Thursday, 17 November 2011


"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"

So now you know!

Let them eat cake.

Often, wrongly, attributed to Marie Antoinette, it seems that any number of French princess's could have used this phrase.

Also incorrect in it's use of the word cake, when it should be brioche.

It was when the peasants ran out of money for bread, so they thought they should eat brioche. Although if they had access to my new afternoon tea delights at East Lodge, then I'm sure there would have been no revolution, just lots of happy frogs!

Although, just over the Channel, we were discovering the delights of pies.

 Specifically steak and oyster. Amazing, I'm sure, but I just wanted to show this new 2011 version we've done on the tasting menu up at East Lodge. Using sea bass, wrapped in chard leaves, with a celery puree, with a sauce made with reduced beef roasting juices, caviar and bone marrow.

 So, it is sort of, well, a tiny bit, related to the old English pie!


Another, less famous, but no less important French quote, by the legend that was Fernand Point.

One of the first, and probably, the most important, lessons I learnt in French classical cooking.

In France we used to make brioche with the same amount of butter as flour, resulting in a delicious, rich, buttery loaf.

This one was made with just half the amount of butter to flour, but it still tastes beautiful, packed with chopped pistachios, dried apricots and sultanas.

It will be served , toasted with our autumn rolled game ballotines, that we have been busy preparing.

Using a mixture of pheasant, partridge, pork shoulder, chicken, back fat and bacon.

I minced it twice, and then marinated it with Port and brandy, garlic, thyme and parsley, rolled it in thinly sliced bacon, and cooked it in the water bath. It really need lots of seasoning, and there is no point in being tight about this, lots and lots of  fat.

Pork is best.

And when preparing a cooked terrine the fat is very important.

You don't want to be eating a dry terrine, now, do you?

And it improves it keeping quality, so it will taste better as it matures.

So, a nice simple terrine, ready for next Sunday's lunch menu.  However, over on the dinner menu, we have this rather sexy looking starter, which, finally Tom and myself have got just about right.

Made with slow cooked Goosnargh duck breast and confit fattened duck livers, it is a different style of terrine, where the components are cooked
separately, and then pressed.

In this case, eight perfect layers are served, with a sweet chicory puree, duck juice and sherry vinegar dressing, and a little salad with grated cracked peppercorn honeycomb, giving a nice sweet crunch.  We also serve a brace of little duck pies, just as a little garnish.

So, anyway, back to the brioche, and just one more use for it. As a bread and butter pudding, of course!

With lots of DE4 apples and cream, it shows just how many uses a loaf of brioche has!

And, if you were wondering what my new, revolution preventing cakes were, they are, chocolate and pistachio cup cakes, apple and blackberry crumble tartlets, little 'Bakewell" sponges with almond butter cream with raspberry jam injected into them, scones, of course, and finally, little lemon meringue pies.

Right, that's it!

Off to Italy tonight, where I'm going to try doing a coal miners risotto, and then a chicken, roasted, nice and simple with some rosemary and garlic. With some toasted sour dough, a grilled little gem lettuce and garlic mayonnaise, its a nice easy dinner.

No history lesson next week, although I am going to tell you how my amazing chef de parties have managed to change a Yorkshire pudding into this incredible gluten free carrot and coconut cake.


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