Golden Turnips

A forgotten vegetable, ridiculed by Baldrick in the British series Blackadder (remember the Turnip Surprise that he prepared for Blackadder? It contained, obviously, turnip and the surprise? There was nothing else in it except the turnip) and it still not very popular.
To be called a golden turnip and remain forgotten is of course a bit sad.

Let’s give credit to the turnip: it has been around for many years (according to some sources as early as 2000 BC), it is used in many cuisines, from America to Japan, the leaves are also edible and it was once an important vegetable in the four-year-crop-rotation system. Next time you see turnips, just buy them, look for a recipe and enjoy.

The golden turnip has indeed a beautiful yellow colour, its taste is sweet and delicate, the structure smooth. Great to turn into a mash (with butter and perhaps nutmeg). They can be eaten raw (crunchy and the taste is peppery, radish-like). You could also mix them with other vegetables such as Jerusalem artichoke and parsnip (fry in the oven). 

We combined the turnip with a very tasty quail, stuffed with prunes, pancetta and bay leaf.

Wine Pairing

The turnip was cheap, the quail expensive so we decided to spend even more money and bought a bottle of Château de Crémat from the Bellet region near Nice. The wine is made with 75% folle noir and 25% grenache. Folle noir is a grape typical for the Provence region. Once very popular, this grape is now hardly used.
The wine is very balanced with flavours like prune and blackberries, a touch of oak and an aroma that made us think of flowers and dark fruit. In general you’re looking for a full bodied red wine, one that matches the quail and the presence of the bay leaf and the herbs in the pancetta.

What You Need

  • 4 Golden Turnips
  • Black Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

For the quail see our earlier post. For the turnips: peel these as thinly as possible. Cook for perhaps 5 minutes and let cool. Slice in eight. Heat a pan, add olive oil and colour the turnips quickly. The idea is to add some colour and taste to the turnip and keep its golden colour. Serve with some black pepper and nutmeg.

PS

Use the remainder of the quails to make a very tasty stock. Put in ice cube bags, freeze and use when making sauces.

  • Golden Turnips ©cadwu
  • Golden Turnips with Quail ©cadwu

Dorade

The Gilt-Head (Sea) Bream, better known as Daurade, Dorade (Royale) or Orata is a popular fish in France, Greece, Italy, Spain and many other Mediterranean countries. Delicious when stuffed with herbs such as thyme, rosemary or marjoram, grilled and served with a slice of lemon. The firm, juicy meat is aromatic and a culinary treat.
Serving a whole fish can be a bit uncomfortable. You must remove the head, dissect the fish and look carefully for hidden bones. Serving a fillet makes enjoying fish much easier. The downside is that a fillet is less tasty and perhaps a touch dry. When you buy a fillet, make sure it’s fresh and enjoy it the same day.
We combine the Dorade with typical Mediterranean ingredients. A combination that is both light and tasty.

Wine Pairing

The dish is full of flavours, so we would suggest a glass of Spanish Verdejo or Italian Custoza. In general you’re looking for a full, fragrant dry white wine with a fruity aroma and a round, long, full and dry taste.

What You Need

  • 200 grams of Dorade Fillet
  • 2 ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Capers (in brine)
  • Basil
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Remove the pits from the tomato and dice. Chop the garlic. Coarsely slice the capers. Add olive oil to the pan, heat the garlic for a few seconds, add tomatoes. Leave for a few minutes, add the capers. Taste and adjust. One minute before serving add half of the basil. Add black pepper.
In parallel fry the dorade until golden. Serve on a hot plate and add the remaining basil.
PS When you use salted capers, wash these thoroughly to remove the salt. You need lemon juice to get the right acidity.

Dorade ©cadwu
Dorade ©cadwu

Mousse au Chocolat

Crème Brulée, Ile Flottante, Crêpes Suzette and Mousse au Chocolat: four classic French desserts. It’s tempting to buy them ready-made, especially Mousse au Chocolat is popular in supermarkets, but why not make your own?

From 1992 until 2002 Belgian cook Herwig van Hove and host Dré Steemans (better known as Felice Damiano) had a weekly program on television called ‘1000 seconds’. In these 1000 seconds (just under 17 minutes) Herwig van Hove would prepare a three-course meal. Sometimes he took a short cut by serving cheese as dessert, but very often he would prepare three courses. His recipe for Mousse au Chocolat is quick and easy. The result is a delicious Mousse au Chocolat, one that will keep well for at least 24 hours.

