Posted on 3 October 2011 | No responses
I am now back home after a wonderful visit toFrance. Barging, touring, cooking at La Combe and studying French at the French L’Ecôle d’Eté, Summer School, at the Nancy University. On the barge we had a fabulous cooking class, in French, with my French class. It was most successful and absolutely fantastic to think we could cook on board in arelatively small space in the galley kitchen.
I am refreshed with many great ideas for cooking in our classes. The French have tremendous attention to detail, which always strikes me when I cook there with the chefs. The making of a simple eschallot salad dressing, making paper thin crepes, and the traditional ‘Quiche Lorraine’, another tautology I was told as Quiche isLorraine!
We enjoyed excellent barging trips around Lorraine, to historic Strasbourg and Saverne…climbing up and over the Vosges Mountain range (which divides Lorraine and Alsace), including going up and down the Ardviller inclinator, which saved us going through 17 lochs! and many other lochs, going through five tunnels and travelling through the beautiful forests and experiencing sensational scenery.
The trip to Bar-Le-Duc, near the border of Champagne and Lorrainewas fascinating, filled with ancient 12th and 13th century buildings, fountains, squares and houses, very authentically and appropriately restored. Bar-Le-Duc is the beginning of the famous sacred road toVerdun and was the major supply route to the town of Verdun, where the Battle of Verdun raged for 10 months and achieved very little other than many deaths on all sides.
Describing cities in France as historic is unnecessary as they are all historic, ancient, beautiful and charming. Each has their own story, usually associated with a specific historic period, person or event.
I also travelled with my daughter to Champagne, Bourgogne, the Auvergne, La Combe Cooking School in the Dordogne as well as around Nancy, where the barge was moored during my stay. More about the beautiful La Combe next with photos.
Posted on 20 September 2011 | No responses
I recently learnt from my friend and colleague, Petra Frieser, the Regional Foodie of our Sunshine Coast, that we have a couple of local snail growers on the Sunshine Coast, one being Glasshouse Gourmet Snails.
A week or so ago, Petra came to cook some of these escargots with me at On the Ridge. We had a fun day with these interesting creatures. Fortunately, they were already purged by the growers at Glasshouse Gourmet Snails, which was excellent. The snails looked so fresh and clean, with their inquisitive heads looking around with their antennas on the alert. Little did they know their fate….! Read more >>>
Posted on 22 April 2011 | No responses
When i was a child, how I used to love going mushrooming with my grandparents at their farm in central Victoria. I still enjoy finding and collecting mushrooms, it is jsut a l;ittle harder these days. Back then it was so easy. we would take a knife and a large basket each and off we would walk into their p[addocks and those of nearby farmers. No-one seemed to mind people mushrooming in their paddocks! We would collect many baskets full and then go home and clean them. I remember this being quite a time consuming task wiping off all the dirt and then we always peeld the skins off as well. My grandmother simply cooked them in pan with some butter - sometimes whole, sometimes finely sliced, with just a little salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, just at the end of the cooking.
Remember to cook them in a very hot pan with bubbling butter and a little oil... a few at a time so they do not stew in their own juice. The idea is to toss them around and brown them without letting them exude their moisture and stew. The pan should remain quite dry of mushroom juice.
These days we do not need to peel the commercially grown mushrooms, just a quick wipe with the kitchen paper towel is enough before preparing them to cook.
Posted on 28 February 2011 | No responses
For those interested in cooking in France at La Combe, as mentioned in my recent On the Ridge newsletter, you will enjoy reading the article featured in the WEA this weekend….in the Travel and Indulgence section. February 26 – 27, 2011.
‘A basket of rich rewards….a residential cooking school in southwest France offers a delicious tatse of the Perigord nour…’ by Susan Kurosawa.
Posted on 21 December 2010 | No responses
Christmas is an excellent time to cook and bake various goodies to give as Christmas gifts. It is fun to make shortbread, Syrian festive cakes in tiny tins, rocky road, panneforte and tomato relish. Decoratively wrapped and presented they look gorgeous and are most appreciated by the recipients. I recently made some tomato relish for part of an entree luncheon dish.
The recipe for the Tomato Petal Cake with Peppered Lemon flavoured soft curd Goats’ Cheese Quenelle, requires my relish as an integral part of the tomato stack. Tomatoes are at their peak a little later in January, but I managed to buy some lovely red and flavoursome vine tomatoes at the South Melbourne market and so I headed home to make the relish. I knew I would be able to make many extra jars and so to each luncheon guest, I gave a jar of relish.
For the Tomato Relish recipe>>>
Posted on 16 December 2010 | No responses
All about butter….this article appeared in the Melbourne Age on Tuesday 14th December, reminding us just how good butter should taste.
Spread the love…not all butters are created equally. By Richard Cornish from The Age, Epicure, Tuesday 14th December 2010.
Good butter isn’t something you can just churn out, Richard Cornish discovers. Here he writes about how artisans are leading the push for better butter. Read the complete article reproduced here in Tonya’s Musing on the website >>>
Posted on 4 December 2010 | No responses
It is time now to make your Chirstmas cakes and puddings. This adds to the Christmas joy, with often all family members giving a stir. Sometimes this cake baking can be a multi day affair - by the time you line your cake tin! Prepare and chop the fruit! Macerate the dried fruit for a day or so! Mix and bake! Store well wrapped! Everyone seems to have their favourite recipe, and I love my mother’s Christmas cake recipe which we have now made for many, many years. I am about to prepare and bake it this week, a little late as usual. For those of you without a favourite, you will find my mother’s recipe for Christmas cake in the recipe section of the On the Ridge website.
A festive cake we often make in cooking classes is the Syrian Festive cake which does not require as much time to prepare and cook and may be made just a day or two before Christmas. It is also a favourite of mine and one i frequently give as a gift.
Posted on 4 December 2010 | No responses
Last weekend, my son Barton was married to Leah at Metung on the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria. It was a beautiful weekend party, full of many delicous lunches, dinners and breakfasts, some of which I catered…it was a very happy event and we are all thrilled.
Barton’s all time favourite cake is Chocolate Missippippi mud cake and so he asked if me if I would cook the cakes for the wedding. I was delighted. My friend Sue Black is an expert cake decorator and so it was decided that we would both make the wedding cake and the chocolate Missippippi mud cup cakes as part of the dessert. As usual when you cook together it is a lot of fun and we spent 2-3 days happily cooking and cake decorating together.
The large wedding cake was divine with butter cream, Cointreau and delicious fondant….the mud cakes were our usual mud cake recipe….with Cointreau syrup instead of rum. i will add these to the website – so please check in the dessert recipe section. email and let me know how you go cooking these yummy cakes.
Posted on 15 November 2010 | No responses
Last week I was interviewed by Ros Stuart for Radio FM 99.5 for her program called ‘the Remarkables’. As part of the interview, we chatted about truffles – and I mentioned, that whilst at La Combe en Perigord this year, we went truffle hunting. so Ithought I would include the story in my ‘Musings’ page on the website…for those interested in truffles you can read about our visit plus some further truffle information>>>read more
Posted on 10 August 2010 | No responses
Hi Tonya - Loved the cooking class on Saturday. You have a fabulous set up & the Hinterland view to the sea just sensational !
… Best wishes for your France trip. Kind regards Margot.