FRANCE

The Tricolore flag
COUNTRYFRANCE
DishesVegan *Beef* Bourguignon, Tarte à l’oignon ou pissaladière
Time 1.30 hour
Effort 6/10
Rough cost £8
COUNTRY FRANCE
Capital Paris
Population 67,413,000 (20th largest)
Land mass 640,679 km2 (42nd)
Languages French
Religions51% Christianity, 40% a-religious, 5% Islam

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

After a little delay (Bridget had exams), we are back and its FRENCH WEEK. A country famous for its wine, food and dining culture, there was a huge array of French dishes to choose from – so definitely recommend having a look for yourself.

France consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions, with its capital in Paris. The country has a rich and ancient history dating back to the Gauls in the Iron Age. As a result, it is a country with an immense cultural status – art, philosophy, science, music and film. Mais oui, also cooking! French cuisine is known to be one of the finest in the world, with each region having its own traditional dishes and wines. A classic French meal often consists of three courses, hors d’œuvre or entrée (introductory course), plat principal (main course), and the fromage (cheese course) or dessert. A meal will also begin with an aperitif and end with cafés. In other words – a FEAST.

We both made a vegan version of the classic Beef Bourguignon, which substitutes the beef for mushrooms. Chuck any old sort of mushrooms in this recipe and enjoy the amazing sage – thyme – red wine scents and flavours. It was delicious! Mwara also made a classic French onion tart, traditionally made with anchovies for an additional salty flavour to balance the rich sweetness of the onions. She used ready-made puff pastry but feel free to make your own.

Needless to say but whatever you make, be sure to wash it down with a strong French red and un cafe to finish!

RECIPES

Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into slices
  • 1 yellow onion, finely sliced
  • 1 packet button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 packet chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 portobello mushrooms, roughly sliced
  • A tablespoon of fresh thyme sprig leaves, or 1.5 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 150ml full-bodied vegan red wine (aim for a French ‘un)
  • 200ml veg stock 
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée 
  • salt and black pepper – to taste

METHOD

  1. Heat up the oil in a heavy-based pan on a medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and fry for 5 minutes.
  2. Add in all the mushrooms, thyme, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Stir it well.
  3. Add in the wine and bring to the boil for 2 minutes. Then lower the heat down and add the stock, bay leaves, tomato purée and marmite and stir it well. Add in the cornflour and whisk it in until it is well-combined.
  4. Cook the bourguignon for 10 minutes, then season it to taste with salt and pepper!
  5. We served it up with creamy garlic *butter* vegan mash

Onion Tart with Anchovies (Tarte à l’oignon ou pissaladière)

INGREDIENTS *vegan op

  • 1 kg onions, finely sliced
  • 250g puff pastry *vegan
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6 sage leaves
  • (1 tin of anchovy fillets + 3 sardines if using)
  • 20 or so black olives
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 50 ml white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. If adding the fish into the pie, then crush together half of the sardines + anchovies.
  2. In a heavy bottom pan, heat the olive oil and add in the onions and garlic. Fry these on a high heat until browned (5 minutes).
  3. Lower the heat, add in the sugar, salt, pepper and thyme. Then add in the wine and cook the mixture down. This will take about an hour.
  4. If using the fish, add the paste to the mixture and take it off the heat.
  5. Now preheat the oven to 180’C. Take the puff pastry and spread it across a large rectangular baking tray. Cover the dough with some baking paper, weight it down and par-bake for 8 minutes.
  6. Take it out of the oven and spread the onion (-fish) mixture over the pastry, sprinkle the top with thyme and sage, and add the black olives on top. Bake for a further 20 – 25 minutes. YUM!

Merci beaucoup and see you in Gabon! M + B x

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