3 French-inspired dishes for lunch

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As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to restrict international travel, many wanderlust travellers around the world are craving their next trip.  “During this time of lockdown we have seen people embracing virtual travel to their dream destinations. And while it’s no replacement for the real thing, it helps keep that travel dream alive. Another way we have seen people bringing the world to them is through food! Seeing all of those posts from people baking bread is enough to send you into a day dream about indulging in a freshly-baked baguette as you picture yourself strolling through the streets of Paris,” says Wouter Vermeulen, General Manager Southern Africa, Air France KLM.

So, what else could bring France a little closer to you until it’s safe and permitted to travel again? Air France and Atout France, the French tourist office in South Africa, have teamed up with some of South Africa’s greatest culinary maestros to share some traditional French recipes to help bring the magic of France into your own home.

ALSO SEE: Celebs share their favourite lockdown recipes

Jenny Morris’ Slow-Baked Lamb In A Rosemary Dough Crust

Jenny Morris isn’t one to shy away from a challenge – and this recipe is worth every bit of preparation. “For me, it all started with the French kitchen. The father of French cuisine, Georges-Auguste Escoffier, is my hero,” Jenny says. The chef adds that this dish is inspired by her love for 2 French staples. “I have eaten some of the best lamb and bread in the world in France so I decided to marry these in one dish,” she says.

For the lamb

Ingredients:

  • 5-3kg leg of lamb, bone in
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Some olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Method:

  1. Make slits in the lamb and insert the garlic and rosemary into the slits.
  2. Make a paste with olive oil, salt, pepper, ground cumin and lemon juice, then rub all over the lamb
  3. Heat a large frying pan and sear the lamb all over, then remove from the pan and cool.
  4. Place the prepared leg of lamb onto the dough and enclose it by wrapping the dough around the lamb and pressing it together to seal.
  5. Let the bone stick out
  6. If you wish, decorate the wrapped lamb with dough off-cuts, fresh rosemary and half heads of garlic.
  7. Place the lamb onto a baking tray and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 150°C and bake for 3 hours.
  8. Take the lamb to the table and break it open, remove and carve.

The dough for encasing the lamb

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 4 tbs finely chopped rosemary
  • 450 ml lukewarm water

Method:

  1. Place the flour, salt, sugar, rosemary and yeast into the bowl of a food processor. Attach the dough hook and, with the motor running slowly, add the water and knead the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic to the touch.
  2. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise to twice its size.
  3. Now punch the dough down and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.

French-inspired recipes - Jenny Morris’ Slow-Baked Lamb In A Rosemary Dough Crust

Nataniël’s Oven-Toasted Baguette With Smoked Salmon and Apple

Local celebrity chef Nataniël is incredibly proud of his French heritage – and it’s something that is very much part of his daily life. “The first time I stayed in France for a long period of time, I spent all my time in Nantes with my family and I discovered the joy of simple food made with good quality produce. The people of that region love using apples in sweet and savoury dishes, which is what inspired this particular dish. I now serve it all the time and it also features 3 of my favourite ingredients: baguette, smoked salmon and Calvados!”

Ingredients:

  • 18 slices of baguette
  • A little grapeseed oil
  • ½ a cup of olive oil
  • 2 tbs light brown sugar
  • 1 tbs French mustard
  • 2 tbs Calvados
  • Some sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 green apples
  • 100g smoked salmon
  • Caviar
  • Fresh dill

Method:

  1. Brush slices of baguette on one side with grapeseed oil.
  2. Place on a baking sheet, brushed sides down.
  3. Bake in oven at 180˚C until golden brown.
  4. Remove from oven and turn over.
  5. Whisk up a vinaigrette by mixing the olive oil, sugar, mustard and Calvados together, then season with salt and pepper.
  6. Place salmon on top of each slice of baguette.
  7. Dip thin slices of apple in vinaigrette and place on top of salmon.
  8. Top with caviar and garnish with dill.

French-inspired recipes - Nataniël’s Oven-Toasted Baguette With Smoked Salmon And Apple

Tumi ‘ChewMe’ Mogoai’s Classic Quiche Lorraine with Potato Crust

Tumi made headlines last year when she won the first season of The Taste Master. This saw her become the resident chef on SABC 3’s popular magazine show Afternoon Express. She’s a long-time a fan of French cuisine: “I’ve always been curious about French cuisine and I understand why the cuisine has been so celebrated. A lot of cooking is rooted in French techniques and I fell in love with this during culinary school. One of the first things I learnt to make was quiche and years later it’s still one of my favourite things to make – with my own little spin, of course.”

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 450g grated potatoes, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ tsp salt + 1 tsp for filling
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper + ½ tsp for filling
  • 1 tbsp pecorino romano
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup mushrooms, fried
  • ½ cup bacon, fried
  • ¼ cup onion, sautéed
  • ½ cup grated hard cheese (I used white cheddar)
  • 1 tsp garlic, sautéed
  • 1 tsp chopped basil

Method:

  1. To begin, preheat your oven to 200°C.
  2. Add your grated potatoes into a large bowl and follow with the olive oil, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper and pecorino romano and stir through.
  3. Using your fingers, fill your baking dish (I used a round tart pan) with the potatoes. Start from the middle and working your way out making sure the bottom and sides is thoroughly covered. Ensure there are no gaps as this forms the base of your quiche.
  4. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are just cooked but not brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. Reduce your oven temperature to 180˚C.
  6. For your filling, whisk together the eggs and milk before adding the onions, garlic, bacon, cheese, remaining salt, remaining pepper and basil.
  7. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the potatoes making sure ingredients are evenly distributed.
  8. Carefully place the halved tomatoes onto the mixture, ensuring the inside part faces upwards.
  9. Bake the quiche for 30 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the potatoes are golden brown.
  10. Enjoy warm or cold.

French-inspired recipes - Tumi ‘ChewMe' Mogoai’s Classic Quiche Lorraine With Potato Crust

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