Monday, March 1, 2010

E.A.T World France: Mushroom Bourguignon and Croissants!

A month ago I started learning French again after studying it in primary, high school and a short course a few years ago. My Dad is French so I grew up hearing it all the time but I never seemed to give it the attention it deserved, instead I hoped that one morning I would wake up and be able to speak fluent French. Unfortunately that hasn't happened, so I've started lessons again and I am really enjoying it!

Since I started I've been planning a French feast so this weekend I visited France via the E.A.T World challenge. I'll probably bump into River while I'm here as I have a feeling she's in France too!

Mushroom Bourguignon - gluten free (would be soy free but the stock I used contains soy)

I saw a recipe for Mushroom Bourguignon at Smitten Kitchen and knew I wanted to make it but there was une petite problème, I really don't like red wine at all. I don't want it near me, I don't want to smell it and the thought of putting it in my food was not appealing. But that's how this meal (and lots of French meals) are made, so I went with it.

The only changes I made were to use Massel beef-style stock, rice flour and what Australian supermarkets call shallots for the pearl onions.

There are a few steps to follow but it was quite a simple recipe overall. I served it with Orgran quinoa pasta.

This was délicieux! The mushrooms were soft and full of flavour, I'd never used beef-style stock before and it made a nice change from always using vegetable stock. It's the kind of meal you will need a piece of bread with as you will want to wipe your plate clean. It reminded me of meals my Dad used to cook and I am looking forward to winter as I will be making this at least once a week.

Almond Croissants - soy free

A few weeks ago a new cooking show started here called Poh's Kitchen. Poh was the runner up on Australian Master Chef last year (I think she should have won!!) and she now has her own cooking show and each week a different chef comes in to help her. The first episode featured Emmanuel Mollois, a French chef based in Perth and he made almond croissants. While watching him make them I was reminded that they are one thing I definitely wish I could still eat and I have not been able to stop thinking about the recipe since. It looked like a lot of work and I knew I had to try making them with wheat before I even attempted them gluten free.

Emmanuel has a cookbook which I purchased last week. In the book the recipe has been quartered so don't make the full recipe on the website unless you want to make 30-40 croissants!

I used Nuttelex in place of the butter and rice milk in place of the egg wash. I made the dough around 3pm on Saturday and was finished by about 10pm. I let the dough sit in the fridge for the minimum 3 hours, it doubled in size. Then the fun began, I added the Nuttelex and folded the dough and then every 45 minutes I would take the dough out of the fridge, roll it, fold it and put it back in the fridge.

Finally it was time to roll out the dough, cut it into triangles and roll them into croissants. Some look better than others and I found the dough became sticky the more I worked it so I put it back in the fridge a few times so it was easier to shape.

Et voilà! I baked them for the suggested time and turned the oven down after 10 minutes. My apartment smelt like croissants and I couldn't wait for them to be done. They came out quite dark but Emmanuel said that they're meant to be dark and not too light in colour.

I also made mini ones and some snails with the left over dough.

My favourite way to enjoy a croissant is with raspberry jam so that's what I did first. As you can see the croissants I made are much smoother than a traditional croissant, I suppose that's due to the Nuttelex. They definitely taste like croissants, soft and buttery but the texture is a little different.

Then I had to turn some of them into almond croissants. The recipe for almond cream uses cream and eggs but I knew there would be an easier way. I found two recipes: here and here
and ended up with:

100g Nuttelex, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
100g almond meal
1 tsp almond essence

Blend in a food processor.

First make a sugar syrup with 2 T of sugar and 1 cup of water, heat and then cool. Cut open the croissants, dip each half in the syrup and spread some of the almond cream on the bottom half. Put the croissant back together, flatten then spread some almond cream on top, sprinkle with sliced almonds and bake for 10 minutes at 180C. Remove from oven, sprinkle with icing sugar.

They are fantastique! The almond cream inside becomes soft and marzipan-like and they tasted just like I remember them.

My cats liked them too, they're considering becoming French citizens if it means they get to eat croissants every day!

Potato Gratin - gluten free (soy free without the Cheezly)
This is another Smitten Kitchen recipe but it's also something similar to a dish my Mum has been making since I was a child.

I sliced my potatoes a little thicker and I used rice milk, Nuttelex and a small amount of Cheezly. I baked it for about an hour.

Mmm! This was a really filling and comforting meal and next time I'd serve it with some green beans and asparagus.

Bohémienne - gluten & soy free

Today is the first day of March and it's a gorgeous rainy day. I wanted something warm for lunch and found a recipe on La Tartine Gourmande's blog. She explains this dish is from the South of France and is similar to a ratatouille. It's something you can put on the stove and come back and stir every 10-15 minutes. I served it with some gluten free bread, toasted and it made the perfect lunch, it was warm and filling and I liked the addition of the basil at the end.

After lunch I enjoyed a croissant with jam and a cup of tea while I did my homework before heading off to class.

