TARTIFLETTE, THE TRADITIONAL RECIPE

REBLOCHON, POTATO, LARDONS, ONIONS

FACT

It always break my heart when I see on a kitchen recipe website that a simple recipe cooked with love in the past, has been modified for generating traffic on Instagram or Facebook.

A basic example is the Tartiflette.

I went through a few recipes on the web and this is what I have found. Look at this recipe below from the Hairy Bikers.

As a teenager, I have spent most of my weekends and holidays between ski slopes and ski resorts working as an aide de cuisine.

I was 16 when I started my first position in a kitchen, peeling potatoes and onions to make the star dish, a Tartiflette.

I grew up in the Valley of the Aravis, and I have spent most of my time at La Clusaz. From the beginning December to the end of March, I used to prep a few thousands of Tartiflette.

The recipe is not complicated and only basic ingredients are being used. Potatoes, onions, lardons and Reblochon. Local ingredients, cheap and accessible.

When I start to see on a few recipes, double cream, shallots, Vermouth, I am just wondering where is it coming from?

Serve to a Savoyard, a Tartiflette made with shallots, Vermouth and double cream and you will see! It’s for tourists!!!

BASIC INGREDIENTS

I always used the same ingredients when I am making a Tartiflette. The quantity of onions, potato and lardons must be well balanced. And of course, I always used a good quality Reblochon.

I don’t use double cream because of the quality of the Reblochon. If the Reblochon is well made it will cover the mixture of potatoes, onions and lardons. No brainer!!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg of potato
  • 250g smoked lardons
  • 200g onions
  • 1 Reblochon de Savoie (From the Aravis)
  • No double cream !!
  • 2 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • Salt, Pepper

RECIPE

  • Peel the potatoes, dice them (1cm square) and rinse them.
  • Slice the onions, then sweat them in a pan with a splash of vegetable oil. When the onions start to be soft, add the lardons. Add the diced potatoes and cook everything together with a lid on top of the pan for 20 minutes.
  • Grate the white layer on top of the Reblochon.
  • Slice the Reblochon in half and in half again.
  • Pour the mixture of potatoes, lardons and onions into a baking dish and cover it with the halved Reblochon. The skin should be on the top.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Job done.
  • Enjoy with a glass of white wine from Savoie like Abymes.
“L’eau á la bouche!!”
Melting Cheese!!

If you would like more information on how to get a ready to go Tartiflette at home please be in touch by sending your request to the following form:

SEASONAL RECIPE

The cold days are not over and I am always tempted to bake a succulent crumble like this RHUBARB CRUMBLE

DATES, RASPBERRY LEAF TEA AND CHOCOLATE ENERGY BALLS

Cacao powder and coconut dates balls.

INTRODUCTION

I have been away for a few weeks from my blog as I have started a new position as Head of Food for a company based in London.

Also, in the coming weeks, a new addition will be joining our family, hopefully, a future new talent in the Chef’s world! This has made me think more about nutrition for expectant mums and also little recipes using ingredients that are supposed to bring on labour – pineapple, raspberry leaf tea, dates, chili… All old wives tales rather than scientific based, but absolutely worth a try!

FACT

As the due day is approaching, I’ve been reading and researching a few facts about giving birth, health and cooking as one of the ways I can help and support my wife. That’s why today I have incorporated in one recipe, three magic ingredients to make a fabulous snack for my wife and future mum-to-be. These tick the boxes as foods that could induce labour and also meet her cravings! I have mixed into one bowl these three cheap ingredients on my wife’s current menu – chocolate, raspberry leaf tea and dates.

Veganuary still on until the end of the month so if you are ful-ttime vegan or simply trying it out then these date ball snacks will be perfect for you, but for me I think they are delicious to be eaten at anytime through the year no matter what diet you follow. They are vegan, gluten free and healthier than the snacks that you can buy from the shop.

Low cost, energetic and tasty with no cooking required – they are so easy to make and fun for the whole family if you need an idea for a lesson during lockdown! Left them on the kitchen table and they will disappear as fast as you roll them!

RECIPES

Serves: 30 balls

Ingredients:

250g pitted dates; 1 tea bag (I used raspberry leaf, you can use whichever flavour you prefer); 50g margarine, 50g chocolate (dark is preferable, milk also works); 100g desiccated coconut; a sprinkling of cacao powder and/or desiccated coconut to roll them in

First, soak the pitted dates in the tea for 30 minutes. Make sure that the dates are covered with the tea. At the same time melt the chocolate in the microwave for approximately 20 seconds so it is soft, NOT fully melted.

