Monday, July 02, 2012

Adopt a French Attitude to Food and Never Diet Again

 

French and Diet

 

It has, for generations, been an infuriating and mysterious paradox – how do French women drink wine and eat baguettes, croissants and rich dishes, yet stay so trim? Mireille Guiliano set to uncover that mystery in her bestselling book French Women Don’t Get Fat, where she extolls the virtues of adopting a French attitude to food which is all about enjoying and savouring what you eat in order to stay slim and healthy. Guiliano insists that, rather than feeling guilty about eating ‘naughty’ foods and depriving yourself, you should eat what you like and in doing so will naturally eat such foods in moderation. It might just solve the question of why, despite being a nation of food lovers, and a nation which produces great food, the French seem to be far healthier and slimmer than many in the western world.

 

 

 

 

Fois gras, confit de canard, steak frites, bouillabaisse, buttery and creamy sauces, crème caramel, pastries of every shape and size – the mouth waters at the thought of it. French cuisine is truly delicious but can be highly calorific. So how are the French, as a nation, slimmer, with a reduced risk of heart disease and longer life expectancies? French women don’t count calories or worry about fat content, and they don’t fret about strenuous exercise. France’s heritage is founded upon food and the country has produced some of the greatest chefs of all time, and continues to do so. The French are passionate about food and thus savour it, experiencing the flavours in their mouths, and enjoying every mouthful. Meals last an average of 2 hours – they eat slowly and with friends. Meals often consist of several courses but they are small and spaced out, giving the brain time to catch up with the stomach. You’ll never find any ‘food on the go’ products in France.

 

 

 

 

Every French village boasts a weekly market, packed full of delicious, homemade, fresh foods which aren’t processed. Hydrogenated oil, E numbers and preservatives rarely find their way onto a French table. French women would rather eat one square of real, intense, dark chocolate, than a large portion of some sort of frozen dessert. And therein lies the real answer – if you eat something delicious and truly savour it, you really don’t need as much. Further, a diet rich in fat stimulates the production of cholecystokin, a signal to the brain which induces feelings of satisfaction long after eating even the smallest portions of high-fat foods – this is why the French don’t tend to snack in between meals.

 

 

So the answer to staying slim and healthy whilst still eating what you like? It’s just that – to like what you eat and to savour it slowly. Eat a beautiful piece of brie and you won’t need much to feel satisfied. Take the time to prepare a wonderful meal and then sit down, with friends and family, and take just as much time to eat it. Enjoy good food and listen to your body when it says it’s full. Eat like the French and you’ll never need to diet, plus you’ll be eating tastier food. What’s not to love about that?

 

 

Journalist and copywriter Emily Buckley is a self-confessed foodie and counts French cuisine as one of her favourites, which is why she is eagerly awaiting the opening of Guillaume in Perth later this year. Oh, and she never diets.

Crepes

Delicious Crepe Recipes

Monday, February 06, 2012

How to make Bouillabaisse

How To Make Bouillabaisse

How To Make Bouillabaisse

How to make Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse is a traditional French dish that sounds elegant, but is simple to create. There are multitudes of different Bouillabaisse recipes. The traditional recipes used bony fish. The scorpion fish was used frequently by the fishermen in France because they did not earn a high income. For this reason, they kept the scorpion fish for themselves. This also applied to the smaller crustaceans that were caught. They would all go into the pot to make the fish stew.

 

It has been said that this fish stew stems from a soup that originated in Greece. It is believed that the soup was brought to France by the founders of Marseille. This South of France Bouillabaisse is a wonderful self catering meal to share with your dinner guests.

 

The classic bouillabaisse has seven various kinds of seafood and is topped with a Rouille sauce just prior to serving.

 

• Approximate preparation time: 15 minutes
• Approximate cooking time: 30 minutes

 

Tools for the Rouille Sauce

• A food processor
• Measuring spoons and cups
• A manual citrus juicer (optional)
• An egg separator (optional)

 

Ingredients for the Rouille Sauce

• A red bell pepper (roasted and peeled)
• 1 pc. of white bread (torn into tiny pieces)
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 tbs. of Dijon mustard
• 2 egg yolks
• A pinch of saffron
• 1 lemon (only the juice)
• 1 c. olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste

 

To Prepare the Rouille Sauce

1. Put the garlic, egg yolks, bell pepper, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and saffron in the food processor. Puree ingredients until smooth.
2. Slowly add all of your olive oil to the running food processor.
3. Salt and pepper to taste
4. Cover and refrigerate until it is time to serve the stew.

