Soft drink, beer and wine – the top tipples to enjoy outside with grilled food
Even with the pubs opening this weekend, the barbecue still feels like one of the safer ways to socialise at the moment. And the call of the grill is all the stronger when the weather is doing its best to persuade us to eat outside. What to drink alfresco? As anyone from Hank Hill to Homer Simpson would tell you, no barbecue is truly worthy of the name without some beer to hand – and, for the person behind the grill, in hand. I imagine the closest thing to fictional Alamo or Duff would be a Bud, and there’s something to be said for lightness and refreshment as you’re turning the sausages. But, to my mind, few drinks fulfil this role better than the pristine, refreshing Kölsch style of lager from Cologne, of which Gaffel is a classic example.
A classic way to serve mussels that’s great as an appetizer or side dish. Simple to cook and prepare. Pleasing a crowd just doesn’t get any easier, or tastier.
2 lb fresh cultured blue mussels
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
3⁄4 cup red wine
28 oz can peeled and diced tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the fresh blue mussels in tap water. Place in a large saucepan with a small amount of liquid on high heat. Cover and let steam until shells open (5 – 7 minutes). Strain the fresh blue mussels, reserving the liquid, and removing the meat from the shells. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and sauté onions under low heat for 6 – 8 minutes, until onions get soft but not burnt.
Stir in garlic and thyme for 1 minute.
Pour red wine and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and reserved liquid, cover and let summer for 30 minutes.
Remove lid and let simmer for another 15 minutes.
Add fresh blue mussel meat, let cook 5 minutes.
Taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley.
Whether you are going to a Michelin star restaurant or at a friend’s house in France, you will most likely be served gougères canapes to accompany your aperitif drinks (drinks served before a meal). Gougères are traditional cheese puffs made with either Emmenthal or Comté cheese. These little canapes luxuries are perfect with champagne or wine (they are often served during wine-tastings) – and so chic if you have them home-made. Originally from Burgundy, these puffs were invented in the 17th century in a patisserie called ‘Le ramequin de Bourgogne’. So next time you have guests, why don’t you dazzle them with these golden puffs.
Ingredients (makes about 40)
250 ml/ 1 cup water
100 g/ 3.5 ounce salted butter
150 g/ 1 1/4 cups plain flour
180 g/ 2 cups grated Emmenthal or Gruyère cheese
A dash of ground nutmeg
1 egg yolk for glazing
A dash of salt and pepper
Pre-heat the over 180°
In a saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil. Add the flour, stirring very fast and take immediately off the heat. By now the batter will be roughly in the form of a softball. Add the eggs, one by one and stir. It’s important to add the eggs slowly – don’t worry if it looks too thick, just continue to stir as it will eventually become a smooth batter. Finally add the cheese, salt & pepper and stir to a good dewy batter.
Prepare a baking tray lined with parchment paper. You have two choices for preparing the gougères: either put the dough in a pastry bag with a standard tip and pipe walnut-sized mounds or spoon and shape with the help of two teaspoons and evenly shaped ball (again like the size of a walnut). Glaze with the egg yolk for a golden baked finish. Sprinkle the puffs lightly with grated cheese.
Leave adequate space between each gougère and bake for 25 minutes approx or until puffy and golden. Serve immediately.
ps: You can prepare these in advance and either refrigerate or freeze them. Just take them out again before serving and heat in a high-heat oven for 5-7 minutes.
Also, see the selection of my delicious hot canapes
Who does not love a Macaron? These chewy, delicious French cookies are truly a sweet treat. Filled with almonds, sugar, egg whites and a creamy ganache. They can be made into a variety of flavors, chocolate, vanilla, almond, pear mousse; the list goes on and on.
Green British asparagus, with its intense, complex
flavour, is considered – by the British, at least – to be the finest in the world. It’s deep, verdant flavour is attributed in large part to Britain’s cool growing conditions. ( The green asparagus are better served hot with chicken, veal and soup).
White asparagus preferred in Europe ( France and Germany) has a delicate flavour and must first be peeled before use. Trim the woody ends and starting from the bottom and using a vegetable peeler, peel a very thin strip toward the tip. Often, only the lower half need to be peeled. (The white asparagus are better served warm or cold with hollandaise & mayonnaise sauce.
When cooking asparagus, you can tie them into little bundles, which makes them easier to remove. Drop these bundles or individual spears into some boiling water, cover and cook for three to five minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears. Take them out, drain and plunge into some ice-cold water, or serve straight away.
To steam, place the spears in a steaming basket with a little water underneath. Cover and cook for three minutes.
Asparagus loves to be griddled in a pan – simply drizzle with a little olive oil and turn occasionally or try Jamie’s recipe for griddled asparagus with olive oil, lemon and Parmesan.
Asparagus is often used in Asian cooking, either in salads or in stir-fries. It needs only a minute or so in a hot wok, so always remember to add it in towards the end of cooking the rest of your dish. A splash of soy and a sprinkle of sesame seeds work well.
My favorite ! is It would be a crime not to mention hollandaise – a classic French sauce made of melted butter, fresh egg yolks, lemon juice and a little mustard or a pinch of cayenne – the pairing of which with asparagus is simply heavenly.
enjoy!! Also see selection of my delicious cold and hot starter https://www.bertrandmunier.co.uk/online_shop/starters
In these uncertain times, I wanted to reach out to you personally. As the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve, our commitment is to adhere to the strictest of W.H.O advice and the protocols dictated by the local and international authorities.
The well-being of our clients and our team are our top priority and I want to reassure you of the diligence of our approach.
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