Thursday, September 29, 2011

Le Calandre Restaurant, Gruyere-fondue Ravioli and Beet Sauce.

This month, the challenge is cooking with wine.  My first thoughts were all about low and slow with blood red bottles of wine.  Then I changed course.

I had just made that remarkable fois gras ravioli that I’d read a description of online.  That made me think of one of my favorite dishes –– inspired by a Food & Wine description –– Gruyere-fondue Ravioli with Beet Sauce and a shower of lovely flowers and greens. It is soooo good that I’ve been making for years.  What can be bad about pasta pillows filled with molten cheese, wine and Kirsch??

It had been on my mind since I recently noticed that the Italian restaurant that inspired it was in the Pelligrino Top50 Restaurants of the World list (the one that put Noma at #1).

# 32, Le Calandre, Padua, Italy. (#20 last year)

Padua  (or more properly Padova) is one of the oldest cities in Northern Italy and positively oozing ancient charm.

Thing is, you won’t find Le Calandre there.

Gattamelato, Donatello, 1453 

Instead, Le Calandre ended up in Sarmeola di Rubano, 4 miles or so away from the magnificent Prato della Valle of Padua in an area better known for strip malls than cathedrals, palazzos or Donatello  statues in the piazza.

Don’t let this keep you away.  If you go to Venice… try to make it here.  It’s only an hour’s drive away from Venice and only a few miles outside of Padua.  The restaurant was begun 20 years ago by the current chef’s parents  (that may have something to do with the location).  I know I’m dying to go one of these days, even if the dinner would set me back $300 or so before the wine (for a lighter tariff, they are open for lunch).

That chef, Massimilliano Alajmo, got his 2nd Michelin star at 22, the youngest chef ever to win that honor.  Then, another record was broken when he got his 3rd star at 28 –– the first 3 star accolade awarded to a chef under 30.

Massimilliano  Alajmo (Photo Calandre)

Although he studied with Veyrat and Guerard as a teen, his food is his own.  He has been called ‘il Mozart dei fornelli’ (Mozart of the stoves) and a Food & Wine article on Massimiliano revealed Mario Batali is a huge fan who believes that his original approach to flavors …”evoke grandma’s palate but also a sorcerers tool kit, to create harmony on the plate between taste tradition and presentation innovation.”  Many feel his is the best restaurant in Italy (menu HERE).

Le Calandre dining room (Photo Le Calandre)

180 year old ash tables  (Photo Le Calandre)

Last year, La Calandre became a 3 star restaurant without white tablecloths… very bold indeed. They let the beautiful wood of the tables act as a frame for the food.  I love the idea.

The dining room is beautifully austere, isn’t it?  The attention to detail is everywhere.  Some of the glasses and tableware are handmade by local artisans, their food is locally sourced and Alajmo tries to meet with suppliers on their own turf to know everything about their products… going to farms to see how animals are fed and vegetables are grown.  He says it helps him understand the food and develop dishes to use the ingredients to their best advantage.

This drawing 

 becomes cappuccino de seppie al nero on the menu.

His vibrant imagination is everywhere. He makes a custardy tofu out of fava beans –– combining it with grilled shrimp, apples and Damascus rose-scented radicchio.  One of my favorite inventions is a carrot zabaione with fried vegetables and balsamic –– turns ketchup and fries on its ear –– is that a great idea or what?

He also makes a renowned saffron risotto with licorice dust.  He gave some of the secrets to his risottos at a demonstration he gave in NYC, Food & Wine reported.  To begin with, he cooks his risotto for a shorter cooking time after toasting the rice gently for 2-3 minutes in oil, only then adding the already sautéed onions that have been cooked separately. He also pours the boiling broth down the side of the pan to collect any starch there and saves one ladle of broth to toss in when the risotto is removed from the stove.  He adds a little lemon at the end to balance the creaminess and starch. Some of his other risottos are made with rose petal and peach or a caper coffee risotto inspired by a sense memory.

The Food & Wine article talked about a magical sounding dish with porcini, mango and chanterelles topped with candied juniper and raspberry dust as well as a pasta made with smoked dough, smoked broth and smoked butter.  This man knows how to play in the kitchen!

