Traditional French Meal

April 21, 2012 2:35 pm

My friend is coming to visit from the UK soon and I have decided I need to impress her by cooking some typical French cuisine ( I hope she realises all the effort i’m going to!!). So I am going to practise the following dishes on poor, unsuspecting friends here , and my Mum. Sorry in advance everybody! Here is what I’m going to attempt to make. If you have any tips or suggestions, please share them, they will be much appreciated!


Traditional Boeuf Bourguignon

This dish should be started the day before!



•1 Kg Chuck Steak* cut into 100gm cubes (about 4 inches)

•Large carrot roughly chopped

•Large onion chopped

•Two fresh bay leaves

•Two cloves garlic crushed in their skins

•Two cloves

•One bottle robust red wine

•Ten black peppercorns

•Tablespoon Madeira

•Beurre manie (teaspoon flour and teaspoon butter mashed together)

•Tablespoon butter

•Chopped parsley

•Olive oil



Put the pieces of beef in a large glass bowl and add the next seven ingredients making sure that the beef is covered. Cover the bowl and allow to marinate for 24 hours.

When ready to start cooking, take the meat out of the marinade and dry it thoroughly on kitchen paper. In a casserole heat a tablespoon each of oil and butter until the butter stops foaming and then add the meat pieces four at a time.

Brown them over a high heat on all sides – they should look really crusty almost like a steak – and then take them out of the pan and add the next four, until you have a pile of fragrant beef.

Add the drained vegetables from the marinade to the casserole and brown those too and then pour in the wine marinade. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer and pile the meat back in. The meat should be entirely covered by liquid. If not add a little beef stock or more red wine if you have a bottle handy, bring back to a simmer and place in a low oven (140°C) for three hours.

It is worth checking the meat every hour and if the level of liquid has dropped and the meat looks a little exposed, turn it over gently in the liquid. Even if the meat looks burned, don’t be alarmed and don’t add more liquid – you need the gentle reduction of the sauce and the darkening of the meat for flavour – if the pan looks totally dry, your oven thermostat has broken!

Towards the end of the cooking time, gently poke the meat with a fork – it is done when it starts to break apart when you do this.

Take the casserole from the oven and carefully lift out the meat into a warm dish and set to one side.

Strain the sauce into a clean pan and place it over a low heat. Allow it to come to a gentle boil. Add the Madeira and reduce until it tastes as strong as you like – the sauce should become almost syrupy. Whisk in the butter and flour mix and keep whisking until blended.

Add the meat back to the sauce to heat through and serve a couple of large chunks per person with the sauce poured over, scattered with chopped parsley.

This Traditional Boeuf Bourguignon recipe was by Peter Chapman, chef and joint proprietor of Le Bignon, a restaurant and chambre d’hote in a beautiful manor house in the Pays de la Loire.


Creme Brulee


4 egg yolks

300ml whipping / double cream

vanilla pod

1 tablespoon caster sugar

demarara sugar



•Heat the cream gently in a saucepan with the vanilla pod

•Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together, then slowly pour in the warm cream, stirring continuously

•Remove the vanilla pod and divide the mixture between the ramekins (little creme brulee dishes)

•Put the ramekins in a roasting tin, and pour water into the tin until it is 2/3 of the way up the edges of the ramekins. Make sure water does not splash into the ramekins.

•Put in a preheated oven (160-170 degrees C) for 30 minutes

•Allow to cool (you can put them in a refrigerator to speed this up). They should be completely cold before the final stage.

•Sprinkle a thick layer (3mm) of demarara sugar on top of each one. Put them under a high grill, close to the heat, until the sugar has melted together. Watch attentively! If the sugar is melting unevenly turn them around. Should take less than 5 minutes.

•Or use a propane blowtorch if you have one to hand.

•The creme brulee should now have a ‘crunchy’ top. Eat within 30 minutes or the crust will start to go soft.

And to finish we will have a Monaco: Take a dash of grenadine syrup, add 1 part lemonade and stir, then add 2 parts lager. Nice, cool and pink!

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