Smoked Salmon Souffles

I’ve just been on holiday in Paris and so whilst I was there I found this recipe called Le Souffle that I wanted to visit. Unfortunately, it was full and we couldn’t go but the idea to eat a souffle stuck in my head so it was the first thing I made after I came back from holiday. When I’ve made souffles in the past I tend to go for the cheese ones but this smoked salmon souffle recipe on the BBC Good Food website was lovely and light. I made these in a haphazard way, using the random collection of ramekins I have in my cupboard and they turned out ok. Serve as a starter or a light dinner with salad.

Makes 6

Ingredients

  • 40g butter (plus extra to butter the ramekins)
  • 25g plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 85g cream cheese
  • 2 tsp dill (actually I didn’t have any and they were still good)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 85g smoked salmon (plus extra to serve)
  • 1 lemon

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Butter 6 ramekins

3.) Chop up the dill and measure out the cream cheese. Zest half the lemon.

4.) Separate the eggs, put the egg whites into a large bowl.

5.) Melt the butter in a saucepan and once it’s melted add the flour. Stir into a paste and cook for 1 minute to cook off the flour taste,

6.) Gradually add the milk and whisk after each addition to get rid of all the lumps. Once all the milk is added, cook for another couple of minutes to thicken the sauce.

7.) Take off the heat and add the cream cheese and dill. Beat to incorporate.

8.) Move the mixture to a bowl to cool quicker.

9.) Whisk up the egg whites into stiff peaks.

10.) Chop up the salmon and add to the cream cheese mix. Add the egg yolks and lemon zest and mix everything.

11.) Half-fill a roasting tin with water.

12.) Fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mix.

13.) Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, just below the top. Place the ramekins in the roasting tin.

14.) Bake for 25 minutes or so, until they’ve risen over the top, the egg is set and the top is brown.

15.) Serve with some extra salmon and maybe a dollop of creme fraiche.

Salmon & Leek Quiche

This is another dish I made for my Apprentice viewing ‘party’. There’s a lot of great TV on at the moment and I’ve even got into The Masked Singer. I was absolutely shocked to discover that any of the guys from the band Westlife actually had any talent to the point where I thought they were actually Adam Lambert! Westlife were the scourge of my teenage years being at a girls school. I just used a food processor to do the pastry as I did the pastry on a lunch break and added the filling in later on.

Ingredients

  • 150g butter (block of butter – very cold)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 tbsp ice cold water
  • 2 fillets of salmon
  • 1 leek
  • 10g chives
  • 300g crème fraiche
  • seasoning

Method

1.) Make the pastry by chopping up the butter into small chunks.

2.) Add the butter to the food processor and then the flour. Blitz until breadcrumbs are formed.

3.) Separate the egg and tip in the egg yolk and the water.

4.) Blitz a little more until the pastry has become a ball in the food processor.

5.) Dust a surface with flour and a rolling pin.

6.) Roll out the pastry to about 0.7mm thickness. Roll the pastry up on the rolling pin and transfer over to a 25cm tart tin.

7.) Use a bit of the extra pastry that’s overhanging and roll into a ball. Push the pastry down into the tart tin so it fills all the corners. The pastry will shrink down when baked so this is important.

8.) Roll the rolling pin across the top to cut off the excess pastry.

9.) Cover in cling film and refrigerate.

10.) For the filling, wash and slice up the leeks and cook in a frying pan with a tablespoon of butter until completely soft.

11.) While this is cooking, dice the chives and add to a measuring jug. Pull the skin off the salmon and chop into chunks.

12.) Add the salmon to the pan with the leek and cook, turning around until all sides are pink.

13.) Turn off the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.

14.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

15.) Put some parchment paper over the quiche and weigh down with baking beads (you can use rice if you don’t do so much baking)

16.) Bake for 10 minutes then remove the parchment paper and baking beads and bake for another 10 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 180 degrees C.

17.) In the measuring jug, add the crème fraiche, 4 of the eggs, separate the other two eggs and add the yolks to the measuring jug. Season and give it a good whisk.

18.) Spoon the salmon and leeks over the quiche base.

19.) Pour over the egg mix but not over the top of the pastry.

20.) Bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is golden brown and set in the middle.

