Let’s eat life against the Covid-19: speculoos, a Belgian story

It’s a ritual whose lack eats away at us like a sickness: biting into the speculoos that accompanies the little morning coffee on the terrace. Whether it is selling, raining, snowing or the sun is shining, for nothing in the world we would miss this little happiness attached to our favorite harbor. Here we are a bunch of apaches on Jaurès or the Place des Vosges to sniff the morning mood of Paname while sipping a tight espresso, a double, a long with the inevitable cigarette that we roll while listening to the chatterboxes, the grumpy, joyful but also the silence of the silent. The speculoos is the rattle of this furs with each his habits. There are those who fiddle with it before dipping it in arabica; those who chew on it after having swallowed their little black at a stroke and the generous who pass it on to their neighbor as a relational aid.

Biscuiterie Dandoy

We do not know why or how this sweet belgium landed en masse on the saucers of bistro cups dethroning the calva which ignited the barracks juice in the morning. But she has delighted us since one day, there is a lease, we discovered her temple in Brussels. Namely the Dandoy biscuit factory, located near the Grand Place where you get drunk on the sweet and spicy scent of speculoos. In his very precious and very learned “Dictionary of Belgian gastronomy and cuisine” (1), Jean-Baptiste Baronian teaches us that the etymology of the name of this cookie divides amateurs and even pastry chefs and bakers. Some derive it from the Latin word “speculum”, that is to say mirror in reference to the wooden mold whose mirror image is printed on the cookie. The others of the German form “spekulatius” coming from the Latin expression “episcopus speculator” which means “the bishop who spies” or “the bishop who knows everything”, reason for which the speculoos is also sometimes called “speculation” . For the author of this dictionary, “However, it seems more logical to admit that the word comes from the Latin” species “”, spices, especially since this cookie is, in fact, a mixture of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves). We make it by pressing the dough into a hollow wooden mold ”.

To cook up speculoos at home and make it a gourmet activity with kids, we borrowed the recipe from Janine and Jacques Andrieu Delille in their amazing and faithful book “Belgian cuisine, 200 local recipes”. You need 250 g of flour; 175 g brown sugar; a pinch of salt ; a small teaspoon of cinnamon; a small teaspoon of baking soda; 100 g of butter.

Place the flour on a work surface. Make a well in the middle and add the brown sugar, salt, butter, baking soda. Start by working the butter and brown sugar and gradually add the flour. Sprinkle some cool water on it. As soon as a homogeneous paste is obtained, form a ball and leave to rest in the fridge overnight.

Roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Cut out characters according to your imagination or use, if you have wooden shapes. Place them on a buttered or oiled baking sheet, put in a soft oven. Watch the cooking. Take out the speculoos before they are too dark. Let them cool on a wire rack.

(1) “Dictionary of Belgian gastronomy and cuisine” by Jean-Baptiste Baronian (ed. Rouergue, 2019, 28 euros)

(2) “Belgian cuisine, 200 local recipes” by Janine and Jacques Andrieu Delille (ed. de l’Octogone, 2005)


Jacky durand

.

Let’s eat life against the Covid-19: the gratin comtois

Thinking of wallowing your little ones in the cellar? To poison your spouse with arsenic? Normal when attacking the fourth week of confinement. So nail their beaks with a Comtois gratin.

Dandelions

This paraphernalia is heavy: potatoes, smoked pig breast and Comté of course. When it lands hot on the table, it smells good at the top, the dandelion meadows, the fir woods and the Montbéliardes who ring the angelus with their bells. Even that there is one that must be having a good time on hills and dales, these days in Haut-Doubs. It’s the common frog. Usually, in this season, it is pan-fried with butter, parsley and garlic on the Comtois ranges. This year, we will not come to interrupt him too much in the middle of coitus to fill the eaters of amphibians. Although, there must be some Raboliot and other poachers to challenge the confinement and track down the frog.