He also loves to play with essences, as do I.  He has a line of sprays called Le Essenze created by master perfumer Lorenzo Dante Ferro  ––scents like lemon bergamot and ginger that you can buy for 19.50 at their online store.  Massimiliano thinks; “We eat with our nose… Smelling goes straight to the brain’s center of long-term memory, it connects us to past emotions.”  I so agree and can attest to the wonderful things that happen to my food when I use Aftelier chef's essences here in the US.

I think you will agree when you taste the flavors in this dish that they are spectacular and a really creative combination of ingredients from a superb chef.  I just love the way the tangy beet sauce and the wine in the fondue work together… it shows what wine can do when it steps out from its supporting role into a bit of the limelight.  This is really one of those “close-your-eyes-and-absorb-the-wonder” dishes.

Gruyere Ravioli with Beet Cream inspired by Calandre serves 4

½ pound gruyere, grated
2 T Kirshwasser
1T cornstarch
1 clove garlic, smashed
2/3 c white wine
1 t. lemon juice
pinch nutmeg

3 m beets
¼ c ww
1 large shallot, minced
3 T elderflower vinegar (or verjus or cider vinegar)
¼ - 1/3 c cream

recipe for pasta to make ravioli or fresh pasta or gyoza wrappers ***

poppy seeds
1 T elderflower vinegar
2 T hazelnut oil
pinch of salt

 a few handfuls of arugula
mixed fresh herbs ( marjoram is excellent, thyme, savory, chervil, edible flowers)

Bake the beets in foil at 400º for about an hour or until soft.  Heat the vinegar, wine and shallots till they are softened and the liquid is reduced to a syrup.  Peel the beets and put in the blender with the shallot mix.  Add the some of the cream and blend… add more if you need it to blend.  Reserve.

Add the kirshwasser and cornstarch together.  Warm the white wine, then add the garlic.  Stir in the kirshwasser blend and add the cheese in handfuls keeping the temperature low.  Stir till blended, remove garlic and then use an immersion blender to blend to a smooth, creamy consistency. Freeze it for a while –– this makes it easier to make the ravioli while still keeping the luxurious loose texture

Roll out the pasta into sheets and cut into circles.  Wet each one and put a spoon of the cheese mixture into it.  Close and seal with a fork.  Put back in the fridge for a few hours to dry.  You will have some cheese mixture left over and around 16 ravioli.

When you are ready, heat a wide deep pan with water a splash of oil and salt.  Keep it on medium heat as a fast boil can open the ravioli. Place them gently in the pan.  Boil gently for a few minutes after they rise.  Drain.

Put the beet mixture on a plate (this can be warm or room temperature).  Heat the remaining cheese mixture.

Plate the ravioli (4 per person) and drizzle with warm cheese.

Toss on some arugula and herbs, sprinkle with poppy seed dressing and serve.

*You can make this very easy by skipping the ravioli idea and using fresh pasta like linguini... then just toss with the cheese sauce.

Pasta Dough 

1 cup all-purpose flour  plus 2 T semolina 
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon milk

Mix together and knead for 5 minutes till elastic… you may need more flour to do this.   Let rest for 1 hour then put through the pasta machine in 3 parts.  You will only need one for this recipe.  

** If you have any problems with alcohol, this is not the dish for you… it has a good hefty alcohol content!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Calke Abbey and Mrs Beeton’s Veal Tenderloin “Fricandeau”

When I was in England this summer I went to Derbyshire to see Chatsworth and Kedleston Hall –– they are monumental manors with equally monumental reputations for grandeur.  And they were grand, so very grand.  There’s a good reason they are often locations for BBC dramas.

But I had heard about another house that was never as grand or as famous, and what I heard made me want to go there. 

Calke Abbey was called “a country house in decline” in the National Trust literature. The Harpur family had owned the property since 1622, only giving it up to The Trust in 1985.  It was said they never threw anything out and had a kitchen that hadn’t been touched in 100 years… that I wanted to see.

National Trust Photo

Although there had been a priory where Calke Abbey stands that was built in the 12th century, the only architectural remnant of that time is a delightfully blissed-out face bracket.

