Just when I thought the cooler days were behind me, I awake to rain and chill, so lunch today is going to be a soup to warm those cockles – in this case my tummy. This recipe from my Delicious UK January 2020 winter menu goes one step further in yumminess with a side order of gooey cheese melts.
Red Onion Soup with Cheesy Sourdough Melts
The addition of the gooey cheese melts gives this classic French onion soup a lovely modern twist. You can use sliced sourdough bread, ciabatta or French stock for the melts.
75 ml olive oil
1.25 kg red onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
150 ml red wine
1.5 Litres good quality beef stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
50 g butter, softened
6 large sourdough bread or ciabatta slices
100 g Camembert, thinly sliced
75 g Gruyere, grated
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onions, garlic, thyme, and a little salt and pepper over a low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the onions are well caramelized.
Add the wine and reduce by half, then stir in the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until rich and flavourful. Add the parsley and adjust seasonings to taste.
Butter one side of the sourdough or ciabatta slices. Layer the Camembert and grated Gruyere over the non buttered side of 3 slices. Top butter-side up with the remaining slices. Press firmly but gently together.
Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sandwiches and top with a piece of foil. Weigh the slices down with a second pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side until the bread is crisp and golden and the cheese melted.
Spoon the soup into bowls. Cut each sourdough slice in half and serve alongside the soup.
Tip: you can make the soup a day ahead and keep in the fridge, giving it even more flavour.
Really excited to share two new cookery workshops dates for 2020!
After the terrific success of this year’s workshop in June Come Cook In France and Les Soeurs Anglaises are really excited to announce a further three cookery workshop dates next year in April, June (already fully booked) and September.
Our first will take place in APRIL as spring heralds in some fabulous new year’s produce, including asparagus, spring lamb and the first local strawberries.
Then, as summer makes way for autumn we again celebrate the season’s best produce including mushrooms, pumpkins and figs for our final course of 2002 in SEPTEMBER.
Autumn workshop 17th – 21st September 2020 BOOK NOW
● Four nights accommodation and continental breakfast
● Welcome mezze dinner with wine.
● Three fun, informative, half-day cooking sessions with after-class tasting meals
● An excursion to a local farmer’s market and/or visit to an artisan food maker (vinegar, cheese, nut oils, mushrooms, and/or a vineyard)
● Recipes and a Come Cook In France folder
● 3 light meals including all beverages (wine, waters, etc.)
● Local transport from and to Angouleme train station and Bergerac airport
● *Air and train fares to and from collection points in France are not included.
A: Single occupancy of Superior double bedroom with en suite: 1350€ per person.
B: Shared occupancy of Superior double bedroom with en suite: 1150€ per person.
C: Single occupancy of Twin bedroom shared bathroom 1100€ per person
D: Shared Twin bedroom / shared bathroom: 950€ per person
Minimum 8 participants (max 12 residents)
A non-refundable deposit of 300€ is required for confirmation of booking
DAY 1 Travel day, you will be sent information regarding transportation to Les Soeurs Anglaises (pick-ups are generally late afternoon) from Angouleme train station and Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport (EGC). Welcome, meet and greet dinner at the house.
DAY 2 Morning at the local marché. After a light market lunch, there will be an cookery class in L’Espace kitchen where the evening meal will be discussed and prepared.
DAY 3 We will meet in L’Espace kitchen where we will prepare a three course lunch to enjoy al fresco (weather permitting). The afternoon and evening will be free time for you to relax and enjoy the accommodation. A light evening meal will be provided.
DAY 4 You will have another chance to relax and have spare time to yourselves. There will be a light lunch provided. The afternoon session will be preparing and cooking the four course evening meal, again to be enjoyed together al fresco (weather permitting).
DAY 5 Brunch followed by departures before lunch.
Please note that this is a proposed itinerary and is subject to modest modifications, depending on available fresh produce, new opportunities, and the wishes of the workshop leader.
So looking forward to a whole new year of exciting cooking classes at Come Cook In France. As well as some of my regular classes, this year I am adding some full day and residential courses, hosted by the wonderful Les Soeurs Anglaises in The Dordogne.
The Cook Club courses are held in my kitchen at home and run from 9.30am to 2.30 pm. We cook up until about 1 pm when we sit down and enjoy the fruits of our morning’s labours. I run approximately 2 Cook Clubs per month.
