Saturday, 20 September 2014

A French Feast

If you haven't noticed yet, I love to cook for people. I will take any excuse to flick through recipe books, whack on an apron and share the joys of good food with great friends. 

After all "People who love to eat, are always the best people"
~ Julia Child

Since we were kids, weekends would often consist of at least one dinner with family friends. They were never anything overly fancy, but whenever it was our turn to host something mum and us kids would spend all afternoon/evening experimenting in the kitchen. This tradition has truly stuck, and is something I always look forward to. 

Unfortunately I am not able to have people over as much as I would like to, but last weekend I was fortunate enough to have a couple of my dearest friends over for a well deserved catch up! 

With recipes chosen I hit the local farmers market to collect a bundle of fresh vegetables for what was to become a decedent French feast! 

A couple of years ago I spent a week in Paris taking cooking lessons at the incredible cooking school Cook'n With Class. (seriously, if you are ever in Paris you must check them out!) Ever since, French food, particularly deserts and pastries, have stuck with me and take me nostalgically back to a distant summer wandering the streets of Paris. 


I know I usually only write about desserts and baked goods, but today I thought I would share with you both the main and desert! Each equally decedent and simple enough for anyone to recreate at home. 
Unfortunately I don't have too many photos of the main course, but hopefully the recipe will intrigue you enough. 


Veal Faci 

Take 4 thin slices of veal and pound the meet until very thin between two pieces of plastic wrap. Lightly season each piece with salt and pepper.

With butchers string at the ready, add 1/4 of your sausage meet in a small line in the middle of one of your veal pieces. Roll the veal around the sausage making into a tight tube resembling a burrito. Wrap the butchers string around the veal a few times and tie tightly. 
Repeat with the remaining veal pieces.

In a large frypan, heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil. When the oil starts to smoke, add the veal. 
You should hear a sizzle when the meat hits the hot oil. Saute on one side until golden brown and then flip (this should take 5-6 mins, depending on its thickness). 

When they are ready and warm all the way through, add 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 clove of garlic (crushed) and a quarter of a bunch of thyme. Move the veal continuously ensuring an even coating of sauce. Cut of the string, carve and serve.

I served the veal on a layer of lightly roasted asparagus and tomatoes (each lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil before going into a 180degree C oven for roughly 15mins) and a generous serving of Mimi Thorisson's Potatoes à la Lyonnaise  - a recipe I will share soon. 

Ingredient List: 
4 thin slices of veal
250g fresh sausage meat
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
1/4 bunch of thyme
salt and pepper to taste. 

Moelleux au Chocolat
(Chocolate Lava Cake)

This beautiful, velvety chocolate cake is filled with a decadently gooey molten chocolate centre. Sounds pretty good right? It is fairly foolproof to make, and is bound to impress the socks off your guests. 

What is even better about this dish is that you can make it up to a day in advance with the batter left in its moulds in the fridge, only to be taken out and put in the oven to cook when desired. Meaning you have the evening to actually spend time with your friends, rather than spending the evening locked away in the kitchen. 

In a double boiler, slowly melt together 170g good quality dark chocolate with 170g of unsalted butter. In the mean time mix together 85g plain flour, 170g light brown sugar and a pinch of salt. 

Once the chocolate and butter have melted together, transfer to your stand mixer (or a larger bowl) and beat in 6 eggs, one at a time, until well combined and smooth. Add the flour and sugar and mix well. 

Grease 6 individual moulds with  a layer of butter before pouring the mixture in and placing in the fridge to set. As I like to have my cakes out of the moulds I use aluminium panna cotta moulds, but I have seen this desert cooked and served in small ramekins as well. 

Leave the cake batter to rest for at least 2 hours (or over night). Just before you are planning to serve dessert, preheat the oven to 180degrees C, and cook your cakes for 10-12mins. Briefly let rest before turning out your cakes and serve hot to your waiting guests, leaving them to discover the hidden lava surprise. 

Ingredient List:
170g Dark chocolate
170g Unsalted butter
170g Brown sugar
85g Plain flour
1 pinch of salt 
6 eggs

A perfect collection of recipes to complement any evening with friends.