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Cafe de Paris butter recipe

This post is a long time coming. A long time. Pregnancy stopped me in my tracks in more ways than simply preventing me from posting here. My main focus was on growing a healthy baby. And that was it. Motivation to achieve much else waned. But then Pat was born and immediately I felt invigorated. Ready to pick up where I left off and reenter life at full throttle. This Cafe de Paris butter recipe is one of the first things that I was inspired to make for the sheer pleasure of it to go with a celebratory meal to mark our new family unit of four.

Let’s be clear. This recipe is not for the fainthearted. It’s butter, flavoured with a myriad of ingredients, to sit atop steak. The method is straightforward enough, but for the mixture a trip to the shops to restock the pantry will be required. The finished product is well worth the effort though and will keep in the freezer for months ready to crown grilled beef and transform it into a glorious meal at a moments notice. Serve aforementioned meat with shoestring fries and it’s one of my favourite dinners.



Enough of dinner though. Pat. Patrick Finch Thompson. My little man. After a rather traumatic pregnancy with more monitoring than I care to ever remember, due to my history with Thea and some abnormal findings, Pat arrived safely into the world at 11.19am on Thursday June 30th 2016 36+6 weeks, all 2.4kg and 45cm of him. I was allowed to hold him skin to skin after his birth and I bawled. Howled. The relief. All the months of heartache worrying how long I’d be able to carry him. If he’d be ok. And he was. He was perfect. Oh and the love. The absolute pure unending love that I’m sure every parent feels as soon as they see their baby. That love is so special.



I don’t feel that I need to say much more here right now. About Pat. Or about this Cafe de Paris butter recipe. Basically this a great compound butter to transform steak and chips from average to wipe-the-plate-clean delicious. And Pat. Well, I’ll definitely be mentioning him again soon.

Cafe de Paris butter recipe

Adapted from a recipe from French by Damien Pignolet

1kg soft unsalted butter
60g tomato sauce
25g Dijon mustard
25g capers, roughly chopped
125g French shallots, finely chopped
50g parsley, finely chopped
5g dried dill
5g dried thyme
10g tarragon leaves, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 tbsp brandy
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp curry powder
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch of dried rosemary, ground
8 white peppercorns, ground
juice 1 lemon
zest 1/2 lemon
zest 1/4 orange
10-12g sea salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy.

In a separate bowl combine all the remaining ingredients and then add them to the butter and mix thoroughly.

Next take a long length of aluminium foil and on top of it place a long length of baking paper. Spread the butter out along it and try to keep it an even width from top to bottom. Now roll the butter into a log, twisting the ends of the foil to tighten it.

To serve, cut discs of the butter and place (once at room temperature) on top of warm steak to melt while the meat is resting.

Home made crumpets in under an hour

I have fond childhood memories of weekend breakfast’s consisting of hot toasted crumpets spread with so much butter and honey that the two would melt and run down through the little holes on the crumpet’s surface and onto the plate below. Let’s be honest. This is the only way to eat toasted crumpets. An occasional treat bought from the supermarket, crumpets are not something that you can easily make at home. Or are they? Seeing a recipe for them in this month’s Gourmet Traveller, I read the list of ingredients. All pantry staples. And the method looked straightforward too. Before I knew it, I’d measured everything out, mixed it all together and crumpet dough was sitting in front of the fire proving. Half an hour later it had doubled in size and I poured mounds of the mixture into a pan and proudly watched as tiny holes formed in the batter. My first batch of home made crumpets.

Ok. So that’s not the whole story. It took me three attempts to perfect my home made crumpets. After my first fail, I considered writing to Gourmet to tell them that their recipe hadn’t worked. But I had kept the batter in the fridge overnight and tried to make the crumpets the next morning. So I reconsidered. Not one to simply give up, I decided to have a second try and this time make the crumpets without leaving the batter chilling overnight, but cook it straight after it had doubled in size. I didn’t have any egg rings though, so although my second batch of crumpets had the signature divots in their surface, they were quite flat and more like drop scones.

With two trials under my belt, on the third go, I even impressed myself with the results. Using buttered egg rings to cook the batter in made a huge a difference and my home made crumpets were tall, fluffy and perfectly dimpled.  I flipped a couple over in the pan to brown the tops and immediately spread them with rather a lot of butter and twirlings of sticky honey. Delicious.

