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Sunday, February 12, 2012

good health!

What could be more tasty and good for you than grated raw beetroot, a scattering of salad seeds, a dollop of creme fraiche, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some chopped green parsley?

Simple, healthy, fresh and delicious!

Sweet potatoes chips are so easy to make. Cut them into any length you fancy, mix through a couple tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, season with Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes on 190C.

Kale is loaded with vitamins A and C, folic  acid, calcium and iron - it's attractive too. Chop a quantity and either steam it or toss in a little olive oil. It's especially lovely served with a couple of poached eggs on top.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

garlic purée with parsley sauce

Persillade is the classic French flavouring of finely chopped garlic and parsley added to the pot moments before cooking is complete. A dish finished this way is often described or referred to  as persillé.

Persillade is also used as a stand alone garnish, liberally scattered over vegetables or meat or a handful thrown into a salad just before serving. However, the mixture dominates and other more subtle flavours get lost in the mix.

Italians add grated lemon or orange rind to the chopped parsley and garlic - and call it Gremolata (greh-moh-LAH-tah). The classic Italian dish Osso Bucco or slowed good lamb shanks are good examples of its use as a garnish where it works superbly in both cases.

So, back to French cooking and a variation on a famous theme. What could be more 'French' than puréed garlic floating in a parsley coulis especially if one has a supply of freshly sautéed frogs legs...ready for the dipping.

But, not many of us happen to have frogs legs standing by so perhaps tiny baby lamb cutlets 'Frenched' and cooked 'pink' would be just as delicious and just as complimentary. Whatever your choice this is an eye catching dish. Vibrant green coulis, almost pure white islands - so fresh and pleasing to the eye.

To make the garlic purée:

1 head of garlic per person, separated into cloves
half cup cream for every 4 heads of garlic
Salt and white pepper to season


Place the unskinned cloves in rapidly boiling, salted water for two minutes. Drain. Cool and skin - the skins should fall off easily OR peel the garlic first then continue with the method as follows:
Boil the garlic in six changes of fresh water for ten minutes each time or until it is soft enough to purée.

Slowly combine the purée with enough cream so you have a fairly stiff mixture that holds together well. Season with salt and white pepper and set aside in a warm place.

Parsley Coulis:

2 whole bunches of continental/Italian parsley
water to thin
dash of olive oil


Wash the parsley thoroughly. Remove all the stems. Boil all the parsley in slightly salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water. Purée the parsley in a blender to a coulis consistency by adding a tiny amount of oil and water to help 'lengthen' the sauce. Season and set aside.

To serve:  

Gently warm the parsley coulis and pour it into a serving dish. Float a quenelle of garlic purée on top and serve the meat of your choice on the side.

Frogs legs can be sautéed  for a few minutes on each side in hot oil and butter while baby lamb cutlets are lovely grilled or sautéed to your liking.

NOTE: I came across this unusual way of serving garlic and parsley on a tv show last year. The show was about a famous French chef of yesteryear, this was one of his signature dishes.  No recipe was given in the show so I came up with my own (above).

Researching the dish on the web at a later date I discovered a very recent recipe so perhaps it's not such an 'old' recipe after all. The recipe I found was similar to how I made it though I added oil to the coulis and I used cream with the garlic, not milk. The whole thing is very simple when you stop and think about it!