mardi 22 octobre 2013

Agnes Obel, or the sweetest music to my ears

Agnes Obel - The Curse (Berlin Live Session)

Well my friends, maybe this will transport you to a different realm of reveries...

dimanche 20 octobre 2013

Quiche d'Automne with chanterelles

I really got into the home made puff pastry lately. Since the Backyard Dinner at least.

I made a large batch (so that I would have enough for an apple and pear pie façon Tatin as well as) for a savory dish.

Here is the best quiche I've made this fall,
The Chanterelles Quiche on a Crust of Puff Pastry

Oh the buttery fluffiness of this crust!
I had gorgeous locally harvested mushrooms from my food Co-op, so I came up with a Chanterelles quiche recipe that would carry the flavours of autumn.

It was so delicious that just writing down this recipe days later makes me drool.

To make this recipe you need to get approx. 250g of puff pastry.

I made mine from scratch following this recipe in french (enough for 2 pies)
You can use a store bought one or maybe your favourite artisan baker can make it for you on order.

Blind bake the rolled out puff pastry in a pie dish, with weight on it !!

(dry beans on parchment paper will do)
at 350F for 20 min.

Meanwhile, sauté in a pan with olive oil the following 4 ingredients:

  • 1 french shallot, thinly chopped, golden with a bit of salt
  • 2 cups of chanterelles washed (or dry brushed) and chopped roughly
  • a handful of fresh thyme, stemmed
  • 4 to 8 slices of smoked prosciutto, sliced roughly

When all is golden (10 to 15 minutes) add these 4 ingredients to the quiche batter below:

  • 4 organic free-range eggs
  • 2 tabsp of grated cheese of your choice (organic cheddar works well)
  • some soft goat cheese, crumbled

Pour the whole thing on the blind baked pastry (removing the beans & parchment paper) and bake for 20 to 25 min at 350F.


vendredi 18 octobre 2013

Cheesemaking : first camembert ever

On september 29th I made camembert for the first time.

These is the visual I made following the instructions from David Asher's workshop
and also from his blog, see my previous post here)


Using 4 litters of pasteurized (sigh...) but non homogenized & local (yeah!) milk,
I managed to pour 2 camemberts.

That's all I could fit in my largest pot.

The curds seemed so perfect.

I used plastic containers that I pierced to strains the water out.

 I calculated the percentage of salt (3%) needed per weight of each camembert,
and I rubbed them all around after 24 hours of drainage.
(see bottom right corner of my visuals)

Yes, after the first night, I got 2 very puffy camemberts.

2 things might have happened,
  • one is that the heater in the house was on all day (hubby stayed home)
  • second is that I threw a kefir grain in the milk because I was afraid that my whey would be too weak to curd the whole thing.
I figured I didn't need to panic because of this puffiness. After all, maybe it would create small holes inside the camembert, just slightly more than usual.

As for the aging process, I did an experiment:

I aged one camembert in a glass container in the fridge.
I aged the second camembert in a plastic salad spinner (because of the inner straining basket allowing air to circulate all around the cheese) in my basement.

Day 10:
The basement camembert is developing some lovely white mould.
The fridge one doesn't look like a camembert yet.

Day 17:
The fridge camembert is showing first signs of wonderful white mould on the surface.
The basement camembert is getting very smelly (did I mentioned that our laundry area is in the basement?) so I transferred it into a sealed big stainless steel container.

Day 19:
I decide to have both camemberts inside the fridge. I saw that Aaron Estes from Cave-Aged Blog, would "wrapped them in foil, put them in a freezer bag, and placed them in the bottom drawer of (his) refrigerator". So I'm going to do the same thing, except I'm adding a sushi mat under the camembert for it to have a sort of breathable mattress.

I shall wait another 4 to 6 weeks. I will check on them every 2 or 3 days.

jeudi 3 octobre 2013

Cheese making workshop

I had the opportunity to participate to a cheesemaking workshop this summer.

It was amazing. It all started with a lovely lady handing out poster for the workshop.

The poster had the picture of a was I suppose to resist?

One day here this blog will feature a picture of the goat that will live happily in our backyard.
But I digress.

Our cheese maker extraordinaire was David Asher.

Let me write this about David Asher of the Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking, he knows evertything about cheese.
Just check out David's website "The Way Of Cheese", it has all the info an aspiring cheese-maker could dream of.

I strongly recommend attending a workshop if you can, because nothing beats having visuals and feeling textures of proper curds.

I was baffled to learn that you don't need to buy cheese cultures nor special equipement to make artisanal cheeses.

All you need is:
_some whey
(see picture above)

_ a kefir grain

_spores from an existing cheese
(optional, can be obtained by grating off the skin of an existing cheese, really)

_a pot and some containers to strain your cheese
(totally easy to find in your house)

(We'll use something else instead...)

_Oh and for some types of cheese you need rennet ("présure" en français)

Here David is straining some soft cheese
in very special cheese cloth...

soft cheese taken out of its straining bag


spread on home made crackers!

... a "Do-Rag"
very usefull to drain your soft cheese

Our lunch was the yummiest potluck since participants
brought food that would pair well with cheese.

Seasosoning soft cheese
with endless possibilities

David also demonstrated
the art of
mozzarella making!

Even though this one seemed to me like the most tricky one,
I felt like Alpine cheese and camembert were at the tip of my fingers.

But first, I started by making soft cheese with a beautiful
organic caw milk yogurt.

After 2 days,
I got a nice rich creamy cheese that I seasoned with green onions and garlic.

Last weekend, I attempted to make camembert for the first time.
Stay posted for some updates about this adventure.

I found usefull cheesemaking infos as well on:

Androuet (both english & french)