New cookery workshops

Really excited to share two new cookery workshops dates for 2020!

Photography © Lesli Lundgren

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.

Dates

Spring workshop 23rd – 27th April 2020 BOOK NOW

Summer workshop June 18th – 22nd 2020 FULL

Autumn workshop 17th – 21st September 2020 BOOK NOW

Details

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. 

Prices

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 

Itinerary

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.

Take a look at some of the previous workshops


For the love of honey

Freshly poured honey

Meeting the bee keepers

Known for both its culinary and health benefits, honey is one of nature’s true gifts. I wanted to find out more about how honey gets from the flower to our toast, so I headed off to a local honey producer in Charente Maritime, SW France where three generations of the same family have been producing honey for more than 50 years. Christian Robert along with his son and grandson were delighted to share their knowledge with me.

M. Robert, his son & grandson

‘Preparation begins in the winter’ he told me ‘whilst the bees are dormant’. Bees begin foraging for nectar in early spring as the first flowers begin to appear. They transform the pollen to honey in the combs and then cap it with a layer of wax where it remains until collected by the beekeeper. Once full the combs are removed for processing and replaced by new frames and the cycle continues throughout summer. Once collected the beekeeper removes the outer wax coating revealing the liquid honey beneath. It is filtered in an extraction machine, stored in barrels to separate off the sediment before being heated gently (below 40c) and poured into jars for selling.

So what is honey exactly

It is a highly concentrated sugar solution made up of 70% sugar (fructose and glucose) and less than 20% water plus vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Extracted honey can be liquid, crystalized (set honey) or partially crystalized and this crystallization is a natural occurrence that takes place when the percentage of glucose is higher than that of fructose.

Honey is categorised by the type of flowers from which the nectar is sourced. This is also what gives honey its flavour. The darker the honey the more intense the flavour.

Different honey varieties

Monofloral honey, considered a premium honey, is produced by nectar collected from just one flower source such as acacia, leatherwood, manuka, heather, orange blossom and other single flower varieties. It can be runny or set, light, dark, creamy or crystalline.

Polyfloral honey is made from the nectar of different flowers and is likely to be labelled simply as honey and again the colour and texture varies. Blended honey, also labelled just honey, is made by combining different flavoured honeys together and is usually the cheapest of all the types sold. The flavour of these is milder and I think, inferior. These honeys will have been heat-treated and possibly pasteurised.

Then we have ‘raw’ honey, so called due to the method of processing and must be 100% unprocessed, so once extracted it is warmed only enough to pour into jars and not enough to change it’s structure. Often sold directly from producers ‘raw’ honey is perhaps the most desirable of all honey, especially as there is now a growing demand by consumers for locally sourced honey.

The taste test

The best way to decide which type of honey you prefer is by tasting different ones, see what you like and what you don’t. As well as colour, the texture of honey differs too and is classified as creamy honey, set honey or a thin honey. Set honey is crystalline but this doesn’t mean that the honey is old or has ‘gone off’ it is just that the glucose content is higher than the fructose content. The flavour will remain the same.

Honeycomb

In cooking stick to runny honeys for salad dressings and marinades, as they are easier to combine with other ingredients. A thicker, darker honey is great in cake baking as this will add both flavour and moisture.

Over time all honey will set and crystalize, but it can easily be softened by warming it in a water bath or microwave. Honey will remain in the same state for up to 2 years but must be stored in a cool, dark place (not refrigerated) even once its been opened.

The health benefits

Of course honey is not only used in cooking it is also prized for its apparent health benefits. There has been much written and reported over the years to suggest honey can cure or aid everything from the common cold, sore throats, help with digestion, combat ulcers and more recently help prevent hay fever. ‘Raw’ locally produced honey is thought to be beneficial as it will contain minute quantities of the very flowers that give you the sniffles, gradually building up immunity.

Honey bees at work

It is a fact that ‘raw’ untreated honey retains all it’s original enzymes and antioxidants and has antibiotic and antimicrobial properties and protects against bacteria. Of all honeys, manuka honey is generally accepted as having the most health benefits due to a higher percentage of certain components it contains. In fact medical grade manuka honey is used to help heal wounds.

Because honey contains natural fruit sugars it means that our bodies absorb the energy they provide more quickly than other sugars, making them an ideal quick ‘energy fix’. It is important to remember though that any sugar should be consumed in moderation but if you are only going to eat one type of sugar today, make it honey on your toast.

