Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cookbook Challenge # 3 - Ottolenghi's Fennel Crumble

Just recently I have fallen totally and absolutely in love. Not with the man himself, although Yotam Ottolenghi is a real cutie, but with each and everyone of his - and his friend and co-author Sami Tamimi's - books. (Note to husband: all I want for my birthday is "Plenty"...).
I was surprised to see Ottolenghi "The Cookbook" has only now been released in the US, the European version dating from 2008. So to revive the cookbook challenge I challenged myself to do in order to give at least some of my far too numerous cookbooks a workout, and also because I had just found plump, juicy, white and wonderful fennel bulbs at the market I tackled this very interesting fennel crumble. Interesting because the crumble is made just like a traditional crumble with flour, butter and sugar (with a bit of grated parmesan mixed in) and I was rather curious how that would work out on garlic and thyme infused fennel. Well, it does and very deliciously so.  

I adjusted the portions to serve three and cut 2 big bulbs of fennel (the core discarded) into slices. Drizzle with olive oil and season with freshly ground pepper, fleur de sel and some thyme leaves plus 2 crushed garlic cloves. Distribute evenly into a gratin dish and add a very generous slug of cream.

For the crumble rub 150 gr flour, 50 gr sugar and 100 gr cold butter (cut into pieces) together then add 50 gr of parmesan.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven (200°C/400°F) for 45 to 50 minutes. Take off the foil and add a few more sprigs of fresh thyme and a good handful of cherry tomatoes.
Bake, uncovered for 15 to 20 more minutes. I served this with filet mignon but think it would be great with fish, too. And one thing is sure: this is not the first but last time I have prepared this, this recipe is a keeper!

Ottolenghi's Fennel Crumble

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Taste of Carnival

As much as we love living in Provence, sometimes we just have to get our fix of big city life, so off we go for a few days and are then always happy to come back home. Taking off from Cologne yesterday travellers at the Lufthansa check in were greeted by this Venetian beauty and the counter was decorated in an unusual fashion. What was going on? This was the Thursday before Carnival and in Cologne that is the day "Weiberfastnacht" is celebrated - the Women's Carnival. The Ladies take over and any man who is wearing a tie risks losing it - the women simply cut it off and cry: Kölle Alaaf!
 Cologne Lufthansa Counter decorated for Carnival
Some more Carnival costumes

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Thousand Year Old who is still Standing

Found in Sainte Maxime on the Côte d'Azur: a Thousand Year old Olive Tree