Check if the dates are soft to touch. When soft, by using a food processor, your hands or a @kitchenaid, mash the dates with some of the tea. Make sure that the mix is not too wet, it should just be a bit sticky.

Next, add the margarine and soft/melted chocolate. Stir.

Finally, add the dissicated coconut. The final mix must look like a paste.

Leave the mix on the side for one hour until the coconut soaks up the extra moisture.

Start balling the dates balls.

Check out this article from Feel Good Foodie to get more fact about dates balls, Vegan-date-balls.

 

VIDEO

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CARROT CAKE

CREPES OR PANCAKES

Breakfast

Crêpes or Pancakes? It depends where you are from (In France we say crêpes) but the final result is always the same. DELICIOUS!.

On a sunny but cold Sunday morning, I cooked a few of these thin pancakes to treat Jayne and I for breakfast.

To do it, I woke up early and I have been able to see the sunshine rising from our new kitchen.

A QUICK RECIPE

It took me less than 5 minutes to get ready with the batter. I watched Saturday’s Kitchen while the batter was resting.

An hour later, I was cooking the “crêpes” and enjoying a mug of coffee. So French, I know but what can I do?!!

To realize the batter, I mixed 4 eggs with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 280gr of plain flour.

Then, I added 400ml of milk. The batter should be smooth but not too runny.

Finally, heat the pan and add a small knob of butter. It will lift the flavour and it will help to get a nice golden colour to your crêpes! Cook the crêpes for 45 seconds on both sides. When cooked, keep the crêpes into a plate and cover them until you cook the last one. It shouldn’t take too long as the batter mix makes roughly 15 pancakes.

On the table, get ready with a pot of caster sugar, jam and lemon juice. Make yours and enjoy.

EVERY LITTLE HELP COUNTS

This week, Jayne and I went for a special weekend away. Jayne is in charge most of the time for finding great locations and venues when we are planning to have some time off.

I really trust her flair and intuition so I am always excited to get ready with my suitcase and walking boots.

THE HOTEL

This weeks destination was in Sussex. Jayne booked a couple of nights at The Powder Mills Hotel located near the quirky small town of Battle, The Powder Mills Hotel offers a large range of Bedrooms and Suites. I like the fact that the Hotel has kept the Georgian decor and style. Even if the Powder Mills looks dated, the property is being looked after to a high standard.

THE FOOD

Despite the Powder Mills Hotel being located in the heart of the English countryside, the menu is appealing. I was a bit sceptical about the quality but I was absolutely wrong.

First, the English breakfast is cooked fresh and the quality of the bacon and sausages are great. A tray offering our cereals and croissants are presented first, followed by the hot plates.

The dinner was as good as the breakfast or even better. Jayne had the cauliflower soup and to follow, a rich and creamy saffron risotto. I had the deep fried Brie with a tomato chutney and a burger.

The Powder Mills Hotel is owned by a lady who is probably in her 80’s. She is always around making sure that everything is of a high standard. This summer, the Government established the scheme Eat out to Help out. My point of view is that with the current situation everyone who is able to do it should support local businesses and companies across the country. Jayne and I have an aim when we are going away, making sure that we support as much as we can local business because without them the shape of the main city centres or rural economy would be so different.

CAMBER SANDS BEACH

Camber Sands Beach is located in East Sussex. A few minutes away from the historic and picturesque town of Rye, Camber Sands Beach is a lovely beach with sand dunes. 

Jayne and I spent a few good hours walking along the beach and I would like to take this opportunity to make people realise and understand that we should look after our eco system and patrimoine. 

Except the fact that we had a lovely afternoon walking along the beach, I have found myself disappointed and sad to see how some people are unrespectful. The amount of litter left by some walkers is unacceptable and I have decided to take a few minutes of my time to collect what was on the ground, yoghurt pots, empty plastic bottles, plastic spoons, etc…

IMG-7438

Then, the following day, I sent an email to Camber Council to let them know how poor their maintenance is of the seafront in Camber and this is the response that I have received from Phillipa:

Dear Fabrice,

Thank you for your email together with the attached photographs of the litter left a Camber Sands Beach.

I have been in touch with our Neighbourhood Services Team Leader and she has responded as follows:

Thank you for this. We have reviewed the winter schedule at Camber and have now installed twice the amount of bins that were out when Fabrice contacted you yesterday. The bins were installed today and we will be monitoring visitor behaviour and the amount of litter in the area over the next few weeks.’

Many thanks for taking the time to clear the rubbish yourself and also for getting in touch with us.

