Tag Archives: Sketch

Pan-flashed foie gras with dark chocolate sauce

Some pairings are unusual and some successful but this one is both and should make a brilliant start to the New Year! Let your New Year be exciting, successful, daring, memorable and full of surprises and tender love… Tonight, we will make edible lists of what we did not enjoy about last year and swallow them at midnight with Liz, Jamie, and a glass of happy bubbles!

Then I’ll sit down and write my New Year round robin letter and a long happy list of projects and objectives – as I do every year since I first became a mother … and maybe even before that … I am a list-addict and New Year Eve is yet another time for indulging in compulsive writing!

Our Christmas eve starter

Pan fried foie gras with dark chocolate sauce

Ingredients list for the sauce:

  • Dark chocolate 150g
  • Milk 100ml
  • Butter 25gr

Break the chocolate and add it to the melting butter in a saucepan.

Stir and add the milk over low heat.

Chocolate melts at 37∘ and should never get over 50∘. So keep it nice and slow.

Let it cool and keep at room temperature until serving. The left over can be stored in a jar in the fridge and used over ice cream or waffles.

Ingredients list:

  • One fresh “lobe” of foie gras, de-nerved
  • A large frying pan
  • Some sea salt flakes

Most fresh foie gras are sold under plastic film and have had the small nerves taken out already. But if yours has not, just follow the thin red nerves with a pairing knife and remove. Trying to break the fillet as little as possible.

Cut reasonably thick slices of foie ; the thickness of a small lady’s finger.

Heat the pan with no fat at all and fry on both sides as soon as the surface is hot enough. It only takes a couple of minutes both sides.

Serve immediately with a generous drizzle of the warm chocolate sauce and some thick slices of brioche (or any milk and butter based bread).

I had an interesting starter of foie gras terrine with a sliver of black chocolate at Sketch recently which gave me the inspiration for this New Year dish! We all loved this and it will remain a firm favourite for any festive menu from now on. I served the foie with a delicious Jurançon – a wine favoured by Henry the Fourth of France who was a natural “Bon vivant” and henceforth a very popular king. Who would not be, on this program?

“ Si Dieu me prête vie, je ferai qu’il n’y aura point de laboureur en mon royaume qui n’ait les moyens d’avoir le dimanche une poule dans son pot!” Said he.
(If God keeps me, I will make sure that there is no working man in my kingdom who does not have the means to have a chicken in the pot every Sunday!)

Creamy spinach risotto


This meal I made a couple of nights ago was inspired by a wonderfully creamy dish I enjoyed at Sketch with a side serving of Mozzarella ice-cream… I have attempted to recreate it in my kitchen, as simply as possible, and helped in that by the always concise and effective recommendations of Ginette Mathiot in “La Cuisine de Ginette Mathiot”. The result was effortless and delicious but don’t take my word for it and try it for yourself… Alternatively, go for the real thing and book a lunch at Sketch where it is on the rapide gourmet menu and sample real artist food – it is always well worth it!

Ingredients list:
Arborio rice 300gr
1 large bag of fresh baby spinach
Butter 50gr
Liquid (see recipe below) 600 to 700ml
2 maggi cubes
2 shallots
Parmesan 15gr
Grated comté 50gr
Salt and pepper to taste

Finely chop the shallots and fry in the butter in a cast iron pan or skillet: Rinse the rice under cold water, strain and add to the pan. Fry until the grains turn slightly transparent. Move them around with a wooden spoon to avoid sticking.

Steam the cleaned spinach leaves in a pan with a little water then liquidize the lot and top up the resulting green liquid with water in order to get about 700ml in total. Add 2 small magi cubes diluted in a bit of water and pour into a measuring jug.

Slowly pour the liquid into the rice and add more every time it has been absorbed. Cook on slow heat with a lid. This should take about 15mn of constant care!

When the rice is soft but not mushy, turn off the gas and add the grated cheeses. A turn off the pepper mill and it’s ready to eat with the aforementioned side dish of Mozzarella ice-cream on a bed of “rocket” and balsamic dressing! It impressed the children, in any case!
-But all good things come to those who wait (as we say in France: Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre) and so this recipe will come in my next post!

>Spinach flan in digital colours

>This week I must be desperate for green shoots outside because I am experimenting an awful lot with spinach and anything of the brightest viridian colour! 
Here is a quick family dish but tomorrow I’ll spoil you with a recipe tasted at Sketch last week and made yesterday in my kitchen: a bright green spinach risotto as creamy as they come; wildly attractive dish that could have been served to Alice by the Mad Hatter… or by Pierre Gagnaire‘s kitchen as it was the case for me! 
It was an almost graphic pleasure so I illustrate with some digital “body art” performed by me and my 10 year old son at Decode, the fascinating digital design exhibition in the V&A at the moment.

Spinach flan

2 whole eggs (beaten)
1 bag of washed spinach or baby spinach
2 spoonfuls of crème fraiche
2 spoonfuls of curd cheese or cream cheese
salt and pepper
40g of butter to melt in the steamed spinach
1 pinch of mace

Put the washed and strained leaves in a large pan with a lid and put a few minutes on the hob until they melt and soften. They will cook in the water released and so you do not need to add water or take any out at the end. Mix in the butter and cook a little longer to melt it. It is best to put the butter at the end when all the moisture from the leaves has evaporated ; it also avoids burning the butter!

Now mix in the cream and cheese, season lightly.
Beat the whole eggs and pour them in, stirring well.

Pour the mix into an oiled flan or pie dish. A small dish with a high rim will be best.

Put on the bottom rack of a hot oven to cook 20mn at 250 C.

Serve as a main dish with some boiled and buttered new potatoes.
You can replace the spinach with English spring greens or young chards.