The previous recipeEat up against the Covid-19: two desserts for the price of one

Cheese grinder

Coming back to the Comtois gratin, it’s a lifelong aminche. It’s much more than a dish, it’s obvious. Whoever ventures to ask for the precise recipe would immediately trigger the general hilarity between Morteau and Mouthe. At least, that’s our point of view because we have always known it, like the Jazz alarm clock on the bedside table of our old people. This is the kind of frichti that we learned while watching the daronne. Baby, we had the right to turn the cheese wheel over the slices of potatoes and we wanted the gratin crust like a rare candy. Then, we were allowed to fry it all alone with the thoroughness of a gardener tracing his furrows when it came to alternating layers of potatoes and cheese. We were persuaded to make a masterpiece but our slowness annoyed maternal power prodigiously.

White wine

Later, the gratin Comtois became the pillar of our student broke gastronomy. It was no longer a question of building Versailles in an oven dish but of throwing a few handfuls of potatoes and cheese in it between two liters of edelzwicker, the gratin pumping the overflow of Alsatian white wine. Sometimes, even today, a distant correspondent reminds us on the phone of these bacchanalia around the gratin of Comt. We listen to it, half-amused, half-nostalgic while opening the fridge door to find out if we have enough to make this timeless bectance.

Charlotte

You have to start by peeling and slicing a good kilo of potatoes (charlotte or roseval). Chop two cloves of garlic and grate a good piece of Comté. Cut into pieces 200 grams of smoked pork belly. Generously butter an oven dish. Place a layer of potatoes; salt moderately; add a handful of bacon; a layer of grated Comté cheese; a little garlic, a few strips of butter and freshly ground pepper. Continue to layer the layers until you finish with the grated cheese. You can also wet with a glass of dry white wine. Bake three quarters of an hour at 220 ° C and enjoy with a nice seasonal salad.


Jacky durand

.

Gobble Up Life Against Covid-19: Guy Savoy’s Lentil Curry

In these times of generalized confinement, we have an old family legend about lentils, peddled from generation to generation. That of a grandfather lost somewhere between the Meuse and the Somme during the First World War. Imagine, survival in the mud and shit of the trenches. Another form of containment. We pulled the bayonet out of the barrel, under the machine gun, to expose ourselves to another kind of deadly virus. In the family story, our furry young grandfather had been stranded for days under a bus storm when a ladle of lentils was thrown into his bowl and he lapped up without paying attention to this ragougnasse. Up to the spoon too much, when a nasty piece of junk was stuck in one of his ratiches, causing him terrible pain that he had to endure for three days and three nights. “We were in the middle of a pipe breaker, he said. Me, it was nothing, my tooth, next to the comrades who had their holes drilled. But if you knew what I tasted … “

Rage

One day, he told us that he may have survived this steel storm because he had “The rage that you treat your tooth”. He had kept from this painful episode a holy scare of lentils, which made him say when he was served: “You trilled them well, didn’t you?” Are there more stones or scrap? ”

Read also Let’s eat life against the Covid-19: two desserts for the price of one

Universal

Not only is the lentil today, most of the time, well sorted but it is above all a precious vegetable protein and a universal legume in all cuisines of the world. In France alone, there is a slew of varieties to delight all the simmerings: we think of green lentils from Puy, Berry but also the blonde from Saint-Flour and lentil from Champagne.

Multi-star chef

We borrowed its lentil curry from multi-star chef Guy Savoy in his amazing book Gourmet vegetables (1). You need 100 g of carrots; 100 g onions; 200 g lentils; a teaspoon of curry powder; 15 cl of fresh cream; a tomato; a knob of butter; salt and pepper.

Wash the lentils several times in plenty of water and soak them for 45 minutes, then drain them.

Peel onions and carrots and cut them into small dice four millimeters per side. Put these in a frying pan over a low heat with a knob of butter, just long enough to let them return their vegetable water. Then add the lentils and twice their volume of water. Put a lid and cook over low heat 45 minutes. In the meantime, check from time to time that there is enough liquid in the pan so that it does not stick and, if necessary, add a little water.