I have really enjoyed this weekend cooking French foods. It's reminded me of my childhood as I have lots of memories of eating French foods, like chocolate mousse at the Hippopotamus restaurant in Paris and giant baguette sandwiches in New Caledonia.

I'm not fishished veganising French dishes yet, so I think I'll stay here another week. À bientôt!


compostkitty said...

oh my that all looks so good! love teh photos of the kitties heads popping up they always make teh best kitty pics :)

Theresa said...

Tres magnifique! Your croissants are so beautiful, and everything looks amazingly delicious. Such cute kittehs!

Nicole said...

Whoooaaaaa! Amazing :)

Niki said...

Impressive! And damn, your cats are ADORABLE!

Kiersten said...

Everything looks delicious! Your crosissants look perfect, I am very impressed. That bourguignon recipe sounds right up my alley, thanks so much for sharing the recipe link.

River - The Crafty Kook said...

How amazing! I love every single thing you made! I *almost* made a mushroom bourguignon too but then I changed my mind. It looks like I'm going to have to change it back and make some because it looks too delicious. And the Bohemienne looks very tasty and it does seem to be very similar to the ratatouille that I made. There are no words to describe how good the potato gratin looks. No words!

The croissants look absolutely perfect! I love all the almond goodness on top, and I adore your kittehs! Aww, I want to pet the kittehs and eat the croissants... at the same time! :D

Enjoy your French lessons!

I'm Philippa O said...

ohmygodohmygodohmygod! you are a masterchef :) i LOVE croissants but haven't eaten them in over 4 years. i HAVE to try these when i have a day at home (and space in my teeny tiny fridge!)

Vegetation said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! I'm coming to your place!! I want want want!!!!

Plus yay! Kittie pics!!!

M.L. said...

Mon Dieu, well done you - it all looks wonderful, especially the almond croissants! Love the Francophile kittehs, too ;-)

Cindy said...

I am SO IMPRESSED with your croissants - well done!

Mihl said...

ow, this made me so hungry although I just had breakfast. Your croissants look absolutely amazing.

Rose said...

oh wow, so many yummy things!
I looove crossants, ive made them a couple of times since being vegan and I found the same as you that they tasted like crossants, but different due to using nuttlex instead of butter. You make me feel like making some again :)
The potato gratin looks delish too mmmm and greens and asparagus would be a perfect side.


Michelle said...

Eeee! Peeking kitties! And the most perfect croissants ever! Everything looks super-mega amazing!

Debbie said...

What a lovely post! I love all things French and those croissants do look absolutely perfect!! and how cute are your cats?!?!:)

dreaminitvegan said...

You know this all looks wonderful, everything you made looks absolutely fabulous!!!

I'm so happy to see the potato gratin because my husband has been saying how much he loves pototo gratin. Like all of the time!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

OMG, those croissants look FAB!

Renee B said...

Awesome. Especially the kittehs. So cute! Peekin! :)

Michal said...

Your croissants looks perfect, and everything else looks great! :)

The Voracious Vegan said...

I'm amazed! Those croissants are picture perfect, really beautiful! At that mushroom bourguignon looks like saucy deliciousness. What a gorgeous post, I'm so hungry now! said...

Oh wow, I don't even know where to start! The bourguignon looks delicious, I don't like cooking with wine (even though I don't mind drinking it!) so I might have to try your variation on this dish.

The croissants look delicious too and I haven't had a potato graitan for ages! I need to get my friend Elsa's recipe for a delicious one she made me a couple of years ago.

I haven't been keeping up with blogs recently so I don;t know how long ago you changed yours but I love the new cupcake / kitty pic!

Vicki said...

That all looks so good, but your croissants look amazing!

pavotrouge said...

looks like you're living up to your roots. good luck with the French studies!

two vegan boys said...

Oh my, everything looks wonderful. My husband saw the croissants and said I had to make them. And the kitty pictures. So cute.

halfeaten said...

The croissants look and sound AMAZING!

Cassie - Vegan Fox said...

Everything looks so amazing, but I am especially impressed with the croissants! What funny cats you have :)

shellyfish said...

Je ne savais pas que ton papa est français! Désormais je te parlerai en français!
Tout à l'air délicieux!

veganf said...

Oh yummers! You make me want to hop a flight to Paris this instant. Sigh. Awesome job with vegan French fare!

Susan said...

They look fantastic, want to make me some please?? Some of all, that's fine. ;)

Vegan Wheekers said...

Yummy yum yum!

Love seeing your cats peeking over the table!

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I went vegan in 2006 and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love baking cupcakes and reading books and often wish I could combine both activities without disastrous results. If I’m not in the kitchen you’ll find me photographing food, cuddling my three kittehs or re-watching my favourite tv shows over and over again with my boyfriend. Due to food sensitivities I don't eat gluten or soy and yes, vegan, gluten free and soy free food is still delicious! Twitter: CupcakeKitteh
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