Pai perdu, French toast

Pain perdu

Pain perdu, French toast, Poor Knights, Arme riddere are crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, lightly spiced and golden with a few local variations. This is a quick and easy recipe with no sugar in the main recipe.

My first encounter with french toast was from watching the movie Kramer vs Kramer a long long time ago, yes I am that old.  Mrs. Kramer had just left her husband and son, and the two left behind was going to make breakfast together. Mr. Kramer beat egg and milk in a mug and mashed a piece of white bread into the mixture. His son told him that his mom did it differently. I on the other hand could not understand why he did that at all, and specially after trying it myself. I remember beating egg and milk in a bowl about 50/50, then soaked a piece of white bread in it and then I fried it. The result was a mushy substance I did not care for at all. When my mom came home she showed me how to do it and used stale bread with a much better result. It was still not a huge success it did not become one of my favorites, it was to mushy. Today it is different, I love it and make it quite often and specially if I have stale bread lying around.

French toast, Pain oerdu, arme riddere.

I used brioche brought back from paris, but you can use any kind of bread. Since I am diabetic I do not use sugar in the batter. I rather use sweet condiments later. If you want you can add a bit of sugar into the mixture 1-3 teaspoons, but try without, the spices will give them a lot of flavour.

4 (1/2 inch) slices egg bread
2 egg
1 pinch salt, can be discarded
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 dl milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter for frying

 

Cut the bread the stale bread.

Whisk  all the ingredients except the bread in a bowl, place a piece of bread in a shallow pan and pour the mixture over the bread let it soak a bit(about 30 seconds) before frying it in a pan with a bit of butter on medium to high heat.

Repeat with the remaining slices. Cook until golden on one side and then flip to brown the other.

Serve immediately with the condiments you like, I used no added sugar raspberry jam with a drizzle og maple syrup and a few raspberries as garnish and to give this treat a little tartness.

Grilled cheese, French, Fried egg, Crock Madame

Crock Madame

Crunchy gooey French grilled cheese sandwich topped with an egg.

Crock Madame

In Norway they have a saying “A loved child has many names”, I guess it goes for this dish also, Grilled cheese sandwiches are loved by many and eaten around the world. Who is to say what is the right or the wrong way to make this sandwich. For the traditional Crock Monsieur you need bread, preferably brioche, cooked ham and cheese, some also use bechamel sauce.

Brioch, Poilâne

My version today is quite easy, I used brioche that I brought with me from MiniMe and my trip to Paris. I used Truffle Jack cheese, egg and I dropped the ham this time. If you scroll down, abow the last picture in this post there is a list of different crock sandwiches

For each sandwich I made I used:

2 slices of brioche(use any type of bread)
2 slices of truffle Jack(use your favoroite cheese)
1 egg
A little lettuce and tomatoes for garnish and added nutrients.

Grilled cheese sandwich

Pre heat oven to 200 C

Toast the bread in a pan with a little butter, sandwiched the cheese between the bread.

Place the sandwich on a baking paper lined baking tray and put the sandwich in the middle of the oven. The sandwich is done as soon as the cheese has melted.

While the sandwich is baking fry the egg in a pan with a little butter on medium heat. As soon as it is done, place the egg on top of your sandwich and enjoy.

Grilled cheese, French, Fried egg, Crock Madame

croque provençal (with tomato)
croque auvergnat (with bleu d’Auvergne cheese)
croque gagnet (with Gouda cheese and andouille sausage)
croque norvégien (with smoked salmon instead of ham)
croque tartiflette (with sliced potatoes and Reblochon cheese)
croque bolognese / croque Boum-Boum (with Bolognese sauce)
croque señor (with tomato salsa)
croque Hawaiian (with a slice of pineapple)

MiniMe and I lunching at Fauchon in Pais. I had risotto with truffles and she had crock monsieur made with only bread, ham and cheese.

 

Merveileux, frank fløtebolle, Lizas matverden, kremboller, pikekyss og krem, pikekyss Delikate, sprø og luftige franske fløteboller, pikekyss sandwich dekket med krem og revet sjokolade.

Merveilleux

They are deliciously delicate, light and crunchy, Merveilleux the French Belgian cream pastry consists of two meringue kisses sandwich and covered with cream and usually covered in grated chocolate.

Social media is an amazing forum where you can find a lot of inspiration. Back in 2015 I saw pictures of a wonderful little treat and I thought it was these Merveilleux, but I remember them a little different, and a little more detailed. Maybe I am confusing  the name with something else. I googled, but I could not find what I was looking for, my search though led me to this site Aux Merveilleux. After reading up on these over a hundred years old treat on different sites and blogs, I decided had to try to make these.