After 45 minutes of cooking, add 15 cl of fresh cream and a teaspoon of curry powder. The cream will first liquefy, then when the boiling begins, it will start to reduce.

Meanwhile, world a tomato. Start by cutting a cone around the tail with a small pointed knife in order to remove the slightly hard part of the flesh at the same time. To peel the tomato, cut a small cross at the base of the fruit then immerse it for twelve seconds in a saucepan of boiling water, and then fifteen seconds in cold water. The skin then withdraws on its own.

Cut the tomato crosswise and, using the knife, remove the seeds and the pulp to keep only the flesh. Then cut the tomato into small dice.

Pour the lentils into a baking dish. Add the diced tomatoes and place in the oven for three minutes, enough time to heat the tomato.

(1) Gourmet vegetables by Guy Savoy with Guy Langlois (ed. Plon, 1985)


Jacky durand

.

Gobble Up Life Against the Covid-19: Joseph Viola Ham Endives

We didn’t really see him coming, all of us confined (almost all). However, there were indications: the beginning of spring ten days ago, the sky more and more clear, the time change last weekend … April is here. As the seasons do not wait for the end of confinement to succeed, the beginning of April also means that it is the last month – before, hopefully, their return in October – to eat chicory, or chicons as they are called in the North and in Belgium.

Among the recipes in video that the Lyon chef Joseph Viola (1), best worker in France in 2004, offers these days on Instagram, we salivated before its endives with ham. For two people, you need: 4 slices of white ham, 4 endives, about 150 grams of grated Gruyère cheese, a little lemon juice (not compulsory). And for the béchamel: 150 grams of liquid cream, 350 grams of milk, 40 grams of butter, 40 grams of flour, nutmeg, salt, pepper.

The previous recipeLet’s eat life against the Covid-19: the calendos party

Wash the endives and place them in a casserole dish, with a little water, just “the bottom [de la cocotte], says the cook. We tend to cook vegetables too much, we distort them. ” Add coarse salt and a knob of butter, cover. Cook for about twenty minutes. During this time, prepare the béchamel: melt the butter, without letting it color, add the flour, mix quickly off the heat and put back on the heat for a little minute, still without going to the coloring. Add half the cold milk, beat well so that the preparation is smooth. Salt, pepper, nutmeg. Add the rest of the milk and the cream, mix well over the heat so that the sauce thickens a little.

With the tip of a knife, check the cooking of the endives, cook for a few more minutes if necessary by adding a little lemon juice “So that the endives stay very white”, advises Joseph Viola. Add the endive broth to the béchamel, whisk. Add half of the cheese to the béchamel.

Butter a baking dish, pour a few spoons of béchamel in the bottom. Wrap the endives in slices of ham, place them in the dish. Pour the rest of the béchamel on top – “It must be abundant and cover the ham well” – and grated cheese. The, “You have to be generous”. Bake for ten minutes, until the cheese gratin and the béchamel begins to bubble.

(1) Daniel and Denise, 156 rue de Créqui, Lyon IIIe, 8 rue Cuirre, Lyon IVe, and 36 rue Tramassac, Lyon Ve.


Kim Hullot-Guiot

.

Let’s eat life against the Covid-19: the calendos party

Do you have time? That’s good, we suggest you make a small monument for the taste buds and eyes. Because cooking is also a game of construction, cabinetmaking, sculpture, in short a whole manual art that arouses curiosity, taste. It is true that the visual has taken a preponderant place for a long time in the gastronomy today instagram to excess. To the point that, sometimes, the dishes that we are about to taste in the restaurant are prettier than good. But the fact remains that at the start of a culinary creation, there is often a sketch scribbled by a chef to explain to his brigade the arrangement of the ingredients.

At home, we are not necessarily the Botticelli of the strawberry charlotte or the Fragonard of the mille-feuille. But let’s face it, we’re happy when our apple pie or our pie shimmers the eyes of the guests. It’s because we’ve done everything to match the apple rings and make the pâté stuffing a mosaic of colors, tastes and textures.

