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Last week-end I felt like a trip down memory lane and took husband and kids out towards Kent, the Garden of England! It was there, in Herne Bay, that I spent the summer of my 15th year, age 14, and I wanted to see the place where my love affair with England had started… Nothing has changed… It is as good as frozen in time…
We saw the sea pavilion, the ice cream parlour, the bingo lounge and the amusement arcade where we wasted long, rain drenched, Sundays…
It was sweet, derelict and mildly nostalgic – just how I remembered it. I recall the excitement when we were taken on an outing to Margate and just how bad we longed to go to London and never did.
How I decided to come and live in England after that is beyond even my English husband, but I did… And I still like the “Martin Parr” tackiness of the place- even though every sensible soul seems to have deserted it… There I had my first cigarette on a rental bike, my first chinese in Canterbury (I am still talking food here) and my first taste of Thatcherite England, quirky and funny and ironic. How do you know you’ ve fallen in love with a country – and why?…
My “English family” were a lovely retired Welsh couple whose semi-detached house, furnished in brown velvet and flowery chintz was also home to a wealth of cookery books- despite the fact none of them seemed to ever cook… I brought back to France plenty of hand-copied English classics such as a recipe for lemon curd which was my favourite for a long time. It encapsulates this period taste for me.
Back home after our trip, I found a great lemon curd recipe from The british larder and made a pot of the fluffiest, tangiest curd. I now need to bake a sponge or some buttery biscuits to go with it!
This recipe will make 2 large jars. I actually used their thermomix version (see site) but this is the tradition one, word for word.
125ml fresh lemon juice
125g caster sugar
2 whole medium free range eggs
2 medium free range egg yolks
125g cold unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
pinch of salt
Bring a medium saucepan half filled with water to a gentle simmer.
Place the eggs, salt and sugar in a metal mixing bowl, choose one that will fit comfortably over the saucepan without falling in.
Use a whisk to mix the sugar and eggs add the lemon juice and mix well.
Place the bowl over the simmering water while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, once the curd starts to thicken continue cooking for a further 5 minutes. The curd will coat the back of the spoon and you will be able to draw a path with your finger though it.
Remove the curd from the heat and quickly whisk the cold butter into the curd until it’s completely dissolved leaving the curd rich, creamy and glossy.
Transfer the curd to a clean container and place a piece of clingfilm directly on top of the curd to prevent it from forming a skin, let the curd cool.
For more British recipes : http://www.britishlarder.co.uk/lemon-curd-tarts/#ixzz13TscMsYE
2 fillets of fish per person
1 small tin of crab meat
crème fraîche 1/2 small pot
salt and pepper
white wine 1glass
I love fish dishes because they are so healthy and quick to prepare that I can be slapdash with a clear conscience. Unlike baking, it is not about quantities but proportions when preparing a savoury dish. Ask your fishmonger to fillet the fish for you: you can choose any white and firm fleshed fish but Plaice is a nice tasty choice and it is inexpensive.
Mix the crab meat with a spoonfull of cream and season with salt and pepper. Put a big spoonful inside each fillet and roll on itself. Place each roll next to each other in an earthenware dish. Mix some cream with the white wine and pour over the fish. Put in the oven for 10 min at 180 degree.
Eat with a crunchy salad. Choose the best quality crab meat you can – fresh, if you are by the seaside! The quality of each ingredient is paramount in such a simple dish. You can’t go wrong with this is you stick to that rule!
This is another recipe from Dan Lepard column in the guardian. I’ve made it twice before with rye flour and it has been a success both times, so here it is!
Natural yogurt 100g
Tomato paste 25g
Olive oil 25g
Sundried tomatoes 150g
Sprig of rosemary
Rye flour 200g and plain flour 200g
pinch of salt
1 tsp instant dry yeast
Polenta to sprinkle
Mix together the yogurt, tomato paste and oil, add 125 ml of water and stir in the chopped tomatoes and rosemary.
Put the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl, pour in the tomato mix and work to a soft dough. Leave for 10 minutes then knead and leave again. Shape into one round shape or several small buns. Roll them in the polenta to cover the crust. Leave to rise on a floured tray for one hour. Best to cover with cling film and keep in a warm corner of the kitchen!
Bake in a hot oven (220℃) for 30 min for buns or 45 min for the loaf. Add a bowl of water next to it so the crust is nice and golden.
This is a moist, flavoursome bread and it is surprisingly easy to make. Don’t expect it to rise too much because rye flour doesn’t but it is light and has a lovely, dusty crust. We love it with creamy cheeses…