After a few blogs of Eating Out, I thought it would be nice to show off some of the adventures we have had in the kitchen over the past weeks.
We had bought the new cookbook by Thomas Keller called Ad Hoc At Home. Very good, like all his other books, visually attractive, great recipes and most importantly, very accurate recipes that work. One recipe that leapt out was Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon. Very simple to make, very tasty and a great introduction to simple `Conti’ food. No fancy equipment required and you can drink the wine left over after making the sauce. It’s a chicken breast flattened, seasoned, sautéed and served with a pan sauce. It would appeal to Indian tastes as the chicken is dusted with a dash of Madras Curry Powder. Unfortunately, getting Tarragon proved very difficult. Both Crawford Market and Pali Market complained that no one buys Tarragon so they do not stock it. Had to make do with some Sage. Made a sautéed potato to go with the chicken. Delicious.
A Quiche is something we both love. A slice of Quiche, slightly warm, studded with crisp salty Lardons, accompanied by a crisp green salad dressed with a tart dressing and a glass of cold white wine is a brilliant lunch. All the food groups are present. The problem with Quiches is that they are more often than not made in a tart tin. This means that the depth of the Quiche is just about 3 cms which results in skimpy filling. The filling is the magic of a Quiche. The Gruyere Cheese, lashings of Kirsch, Nutmeg and Pancetta/Lardons or Bacon all mixed into custard is something magical. Traditionally Quiches are made not in a Tart tin but in 5 cms deep flan ring giving you a much deeper Quiche. This is what we used. The results were dramatically better. We did have a salad and some wine and dinner was done.
The Pancetta left over from the Quiche had to be put to some use. So we thought why not make a classic Salad Lyonnaise. This is a sort of main course salad traditionally made with Dandelion leaves which are complete impossibility in Bombay, a substitute is Frisee, which is not an impossibility but merely a difficulty to get in Mumbai. Unfortunately, the day we wanted them, they were unobtainable, so we used some Romaine. We got a box of Keggs Eggs which we poached. I must say that Keggs eggs are really really good. Yes, they do cost Rs 55 for 6 but the quality and result is excellent. Look for them in Natures Basket, paying Rs 55 for 6 eggs as an experiment is not going to kill you, you will have money left over after that! They are worth every paisa. Don’t use them for omelette's but do scramble, boil, fry or poach them or even use them in a Quiche or Mousse or to make Pasta. The Pancetta was blanched and then fried. The bread toasted with a bit of garlic rubbed on and the salad dressed with simple Vinaigrette. The poached eggs on top oozed delightfully.
The Bon Appetite magazine had a feature on sweets for Christmas. One that caught our eye was a beautiful looking, red hot, Peppermint Meringue. With Bombay in the so called winter, well with less humidity, it would be a good time to make meringues; they would not get sticky and moist. We set about making them. It took a bit of practice for HRH the Queen of Kutch to get the piping done accurately. The results are delicious.
We had a lot of Toulouse Sausage in the deep freeze. I had recently bought a whole lot of unsalted butter, made by Amul for export, at a very good price. So I suggested that we make a Brioche dough. We could make the classic Saucisson Lyonnais en Brioche, which is a sausage wrapped in a Brioche for dinner. The classic dish uses a Lyonnais Sausage which is rather different from a Toulouse made in England, but the dish works just as well. Good results and a decent dinner.