Monday, March 7, 2011

My Cookbook Collection - Book 2 The Marathon Chef by Michel Roux Jr and a Pancake recipe

I often go through my cook book shelves and dig out a cook book to browse my 'spare' time. 'Spare' is in single quotes, because I get so little spare time that the book I am about to write about has been on the coffee table all weekend and I haven't even had chance to pick it up yet - and that was the weekend ! What on earth hope is there during the week ???

I am going to pick it up in just a mo' and have a flick, but first where's the book from ?? Biscuit Boy was lucky enough to go to Michel Roux Jr's restaurant Le Gavroche  in 2009 with work colleagues for their Christmas lunch, and bless him, he bought me the book from the man himself, and guess what ? He signed it and wrote 'Happy Running'. Cool.
Click to view at
 The sub title of the book is 'Food for Getting Fit'. Shame of shame then that I have never made a recipe from the book. So, let's have a quick flick and see if I can't fix that this week.

As I may have mentioned, I will be running Kielder marathon in October, so once I am back from my birthday trip to France I will be doing some serious, serious marathon training. That's not to say that I have stopped running - hardly - yesterday I notched up a 2 hour run of about ten miles, and today Biscuit Boy and I ran in Hyde Park - a 4-mile loop in 34 minutes - which isn't bad. All of this is in preparation for my 16 mile run on March 27- not long now.. eek !

I've just had a quick flick through the book, and that is absolutely perfect timing. I realise why the book never grabbed my attention before, I would say that it is specifically for someone that is training for a marathon who still wants to enjoy tasty, but healthy food. That's me ! Or, it is now.... But, a word of warning, some of the recipes look quite complicated, and contain a lot of ingredients, and not ingredients that I would have in my well-stocked cupboard, which of course means I would have to make a special trip to the supermarket to buy the missing ingredients. You see ? Tedious already ? I probably won't get time for this if I am honest... Indeed, I have just read that some of these recipes are even on the menu at Le Gavoche.

I have much in common with Mr. Roux Jr. - first he's French and well, you know about my love affair with France by now, secondly he's a chef - my dream job kind of, well I love food and cooking and everything to do with cooking - and, to top the lot he's a runner. Like me !

if you like France, food and running like me  - get to Le Gavroche and sample the cooking, or buy the book and cook some yourself, or pull your trainers on and get running, and see what you're missing out on.

I was reading about Michel Roux Jr. at the weekend in The Times, he is a keen runner and is running in this year's London marathon and I wish him well with that.

I have just found a recipe to make from the book - it is perfect timing for Shrove Tuesday - tomorrow !

Baked Ham and Spinach Pancakes


12 pancakes
320g spinach (I'll need to buy this..)
80g stale white bread, crusts off (don't have this either ..)
120ml milk (tick)
4 shallots (nope!)
1tbsp olive oil (yeh, I got that..duh !)
280g lean, good-quality cooked ham (no)
80g gruyere (no, again)
salt, pepper, nutmeg (yes, yes and yes)

Well, the recipe just assumes you already made your pancakes, so basically (in my own words), do the following.

1. Blanch the spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds, refresh in cold water and dry completely.
2. Soften the bread in the milk, then squeeze out excess milk.
3. Meanwhile, saute the shallots in the oilive oil until transparent, then leave to cool.
4. Mix the spinach, bread and ham together and then finely mince all this. I don't have a mincer so I would probably chop it really small and then try putting it through my potato mill, or maybe in the food processor ??/
5. Once it is in a 'minced' texture (however you get there), fold in the shallots, and then season and add the nutmeg.
6. Take your pancakes and keeping a third of the mixtiure aside spread the rest on one half of each of your pancakes, fold the pancake over into a semi circle, and spread the remaining on half of your semi circle and fold over again to make triangle shapes.
7. Put triangle pancakes in an ovenproof dish, add grated gruyere over the top and bake for 15-20 mins until glazed and crispy on top and slightly puffed up.

I am thinking this would be lovely with a crisp green salad and a glass of very cold white wine.

As Michel himself put it: 'Happy Running', and also from me, 'Happy Pancake Day'

I was just looking for an image of the book to put with the post - my book cover has a photo of Michel Roux Jr; whereas the picture I found above on Amazon shows the very recipe that I just wrote about above - how spookily convenient is that, she wrote smiling.

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