Yes for apples, only a little differently

Definitely yes for apples….

I probably buy two big bags of apples each week at this season.  Where do they go? Lunchboxes, snack and occasionally dessert.  Last week, I wanted to do an apple based dessert but I did not feel like any apple tart or any traditional recipe.  Taste wise I wanted something different. Yes for apple, only a little differently!

…Only a little differently

I am about to share two recipes with you. One savoury, a piece of pork cooked on a bed of apples and in cider; and one sweet one, a red pepper apple and  strawberry crumble. I strongly recommend the two of them!

Pork belly roast on an apple bed and in apple cider

This is a different way to roast pork.  It is really tasty. I have adding chesnuts around as well in subsequent versions.  The recipe is HERE.  Like for any pork roast, this recipe requires a fair amount of cooking time.

Roti de porc aux pommes

Note:  the chesnuts would need to be peeled beforehand. Make a small cut in the skin.  Place them in boiling water for one minute and peel the skin.

Red pepper apple and strawberry crumble

This is what I ended up cooking last week. Three month ago, I stayed at some friend one night and was offered a beautiful dinner.  The dessert followed a recipe of baked apple by Yotam Ottolenghi.  In this recipe Yotam Ottolenghi used pepper cracked over baked apple to subtlety change the flavours and bring up different aromas. It was delicious!

This crumble recipe is inspired from that dish. Here, I used black pepper and mostly pink peppercorns.  You will find pink peppercorns in deli stores, at Paddy’s market (Sydney Haymarket) and online spice shops such as Herbies.   The rest is pretty much like a normal crumble. Recipe HERE.

crumble pomme poivre



Autumn cooking

Has autumn finally arrived in Sydney? At our place, the deciduous trees are dropping their leaves and the evenings and early morning are rather fresh.   I already hinted at it last week with my post on chestnuts.  Today is about autumn cooking, illustrated by a few dishes made at home in the last week or so.

On another matter, the subscription link is back running, check the side of the blog on a laptop or the bottom of the page on a mobile phone.

Let’s start by a breakfast treat…

I decided to give another do to the croissants dough recipe and make viennoiseries a bit different to croissants and pains au chocolat.  Because the batches are quite big, I freeze the pieces directly after shaping them on a tray (then pack away).  The night before I want them, I put them out of the freezer on a baking sheet and let them unfreeze and rise.  My problem was that I had very inconsistent risings and end results, but this time I think I worked it out!  The best is that the kids and I made that together, or rather they laid the custard, sultanas, rolled the dough in a log, wrapped it, I only did the cutting of the log.

Pains aux raisins

And you know what? Today is not all about sweet dishes!

The below was a quick cook, 60 minutes to dinner, a bit like a Masterchef challenge.  I am quite ahppy with the end result!

I prepared a mushroom and fresh salmon tart (pastry included) served with a roasted pumpkin, beans and baby spinach salad.  And dessert with that? This is where a 7 y.o. child comes handy, this was a rapid apple cake, a recipe known in my family as a (hold on!) “Rombidi Rondidi Radada) but more generally in the wider northern part of France countryside as a 5,4,3,2,1 . For the salmon tart and salad, I had my 4 y.o. as kitchen hand (cutting ends of the beans), mixing, placing the mushrooms and salmon in the tart.

tarte au saumon frais
Fresh Salmon Tart
salade citrouille, haricot et epinards
Mixed green and roasted pumpkin salad

Another night, another dish, a soup!

Soupe aux marrons
Chestnut Soup

Doing a chestnut soup had been in my mind for a while, but I did not want to add cream and make it too heavy.  I quickly browsed recipes, again I did not feel like adding pumpkin or many vegetables.  I was after something where chestnut was the hero with a little something to ensure balance in flavours.

Now, chestnuts are nutritious, regardless what you do with them.  A bowl of that soup can make your dinner!  In south-eastern France and in Corsica, where they grow plentiful on rocky slopes,  they helped the populations go through hard times.

This chestnut soup recipe contains one small onion, one parsnip, one potato (probably not that necessary), two pears and plenty chestnuts! And the peeling of the chestnuts did not take so much time and was easy (place the incised chestnuts in cold water and brink to the boil!).

Quails season is also now, or at least the natural hunting season

When I was a child, my grandfather would install nets in trees and bushes to catch quails in autumn.  I have never been with him, I remember the stories and numerous return home empty handed! This week, I got a tray of quails from Vic Meats at the Sydney Fish Market (I went there to get some mussels), it was a little treat.  Since I was again cooking at the last minute, I did not spend too much time in books or websites looking at recipes.  I do not cook quails very often.  For those I mixed together some turmeric, paprika, a little sumac, some ground vanilla beans, made a paste by adding olive oil and rubbed the mix around the birds,  Inside I placed some fresh garden herbs and crushed garlic.  The rest is easy: brown the quails on both sides, then add one cut of dry white wine, salt, about one cup of red-currents, 2 large shallots sliced, salt and pepper.  I had to balance the acidity by adding one teaspoon of sugar.  Just before serving I rounded the sauce with a piece of butter.  I served them with grilled potatoes and parboiled broccoli.

Cailles aux groseilles
Quails in red-current sauce

Was it a good dish, yes definitely, but it is probably difficult to have a disaster with quails.  My younger one refused to eat a little bird, she asked to check the image online, no way she was going to eat it (she tried on her own will) !

A few autumn colour desserts…

A chocolate mousse is a crowd pleaser, always! It takes ten minutes to prepare, it needs to be done a few hours ahead of the meal (4 minimum, 6 or more is best). It contains only eggs and cooking chocolate: no sugar, no cream.  As my children would say :”got it?”….the recipe is HERE.

Mousse au chocolat degustation
Chocolate mousse

This other dessert is for all seasons really but the colours work so well with autumn!  This lemon and lime tart is a recipe from Julie Goodwin, an early contestant and winner of the Australian Masterchef.  The recipe is available on Julie’s website or on my blog HERE.  The edges of my crust got a bit hot (but not burnt). I would advise the blind cooking by picking holes with a fork instead of using blind baking stones may be the solution to avoid the issue.

tarte citron et citron vert
Lemon and Lime Tart

Any questions? Just ask!