The Visible Elizabethan Construction, National Trust Photo

The priory building was remodeled in the 1575 (more likely torn down and built over) and that building was quite large by the 17th century ––the 1662 Hearth Tax accessed it for 23 hearths (Chatsworth had 79) but only a little of the Elizabethan construction is still visible in the present house.  Calke, as it was known then, was completely rebuilt at the beginning of the 18th century.  

Calke Abbey may not be an exceptional house, but it is a remarkable reflection of a very singular family who accumulated (bordering on hording) a very special assortment of objects.  I could have spent days there.

The Harpur family initially made their money with law and a particularly brilliant marriage in the 16th century by Richard Harpur to the ancient Findern family.  The fortune was concentrated rather than dispersed (as is usually the case) through unexpected early deaths among the heirs in both families.  As a result,  John Harpur was very wealthy. He was also an esteemed politician in his day.

John Harpur (1680-1741) 4th Baronet

It was his great-grandson, another John, who inherited from all sides again upon reaching his majority at the dawn of the 18th century.  He was the one that built the house we see today between 1701-04.

It took another generation for the eccentricity of the family to begin to show with Henry (1763-1819)… and that eccentricity flourished from then on.  The Caricature Room is a good example of the beginning of their eccentric decorating style.   Caricatures and cartoons were applied to the walls from the late 18th century through the early 19th century and a conservation effort uncovered as many as 3 layers of the engravings–– revealing many years of changing displays.  A letter to the 8th Baronet, George (1795-1844) that was found in the house papers revealed that guests would bring engravings for the walls, even though the author of the letter was miffed about his last offering (perhaps papered over?) and said he would bring no more.

Henry, the 7th Baron, renamed the house Calke Abbey in the early 19th century. Henry also changed the family name  to Harpur-Crewe in 1808 to pick up an ancient barony,  but his petition was dismissed (he had done nothing to earn the title save a half-hearted stab at being high sheriff of Derbyshire). It is likely his marriage to a ladies' maid didn't help and the fact that he shut himself off from society might have had something to do with the rejection.  

Henry Harpur

The Trust notes quoted an 1812 account of Henry:

"At dinner he sits down alone at a table covered for several persons, and after dinner glasses are placed as if for several persons and he takes wine in that form, but does not allow any servant to wait in the room.... His shyness is a disease of the mind, which he is sensible of but cannot conquer, and in his letters to his friends he laments that he labours under this difficulty.... He is shy of communication to such an excess that he sometimes delivers his orders to his servants by letters." 

After Henry,  the Harpur-Crewe men began turning inward, staying out of society–– collecting stuffed birds ––lots and lots of birds (George, the 8th Baron was an exception).  The collection went from 400 cases in 1840 when his father John was in charge,  to thousands of stuffed birds in the 20th century with Vauncey.  Vauncey Harpur-Crewe (1846-1924) took collecting to a whole new level.

Vauncey’s room from childhood to adulthood, Trust photo

Vauncey’s room from childhood to adulthood

Vauncey was by all accounts a great and caring landlord much loved by his tenants but an awkward parent with unorthodox methods of communication with his own children just as his great grandfather Henry had been (his father had married a cousin descended from Henry so poor Vauncey inherited Henry's idiosyncrasies from 2 lines of the family).  He also preferred writing notes to direct address, sending letters on silver salvers delivered by servants or even going so far as to post them to be re-delivered to his own house!

He was, above all, a serious ornithologist. He considered his estate a bird sanctuary, actually directing that hedges be left untrimmed so the birds would have more attractive places to nest. He also bought thousands of stuffed birds from dealers to augment the birds he had gathered himself.

Life changed radically in the house after Vauncey’s death, owing to reduced circumstances from death duties –– Calke Abbey went from having dozens of servants to just a few.  Remarkably, some of the rarest books and finest specimens of the birds in the collection were sold to get some cash… it is hard to believe there was MORE here, considering how full the place is now. 

Almost nothing had been done to the house since the 1840’s (save adding more things to it) and that’s what makes it such an interesting place.

