Duck confit crispy spring rolls

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Serves 8

Ingredients:

6 sheets of filo pastry
2 legs of duck confit meat, off the bone and shredded
2 slices of cooked foie gras (optional), cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons smooth apricot jam
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce such as Tabasco or sriracha (to taste)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon water or orange juice
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
1 tablespoon finely diced shallot
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted, chopped almonds
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 210C / 420F
Mix the jam, hot sauce and the vinegar, add a bit of water (or orange juice) and set aside
Place the meat, ginger, Chinese 5 spice powder, shallot, parsley and almonds in a bowl
Season to taste and mix well
Delicately stir in the foie gras
Cut each sheet of filo into four
Place a spoonful of the mixture at one end of a filo rectangle, in the centre
Roll the filo around the filling until halfway along the filo sheet, then fold each side of unfilled pastry into the centre
Resist the urge to over stuff
Continue rolling into a cylinder and brush with the butter to seal
Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and brush with butter
Repeat with the remaining pastry sheets
Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes until golden and crisp
Serve hot with sweet chilli sauce
Enjoy!

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Puff pastry maroille quiche

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Maroilles is French, AOC approved, square cow’s milk cheese made in the Picardy and Nord-Pas-de-Calais regions of Northern France. The cheese gets its name from the village of Maroilles where it is still produced. It is also said that the cheese has been created in the 10th century by a monk, Maroilles in northern France. It is matured from five weeks to four months during which it is regularly washed with salt and water.

At four months, the ivory pâte is soft and oily. It has a powerful, pungent aroma suggestive of fermenting fruit and the flavour reminds of smoky bacon. Earthy notes of walnuts and mushrooms contrasted by a strong, pungent aroma are very typical of an aged Maroilles.

Makes 1 quiche, about 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 sheet puff pastry
250g / 9oz Maroilles cheese (1/2 cheese, with rind removed)
4 eggs
1kg / 1/2 pound leeks, (white and light green parts only)
225g / 8oz lardons or bacon – optional
200ml / 3/4 cup thick cream
30g / 2 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 180C / 360F
Place the cheese in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up and make slicing it easier
Cut the leeks finely
Over medium heat, melt the butter and gently sauté the leeks and lardons for about 15 minutes in a large skillet
Line a quiche pan, about 9″ / 23 cm with the puff pastry
Cut the Maroilles into small pieces
In a bowl, whisk the eggs lightly
Add the cheese. the cream, the salt and pepper and mix well
Add the leeks and lardons
Pour the mixture onto the puff pastry
Bake for about 30 minutes
Can be eaten hot or cold
Enjoy!

 

Croque Monsieur or Madame

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At its best a croque monsieur is a strong contender for the world’s finest cheese and ham sandwich.  It basically is a french gourmet version of the grilled cheese.

There are very few ingredients but to make the classic bistro favourite, each ingredient must be of the best quality and of course the right choice.

So as this is a sandwich, it makes sense to start with the right bread. A good croque monsieur is both crisp and tender. You need a soft yet firm white sandwich bread, (pain de mie), reasonably thick slices. Some people like brioche for their croque because it’s both soft and buttery, but any high-quality white sandwich bread is good here.

Next the cheese. The traditional is a delicious gruyère. Gruyère is a firm, slightly elastic mountain cheese with a slightly sweet, nutty flavour. Most importantly for our purposes, it melts magnificently, but a good comté or cantal is just as good. Freshly grated is very important. You do not want to use pre grated and packaged.

Next is the ham. Again here, not any old packaged ham. Nice medium sliced french ham is best.

Of course, there is one thing that sets the croque apart from other great cheese and ham toasted sandwiches, namely that it arrives at the table drowned in golden and bubbling bechamel sauce.

The croque monsieur often comes accessorised with dijon mustard, the acidic heat tempering its outrageous cheesiness.

And of course if you wish to make a croque madame, it is exactly the same thing but with a fried egg added on top.

Makes 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 thick slices white bread
  • 8 slices ham, preferably Paris ham (jambon blanc)
  • 150g / 5oz. Gruyère, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
béchamel
  • 30g / 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 30g / ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 250ml / 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F
Béchamel: Melt the butter on low heat
Add the flour and whisk for a few minutes Add the cold milk, bit by bit, while whisking continuously
Add the nutmeg and season to taste
Allow to thicken slightly
Pour into a bowl, cover with cling film or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes
Spread some of the cold béchamel on each slice of bread
Add a bit more than half of the grated cheese onto 4 slices of bread
Place a slice of ham on top of the cheese
Close the slices of bread by placing the slices with béchamel on top of the slices with the cheese and ham, béchamel side inside
Press firmly to close
Spread the remaining béchamel on the sandwiches and top with the rest of the grated cheese
Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper
Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until they are golden brown
Serve immediately
Bon Appétit!

 

 

 

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