What You Need (for 4)

  • 2 fresh organic Eggs
  • 35 grams of fine Sugar
  • 100 grams of Dark (Cooking) Chocolate
  • 165 grams of Cream
  • Raspberry (to decorate, optional)

What You Do

You will need 2 bowls plus one larger bowl. Start by separating the eggs. Beat the egg white until firm. In the larger bowl beat the egg yolks and the sugar until ‘ruban’ (meaning thick and pale). Whip the cream until firm. This order allows you to use one wire whisk for all three steps in the process.
Melt the chocolate with 65 grams of cream in your microwave on very low power. No rush, the result should be lukewarm. This will take 3 minutes or longer. Use a spoon to mix the cream and chocolate until smooth.
For the next steps you need a spatula. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and combine. Now fold in the cream using a spatula and then fold in the egg whites. Don’t stir or mix, just fold.
Fill four nice glasses with the mousse, cover with cling foil and transfer to the refrigerator. Just before serving decorate with raspberries and perhaps some freshly whipped cream.

  • Mousse au Chocolat ©cadwu
  • Mousse au Chocolat not decorated ©cadwu

Your Favourites in 2022

We have been baking our own bread for several years, based on the method of no-knead bread (see Jim Lahey’s book My Bread for more detail) and using the ingredients of the French Talmière. The technique is a bit challenging, so we were very pleased to test the simplified method described by Le Creuset. You were also pleased to learn about this easier method for No-Knead Bread, because it’s our number one post this year!

Kimizu is the classic, golden sauce from Japan, made from Egg Yolks, Rice Vinegar, Water and Mirin. The recipes for Kimizu and Kimizu with Tarragon continue to be very popular. Although this is a classic sauce, we use a microwave to prepare it. A great tool to be in control of temperature and consistency.

If you’ve been following this blog for a few months, perhaps years, then you’ll know we love mushrooms. We are especially interested in the seasonal ones, such as Morels, St. George’s mushroom, and Caesar’s Mushroom. We combine these with Japanese Udon, creating a very tasty starter, full of flavours and texture. Also one of our personal favourites.
Another favorite is the Bay Bolete. Actually a fairly common mushroom, as tasty as Cèpes, but much more affordable.
During the season we saw lots of interests in Bay Boletes and Caeser’s Mushroom, so next season we will publish new recipes with these two delicious mushrooms.

The classic Cèpes à la Bordelaise was also amongst your favourites. You can also use more available mushrooms for this great combination. Always a pleasure to serve, with eggs, with meat, with more present fish.

Ajerkoniak was a dish we looked into when we were exploring dishes/drinks based on egg yolks, such as caudle, eggnog and advocaat. Perhaps not our personal favourite, but why nog give it a try?

We wish you a happy and inspiring 2023!

Your Favourites in 2022 ©cadwu
Your Favourites in 2022 ©cadwu

Classic Beef Stew

Wintery weather, sunny and cold, the best time of year to enjoy a beef stew. We decided to cook an old-fashioned version, with red wine, bay leaf, mustard and black pepper. And patience of course, because it will take hours.

Regardless if you want to cook a Flemish Stew, Bœuf Bourguignon, Daube à la Provençale or this beef stew, you must use fatty, structured meat. The idea to use lean meat because fat is unhealthy or altogether wrong is one to forget quickly. Fat, structured meat is the key to a delicious stew. In general you’re looking for meat from the neck or the shoulder (beef chuck roast, sucadepaleron). When in doubt, ask your butcher.

Most recipes suggest dicing the meat. We didn’t want to do that. When cutting the meat before serving, we followed the structure of the meat, which gives the plate a rustic feel.

We served the beef stew with a beet root salad and cranberry compote.

Drink Pairing

A rich beer or a full-bodied red wine will be a great accompaniment with the stew. The dish comes with some sweetness (the stew, the salad and the compote, obviously) so the wine should have some acidity and tannins. A robust wine with aromas of dark fruit (plums, blackberries, cherries), a touch of oak and a long taste will be perfect. 

