Bread; Cheese; sausages and Dessert?
At the end of the meal
I should of course finish with dessert, but I rarely make any desserts. This is probably because I don’t have a “sweet tooth” and for me deserts are not worth the extra calories.
But I forget, the third (or possibly fourth course) of any good French meal — CHEESE!!. Correctly in my view before we start thinking about anything sweet we must bring on the cheese! With more than 400 French cheeses for you to try, it makes sense.
THE FRENCH WAY
Now the occasion might be an annual village function, a grand celebration or Sunday lunch with friends and neighbours. let’s assume that the invitation was for noon and that you arrived a polite half hour late, you may find that it is five or six in the afternoon before you get round to dessert anyway. The point is that eating and drinking is a very social thing for French people. They like to take time over a special meal and eat several fairly small courses, most of which are prepared in advance so that the hosts spend maximum time with quests.
JON’S IDEA OF DESSERT
Finally if you a little room for something sweet and alcoholic these are my suggestions.
Dessert 1: Place 1 to 3 balls of pear sorbet in a glass bowl and pour a measure of Eau de Vie Williams Pear Brandy over it and serve.
Dessert 2: Place 1 to 3 balls of apple sorbet in a glass bowl and pour a measure of Calvados over it and serve.
Dessert 3: Place 1 to 3 balls of vanilla ice cream in a glass bowl and pour a measure of Marc de Bourgogne over it and serve.
Focaccia ( Italian flatbread)
It should be be baked on a sheet, but I prefer to contain it in a circular baking tin. The makes for a much lighter bread – I prefer.
500g Flour (You can experiment with different types)
2 tablespoons olive oil
325 ml tepid water for the yeast (be exact because the dough must be quite soft).
5.5 g packet of dry yeast.
1 teaspoon of salt (approx to your taste)
You can add many deferment herbs along with olives, cherry tomatoes even cheeses and hams, it up to you.
1 – 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary.
? green olives, halved to dot around the top.
? baby tomatoes, halved to dot around the top.
Mix the dried yeast with the slightly warm (not hot) and let it activate for five or ten minutes.
Place the dry ingredients in a bowl but remember that it needs to be large enough for the dough to double in volume. I add the herbs at this stage, then mix in the activated yeast. Start mixing with a fork or spoon but you will soon want to get your hands in. Use some extra olive oil to stop the dough sticking, if it dose rub it of your hands with some extra dry flour.
TIP:- The bread dough should be very loose (soft) so as long as its well mixed you wont have to work it, just leave it in the bowl, in a warm place, covered with cling-film.
When its doubled in size, knock it down a bit and press it into your well-oiled baking tin. Push your halved olives or other ingredients into the dough and cover again with cling-film. When its risen to double again bake in a moderate oven for about half an hour, maybe longer. Turn it out onto a wire rack to cool. It should be crisp on the outside and sound hollow when tapped.
‘les saucisses anglaises’
For many years we hosted, what could be called “a spectacular” or more appropriately “open house” for villagers and our friends. This coincided with Jon’s birthday (1stJuly). We always included some music or other entertainment and above all ‘les saucisses anglaises’, grilled on our barbecue. Our French friends and neighbours were crazy for them. We went to great trouble the have plenty freshly made by a butcher in England which we transported directly home to France in our electric cool box.
With the fall-out from the UK leaving the EU, it is no longer legal to import sausages and similar produce, into Europe so we now have to make here ourselves. I bought a grinding and sausage filling machine.
This seems to be a good basic recipe.
TIPS:- Keep the meat and sausage mixtures as cold as possible by returning to the refrigerator at every opportunity. Thoroughly clean the working area and your equipment after each operation.
Once you have pealed and cored the apples keep them in cold water with some lemon Juice.
You can also try another popular version with leeks.
1kg lean pork such as (Sauté de porc) trimmed of excess sinus and checked for bones
1kg pork belly trimmed and de boned
After preparation you should end up with between 1.8 and 2.2 kg meat.
Herbs and spices:
2 – 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 – 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 – 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoons ground ginger (if liked)
1 tablespoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 tablespoons salt ( if using Maldon salt flakes grind it first)
2 cloves garlic crushed
100 grams fine breadcrumbs or sausage rusk (or omit this for meaty sausages)
3 – 4 metres 30mm natural hog casings
Prepare the meat the day before making sausages. Dice the meat and pass it all through a 12 mm mincing plate. Add the herbs and spices, mix thoroughly and mince again using a 8 mm mincing plate. Rest the sausage mix for at least two hours in the refrigerator or overnight before making the sausages using you sausage funnel attachment as per maker instructions. Add a little cold water to ease the mixing and filling process.
PORK and APPLE variation.
Cut back on the fresh herbs (by half?)
50 -75 ml of cider
1Kg Sharpish apples cored (you can leave some or all of the skin on).
Just before making the sausages, mince the apples and add to the meat with the cider and mix thoroughly.
PORK with ROQUEFORT
Experiment with any blue cheese basing the mixture on the above. Think about the herbs and spices. Use about 200g cheese per kilo of sausage meat and mix it very well. The problem is that the mix becomes sticky and needs coaxing through the machine.