As a pre-Halloween treat, I went for lunch with A. at South Bank. Naturally, as I do every time I tootle down to the NFT, I end up poking my nose into the second-hand book market and spend ridiculous amounts of money on something I shouldn’t. Which is how I wound up meeting A. carrying a 5-kilo giant edition of the well-known “A Taste of France” by Robert Freson, which I admit I bought entirely on the strength of a double-page spread image of Alsatian choucroute royale. Food porn indeed.
Well, inspired by having spent my Sunday morning in bed drooling over lengthy descriptions of foie gras en croute au calvados and delicious fruit tarts from Périgord, I decided to cook a proper Sunday lunch à la française with two of my favourite classics: Filet Mignon de Porc à la moutarde à l’ancienne and a simple Tarte aux Pommes (et raisins, a small addition of mine).
These dishes are both easy to whip up, filling and not expensive to prepare. You’ll need for the Filet: (serves 2 people)
- 1 pork fillet
- 1 pot of crème fraiche
- Moutarde à l’Ancienne (wholegrain mustard)
- two handfuls of button mushrooms (champignons de Paris if you can get them)
- 1 onion
- 25 cl of dry white wine
- Normandy butter and a splash of olive oil
- salt and pepper
Pat your pork fillet dry with kitchen towel, season generously. Heat the butter and oil in a deep thick-bottomed pan. Brown the pork on all sides, remove from the pan and keep aside. Fry the onions until soft, then add the chopped mushrooms. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and 3/4 of the pot of crème fraiche. Add two full tablespoons of mustard to the cream mix. Slice your pork fillet into 2 cm thick slices and return to the pot in the cream. Cover and simmer on a low heat for 35 minutes. Serve with rice or noodles.
For the Tarte aux Pommes (12-inch diametre cake tin) , you’ll need:
- 2 large cooking apples
- handful of dried raisins
- cinnamon or all-spice
- I cheated today and used ready-made shortcrust pastry… (mea culpa!)
- two tablespoons of brown sugar
- Normandy butter
- 100 ml double cream
- 1 large egg
- 65 g caster sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees. Peel your apples and slice into thin slices. Heat a tablespoon of butter in a deep pan. When it starts to bubble, add in the apple slices and coat evenly, dusting with some brown sugar and cinnamon. Leave to soften for a few minutes. Roll out your pastry and line a tart dish, poking holes into the tart base with a fork. Spoon out your soften apple slices onto the tart base, spread them evenly. Sprinkle the raisins on top. Place on top tray in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden.
Whip up a custard using the egg, cream and sugar. Pour over the tart and return to the oven for a further ten minutes until it has just set. Eat with cream, or without, or dusted with icing sugar.