It’s very comforting when someone is able to try something out for you and report back that whatever it was is easy. Straightforward. Uncomplicated. It makes you feel safe and gives you confidence. I am now able to do this and tell you that home made crumpets are easy. That the recipe in the magazine does work. That a non stick pan will make the process a lot easier. That egg rings aren’t vital, but they do make a taller crumpets. That from start to finish, making crumpets will take under and hour. And they freeze beautifully. So go on. Have a go. PS. Thea is under the impression that Vegemite is best on crumpets.

Home made crumpets

Recipe by Sean McConnell from August 2015 edition of Gourmet Traveller

  • 7g dried yeast
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 30ml warm just above blood temperature water
  • 500g plain flour
  • 3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g butter
  • 800ml milk

Combine the yeast, sugar and water in a bowl and leave to stand in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Combine the flour and bicarb in a large bowl.

Melt the butter in a pot with 200ml of the milk. When the butter has melted, add the remaining 600ml of milk and when the time is up, the yeast mixture.

Add the yeast and milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Now leave this mixture in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until the batter has doubled in size.

Heat a non stick pan over a medium heat and pour the batter into buttered egg rings inside the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes until holes have appeared and the surface of the crumpet is set.

At this point, the crumpets can be stored for future use, either in the fridge or freezer or toasted right away, smothered in butter and honey and enjoyed.

A no fuss, make ahead kale salad.

It was only ten o’clock, in the morning that is, but I needed to prepare dinner just so that I could have peace of mind that it was done. Knowing that it would still be in a perfectly edible condition by the time that dinner came around, I made a kale salad. You see my Father in law, or Pa as he is now titled, was coming over and I was in no fit state to cook. Not that he would’ve minded, but I would have felt like I was letting him and myself down if I didn’t prepare something. Thea, and so in turn I, had been awake most of the previous night. Well, more like previous nights. I was getting the feeling that it was time for her to make the move from her moses basket in our room to her big girl’s bed in hers. Originally she was always going to go straight into a cot in her own room to sleep. That was until she arrived early and my instinct to keep her close told me otherwise. Now that same instinct was telling me she was ready to sleep alone and that in time, we would all have a more peaceful night’s rest. With lack of sleep I believe comes the need to eat well, so a kale salad with sausages and garlic bread seemed like a good, as well as easy, idea.

The kale was already in the fridge, bought at the Beaches market on Friday. Heading to the markets early in the morning is a weekly activity that I love to share with Thea. As we weave around the stalls together, strangers lavish her with attention and she offers countless smiles in return. We have been buying regular bunches of kale lately, It keeps so well in the fridge and I am continuing to find new ways to incorporate this nutritious leafy green into my week night dinner repertoire. Blanched in place of basil in pesto, along with spring onions and shredded pork in fried rice, combined with a bechemel sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan to make a gratin and shredded and eaten raw in a salad. The best thing about kale in a salad is that, even dressed, it doesn’t wilt, so preparing this dish during Thea’s morning nap did not affect its quality and it happily remained assembled until we dug into it at dinner that night. I must mention that it is better at room temperature though.

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To complete the meal in an effortless but satisfying way, and because I know that Pa likes it, I made some garlic bread. I had some sourdough left over from the weekend that was now a little dry, but still perfect for toasting. In a pestel and mortar I pounded together a few cloves of garlic and a handful of parsley leaves with a pinch of sea salt. When a paste had formed I mixed in a generous amount of soft butter. I spread the resulting verdant butter onto thick slices of hot toast and then popped the toast back under the grill for a few more minutes. While Pa cooked sausages on the barbecue, I removed the cling wrap from the kale salad and laid the table. Dinner was served. As we ate, Thea slept peacefully in her big girl’s bed, in her own room, for the first night.

Kale Salad

Adapted from a recipe by Marin Mama Cooks

  • 1 bunch of kale, leaves stripped from tough stems and washed
  • 300g Brussels sprouts
  • Handful of coarsely grated pecorino
  • Handful of almonds
  • 1 tbs butter

Dressing

  • 1 small red onion, very finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic grated on a microplane
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard

To make the dressing shake all the ingredients together in a jam jar and then leave to sit while you make the salad. the reason that I do this is so that the onion softens.

Finely shred the kale and Brussels sprouts. While you are doing this, cook the almonds in butter over a low heat until slightly coloured, then coarsely chop. Add the almonds to the shredded green leaves along with the Pecorino and dressing.

When you add the dressing to the kale salad, make sure that you really scrunch it in with you hands so that all the leaves are well coated. Enjoy x

NB. I added apple to the salad in the above photo because we were having pork sausages.