It’s always lovely to get something in the post that is not a bill, particularly when it lands through the door with the satisfying ‘thwack’ of a heavy package. Tearing open the cardboard I discovered a cookbook called French Kitchen: Classic Recipes for home cooksby Australian chef Serge Dansereau.
|Pork medallions with apple cider sauce|
Serge may not be a familiar name in the UK but in Australia he is well known for his Bathers’ Pavilion restaurant in Balmoral. The book is a hefty hard cover complete with a ribboned book marker. It is beautifully produced with soft, muted photographs of food that made me hungry and photographs of the Bather’s Pavilion’s surroundings that made me homesick. My only complaint about would be that there are not photographs of every dish.
|The book packs a punch when it lands in your letterbox|
French Kitchen is divided into sections on breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, afternoon tea and even cooking for kids. As the title suggests the emphasis is on traditional French cooking with a little of Serge’s Canadian heritage thrown in (he is from Quebec) and not too much Australian influence apart from the section called BBQ on the beach.
|Tenderising the medallions|
I tested out Serge’s recipe for pork medallions which I found straight forward and easy to follow. It included some helpful technique tips such as how to tenderise and flatten the medallions before cooking. It should be said though that this dish is not for the faint hearted. There is a lot of butter and a whole lot more cream. Don’t be scared as these are the things which make it taste so French and so, so good. It features a traditional pairing of pork and apples but instead of roasting the pork and serving the apple as a sauce, the pork and apples are pan fried with cream and sage. This makes it a speedy enough recipe allowing time to enjoy a bit of French ‘special occasion’ dining on a week night.
|Caramalising the apples|
2 x 400g skinless pork fillets trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
4 apples peeled, cored and quartered
1 tbsp sugar
300ml apple cider (I used Bulmer’s)
2 tbsp plain flour
300ml pouring cream
2 tbsp chopped sage
|Gorgeous pictures in the book|
1. Cut the pork fillets into about 8 small medallions of about 100g each. Working with one medallion at a time, place between two sheets of plastic wrap that have been lightly drizzled with half the oil. Use a cleaver or small, heavy frying pan to pound the medallions so they are flattened and thinned. Set aside.
2. Heat the rest of the oil and half the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the apples and cook for 15 mins, reducing the heat once they start to brown. Add the sugar and caramalise for another 5-10 mins until golden and glazed then remove and set aside.
3. Put the apple cider in the pan over high heat and cook until reduced by half.
4. Season the medallions with salt and pepper and dust with the flour. Heat the rest of the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the pork for about 4 mins then turn and cook the other side for 4 mins until cooked but still slightly pink. Remove the pork, set aside and wipe the pan clean with paper towels.
5. Add the reduced cider, cream and sage to the pan and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and stir then return the pork to the pan and cook for 5 mins. Add the apples and bring back to a simmer just before serving.
I served the dish with steamed purple sprouting broccoli and asparagus. Serves four.
I received a review copy of the French Kitchen: Classic Recipes for home cooksfrom Arum Press. It is available on Amazon for £15.89, reduced from £25.