14 December 2006

Parlez Vous Francais?

When I found out that Germaine, a good friend from Warwick, had just returned from UK, I was overjoyed. We had not seen each other in ages and she is one of the purest girls I know with the sincerest of hearts. She has truly been a blessing to know and to be with. So I eagerly invited her for a simple wholesome lunch.

The only problem was that I had not had the time to look for the recipes until the morning itself. That's when I panicked, faced with a whole bookshelf of cookbooks to pick from and no clue where to start. I looked to Neil Perry for inspiration but had no time to read through his recipes without help from some eye-stopping food porn. I browsed through a whole slew of other cooks before finally spotting Raymond Blanc's book called Foolproof French Cookery.

With just 3 hours left till Germaine was due to arrive, and little fresh ingredients at hand, it was perfect for my menu planning. The recipes (each with an accompanying photo) looked simple to prepare, chic yet not over done, and even had very helpful preparation time estimates. All that gave me time to to my spot of grocery shopping at the wet market and head back to do all the cooking, in time for her arrival.

In the end, I served us some fuss-free and seriously foolproof french onion soup (above), poached asparagus with homemade mayonnaise, followed by salmon, prawn and sweet potato with a fresh cherry sauce. Duck breasts were recommended but were replaced with the seafood since I could not get any duck breasts in time. Pan-fried exactly like how the duck was meant to be prepared, I felt they made a good substitute. This cherry sauce was a cinch to make and uber satisfying, and I can't wait to try them with duck next time.

Cherry Sauce
Adapted from Raymond Blanc's Foolproof French Cookery
For 4 servings

300g fresh cherries, stoned
100ml chicken stock
1 tbspn sugar
2 pinches of ground cinnamon
3/4 to 1 tbspn all purpose flour
sea salt and black pepper

Boil cherries in chicken stock.
Add sugar and cinnamon, and then simmer until cherries soften.
Remove from heat, remove cherries and whisk 3/4 tbspn flour into cherry sauce.
Return to heat and whisk vigorously until thickened (add more flour if necessary).
Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper (or sugar).
Return cherries to sauce and spoon over salmon or duck breasts.


tabehodai said...

wow, that's what u call a last min meal prepared in a hurry? *kow-tow*

Jiaying (JY) said...

Daphne! Hope you remember our unexpected meet-up at Taka several weeks ago =)

Anyways my dad and I went down to Temple Street to find our panini maker... Unfortunately they are too bulky and expensive as they cater more for commercial purpose. Thanks for the help though, we've found a rather good place which sells nice toasted panini =D

Anonymous said...

T> hello! it was a last minute meal but I did have 3 hours to prepare for it! =) So not very last minute in that sense. A good wet market nearby certainly helps.

JY>Hi there! Of course I do remember you. Perhaps you could pop by Razor and get the panini press by Mario Batali that ChubbyHubby wrote about recently. It doubles up as a grill pan as well =) And made of cast iron i.e. very durable. Where's the good toasted panini place? Do tell, I'd like to pop by to relive my uni days.

Jiaying (JY) said...

Erms how much is the panini press at Razor? Our budget is kinda low, perhaps less than $250 >_<

The good place for paninis is Menotti/Riciotti... There seems to be some mixed reviews over their food (and gelato), but I think their paninis are well-toasted, served warm and crispy! I suppose at least they manage to match up to the standards of Caffe Nero's. My dad really misses the ultra crispiness of Nero's paninis *LOL*

skimmedoff said...

hi there.. sorry didn't noe how else to contact u but thru ur blog =) there'll be a farewell dinner for ms heng on 28th dec, 6.30pm, orchard hotel. so far, there's meiyin, puayhian, adeline neo, siaogeng, kia boon and myself at the table. join us?

--li fang

Anonymous said...

JY> I'm not sure about the price of the panini press, but it is probably around there. Hopefully you get it and make kick ass paninis! If you do, do share =)

LF> Yes! Count me in please! email me at amoebamoron@gmail.com my dear. Thank u for inviting. I could ask addy too, need to fill up more space?