What You Need

  • 400 grams of excellent Fat, Structured Beef
  • 50 grams of organic Bacon
  • Butter
  • Shallot
  • Mustard
  • Red Wine
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Bouquet Garni (Thyme, Parsley, Sage)
  • Black Pepper
  • Water

What You Do

Heat a heavy iron skillet, pat the meat dry with kitchen paper, add butter to the pan and fry until golden-brown. Reduce the heat and remove the meat from the pan. Add the sliced bacon and fry until golden. Add the shallot and glaze. Return the meat to the pan, add red wine, some water, mustard, bay leaves, bouquet garni and crushed black pepper. Allow to simmer for 6+ hours. You could close the pan with a lid. We prefer to cook it without a lid. The meat will take longer to become tender and soft. Our impression is that a stew prepared in a skillet without a lid is more moist. In all cases check the pan every 30 minutes, turn the meat and add water if required.
You could reduce the jus or turn it into a sauce, but you could also keep it as is.

What You Need – Beet Root Salad

  • One Beet Root
  • Excellent Olive Oil
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Shallot
  • Black Pepper

What You Do – Beet Root Salad

The day before wash the beetroot and wrap in aluminium foil. Leave in the oven on 180° Celsius or 355° Fahrenheit for 45 – 60 minutes depending on the size. Cool and store in the refrigerator.
The next day peel the beet root and use a vegetable slicer (or mandoline) to make ridges. This will not only make the dish look more inviting, it will also enhance the taste given there is more coated surface and more air when chewing it. Make a simply, relatively acidic dressing with olive oil and vinegar. Finely chop the shallot and add to the dressing. Test a small slice of beet with the dressing and adjust when necessary. Perhaps some fresh black pepper? If you’re happy with the combination, toss the slices with the dressing making sure everything is nicely coated.

Date with Foie Gras and Bacon

It’s such a pleasure to serve a warm snack (appetizer, finger food, quick nibble). In an earlier post we described how to make crostini with mushrooms and taleggio. A delicious vegetarian appetizer. This one is also simple and quick, but requires some shopping.

Let’s start with the bacon. Ideally you would use bacon made of pork belly, cooked in water with spices such as cloves, bay leaf and mustard seed, then rubbed with sugar, smoked and dried. The result is a moist, slightly sweet, cured bacon. The Dutch call it Katenspek.

Foie gras is always a bit of a debate. We are flexible and enjoy eating it, provided it comes with an authenticity label, perhaps with an award of an agricultural show and of course with positive reviews from connaisseurs. Ethical foie gras, made without force feeding the geese, is of course the preferred option. One that is nearly impossible to find. The Guardian published an interesting article about making Foie Gras without gavage.

The combination of these three ingredients is savoury and sweet, with a texture that is soft, crispy and a touch chewy. We love it.

What You Need

  • Excellent Dates
  • Excellent Terrine de Foie Gras (Goose preferred)
  • Sweet Cured Bacon

What You Do

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. Stuff the dates with foie gras and wrap it in one rasher of bacon. Fry quickly in a non-stick pan. The bacon should be crispy, the foie gras soft, the date warm. Serve immediately on a warm plate.

Date with Foie Gras and Bacon ©cadwu
Date with Foie Gras and Bacon ©cadwu

Salad of Small Artichokes

The season of artichokes varies depending on the variety and where you are based. In Italy it’s from mid-winter until early spring, in other countries from March to June, or September and October. And in other countries they peak in August. Best is to decide based on quality and price. An artichoke should feel heavy, look fresh and the leaves should be closed. If the leaves are wide open, the artichoke is older and it could be dry with lots of choke (the hairs) and dry inner leaves.

Don’t cook artichokes in boiling water. They must cook for 45+ minutes and during the long cooking process they will lose most of their flavour. Best is to steam artichokes.

Serve large artichokes as a relaxing starter or use them to make Artichoke Barigoule or a Pie. We use smaller ones to make a salad.  You can serve it to accompany an aperitif, or with some bread as a starter. Make sure you have plenty of dressing!

Wine Pairing

It’s not straightforward to pair artichokes with wine. According to various researchers this is due to cynarin, a chemical especially found in the leaves of the artichoke. When the wine and the cynarin meet in your mouth, the natural sweetness of the wine is enhanced, making it taste too sweet. So you have to pair freshly cooked or steamed artichokes with a bone-dry, crisp, unoaked white wine with clear, present acidity. For instance, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner or Albariño.
We enjoyed a glass of Château Pajzos Tokaj Furmint 2019. This dry, white wine made from the well-known Hungarian Furmint grape is fresh, clean and slightly floral. It supports the Salad of Artichokes beautifully.

