What can be more romantic than the word ‘amour‘ or the phrase ‘Je t’adore‘?
When my mind opened to the possibility of travelling, there is no other continent that my brain flew to other than Europe. And, being a romanticist, my eyes targeted on Italy and of course, France. I have since imagined myself walking on the streets of Provence, exploring the Southern Country-side of France and eating my heart, brains and tummy away in every patisserie along the cobblestone streets of Paris.
Fashion is one thing, but what seduced me to this beautiful country is the cuisine! A lot of people would think that just because a dish has a French name that making it would be a hundred times more difficult to make. Au contraire, it’s not.
A little intimidation is normal but if you let that intimidation take over, you will never get the chance to realize that you are capable of cooking yourself one amazing French dinner. Besides, anyone can cook! Ain’t that right, Chef Gusteau?
We have in our possession a cookbook authored by Sharon O’Connor. It is actually a volume of books which is accompanied by a compact disc. Ours is the 14th volume which featured the favorite Parisian Bistros and some of its signature recipes. It was given to us by an aunt who lives in the States. The CD with it was really incredible! As I started to prep for my gourmet cooking, it fired up the player and cranked up the volume, filling the entire house with the wonderful classic French jazz that took me to places that I could imagine. I flipped through the pages and noted some of the recipes that would not require a whole lot of expensive ingredients such as white truffle oil or foie gras. This is where I lifted the recipes for the dishes I had planned for the Sunday’s gourmet dinner. It’s not that often that one can whip up some snazzy dinner ya’know. Oh and by the way, I’ve been dying to make Anna Olson’s Fraisier Torte and this was the perfect time to make it since it is a French Gourmet Sunday plus, it was just a week ago when we were supposed to Baguio City, my favorite province up North, however my brother underwent an emergency appendectomy so to lessen the emotion of not being able to go, our aunt brought home some fresh strawberries from Baguio. And it worked.
The recipe I have chosen for this Sunday’s french dinner is from, according to the book, Au Pied de Fouet in Paris. Listen to this, although quite well known, this bistro only has five tables! So, I prepared the bistro’s recipe for Jambonette de Volaille et sa Crème Ciboulette, in English – Chicken with Chive Cream Sauce. See? Nothing intimidating here people! She said, “This dish is made with whole chicken legs that are boned so that they resemble little hams.” And as recommended, I served it with steamed potatoes. Honestly, it was a really simple dish. What made it stand out is the way they were able to combine the flavors together into one cohesive plate. The colors were refreshing. Some yellow, shades of green and brown. I have not found a side that would go well with this chicken dish from the book so I scoured the worldwide web for some classic French sides and brought me to Champignons à l’ail, which is Garlic Mushrooms in English. Of course, being just a one-week thing, I made use of fresh button mushrooms instead of those canned one. It made a whole lot of difference! It did.
The experience was decadent. The sauce was amazing, mind you. I had quite a frazzle when I discovered that the recipe provided by the book in making your own creme fraiche needs at least 24 hours, and by the time that I read that was the day we were supposed to have the dinner. Finally, I was able to find a less time consuming recipe for creme fraiche and was able to do the creme sauce. And yes, I utilized our garden once more for some fresh herbs. Just saying.
With the torte, it was alright. I had some problems whipping up the cream to soft peaks, plus, I am not sure if the sugar reached the required temperature to reach softball stage because I don’t have a candy thermometer. It is quite expensive here. So when I was about to pour the sugar to the whipped eggwhites, it crystallized. The mousse was good but I had to add some sugar to the cream to make it sweeter. The sponge cake was tough. I would have to look for another recipe for that. Sorry Anna Olson. I’ll still watch your shows though.
Bon appétit everyone! Try out the Jambonette de Volaille et sa Crème Ciboulette
(recipe will be posted in a while). It is really a keeper! Just adjust the seasoning to your liking since it was a bit salty for us.