We hope that having the extra bins installed will lead to less litter being left behind by visitors on and around the beach and as mentioned we will continue to monitor the area.

Kind Regards,

 Philippa Nelson

Customer Services Officer

I want just to take this opportunity to say if you like walking with your family, friends and kids on the beach please respect it as you would like others to do for you.

Jayne and I are moving near Chichester in the next few weeks to come. I have decided to apply with an organisation, Sussex Wild Life Trust, to keep the beach clean during my time off. Mixing pleasure and well being, you can’t go wrong!!

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A FRENCH SIDE DISH, DAUPHINOISE

A FRENCH SIDE DISH, DAUPHINOISE

HISTORY

What a rich and earthy Sunday lunch could be without a side of Dauphinoise.

From the Dauphiné region in south-eastern France, a Dauphinoise is a French classic side dish to accompany a variety of meals through the cold days.

Dauphiné includes some famous French cities for their cultural gastronomy heritage. Grenoble, Vienne, Valence, Gap are some of these cities where food rhymes with gastronomy.

THE DISH

Dauphinoise is a French dish of sliced potatoes baked in milk or cream. I am using the gratin method which I learnt when I was passing my cooking diploma in France.

First, I thinly slice a few medium-starch potatoes and I layer them harmoniously in a buttered shallow dish. I season each layers with salt and pepper.

Then, I infuse a ratio of double cream, milk with garlic, nutmeg and thyme on the top of the stove. This base will be the sauce needed to create the magic of what a Dauphinoise is.

Then, I pour the double cream and milk mixture on top of the potatoes layered in my buttered shallow dish.

I preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, I top the Dauphinoise off with grated cheese like Comté or gruyere.

I bake the Dauphinoise until bubbly and the cheese starts to colour.

Finally, I present the dish in the middle of the table and I warn my guests by saying, ” Attention, c’est chaud!”

MY LATEST POST

Short Rib of Beef with Dauphinoise and Savoy Cabbage

CONTACT

As Christmas is just around the corner, you might certainly started to create your menu or even thinking to hire a private chef to look after your party. If so, please be in touch with me by clicking on the link below.

Click here to contact me.

SHORT RIB OF BEEF, DAUPHINOISE AND SAVOY CABBAGE

INTRODUCTION

To announce officially the start of the Autumn season, I have experimented a dish including 1 braised meat and 2 sides to accompany this rich cut of beef.

Last weekend the clocks went forward one hour. Although one extra hour of sleep has been earned it gets dark earlier. Since then, every day, when I look through the window around 3.30 in the afternoon, it feels like the days are getting shorter. From a personal point of view, it means being at home and enjoying a nice plate of food.

In my last post, SMALL SUGAR PUMPKIN RECIPES, I mentioned my love for the Autumnal ingredients available on the market. Again, this recipe is a classic example of how to cook a succulent dinner for two.

BRAISED MEAT

Two facts about braising meat. Patience and a great result.

I am always satisfied when I am using the braising method. Indeed, braising is just cooking a tougher cut of meat gently in a stock until it is transformed into a tender, succulent, fall-off-the-bone masterpiece.

Today, on the menu, is a braised short rib of beef with potato and celeriac Dauphinoise and buttered Savoy cabbage.

First, sear the short rib on a high heat with some cooking oil. When every sides are seared, remove the meat from the pan and add the MIREPOIX. Colour the mirepoix, add a teaspoon of tomato paste, cook it for a few seconds and pour a litre of brown stock into the pan. Put the short rib of beef back into the pan with a bay leaf. Make sure that the brown stock covers 3/4 of the meat. At this stage, we are braising. Bring to the boil, reduce the temperature down and simmer for at least 3 hours lid on. Make sure to flip the piece of meat every 45 minutes.

DAUPHINOISE

Meanwhile, I start to get ready with my gratin Dauphinoise by peeling and slicing both potato and celeriac.

While I am layering down with love and care the potato and celeriac, a pan containing a mix of milk, double cream and nutmeg is on the stove, simmering. I make sure to season with salt and pepper each layers of potato and celeriac.

Pour on top of the potato and celeriac the liquid. It should just cover 3/4 of the dish. Press a bit down the sliced vegetables to make an even top. I add some grated Comté and I bake te Dauphinoise for 35-40 minutes.

SAVOY CABBAGE

Savoy cabbage is one of my favourite greens during Autumn and Winter season. I like cooking Savoy cabbage and eating it. I find it is taste mild but earthy at the same time. That’s why it goes so well with these kind of dishes. I butter-braise it every time. It takes only a few minutes to get something really special.

