Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Provence & my news

Ok firstly my major bit of news: i went in to Nahm today and finalised things - so i start my first full time cheffin job on 3rd of August!

So my new life starts then - think poverty, sleep deprivation, smelling of shallots on the night bus while heading home at some stupid time etc... but also COOKING, lots of cooking, plus loads to learn and spending lots of time with the great birgade of chefs from all over the world who work there.

Bring it on.

Now, to Provence...finally now back and have got round to gathering a few pics so i can post a snippet of my recent 8 days cooking (& chilling) in a lovely house plus vineyard in Provence.

Is a cliche but cooking out there was a real pleasure because of the quality of the produce. We had the local farmer character bring us various super fresh & yummy fruit an veg almost daily - courgettes, ugly but as-good-as-they-get tomatoes, basil, figs, plums etc. Plus using local olive oil, eating olives from the land, honey from the forest...you get the idea!

I was staying with & cooking for 'Mr & Mrs J' - two very nice people who really enjoy & understand good food, so that made it all the better. On a couple of occasions we also had guests for dinner - ex pats & the charming French farmers (+ plus families) who were concerned with turning out lovely wine from the property's vineyard.

Anyway, enough rambling from me. Here's some pictures and a couple of associated rough recipes:

These are braised young artichokes (got pretty swift at preping these when doing a stage at Moro, they got through tonnes). I just prepped them down to tender part with help of speed-peeler, halved them then braised little water, olive oil, fresh thyme and a whole garlic clove or two. They're ready when tender to point of a knife. Squeeze of lemon and drizzle of oil and they're good to go.

Provencal fish stew...with pernod, orange, saffron and whatever fish was good on the day (monk & giant super fresh prawns in this case):

In the foreground: crispy courgette flowers and slices of young courgette. I used a beneiget batter from a my Tom Aiken book - mostly 00 flour, but also cornflour & baking powder. Worked well, giving a light crisp result.

Just some of the yummy fresh produce...which made my job easy (didnt need to do much to it to make tasty):

Little crostini nibbles, marjoram leaves on top:

An ever-elegant 'Mrs J' picking up some choice produce at the local weekly market:

And a couple of snaps of the produce at said market:

Courgette carpaccio sort o thing...very finely sliced (i used my mandolin) courgettes, toasted with seasoning & a little white wine vinegar. Laid out nicely on a plate the scattered with toasted pinenuts, parmesan shavings and finished with good EV oil and more black pepper:

More lunchtime fodder: fried aubergine covered in diced roast red pepper & tomato, wine vinger oil and basil (similar to the pasta further down).

Tomato, olive, parsley & shallot salad - lemon & oil dressing, a lunchtime staple.

Below - maltagliati (rough cut flat pasta pieces) with roast red pepper, tomato olives and basil. Which is a really nice easy way with fresh pasta...you just role it to the penultimate thickness (i.e thickness for parpadelle etc) and then cut in to rough shapes. I then roasted and peeled a couple of big twisted red peppers, peeled and diced a bunch of good tomatoes and destoned a load of black olives. I put all of these in a bowl with few glugs of good EV olive oil, some finely chopped raw garlic and good red wine vinegar, seasoned and mixed. Cooked the pasta (2 mins in boiling salted), drained and added to a large pan with the red-tomato-olive mix, warmed through on medium heat for 2mins, added a load of fresh basil and served in pan - people can help themselves.


Anonymous said...

How those meals look delicious!! (And I LIVE on Provennce, so you know that's saying something!!)

Lynn said...

YUM. That courgette carpaccio is going to be a perfect veg option for my daughter...and I love the devil-may-careness of maltiagli, which I think I discovered way-back-when on a BBC cookery show - Valentina Harris probably.

And CONGRATULATIONS on the job! It's a feather in your cap, yes, but they are lucky to have you!

Andy said...

:-) thanks both. Andy

Debs said...

Many many congrats on the job offer. Lovely pic too, ATB, Debs