Merveilleux, French, Belgian, Treats, Pastry. Creambun, Maringue, cream, analizagonzales.com

I made a very simple version, with unsweetened whipped cream,  grated chocolate and of course meringue. Why unsweetened, it is because I think the meringue already are way too sweet. I understand that you can make these with different flavour and toppings. So this is just a guide to how to make these.

Merveilleux, French, Belgian, Treats, Pastry. Creambun, Maringue, cream, analizagonzales.com

You need:

meringue kisses
Whipped cream
Grated chocolate or topping of your choice
Make the meringue,  see recipe further down or you can buy ready-made ones
Grate the chocolate.
Whip the cream.

As you can see from my pictures I made the two different ways.

1. I piped the cream on  the meringue and then drizzled chocolate on top.

2. I used a spatula to cover the meringue.

Sandwich a dollop of cream between two pieces of meringue and then cover it with cream, lastly sprinkle with topping.

Merveileux, frank fløtebolle, Lizas matverden, kremboller, pikekyss og krem, pikekyss

Meringue
2 egg whites, room tempered
125 g sugar

Preheat the oven to 150 C

Whisk the egg whites staring out on low speed allowing bubbles to shape, then increase to high and continuous whisking until soft peaks form.
Add the sugar to the egg whites one big spoonful at a time. Once all the sugar is added, continue to whisk for 5 – 7 minutes, or until all the sugar is dissolved. You should be able to rub the mixture between your fingers and not feel any grit from the sugar, and it forms a smooth shiny peak on the tip of your finger.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place a dab of meringue on the bottom corners the parchment, and press down so the paper sticks to the pan.

Spoon the meringue mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a wide round nozzle. Pipe the meringue mixture evenly to form meringue kisses, anywhere between 3-5 cm, depending on the size you want.

Put the trays in the oven and reduce  the oven temperature to 100°C

Bake for 1 – 1,5 hours until the meringue can easily be lifted off the parchment paper with their bases in tact. Let them  cool completely. You can  store the meringues in an airtight container, and they will keep for up to a couple of weeks.

Merveilleux, French, Belgian, Treats, Pastry. Creambun, Maringue, cream, analizagonzales.com

Classic ratatouille with egg and cheese

Monday again and that means a meat free or leftover day, since there is no leftovers from yesterday I made meat free. Lately I have tried to use veggies with all the colors of the rainbow when cooking and Ratatouille is perfect for that, besides it is a dish I have not made for ages.

This colorful southern french classic, is packed with a lot of healthy goodness. Eat it by itself with some nice bread as a vegetarian stew or serve it as a side dish with the meat of your choise, I believe this dish pares well with chicken, beef and white fish.

Todays version is portioned in individual dishes with an egg and a little bit of cheese.

1 red onions
3 cloves of garlic
1 aubergines
1 zucchini
1 red or yellow peppers
4 ripe tomatoes
½ a bunch of fresh basil
olive oil
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 x 400 g tin tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ a lemon

4 eggs
cheese

Start by preparing your vegetables.

Peel and cut the onions into wedges, then peel and finely chop the garlic. Trim the aubergines and courgettes, de seed the peppers and chop into 2.5  cm chunks. Roughly chop the tomatoes.

Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over  medium heat. Fry each vegetable in batches and fry for around 5 minutes, or until golden and softened, but not cooked through. Set the veggies a side until needed.

Next saute onion, garlic  and thyme leaves with a drizzle of oil, if needed. Fry for 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened and golden. Return the cooked vegetable to the pan and stir in the fresh and tinned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and a good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Mix well and cver the pan and simmer over a low heat for 30 to 35 minutes, or until reduced, sticky and sweet. Tear in the basil leaves, add the grated lemon zest and adjust the seasoning, if needed.

The stew is ready to be served or you can do as I did. I divided the stew in individual portions, use a ovenproof dish or something else, make a small well in the middle and crack an egg in it, sprinkle some cheese on top and bake in a preheated oven 200 C for 5-10 minutes, depending on how you like your egg.

 

Mère Poullard omelette

On the island of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy there is a little restaurant called La Mère Poulard, a place that serve lofty and fluffy omelets.

IMG_20150522_134646

Anne Poulard and her husband Victor founded the Hostellerie de la Tête d’Or, but found that their customers came and went as quickly as the tide as most of them where pilgrims visiting the church on top of the rock. They came up with the idea of cooking giant omelets in their wooden hearth to entice the visitors to stay.