FINAL TOUCH

I know when the short rib is ready. The meat should go off the bone easily. I take the meat off the pan, I drain the cooking juice and I keep the mirepoix on the side. I reduce the cooking juice until to obtain a thick liquor. I put the short rib back into the pan and baste the short rib with the liquor until to obtain a shiny glazed top. I dress the short rib on a plate, I add the mirepoix to the liquor. I pour it on top of the short rib. Finally, I put the three dishes in the middle of the table to be shared. Bon apétit!

MY LATEST POST

SMALL SUGAR PUMPKIN RECIPES

CONTACT

As Christmas is just around the corner, you might certainly started to create your menu or even thinking to hire a private chef to look after your party. If so, please be in touch with me by clicking on the link below.

Click here to contact me.

SMALL SUGAR PUMPKIN RECIPES

A few days ago, I was walking back from the post office to home when I stopped at my local flower shop trading on the side of the road. I like stopping there. He is not selling a large varieties of flowers and trees but everything he sells is seasonal!

CUCURBITA PEPO

My attention has been caught by small uniform round pumpkins with orange skin, small sugar pumpkin or from their Latin name Cucurbita pepo.

Pumpkin season has started a few days ago as Halloween’s day is approaching rapidly.

At this time of the year, expect to carve pumpkins to decorate the front of your house, some types of pumpkins are great to create delicacies.

So, it’s always tempting to get one of these good looking pumpkins. Not only their shape is great but their flesh too. Orange flesh, sugary sweet flavour and smooth texture. Flesh is said to be one of the best varieties for making pies, it is also good for baking, soups and casseroles.

THE SOUP

When I was working at Trinity Restaurant in Clapham Common, I used to make this soup through the Autumn season.

We used to receive a net of pumpkins every 3 days. Our jos was to take the top off the pumpkins, scoop their flesh out, to reserve the seeds for a later use and finally to make a soup.

It’s one of my favourite soups. It’s a rich soup including butter, cream, milk and a good vegetable stock.

When the seeds are being separated from the flesh, slice 1/2 an onion and sweat it with butter and salt.

Add the pumpkin flesh and cook it in a pan, lid on, rapidly to keep the max of flavour. Stir the soup quite often to make sure that it’s not going to catch on the bottom of the pan. The soup base should be cooked uniformly.

At this stage, add one part of vegetable stock for 1/4 part of cream and 1/4 part of milk. Bring to the boil and blend the soup straight away.

Adjust seasoning. Add a splash of lemon juice and pour the soup into the small pumpkin sugar shell. Top the soup with the pumpkin seeds washed and toasted.

Here we go, a fast and an easy soup to make to impress your guests at home. Something a bit more special than a simple soup and using all the pumpkin from shell to seeds.

SOME READING

Please take time to read the following articles. You will find some interesting information about the large varieties of pumpkins available. From curving to cooking, the list is endless.

30 different types of pumpkins-Facts and Pictures

Mr-Fothergills.co.uk

Cucurbit pepo

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Black pudding-Mash-Apple

CONTACT

As Christmas is just around the corner, you might certainly started to create your menu or even thinking to hire a private chef to look after your party. If so, please be in touch with me by clicking on the link below.

CONTACT ME

BLACK PUDDING MASH AND APPLE

I am still undecided about my favourite time of the year. Is it Summer time including fresh salads, light main meals, and fruity desserts – perfect for al fresco dining OR Autumn with its selection of luscious earthy dishes.

NORMANDY

As most of you know, I have spent my childhood in France where the gastronomy follows the season. My mum used to cook for all of us earthy meals. Cheaps cuts, stews, soups were some of her specialties.

My mum was born and bred in Normandy. Classic and simple food but with a lot flavour is the best way to describe Normandy food. Actually, the quality of the cuisine in Normandy makes it a must-visit area if you’re a gourmet.

BOUDIN NOIR and BLACK PUDDING

Boudin noir or Black pudding as we know it here in the UK, is a rich sausage made from pigs blood. It’s usually paired with a creamy mash and caramelised apple. That’s why, on this version, I haven’t add any sauce. A clean plate cooked with 3 simple ingredients and for a good value meal.

When I was a kid, we used to have once a week, a plate of mash with black pudding and apple.

Black pudding must be grilled to be enjoyed. Both sides must be pan fried to have a nice crust. Two different textures to balance the dish. The smoothness of the mash and the crustiness of the black pudding. A regal!

