Crumble of rhubarb, apples and blackcurrant GF

Pie is my favourite number...

Pie is my favourite number…

Over my years as a London based foodie, I have developed an addiction to pies, crumbles, cobblers and anything with a crust outside and stewed fruit inside… The simple mention of this sends a tremor along my spine: Fruit and crust, a very sexy combination indeed. I still do love tarts and tartines, but I think I slightly favour a crust ON TOP rather than UNDER.

Each season offers its own enticing variations and Autumn is a season for : rhubarb, sharp apples and black currants. All three are quite acidic so in this version, I have put a little more sugar than usual to counter balance the tartness of the fruit but you can make it less sweet if you wish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stalk of rhubarb
  • Bramley or other cooking apples, 2
  • Handful of frozen blackcurrant
  • Cornflour, 1 Tbsp
  • For the Gluten Free crust:
  • Ground almond, 100g
  • Chesnut flour or rice flour, 50g
  • Butter, 100g
  • sugar, 100g

Cut up all the fruit, mix it with the frozen berries and the cornflour – the object of the cornflour is to soak up the juice of the rhubarb to avoid a very wet pie!

Mix the flour, sugar and butter with the tip of your fingers until you have a sand-like texture. Lay the fruit in a pie dish or gratin dish. I have used frozen blackcurrants here, but you can opt for blackberries instead. They have a more subtle flavour but work deliciously toward a very British taste.

Top the fruit with the flour mix, trying to cover all of the fruit but do not worry if the lumps do not hide it perfectly. Just try and shake your sandy mix everywhere.

Put in a hot oven for 45min at 180º C.

Eat warm with some clotted cream or yogurt. If you are in France, it goes also well with a nice Faisselle or full fat fromage frais. This is the ultimate in homely, comforting puddings and with this GF version you won’t be leaving anybody out!

A patchy cover is not a problem...

A patchy cover is not a problem…

 

London French TV clip, a few addresses and “Bienvenue à Londres” to all!

The line up at the Institut Français- south Ken

The line up at the Institut Français- south Kensington

The conference Bienvenue à Londres last Friday gathered 6 speakers in the Salon of the French Institute with the sole objective to introduce our favourite city to new comers. We talked false friends, language tricks, cultural differences, culinary treasures and local secrets! All credit to the organisers, the room was packed.

Check out the clip done by Cedric from London French TV.

My task was to present British Gastronomy, a tall order in 15 minutes but obviously my number one subject, as you know from this blog! You cannot read my posts and not be convinced that London is the best place to be for food and drink! Especially right now and here is why:

In October, with the London Restaurant Festival in full swing, this town goes crazy about food – something very un-English some would say…  But crazy it goes indeed and there are some wonderful discounts around for the discerning palate. So here is a post about eating out rather than eating in!

WE just sampled the most wonderful food from l’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden and were looked after by the most charming staff, from sommelier to doorman. The food was creative and beautiful and I loved the lush green plant wall, the exotic wood counter and the eccentric wall covering made of spices behind glass panels. I just regretted not being able to climb to the bar-terrace for a post dinner cocktail but weather not permitting at all.

Spice wall at Joel Robuchon

Spice wall at Joel Robuchon

SO before the end of the month, I urge you to go and try out the LRF offers and support the thriving restaurant scene out there. October is decidedly the best month to eat out, take my word for it – I have been out constantly!

Tchin!

Tchin!

 

 

Barbecue style spare ribs in tamari and chipotle sauce

I know this is not barbecue weather and I am not suggesting you set one up in the rain! On the contrary this is fake barbecue food so perfect when you want to “pretend” and enjoy the taste of a barbecue without the hassle or indeed the health risk of charcoal meat… The Tamari sauce and Chipotle chilli give the meat a lovely, smoky taste and appearance but no burning needed.

Chipotle is a fiery and delicate chilli from Mexico and here I have paired it with Cajun spices, bought on a market in Martinique.

 

Marinated porc

Marinated porc

IMG_0266

Crispy and blackened by the spices

Ingredients list:

  • One or two pork ribs rack
  • Tamari sauce 100ml
  • Olive oil 50ml
  • Cajun spice 1 Tbsp
  • Chipotle chilli powder, 1tsp
  • Treacle, 1 Tbsp

Get trimmed pork ribs in preference, with just enough fat to sizzle.

Put all the ingredients and spices into a bowl and mix well. You might need to heat the treacle so it blends with the other ingredients.

Put the marinade over the meat, massage it  in with your fingers and leave in the fridge for ½ hour if you can.