The upside of this was that time stopped at Calke Abbey–– the house didn’t even get electricity till 1963!  This incredible State Bed was discovered in a box when the National Trust took over the house in 1985.   The bed had come into the house in 1734 (a royal present from Princess Anne, daughter of George II, to her bridesmaid Caroline Manners when she wed Henry Harpur)  but had never been installed (it was too tall for the bedroom floor of the house).  As a result, the elaborately embroidered silk fabric is in perfect condition and the Trust installed the bed in a climate-controlled cube to keep it that way.

Do visit the National Trust site HERE to read about the Calke Abbey Library that has recently had its 8,500 books catalogued.  Even with the books that were sold, it is still a formidable collection.

Word of warning… I had bitten off more than I could chew with my schedule and arrived less than an hour before Calke Abbey closed with a storm coming on.  By the time I got to the kitchen it was positively black inside (kudos to my camera for what it was able to get without a tripod… it was DARK as pitch in there!) and I had to work fast with the clock running and the lovely hosts at the house wanting to leave as soon as they could. As a result, the pictures weren’t as clear as I might have hoped and for that I am sorry.

Kitchen, built in 1794

Can you see the gout treatment chair on the table??

cook’s closet

I loved the noble wreck of a kitchen and its side rooms that were built in 1794.  Until the end of the 16th Century, kitchens were either separate buildings or on the public floors of the house.  At Calke Abbey the butler’s pantry had been the original kitchen until the “modern” 1794 basement addition.

Butler’s Pantry/new kitchen

That enormous kitchen was abandoned in 1928… and remained just as it was. The butler’s pantry (that was closer to the living area) was re-purposed as the kitchen for the house once again (don’t get me wrong, that room was wonderful in its own simpler way). But the 18th century kitchen is so fantastic because time stopped there nearly 100 years ago.

So, what did they eat? 

For a house that was caught in amber sometime in the mid 19th century, I thought fricandeau might easily have been on the menu.  What is fricandeau, you may ask?  You are not alone.  I didn’t know what it was either.

I discovered fricandeau a few months ago when I read Abraham Hayward’s 1852 book, “The Art of Dining”.  No less a person that Leigh Hunt wrote a charming introduction that mentioned “frican”.

Leigh Hunt (friend of Byron, Keats and Shelley) was quoted on the frontispiece of Hayward's book:  “ It is well known that to constitute a perfect entrée there must be observed a certain coherence and harmony among the dishes – so that fish may not interfere with fowl, or stew take the place of roast.  How should we be shocked to see a syllabub responsive to sirloin – a cod’s head yoked to a mince pie—or a frican [fricandeau] lean shouldering a plate of cherries?”

Mrs Beeton's 1861 Book

Veal fricandeau has been on my to-do list, especially since it’s been popping up in my reading lately… reminding me I should make it.  This is a perfect opportunity to share the dish with you.  The recipe comes from an Edwardian reprint of Mrs. Beeton’s (1836-65) Household Management cookbook, Everyday Cookery.  It was a very popular dish in the 19th century that has gone out of fashion.  Why did that happen? I have to ask, because it’s so good!

Mrs Beeton's Recipe

Just so you know, Veal Fricandeau is a lovely piece of veal tenderloin that has been larded with pork –– bacon or pork belly––to moisten the meat, and moisten it does.  

 Larding needles from the 1704 wreck of the Dauphine

 Wooden Larding needle from the 1704 wreck of the Dauphine

I hadn’t larded anything since a leg of lamb 20 years ago but discovered it was simple to do without a larding needle (I used a knife and the dull end of a toothpick—not as elegant but effective).  As I larded, I even had a flashback of my gram’s old larding needle that used to fascinate me as a child since it looked like a wicked cool weapon (come to think of it, I believe I once menaced my younger brother with it –– which prompted its removal from the drawer and my reach).

The veal was buttery tender and the larding added a lovely porkiness to the veal when cooked low and slow.  I got my veal and pork belly from D'Atagnan ––I didn't know veal could be this succulent and delicious!  

Served with the vegetables it was cooked with as well as the spinach that was recommended as a side… it is a splendid meal.  I decided to gild the lily further by adding my favorite fennel mashed potatoes, inspired by a Matthew Kenney recipe in the great book, Comforting Foods, that I’ve told you about before.  I’ve been making them for years and they are always wonderful.