A SMOOTH MASH

It’s not rocket science to make a smooth mash. The protocol needs to be followed. The potatoes must be cooked properly, I mean not under cooked or over boiled. Otherwise, you might have a grainy mash or a watery mash. Then, from my personal point of view, a good mash includes dairy. Double cream and butter are primordial to get this smooth and shiny result. Finally, a good seasoning, grated nutmeg and salt. Work the mash consistently until to get a smooth and homogeneous texture.

A NEW REPERTOIRE

Today, I am starting a repertoire including my favourite recipes when I was younger. I might be older now but the pleasure to taste a bite of a creamy mash is always a satisfaction.

Through the next few weeks, I will introduce some of the best delicacies that are available during this time of the year. What is great with Autumn and winter is that everyday is a different day. The natural light, the colour of the trees, the vegetables, the fruits and the abundance of nuts are changing everyday.

Keep tuned and see you very soon with a nice stew braising slowly in a slow cooker.

Meanwhile, watch the following video (available on YouTube) about How English Black Pudding is made in Bury.

How Black Pudding is made in Bury

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Find below my latest post. Read it and leave a comment!

Food Plating and Presentation

FOOD PLATING AND PRESENTATION

EXPLORING

I love cooking new recipes and dishes. Last week, I have been offered to cook for a party of 5 (following the government restrictions).

It’s always an exciting moment for me when I purchase my ingredients and when I store them nicely. Everything comes together naturally and slowly. Baking the pudding, making the sauces, prepping the garnishes.

It reminds me of my time spent at Trinity restaurant in Clapham Common. I am nostalgic about this time; I was learning new skills and recipes every single day. The fact is, when you work for top restaurants, you always know what you will get: Top quality cuisine! And that’s what I delivered to this lovely bunch of people last weekend.

At this time of strict restrictions, it feels like that some of the pleasure of going out to dinner and to enjoy an amazing culinary experience has disappeared. Although we can still visit a restaurant, the atmosphere is not the same. However, to me, sharing a beautiful meal with family, friends and loved ones is the best way to celebrate a birthday, an anniversary or a special occasion. And this can always be done in the comfort and safety of your home whilst still enjoying a fine dining experience provided by a professional chef.

I have recently started a new journey, to be a private chef. It brings me a great personal satisfaction. Cooking and plating food that I am in love with. A variety of high quality ingredients, creating different menus and involving different flavours and textures I have come to know and love during my career as a chef.

If you are looking for a private chef to cater for your next party, please be in touch HERE. You can see an example of last weekends plates below:

A starter of duck breast with plum, orange segments, orange jus, bulgar wheat and rocket.

A dessert of vegan sticky toffee pudding, caramel sauce and clotted cream.

THE RULE OF FIVE

To plate my food, I am following the 5 basic elements of plating. The next 5 key points of plating are available on the following article, Food plating 101: Mastering the basics.

  • Create a framework. Start with drawings and sketches to visualise the plate.
  • Keep it simple. Select one ingredient to focus on and use space to simplify the presentation.
  • Balance the dish.
  • Get the right portion size.
  • Highlight the key ingredient.

Below are two examples of a couple of plates cooked last week.

DISHES

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Fine plate of food: Presentation

CLASSIC FRENCH MADELEINE RECIPE

MOLD

First things first. Is it better to use a silicone or metal mold? With no doubt, METAL!!!

ARTICLE RELATED

I have been looking for the right article to describe perfectly these little beauties, Madeleines. The article written by Baking like a Chef offers a full description about Madeleines.

I will leave you to go through this fantastic article and to take the best tips from it.

Meanwhile, I am going to share with you the recipe that I used to make a batch of fresh French Madeleines yesterday.

Madeleines

I worked for almost 4 years at Trinity in Clapham Common, London. Adam Byatt, chef/owner of Trinity taught us the most important kitchen skills and he shared with us his love for food. That’s why, every time that I am looking for a classic recipe, I open his cooking book and I discover the recipe I am after.

Today’s recipe is Madeleines. The recipe can be found HERE.

I was running out of honey when I baked yesterday, but I added 1 zest of a lemon to balance the flavour and to bring some freshness.

These Madeleines are so easy to make that you can always keep a container with the ready-made mixture inside your fridge so you can whip up some fresh baked Madeleines whenever you fancy!

Follow each steps of this recipe and you will end with a full tray of hot and perfect Madeleines each time.

 

MY LAST POST

It has been a while since I have written a post. As the cold days are back please read my last post to warm those chilly evenings, Do you put white sauce with Lasagna?