Oeufs en Meurette (Eggs in Wine Sauce)

om1-1

The ingredients: Eggs, bacon, red wine, onion, garlic and a slice of bread.

om1-2

om1-5

Fry the bacon in some butter. Add some onion and garlic to the pan and soften down. Then add in roughly 1/3 to ½ bottle of red wine and rapidly reduce to, say, half maybe less.

om1-6

Strain the sauce of the onion and garlic (use later on in a stew or piperade) and return to the pan. Add a couple of eggs and poach. Put the eggs onto a slice or two of fried bread and pour over the sauce.

om1-9

And here we are. Apparently Michel Roux Jr used to make this for French President Francois Mitterrand as a breakfast!

(It is much better than the image may suggest. I’ve tried and tried to get a decent image of this and not really succeeded. I’m not a professional food photographer or food stylist.)

Advertisements

Steak with Sauce a la Creme

Aside from the steak, these are the essential ingredients:

Steak au Poive (2)

Brandy and double cream. Everything else is an add on. Having said that, a really good blast of pepper is really good.

Personally, I always think a really good piece of steak needs nothing doing to it. However, a really good piece of steak can be hard to come by sometimes. In that eventuality, then this is a sauce which can make quite a difference!

Steak au Poive (1)

Just as an aside, switch the brandy for calvados, the steak for pork and some of the onion with apple and you have one of my ultimate favorate things! But that’s for another day.

Steak au Poive (3)

Fry off the steak to you preferred level of doneness and add the brandy.

Flambe and reduce. If you want to add butter then this is a good time to do it. For me, butter make this too rich.

Steak au Poive (4)

Remove the steak to a hot plate to rest. While the steak is resting add onion, garlic and mushroom to the pan and soften down. As things start to soften add in the double cream.

Steak au Poive (5)

Don’t add in too much cream or you will wreck it. A teaspoonful at a time and keep testing until you’ve got it. When the sauce is properly cooked through and pour over the steak.

Steak au Poive (6)

This is really good with plain boiled potatoes and those small green beans. And a good bottle of red wine.

Pasta Alla Puttanesca

Puttanesca (1)

Pasta Puttanesca. Pasta for ladies of easy virtue?

All you need: Olive oil (extra virgin), capers, olives, garlic and tomato. Another version of this also includes anchovies. Generally, black olives are used. I prefer green olives. Adding in a little basil or parsley does no harm.

Puttanesca (2)

Dice everything up and thoroughly heat through in a pan with a good slug of virgin olive oil.

Puttanesca (3)

When finished toss into pasta. This version uses diced smokey bacon (even better with prosciutto).

Puttanesca (4)

How stupid simple is this? Fast, fresh and simple. Truly fantastic. Really fresh and really tasty and so versatile! For those who need something quick and easy to throw together on the hoof, on a busy work day, then this is a must have in the repertoire. It isn’t just good for pasta. How about using it to liven up a piece of fish.

Puttanesca (5)

Maybe add in some smoked salmon.

Puttanesca (6)

As an accompaniment to a piece of gammon maybe (this is really good).

Puttanesca (7)

Or how about with prawns and garlic bread.

Puttanesca (8)

Is there anything this can’t be used with? This sauce is so good and so clever it’s amazing. Seriously amazing.

Puttanesca Sauce
I first came across this brilliant little sauce many years ago in Claudia Rodens book on Mediterranean cookery where she says the source of the name is a mystery. More recently I saw this on Nigella Lawson’s website and featured in one of Rick Steins’ DVD’s. You will see it in many books on Italian food, although rarely labeled ‘Puttanesca’. Usually this is labeled as olive and caper sauce. The Italian word “puttana” literally translates to “whore” or “prostitute”. So literally, “pasta of the whores”. The idea being, according to some, that this is something quick and simple for “the generous ladies of Naples” to make on a busy work day between clients! Personally, I see this usage as a little bit of mischief. No doubt, for some, the name makes for fun dinner party conversation after a few glasses of wine! Another way to look at this name is simply as a graphic way to imply something cheap and easy. A sure thing. “even a Naples prostitute can make this!” (with due apologies and respect to the good ladies of Naples!).

In summary this great little sauce is cheap, easy and will pretty much go with anything.