Veal Fricandeau, based on Mrs. Beeton’s recipe, serves 4

1 piece of veal tenderloin from D'Artagnan, 1 ½ -2 pounds
A hand size piece of pork belly, skin removed or 4 to 5 strips of thick bacon
¼ c of Madeira
1 c stock
2 carrots (I used lovely burgundy carrots – red on the outside and gold on the inside!)
1 large onion, sliced in half
bunch of herbs ( marjoram, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, savory)
½ t mace
¼ t allspice
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper

extra herbs for garnish

2 T flour (optional)

Take the veal and use a thin knife or a larding needle to insert slivers of bacon or pork belly into the veal, leave a few pieces of the fat (I did around 12 pieces).  Marinate it in the Madeira for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 250ºTake some of the bacon or pork belly and render some fat. Dry the meat, then salt and pepper the veal and then brown in the fat.  Lay pork skin left over from the pork belly or another slice of bacon in the dish (I used a small ceramic lidded dish). Add the onion, sliced in half, the carrots and herbs.  Pour in the stock, demiglace and left-over Madeira  and place the meat on top of the vegetables.  The idea is that the meat doesn’t sit in the liquid but rather sits above it on a little vegetable “rack”.   Cook for 2 ½ hours, covered, basting from time to time.  Remove the lid and cook for ½ an hour more.

Remove the meat and tent.  Pour out the stock and strain.  Remove the fat and reduce it till it is thickened if you want it plain or, if you wish to add flour, reduce it a little,  add a flour slurry and stir until thickened.

Fennel Mashed Potatoes, serves 4

2 pounds potatoes, cut into chunks
¼ c heavy cream *
¼ c milk*
¼ t mace
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste

½ large fennel, sliced thinly on a mandoline
½ large onion, sliced thinly on a mandoline
2 T butter
1 T sugar
s & p to taste
fennel fronds for garnish

Melt the butter.  Sauté the fennel and onion slowly until soft and browning… add the sugar and continue to cook till brown and sugary.

While that is cooking, cook the potatoes, drain and mash with milk, cream and the rest.
Add the fennel mixture and serve to very happy guests.

* the amount of liquid needed varies with the potatoes.  Start with the amounts given  and add more if needed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

7 Links of Lostpastremembered and Peach Jasmine Crepes

I read that in 12th century Spain, Nachmanides, Rabbi and interpreter of the Kabbala (The Zohar),  explained the relevance of the number 7 by saying 7 is the number of the natural world  –– 7 days in a week, 7 notes on a scale, 7 directions.  There are 7 attributes of physicality (height, width, depth, top and bottom, front and back, left and right, plus connecting the other 6) – nothing exists in the physical world without these attributes… even a rainbow has 7 colors!  Never occurred to me that 7 was a special number.

Why am I so interested in 7???? The 7 LINKS MEME that’s going around is the reason.  My blog-pals, Trix and Lazaro tagged me for this so I thought I would give it a whirl.  The trick is to choose 7 "mosts" from your own blog: the most beautiful, the most overlooked, the most helpful, the most controversial, the most successful, the most popular, and the one you are most proud of –– 7 defining posts.  While I'm at it, I'd love to get David Solmonson at 12 Bottle Bar to have a go at his 7 mosts because I love his drinks, and Laura Kelly at Silk Road Gourmet because she's written about so many cool things!

This really put me into a spin.  I told Trix it was like picking your favorite child. The first thing I did was put myself on my favorites list so I could more easily look at 114 posts that I have done in the last 21 months (is there a better way to do this?).  114, can there be so many??

First Post

It has become a real personal voyage as I chart where I’ve been.  I see the evolution of the blog and the way it has moved from place to place, century to century.

I see how my photography has developed from pretty bad to a personal style that I am no longer embarrassed about (but still need to work on).

I see that my writing has gotten a little tighter and my research more on point.  There are a few easy quick posts that turned out well and some huge efforts that were, well, a bit long and convoluted.  With each I learn.

All and all, I’m grateful for the exercise and thank Trix and Lazaro for giving me the opportunity.  Why does this sound like some award’s speech???