What You Need

  • 6 small Artichokes
  • Olive Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • Black Pepper

What You Do

Remove the stem of the artichokes and steam the artichokes for 45 – 60 minutes, depending on the size. Remove and let cool. Peel of the first layers of the outer leaves. Make the dressing by turning the mustard and the crushed garlic into a smooth paste. Then gently add the other ingredients and whisk well to make it really smooth, thick dressing. Cut the artichokes in 6 or 8 parts. Add to the dressing, mix well, coating all artichokes. Sprinkle lots of thyme and mix again. Put in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Mix again, taste, add some more thyme and serve!

Potato and Truffle Purée

The combination of potatoes and truffle is an interesting one. Because one is the opposite of the other in terms of price and availability? Because both grow underground?

Dutch chef John Halvemaan (also winner of the prestigious Johannes van Dam prize) created a no doubt delicious combination, using butter, veal stock, parsley and cooked bacon. Also very tasty: a recipe for a gratin with crème fraîche and eggs and a recipe by chef Claude Deligne (Le Taillevent in Paris) with foie gras. All far too complex for us, so we prepared a very rich and tasty potato purée with lots of truffle.

If you look for recipes with potatoes and truffle, you will find suggestions using truffle oil. It’s not the real thing, however, if you find quality truffle oil and use only a little bit, your purée will be yummy. The sad news is that some (most?) truffle oil comes with 2,4-dithiapentane, a synthetically produced, aromatic molecule. Producers add this because it gives the impression that the oil contains truffle. Unfortunately, the flavours of 2,4-dithiapentane are not even close to the aromas and taste of a real truffle.

In this case you have to spend some money on both the truffle and the potatoes.

We combined our purée with an excellent rib eye and served it with its own jus and the purée.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed a glass of Camino de Caza Almansa Garnacha Tintorera-Monastrell 2020. An organic red wine produced by Bodegas Piqueras and made grapes from the Almansa region in Spain. It’s a full-bodied wine with soft tannins and a hint of vanilla and chocolate. In general, you’re looking for a smooth wine with notes of red fruit and oak, medium acidity and with a long, dry finish. One that goes very well with for instance red meat and game (hare, deer).

What You Need

  • Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Egg Yolk
  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Winter Truffle

What You Do

Make your favourite purée! Cook the potatoes until ready (meaning: until the blade of a knife inserted in the potato goes easily through it). Drain. Mash with a fork, add cold butter, combine, add warm milk and/or cream and use a spatula to get the right consistency. You could add a beaten egg yolk (also because eggs and truffle work together wonderfully). Add salt to taste. Perhaps some white pepper. Grate the truffle and add half of it to the purée. The taste of a winter truffle benefits from the warmth of the purée. Just before serving add the remaining truffle.

Potato and Truffle Purée ©cadwu
Potato and Truffle Purée ©cadwu

Bouchot Mussels

When you buy champagne, Cornish Clotted cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Kalamate Olives, you want to be sure it’s really champagne, clotted cream, Parmigiano or a Kalamata olive. There are various ways of protecting food (and wine) for instance by law, by creating and protecting a brand, or by systems such as the Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) also known as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). AOP/PDO is based on unique aspects of a region. For instance, the AOP for Comté cheese reflects the use of milk from specific cows from a region in the French Jura with a unique flora. This determines the cheese, its flavour and quality.

Another system focuses on the way food is produced. If this is done in a unique traditional way, the product can be labelled with Spécialité Traditionnelle Garantie (STG) or Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG).

Bouchot Mussels carry both labels and they come with a special logo. Obviously, you wonder why.
The mussels grow in a unique way, benefitting from the large tide near Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy. They grow on ropes strung from wooden poles (so called bouchots) in the sea. During a significant part of the day the mussels sit above sea level and therefore they grow slowly. The influence of the tide makes the bouchot mussels typical for the region and the use of poles makes the way the mussels grow unique.

Perhaps you also wonder if these aspects have an impact on the mussel and its taste. The answer is yes. They are small, clean, very tasty, flavourful, juicy and meaty plus they are free of sand and grit.

Preparing bouchot mussels is very simple, because adding flavours will only interfere with the already delicious taste.

Perhaps a bit more expensive than other mussels, but given they are so very tasty and rich, we think it’s perfectly fine to buy less than usual.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Bouchot Mussels with a glass of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Domaine Raphaël Luneau. The wine originates from the Loire Valley and is made with 100% Melon de Bourgogne. The wine is stored on its ‘lees’ for several months before bottling. Lees are leftover yeast particles. They add flavour and structure to the wine.
In general, you’re looking for a white wine with minerality, fruit, structure and expression. It must be aromatic with a long taste.

