Dare I say it? I had never heard of Julia Child until recently and once I had, her name kept cropping up everywhere. Famous (apart to me) for being responsible for bringing classic french cuisine to Americans with her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. My 2nd new friend is Ken Forkish an artisan baker from Portland Oregon USA. I’ve read many good reports about Ken’s breads from a range of different sources so I was interested to learn more. I had reserved both Julia’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Ken’s bread book Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast at the local library and they were in, just in time to sample with this being a long weekend.
I quite like the look of Julia’s book and it seems like it would be handy as a reference for the technical understanding of food and basic techniques and fundamental recipes. I made 2 dishes from the book and I’m sorry to say either of them were anything special. I chose 2 that we often eat and that were a good comparison to what I usually serve. These were potato and leek soup and Carbonnade de Bouffe or beef in beer. I found both of these quite flavourless and we decided we preferred my way of making the dishes. Cudos to me!
This was Julia Child’s potato and leek soup served with bread made using Ken Forkish recipe for Harvest Bread which is a wholemeal yeasted loaf made using a poolish (preferment of part of the dough).
I am thoroughly enjoying reading Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast and will play with quite a few of the recipes. The toast above was from this loaf, not quite proved enough but it was OK.
I was also keen to try some of Richard Bertinet methods, Bertinet is an acclaimed French baker and he has quite a different style to kneading from the ‘stretch and fold’ method that I’ve been using. More like a slap and tickle approach and it was fun to try. The dough was beautiful and I will certainly research some more of his technique.
This is a crumb shot of the loaf. I served this grilled with garlic and olive oil to accompany our ‘Clean out the Fridge Soup’.
The beef in beer required about 6 cups of onions so I took the opportunity to make some slow cooker stock from the onion scraps, these plus what I had in the bag in the freezer collected over a couple of months and some of Mirboo Pastured Poultry’s chicken bones some celery, carrot and peppercorns and it was into the large slow cooker for an overnight simmer.
Thank goodness for the slow cooker! I don’t know how I would get by without the 2 that I have.
The Julia Child recipe for beef in beer was OK, but I prefer this Boeuf Carbonnade recipe. Julia’s just didn’t have much going for it, quite bland. I served it with mash, broad beans that had been cooked with olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper and some of the carrot from the stock pot. Photo not great but the mash and broad beans were good!
These are the 4 loaves from yesterday L to R Ken Forkish harvest loaf, 2 of my normal Chad Robertson artisan loves and the Richard Bertinet loaf in front. Not burnt, just well caramelised!
Some other weekend highlights.
The freeloading chooks have begun to earn their keep again, very welcome indeed.
Mr ATMT started repurposing some steel greenhouse shelves that I had tried to sell but had not luck doing so. We are creating a screen behind the mulberry tree so the shelves have been secured to make a curved screen and will be planted with a climber to create a green wall screening the utility area.
We had a delightful breakfast of sourdough pancakes with mushroom, bacon, egg and maple syrup. Yum, yum!
There is an area near the front fence that is rather spooky due to the large and overgrown camellias, sweet pittosporum and oleander. One camellia in particular is beautiful (white one) and has been smothered by the other growth, so I am thinning out the area and hopefully the star will be able to shine as a feature tree. I envisage we will plant a rosemary hedge along this front fence.
Quite a busy weekend and as I do this blog I am listening to howling winds whipping around everywhere. Hope all stays secure! How was your long weekend?