The most beautiful, well, here comes that “pick your prettiest child moment” –– it’s tough and I will cheat and put in 3 that I love for different reasons.  One would be sea urchin pasta, I just love that picture for the color, the soft focus that feels vaguely marine and using that shell at the last minutes really made the photograph. It is also one of my most popular posts and one of the most delicious things I’ve made –– top 5. When I found a great supplier of uni –– that was when the dish started singing.  I could eat it every day. 

The other just might be the curried chicken from Olana… again the dish I used for it had so much to do with the way it looked.

The last would be the incredible eggs with asparagus, smoked salmon and Dutch Sauce that was a real moment in food porn and also incredibly good.  Dutch sauce with cream and elderflower vinegar instead of butter and lemon was incredibly good and ate as decadently as it looked!

The most overlooked? That would be my first Ambergris post.  Although the 2nd ambergris post was only 2 weeks later, the title for that 2nd one had chocolate in it and that was hugely popular.  I thought the ambergris post was so interesting… I for one knew so very little about it until I started researching. When I actually found I could get some from Ambergris Co. NZ, I was over the moon.  It is magical.

Sadly, it didn’t get a lot of visitors, too weird, I guess. And that’s a pity since it also had hot chocolate that was so good! I am also fond of the post because it introduced me to Mandy Aftel of Aftelier and all her spectacular essences which have made everything I make with them so incredibly good ( including the recipe for today).

The most helpful?  I don’t really do “how-to recipes”, that’s not my style or my audience.  Although most of my recipes aren’t killer difficult, some are.  I think I have 2 choices for this.  The first is grouse, because I had always wanted to make it and was afraid since I didn’t have a clue about how to best cook grouse.  I really asked around and researched a lot and found some great techniques that I use all the time now (frozen hazelnut oil under the skin, who knew?).  The result was one of the best things I ever stuck in my mouth.  My friends who shared the run-through bird felt the same way… they sucked every bit of flesh off the tiny bones and nearly licked the plate…and these are very proper guys!  

The other would probably be making real marshmallow from scratch.  I knew they once were made with real marshmallow root and wanted to see how it would be.  It took scads of research and dead ends and the first effort, although tasty, was more like marshmallow fluff.  As it turned out, it wasn’t a lost cause–– it was fabulous in hot chocolate!  I had trouble with gum tragacanth… there were no real instructions about how to use it.  Well, suffice to say all of my trials are listed and you can now make them if you so desire.  They are, as you would imagine, much more complexly flavored and the fluff was fabulous in hot chocolate!

The most controversial?  Dinner on Horseback.  

Why? It had nothing to do with the dish, which was simple trout and quite good.  It was about the event… I write about history too so food isn’t the only topic.  It was one of the only times I actually dumped a few comments (there are always one or 2 nutters once in a while that I ditch).  These were rather unpleasant comments about Billings being a pig,  asking why was I writing about such a disgusting display, etc.  Problem was, I’d contacted a grandson and just felt creepy about him reading that stuff so I took it out. 

Me personally, I had wanted to know more about The Dinner on Horseback since I first saw the picture as a teenager.  Thanks to the brilliance of fellow blogger, David Solmonson at 12 Bottle Bar and his awesome detective work, I finely found out what they ate… it had never been publicised, only hinted at.  David found it in a book on horses, of course!   And the reason that you never saw a copy of the menu was because it was on a silver horseshoe that was given to the guests… the menu David found was a copy of the original order for the dinner that was in the now defunct Sherry’s archives.  This trumped all issues I may have about celebrating conspicuous consumption.  And honestly, I write about food history… believe me when I say, the dinner on horseback is tame compared to monarchy breaking, treasury busting parties!!!

The most successful? Babette’s Feast.  I loved that movie, I really did.  And it took me a very long time to work up the courage to make the quail in puff pastry. I had no idea how to make quail and my last attempt at puff pastry had been a disaster.  For some reason the cooking gods were smiling on me when I made it and it all turned out perfectly and perfectly delicious.

The most popular? Kentucky Derby and Secretariat , hands down.  Of all the visitors to the blog, 1/3 have been there.  It had nothing to do with the food although Jenny Benedict's little cucumber sandwiches are awesome and so was her mayonnaise.  It had everything to do with Secretariat and the film coming out at just the right moment.