What You Need (Starter)

  • 500 grams of Bouchot Mussels
  • White wine
  • One garlic Glove
  • Parsley
  • Crusted Bread

What You Do

Finely chop the garlic and the parsley. Add white wine to a pan and add the garlic. Bouchot mussels don’t release much liquid when you cook them, so use a little more wine than you would do with regular mussels. Leave for 10 minutes. Clean the mussels. Cook the mussels as quickly as you can, lid on the pan, until they are open. Add the parsley and combine. Serve immediately on a hot (soup) plate.

Partridge with Sauerkraut and Parsley Root

Partridge is perhaps the most delicate of game birds. Tasty, aromatic, mild. It is also one of the most vulnerable birds, given it is under threat from loss of habitat. Especially the grey partridge is becoming scarce. They are also expensive (we paid 10 euro per partridge) and the best part of the season (September-November) is relatively short, so don’t wait too long if you want to enjoy partridge once a year, like we do.

The meat of a partridge is lean and tends to become very dry when preparing it. So what to do? Of course! Put a strip of bacon on each breast and transfer the partridge to a hot oven.
Not really. The bacon will impact the delicate taste of the partridge. And placing such a small, lean bird in a hot oven is a massive risk. Just a few minutes too long (simply because something else you are preparing takes a bit longer) and the meat is bone dry. Stuffing the partridge doesn’t help either; the filling will be moist, but the meat will be dry anyway.

The key to an excellent partridge is to be brave enough to use an oven on a really low temperature, meaning on the temperature the meat should have when it’s served, which is 70 °Celsius or 160 °Fahrenheit.  Dutch chef Peter Lute presents this method in two highly recommended videos.

Partridge combines very well with a range of vegetables and herbs. You could celebrate the end of summer by enjoying your partridge with a thyme-courgette cake. Easy to make and full of flavours. This year we decided to combine our annual partridge with Sauerkraut (Elzas-style) and Parsley Root Puree. 

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Partridge with a glass of Riesling, produced by Markus Molitor. A classic Moselle Riesling from Germany. Clear mineral aromas, also fruit, herbal, delicate and pure. Excellent with the flavors of the partridge and the sauerkraut.
In general you’re looking for an aromatic white wine, with perhaps a touch of sweetness.

What You Need

  • For the Partridge
    • Two Partridges
    • Two Garlic Cloves
    • Bay Leaf
    • Butter
    • Olive Oil
  • For the Sauerkraut
    • 250 grams of Sauerkraut
    • 50 grams of Bacon
    • One small Shallot
    • Bay leaf
    • Caraway (cumin)
    • Pink (or Red) Peppercorns
    • Juniper Berries
    • White wine
    • Butter
    • Olive Oil
  • For the Parsley Root Puree
    • Parsley Root
    • Cream
    • White Pepper
    • Nutmeg

What You Do

Start with preparing the sauerkraut. Slice the bacon and chop the shallot. Fry the bacon in some butter in a small iron skillet. After a few minutes add the shallot. Mix sauerkraut, pink peppercorns, crushed juniper berries, crushed caraway, white wine and a splash of olive oil. Add the sauerkraut to the skillet, add bay leaf, some butter, cover with foil and transfer to the oven (110° Celsius or 230° Fahrenheit). Leave in the oven for 4-6 hours. Check the sauerkraut every hour, mix and add water if needed.

A very helpful instruction (in Dutch) how to prepare partridge is presented and demonstrated by Peter Lute in two excellent videos. Please watch them and see how it should be done.
In summary: prepare the partridge by carefully cutting of the two legs and removing the lower part of the back of the bird (the tail bone area). Warm a heavy iron pan and add butter. Coat the birds with butter, making sure they have a very light brown colour. Transfer the pan to a warm oven: 70° Celsius or 160° Fahrenheit. Leave in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Since the oven is on the ideal temperature for the meat, it doesn’t really matter if you leave them in the oven longer. Set aside.

Peel the parsley root, chop and put in a pan with water and bring to a boil. When the parsley root is halfway, remove the water and add cream. Let cook on low heat until tender. Use a blender to create a puree. Add white pepper and nutmeg.

Add a touch of olive oil to a non-stick pan, and quickly brown the meat, skin side only. Just before serving separate the tenderloin from the breast and remove the fleece before serving the breasts. If all is well you will see a beautiful pink colour, indicating your cuisson is perfect and your partridge as tasty and delicate as possible.

Partridge with Sauerkraut and Parsley Root ©cadwu
Partridge with Sauerkraut and Parsley Root ©cadwu