The first course of the year is a fascinating look into some of my favourite Japanese dishes. I will be explaining some of the more unusual ingredients. I will demonstrate prepare and cook gyozas. Then together we will make Udon noodle soup with salmon and a tataki of beef.
This is always a hugely popular course and this year we will be stuffing lasagne sheets to make cannelloni, hand-cutting pappardelle and using a pasta machine to make different flavoured linguine. You can then make one of 3 different sauces to serve with your own home made pasta.
So many people seem a little fearful of cooking fish, yet are huge fans of eating it. This course is perfect as we look at some of our favourite whole fish and get to grips with scaling, filleting and cooking several completely different varieties.
This is one of my favourite courses as I like to take some of the classic French dishes such as duck confit or tart tatin and give them my own twist. So duck confit could be spiced with star anise and hoisin sauce before roasting, whilst fresh mango makes a quite delicious tart tatin, especially with home-made palm sugar ice cream.
As a huge fan of South East Asian cookery I love introducing people to the amazing flavours and unusual ingredients of this fascinating cuisine. We chop, slice, crush, pound and fry some of the most yummy dishes you can imagine.
The first day course of the year is such an exciting one. Hosted by Les Soeurs Anglaises we will have access to a pizza oven in order to cook up some truly awesome pizzas. After an introduction of how to get your pizza oven started up, we will make pizza dough, allowing time for it to rise. In the meantime we will crack on with all the yummy toppings, finishing the afternoon off our wood smoked pizzas, fresh from the oven.
I am super excited about my first residential cookery course at Les Soeurs Anglaises. After a meet and greet welcoming dinner we will spend 3 days preparing, cooking, eating, dining, relaxing and sharing foodie stories in the beautiful surroundings of our accommodation. Using locally produced and sourced ingredients we will cook French inspired dishes with a nod to modernity.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to my contacts page for more details.
With winter well and truly taking hold here, I start to yearn for spring and all things green. Well luckily you don’t really need to wait at all, there are so many delicious winter greens to keep you going until the first shoots of spring announce the beginning of the new growing season, just a few weeks away.
Here are a few of my favourite winter dishes using a selection of cabbages, leeks and spinach.
Kale ribollita with chargrilled sourdough
A hearty spring soup full of green vitality makes the perfect supper dish with slices of chargrilled garlic bruschetta.
Prep time: 1 hour (includes cooking beans)
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Soaking time: overnight
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, 2 chopped 1 left whole
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 large leek, trimmed and sliced
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
500g kale, trimmed and shredded
4-6 slices sourdough bread
For the beans
125g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1 onion, quartered
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 sprig fresh rosemary
6 black peppercorns
Start by cooking the beans. Drain the soaked beans, rinse and place in a saucepan with the quartered onion, garlic clove, rosemary stalk and peppercorns. Add 1 litre of cold water and bring to the boil, skimming the surface. Cover and simmer gently over a low heat for 50-55 minutes or until the beans are tender.
Drain the beans, discarding the the onion quarters and rosemary stalk. Transfer half the beans and liquid to a food and puree until smooth. Return to the pan.
Make the soup. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion, garlic, rosemary and a little salt and pepper for 10 minutes until softened. Add the leek, carrot and celery and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, the cooked bean mixture and stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently over a low heat for about 20 minutes until the carrots are tender. Stir in the kale and cook for a further 10 minutes until wilted
Meanwhile, heat a ridged grill pan until hot and grill the sourdough until lightly charred on each side. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half and rub over the toast. Drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Spoon the soup into bowls and serve topped with the bruschetta.
Quinoa salad with broccoli, preserved lemon and avocado oil
The preserved lemon adds a lovely zing to this salad dish with the combination of dried fruits, nuts and green veg. Perfect for lunch.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour
3 spring onions
1 small avocado
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as coriander and mint
50g dried cherries
30g pumpkin seeds, toasted
4 tablespoons avocado or extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, squeezed juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon
2 teaspoons honey
salt and pepper
Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain well. Heat a frying pan until hot, add the wet quinoa and stir over a high heat, firstly until dry and then continue for a further 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted and starting to crackle.
