A Foodie Paradise – Rue Des Martyrs, Paris

Sacre Coeur Peeking Out

Sacre Coeur Peeking Out

Once you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe and the Louvre.  Had a candy coloured tea of macarons at Laduree and marvelled at the delicious delicacies in Fauchon.  Wander off the beaten track a little, to just south of Pigalle, where bourgeois meets bohemian.  Rue Des Martyrs is a bustling narrow street, much of which is in deep shadow with flashes of sun to warm and illuminate the cafes and restaurants along the way.  Anchored by Notre Dame De Lorette, the road slopes steadily up to Sacre Coeur, which peeks out at the top, its white domes basking in the sunshine.

Choux Pastry On Show

Choux Pastry On Show

Plan to spend time here, tasting as you go.  Sit in a cafe and watch the locals go by, because this is a village in the centre of Paris.  Whilst the Marais has surrendered to the tourists, this area is still very local but with a definite foodie character.

Glace Fruit Jewels Under a Cloche

Glace Fruit Jewels Under a Cloche

This is a paradise of patisseries, Sebastien Gaudard, who trained under Hermes and was the top pastry chef at Fauchon has opened this very up market traditional patisserie and glace (ice cream) store.  Beautifully arranged, each perfectly finished plump offering displayed as preciously as jewels.

Tempting Apricot Tarte Fine

Tempting Apricot Tarte Fine

Then meander up to the corner and indulge in a Tarte Aux Fines, deep orange spiked apricots in flaky pastry, or Mont Blanc hazlenut meringue, topped with plump raspberries and physalis.

Plentiful Patisserie

Plentiful Patisserie

Stroll up to Les Papilles Gourmandes to have a taste of the south west.  Smoky hand cut country ham, traditional salty salamis, suspended by strings, fragrant with fennel seeds or spicy with green peppercorns.  A couple of slices of each, perfect for an evening aperitif.

Saucisson And Dauphinoise

Saucisson And Dauphinoise

The tang of cheese drags you to the other side of the shop where an array of hard and soft cheeses tempt the senses. Cow, sheep and goat each with it’s distinct flavour and aroma. ample stacks of ash dusted goat cheese, Selle-Sur-Cher sit beside large pats of Palet Blanc, made using unpasteurised milk. This is an opportunity to indulge, but in moderation, that’s the French way.

Fragrant Soft Cheeses

Fragrant Soft Cheeses

Halfway up the hill is Au Fond Du Jardin with a wonderful hint of summer, the sweet fragrance of berries with the woody aroma of morels.

A Scarlet Fronted Shop

A Scarlet Fronted Shop

A scarlet fronted shop piled with produce, succulent and perfect in form and colour. Bouquets of green artichokes tinged with purple, strawberries fat and juicy, Luxurious stout white asparagus and mossy morels.

 

Morels, Artichokes And Berries

Morels, Artichokes And Berries

Almost next door is a wonderful fish shop, L’Escale Marine, fragrant with the smell of the sea, sweet with the promise that usually only comes from buying fish on the quay. The tang of ozone that tells you the basket of scallops will be fresh and tasty.

Sweet Fresh Scallops

Sweet Fresh Scallops

The pink blush of langoustine, piled in a box, grey shrimp, so undervalued in Britain, and tiny pink shrimp nestling in their separate baskets.

Blush Pink Langoustine

Blush Pink Langoustine

Each so full of flavour and tempting for a picnic later, down by the seine. Just add rich olive oil Mayonnaise and a crusty loaf.

Finally a floral bouquet from Le P’tit Zinc bar á fleurs, flowers in France are always expensive but oh so pretty. Generous blooms in pretty bunches, wooden wine boxes overflowing with ivy, pinks and roses. Zinc tubs of miniature roses, each a tempting gem to carry home.

Generous Blooms

Generous Blooms

There is so much to see and try in Rue Des Martyrs, even if, you just window shop. Enjoy people watching in a variety of cafes and take in the wonderful aromas of the fabulously fresh produce. Stepping off the beaten track is amply rewarded.

Hot Cross Bun Spiced Ice Cream

Hot Cross Bun Spiced ice Cream

Hot Cross Bun Spiced ice Cream

As a child I never really understood the excitement around hot cross buns.  They weren’t iced, they had currants and if you were really unlucky candied peel in them.  They were really a bit dull and it took so long to chew round all that fruit.

