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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cooking in Provence

Madeleine Montebert from Cooking in Provence says: No one is born a cook, one learns by doing.
This talented lady started her cooking adventure  as a child watching and stirring the pots in the kitchen; today she runs hands on practical  classes based on traditional home cooking from her Provencal hideaway, the hilltop village of Crillon Le Brave.

And thanks to Madeleine, An olive Oil Tour of France, my new e book includes some healthy olive oil recipes. One particularly seasonal dish I’ve come to appreciate this summer is the Provencal Tian.

A tian is a shallow earthen ware gratin dish and the food cooked in it. A tian makes good use of the Provencal seasonal vegetables --  courgettes, tomatoes, and aubergines all neatly arranged in layers.                
Madeleine includes minced lamb in her recipe. Not only is a tian beautiful to look at but with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and Provencal herbs, you can’t go wrong --  this is a perfect healthy one dish  meal.

And did you know you can use olive oil for making cakes?

The French yogurt cake recipe is a simple classic made perfectly moist not with butter but  with extra virgin, a cake that is often the first thing that French children learn to bake. It is a childhood classic because children do not need to be able to read any scale to make it because the “pot” used to measure the ingredients is the first yogurt pot, emptied, rinsed and dried.
But Madeleine adds two ingredients to the classical yogurt cake recipe -- quince and almonds; making this Provencal style yogurt cake with quince totally irresistible.

 1 quince
 2 pots of plain yogurt
 1 pot of sugar
 2 pots of flour
 2 pots of ground almonds
1 pot of olive oil
4 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 lemon zest

Peel quarter and core the quince then place in a saucepan with a spoonful of sugar and cover with water. Bring to the boil, cook uncovered until tender.

Preheat the oven to 180° C.
In a large mixing bowl whisk eggs, sugar until quite pale.
Stir in the yogurt, olive oil and lemon zest until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Add the flour, baking powder and almonds.
Grease a baking tin and pour in the batter.
Arrange the quince on top.
Bake for about 45 minutes checking the center of the cake with a fork to make sure that the cake is cooked.
Leave for 10 minutes or so before removing from the cake tin.

This recipe is also included in An Olive Oil Tour of France.

Cooking in Provence:  http://www.cookinginprovence.fr/

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