Add 450ml cold water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a very low heat for 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat but leave undisturbed for a further 5 minutes. If there is any liquid remaining drain through a sieve and leave to cool.
Trim the broccoli, discarding the stalk and cut into florets. Place in a steamer and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until al dente. Remove and let cool.
In a bowl, lightly whisk the oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the preserved lemon, honey and some salt and pepper.
Combine the quinoa, broccoli, spring onions, pumpkin seeds and cherries. Add the avocado and herbs and toss together. Add the dressing, stir well.
Tip: if you prefer serve this salad warm, rather than allowing the quinoa and broccoli to cool completely.
Orecchiette with softened spinach, Dolcelatte and hazelnuts
A classic combination of spinach and dolcelatte cheese is given a modern twist with the addition of toasted hazelnuts
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon, grated zest
500g spinach leaves, washed
50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
350g dried orecchiette pasta
150g dolcelatte cheese
4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
salt and pepper
freshly grated Parmesan, to serve
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or saucepan and gently fry the shallots, garlic, lemon zest and a little salt and pepper over a low heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the spinach leaves and stir well, then cook over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes until wilted.
Melt the butter in a small frying pan and add the hazelnuts. Stir over a medium-low heat until the nuts and butter turn a lovely nutty brown colour.
Meanwhile plunge the pasta into a large saucepan of lightly salted, boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well reserving 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta and liquid to the pan.
Stir in the spinach mixture, dolcelatte, mascarpone and all the Parmesan. Stir well over a low heat for 1 minute until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Divide between bowls and serve topped with the hazelnut butter and some extra, freshly grated Parmesan.
Baked savoy cabbage with Emmental and breadcrumbs
A fabulous way to bake cabbages in a creamy, cheesy sauce topped with crispy breadcrumbs and Parmesan. You can use any cheese you like.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
1 medium savoy cabbage. About 650g
25g butter, plus extra for greasing
1 whole nutmeg
500ml single cream
150g Emmental, grated
50g freshly made breadcrumbs
25g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/ gas mark 6 and grease a 2.5 litre baking tin with a little butter. Remove any really large tough outer leaves from the cabbage and very carefully cut into 6 wedges making sure you cut through the stalk so that the wedges remain attached at the base.
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Add the cabbage wedges and blanch for 4-5 minutes until vibrant green. Using tongs or a slotted spoon remove the cabbage from the pan. Shake off excess liquid and drain on kitchen towel.
Arrange the wedges in the prepared baking tin. Season with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper and dot over the remaining butter. Scatter the Emmental between the cabbage pressing some down into the leaves and pour over the cream. Scatter over the breadcrumbs and the Parmesan and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30-25 minutes until bubbling and golden.
Hello friends and followers of A Food Stylist’s Blog, I am back on WordPress, the only slight change is my site title is Come Cook in France (just so I can get all the i’s dotted) but otherwise my content will remain the same.
So with this piece of news comes my favourite recipe of the moment.
and for any of you who missed my latest posts on my website, please click on the link Come Cook In France
Margarita cheesecake with salted lime crackle
200g white chocolate, melted
50g butter, melted
175g digestive biscuits, crushed
grated zest and juice 3 limes
250g caster sugar
600g soft cheese
1 teaspoon sea salt
Finely grate 50g of the white chocolate into a shallow bowl. Take 8 martini or margarita glasses, dip the rims into cold water and then into the grated chocolate to coat the rims. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and pour into a bowl. Add the digestives and stir well until evenly coated. Divide between the glasses pressing them down lightly using the end of a rolling pin. Chill until required.
Combine the lime juice, tequila and half the sugar in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Leave to cool completely.
Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water), stirring until the chocolate is melted. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Place the cheese in a food processor with the tequila lime mixture and blitz until smooth. Then stir in the melted chocolate and cream and blend again. Using a piping bag with a large lain nozzle divide the mixture between the glasses. Chill for at least 2 hours.
Make praline. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Combine the remaining sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and heat very gently, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring for a further 5-6 mins until the liquid turns golden brown. Pour the caramel onto the prepared tray and leave to go cold.
Roughly crumble the praline and place in a food processor with the lime zest and salt and blitz to make a slightly chunky crumb mixture. Spoon onto the set creams and serve at once.