Camembert apple mille-feuille

Today, you are offered to “play” with two major ingredients, a camembert and apples which should not be very difficult to find even in these times of confinement. This recipe comes from a clever and enticing book, My 100 cheese recipes by Jean-Charles Karmann (1), who explains: “The great enthusiasts who believe that cheeses cannot be tasted other than life on bread may be surprised; let them be reassured: never in the recipes that I offer you the unique taste of this traditional product is altered. On the contrary, the combinations of flavors offered always highlight it. ”

For its “apple camembert mille-feuille”, you need: a very firm camembert; 2 golden apples; 40 g walnut kernels; 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs; 2 tablespoons calvados; 50 g of semi-salted butter; 1 tablespoon caster sugar.

The apple camembert mille-feuille will be even better if you let it ripen for about ten hours. Remove the Camembert from its box and reserve it. Without removing its crust, cut the camembert into three equal discs in the thickness direction. Reserve them on a plate. Peel an apple, seed it and cut it into slices about ½ cm thick. Book.

Melt 40 g of butter in a pan over low heat. Sprinkle with sugar, then add the apple slices. When they are nicely browned, flambé them with calvados until they are extinct, and let cool. Reconstitute the camembert by placing the apple slices between each disc of camembert.

Read alsoMonday’s recipe: lentil salad and choco banana as in colo

Put the camembert in its original box and let it ripen all day (around ten hours) at room temperature, turning it from time to time so that the cooking juices from the apple flow well into the dough of the camembert .

Mix the walnuts very finely with the breadcrumbs. Using a paintbrush, brush the camembert crust with the rest of the melted butter and coat each side with the nut crumbs.

Make apple crisps. Preheat your oven to 70 degrees. Finely chop the remaining apple without peeling or removing the seeds. Line the baking sheet with lightly buttered aluminum foil. Put the apple slices on it and let them cook for about two hours. You can also spend eight minutes in the microwave at low power. Serve the mille-feuille on a platter with the cooled apple chips.

You can accompany this mille-feuille with a thin slice of green cabbage and green apple or a curly bacon.

(1) My 100 cheese recipes, by Jean-Charles Karmann (ed. Minerva, 2005, 32 euros)


Jacky durand

.

Trent Cooper gives new life to Gérard ‘s former bread bakery | Features food + drinks | Seven days

Click to enlarge

Trent Cooper puts a freshly baked leavened bâtard on a cooling rack in Westford - GLENN RUSSELL

  • Glenn Russell

  • Trent Cooper puts a freshly baked sourdough bâtard on a cooling rack in Westford

In the fall of 2012, a pizza chef in Jacksonville, Florida wrote a letter to the Vermont bread baker Gérard Rubaud asking Rubaud to consider him for an apprenticeship in his Westford bakery. Acclaimed baker, raised in France, Rubaud has sometimes taught aspiring bakers in his hilltop bakery in the years preceding his death on October 7, 2018, at the age of 77.

“For many years I have been looking for a purpose in my life. I have found out that I want to be a baker,” wrote Trent Cooper. “I agree more with your philosophy on bread than any other baker I have spoken of or read in the books. Your admiration, persistence and severe beliefs about bread are what I admire most about you.” He had read about Rubaud on the Farine bread blog.

Cooper, then 27, continued to write some of his life, concluding with a description of his work in the pizzeria, where he had given the bakery a name (Neesheta) and “began to treat the pasta balls as if they were the my daughters.”

Two weeks went by without an answer. Intent on apprenticeship, Cooper resents his letter. Before the second missive arrived in Vermont, Rubaud called to offer Cooper a trial run to see if an entire apprenticeship could work.

“I remember how I felt when he called me: Is this really happening?“Cooper said.

The call would lead to a four-month apprenticeship, from autumn 2012 to winter 2013. Now, about seven years later, Cooper is renting Rubaud’s old patisserie and filling it with the life and warmth of sourdough bread which he cooks as a soloist in a wood oven.

