Impress your friends with the ultimate three-course French bistro menu – one that pairs perfectly with fizz! The art of French cooking doesn’t have to be difficult, as proven by these delicious dishes — so why not give it a try this weekend? Bon appetit!
Entrée: Baked Camembert
1 clove garlic
Bite-sized pieces bread, stale
A few sprigs rosemary
Fresh rosemary tips
1 tiny pinch sea salt
1 small handful dried cranberries
1 small handful mixed nuts
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Leaving the Camembert in its box, score around the top about half a centimetre in and cut off the top layer of skin. Finely slice a peeled garlic clove and poke it into the top of the cheese with a few fresh rosemary tips. Drizzle with a little olive oil then bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until oozy in the middle.
2. Thread bite-sized pieces of stale bread onto stripped woody rosemary sprigs, drizzle them with olive oil and a tiny pinch of sea salt. Lay on a tray and pop in the oven to cook with the Camembert.
3. Finely chop a small handful of dried cranberries and mixed nuts and put them in a bowl. Once your bread skewers are golden and your cheese is oozing, put everything out on a board. Dunk a bit of toasted bread in the gooey cheese and dip it in the cranberry and nuts, then eat.
Plat Principal: Duck a l’Orange
¼ cup granulated sugar
2tbsp sherry vinegar
350g cups orange juice
2tbsp shallots, minced
350g cups chicken stock
4 oranges, sections cut from membranes
2 duck breast halves, seasoned with salt and pepper
85g cold unsalted butter
2tbsp orange zest
For the orange sauce:
1. Boil the sugar and water for several minutes, until the syrup caramelizes and turns golden. Add the vinegar, juice, shallots and chicken stock. Simmer until the sauce is reduced to a little less than 250ml.
2. Cut the butter into small pieces and add them to the pan with half of the orange zest. Shake the pan over medium heat until the butter has melted and is incorporated into the sauce.
3. Stir in the orange sections.
4. Set sauce aside while you prepare the duck, or cool and store for up to three days.
Preparing and Cooking the Duck Breasts:
1. Dry the breasts with paper towels and slash through the fat on the breast with a sharp knife, creating a crisscross pattern (this will help release the fat, which crisps up when cooked). Sprinkle both sides with a little sea salt and pepper.
2. Heat a skillet over high heat. Sear the duck breasts quickly on both sides, then cook the duck for about 9 to 11 minutes on each side.
3. Remove the breasts from the pan and place them on a warm plate. Cover them with paper towels and leave them to rest for 5 minutes.
4. Reheat the sauce. Place the duck on a hot plate, either whole or neatly sliced. Spoon the sauce over them. Garnish the plate with the remaining orange zest and serve immediately.
Dessert: Pears Belle Helene
1 litre water
100 grams sugar
½ lemon, juiced
100 grams chocolate
120ml of cream
500ml of vanilla ice cream
1. Peel pears. Add water, sugar and lemon juice in a casserole dish. Bring to a boil. Add pears and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat. Leave pears to cool in the syrup.
2. Cook chocolate and cream in a bowl, placed on top of a pot of boiling water, stirring regularly until they combine into a chocolate sauce.
3. Add 2 balls of vanilla ice cream and 1 pear in each bowl. Pour some chocolate sauce on top and serve.