Faux Gras

I only tried foie gras once before before becoming pescatarian and though I did enjoy the flavour being that it’s basically a richer form of chicken liver pâte there was always the guilt of the method of production. We tried the foie gras in a French restaurant in Washington DC after explaining to the server that we had reservations over the cruelty and the French owner thinking that we were joking and serving it to us anyway. In the UK, foie gras has actually been banned now so there was at least one good thing to come out of 2021. This is what led the Michelin starred chef Alex Gauthier who is actually vegan himself to create a vegan version of foie gras. Obviously it’s not the same as the real thing but it’s still delicious coupled with Sauternes wine and it really still feels luxurious despite being very simple to make. The original recipe has beetroot purée in it which gives it the similar pink tone of the real stuff. You may want to omit this if you want it to be less reminiscent of meat.

Serves a lot in fact maybe half this recipe if possible

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter (vegan or normal if like me, you’re not vegan)
  • 1 shallot
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 18 button mushrooms (I used 9 normal mushrooms)
  • few sprigs rosemary
  • few sprigs thyme
  • few sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp cognac
  • 200g lentils (makes about 400g cooked)
  • 150g walnuts
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp beetroot purée (I used 3 mini cooked beetroots)

Method

1.) Put the lentils in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer until cooked. Drain and place in the food processor.

2.) Peel and finely chop the shallot. Wash and slice the mushrooms. Strip the leaves from the herbs and finely dice.

3.) Melt the butter in a pan and cook the mushrooms and shallots until cooked.

4.) In the meantime, peel and finely chop the garlic.

5.) Add the garlic to the pan with the herbs and cook for one minute. Add the cognac and turn off the heat.

6.) Add the contents of the frying pan to the food processor.

7.) Toast the walnuts on a low heat until they’re starting to smell toasted.

8.) Add the walnuts to the food processor, along with the soy sauce and the beetroot. Blitz everything until a smooth paste is formed.

9.) Place into ramekins.

10.) Best served at room temperature with some crackers or bread and ideally some dessert wine.

Chickpea Niçoise Salad

Niçoise salad is so called as it’s a salad from the city of Nice in France. I don’t believe that this really resembles at all a Niçoise. Ignoring the fact that there is no tuna or hardboiled eggs in it (unsurprising since the recipe is from ‘Bosh – Healthy Vegan’), generally most versions seem to have green beans and new potatoes. Even so, this is a tasty recipe which has elevated the protein packed chickpea to a healthy vegan fish substitute. Maybe what you need if you’ve not managed to distribute all of your Halloween treats. Sadly I didn’t have much of a Halloween this year, it was spoilt by Avanti West Coast rail service who cancelled all trains from London to the North-West after my weekend break to the Big Smoke. The original Candyman will have to wait for another week as I’m determined to see if it’s still as terrifying as it was when I watched it for the first time, at the age of twelve. In the meantime, I’m consoling myself by reading ‘Necropolis: London & it’s Dead’.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tin (400g chickpeas)
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 small carrot
  • 2 small cornichons (or 4 capers)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 sprig dill
  • handful parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp hummus
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 25g fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 300g mixed tomatoes
  • 2 little gem lettuces
  • 150g podded broad beans (I used frozen edamame beans defrosted in the microwave)
  • 35g pitted Kalamata olives

Method

1.) Make the tuna substitute. Peel the shallot and carrot and roughly chop those and the celery and throw them in a food processor. Add the cornichons. Zest and juice the lemon and add that also. Add the dill and parsley. Blitz until everything is finely chopped.

2.) Add the hummus, drain the chickpeas and add those too. Pulse a few times so everything is combined but there is still some texture.

3.) To make the dressing, peel and grate the garlic and finely chop the basil, setting aside the leaves. In a container of some form, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Add the basil stems and garlic to infuse with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

4.) Chop up the tomatoes and rip up the lettuce. Add to a big bowl with the olives and broad beans.

5.) Toss with the dressing to coat everything and divide between two plates.

6.) Add the chickpea mixture on top and serve.

