Ok so you may or may not remember back in December I wrote a post on New Years Resolutions. In this post I decided to take on the challenge of creating a different country themed 3 course meal once a month. I love healthy food and serving nutritious, delicious meals to family, it really is one thing I enjoy. So to bring a slice of culture to our table and to encourage even more variety to our plates, I came up with this extravagant idea. So January I decided to kick it off with a country I have always been the most interested in. I fell in love with all things French when I began studying the language in high school. I love the the language, the accent, the whole romantic feeling I get when I think of France on the whole, the food, the chic style and the city culture. It’s a country I have never even been to but it is second on my list of places I’m yet to visit that I have always wanted to go to.
So without further ado what am I cooking?
Baked Camembert with Crusty Garlic Bread
Who doesn’t love a cheesy, tear and share dippy starter?
I keep mine super basic by cutting off the top and popping in a few sprinkles of chopped garlic, rock salt and rosemary. You can add olive oil and I usually would but I forgot to buy some this time.
I have made this dish once before and honestly the flavour is so intense it’s out of this world. I am the biggest red wine lover so anything which calls for a splash or two is right up my street. Hearty and warming so perfect for this time of year, yet not too heavy after a belly full of bread and cheese I find this is the most wonderful choice of main.
1kg diced stewing steak
250g bacon lardons
500ml full bodied red wine such as a Malbec or Pinot Noir.
50ml Brandy (optional)
250g button mushrooms
1 extra large onion
2 medium carrots
2 heap teaspoons tomato purée
2 cloves garlic
Fry light or oil of choice
Pinch of mixed herbs
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
Now many will argue you must marinade your meat in the red wine or add your shallots and mushrooms towards the end of cooking etc but I skip these steps. I’m a busy mama and have done it this way twice now and it has still been perfect, the shallots and mushrooms have stayed together and the flavour isn’t jeopardised in any way.
•In a hot frying pan brown off your diced steak in a little fry light or oil. Transfer to a large pan with a lid.
•In a hot frying pan brown off bacon lardons in a little fry light or oil. Add this to the steak in the large pan.
•Now over a moderate heat sauté the onions, carrots and garlic for approx 3/5 mins you may want to add a splash of water.
•Add 2 heaped teaspoons of tomato purée and continue to sauté for a further minute then add to your large pan.
•Pour your red wine and optional brandy into the large pan and set your hob to simmer. Meanwhile in a hot frying pan once again, fry off your button mushrooms add to the large pan, repeat with the shallots for 2 mins each.
•Now everything should all be in the large pan, so add your pinches of salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Pop the lid on and simmer for 2 and half hours. Stir sporadically and add the water half way through to dilute it back down slightly if you feel your Bourguignon needs it.
You can serve over mashed potato or I believe celeriac mash is popular and a fancy dinner roll. As I am doing 3 courser I’m skipping on the spuds and going straight in with the said fancy dinner rolls 🙂 Dip Dip!
Macarons & Strawberry Cheesecake
Not to be confused with a macaroon. The amount of times I have had some smarty pants say “you mean macaroon?” Erm no I most definitely mean macaron, yes there is a difference, they are a completely different treat. A macaron is meringue based and includes almond power or ground almond, comes in beautiful colours and flavours and is expertly filled with a delicious creamed filling. A macaroon can also contain almond powder, it’s mostly coconut based and has a completely different appearance.
Macarons are most definitely my favourite indulgence but even I may of made a mistake along the way. Even though macarons are highly rated as a French confection it is disputed they actually originate from Italy? In this instance I’m going to continue to say they are French as I am enjoying them as part of my ‘French Theme’ and France has been knocking them out since the late 1700’s. So they are French enough for me there’s just never enough in a box!
So there we have it our first themed Dinner. I asked Alexa to play some French music, laid a simple country style table and it was the most wonderfully, delicious selection of French~ness!
Is a different country themed night, each month something you would have a go at?
If you could try food from any country that wasn’t usual to you where would it be? It may inspire my next theme next month!
✨Thanks for taking the time to read✨