Rubaud’s daughter Julie Rubaud, owner of Red Wagon Plants in Hinesburg, helped Cooper get in touch with the owners of the property about his interest in pastry. She and Cooper had met during her apprenticeship.

Click to enlarge

Trent Cooper by portioning and shaping naturally leavened bread - GLENN RUSSELL

  • Glenn Russell

  • Trent Cooper by portioning and modeling the naturally leavened bread

“When Trent was my father’s apprentice, one day I had the vision that he took control of the pastry shop,” said Julie. “It’s a good choice. It reminds me a little of my father: he looks like the kind of person who can spend time alone up there.”

Like Gérard Rubaud, Cooper is driven by the pursuit of excellence. Both were top level athletes: Rubaud was a climber and an alpine skier; Cooper, born in Bremerton, Washington, and raised there and in Tampa, Florida, played forward on a Major League Soccer team.

In Westford, Cooper focuses on the production of pain de campagne, his favorite name for French sourdough, in oblong loaves called bâtards.

“I make a type of bread,” he said. “If I do two or three or four, I am dividing my attention. If I divide my attention, I will never know how much I can do it.”

Cooper, now 35, moved to the apartment above the bakery in December and got to work to get in shape, order supplies and connect with the stores. He started selling his bread – prepared with hard red winter flour, freshly ground spelled berries, sea salt, water and levain (appetizer) – in January. Loaves of Trent’s Bread is now available in about half a dozen stores, including Jericho Market, Sweet Clover Market in Essex and, recently, both locations in Burlington City Market, Onion River Co-op.

Cooper bakes about 250 loaves a week and often delivers them hot from the oven. If the market supports it, it would like to increase that number to 150 or 200 loaves per day.

“I feel that Gérard’s bread was unique to him and that it should be with him,” Cooper said one recent morning, shaping loaves of dough that he had started mixing at midnight. “This is very similar, but it is my way of doing it. Gérard and I are different people.”

Click to enlarge

Mark a bâtard of sourdough before putting it in the oven - GLENN RUSSELL

  • Glenn Russell

  • Mark a mother yeast bâtard before putting it in the oven

He looked up from the bread bench and said the name of his teacher, “Gérard Rubaud”, rolling his R in homage to the Frenchman. “People will stop and talk about him, Gérard’s old friends from the neighborhood,” he added.

Cooper met his teacher when he flew to Burlington for the trial phase, a few days after Rubaud had called him. He arrived at the bakery around noon while Rubaud was loading loaves of bread into the oven.

“The first thing he did when I got here was to look at my hands,” said Cooper. “He looks at my palms and said: ‘You will be a good baker. Good bakers have short and wide hands.'”

The stage ended three days later when Rubaud said to Cooper: “You’re okay” and accepted it for an apprenticeship, said Cooper.

Cooper returned to Jacksonville to sort things out before returning to Vermont for his bread studio. During his flight home, he carried two loaves of Rubaud’s bread. The flight attendant told him to put them on the floor.

“‘I can’t do it'”, he recalled saying. “‘This is Gérard’s bread.'”

Cooper found homes for his dogs, Benny and June, and drove north to Westford in his 1998 Buick. During his apprenticeship, he did not mix pasta or bake loaves – those practices belonged to Rubaud, Cooper said. He helped shape the dough and received the peel from Rubaud after the latter used the tool to place the loaves in the oven. He baked apprentice loaves.

The apprenticeship was centered on levain, a portion of the dough that is fed with flour, water and a little spelled and sea salt every four or five hours during the day. The dough ferments the dough making it rise and giving flavor to the bread.

“The advantage was crucial,” said Cooper. “You can’t pretend. You have to learn it.”

Click to enlarge

Freshly baked natural yeast bâtards - GLENN RUSSELL

  • Glenn Russell

  • Freshly baked mother dough bâtard

A major difference between Cooper’s and Rubaud’s bread is the percentage of the flour withdrawn, Cooper said. Use a slightly higher ratio, about 24 percent of the weight of the flour. This method tends to keep the holes in the bread on the smaller side. He doesn’t want his jelly to drop.