The week before Easter the bakers window would be bursting with buns and my sister and mother would plan the shopping around being sure to have bought them, as fresh as possible, for Good Friday.  They’d be sliced and carefully toasted, with my sister taking charge of the eye level grill.  Just as well, it was way above my head, literally.  The smell was so tempting, sweet and spicy, then once toasted, spread thickly with butter.  I was still on my not liking butter stage so, I’d take my dry bun and lick the sweet glaze off the top.  A treat that didn’t last long, I’d sit at the table, swinging my legs and trying to understand my mother and sister Oohing and Aahing over their Easter treat.

Easter Spiced Ice Cream And Tiny Chocolate Eggs

Easter Spiced Ice Cream And Tiny Chocolate Eggs

Hot cross buns are available for several months before Easter now and are somehow less of a treat for that.  I now love dried fruit, butter and all things spicy; of course, I now understand all that oohing and aahing too, over a really good mix of saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  A perfect spicing with a wonderful aroma, all of which I have combined into my Hot Cross Bun Spiced Ice Cream.  A spice infused milk and cream mixture which churns into a beautifully aromatic, soft ice cream.

RECIPE

Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream With Tiny Chocolate Eggs

Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream With Tiny Chocolate Eggs

Hot Cross Bun Spiced Ice Cream

Serves 6

  • 300ml Full fat milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick about 4cm (2 inches)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 70g currants
  • 30g candies peel

Method

  • Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan, add all of the spices and bring the mixture just to a boil over a medium heat.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool, to infuse the spices into the milk and cream, set aside
  • Mix together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl, until light in colour and fluffy
  • Reheat the cream and milk mix to just boiling point, sieve into a jug.  Discard the spices
  • Whisking continually, add the cream and milk mixture to the eggs
  • Pour back into a clean saucepan and heat over a moderate heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon
  • Pour into a bowl sitting on a bed of ice and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the top of the custard to stop a skin forming.
  • Once cooled add the currants and peel, place in a churner and churn until thickened and frozen.
  • Place in a sealed container in the freezer to store.

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Beer-Can Chicken With Ginger Wine And Garlic

Chicken On A Beer-can

Chicken On A Beer-can

The smell of the charcoal intensifies and a waft of warm smoke circles into the air as the lid is lifted; it’s time to put on the Beer-Can chicken. A fabulous way to BBQ a whole chicken, with the body of the bird seasoned and then upturned onto a full can of beer. The can then stands on the bars of the BBQ and as the beer comes to the boil and steams, it keeps the chicken moist with a flavour of hops and barley as it gently smokes and cooks to a golden brown. This is one of my favourite summer dishes. Despite the fact that you can cook a chicken this way in an oven, getting it to and from the cooker barely balanced on it’s tin, has always made me reticent to try.

Hand Made Chicken Roaster

Hand Made Chicken Roaster

Mr Glam and I were sharing a glass of the good stuff in the bar of The Hand And Flowers, when we got into conversation with a Geordie couple. We’d seen them chatting to Tom Kerridge earlier and it transpired that they were the Muddy Fingers potters, designing some tableware for one of the restaurant’s dishes.  Never one to miss a kitchenware opportunity, I fell upon their samples.  I pulled out the weirdest looking dish with a funnel in the middle, glazed in a delicious soft green and with the swirling rings of a hand thrown pot, I loved it. A beer can cooker for the home oven. The centre can be filled with the aromatics (garlic, herbs or spices) and liquid of your choice and the dish with a little water to catch the fat and juices. It was the perfect perch for a succulent chicken.

Chicken On The Roaster

Chicken On The Roaster

With an exchange of Twitter handles and a few emails later, I was the proud owner of one of these gems. I am delighted with my purchase. It arrived with the suggestion of ginger wine and garlic for my first chicken try out.

RECIPE

You can try this recipe using an empty beer can, placing the garlic and ginger wine in the can, more precarious but still tasty.

