I’ve been meaning to share some fantastic recipes from a couple of cooking events I attended just before Christmas but as usual, the New Year has started at such a ferocious pace that I’ve only just got the time to tell you all about it.
The first event was a Gorgonzola Cookery Event at L’atelier des Chefs on Monday 9th December. After this event, I’ve become a big fan of cheese which I wasn’t before and I can also see why cooking events have become so popular. They are a great way to enjoy time with friends, learn new recipes and also make new friends.
Before I delve into the recipes, here’s a little background on Gorgonzola; a product of northern Italy, Gorgonzola is a veined Italian blue cheese, made from unskimmed cow’s milk. It can be buttery or firm, crumbly and quite salty, with a “bite” from its blue veining.
While I’m usually not a huge fan of blue cheese, I could definitely live with Gorgonzola “Dolce” which is mild and the foam version goes excellently with beef or sautéed vegetables.
The night was quite informative with writers like myself picking up a tip or two on creative ways to incorporate Gorgonzola into recipes from L’atelier des Chefs’ very friendly not to mention good looking chefs.
The night was very interactive, with everyone getting the chance to try their hands at all the recipes. It was cook your own dinner which was a fantastic exercise and makes you remember the recipe long after the event.
The good food, copious amounts of wine not to mention the delightful company of other food writers certainly turned a very cold Monday night in December into a memorable one. And as usual, the girls from the dialogue agency were wonderful hosts and I couldn’t wait to attend another of their cooking events which happened to be a week later.
Here are recipes from the night:
Recipe 1: Gorgonzola stuffed éclair
A savoury éclair stuffed with a Gorgonzola béchamel and topped with toasted sunflower seeds and crispy bacon bits.
For the pastry
Water : 22 cl
Maldon salt : 1 pinch(es)
Unsalted butter : 85 g
Plain flour : 105 g
Whole egg(s) : 3 whole
For the ganache
Gorgonzola : 200 g
Unsalted butter : 100 g
For the choux pastry:
- Preheat the oven to 210’C.
- Cut the butter into small pieces. Sift the flour.
- Place the water, salt and butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and mix in the sifted flour. Return to the heat and mix until the mixture no longer sticks to the bottom of the pan. Transfer to a food processor and beat in the eggs one by one. The mixture should be shiny and smooth and have a dropping consistency.
- Place the mixture into a piping bag and pipe small lines about 5 inches long onto a perforated baking tray. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 180’C and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes to dry them thoroughly and make sure they hold their shape.
To make the béchamel:
- Finely chop the chives. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Sieve in the flour and stir in for 2 minutes. Add the milk in 3 stages, 100mls at a time. Whisk in at each stage. When you have a nice smooth glossy mixture turn the heat down to low and crumble in the Gorgonzola. Whisk well. Pass through a sieve. Add the chives and wholegrain mustard. Check and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Transfer to a piping bag.
- Pour the honey into a squeezy bottle.
For the garnish
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Fry the bacon in a pan until crispy. When cold finely chop using a sharp knife.
- Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan. Roughly bash in a pestle and mortar.
- When your éclairs are ready make a small incision on one side of the choux pastry and pipe in some cheese mix. Drizzle over a small amount of honey and top with a small sprinkle of bacon bits and crushed sunflower seeds. Place your stuffed and topped éclairs to a baking sheet and heat in the oven for no longer than 1 minute. Enjoy!
Recipe 2: Gorgonzola Fondue
Gorgonzola fondue flavoured with white wine and thyme accompanied by homemade ciabatta and fruit and walnut bread.
Gorgonzola : 1000 g
Dry white wine : 75 cl
Gruyere : 200 g
Fresh thyme : 1 sprig
Ciabatta : 1 whole
Bread : 500 g
For the fondue
- Reduce the wine by half with the thyme. Turn the heat down while slowly whisking in the cheese so that it emulsifies into the wine, getting thicker as you go. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer into a suitable serving pot.
- Cut the bread and use to dip into the fondue.