“Making bread at Gérard’s level requires extraordinary dedication,” said Cooper. “Not many people I’ve ever met had that level of dedication in everything they do.”

The unpaid apprenticeship ended after four months, when Rubaud decided that Cooper had mastered, his student recalled. The baker made this decision the day Cooper’s gain peaked faster than Rubaud’s in a dough fight, according to Cooper.

“When the apprentice has nothing else to learn from the teacher, this is the end,” said Cooper. “I didn’t come here to pass the time. I didn’t come here to have fun.”

Cooper, who had stayed in the bakery, didn’t have a place to stay and didn’t have enough money to go back to Florida. So he crashed into a delivery driver’s house in Burlington for about a week, and then got a sugary job on a farm in Pennsylvania.

When he had earned enough money, he returned to Florida, this time settling in the Tampa / St. Petersburg area.

“I went on a mission to open a bakery, but it didn’t happen,” said Cooper. “I had no money and I couldn’t get funding … I was so poor. I’m still poor, but at least now I have a bakery.”

Click to enlarge

Trent Cooper is preparing to divide and shape naturally leavened bread into bâtards - GLENN RUSSELL

  • Glenn Russell

  • Trent Cooper is preparing to divide and shape the naturally leavened bread into bardelle

Cooper has worked in restaurants and bakeries for several years. Last fall, after learning that Rubaud was dead, he sent his condolences to Julie and inquired about the pastry shop. He put him in touch with Michael and Agnes Hibbs, who had purchased the property in October 2017.

Michael Hibbs, a retired engineer, said they were looking for a baker who would be a suitable companion.

“We wanted to see the place go on and not just fall apart,” said Hibbs. “That’s why we were happy when Trent showed up. He seemed to be the right person to take control of him.”

The other day, while Cooper’s loaves rested before baking, he ate bread, cheese and pickles, delighting in every bite. “This is fantastic,” he said. “This is the best part of my life.”

During the morning snack, he described his role as a baker as “just the catalyst among the ingredients”.

“I am a levain administrator,” he said. “She is what makes bread.”

Cooper thinks his bread is the best on Thursday, when he makes an afternoon delivery to Burlington’s Intervale Community Farm. Levain seems to know that it will be his destination, he said.

Standing on the farm last week, Cooper chewed a piece and pronounced his verdict: “I wish I could make such a good dough every day. My energy and the energy of the bread, we were aligned.”

.

The UK government has insisted on making salt reduction targets in food businesses mandatory

Action on Salt has published studies stating that they provide new and strong evidence to support salt reduction as a key public health strategy to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease in the UK and worldwide.

Based on the studies, the campaign team wants to make mandatory the new voluntary salt reduction targets currently under consultation by Public Health England, which it plans to publish later this year.

The analysis included 133 randomized trials with 12,197 individuals who examined the effect of salt reduction on blood pressure and showed that salt reduction lowered blood pressure in the whole population, including those with blood pressure within normal ranges . Also, the greater the reduction in salt intake, the greater the drop in blood pressure.

This study, according to the authors, also showed that older people, who have higher blood pressure or of black ethnicity, had an even greater drop in blood pressure for a given reduction in salt intake, with reductions in long term which probably have a greater effect.

The Salt action states that these findings are important as they indicate that a population-level reduction in salt intake should lower the population’s blood pressure which in itself will cause a large reduction in stroke and heart disease and, at the same time over time, it is likely to prevent people from developing high blood pressure as they get older.

A second review by researchers from the Wolfson Institute, Queen Mary University of London and Action on Salt and recently published in the JACC (Journal of the American College of Cardiology) (18 February 2020) entitled “Salt reduction to prevent hypertension and disease Cardiovascular: JACC’s state-of-the-art review has reviewed nearly 200 published studies, which found that high salt intake is the main cause of increased blood pressure, which in itself is the leading cause of stroke and heart disease, major causes of death and disability in the UK Too much salt is also closely linked to osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease.

.