Honey facts – things you never knew about honey and honeybees

  • Honeybees are the only insects that produce food for humans
  • They visit anywhere between 50 and 100 flowers on each trip
  • Honey is more than 1 to1.5 times sweeter than sugar therefore you need less in order to sweeten something
  • Honey is a natural antibiotic used for thousands of years to help soothe burns. The World Health Organisation lists it as a sore throat aid.
  • Honeybees communicate with each other by dancing
    Honeybees only sting when they are protecting their colony and not when they are foraging for nectar
Coloured hives so the bees can find their way home

The recipes

Rosewater and pistachio baklava pave

Serves: 10-12

Rosewater and pistachio baklava ice cream

100 g shelled pistachio nuts

50 g almonds

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons soft brown sugar

8 sheets filo pastry

50 g unsalted butter

grated zest and juice 1/2 lemon

200 g clear honey

2 tablespoons rose water

1 litre vanilla ice cream, softened

dried rose petals buds, to serve

Make the baklava. Preheat the oven to 180c/fan-forced 160c. Place the pistachio nuts, almonds and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until the nuts are coarsely ground. Stir in the sugar and reserve 4 tablespoons for serving.

Lightly oil 23cm square tin. Cut each pastry sheet in half and trim to fit into the tin. Brush each sheet with butter and press into the prepared tin to make 8 layers. Scatter over the nut mixture and then top with the remaining sheets of pastry, brushing with melted butter each time.

Brush over any remaining butter and bake at for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 160c/fan-forced140c and bake for a further 20-25 minutes until pastry is crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and using a skewer prick the surface all over the pastry.

Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. Place the lemon zest, juice, honey and 100ml water in a saucepan and heat gently until boiling. Simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the rose water. Immediately pour three quarters of the honey syrup over the baklava and leave to go cold in the tin.

Assemble the pavé. Turn the pastry out of the tin and cut in half. Spread a third of the ice cream into the base of a lightly oil 12×22 cm loaf tin and place one half of baklava on top. Repeat with the ice cream and remaining baklava and finally the remaining ice cream. Smooth the top and cover with cling film. Freeze overnight. Turn out cut into slices, drizzle over the remaining syrup and decorate with dried rose petals and reserved chopped nut

Coconut sesame prawns with honey sauce

Serves: 6

Coconut sesame prawns with honey sauce

100 g dried thin egg noodles

24 large raw prawns

2 tablespoons clear honey

2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine

2 cloves garlic, crushed

11/2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

a few coriander sprigs

vegetable oil, for deep frying

Place the noodles in a bowl and add boiling water to cover. Leave to soak for 20 minutes, drain well and pat dry on kitchen paper. Peel and de-vein the prawns and wrap 8-10 noodles around each. Deep-fry in 5 cm vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes until crisp and golden, turning half way through. Drain on kitchen paper and transfer to a warmed platter.

Make the sauce. Place honey, rice wine, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes and pour over the prawns. Garnish with sesame seeds and coriander.

Roasted chicken salad with warm honey dressing

Serves: 6

Roasted chicken salad with warm honey dressing

2 kg free range chicken, butterflied

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tbsp quatre epices (or mixed ground spice)

a drizzle honey

500 g sweet potatoes, peeled cut into cubes

1/2 red onion

parsley, mint, coriander

pomegranate seeds

dressing

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon clear honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon preserved lemon, diced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

1small red chilli, seeded and diced

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200c. Place chicken in a large bowl and rub. Combine the oil quatre epices, salt and pepper in a bowl and rub all over the chicken. Cook on a barbecue or grill pan for 20-25 minutes each side until cooked through, brushing over a little honey about 5 minutes before finished cooking (skin side only).

While the chicken is cooking, place the sweet potatoes in a roasting tin with a little oil, salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes, stirring half way through until charred and tender.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. Blitz together the oil, honey, lemon juice, preserved lemon and coriander and stir in the chilli and some salt and pepper to taste.

Cut chicken into pieces and toss with the dressing. Combine the sweet potatoes, spinach leaves, red onion and herbs in a bowl and toss well. Transfer to a platter. Pile the chicken in the middle drizzling any pan juices over the salad. Serve at once.

Herb infused honey pots – to give as gifts, small pots of honey flavoured with herbs such as fennel flowers, lavender, rosemary etc. Simply stir in your favourite flavours, seal and store until required.

All images © Ian Wallace

All recipes © Louise Pickford

Taken from my article first published by Food & Travel Magazine, August/September 2105


Recipe of the week – beef

Beef with salt roasted celeriac and walnut Gorgonzola pesto

Delicious combination of earthy flavours and textures in this quick and simple mid week supper – photo Ian Wallace

Serves: 6

1 large celeriac, trimmed (about 1kg)

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

1kg piece beef filet

pesto

100g walnut pieces

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley

2 tbs green olives

2 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

55g gorgonzola cheese

2 cups Autumn salad leaves, such as radicchio, red oak leaf, red chicory

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200c/180c fan-forced and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Make the pesto. Place the walnuts, parsley, olives, anchovies and some pepper in a food processor and blend until smooth. Blend in the oil, half the balsamic vinegar and then stir in the gorgonzola. Season to taste and set aside.

