Monday, 24 March 2014

If your purse won't stretch to Les Diamants Noirs

Fanny is constantly treading a fine line between presenting ideas and recipes that are economical for the 'housewife' and those that really create a bit of one-upmanship with the neighbours. The line is sometimes drawn very heavily and is as pronounced as her very own eyebrows however. She just can't help herself. In recommending cheaper or more sensible ideas, she has to let us know that she herself makes good use of the ingredients that are out of ordinary reach. It's no different with omelettes, and Fanny turns her attention here to Truffles, trying (and failing) of course not to rub our snouts in the fact that we will simply not be able to afford such a thing. Fanny includes a whole section to tell us exactly why these 'out-of-reach' truffles are unsuitable to even be mentioned in her partwork, but of course recognises that we might be fortunate enough to perhaps be given one one day. Fanny herself picks them up while in France, and seems happy to pay the £3 or £4 (each) price tag, which would've been an absolute fortune in 1970. Fanny recommends if you do have the good fortune to be given such a black diamond, to pop it in a box with some porous eggs which will take on the flavour without having to 'impair' the actual truffle. Good forbid that ordinary people would shave, slice and consume such a luxury.

Fanny Cradock

Fanny is keen to rescue me from social suicide as I have no sign of any truffles in my life - she has adapted a classic French Truffle Omelette Gargamelle to allow me to show off at any upcoming dinner party. So instead of worrying while bathing upstairs, I can flounce down confidently after popping my face and frock on when my guests arrive to amaze them gastronically. It's a fairly simple omelette creation substituting truffles with chestnut mushrooms, shallots, white wine and cream. I'm sure my guests will hardly notice that I have failed to forage...

For the omelette filling Fanny asks that I finely chop the mushrooms and grate the shallot. I tried. Perhaps my grater just wasn't up to it, but after a few minutes of just rubbing it against the blooming thing without success I chopped it finely too. I was expecting to fry the mixture gently before adding the wine and cream, but instead Fanny recommends poaching and simmering in the liquor. It worked perfectly, and after about 5 minutes of gentle bubbling it was soft and reduced a little. Now to the omelette.

Fanny let's it be known that she's already instructed us in the art of a French Omelette, and just to get on with it, up to a point. So I gently beat the eggs with a fork and add small dots of butter rubbed through my very clean fingers, before forking again gently and seasoning. My omelette pan is heating up dry, and I'm ready to go...

Adding a little butter to the hot pan, I pour in the forked up mix and continue with my fork action (being very careful to use the round part and not the prongs, which will of course damage the pan) until the base of the omelette is set, but the upper side still wet. I pile in half the mushroom mixture and flip over the omelette to seal and add the remainder. Fanny then tells me to 'swill' in some more cream and add some cheese on top. Ah, Fanny hadn't listed cheese in the ingredients so I wasn't prepared for this final flourish. Luckily though I had some goats cheese lurking about in the fridge which needed to be used. All ready, the only thing left was to flash it under a fierce grill to melt the cheese and brown the top. So, no expensive, out-of-reach ingredients, but indeed a very luxurious omelette to end this run. I'm still tempted to get my hands on the real McCoy of course, and one day I may be lucky enough to uncover a real Diamant Noir while out in the woods with pig by my side. Or one of the neighbours I am constantly showing off to will pop one through my letterbox perhaps. 

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