Crispy Fragrant Chicken

Crispy Fragrant Chicken

Muddy Finger’s Garlic And Ginger Wine Chicken

  • 1 chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to season
  • 150 mls ginger wine
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 200 mls water

Method

  • Heat the oven to 200c, 180c fan, 400f
  • Rub the chicken all over with the oil and generously season with the salt and pepper
  • Place the ginger wine and garlic in the centre funnel of the dish
  • Place the chicken over the funnel as in the photo and fill the rim off the dish with the water
Chicken On The Roaster In The oven

Chicken On The Roaster In The oven

  • Place in the oven, cooking for 20 minutes per 450g or 20 minutes per pound weight.  Pierce the thigh to check the juices run clear to ensure the bird is cooked
  • Remove from the dish and carve in the normal way, spoon over the juices from the dish

Osprey St Albans – Shopping, Tea And Inspiration

The Saddlery Cafe

The Saddlery Cafe

Down a winding country lane in a series of traditional black barns is a surprising place to find the ‘idea laboratory’ of a bastion of the fashion accessories market.  Osprey has been an influencer and innovator since the 80s and this pretty enclave is the culmination of thirty years of design and Innovation.

Osprey Courtyard Garden

Osprey Courtyard Garden

The barns surround a delightful courtyard which in the summer would make a perfect place to while away the afternoon, in between shopping in the Osprey Home and Outlet Stores.  An accumulation of previous season stock, new developments and one off pieces that may not be available in any of their other stores or retailers.

Jams And Chutneys, Olive Oil And Tea

Jams And Chutneys, Olive Oil And Tea

Opening onto the courtyard is a cafe, large rough wood tables, an eclectic mix of bench seats and designer chairs, glass beaded lighting and an old fashioned cowboy style wood burning stove, part vintage tea room and part mountain cabin in decor. An old dresser displays olive oils, chutneys, jams, Charbonel And Walker truffles and specialised coffees and teas. This is a spot for a light lunch or tea and cake.

Handmade Porcelain

Handmade Porcelain

Fat teapots and vintage cups accompany traditional bakes. Lemon drizzle cake, carrot cake and ginger coconut sponge.  Lunch is an individual quiche or egg muffin with salad.  Not a wide choice but good quality.  The egg muffins were delicious enough for me to make my own for a light supper one evening. Facing the cafe across the courtyard  is Osprey Home.

Re-Upholstered Vintage Chair

Re-Upholstered Vintage Chair

An emporium of hand picked fashion, beautiful leather accessories, jewellery, curios and home interiors.

Stacked Moroccan Dishes

Stacked Moroccan Dishes

Fine supple leathers and soft cashmeres alongside home fragrances.  Bright cushions and tactile petrified wood are displayed on shelves with handmade porcelain and vintage style glass dishes.

Vintage Style Glass Dishes

Vintage Style Glass Dishes

Statement pieces of South east asian carving and modern sculpture punctuate the slightly masculine feel of vintage display cabinets.  Gifts and household items, each carefully chosen, line shelves with beautiful detailed leather belts, this is a place to find gems at all prices.  Vintage playing card art at £5 to a fabulous doorway and architrave at several thousands.  This was a wonderful find and I will be visiting again.

Osprey St. Albans. Woodcock Hill. Coopers Green Lane. St Albans Herts. AL4 9HJ
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Competition And SousVide Supreme Garlic And Ginger Pork Osso Bucco With Bali Noodles

Garlic And Ginger Pork Osso Bucco With Bali Noodles

Garlic And Ginger Pork Osso Bucco With Bali Noodles

When the Glam Teen or 20 Somethings come home, the usual call is for ‘Bali Noodles’.  A dish I was shown how to make when we were all on holiday.  It’s had a few tweeks since then and is a sweet spicy noodle dish, given texture from the crispy onions and tasty with plenty of garlic.  Easy to make, very adaptable and reminiscent of a great family holiday, this is a solid family favourite.

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Rhubarb And Strawberry Crumble Tart

 

Rhubarb And Strawberry Tart With Maple Nut Crumble Topping

Rhubarb And Strawberry Tart With Maple Nut Crumble Topping

It was a hot and dusty day, I grasped my mother’s hand with the vague feeling that if my hold should slip she might not notice. We dragged from shop to shop, the chatter seemed incessant and most of it I couldn’t understand.  I’d been taught to say merci politely and au revoir as I left the store, but I couldn’t manage any more.

Finally we stopped, I stared through the window at all the patisserie, my older sister had already set on her choice of chocolate eclair.  The cream thick and bursting from the sides of the choux pastry. Dark or milk chocolate, didn’t seem to matter to her, it was all about the cream.

