Author: Oysters and Champagne
All things Rice, especially Risotto
National Margarita Day, Guacamole NATIONALISTA
Mardi Gras, or Pancake Day?
When is a Salad not a Salad?
All About Potatoes ( and then some)
Pommes de Terre Aligot ( Posh Mash)
The other day I made Pommes Aligot, or Posh Mashed Potatoes to you and me! It is the absolute best mashed potatoes with cheese that you have ever had. It originated in the Auvergne region of France, but is eaten a lot in the Aude. It can be heavily laced with garlic, but perfectly acceptable without! And is soooo Easy!
What you need!
- 2.5 kilos of floury potatoes
- 2 + cloves garlic chopped
- 250 mls cream, preferably double cream
- 125 grams butter, preferably unsalted
- 500 grams grated cheese and again preferably a French cheese like Tomme, Gruyère or Emmental, but definitely not cheddar.
- Salt and pepper to taste
And here is what you do !
- Wash and boil the potatoes, along with the garlic.
- When soft, strain and mash throughly, I use a potato ricer to get a very fine mash.
- Add the cream and butter, mix really well.
- When the butter has melted add the cheese and keep mixing until the cheese has blended and melted in.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Stupidly, as perhaps as is normal for me, I made too much. But as I say always, waste not want not and this was no different. Potato was packed into a box and refrigerated. Of course I could have just reheated it but that was too simple, especially as we had house guests and we decided to trudge up the hill in knee deep snow to our local. ( the only cafe / bar/ mini restaurant/ depôt de pain in our little French Village). I say knee deep in snow, it wasn’t knee deep when we went but it certainly was upon our return!
So, I also had a small cooked ham which also needed using. The Aligot was really thick, Croquetas sprang to mind! Perfect!
I chopped the ham finely and mixed it with the cold potatoes and actually mixed it by hand! Such a lovely squeezy feeling as it oozed through the fingers.
I made the Croquetas by scooping out about a dessert spoonful of the mixture ( I used my ice cream scoop). Roll the mixture in a little flour, so it doesn’t stick, then in beaten egg and then in breadcrumbs. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used!
Heat some oil in a pan or deep fat fryer ( I prefer to use a small wok as you get the depth of oil, without using oodles of oil.) Heat the oil, keep an eye on it, do not let it smoke ( burns) . Test for readiness by dropping in a small amount of bread, if it sizzles straight away, it is hot enough to use. Fry the Croquetas in small batches. If you have sufficiently coated in egg and breadcrumbs, the cheese will begin to ooze out. When brown, remove from the oil and drain on paper. Refrigerate until ready to use, can be used as a side dish or as munchies with a glass of bubbles or something!
Please Sir, can I have some more ? Soup that is!
So back to my Freezers, and yes I have more than one . Middle floor has a small one, part of refrigerator/ freezer, useful for ice cubes , and left overs from the kitchen. Downstairs a large chest freezer and another small one, again part of a refrigerator/ freezer combo.
The curried cauliflower cheesy thing is a wonderful way to use cauliflower ( thank you Ottolenghi) but today I didn’t want a cauliflower/cheesy dish. This was going to become SOUP !
However there was a cabbage and some bacon, so what would be better than Cabbage and bacon soup ( maybe cabbage and chestnuts but that is for another day)!
Soup is up!
When it is wet and dreary, there is no better time to make soup.
My standard soup is what we jokingly call Refrigerator Soup. And in reality it is just that. I make it when I have vegetables, cheese, ham , yoghurt, milk and cream that needs using. This is the case, especially in the summer, when we decamp to our mountain hideaway in the French Alps. The refrigerator is emptied and soup is made, packed in one person packets and frozen, ready for himself at a later date to have for lunch.
The same really applies to when we arrive in the Alps, but this time it is winter and snow is falling ( or rain) and I do an inventory of food stuffs in the freezer and make mental note that it is time to make soup.
One soup that Himself particularly likes is pea. It is simplicity itself, using frozen peas, lettuce, butter, cream and of course stock. It is extremely easy to make, quick to make, tastes wonderful and freezes well! What’s not to like ( well, maybe if you don’t like peas)!
- 1 Kilo frozen peas
- 2 baby Gem Lettuce ( actually the same amount of any lettuce will do) chopped
- 1 medium white onion chopped roughly
- 175 grms butter
- 2 pints vegetable stock ( cube or powder will suffice)
- 400 mls cream
- Pinch salt, tsp sugar.
- What to do!
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
- Add the onion and cook gently until soft, do not brown
- Add the lettuce and cook gently for a few minutes and then add the peas, the stock, and sugar.
- Cook with lid on until the peas are really soft.
- Using a slotted spoon , scoop out the peas and liquidise them you will need to add some of the liquid as well, but be careful as it will obviously be hot.
- Return to the liquid, stir well, and then add the cream
- Add some salt and taste .
- AND THAT IS IT !
- To be really smart swish a little cream on top before serving.
I love making soups, especially in the winter, but not just in the winter. It is a great way of experimenting in the kitchen.
Cauliflower is a good one to start with, simple, Cream of Cauliflower. Or cauliflower with a mild curry flavour. Another very simple one is using a can or two of tomatoes. The list is endless, so maybe more next time!