 

Bouillabaisse tools

• A cutting board
• A wooden spoon
• A knife
• Large saucepan or Dutch oven
• A toaster oven/toaster
• A ladle
• Measuring cups and spoons
• 4 to 6 bowls for serving

 

Bouillabaisse Ingredients

• 1 c. chopped onion
• 2 lbs. of firm whitefish (assorted)
• 4 finely chopped shallots
• ¾ c. olive oil
• 2 c. crushed tomatoes (canned)
• A red bell pepper (chopped)
• 2 tsp. of fennel seed
• 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
• 2 tsp. of salt
• ¼ tsp. of saffron
• ½ tsp. of dried thyme
• 1 ½ tsp. of black pepper
• 2 c. fish broth
• 4 c. water
• 2 lbs. of mussels
• 5 whole crabs (cut into quarters)
• A loaf of sliced and toasted French bread
• 2 c. of shrimp (uncooked)

 

To Prepare the Bouillabaisse Stew

1. Put the entire 2 pounds of the whitefish on your cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut them into 2” pieces and then set the fish aside.
2. In the large saucepan/Dutch oven, heat ¾ c. of olive oil on medium to high heat.
3. Once the oil is hot, add the bell pepper, shallots and chopped onions to it.
4. For 2 or 3 minutes, sauté the peppers, shallots and onions in the pan.
5. Now add the tomatoes, chopped garlic, fennel seed, saffron, dried thyme, salt and pepper.
6. Using the wooden spoon, stir the vegetables together to cover them with the olive oil.
7. Add the 4 c. of water to the pan; bring it to a rolling boil.
8. Now add the crab quarters, whitefish pieces and 2 c. of fish broth to the pan and boil the stew for another 7 to 9 minutes.
9. Place the clams, shrimp and mussels into the pan.
10. Boil for an additional 6 minutes.
11. Upon completion, the clams and mussels begin to open and the shrimp will be pink and firm
12. Put one slice of the already toasted bread in the bottom of the serving bowls.
13. Use a ladle to pour the bouillabaisse on the bread.
14. Put a dollop of the chilled Rouille sauce on top and serve.

 

Although there have been variations of this recipe seen worldwide, this classic version is still a popular recipe made in French cottages and homes throughout the nation.

 

Monday, February 06, 2012

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

The photo above shows a classic Beef Bourguignon recipe, “Boeuf bourguignon servie avec des pâtes”.
Image Source: Wikipedia.org

Beef Bourguignon

 

 A Taste of Southern France

There are a few dishes that have made the South of France one of the most romantic and desirable destinations in the world. Beef Bourguignon is one of those rustic dishes that capture the charm and grace of south of France villas nestled in the countryside.

Self catering holidays in the South of France are both enjoyable and a great opportunity to visit local markets. This recipe is particularly great for the local market shopping because of the enormous ingredient list. However, all of the items on this list can easily be found in local markets or at a standard grocery store.

 

Ingredients

Yields 6-8 servings

• 7oz salt pork, or bacon if salt pork is unavailable, cut into squares pieces

• 4tbsp unsalted butter

• 4lbs beef chuck cut into bite size cubes

• 1lb mushrooms

• Beurre manié, aka 3 tbsp flour blended with 2tbsp butter

• 24 pearl onions

• salt

• 2 cups shallots

• 2 very large peeled carrots chopped into large but bite size chunks

• 5 garlic cloves chopped

• 2 tbsp tomato paste

• ½ cup brandy

• 1 bottle of Pinot Noir wine

• 2 cups beef stock

• 4 whole cloves

• 2 teaspoons dry thyme

• ½ cup parsley

• 3 bay leaves

 

Directions:

 

1. Using a large sauté pan, pour a layer of water into the pan to cover the bottom over a high flame. Add the salt pork or bacon into the hot pan and cook until the water is evaporated. Reduce to a low flame. Add 1tbsp butter and continue to cook pork until it is brown. Remove the pork once it is cooked but keep the juice of the pork in the sauté pan. Place the pork in a large pot and cover with lid.

 

 

2. In the same sauté pan, add pieces of beef and sauté them until brown. It is important to not stir or continually flip the beef chunks. Doing so will reduce the flavour of the beef and will cause it to take longer to seer. Once the beef is brown, add it to the large lidded pot as well.

 

 

3. Add shallots and mushrooms to the lidded pot. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the beef and pork from sticking to the pot. Then, add tomato paste and continue to stir.

 

 

4. Add brandy and stir, reducing this broth to half its current level.

 

 

5. Add 1 bottle of wine along with the parsley, thyme, cloves and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Then, add carrots and simmer for another hour or until beef is very tender.

 

 

6. While simmering, chop the mushrooms and prepare the pearl onions. If using the recommended frozen pearl onions, be sure they are thawed before sautéing.

 

 

7. After the two or so hours of simmering, remove all beef chunks from the large pot. Then, strain all the contents of the pot into a strainer that is over a medium sized pot. Boil this broth for only 1 or 2 minutes. Set the broth aside.

 

 

8. Heat a new large sauté pan over a high flame and add the mushrooms for about 5 minutes or until a watery broth is extracted from the mushrooms. Then, add the onions and 3tbsp butter. Sprinkle a bit of salt over the mixture.

 

 

9. Returning to the sauce, turn the heat to low. Then, slowly and gradually whisk in the Beurre manié to the broth and stir constantly until it is absorbed. Stir in another 3 tbsp brandy and taste.

 

 

10. To serve this fabulous dish, cover the beef, carrots, mushrooms and onions with broth. Optional side dishes are egg noodles, French bread or mashed potatoes.

 

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

The photo above shows another classic Beef Bourguignon recipe.
Image Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/naotakem/3286294245/