The restaurant founded in 1879 has since then become quite famous for their egg dish, they are several inches thick, beaten in hand-hammered copper bowls, and cooked over an open fire.  The omelets resemble a soufflé more than a traditional one. In the early days when catering to the pilgrims the omelets were free, but when I was there in May 2015 a 250 gram omelette cost €49 and if you wanted the decadent one with lobster and truffle potatoes the price was €79.

To my dismay I was not able to sample this dish on my visit to the island. I was on a guided tour and managed to sneak away 20 minutes earlier and thought I had enough time to get a taste of this omelette. I ran from the cathedral as if I had stolen the Holy Grail it self turning a few heads as I passed, but alas the restaurant did not open until 11:30 and I had to meet up with the rest of the group at 11:20 for departure.

When I got home from my trip I googled and this is my interpretation of the omelette, but since  I made it on a conventional oven it probably did not taste the same as the one the pilgrims got, I imagine the omelette having a light smokey flavour since it is cooked over burning wood on a open hearth.

For this fluffy omelette i used

3 eggs

2 tbs creme fraishe

salt og pepper

oil and a little butter for cooking

Beat the eggs until pale and fluffy, fold in the creme fraishe, salt and pepper.

Pour the eggs into a preheated pan with a little oil and lett it cook gently on medium to low heat for about 5 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes .
Put the pan back on the heat and gently lift it up and add some butter to give it a little crisper crust. Let the omelette cook for about 5 more minutes on medium to low heat, you do not want it to be cooked all the way to the top.
Slide the omelette on to a serving plate and fold.
Bon Appetitte.

French onion soup

I can recall the first time I tried this soup. It was mid eighties and this was the rave of the bistro scene.

But alas the one I tried was weak vinegar tasting, the onions seemed cooked in the soup and not caramelized, the bread was just soggy with a few bits of melted cheese. It is safe to say that it took a while before I tried this soup again.

The next time I tried it was heaven sweet and a little sour, with soggy and crisp bread with tons of melting cheese and since then I have eaten and made this soup once in a while.

Ingredients for 4 persons

1 kg onions

2 tbs butter

2 tbs olive ol

1 liter of chickenstock

1 cup of white wine or juice of 1 lemon

A handfull of fresh thyme

1 tsp sugar

8 slices of stale bread

1-1,5 cups of grated cheese

salt and pepper

Cut the onions into 1/8 inch slices and caramelize it in a pan with butter and oliveoil.

When the onion is nicly caremelizes ad the stock, thyme and sugar. Let it cook for about 15 minutes and ad salt and pepper to taste.

With four of the bread pieces I made cheese topped crutons to give the soup a little crunch, pluss that the bread will not become to soggy right away.

If you do not have oven proof bowls you can just do the step I mentioned above the picture, put your bread slices in the oven with cheese and put them in your soup when finished.

If you have oven proof bowls or want to take a chance like me(I used a large teacup)

Put a breadpiece over your crutons and ad a handfull of cheese and put it in a preheated oven (225 C or 430 F) and bake until the cheese is meltetd and have a nice color.

Serve piping hot and garnish with a little fresh thyme

Rillette de Canard

Have you ever tried duck rillettes? This french goodnes of meat cooked to shreds in its own fat.

Rillettes was usually made with pork, but today there are meny different kinds, some even with fish.

For this recipe you need.

1 duck

5-6 stalks of thyme

5-6 bayleafs

 1,5 tbs salt

1,5 tbs whole pepper corns

Cut the duck and remove the skin and fat (Cook the skin and fat in a separate pot click HERE for instructions)

Put all the ingredients in a pot and cover with water

Give it a boil and let it simmer on medium heat for about 2 hours, until the meat is tender and comes off the bones by itself

Shred the meat

and continue simmering the meat with 1 cup of the broth and 1/4 cup of the fat for about an hour.

Fill jars or little clay pots with the meat and top it with a little duck fat and let them cool

Enjoy the rillettes with bread or use it in salads if you like.

Save the fat and broth for later, you can make nice gravy and enrich soups with the broth.

The fat is nice to sautee vegetable in.

Frittons de Canard

If you like bacon rashers, you might like this luxury version made of duck skin.

I am making duck rillettes and this is what you get if you heat up the duck skin and fat.

Put the skin and fat in a pot and heat up.
I use high heat in the beginning, but when you hear it sizzling turn the heat down to medium heat.
Then I cut the skin into strips
and put it back into the pot.
let it simmer until it is golden.
When it is done, remove the rashers and let them drain on paper towels
In a mortar I pound a little salt to dust, and then sprinkle a light salt dust over the rashers.