Springing back into action
I’ve missed you, you know, these past couple of weeks while I’ve been away.
I’ve missed you, you know, these past couple of weeks while I’ve been away. Thank you so much for all your kind messages. It’s an odd thing, disconcerting, to be unwell in a foreign country, so your thoughtful comments and emails really lifted me. Not too fast, no, not like that, ow.
I feel very lucky to have found a great doctor here, and a wonderful osteopath. One morning last week, I found myself – finally - safe in the arms of Jésus (the osteopath, for it is He). One of the worries about being unwell abroad is that you panic that your language skills will desert you. As we began to rattle through my medical history, I said, “I am English, excuse me…” I was about to say “…if I don’t understand everything”. And he said, “Don’t worry madam, not everyone can be perfect”. When you’re nervous and a bit scared, there is nothing like a terrible joke to make you breathe out. Perhaps that doesn’t work on you, but it definitely works on me. Anyway, I came out a good few centimetres taller. At least I felt like I did, and that’s what counts really doesn’t it.
So here I am with a quick recipe and a big thank you for your kindness and patience. Regular service will be resumed.
Galette with mushrooms and leeks
Galettes are easy to make when you get the hang of it – like all pancakes, the first one is often rubbish as you get the temperature of the pan right. The recipe here makes twelve to fourteen pancakes, when you only need four, but who wants to divide a single egg?
The leftover galettes will keep in the fridge for a day or two, or they freeze very well. They’re made with buckwheat flour, called farine de sarrasin or blé noir in French, which is gluten-free.
I used Beaufort cheese here, because I like the way it melts and it goes beautifully with mushrooms, but you could use Comté, Emmental, Gruyère, or a mild-ish Cheddar if you want.
For the galettes (this is enough batter to make 12-14, which is more than you need but not as many as you might want)
350g buckwheat flour
A good pinch of salt
750ml cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten
Butter, for frying
For the filling
40g butter, plus a little more for frying the eggs
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 leek, white and pale green part only, about 100g, thinly sliced
125g crème fraiche
200g Beaufort cheese, grated (see recipe introduction)
A small handful of parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the batter, whisk the flour together with the salt in a mixing bowl, make a well in the middle then gradually whisk in the water. When it’s smooth, whisk in the egg. It should be the thickness of double cream. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the batter for at least two hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to make the galettes, gently stir the batter. Warm a pancake pan or a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Melt some butter until bubbling then wipe any excess off with a generous wad of kitchen paper. Now you are going to have to work very quickly so read the following instructions before you start.
Tip a small ladle of batter into the pan and quickly spread it across the pan in as neat a circle as you can manage with a rubber spatula. If you’ve watched a proper crêpe maker at work, you’ll have seen they use a small wooden rake-like implement, called a râteau. I don’t have one of these. I imagine you don’t either. For the want of a râteau, I find a rubber spatula works quite well. You can swirl the pan at the same time as spreading, but swirling alone will not work quickly enough. When bubbles appear on the surface and the batter looks “set”, without any remaining liquid, gently flip it over (I use the spatula again) and cook on the other side for a further minute. Repeat until you’ve used up the remaining batter, adding more butter as you need it.
To make the filling, warm the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the mushrooms and leeks together with a good pinch of salt, stirring from time to time, until the leeks are softened and the mushrooms have given up their moisture and started to take on some colour. Cool slightly and stir in most of the parsley.
In a bowl, mix together the crème fraiche and cheese. Stir in the mushrooms and leeks, taste and season with some salt and pepper.
Now you can proceed in two different ways:
The first way - Warm a galette in a frying pan in a little melted butter, spoon in a quarter of the mushroom mixture, make a small well in the centre and break an egg into the middle. Very gently stir the white into the mushroom mixture and cook until the white has set. Fold over four sides of the galette around the yolk and serve. If you’re making several at once, you can keep them warm in the oven while you make the rest. Just before serving, scatter on some parsley.
Or the second way - Warm the galette in a little butter, spoon a quarter of the mixture into the centre, fry an egg and place it in the middle before folding over the four sides of the galette around the yolk. I find this a bit easier and quicker than the first method if I am making quite a few. Just before serving, scatter on some parsley.
How are you? Are you doing the substack again?
Welcome back dearest Deb. So glad you're back!