Hello to all the followers of my blog A Food Stylist’s Blog. Firstly I would like to thank you all for following me and my posts over the last 3years.
As my life and business has evolved in France I am now finding that most of time is take up with running my Cookery School and all the spin offs from it – Come Cook In France – therefore I am now blogging directly from the website www.comecookinfrance.com
If you wish to continue following my posts and my life in France (and I really hope that you all will) please click on the link, go to the blog page and you can then subscribe there.
A great time of year to serve this warm salad – still cold enough outside, but it will soon be time to start looking forward to warmer days.
6 large shallots, halved
6 large garlic cloves, left whole
750g carrots, roughly chopped
750g beetroot beetroot, cut into wedges
2 sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 litre chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh coriander
finely grated zest and juice 1lemon
2 tsp cumin seeds
100g Greek yogurt
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan forced 180c and line a roasting tin with baking paper. Place the shallots, garlic, carrots, beetroot, herbs and some salt and pepper in the prepared tray. Add half the oil, 3 tablespoons of the stock and stir well. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for a further 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, rinse the barley in a fine sieve and place in a saucepan. Add the remaining chicken stock and a pinch salt. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the barley is al dente. Strain off and discard any remaining stock. Place barley in a large bowl.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir into the barley with the coriander and lemon juice, season to taste.
Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the cumin seeds and lemon zest for 1 minute until fragrant. Spoon yogurt over the salad and drizzle over the cumin scented oil. Serve at once.
As the ground starts to warm after the winter chill, the garden is abloom with spring flowers and the first signs of life in the veg plot start to twist and turn their way towards the sun. It is still too early for any homegrown asparagus but as I drive around the local area I noticed several of the local producers have started to advertise their early crop and it won’t be long before bundles of vibrant green asparagus stalks are all over the markets.
It is without doubt my first real treat of the season and I am going to pair some tender young stalks with soft poached duck eggs. For something a little different to normal I have scattered over a little dukkah, an Egyptian blend of toasted nuts and spices, which marries perfectly the soft creaminess of the egg and the sweet, almost citric flavour of the asparagus. A bed of creamy tahini yogurt and a slug of fruity olive oil makes this combination truly delicious.
Asparagus with duck eggs, tahini and dukhah
4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon tahini paste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 duck eggs
1 bundle young asparagus, trimmed
2 teaspoons dukhah*
a drizzle extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Divide between 2 plates.
Cook the duck eggs in a small pan of boiling water for 7-8 minutes. Drain and immediately refresh under cold water to stop further cooking. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and cut in half.
Plunge asparagus spears into a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and shake dry.
Arrange the asparagus spears over the tahini sauce, pop the egg halves on top and scatter over the dukhah. Drizzle with a little oil and serve.
dukhah is available from Middle eastern stores, delis and some supermarkets
Given that I spent 20 years as a food stylist working with my brilliant food photographer husband Ian Wallace in London and Sydney, it seems crazy NOT to offer some food styling and photography courses at our new cookery school in SW France. So we are running a couple of bespoke courses this summer during July and August for 2 people. You will learn the secrets of how to shop and cook for a photo shoot, choose props to work with the menu and then how to set up and shoot the food.
The chandelier at night
Hanging the chandelier
Summer Dining (Food & Travel magazine)
With our fantastic weather and stunning locations you will be able to produce beautiful food pictures to illustrate your blog, put together a portfolio of work or just to learn and create something special to take away with you.
French Entertaining ( Australian Good Taste)
Apple Harvest (AWW)
Summer Alfresco Entertaining (Delicious magazine)
We will either put you up in our superb guest accommodation or put you in touch with some of the local B&B’s in the area.
The course itself will run for 4 days and will include cooking lessons, styling lessons and photography lessons, culminating in a photo shoot on location. These are very intimate bespoke course so we can talk through the details at length and cater for individual requirements.
Ian has shot for magazines such as Food & Travel magazine, Delicious Australia and UK, Gourmet Traveler, Vogue Entertaining and BBC Good Food as well as many commercial clients. His work is highly regarded around the world and he continues to work on food & lifestyle shoots with me here in France.
Pea and Wasabi Soup ( Valli Little’s Home Cooking)