Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Poulet Poché au Vin Blanc, Gratiné

So what does Poulet Poché au Vin Blanc, Gratiné (Chicken poached in white wine, herbs and aromatic vegetables, then Gratinéed with Cheese Sauce) look like?

(I do not aim to copy the recipe here. Can be found in Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

In this first (blurry) picture, I have just added the liquid (1 cup dry white wine + 1.5 cup chicken stock) to the chicken and butter-braised onions & carrots. About 5 sprigs each of thyme and parsley are your herbs (you can also add a bay leaf):
Once the chicken is done, you remove it from the pan / casserole and place in a buttered (optional) glass dish. I covered it with foil but you do not have to keep it warm at this stage since the last step in the dish will heat it up.
Pour all the liquid through a sieve into a stainless steel pot. Heat up to boil and skim any foam off. Keep boiling while making the roux and velouté.

Create a 'roux'
In a seperate pot, melt 1.75oz of butter until bubbling but not browning. Add 1oz flour and stir well. Let it bubble for about 2 minute, stirring continually (lift pot from heat if it threatens to brown the roux.

Make the 'velouté '
Pour all the boiling stock into the roux and whisk vigorously with a whisk (remember to use a silicone one if you have a non-stick pot!). Place over low heat and keep whisking as the sauce thickens.

Turn your 'velouté' into a Sauce Mornay
Add about 1.5 oz of coarsely grated Gruyère cheese to the sauce and stir until well mixed. Pour sauce over the chicken.

Sprinkle another 1.5 oz (or more to taste) of cheese over the top and place under a hot grill (if the chicken was still warm). If the chicken was cold you need to put it into an oven, preheated to 375F for 25 - 30 minutes until the dish is bubbling nicely. (Careful not to re-cook the dish as it will dry out the chicken - especially if you have white meat pieces).

Here's the final dish:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cake: Israelites through the Red Sea

I made this cake a while back for the Friday play group. The story for the day was the parting of the Red Sea and voila! a very easy cake.

The cake is one large round cake baked in a 22cm cake pan (cake rose to the top). This can also be done with two normal sized cakes that you would layer to get the required height.
I first put a layer of icing glaze (icing sugar mixed with water) along where the middle would be and then positioned the two halves of the cake on both sides.
The inside edges of each side was cut down with a knife. It was iced with blue-colored butter icing and some icing glazed was used to pipe along the ridges to simulate waves. I crushed some biscuits and sprinkled them on the glaze in the open area for 'sand'. Little jelly-babies made up the 'Israelites'. And just for something extra for the kids I lined up marshmallow fish around the outside.

Strawberry and cream tart

I haven't been posting here for a while since my newest hobby (cardmaking) has taken up pretty much most of my spare time. See

But I do want to share with anyone who manages to stumble over this blog, a delicious, decadent and extremely easy tart.

NOTE: best made day before!!

500ml whipping cream
1 standard tin strawberry jam
2-3 packets Tennis (square coconut) biscuits

Whip the cream until nice and stiff. Be careful to overwhip so it doesn't turn into butter :-)
You want it in a nice spreadable consistency.
Empty the tin of strawberry jam in a bowl and soften with a spoon.
Add the jam to the whipped cream and fold in well with a spatula.

In a rectangular glass dish, spread a very thin layer of the cream filling in the bottom.
Place one layer of biscuits on top. (break some biscuits as needed to make sure most of the cream layer is covered.
Add a layer of cream on top, enough to cover the biscuits.
Place another layer of biscuits and cream. Repeat as needed and end with a cream layer.

I usually have three biscuit layers.
Keep in the fridge at least over night. Serve COLD.

sprinkle each layer of biscuits with sherry before putting a cream layer.