Peel the celeriac and cut in half, then cut each half into 1 cm thick slices. Combine the oil and salt and rub all over the celeriac pieces. Arrange on the prepared tray and roast for 30 minutes until charred and softened. 

Meanwhile, season the beef fillet. Heat an oven-proof frying pan over a high heat and when hot add the beef. Sear for 5 minutes until browned all over. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes.

Cut the beef into 6 thick steaks and arrange on a second baking tray. Spoon the pesto onto each steak and return to the oven for 5 minutes until the beef is cooked perfectly and the pesto golden.

Divide the celeriac between plates and top with the beef steaks. Spoon over any pan juices and serve with some mixed salad leaves.

© photo Ian Wallace

© recipe Louise Pickford

First published by Taste.com.au


Looking ahead……summer 2019

Beef with pangrattata copy

Thyme beef fillet with anchovy dressing and pangrattata

 

I am really excited to announce a 3 day / 4 night cookery workshop next June, to be held in one of the most beautiful locations in the region. I have recently begun collaborating with Katie and Mike Armitage of Les Soeurs Anglaises in the Dordogne, where together we host pop up dinners and have formed a private dining club we call La Tablée (the sharing table) for local residents.

Katie has been hosting creative workshops at L’Espace, a superb barn conversion turned workshop venue, so it is the ideal place for me to run my first residential course.

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The long weekend will kick off with an evening meal, prepared and cooked by me, welcoming you all to the course. On the first morning you can accompany me to the largest weekly market in the region to discover the season’s best local produce. If you like, this could include a pastry and coffee at the market rather than breakfast at the accommodation.

Light lunches will be provided each day.

After breakfast, on mornings two and three you are free to relax and spoil yourself in the beautiful surroundings, by one of the two pools, or take a walk through the stunning countryside. Extra cookery classes can also be arranged as can visits to local producers or food stores.

All three afternoons will be spent with hands on cooking, where we will prepare our evening meal. I will demonstrate some of the more complex dishes teaching you how to prepare meat, fish, seafood and vegetables. It will be all hands on deck, slicing, chopping, searing and roasting.

Each evening we will sit down to share the wonderful meal prepared together, accompanied of course with complimentary wines.

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The workshop includes

  • 4 nights accommodation
  • 3 days of L’Espace workshop with me
  • All breakfasts, lunches, dinners (served with wine) and refreshments
  • Snacks and beverages throughout your stay
  • A morning visit to local market
  • Pick-up and drop-off at arrival airport Bergerac / train station Angouleme (at allocated times)*
  • *Air and train fares to and from collection points in France are not included.

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Pricing for this 3 night/4 day workshop varies depending on your choice of accommodation. Please see prices below or click here to see our accommodation photo gallery.

A:    Single occupancy of Superior double bedroom with en suite: 930€  per person

B:    Single occupancy of Twin bedroom shared bathroom 750€ per person

C:    Shared Twin bedrrom / shared bathroom: 620€ per person

In order to secure your place on this course we require a 170€ non-refundable deposit to secure a booking, the full balance being payable two months prior to the start of the workshop.

Limited to 10 places

IMG_0105

For further information or to book your place on this exciting weekend of cooking, please visit http://www.lessoeursanglaises.com/food-styling-photography

 

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Asian noodles cook club

The first of my monthly Cook Club courses took place last week with great success. The concept of cook club is to offer people who live locally in SW France the chance to join me for a 4 hour cooking session and learn to cook dishes from around the world and craft their culinary skills with courses on all food subjects. Living here in France is great but occasionally we all yearn for something else and so we began with Asian noodles.

On the menu this week were Salmon and spring onion gyoza, Steamed scallop and chive dumplings, Green papaya, crispy pork and vermicelli noodle salad and a classic Prawn pad Thai (stir-fried noodles).We began by filling the gyoza wrappers and dumpling wrappers and made up their delicious but totally different sauces. Next came the green papaya salad which we left to one side, ready to assemble just before lunch, whilst we finished off prepping up the Pad Thai. After a full-on morning of cooking and learning about noodles we sat down together to enjoy the fruits of our labours……….. delicious!

