Once again I managed to turn a holiday into an excuse to spend 12 hours a day in the kitchen, this time with a rather perfect background of Jazz recording next door, intoxicating blue sky and for that matter intoxicating amounts of wine.
Although I particularly enjoyed the saxophone production line assisting me when making 80 canapés for the concert, the most successful recipes turned out to be duck liver pate (only in france) and chocolate chip cookies of which I couldn't make enough…
Disclaimer: Unfortunately I had no scales or measuring jugs etc so I did mot of the amounts by sight… but I've written roughly the right amounts
These cookies may not look much like cookies, more like misshapen slabs but I have testimonials that the are pretty damn good.
Makes roughly 30-40
500g caster sugar
1tbsp vanilla extract
500-600g flour (until you have the right consistency)
pinch of salt
200g chocolate chips
1. Cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.
2. Beat in the eggs one at a time with the vanilla extract, you will need to beat pretty hard to combine.
3. Add the flour a bit at a time with the salt and mix hard. You want to have the consistency of a stiff cake mix, not quite as solid as your average biscuit dough.
4. Finally stir through the chocolate chips.
5. Scoop ice cream size balls of the cookie dough onto a greaseproof paper lined tray and bake in the oven for 12-15mins at 180oC until the dough has spread out and the cookies are golden brown, just starting to crisp up on the edges, you may have to separate the cookies. Leave to cool and harden up, serve.
I'm not sure yet whether this pate will work out of france because it is so very french, mostly duck livers and garlic… I also realise the prospect of eating duck liver might freak some people out so there is an equally rich mushroom pate recipe below which pretty much looks the same too. Usually you would use brandy or port for this but all I had was wine… Likewise for the really daring feel free to set the alcohol in the pan on fire (flambé) I was just a bit scared of burning down someone else's house.
Makes A lot.
900g duck livers
pepper and salt
10 garlic cloves
200ml white wine
200ml red wine
1. Heat 200g of butter in a pan and add the shallots, garlic, pepper and lots of salt. Sweat for 5-8mins or until soft. Add the thyme.
2. Add the duck livers and brown all over, add the alcohol and bubble it off as quickly as possible (here is where the flambé comes in)
- you may want to do this in batches depending on your pan.
3. Blitz the livers mix and the rest of the butter in a food processor till smooth, pour into a dish and leave in the fridge to set.
Makes a lot
700g basic white mushrooms (mix this up a bit and add different mushrooms for different flavour)
salt and pepper
200g creme fraiche
1. Sweat the shallots, leeks and garlic in a pan with the butter, salt and pepper until soft. Add the tarragon and mushrooms and bubble until most of the liquid from the mushrooms has gone.
2. Blitz in a food processor with the creme fraiche, then pour into a dish and leave in the fridge to set.