I was very proud of what I wrote since it came from the heart.  Watching Secretariat win Belmont was one of the greatest things I ever saw.  I never get tired of watching it.  I got 12,000 hits in one day as the movie came out which, well seems appropriate to Secretariat don’t you think?  No other post touches the record by a mile.  There was another spike when the DVD came out… love that horse.

The one you are most proud of?  There are 3, Hampton Court is the first.  I loved touring the palace with the cool kitchen historian, Marc Meltonville.  He shared incredible insights into the way the kitchen worked and what it took to feed a palace.

Picture of Chewetts at Hampton Court

It was thrilling and making little chewetts like the ones I saw at the palace was great fun.  I lost my fear of suet after I got some from my favorite beef guy.  Suet makes a very, very strong crust that really can stand on its own.  It was flaky and tasty, who knew?

The visit to Olana  was a fortunate one because I took a chance and wrote to the historian of the house and got a treasure of the recipes that were eaten there… even what cookbooks were on the shelves.  It was terribly exciting and I think the post gave you a good feeling of who Church was and how he ate, and the chicken was delicious and beautiful!

I was proud of Twain  because I did so many dishes to celebrate my 1st year blogversary… it was a lot of work, research and too many pictures.  That said, I was proud of the result and the dishes were delicious.  It also gave me a real sense of the meal that was eaten.  I used old dishes, silver and my 1870 lace tablecloth that is one of my favorite things.

After reading through my walk down memory lane, I can't leave without sharing a recipe, can I? It's a dessert I made the other day from the spectacular peaches I had.  It takes no time at all to do and the result is... sensational. You can make them low calorie or go for the buttery creamy version.  Great peaches need only be warmed for a minute.  You will love them without the jasmine, but with it... well, they are sinful.  It would also be great with pears or berries, although for the berries I would use Aftelier Rose Essence.

Hazelnut Crepes with Jasmine Peaches for 2-3

1/3 c milk
1 egg
1/4 c  flour (3 T white and 1 T whole wheat is best)
1 T ground hazelnuts (or pecans or almonds)
1/8 t salt
1 t hazelnut oil
butter or hazelnut oil for pan

2 peaches, skinned and sliced
1 T butter or hazelnut oil
2-4 T maple syrup
2-3 drops of Aftelier Jasmine essence(it's best to taste

1/2 cup yogurt or lightly whipped cream if you'd like
mint or pennyroyal for garnish

Throw the milk, eggs, flour, hazelnuts and salt into the blender and let ‘er rip for a minute or 2.  Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, rubbing on the solids then dump the residue into the mix–– this really helps to blend it.  Stir it all together again and make sure you get a good mix with each crepe (ie, don't just spoon from the top... you'll miss the nutty goodness!).  This can be made in advance.

Coat your pan with butter or oil…be especially generous.

Use 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter per crepe, pour in the pan, swirl and let set for a minute then flip and remove,
Keep warm.

Melt the butter in the pan,  toss the peaches in the pan and warm for a moment... if they are really good you shouldn't cook them.  Add the syrup and jasmine.

Fold each crepe into quarters and fling back the topmost flap.  Put your peaches in and pour the sauce over all.

Garnish with pennyroyal (again a reminder, do not eat too much pennyroyal, especially if you are pregnant) or mint.  Serve with cream or yogurt.

Thanks to Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday

Last, I want to send you over to my friend Deborah Chud from A Doctor's Kitchen.  She has a bang up new app for your Iphone or Ipad called Trufflehead.  Here you can get wonderful, healthful recipes and even shopping lists to send out when you've assigned a shopper for a meal (is that a great idea or what?).

The app is HERE on ITUNES or you can visit the Trufflehead Website HERE.  You can get a preview of how it all works on YouTube HERE.  You will be ever so happy you did.  There are even some Lostpastremembered recipes on it.  Since I do a lot of rich food for the blog... I love Deborah's recipes for the rest of my week.  They are smart and delicious!  

To promote it, she will giveaway 20 apps here... first come first serve... you need an Iphone or Ipad to make it work!  Just say you would like one in the comments, email me with your email address and I'll send you the info.  Good Luck!

Thanks for featuring my crepes on the kitchn