Apero – bouchees


So, friends have decided to drop by mid-afternoon and there are left over festive stuff hanging about… French call this l’Apero, short for Aperitif (see below for definition).

So what can you do with this?

So what can you do with this?

No matter how posh your left over nosh is, you must see this as a great opportunity to get rid. I tell you why; this means that you and your household will not consume it during January and add to the weight that you have already gained during the festive period… so, share the “love” selfishly… Of course.

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See below how everything was used to create a beautiful, appetising and welcoming bouchées display.

Sundried tomato & Radish

Sundried tomato & Radish

The bouchée above is sundried tomato with radish at both ends. The tomato bring the tanginess needed to inject life in the bland radish….

Beet-radish-olive

Beet-radish-olive

Next we’ve got more radish but with beetroot and black olives. Olives even in brine are still salty. So against the radish and precooked beetroot, you will not need to provide a deep for this little skewed trio.

 
Salami mon cheri

Salami mon cheri

This one is has a baby salad leaf, a slice of chorizo and a cherry tomato cut in two. Just fold the salad leaf into a chorizo and impale the cherry tomato halves on each side of the stick.

Fatty liver

Fatty liver

For this one, I used duck foie gras brought back from France. Foie gras can be really fiddly to handle and if you are not careful you might have to just spread it like butter. Do not leave it at room temperature before cut it to your preferred shape. Once it is out of its container cut it as soon as.

Foie gras on toast

Foie gras on toast

So, for this little bouchée, all I used were toasted granary slices, a little salad leaves and slices of the foie gras which, needs no distractions nor butter. It likes to party on its own so, a good toasted bread or French toast will do. You can get your foie gras from French clicks here in the UK – http://www.frenchclick.co.uk.

The oyster & pearl

The oyster & pearl

Next is my show piece: smoked oyster & pearl. For this one get the smoked oyster from Tesco, Sainsbury’s or Waitrose’s tined fish aisle.

Oysters & Pearls

Oysters & Pearls

The montage here is a fresh tomato ring lined with a small green salad leaf, topped with the smokes oyster and a squirt of salad cream… Mayonnaise works too as long as it is squirty.

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Bun & Cheese anyone?

Next, we’ve got Bun & Cheese. This is very very Jamaican. The Jamaican bun is a very spicy and sweet dark brown bread.

Close up Bun N' Cheese

Close up Bun N’ Cheese

It is also very pasty in the mouth and I recommend it in moderation. For the bun and cheese bouchées you need butter to hold it together.

Smoked salmond bouchee

Smoked salmon bouchee

Last but not least of the bouchée, we’ve got toasted brown bread and smoked salmon… That’s it.

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Caesar salad

Can’t do all that without a little salad on the side. So, this one in a Caesar salad my way: it contains, bleu cheese, mix coloured salad (pre-packed) and for crunchiness, we’ve got crispy onions and blue cheese vinaigrette (I love cheese).

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Fruit platter

Of course we cannot have all this and not feel guilty. The fruit selection is here to balance it all out… not! On this little platter we’ve got pomegranate – better to buy the fruit and deseed it yourself than buy it ready from the shop. With it we’ve got white & red grapes and also kiwi… no particular reason for this combo. I had them in the house.

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A table! tuck in

And to wash all this down, we had ginger beer, some red wine (French Ronciers) and water on tap bien sure. It goes without saying that the bin saw none of that.

L’apéro: it is short for l’apéritif and it is a bit like an informal pre-diner drink with savoury finger food… It is not meant to fill you up… so go easy.
Bon appétit 

Marrow Tart


Marrow tart for 4 big eaters
Recently, my friend Jack came back from her dad’s allotment and brought me back a giant marrow. It must have weighted about 2kgs and to make the tart below, only a 3rd of it was used. The rest was used to make a vegan dish that I will publish here very soon.
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Ingredients:
650grs Marrow
6 medium eggs
Cheese (mature cheddar) 100grs – Grated
Flour 100DSC02606
Butter 25grs – Melted + a little bit to butter the tart dish
Whole Milk 50ml
Onion 50grs – Finely chopped
Garlic 4 cloves – finely chopped
Salt and pepper
50grs coriander – finely chopped & 4 olives
1 pre-rolled puff pastry
1 28cm tart dish

Put the oven to pre-heat at 210

Method:
1 – Start by rinsing the marrow then, cutting out 4 rings of 3cm. Hollow out the rings, but leave an inside layer of about 1cm. Now put the rings in a bowl of water until time to use them.
Do not throw away the marrow meat as you will add them to the grated marrow later.

2 – Now, Peel the left over marrow and grate it. Set aside.DSC02629
In a deep bowl. Beat 2 eggs. Add the whole milk. Add the melted butter. Sieve in the flour and mix thoroughly – make sure there is no pocket of unmixed flour – add the garlic, onion and coriander. Mix well, then add in the grated cheese and the marrow mince. Add salt, pepper and taste.

3 – Now butter the tart dish and unroll the pastry on it tucking in the side very snugly, then use a fork to prick the bottom of the dish to allow air to escape later during the cooking.
Now pour in the dish the previously prepared mix. Carefully place the marrow rings prepared at step 1. Do not force the rings to sink in the batter.

4 – Put the dish in the oven at 210 degrees for 1hour. After 45 minutes, bring the dish out of the oven then hollow the marrow rings deep enough to contain an egg yolk.

5 – Now separate the 4 remaining eggs and just use the yolks unbeaten to refill the holes in the tart. The halved olive are optional. Now dust the top of the egg yolks with a bit of salt and pepper then put the tart back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

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Serving suggestion

Note: Step 5 must be really really fast and should not take more than 5 minutes as the tart might cool down.
This tart is very rich and should be accompanied with a very simple salad. Here the salad is Tomato, lettuce, sesame seeds tossed in a glug of balsamic vinegar.
I try to balance my diet by alternating rich meals with very lighter meals or meat and dairy free dishes.

Bon Appétit