Rhubarb And Strawberry Tart With Maple Nut Crumble Topping

Rhubarb And Strawberry Tart With Maple Nut Crumble Topping

I looked down at my scuffed red sandals, my toes just visible through the tiny dot and diamond cut outs and wondered for the hundredth time, why I disliked cream so much. I wanted to choose an iced bun but that wasn’t available there.  It wasn’t just cream, I disliked butter, custard and even the squirty fake cream my friends were so fond of. This was supposed to be a treat, a reward for being good. I gazed back at the cakes and finally chose a glossy, bright red strawberry tart. I knew it was a trap.  Crisp sweet pastry and plump delicious strawberries, but underneath was custard, cold custard at that.  But I’d done what was expected of me, gazed at the cakes in adoration, just as my mother and sister had and made my choice.

Things are very different now.  I still love iced buns and often choose plainer cakes to the over the top confections.  But cream, is there anything better?  There isn’t a ‘trap’ in this tart but you can have lashings of cream or custard with yours.  What’s your favourite cake or pastry?

RECIPE

Rhubarb And Strawberry Tart  With Maple Nut Crumble Topping

Rhubarb And Strawberry Tart With Maple Nut Crumble Topping

Rhubarb And Strawberry Crumble tart

For sweet the pastry

  • 200g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 level tablespoons icing sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter cubed and cold from the fridge
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

For the filling

  • 500g rhubarb cut into equal lengths
  • 400g strawberries, stalks removed
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange

For the topping

  • 80g blanched almonds, chopped
  • 80g pecan nuts, chopped
  • 80g plain flour
  • 80g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 bought, white chocolate soft cookies, crumbled
  • 60g unsalted butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Method

  • Grease a 34cm x 11cm /13 inch x 4.5 inch tart tin
  • Preheat the oven to 180c fan
  • Mix together the flour, salt and icing sugar in a mixing bowl
  • Beat the egg and mix with the water
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the egg and water mixture
  • Mix with your hand until it starts to form a dough
  • Turn out on to the work top and bring together, shape into a rough rectangle
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  • Place the rhubarb and strawberries on a parchment lined baking tin and sprinkle with sugar
Sweet, Citrus Juiced Rhubarb And Strawberries Ready For The Oven

Sweet, Citrus Juiced Rhubarb And Strawberries Ready For The Oven

  • Drizzle with the orange juice and top with the orange zest
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is just starting to soften
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool
  • Leave the oven at 180c
  • Remove the pastry from the fridge
  • Roll out as thin as you can
  • Use the rolling pin to help transport the pastry to the tart tin (place the rolling pin in the centre of the pastry and fold the pastry in half over the rolling pin)
  • Line the Tart tin with the pastry, pushing it into the corners and the flutes
  • Place back in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • Remove from the fridge and line with parchment paper and fill with baking beans, place in the oven for 15 minutes until just starting to go golden
  • Remove from the oven, remove the baking beans and parchment.
  • Place back in the oven for a further 5 – 7 minutes until golden brown around the top edges
  • Reduce the oven temp to 160c
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack
  • Meanwhile prepare the topping, Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together thoroughly
  • Melt the butter and pour over the dry ingredients, add the maple syrup and stir through to thoroughly combine.
  • Spread onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool

To Assemble

  • Place the pastry case on a serving plate or board, Line with the rhubarb and distribute the strawberries evenly
  • Break up the topping into small pieces and pile onto the fruit, either covering completely or leaving the edges with the fruit showing through

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SousVide Supreme – Hints Tips And BBQ Flavour Lamb Shank Bagel

BBQ Flavour Sous Vide Lamb Shank Bagel

BBQ Flavour Sous Vide Lamb Shank Bagel

I thought I was going to have to do a lot of experimenting with my SousVide Supreme to get the cooking right. But I was amazed how easy it was.  I used Sous Vide for the home cook which was supplied along with my machine to check temperatures and timings and most things have worked really well.

My one exception is another go at the delicious carrots I showed you last time.  The bag came unvacumed and the carrots were a bit over cooked.  Still with a wonderful flavour but a little too soft.  I think this might have been from over filling the vac bag, so, keep the food to single layers and use more bags if necessary.

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Rinse the machine out as soon after finishing cooking as you can, in the same way that you would with any saucepan.  Essentially that is all this is.  It’s particularly important if you have done a very long cook and live in a hard water area as inevitably you’ll get a light rim of limescale around the high water line that should be removed.  Just tip out the water, rinse with some clean water and rub at any water marks. I then dry the insides with kitchen paper, don’t forget to clean the rack if you’ve used it.