Put the racks into your roasting oven on the roast setting and leave it to cook for 2 hours max at just over 160 degrees. It needs to slow roast so the meat is melting and literally falling off the racks.

Serve this to share with your fingers and add a green salad on the side.

The spices, the Tamari and treacle, all give it the distinctive charcoal colour and a great taste. All done in the oven and no outdoor BBQ to clean afterwards!

It is also quicker to make than most spare ribs recipes I know and it tastes just right.

 

 

Great Fun Flapjacks (GF)

The name of these gluten-free flapjacks is the result of a bit of banter between my 22 year old nephew and I about finding the right acronym for his condition ! Being gluten-free is undoubtedly a constraint and sometime can be felt as a bit of a stigma, but it is not as complicated to cater for as I first thought and because our nephew is staying with us in London at the time of this writing, I have had to extend my repertoire of coeliac-friendly recipes and this is one of the first that I tweaked for him.  So here is the harbinger probably of a series of gluten-free meals that I will try and share with you.

Whether you are intolerant or not – and the figures here differ from 10 per cent to may be 40 per cent of the population!-, eating a diet lighter in gluten is possibly not a bad habit. It seems to me that we are generally having far too much of it and from food not necessarily associated with wheat! Did you know Malt vinegar, most soy sauces and many industrial products including sausages contain gluten?!

Crunchy with a tender heart

Crunchy with a tender heart

IMG_9484

 

Ingredients list:

  • Butter, 100g
  • Rapeseed oil, 2 tbsp
  • Treacle, 1 tbsp
  • Porridge oats, 200g (choose Nairn’s GF variety)
  •  Agave syrup, 2 tbsp
  • Muscovado sugar, 50g
  • Xantham gum, 2 Tbsp
  • Mix of sunflower, pumpkin, linseeds, sesame and raisins, 120g

Melt the butter and oil in a medium pan.

Put all the dry ingredients together 
in a big bowl, then pour the melted butter and mix while adding the 
agave syrup and the treacle.

Spread into an oiled tray so that you get 
a depth of about 1 cm. Put in a hot oven at 180° for about 20min. The edges 
must look brown and crispy before you take it out. Let it cool down 
then cut big squares with the tip of a knife. The GF version is more brittle than the original but the magic of the Xantham gum helps in binding it together quite satisfactorily.

Oats are very good at lowering your cholesterol . The agave syrup is a health option because its low glycemic load means that your glucose levels won’t shoot up too quickly, so no hunger pangs straight after and more long term energy.

Coeliac is a very serious and precisely diagnosed, defined, medical condition and unless you suffer from it there is no reason to go gluten-free, but may be going gluten-light carries it own health benefits. If you are interested in this stream, I am sure more “Great Fun” recipes will be coming your way and I hope you enjoy the change and maybe experience some health benefits yourself.

Fig and creamed goat cheese bake

Figs are one of my favourite fruit and the season is sadly so short…  Therefore I cannot resist buying them when I happen to find them on a London fruit stall. I found these in Bayswater as I was coming out of my exam room last week and bought a huge bag of it. The smell was all I needed to feel on holiday again… 

This recipe was inspired by a dish my friend Sandrine made for us once at her beautiful place Le Domaine des Clos in Provence. Sandrine is married to a childhood friend of mine and I love spending time with them in the summer because they love what they do and they do it well and their friendship is one of the things that I always can count on when I head back to my birth town. I had kept a fragrant memory of this meal and especially of the plump figs, stewed in thick juice and creamy goat cheese that were served as a starter.

Fruit stall one of Berlin's markets

Fruit stall in one of Berlin’s markets

Ingredients list:

  • 10 to 12 figs, unpeeled and washed
  • 200g of fresh goat cheese
  • 150 of cream cheese
  • Handful of chopped basil
  • Cracked pepper

Wash and cut the tail end of the figs.

Slice them and arrange in an oven proof dish.

Mix the goat cheese and cream cheese together – This is only for the local version as English goat cheese tend to be dryer ; whereas elsewhere you might use a fresh creamy goat cheese on its own.

Drop dollops of the cheese amongst the fruit. Add pepper and basil leaves.

Bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes until the fruit are cooked and the juice has thickened. It is usually even better reheated the next day!

Serve as a starter with some Muscat de Rivesaltes or Sauternes. I adored this with a bottle of Macia Batle Dolce from Mallorca – a sweet white with remarquable balance and powerful aromas of white flowers and almond.

Figs and cheese

Figs and cheese

IMG_9492