RPS1796_P46 scallop dumplings copy 3

Steamed scallop and bean shoot dumplings

Serves: 2

125g shelled scallops (corals removed)

25g bamboo shoots, drained and chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic chives/or chives

1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoons oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

12-16 wonton wrappers

a little sunflower oil, for cooking

shredded spring onions, to garnish

Trim the scallops, cutting away the grey muscle attached at one side and cut into small dice. Place in a bowl with the bean shoots, garlic, chives, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil and stir well.

Lay the wrappers flat on a board and place a teaspoon of the scallop mixture in the center. Brush around the edges with a little water and draw the sides up and around the filling pressing together to seal. Transfer each one to a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Pop the base of each dumpling in a dish of oil and transfer to a medium-sized bamboo steamer. Cover and steam over a pan of simmering water for about 8-10 minutes until firm and cooked through. Serve with the dressing, garnished with shredded spring onions.

Szechuan chilli dressing

Makes: 50ml

50ml sunflower oil

1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes

1 tablespoons light soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon black vinegar

1 teaspoons caster sugar

¼ teaspoon Szechuan pepper

Heat the oil in a small saucepan until it just starts to shimmer, remove from the heat and stir in the chilli flakes. Set aside for 30 minutes and then strain through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients and serve as required.

If you are making ahead of time omit the pepper, adding it just before serving


RPS1796_P56 Salmon gyozas copy

Salmon and spring onion gyoza

Serves: 2

125 g skinless salmon fillet, boned

1 spring onion, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/2 tablespoon Mirin

1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce

10-12 gyoza wrappers

1/2 tablespoon sunflower oil

pinch salt

black sesame seeds

Cut the salmon fillet into small dice and place in a bowl. Add the spring onions, Mirin and soy sauce and stir well to combine.

Using 1 wrapper at a time, lay flat on a clean board and place a spoonful of the salmon mixture on one half of each wrapper. Dampen the edges with water, fold in half and turn edges over, pressing together well to seal.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the gyoza on one side until really browned. Add 100ml water and simmer, partially covered for 3 minutes until the water is evaporated. Fry for a further 1 minutes until crisp. Transfer to serving dishes and drizzle over the dipping sauce.

Noodle dipping sauce

Makes: 150 ml

100 ml dashi stock

11/2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce

11/2 tablespoons Mirin

1/4 teaspoon caster sugar

Combine the dipping sauce ingredients together and chill until required. This will keep indefinitely in a screw top jar in the fridge.


RPS1796_Green papay salad copy 2

Green papaya and crispy panchetta salad

Serves: 4

150 g dried rice vermicelli noodles

150 g pancetta, diced

150 g green papaya, peeled, halved and seeded

1 cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced

a good handful fresh mint, coriander and Thai basil

125g grape cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons palm sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 red bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced and seeded if wished

4 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped

1 tablespoon roasted rice powder

crispy fried shallots, to serve

Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Soak for 20 minutes until just tender. Drain and then dry the noodles on a clean tea towel and place in a large bowl.

Dry fry the panchetta in a small frying pan over high heat until crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.

Thinly slice the papaya and cut into long thin strips or julienne. Add to the noodles with the cucumber, herbs, cherry tomatoes and panchetta.

Whisk together the fish sauce, sugar and lime juice and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add to the salad, toss well and divide between plates. Top with the peanuts and powdered rice. Serve with crispy fried shallots.


Prawn Pad Thai

RPS1796_Pad thai

Serves: 1

90g dried rice stick noodles

6-8 medium raw prawns, peeled and de-veined

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoons grated palm sugar

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 tablespoon tamarind water

4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

125 g firm tofu, diced

2 red shallots

2 garlic cloves or 1 small bunch garlic chives

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon dried shrimps (see Store Cupboard ID pages)

a pinch cayenne pepper

125 g bean sprouts, trimmed plus extra to serve

Garnishes

crushed peanuts,

lime wedges, to serve

coriander/garlic chives

cayenne pepper

Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes stirring to ensure they separate. Drain well. Prepare the prawns. Shell and remove the black vein from the back, wash and pat dry.

Place the fish sauce, palm sugar, white sugar and tamarind water in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok, add the tofu to the pan and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes until crispy. Remove from the pan.

Add the prawns (with a little extra oil, if needed) and stir-fry for 2 minutes until pink, remove with a slotted spoon.

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and fry over a medium heat for 30 seconds and pour in the beaten egg. Lower the heat and cook, stirring gently for 10 seconds until starting to set.

Return the tofu to the pan along with the cooked prawns, dried shrimp and noodles and stir-fry over a high heat until the noodles start top brown.

Add the sauce and a pinch of cayenne stirring constantly, until everything is heated through. Stir through the half beansprouts.

Transfer to a platter and sprinkle over the remaining beansprouts, peanuts, coriander and cayenne pepper and serve with lime wedges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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