Showing posts with label Mistakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mistakes. Show all posts

Beaufort and Artichoke Terrine

6 October 2012

"Luckily, I also brought home a large, green globe, so I have another chance at glory"
Famous last words. I made such a mess of this, I almost didn't write about it. But Karen, quite rightly, pointed out that it would have been dishonest not to. Learning new things is as much about failing as it is about succeeding, after all.

The first step is to marinate the cheese. Beaufort is a wonderful nutty, aromatic sweet-sharp mountain cheese, somewhat similar to Gruy√®re but richer and rounder, and it takes an effort of will to dice it and drop it into a cupful of wine, rather than putting both cheese and wine in my mouth. But I remain strong, and leave the teacupful of cheese and wine in the fridge.

A couple of days later, it's time to tackle the artichoke. Artichokes blacken unbelievably quickly on exposure to air, so I needed some acidulated water to hand. Falling at the first hurdle, I manage to cut myself while cutting a lime in half. (Lemon would be more usual, but we happened to have limes coming out of our ears that day.)

Once the blood is all cleaned up, I slice the stem off the artichoke, then start to pare the leaves, rubbing the cut surface with half a lime as I go.

Next I slice the crown of leaves at the top off, leaving just the choke to be scraped off with a teaspoon. I rinse the heart under the tap to double check no spines are left, then slice it up and drop it into the acidulated water.

In an enamel bowl, I alternate layers of the artichoke slices with the diced cheese, and a savoury custard poured on top. It's then meant to go into the oven for 75 minutes, but after just over half an hour the top is thoroughly browned so I pull it out.

It looks rather overdone. I start complaining to Karen about how much more quickly it cooked than the recipe suggested. "Weren't you supposed to wrap it in pancetta?" she asks. Yes. "Wouldn't that have stopped it from overcooking?" Most probably. "Oh, and this cream in the fridge, didn't we buy that for this dish?" Yes, yes we did.

I've never been much of a one for following recipes, and I suppose this is my comeuppance. I hope I've learned my lesson.

The second lesson comes a day or so later, when I actually get around to tasting the result: If you have a beautiful ingredient, say for example a slice of Beaufort cheese, and your instinct tells you that it couldn't possibly be improved by elaborate preparation, you're probably right.

I think for a moment of how much I'd have enjoyed eating that cheese by itself, without so much as a cracker to interfere with the taste - and for that matter, how much I enjoy pulling the leaves off a steamed artichoke and scraping the succulent base off with my teeth - and ruefully scrape the remains of the terrine into the bin.