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Guillaume Brahimi’s recipes for a three-course French winter feast

French-Australian chef and host of SBS’s Plat du Tour serves up some moreish classics from his home country

Légumes farcis à la provençale

Not to be confused with beans and pulses, legumes refer to the fresh vegetables that are stuffed with pork mince and topped with breadcrumbs – Provence-style.

Prep 15 min
Cook 50 min
Serves 8

2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrot, finely chopped
2 celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 zucchinis, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ tsp dried thyme
1kg pork mince
5g crushed cumin seeds
5g crushed coriander seeds
5g crushed fennel seeds
30g Dijon mustard
1 lemon
, zest only
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ bunch oregano, finely chopped
½ bunch basil, finely chopped
2 small red capsicums
2 small yellow capsicums
2 small eggplants

2 baby squash or pumpkin
1 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 160C.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil, carrot, celery, onion, zucchinis, garlic and thyme and cook down until softened but not coloured (around 10 minutes). Allow to cool slightly at room temperature.

In a bowl combine pork mince, the cooled vegetables, cumin, coriander, fennel, mustard, lemon zest, parsley, oregano and basil. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Rinse and dry the capsicums. Remove the tops and spoon out the seeds carefully, retaining the shape. Cut the eggplant and squash lengthways, and with a knife or a spoon take out most of the flesh but be careful not to cut through the bottom. You should be left with vegetable “boats”. Season well with sea salt and olive oil.

Fill your vegetables with a generous amount of mince mixture and scatter with breadcrumbs. Transfer to a large baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Duck leg confit with brussels sprouts and speck

Duck leg confit with brussels sprouts and speck
It’s all in the technique: duck leg confit on a bed of brussels sprouts. Photograph: Andrew Baker

Duck confit with brussels sprouts is a dish with hundreds of years of history. In this version, the technique is all about pan-frying the duck legs in their own fat until they are crispy on the outside and succulent in the middle.

Prep 40 min
Cook 4 hours
Chill 2 hours
Marinate 12 hours
Serves 4

For the duck confit
40g fine table salt
4 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves
, finely sliced
4 bay leaves
4 duck leg marylands
2L duck fat

For the brussels sprouts
400g brussels sprouts
1L chicken stock
2 bay leaves
¼ bunch thyme
20ml olive oil
3 bulbs spring onions
, thinly sliced
100g speck
, sliced into lardons
200ml pure cream
20g seeded mustard
20g creme fraiche
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley
, finely chopped
100ml reduced chicken jus gras
½ bunch chives
, finely chopped

In a food processor, combine salt, thyme, garlic and bay leaves and blitz until roughly chopped and salt has turned green.

On a nonreactive tray place a layer of the duck legs and sprinkle a light even coating of the salt mixture. Cover and allow the duck to cure for 12 hours in the refrigerator.

Once cured, rinse the salt from the duck legs with cold water. Pat them dry and place in a baking dish.

Preheat oven to 130C. Melt the duck fat in a pot over a medium heat and pour over duck legs in baking dish. Ensure all the legs are submerged in the fat, cover with a cartouche and place a lid on the pot or cover with aluminium foil.

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Transfer to oven and cook for three hours. Legs should be soft and coming away from the bone when ready. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the duck fat, this will prevent them from drying out. When cool enough to handle, remove the legs gently, trim and refrigerate.

For the brussels sprouts, trim the outer leaves of sprouts and the bottoms and slice in half. Place sprouts in a pot and cover with chicken stock, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover with baking paper and cook until just soft. Set aside.

Place a pan on heat, add oil and spring onions, and sweat until translucent. Add speck and cook for two minutes, then add cream. Reduce cream by half and then add mustard, the sprouts and fold through creme fraiche and parsley.

To serve, gently pan-fry duck legs, skin-side only. Transfer to a hot oven for two to three minutes skin-side down until meat is heated through.

Serve on top of brussels sprouts with chicken jus gras and garnish with finely chopped chives.

Tarte au chocolat with vanilla bean ice-cream

Guillaume Brahimi’s tarte au chocolat, made with rich dark chocolate

Tarte au chocolat is a baked tart composed of shortcrust pastry and a filling made from dark chocolate, cream, milk and egg. The chocolate used should be a couverture chocolate (baking chocolate) of at least 70%. Use the best-quality chocolate you are willing to buy. Serve with vanilla bean ice-cream as an optional side.

Prep 30 min
Cook 1hr
Rest 2hr
Chill/freeze 1hr
Serves 8

For the vanilla bean ice-cream (optional side)
500g egg yolks
225g caster sugar
1L cream
1L milk
4 vanilla beans
62g caster sugar

For the sweet shortcut pastry
300g plain flour
100g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter, diced
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp ice-cold water

For the tart filling
400g 70% couverture chocolate
40g butter
300ml cream
100ml milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs

To make the vanilla bean ice-cream, whisk egg yolks and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.

In a heavy-based saucepan bring cream, milk, vanilla and sugar to the boil. When boiled, remove from heat and pour on to egg mixture, whisking briskly to combine mixture until completely incorporated. Pour into a large bowl and cool over ice.

Once cool, churn according to ice-cream machine instructions and freeze for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the pastry. Sift the sugar and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter, your fingers or a food processor. Add the egg yolks then mix the dough until it forms a ball. Add cold water 1 tbsp at a time if dough is too dry. If dough is too soft, flatten to a disc and wrap with clingfilm. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before rolling.

Roll out into 3mm-thick disc and line a 25cm tart tin. Dot with a fork and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 200C.

Cover the dough with baking paper and place pie weights on top. Blind bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and remove pie weights from the baked tart shell. Return to oven for 15 minutes or until golden. Remove tart shell from oven and cool down completely. Once tart shell is cool, it is ready for use.

Preheat the oven to 120C. Chop chocolate and butter into small pieces and place in a bowl.

For the filling, bring the cream, milk and vanilla to the boil then pour on top of chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute covered. Blend chocolate with a hand blender until smooth or a whisk if you don’t have one.

Add eggs one at a time, whisking until combined. Pour the mixture into the tart shell and bake for 45 minutes. The centre should still be soft. Cool down at room temperature to avoid cracking. Do not refrigerate. Serve with vanilla bean ice-cream.


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