Tag Archives: recipes

And we are back …

Welcome to the 2016 Edition of Musette du Jour!

Yes, once again I am cooking alongside the Tour de France however this time for something different, I am cooking in spirit of Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat.

FWDGF hit our shelves in 2005 and presented us with an inspiring view on the French paradox of eating for pleasure without blowing your waistline. I am intrigued to try out Mireille’s philosophy…

But! Before you worry that this will be a diet version of Musette, do not despair.  My first recipe for Stage 1 is drawn from Mireille’s FWDGF Cookbook (which I can highly recommend) and it suitably addresses my deepest darkest fear …  how you can you eat for pelasure without eating chocolate?!

You can check out the first two recipes here:

IMG_1347Classic Chocolate Mousse




IMG_1377Soupe au Pistou – Fresh Vegetable Soup




See you on the road to Paris!




Kouign Amann

Kouign amann... otherwise known as delicious!

Kouign amann… otherwise known as delicious!

Okay, so I am running a bit behind this race – I’ve been dropped by the peloton but as we head into the mountains perhaps I’ll be able to make up some ground … maybe.

Anyway, tonight I am back tracking to Stage 8 in Renne with a traditional treat from the bakers of Brittany, the Kouign Amann.  Yep – I tried to make a laminated pastry (like a croissant) and I think I succeeded.  They are flakey and taste delicious.  So now you know, if I can do it, so can you! Click the link, check out the recipe and have a go yourself!

Amiens Macarons – better late than never!

The taste testing is the hardest part!

The taste testing is the hardest part!

So, yesterday I shared with you a little history about the introduction of this little Italian macaron to France.  This morning, I woke up from dreaming about my macaron dough resting in the fridge, thinking of Amiens for an entirely different reason all together.

Amiens holds a special place in my family’s history, as it does no doubt for many others.  Watching Michael Matthews race with the ANZAC armband and a painful set of broken ribs I was reminded why this part of the French countryside was so special, and what these modern day road warriors share in common with the men who have bled into the same countryside before them.

I visited Amiens in 2007 with my family.  We were looking  a war memorial dedicated to the 7th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment – of which my grandfather was part.  In May of 1940 he was one of only 70 soldiers of an almost 600 man strong battalion who survived a major assault from Major General Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division at St Roche. His battalion fighting with courage and tenacity to defend the town of Amiens.

My grandfather survived, to be captured along with 69 others of his Battalion and spent the remainder of his war in a POW camp in Poland, before undertaking The Long March back to Germany for repatriation at the end of the war.

The town of Amiens is warmly welcoming to families of those men who put their lives on the line defending them throughout the duration of both the First and Second World Wars. The people of Amiens and its surrounds are custodians of so many of our loved ones, from all over the Commonwealth that our countries seem irrevocably linked.

It seems a small thing for me to be able to make these delectable Amiens Macarons in their honour.

Lest We Forget

Zeeuwse Bolus – Dutch Cinnamon Rolls

Zeeuwse Bolus – don’t judge the book by its cover!

Okay, so cinnamon scrolls are pretty popular with my family, so what better treat to bake this afternoon than the Dutch version – Zeeuwse Bolus.

These sweet treats are reputedly of Jewish origin and a local to the Dutch province of Zeeland in The Netherlands.  They are sweet, tasty and definitely ugly in appearance – but I wont hold that against them!

Contrary to the cinnamon scrolls that I am familiar with, these treats are coated inside and out  in a heady mix of cinnamon and dark brown sugar.  I read in my research that the name for these treats stems from the Latin word for ball, which has since been adapted in the common vernacular to refer to ‘poo’ simply because of the way these sweet treats look.  Having now baked them, I cannot beg to differ… that is exactly what they look like, but don’t let that deter you.  They taste absolutely delicious!

Happy baking!

Just like Tony Martin on the time trial …

Truffles make their appearance in Beef Fillet with Périgueux Sauce

Truffles make their appearance in Beef Fillet with Périgueux Sauce

There will be a last minute flurry of posts for you tomorrow! A little medical emergency interrupted the cooking yesterday and although we are back on track today, I’m a little behind on the write ups!  Join me tomorrow for Roast Beef with a White Wine and Truffle sauce, a lovely Walnut Tart, and French Onion Soup!


Did somebody say ‘Nimes Brandade de Morue’?

Ready to serve...

Ready to serve…

So, following from earlier discoveries about the origins of this dish, today I have continued the learning curve.

It seems the core ingredients that I mentioned to you earlier are actually a more modern take on the traditional brandade recipe, and if I were bring you a recipe truly representative of Nimes cuisine, then my brandade needed to be stripped back to the bare basics.  Again, another example in the French way, of few ingredients, cooked well, doing all the talking.

So what is in a Nimes Brandade de Morue?  Well, you have the salted cod, some high quality olive oil, some milk and a few aromatics – but only if you want them.  The dish is simple, delicate in texture and only mildly fishy which surprised me a lot.  Still, a bit too fishy for me to rave about it, but tasty nonetheless.

Check out how to make it here!

Tonight it’s a Brandade …

Traditional Nimes Brandade de Morue (image courtesy of http://www.regions-of-france.com)

Traditional Nimes Brandade de Morue (image courtesy of http://www.regions-of-france.com)

Or, Nimes Brandade de Morue to be precise!   This translates to salted cod, prepared in the manner of a Brandade, and specialty of the Nimes region of France.

Those of you that have travelled around Mediterranean will most likely be familiar with the idea of Bacalhau, Bacalao, Baccalá…  Greece, Spain, Italy, they all have their own name for it, but it all amounts to the same thing: dried and salted cod.

So, how does a dish with a main ingredient of dried and salted cod become a speciality of an inland town in the southern reaches of France?  Well, good question!  As with all good stories, there is some conjecture as to how salt cod came to Nimes (and indeed the actual recipe that resulted), but from all my reading, this seemed the most reasonable answer to me… Cod is traditionally fished from the North Sea and its presence, dried and salted, in Nimes appears to be simply commercial.  In the 18th century Basque fisherman would travel to the North Sea on fishing expeditions that lasted several days and they needed a way of preserving their catch.  Luckily for them, one of the best sources of salt were the salt mines or ‘salines’ on the Provencal coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and Nimes was very conveniently located on the trade route known as the ‘Old Salt Road’.  The salted cod simply became a commodity that was easily bartered in return for the salt needed for preservation of future catches and for any other of life’s necessities.

And so, salt cod became a culinary staple of Nimes and the surrounding areas.  Quickly adopted by Nimes housewives, the Brandade was born.  Coming from the Provencal word ‘brandado’ meaning ‘things stirred’, this dish is indeed stirred, and stirred a lot!  Reportedly born in 1756 when a clever cook decided to mash the flesh of salted cod with garlic, potatoes, olive oil and cream (of course!), the Brandade reached the height of popularity in the 1830s due to the efforts of the famous French chef Charles Durand.  At its heart it is a simple dish, but one that takes time as it requires the soaking of the salt cod to soften and desalinate, before mixing it with the other ingredients and baking in the oven.

So, I tracked down some salt cod today in the Greek deli at the Queen Victoria Market.  It is currently soaking away so that I can whip up this dish for you tomorrow (it needs 24 hours soaking toget rid of all that salt).  So no dish tonight, but stay tuned for tomorrow when I take on the cod!