I love doing those quick dinners, while coming home after a hard cheesy day. In the summer, I find cooking a bit more challenging and since we are having a bit of a “heat wave” in Ireland ( 29c – 84f), I needed something quick when I came home from work yesterday, something I could serve with leaves or something. The idea of cleaning the barbecue at 6:30pm didn’t appeal to me… Somewhat… I am sure you understand. I opened the fridge and realised that – yet again- I had bought an aubergine (eggplant) on Saturday; whatever happens in this Hungry Breton’s head is quick thinking that I, sometimes, surprise myself. With only three ingredients, this is how it went:
Month: July 2016
The Russkoffs’ Stroganoff
My mother always had that thing for Russia; or rather Russian, the language. As a young student, when she was preparing her exams to become a teacher, she decided to take it on after English. This was a rare move at the time, but the curriculum offered it. She told me one day, that most of her classmates got to visit St Petersburg and Moscow, a one in a lifetime travel, and came back with fantastic tales that she cherished all her life; being from a very humble upbringing, she didn’t make the journey… She sure loved whatever came from Russia, the music, the literature, the language and to be honest, while if I have never been, I can say that there is an amazing charm to this nation. I was more interested in the rock band “Center” or “Центр” with their hit song of the 80’s called Привет тебе (Hello to you). I also liked to read a bit of Dostoyevsky and fell in love with one of François Cavanna’s autobiography called “Les Russkoffs”, friendly French slang for Russians. The guy was one of the main founders of the notorious magazine “Charlie Hebdo”. Yes indeed, she had a certain affection for this country; I remember that anecdote, when Sting released his controversial song “Russians” in 1985; the catchy tune finished each verse by saying: “[…] if the Russians love their children too”, to which my mother replied to herself and for all to hear:” Ppfff… Well of course they love their children…”.
Cherry Flan Tart
As promised, here is the recipe for my Cherry Flan Tart( or is it Cherries Flan tart?), featured in one of my previous post a couple of days ago in “The Cherry Picker”.We are right on cherry season, so many memories, especially in my Grandparents’ house, climbing the tree by the terrace and gorging ourselves with this wonderful summer treat! Before you ever start to do this dish, make sure you taste the cherries first. If they lack zing or a bit of body, you can soak them in some Kirsch or even lime juice for a couple of hours. It will give your tart an extra dimension when it comes to the final taste. Just dry them well before putting them in the cast, that’s all. But hey… First things first, the secret to a great tart, is a great homemade shortcrust pastry. And this is how I do mine…
Pear Belle Hélène
Nah,nah,nah,nah, nah “Chocolat Day”… I can’t help to have this Simple Minds’ tune in my head… With chocolate day almost over ( how did I miss that? I like chocolate too you know?), it had to be only one thing; Pear Belle Hélène. When my parents brought us to the restaurant when we were children, or to the crêperie, the meal wasn’t complete with this wonderful dessert, made of poached pears, ice cream, Chantilly, hot chocolate sauce and topped with dry roasted nuts… Here is how I do mine; it is only fair after all!
The Cherry Picker
The story takes place in Rennes, Brittany, during the famous summer of 1968; my Dad and his best friend Yves have more or less finished their studies, and the country is still in turmoil after the students and workers’ revolution of the notorious month of May. Youth is still pissed off, there is a hunger for things to change, anger against the more conservative previous generation; the parents. My father was raised in a strict patriarchal environment, as my grandfather was in the military, now stationed in the offices of the Breton Capital where I was to do my military service 25 years later… Well, two days of it anyway, as I managed to get away with it in the most spectacular manner. I didn’t pretend to be suffering from anything, it just happened by telling the truth, the fact that I couldn’t be bothered. In Ireland, we call those guys “Jammy Bastards”… But that is a story for another time. Despite the fact that my Dad’s father was pretty tough, his mother was a gentle soul, balancing the family cocoon quite well. Yves wasn’t as lucky and basically told his own family to fuck off and left to make it on his own… He was soon to be hungry and realised that before he could get a job with all his good qualifications, he ought to get himself sorted through the summer…
Franckie’s Filet Mignon
I often make this dish, it has it all. Tasty, easy to make, it makes a great Sunday dinner, a midweek special treat or a feast after a grand day out. My mother used to make pork steaks in a big pot, slow cooked with onions, garlic and peas, slightly burnt at the bottom, it was delicious too. To save on a lot of dishes during and after cooking, I do mine in a papillote , which is really between two sheets of tin foil. It keeps all the flavours of the ingredients that you put together. One tip though, leave the greens out or they will turn brown. Apart from that, go for it!
Burren Land, Plutonic Love
Last Monday, after scrutinising meticulously the weather forecast on Met.ie, I decided to go for broke and head to The Burren in County Clare. For three years now, I have been promising myself to take that trip between May and June, but work or more likely the weather didn’t allow me to do so. I wanted to enjoy the rare plants this lunar barren land of lime harbours at this time of year, and also say hello to the puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes, fulmars and razorbills the cliffs of Moher shelter. I knew it was also an excuse to get out West, I haven’t been feeling so good lately, that low ceiling of clouds and bare light hiding behind gives me headaches, cabin fever, hell I don’t know what it is, I guess I am just not a great fan of summers…