Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Foodista Food Blogs Cookbook - please vote

I was recently contacted by Foodista.com, the online cooking encyclopedia, saying they were looking for recipes to feature in their upcoming Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook and would I like to enter some. So I have submitted the following four and I would be very, very chuffed if you could all vote. You can vote for each one by clicking on the Foodista button beneath each photo below - and you can rate all four.

The site is jaw-droppingly user-unfriendly but I've outlined the quickest way to do it at the end of this post. Voting ends on Sunday 28 February and I've got a lot of catching up to do since the competition has been open since the beginning of December - so I'm relying on you, my trusty readers. Yours, grovellingly!

To vote for Vegetarian Scotch Eggs:






To vote for Egg Mayo:


How to vote:
  1. Go to www.foodista.com and go to "sign up" at the top of the page.
  2. Enter your name, email and password and click "sign up".
  3. You will be taken to a "Taste Profile" page. Click on "skip step" bottom right.
  4. You will then be taken to a "Tell us more about yourself" page. Don't put anything in and click save profile.
  5. Leaving that window open, open another tab/window and open my blog http://atasteofsavoie.blogspot.com/
  6. Click on the first recipe to vote. You will still be signed in to Foodista so just click on the star ratings below the recipe heading and it will say "Rating Saved".
  7. Then back-click and click on the next recipe and repeat etc.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

the way to a girl's heart ...


The snow is beginning to melt and Spring is just around the corner. Spring and Paris. It's only four weeks now until I leave (yikes - and still no apartment!) so I've started stocking up the freezer with PC dinners for BB so that he can concentrate on building work while I'm away.

He's actually not a bad cook, BB, but boy, what a drama queen in the kitchen. On the rare occasion that he does cook, when I should be reclining on tasselled cushions with my feet up, sipping a G&T and unfolding my latest copy of Country Living, instead I'm up and down like a fiddler's elbow, digging out kitchen utensils, peeling vegetables (it hurts his thumbs!), mopping up spillages and applying band-aids - all to a Gordon Ramsay-esque soundtrack.

But it wasn't like that in the beginning - not when he was trying to woo me.


The first meal he ever cooked for me was seared encrusted tuna steak with fresh coriander and basil served with braised puy lentils with rosemary and garlic. This was not long after we first met in France (where I was working in a ski chalet), when I went back to England to visit him.

As I sat in the kitchen of his little cottage in Surrey, calf-eyed, watching him smash up dried chilli and coriander seeds and deftly chopping fresh herbs, I thought that this was a sign of great things to come. And when I reach back for memories of our early romance, I remember that meal - for that meal sealed the deal.

But as soon as I said "I do", he said "Do you mind if I don't cook anymore?"!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

pancakes with honey and summer berries


We don't tend to eat too many sweet things chez nous, preferring to end a meal with some cheese and a piece of fruit, but when I do get a sugar urge, a crêpe - which is quick and easy to make - served with a sprinkling of sugar and a squeeze of lemon usually hits the spot.

Today, as it's Pancake Day, I made these thin pancakes served with a drizzle of honey and summer berries. They can be made in advance and stored between sheets of greaseproof paper in the fridge then reheated in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes. Pancakes freeze well, stacked as above then placed in freezer bags. If frozen, it's best to defrost the pancakes before reheating.


Basic pancake mix
Makes 12-14 in a 7 inch/18 cm pan
4 oz/110 g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs
7 fl oz/200 ml milk mixed with 3 fl oz/75 ml water
2 oz/50 g butter

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Begin whisking the eggs then gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking, making sure the flour is well mixed in. Continue until the batter is smooth (pass through a sieve if need be) and the consistency of single cream.

Melt the butter, add 2 tablespoons of it to the batter and blend for a few more seconds, then pour the rest into a bowl and use to grease the pan using kitchen paper between each pancake.
 
Heat a 7 inch/18 cm pan and add 2 tablespoons of the batter using a ladle, quickly lifting, tilting and swirling the batter evenly over the pan. Cook over a medium heat for a minute or so until the surface is set and the base golden. Toss or turn with a spatula and cook the other side for a few more seconds.

Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

raclette


The busiest time of year for us, guest-wise, is during the ski season. Why pay a fortune to stay in a ski resort when you can stay with your sister/friend for free? That's what sisters/friends are for, right?  There are some weeks in winter when one set of guests is departing as the next arrives. This week a couple of friends from Courchevel were here for two days and my brother and three friends arrive today (in the midst of which I thought I was going to have to dash off to Paris to view an apartment! but that fell through at the last minute).

One of the things I like to do for dinner, which guests love, is raclette. It's a winter staple here in Savoie and very popular in mountain restaurants.

Raclette is essentially melted cheese (the name comes from the French verb "racler", to scrape, because of the way the melted cheese is scraped out of the pan or off the block, depending on the type of machine used) served over boiled potatoes, accompanied by assorted meats (such as ham, prosciutto, salami) and pickled onions and/or gherkins. The only cooking involved is steaming some potatoes, after which everyone just melts some cheese in their own little pan under the raclette grill. Yum.