Lamb Shank Vac Packed With Bay And Marjoram

Lamb Shank Vac Packed With Bay And Marjoram

My great success was the lamb shanks from Donald Russell.  This was going to be a non-blogged experiment but worked so well I thought I’d share the recipe with you.  The Glam 20 something loved this one, so we’ll definitely be having it again.  The meat fell off the bone and was sweet and juicy.

RECIPE

BBQ Flavour Pulled Lamb Shank Bagel

BBQ Flavour Pulled Lamb Shank Bagel

Barbecue Flavour Pulled Lamb Shank

Serves 2

  • 1 lamb shank
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs of fresh marjoram or 1/2 teaspoon of dried marjoram

For The BBQ Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 30g fresh ginger grated
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Juice from cooking the lamb shank

To assemble

  • 2 bagels cut in half and toasted, warm
  • 400g coleslaw, homemade or bought

Method

  • Preheat the water in the Sous Vide Supreme to 80c / 175f
  • Season the lamb shank with salt and pepper
  • Lay the bay leaf and marjoram on the lamb shank and vac seal in a Sous Vide Supreme bag
  • Place the lamb shank in the Sous Vide Supreme rack and place in the water, set the timer for 24 hours
  • Once the lamb shank is cooked, remove from the water and the vac sealed bag, keep the juices from cooking in the bag
  • Pull the meat from the bone  and shred into small pieces, set aside
  • Place the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the shallots over a medium heat until translucent, do not colour.
  • Add the garlic to the pan and continue cooking until the shallots are soft
  • Add the grated ginger and the paprika and cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn the paprika
  • Add the dijon mustard, tomato ketchup and honey and stir into to combine, then cook for 5 minutes
  • Add the cider vinegar and combine well and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring from time to time
  • Place the lamb pieces into the sauce and reheat for 5 minutes

To assemble

  • Place the warm , toasted bottom of 2 halves of the bagels on a plate
  • Divide the lamb between the two bagels
  • Top with half of the coleslaw each and finish with the lid of the bagels

Disclosure: I have been provided with a SousVide Supreme water oven, vacuum sealer and cooking bags  to review and innovate recipes. The opinions expressed here are my own. This is a competition with great prizes  for readers, you can vote for your favourite recipe and win a SousVide Supreme machine for yourself , voting starts on March 26th.  For details of all the bloggers taking part and details of the wonderful competition prizes take a look here. 

Smoked Duck Pate – Recipe

Beach Sand Dunes (library photo)

Beach Sand Dunes (library photo)

It was so exciting, we were going to build a bonfire on the beach.  I was a real city kid, living in a flat in the centre of London, we didn’t even  have a garden.  Yet here I was, with my little cousin, sitting on a deserted beach, carefully pilling sticks one upon another, to make the classic tented shape of all the fires I’d seen in cowboy films.  Rocking back on my heels, I looked around at the tufts of coarse grass poking out of the undulating dunes behind us.  This was such a contrast to the rattly shingle beaches I was used to, where every wave was followed by the noisy retreat of pebbles.  This was peaceful, just the gentle whoosh of the sea and the sound of the breeze as it brushed the long grass.  My cousin and I were on Treasure Island. Continue reading

SousVide Supreme – Review

Sous Vide Supreme - Sleek Stainless Steel Cube

Sous Vide Supreme – Sleek Stainless Steel Cube

Some months ago I bought Heston Blumenthal’s book Heston Blumenthal At Home. I was delighted with the recipes, all the secrets of the wonder chef’s home kitchen.  But there was one chapter I hadn’t been able to cook from, the chapter on Sous Vide. Thanks to Sous Vide Supreme, who have sent me a machine to review and Donald Russell who have supplied a fabulous selection of meat, I can now really experiment with this versatile method of cooking. Continue reading

Shrove Tuesday – Pancakes, Cookies and Caramel

Pancake Stack Filled With White Chocolate Cookie Crumb And Raspberries With Maple Caramel Sauce

Pancake Stack Filled With White Chocolate Cookie Crumb And Raspberries With Maple Caramel Sauce

The day seemed to go on forever, sitting on my wooden seat; alternately looking at the blackboard and the clock. The butterflies would tickle and then flip and flip, as I waited for the lessons to end.  Even as a six year old, I was beset by the anticipation of Shrove Tuesday Continue reading