Fren­chapri­cot­tart

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Skin­ner

When I taste a per­fect I opine that it is a clas­sic dish of Cyprus. Alas, as with ke­babs, th­ese days it is usu­ally made with pork and not the proper, tra­di­tional, lamb or kid, which it should be. And then I found that a proper, good is hard to find in Cyprus, yet it is so easy to make! One such recipe for four uses a half shoul­der of lamb, a cou­ple of toma­toes and onions, gar­lic and herbs of choice (mine is sim­ple: a sprig of rose­mary). Into a sealed heavy casse­role with half a bot­tle of red wine and three hours in the oven at 140ºC. What could be sim­pler? Lovely.

It is to the French kitchen that I sup­pose one must turn to for the great clas­sics of West­ern cooking. Many are ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery day home cooks, like the Coq au Vin I made the other night from the recipe be­low. It is a dish that brings back a mem­ory or two.

Once, in Lon­don, I at­tended a PR event at “Boulestin” then a well es­tab­lished and fa­mous French restau­rant, where the chef-pro­pri­etor, Mar­cel Boulestin had pre­pared Coq au Vin with a good but ev­ery day red

and a sec­ond us­ing a good Beau­jo­lais. The at­tend­ing hacks and would-be gourmets were asked to tell which was which. About half cor­rectly iden­ti­fied them. So the adage that “a coq au vin is as good as the wine you put in it”, may well not be true. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, the clas­sic recipe I give be­low is suf­fi­cient. I agree with M. de Po­mi­ane when he sug­gested drink­ing the same wine as you use in the cooking of the chicken.

One of the best ex­am­ples of this clas­sic dish I have en­coun­tered was at a small hotel­restau­rant in north­ern France. We had tele­phoned from Paris to book lunch, but on the way our car broke down and by the time we got to the ho­tel it was past three in the af­ter­noon. The chef was off duty. “I can of­fer you some the told us, “and some

When it came, it was su­perb.

Reese How­ell Gra­now (19th. Cen­tury Lon­don gen­tle­man) Un­like Mr. Gra­now I make this about once a month. Ac­tu­ally, I as­sem­ble it, be­cause it is a joint ven­ture of my wife and me – she makes the pas­try and the crème pâtis­sière, whilst I add the apri­cots and the glaze. It re­quires a loose-based pie tin of 25 cms di­am­e­ter, to make a pas­try case which is “baked blind”. 220 g vil­lage flour 110 g but­ter A lit­tle wa­ter 1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C 2. Sift the flour into a bowl. 3. Cut the but­ter into small chunks and lightly but quickly rub into the flour un­til the mix­ture is like bread­crumbs.

4. Add a few drops of wa­ter and mix into flour/but­ter mix­ture un­til a good stiff dough is formed. 5. Roll out to fit a 25 cms round pas­try tin, which you have rubbed with a lit­tle but­ter. 6. Cut away sur­plus pas­try. 7. Put a cir­cu­lar piece of grease-proof pa­per on the pas­try and cover with bak­ing beans to present pas­try from ris­ing whilst bak­ing. 8. Put pas­try tin in cen­tre of oven and bake for 15 min­utes 9. Take out the tine and re­move the bak­ing beans and grease-proof pa­per and re­turn pas­try to the oven for about an­other 5 min­utes or un­til it is nicely gold.

10. De­cant from the tin and set aside. 60 cl milk 120 g caster sugar 60 g plain flour 1 level tbsp corn flour 2 large eggs, beaten 50 g un­salted but­ter 1. Warm the milk on a low heat. 2. In a bowl mix to­gether sugar, corn-flour, the beaten eggs. 3. Stir in the warm milk slowly and mix well. 4. Pour the mix­ture back into the saucepan and heat over a low heat un­til thicken, and comes to boil­ing point.

5. Take the pan off the stove and stir the but­ter in well. Add a cou­ple of drops of a good vanilla essence if you wish.

6. Cover the pan and leave it to cool.

it starts to

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