Tag Archives: French

Lemon Cheesecake

I love all things lemony and living here in Portugal lemons are plentiful year round with many trees producing the fruit continuously. The tree originated in Asia but is now synonymous with Mediterranean climates such as ours here in Portugal. The tree in my garden doesn’t produce fruit all year round but that doesn’t limit my free supply as they drop from neighbours trees in the village and roll down the road, arriving on my doorstep as welcome guests.

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With visitors from the village where we used to live in France and a basket full of lemons, I decided to make a lemon cheesecake that would be a good balance and cut the rich flavours of our main course – lamb shanks in red wine with figs.

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Lemon Cheesecake

Prep Time: 20 Mins Cooking Time: 2 Hours Total Time: 2 Hours 20 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 200g digestive biscuits, crushed finely
  • 100g of softened butter
  • 397g condensed milk
  • 300g soft cheese like Mascarpone
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon curd
  • Extra lemon zest to garnish
  • Fruits such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
  • Pouring cream (optional)
  • 20 cm loose bottom cake tin

Directions:

  1. Crush the digestive biscuits and mix thoroughly with the softened butter.
  2. Line the bottom of the cake tin with baking paper and butter the sides.
  3. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the tin and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. In a bowl mix the condensed milk and soft cheese with a whisk.
  5. Add the juice and zest of 2 lemons. This will thicken the mixture.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Release the cake tin and put on a plate.
  7. Add a teaspoon of warm water to the lemon curd and spread over the top.
  8. Decorate the top with the fresh fruits and garnish with the extra lemon zest.
  9. Serve with cream (optional)

Tartiflette

Tartiflette is a French dish from the Savoie and Haute Savoie region of France. It is traditionally made with potatoes, Reblochon cheese, lardons and onions. The name tartiflette derives from the Savoyard word for potatoes – tartifles. It is now a very popular dish on menus at restaurants in the ski resorts of France.

For my recipe, I have used a raclette cheese (when melted, it becomes runny), because Reblochon is not available here in Portugal; or if it is, I haven’t found it!

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I have used a raclette cheese, in place of the traditional Reblochon.

I love this dish! It can be prepared in advance and reheated and it is wonderfully satisfying, creamy and comforting. It is a great accompaniment with plain roast or grilled meat.

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Once the potatoes, bacon/lardons and onions have been fried, transfer to an oven proof dish, weave the pieces of cheese between the ingredients, season and pour over the cream. Cover with foil and cook in the oven at 170 degrees centigrade for 50/60 minutes.

Tartiflette

Ingredients:

  • 4/5 medium waxy potatoes (approx 700g)
  • 3/4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 300g of smoked bacon or lardons
  • 200g of Reblochon or Raclette Cheese, sliced or cubed.
  • 200ml cream

Directions:

  1. SERVES 4
  2. Peel and thickly slice the potatoes. Boil in salted water for about 10 minutes.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, add the olive oil to a frying pan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the bacon and fry for another 5 minutes.
  5. Drain the potatoes and add to the frying pan. Brown for a few minutes.
  6. Transfer all the ingredients from the frying pan to an oven proof dish. Season.
  7. Put the Raclette or Reblochon cheese into the potato mix.
  8. Pour over the cream.
  9. Cover with foil and bake gently in the oven for 50/60 minutes.

Normandy Chicken

This recipe combines some of the most iconic ingredients that are synonymous with Normandy in Northern France, where we lived for seven years. It is in my top ten meals because it is rich, creamy, gently aromatic and simply satiates the most ravenous of appetites. Moreover, it is incredibly easy and quite quick to prepare. It is equally delicious using pork, instead of chicken. My years in Normandy enhanced my culinary passions – we lived in a land of gastronomic plenty – with local markets providing the freshest fish, meat and vegetables, more often than not, grown in the fields and gardens that surrounded us. When I think of Normandy (or ‘Gourmandie’ as it is also known), I think of dairy produce – thick farm cream and full fat milk from the indigenous ‘Normande’ cow, a host of the most delicious cheeses, free range poultry, wild game, fresh sea caught fish, hearty root vegetables, wild mushrooms, cider and Calvados (apple brandy). From this bounteous store, an amaranthine variety of dishes are created.

My Normandy Chicken is ‘lush’ (my son will be impressed that I have quoted him) and the aromas of the cider and garlic are tantalising. Here, I have used field mushrooms but wild mixed mushrooms would make it more special for a dinner party. Served with creamy mashed potatoes, it’s just fabulous as the potato soaks up the extra sauce. C’est gastronomique! Tout simplement delicieux!!

Normandy Chicken

Prep Time: 30 Mins Cooking Time: 25 Mins Total Time: 55 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 6 Chicken breasts, halved lengthways (provides 4 hearty portions)
  • 3 large leeks, sliced into 1cm pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped or sliced
  • 250 ml of cider (I like to use a slightly sweeter cider)
  • 300g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup of chicken stock,
  • 200ml double cream
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut the chicken breasts in half, lengthways 
  2. In a large heavy based pan, add the olive oil and bring up to full heat
  3. Pan fry the chicken breasts to brown the outsides. Remove and put aside
  4. Add the leeks, garlic and salt/pepper to the pan and soften, being careful not to burn the garlic
  5. Add the mushrooms and the cider. Simmer for 5 minutes
  6. Add the chicken stock and allow the juices to infuse and reduce.
  7. Add the cream and mix well.
  8. Into an oven dish, add the browned chicken breasts. Pour over the cream sauce.
  9. Place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade (350 degrees fahrenheit) for 20/25 minutes. Cover with tin foil.