Pan-seared Foie Gras with Fig and Balsamic Reduction

The rich flavor and the smooth creamy texture of the fat liver is just so delicate and heavenly that I find it very difficult to describe. To enhance the already excellent delicacy, I like to add some sweet, plump figs as the accompaniments, and balances its richness with the acidity of the balsamic reduction.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 thick slabs of foie gras
  • 5 figs, split into quarters (reserve one for plating)
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt, fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

For the fig and balsamic reduction.

  1. Combine all ingredients with 1/2 cup water in a saucepan.
  2. Cover; bring to boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce to a simmer, cook for 10 minutes or until fruit has broken down.

For the Foie Gras:

  1. Season foie gras liberally on all sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a small skillet over high heat for at least 3 minutes.
  3. Place foie gras in skillet, cook, swirling pan gently from time to time, until golden brown and crisp on first side, about 30 seconds.
  4. Flip foie gras onto second side and cook for 30 second longer.
  5. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and let rest for 1 minute.

 

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Banana Bread

Finally lay my hands on this new member of my cookbook collection. Published by my alma mater for fund raising- this ultimate cookbook features a selection of recipes gathered by the Maryknoll Sisters through their years of missionary work over the world.

When it comes to cookbooks, everyone has a different opinion regarding the perfect one, to me, it is the total package: delicious recipes that work, beautiful photography, and most importantly, writing that inspires and intrigues. Half a century ago, when most people rarely travel far from their hometown, our Sisters had this pioneering idea of compiling a cookbook made with a vast collection of international cuisine. These recipes collected from over 40 countries, given by families oversea, were the testament of love via sharing of food. Browsing through all the strange names of dishes, from Cazuela Chilena of Chile to Kachambali of Tanzania, some of them even unpronounceable, I felt like going on a culinary journey with the Maryknoll sisters. While I may not be able to accomplish something so great like them- cooking around the globe and spreading the word of God. I enjoy cooking for my loved ones and doing all sorts of food experiment in my tiny kitchen, that what keeps me grounded.

This banana bread is by far my favorite recipe from the book; it is a very basic and very forgiving recipe that takes all of 10 minutes to whisk together. An hour of waiting while your house fills with tempting aromas and then you’ll be able to enjoy your very own slide of warm, moist banana bread! Oh…I just can’t wait to try the rest of the recipes! After all the best cookbooks are the ones that gain its stains through frequent use, and later, passed down from generation to generation like a legacy.

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Ingredients (for a 10x20cm loaf):

  • 230 grams flour
  • 2.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g sugar
  • 60g canola oil
  • 30g butter (melted)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 175∘C and adjust the oven rack to the center. Line a 10×20 cm loaf pan with parchment paper.
2. Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
3. Mash the bananas and mix in all the wet ingredients (eggs, sugar, canola oil, melted butter and vanilla) in another bowl. Fold the mixture into the dry ingredients to form a batter.
4. Pour batter to the lined pan and bake at 175∘C. Slit the center of batter after 15min for a better rise.
5. Continue to bake for another 35 min until a toothpick inserted to the center pulls out clean.


 

Cherry Clafoutis

Family legend has it that I swallowed all the pits when I ate cherries for the first time… and I actually believed that when my dad told me a cherry tree would be growing on my head (in fact I was pretty excited about that!!!). Twenty some years have passed, there is no cherry tree on my head, but my fondness for the fruit continues to deepen. When cherries appear at my local market, I just have to buy them. Sweet, crisp and juicy, they often don’t even make it to my kitchen- I usually gobble them all up on my way home. But if there  are a few left, I will use them to make this dessert.

Cherry clafoutis is one of the easiest French desserts you can ever make, simply perfect for cherry season and is absolutely amazing. The batter used in clafoutis is based on a crêpe batter. Unlike traditional custard, it contains flour, giving it a dense texture. The thickened batter ensures that any juice that escapes from the cherries is well-contained. Other fruits would also work well in this dish. Try peaches, blueberries, plums or apricots!

Voilà! Un dessert facile et délicieux!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh sweet cherries, pitted
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius . Butter and lightly flour the baking dish.
  2. Scatter the cherries over the bottom of the dish.
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugars together.
  4. Add in the salt and flour.
  5. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
  6. Pour into the baking dish over the cherries.
  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes in water bath, until lightly browned or a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Let cool in the oven for 10min before taking it out.
  9. When cool dust the clafoutis with powdered sugar. Serve!

Note: It will wiggle a bit when you pull it out of the oven, that is normal.

Place on a wire rack to cool. The clafoutis will have puffed up quite a bit and will deflate while cooling.


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