Cheese & Potato Nests

A little behind on the posting yet again but I did have three interviews for two jobs this last week. I did end up with two job offers so at least it was time well spent. I have a good feeling about the job I picked as my new employer has at least one cat who nearly made an appearance on Microsoft Teams during our interview. I find that having a cat is always a sign of good character! This is my last French recipe for the time being as I can’t realistically pretend I’m on holiday anymore even with a mini-two day heatwave in Manchester. Cheese and potato is a big crowd pleaser and I served these with some pan fried fish. Again, this was from Rachel Khoo’s ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ as it’s the only French cookbook I own. Weirdly, this is a recipe made up by the Reblochon company to try to sell their cheese.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 500g waxy potatoes (Maris Peer or Charlotte are recommended)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pack quorn bacon
  • 100ml white wine/stock
  • 250g Reblochon (or 250g of a mix of Reblochon and brie as I used)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. ) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
  2. ) Melt the butter in a microwave for 10 seconds
  3. ) Brush a 12 space cupcake tin or a 6 space muffin tin with the butter
  4. ) Peel the potatoes and chop into matchsticks. Then set aside. You could use a mandolin but I’ve abandoned these after cutting my fingers to shreds.

5.) Peel and finely chop the onion.

6.) Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion and the bay leaf. Fry for about 5 minutes until starting to soften. In the meantime, chop up the quorn bacon into cubes. Then add to the pan and fry for another couple of minutes.

7.) Break up the cheese into blobs.

8.) Add the wine or stock and cook down until there’s just a couple of tablespoons left.

9.) Remove the bay leaf and tip the mixture into the bowl with the potatoes.

10.) Add the cheese and give it all a stir.

11.) Divide it between the 12 cupcake places or 6 muffin places.

12.) Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. I’m not sure you can really overdo these. If the potato sticks are a bit burnt at the top, all the better.

13.) Serve by scooping out with a spoon.

Fougasse + Beef & Wine Soup

During my holiday staying close to the town of Fougasse, I took it upon myself to try all of the fougasse that I could find. I normally don’t allow myself too much bread at home due to a mild gluten intolerance and a complete incapacity to stop myself eating the whole lot in two days. I was intrigued as to how homemade fougasse (from Rachel Khoo’s ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ would come out compared to the real-thing. The answer was pretty good though I think they put more oil on the outside of the bread that I tried to give it a nice crispy toasted flavour. Fougasse originates from focaccia but is spread out further for the crispiness. As for the beef and wine soup, I’ve just always had an eye on it from the cookbook ‘Two Greedy Italians’ but wasn’t sure how it would work as a vegetarian option. The soup itself was pretty salty using stock and parmesan but it paired very nicely to dip the bread into. As a recommended serving, I would serve a small portion of the soup with the bread as a starter.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 10g dried yeast
  • 250ml tepid water
  • 400g strong white flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus extra to brush)
  • 500ml ‘beef’ stock – I used Massel beef flavoured stock which I find has a very convincing beef flavour
  • 250ml white wine
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 50ml double cream
  • 50ml parmesan

Method

1.) Measure out the tepid water into a measuring jug and add the yeast. Leave it to brew for about 10 minutes.

2.) Measure out the flour with the salt, stir the salt into the flour so that when you pour the water on, it doesn’t instantly hit the salt which will kill the yeast.

3.) Mix the yeasty water with the flour. Knead by hand on a floured surface until the dough is soft and smells of yeast or as I did in a stand mixer with a dough hook (5 minutes). The dough will be very soft.

4.) Cover with cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour, then place in the fridge overnight.

5.) Knead the dough for 5 minutes, place back in the bowl, put a damp tea towel on top then leave to rise for 30 minutes.

6.) Split the dough into two and form an oval with each. Cut slashes into the dough like the veins of a leaf.

7.) Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the dough on top. Leave to rise for an hour.

8.) About 15 minutes before the hour is up, preheat the oven to 240 degrees C.

9.) Brush the doughs with olive oil. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 210 degrees C and bake for a further 12 – 15 minutes.

10.) For the soup, measure out the stock and grate the parmesan.

11.) Add the stock and wine to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for 1 minute then turn down the heat.

12.) Measure out the cream and add to the soup with a pinch of cinnamon.

13.) Tip in the parmesan and stir to melt. Serve with pieces of bread.