whites for the blanc en neige.
In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm.
Using a wooden spatula, slowly incorporate the whites into the fish mixture.
Pour the mixture in a cake mould, place it into a bain marie and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
Serve with the warm tomato béchamel sauce.

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Measurement – Yogurt Cake

Measurement
14.3 Grams, ½ ounces, 3 teaspoons, 15 millilitres, ¼ cups…
Who would have thought that cooking would sometimes require a degree in mathematics?

For some people, cooking is considered to be a universal language where everybody gathers for the love of food… until the time comes to debate about the best way to weigh chocolate chips.

Although every kitchen around the world has a wooden spoon and pan, it’s another story to open a cookbook without a calculator and an Internet connection and make sure to use the proper mass of flour or chicken.

Sometimes the success of a diner may just hold in the balance of what Miss Cup, Mister Teaspoon or Mrs Gram tell us… as long as we understand their language! Why do we make our lives so difficult? That is the question…

Until you find the answer, why not try the following recipe that uses… yogurt pots as a measurement unit.
Yes, yet another unit to add to your ever-growing list of measurements, but at least it’s universal!

Yogurt Cake – 6 personsYogurt Cake
1 pot of natural yogurt
3 yogurt pots of flour
2 yogurt pots of sugar
1 yogurt pot of sunflower oil
1 tablespoon of baking powder
3 eggs

Pre-heat the oven at 180°C/Gas 6
In a big bowl, mix all the ingredients together and stir well until smooth.
Pour the mixture in a non-stick cake form.
Place it in the oven for 30 min.

French Cuisine

Eiffel TowerHow to define French cuisine?

Well, maybe…
The best traditional wines and the most refined cheeses?
The diversity of regional specialities?
Two hours for a three-course lunch break?
A 500-m queue on a Sunday morning outside a bakery for a fresh croissant?
A piece of baguette at every meal?
The most recognised gastronomic restaurants?
The Michelin guide?
A multitude of awards to celebrate the best ingredients?
A title for the best artisan in cultivating or creating specific food products?

French Cuisine… Don’t we do a bit too much?!
Most probably, but that’s what French Cuisine is all about after all! Santé!


Gougères Bourguignonnes – 6 persons

100g of unsalted butter
150g of flour
150g of grated cheese
4 eggs
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven over 180°C / Gas 6
Butter and flour a pastry pan.
Boil 25 cl of water with the butter in a non-stick pot with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Take the pot off the fire and the flour in one go and stir vigourously.
Replace the pot on the fire and continue to stir until the dough becomes one big bowl.
Take the pot off the fire and add the eggs one after the other while continuing to mix.
Add the grated cheese and mix again.
Using a tablespoon, form small balls of dough and place them on the pastry pan for 20 mn (the balls will double in size).Gougères

Spoon

A spoon of memories.Nutella spoon
A spoon of comfort.
A spoon of wellbeing.
A spoon “that helps the medicine go down”.

The spoon that a baby brings to his mouth for the first time.
The spoon that you used to put in a jam pot after school, seated in the kitchen enjoying the return home.
The spoon of honey that your grandmother used to give you when you couldn’t sleep.
The spoon that your mom let you lick while she was making cakes.
The spoon of hot chocolate on a Saturday morning on a winter’s day.
The spoon that you shared with your love for your first  one-person dessert.
The spoon that lets you to taste if the stew is well seasoned.

This small thing made of silver, metal or plastic carries our memories and souvenirs through the years and ages. The hero of the legendary French novel, ‘A la recherche du temps perdu’ – Remembrance of Things Past – by Marcel Proust, lives the same experience, living both the past and present simultaneously, when he bites into a Madeleine cake:

“And suddenly the memory revealed itself: The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane.”

In our modern age, though, what better way to remember the best moments of childhood than with a spoon of chocolate paste?

Madeleine – Make about 20
100g of butter
150g of caster sugar
150g of flour
2 eggs
A teaspoon of vanilla sugar
A teaspoon of bakery powder
A teaspoon of orange blossom
A few spoons of Nutella

Heat the oven at 180°C/gas 6
Whisk the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla sugar until white.
Add the flour and the baking powder.
Add the melted butter and the orange blossom.
Drop a small tablespoon of the batter into the centre of each prepared mould and add a teaspoon of Nutella and cover with some more batter.
Bake the madeleine for 8/9 mn until the edges are golden brown and the centres spring back when lightly touched.
Do not overbake or they will be dry.