Two recipes from Alison Burt’s Super Saving Recipe Cards (first seen here in a spectacular cake fail) which I made together on Good Friday for my dinner. A gougére is savoury French pastry with cheese, and can be small like these or larger with a filling. Alison Burt’s recipe is for a larger gougére with a mix of liver and veg in the centre. The picture shows the dish tastefully arranged against a bit of red cloth, which is quite restrained compared to the presentation on the other recipe cards. The food photographers must have got bored by the time they got to the Pastry and Pies section. The food itself looks like someone was (neatly, admittedly) sick into a baguette.
The second recipe was intended as a side to cut through the meat ‘n’ carb, and looks quite nice from the picture (here the plate of courgettes appear to be on someone’s kitchen floor, surrounded by dejected looking uncooked courgettes, which look like they’re attending a vegetable funeral for their companions who were cruelly sliced and fried).
Gougére with Chicken Livers
65g plain flour
1/4 pint water
2 eggs, beaten
65g cheese, grated
salt and pepper
100g sliced chicken livers
1 onion, sliced
50g mushrooms, sliced
1 level tablespoon plain flour
1/4 pint stock or water and beef stock cube
1 tomato, skinned and chopped
1 level tablespoon breadcrumbs
Grease an 8inch/ 20cm pie plate. Make the pastry: Sift the flour. Put the water and margarine into a pan, melt the margarine, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, beat in the flour until smooth, then cook for 1 minute. Cool for 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs gradually, then stir in 50g of the cheese and season. Spoon the mixture round the edge of the prepared plate.
Make the filling: Heat the margarine in a pan and fry the chicken livers, drain. Fry the onion until softened, add the mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the flour, then blend in the stock. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the livers and tomato, then cool. Pile the filling into the pastry. Mix together the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle on the filling. Bake in a hot oven (400f/200c/ mark 6) for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley.
- This was the first time I’d cooked with liver, and the first time I’ve made choux pastry.
- I used Trex vegetable fat, as I had some spurious notion that this might be more like 70s marg.
- My fridge now has approx 4 different fats in it – dripping, butter, Trex, and some Lurpak. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
- The pastry worked nicely – melting marg in water was weird, as was the general texture of the raw pastry.
- The recipe was a little ambiguous and I muddled up the liver mix by not taking the liver out of the pan before adding the mushrooms and onion, but it all cooked down to a nice consistency.
- It got the full 40 minutes of oven time, and the pastry was still kind of gooey in the middle – it tasted nice, but I wasn’t quite sure it was properly cooked. Ate it anyway, and am still alive and free from gastro-intestinal ‘issues’, so there.
Courgettes with Herbs
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 level tablespoon chopped parsley
1 level tablespoon chopped tarragon
Wipe the courgettes. Trim at both ends, then cut into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices. Cook the courgettes in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Heat the margarine in a saucepan, add the courgettes, lemon juice, parsley and tarragon. Stir the mixture gently until the courgettes are coated in margarine and herbs. Serve hot.
- 5 minutes is not enough to boil the courgettes – they got 10 minutes
- I added the courgettes to the delicious marg, herb and lemon juice mixture last, rather than first as the recipe indicates.
- I was a little wary of the liver, this being my first time cooking it, but it turned out nice. It could have handled a more strong oniony taste – it still had a very definite liver taste which could be offputting for some.
- As mentioned before the pastry was gooey, but this was rather nice.
- The pastry and the filling didn’t really come together – I think a smaller pie tin with higher sides would have helped.
- The courgettes were disgusting. The parsley and the tarragon were hardly noticible, but the lemon was overpowering and did not work with courgette at all. I ate about 3 slices and gave up on it. I shall try to make them into something else. Or I might just cremate them.
- Seasoning the courgettes was pointless. These would have been about 1000 times more edible if simply fried off in the marg.
I would make the gougére again, choux pastry has proven to be much less faff than I imagined, and my apprehension of liver is lessened. Some tweaks in the seasoning and the pie dish used are necessary to make this really work. The courgettes and herbs on the other hand can bugger off back to the seventies.
Incidentally, the word ‘margarine’ makes me think of this chap:
Gougéd by Alix