Nectarine and Raspberry Flaugnarde

f3Clafoutis. Such a beautiful word for an equally decadent dessert. Fresh fruit enclosed in a firm custard, scented with a hint of vanilla. The name is easy to pronounce and most people have heard it. A little while ago I got the worst craving for clafoutis.It hit me like a brick. I was standing in the kitchen and I suddenly said loudly to myself: “I have to make a clafoutis”. I’m not quite sure where this all came from since it’s safe to say I haven’t thought about this creation for years.  

Here is the funny part. While researching what went into and how to actually make a clafoutis, I noticed that some recipes referred to the clafoutis as flaugnarde ([floɲaʁd]).

That is odd, I thought to myself. Continuing my research I found out why. Clafoutis is the proper name for this French dessert ONLY when baked with black cherries, which is what was traditionally used. Any other fruit used when making clafoutis, it is not actually a clafoutis, but a flaugnardePerhaps not as pretty of a word or easy to pronounce, yet it is proper. f4

Clafoutis was made using fresh black cherries, pits still in. When baking, the pits gave the dish a hint of almond. Nowadays, as an easier, safer and more elegant way of eating it, pits are removed before baking and almond extract would be added in their place. 

Whenever you make a flaugnarde or clafoutis, remember to always use fresh fruit. Frozen fruit is too broken down and will produce too much liquid. Also remember that the final product will not be a fluffy airy cake. In fact, it won’t be cake like at all. Think very thick and firm custard, almost like a creme caramel.

I happened to have fresh nectarines and raspberries at home so, flaugnarde it was. Next time I will make a traditional clafoutis full of black cherries. Who knows. Perhaps I’ll even leave the pits in.

Jens

f5

4 nectarines

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

1/4 cup butter

3 eggs

1 1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375F.

Cut the nectarines into 1/2” pieces into a bowl and mix with the raspberries. Set aside. 

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt along with 2 tbsp of the melted butter to a mixer. Blend well, then sift in the flour while mixing and mix until smooth. 

Pour the rest of the melted butter into a 9” baking dish and spread evenly on bottom and sides. Add the nectarines and raspberries in an even layer, then pour the batter to cover. 

Bake in the middle of the oven for 45-50 min. Turn it around halfway through to make sure you get an even bake. When done, the center will have a slight wiggle and it will be golden brown. It will most likely deflate a touch when cooling but that is normal. When cooled for a while, dust with icing sugar. f6 f2

Chicken Curry with Cauliflower and Chickpeas

c1Years ago we were invited to dine at a friends home. I remember it vividly. It was winter. Cold and dark. A crazy snowstorm. We were contemplating canceling but decided to brave the storm. The idea of someone cooking for us trumped staying home. Dinner was a casual affair. We were all crawled up on the sofas around the fireplace the entire duration of the evening. Blankets and pillows all around. Great music, lots of candles and one of the best currys I have ever had. 

Our friend told me that she didn’t have a recipe but just winged it. So, that’s what I did too. I’ve made it many times since then. Mostly on cold winter nights. Spiciness level vary slightly depending on my mood but the whole point of a good curry is to warm you up – Make you sweat a little. You get ready for the next bite with a smile on your face, thinking, this, is good. 

Stay warm out there. Remember. Spring is just around the corner…ish.

Jens

c2

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion

4 garlic cloves

2 cups chickpeas

4 cups cauliflower florets

2 1/2 cups coconut milk

2 cups chicken broth

4-6 tbsp curry paste

1 1/2 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp ground coriander

1 1/2 cups green peas

1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

3-4 tsp salt

Black pepper

Finely chop the chicken thighs. Sauté in the olive oil over medium-high in a large cast iron pot heat until browned. No need to have the chicken cooked all the way through at this point. Remove the chicken and set aside. Leave leftover oil and liquid in the pot.

Finely dice the onion and garlic cloves. Add to the same pot along with chickpeas and cauliflower florets. Sauté over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut mill, chicken broth, curry paste and coriander as well as the chicken. Bring to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 30 min. Stir occasionally. Pull off the heat and stir in the peas and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Let sit for 5-10 before serving with cooked rice or cous cous. 

Garnish with fresh cilantro, green onions and hot peppers.

This is also a great vegetarian option for a dinner by excluding the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. c3 c4 c5

Creamy Beef and Dill Stuffed Buns

b1This is a perfect cold and rainy or snowy lunch dish. I discovered it years ago flipping through one of my moms old food magazines. It was just a day like today. Dark and gloomy. The kind of day where you really don’t want to get out of bed. Howling winds and rain hitting the roof is anything but inspiring. Not much can be done about it. So, why not put on your comfiest of clothes and spend the day in the kitchen? That’s what I usually do.

The original copy I had of the recipe for this dish is long gone but this is how I remember it. I have to admit, horseradish and dill in a ground beef mixture was something new to me. It does work really well. I may have brought up the spice level a bit from the original, but tastes do change with time.

I find dill a very underrated herb. It’s not often used unless with fish or seafood. Another dill and meat dish that I love is a Swedish classic: Lamb cooked in a dill sauce. I have a feeling it will be featured in its own post in the not so distant future. But until then, why not try these crunchy, creamy and full of flavour buns. You’ll love them.

Jens

b5

1 large onion

3 cloves garlic

1/2 zucchini

1 tbsp freshly ground ginger

1 1/2 tbsp grated horseradish

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

600g ground beef

1/2 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp sambal oelek

1/2 cup finely chopped dill

1/2 cup water

1 cup crème fraîche

2 tsp salt 

1 tsp white pepper

1 1/2 cup grated cheese

5 large french white buns

Preheat oven to 450F.

Peel and finely dice the onion, garlic and zucchini. In a large cast iron pan, heat up the butter and olive oil. Fry the ground meat over medium-high heat until browned. Brake it up well with a wooden spoon and stir often. Transfer the ground beef to a bowl, but leave the juices in the pan. Add the onion, garlic, zucchini, horseradish and ginger to the liquid and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Stir often. Pour the beef back into the pot and add mustard, tomato paste, sambal oelek (or other hot chili sauce), dill and water. Season with salt and pepper. 

While the beef is simmering, cut the top of the buns, about 1″ from the top. Scoop out some of the centre and chop it into small pieces. You should have about 1 cup of diced bread. Add to the meat sauce along with the crème fraîche. The filling should be fairly dry to prevent the bottom of loaf/buns getting soggy. When well mixed, add the filling. Let it mound a bit. Sprinkle with freshly grated cheese (I use a mixture of mozzarella and gruyère). Bake in the upper part of the oven for 10-15 min until cheese is melted and nicely browned.

Enjoy with a green salad.b4 b3 b2