Langoustines Vauclusienne

Langoustine (1)

Firstly, an admission. This is a straight steal from my food hero Keith Floyd. Do you realise that 2015 marks 30yrs since Floyd on Fish hit network television? Amazing.

Langoustine (2)

What you need: Langoustines, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, brandy, white wine, chilli sauce, olive oil, butter.

Langoustine (3)

Cook the langoustines in some olive oil with the onion and gently flambé.

Langoustine (4)

Add in the white wine and reduce for a minute or two. Then add in the rest.

Langoustine (5)

This is really good, really simple and so typical of Floyd. Here is the clip. Notice the philosophy on his approach. See what’s good, buy it and THEN decide how to cook it!

The Great Mexican Breakfast

Mexican Breakfast (1)

“Breakfast is a popular part of the day in Mexico, and with so many different treats on offer, it’s easy to see why. Back in London, fried eggs on tortillas bathed in a spicy tomato sauce or Mexican scrambled eggs make the perfect lazy weekend eating – and both beat the biggest hangovers.” – Thomasina Miers, Mexican Food Made Simple.

Sunday morning. I fancy something different. Flicking trough my library I came across this, The Great Mexican Breakfast from my current favourite TV chef Thomasina Miers of Masterchef and Wahaca fame. I only came across the television series Mexican Food Made Simple quite recently and was blown away by it.

Mexican Breakfast (2)

Most of what I need. Like everything I do, I adapt to what I have available. So this will differ from the book. Basically, tinned tomato, chilli, egg, onion, garlic and cheese.

Mexican Breakfast (3)

Bugger, I have no tarragon (“dynamite in this sauce”). In fact, I’m right out all my fresh herbs. I don’t even have frozen. So I’m going to use dried. I’m also leaving out the sugar (I’m diabetic). I’m also leaving out the lard (diabetes is enough, thank you very much). Chuck the onion, garlic and chilli in to a pan with a good slug of olive oil and soften. Then put in the tinned tomatoes and the dried herbs. Then comes a good bit. Going back to bet with a mug of tea for 20 minutes whist the sauce simmers on a low heat.

Mexican Breakfast (4)

Then comes what I rekon is a key, must have ingredient. One of the great, great classics and one of the great wonders of the culinary world. If there were to be a foodie version of Desert Island Discs then this would be one of my eight ingredients. In fact, like the works of Shakespeare, it might already be there.

Mexican Breakfast (5)

Worcestershire sauce. Widely used in Mexican cooking apparently. It’s easy to see why as we all know it compliments things like minced beef and tomato so, so well.

Mexican Breakfast (6)

Warm up a tortilla in a frying pan and put onto a plate.

Mexican Breakfast (7)

Then spread on the sauce. I think this is a good point to season with salt and pepper. Finally a fried egg and some grated cheese. The end result? Fantastic. Maybe I should have had two eggs?

Mexican Breakfast (8)

You, of course, won’t do this. You will do the original, which is so much better.

Garlic Mushrooms in a Pastry Envelope

Mushroom2

I haven’t done this before, it’s an experiment.

I love garlic mushrooms. I came across this recipe by Antonio Carluccio on the BBC food website which looks brilliant! Basically, it’s garlic mushrooms in filo pastry ‘purses’.

Mushroom Purses By Antonio Carluccio.

I’m going to have to adapt though. For a start, I don’t have any filo so I’m going to use very thin puff pastry instead.

I’m going to chop some mushrooms, garlic, parsley, and add lots of freshly ground pepper. Then add this mix to the center of a round of pastry with a knob of butter on top.

Mushroom3

Antonio folded his up to make a kind of basket. But I think I will make mine in a pasty style. That is folded over, sealed and crimped in to an envelope. I'm doing this because I find it easier. Then I’ll brush with beaten egg and bake in the oven at gas 6 for around half an hour. Maybe a bit longer. The pastry needs to cook through. I’ve tried to get the pastry as thin as I can to speed up the process, as I reckon the mushrooms won't take long. The end result:

Mushroom4

Hmm, ok. Not too bad for a first attempt and quite different to Carluccio. This is still very much work in progress though. Carluccio adds in a small chilli pepper as an optional. It does need something like that. I’m glad I added lots of pepper. Next time I might try a good pinch of Cayenne pepper or, maybe, some hot paprika. I’ll also use a garlic crusher and think about adding in a small dash of lemon juice. Maybe have to oven a bit hotter too.