Saturday, July 24, 2010

curry magic


From sublime Joël Robuchon recipes to the ridiculous: curry that looks like fish food in a poly bag.

But I have to share this with you because it's the best curry, outside India, that I've ever tasted - and I'm a bit of a curry aficionado. I would estimate that 80% of non home-cooked meals (restaurants and take-aways) I had when I lived in Scotland were curries. An ex-boyfriend (and fellow aficionado) and I would scour Edinburgh for the wettest curry - because a curry has to be wet, you see.

Sadly, every curry I've had since I've been in France (including Paris, disappointingly) has been revolting: dry cloying sauces tasting predominantly of curry paste from a jar, kicking to death any other flavour threatening to make itself known. There's been nothing fresh or fragrant about any of them. The worst was in Méribel, where the chicken pieces had been coated in a torrid desiccated paste then heated in the oven. 

So imagine my joy when this little bag arrived (from my Aunt Hils) and it turned out to be so good.

At first glance the contents look like wood shavings and bark and other detritus swept up off the forest floor, but when you add water and cook for five minutes, some strange kind of alchemy takes place and you're left with the most amazing wet curry sauce, to which you simply add your meat/fish of choice. It's made by a company called Curry Magic - and they deliver to France.

I'm going to decorate the kitchen with flock wallpaper and pictures of the Taj Mahal that light up and play sitar music - so it will just be like sitting in my favourite Indian restaurant in Scotland.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

fine food

I've been getting a lot of stick about the crisp sandwich and the burgers. After all my banging on about "Cordon Bleu this" and "Cordon Bleu that", you expected more from me.

So I give you ... 

langoustes en fines ravioles.

I bet they don't serve these down your local chippy.

This is based on a Joël Robuchon recipe from his book Robuchon Facile - and it really is easy, yet could conceivably feature on the menu of one of his Michelin starred restaurants.

The ravioli are made with layers of paper-thin slices of blanched turnip, their strong peppery flavour perfectly balancing the sweetness of the langoustines and the red pepper sauce. One to impress your dinner party guests with.

To make the ravioli sandwiches

Slice a small turnip very finely using a mandolin and cut into circles (about 7 cm) using a pastry cutter. Blanche the turnip slices in boiling salted water for 15 seconds, refresh in cold water and pat dry with kitchen roll. On top of 2 turnip discs, place 2 or 3 cooked langoustines, some very finely sliced fresh ginger and a flat parsley leaf and top with another disc of turnip. Stack a ravioli sandwich on top of another and serve with red pepper sauce.

Red pepper sauce

50 g onions
100 g red pepper
15 g fresh ginger
½ garlic clove, crushed with the flat side of a knife
45 g butter
pinch of paprika
100 cl fish stock
11 cl crème fraîche
salt and pepper

1. Peel and finely chop the onions. Peel the red pepper, remove the seeds and cut into big chunks. Peel and finely slice the ginger.

2. Melt 30 g of butter in a pan and add the garlic and onions and sweat for a couple of minutes. Add the paprika, salt and pepper, ginger, red pepper and fish stock and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes.

3. Add the crème fraîche and set aside for 5 minutes then add 15 g of chilled butter and sieve.