The World Cup is nearly over. And I have lost interest. The two teams any self-respecting England supporter should despise (Germany and Argentina) are playing in the final on Sunday. Why are they despised? Too painful to explain. If you don’t know, you don’t need to know.
Nevertheless, I read something quite funny the other day. (If you hate football, and you aren’t English, you might as well skip this bit because you won’t get it or simply won’t care).
Gary Linekar, our very own ‘goal-poacher-extraordinaire‘, once said:
‘Football is a simple game: 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.’
And we Brits (technically we English) know this is true. But it’s okay. It’s still fun to watch other teams, and their supporters. Some of them think they are good enough to beat the Germans. Take Brazil. Well they found out didn’t they. Or the French. Now they played Germany just the past week, and they probably thought they had a chance. But they didn’t. German efficiency stretches beyond Vorsprung durch Technik.
But the French need not worry. They can cook. Germany is only famous for big chocolate cakes covered with cherries and pickled cabbage served with sausage. The French come up with all sorts of amazing things. Take mushroom millefeuille.
These are essentially big vols-au-vent, you know those morsels of ‘wind-blown’ lightness served up during ‘80’s dinner parties.
I found this on the Michel Roux Jr page of the Good Food magazine. (You will need at least two solid baking sheets for this one)
- 1 pack puff pastry
- cayenne pepper
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 2 punnets chestnut mushrooms
- large knob butter
- 2 tbsp chopped tarragon
- good glug Madeira
- 200ml double cream
For the garnish
- handful of fancy mushrooms; the recipe called for girolle but I couldn’t find those so just got a pack of ‘exotic’ mushrooms. Go figure what exotic means but I didn’t start tripping out so they weren’t that exotic
- knob of butter
- lemon juice
- chopped chives
Cut the pastry in half and roll each rectangle out to about ¼cm thick (photo above shows pastry already cooked I must have got out of synch, where’s the wine). Place each piece on a baking sheet, sprinkle on the cayenne pepper and then place another baking sheet on top.
Bake in the oven at 180 centigrade for about 25 minutes, remove from the oven, take off the top baking sheet and leave to cool.
Meanwhile make the filling. Gently fry the shallot and mushroom in the butter to soften. Add the tarragon, Madeira and cream and leave to simmer, to reduce by a half. Season and leave to cool.
Whizz the mixture to form a mousse-type thing. Put the mix in a piping bag and chill in the fridge.
Prepare the garnish by frying the mushrooms in a bit of butter and finishing with the lemon juice and chives. Using a pastry cutter, cut out 6 pastry circles from each slice of cooked pastry.
To construct the millefeuille, take a disc of pastry and pipe some filling onto it in a swirl.
Place another disc on top and add more filling. Top with a third disc of pastry.
Pop some of the garnish mushrooms on top. Drizzle some olive oil around the creation and sprinkle some finely chopped chives over the whole thing.