French Spinach Turnover

Last Friday and Saturday were crazy days for me. I was to host my sister’s bridal shower beginning at 1pm on Saturday afternoon and I had a lot of work to do come Friday evening. I was really set on making the shower as traditional and awesome as possible. Now writing about the shower almost a week later, I can say I completely accomplished this goal!

I was keen on having all the food homemade, rather than store-bought. I wanted all the guests to go home feeling the love from their food. I swear by this method of cheering people up. I am known for needing my space while cooking in the kitchen and I tell people the same thing every time they pick on me for it, “I have to concentrate on putting my love into the food!” Its understandable, right?

I made 48 homemade chocolate cupcakes with a pink butter cream icing I whipped up. They were sure winners! I also had other family members whip up some delicious meals to bring to the party.

Among all of this delicious, love-filled food, was Julia Child’s French recipe for a spinach turnover. This recipe took the most labour (well worth the labour I should add), it took the most love, the most time, and it also got the best rave reviews from my hungry guests.

In total, the recipe took about an hour to prepare and once prepared, it sat waiting for a couple of hours getting ready to be baked. Once the guests arrived, I plopped the turnovers in the oven for 1/2 hour and they came out ready, warm and delicious, in time for lunch.

I browsed through the pics of the shower, but not one of the turnovers was captured. The picture up top is exactly how it looks though, if you need a reference. I have also posted the original video before if you want to watch Julia.

Here is the recipe:

  • Enough pastry for 2- 9″ crusts (you need dough, not the shells! I bought a package of puff pastry and it worked well, you can also make your own)
  • 9 oz fresh spinach
  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 2/3 cup hot milk
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1-2 egg yolks for glazing
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk (I used milk because I forgot to buy cream, Julia uses cream)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

Here is the method:

  • Start by washing the spinach and removing the stems. Plunge the spinach in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain spinach and plunge into cold water. Squeeeeeeeeze out all excess water. Chop up aggressively!
  • Clean mushrooms and chop them up, chop the ham too
  • In a saucepan, saute the mushrooms and ham with the tablespoon of butter. Set aside.
  • In another, larger saucepan, saute the one onion in low heat with a 1/4 cup of butter (no skimping!)
  • Remove half of this onion mixture and place in another saucepan with the spinach. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes or so.
  • SO! Going back to the onion alone in the saucepan. Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the hot milk and beat quickly until it is a thick paste. Take the pan off the heat, add an egg, whisk right away! Add the pinch of nutmeg.
  • Take about a 1/2 cup of this mixture and stir in with the now cooked spinach. Set the spinach aside.

It is now time to make the sauce to pour on top of the finished dish…

  • In the thick flour/milk mixture you made, add the cream and simmer for ten minutes. Season to taste. Take it off the heat and sprinkle with the cheese to prevent a skin from forming. Before serving, bring the sauce up to temperature again by using low low heat.

Now let’s assemble the pastry!

  • Roll out the dough into a long rectangle. (10″ by 15″) about a 1/4 inch thick. Glaze with the egg yolks
  • Smear a thin layer of the spinach on one half. Leave about a half-inch of edge bare on the dough. Add the ham and the mushroom and then more spinach. Turn over the other half of the dough and pinch edges to seal. Glaze with the egg yolks.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees

For a party, make a few, and cut into thin slices. Don’t forget to serve it with the sauce!

Et Voila!

Bon Appetit and thanks for reading!

It Was a Successful Bridal Shower

Happy mother’s day! I am so lucky to have a mom who supports me running away to France!

I am also very happy to report the total and complete success of the bridal shower I held for my sister. This has been the key factor in preventing me from my consistent blogging for the last couple of weeks. But, all in all, I pulled it off. It was a blast for everyone involved, with fun games, awesome decor, and a plethora of food (not to mention a lot of left overs as well).

I served many different dishes for lunch, and as expected, Julia Child’s French dish won over the crowd. I made her spinach turnovers as featured in her television series “The French Chef”. Here is the link to the recipe.

The cupcake display looked magical with rich homemade chocolate cakes topped with bright pink buttercream swirled on top. This was definetely a little reminder as to how much I love cooking and baking for other people!

I also learned this weekend, that my little sister (who would like to become a pastry chef herself) dreams of moving to France as well! How cool that both of us share similar aspirations.

Pictures of the amazing food will be posted shortly along with the recipes.

I am also itching to start another blog devoted to my adventures on the kitchen(but more on that later)…

Adventures with Julia Child: French Crêpes

I really need to get a camera and take my own pictures for these posts because I made crêpes yesterday (curtesy of Julia Child) and they were awesome. It could have only been more awesome if I took pictures.

The actual recipe is called Crêpes Fines Sucrées. This recipe comes from the cookbook I am currently obsessed with,  “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.

There is nothing I enjoy more than making French food for my French love, and really learning and perfecting the technique as I go. This food ordeal is my passion and I want to pursue it. Testing out these recipes is a great way to get my feet wet before I jump in the pool (the pool is France by the way).

The batter was very easy to make (the recipe is posted below). I just put all the ingredients in to a blender, in the order they were listed in the book, and blended. Voila! A yellowish, creamy, sauce-like, batter emerged from the blender, ready to be cooked….Non! The batter actually needed to sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Good thing I made this batter before dinner! It would be ready in perfect timing for dessert.

In the past, I learned interesting things to do with crepes, although I never actually made crepes, I would watch chefs and other cooking fiends crepe up a storm in the kitchen on numerous occasions! If I could recreate their flare for crepes than this night was going to be awesome!

Just as planned, the crepe batter ended up being ready right when dinner was finished. I told my boyfriend that I was going to go make the dessert and he blew me away with a surprising fact. Little did I know that I had a master crepe flipper, with years of experience, on my hands! Oh la la! C’etait bonne chance! (It was good luck!)

As he laddled, buttered, and flipped, I prepared fresh whip cream (3/4 cup 35% cream, a teaspoon or so of sugar, the less sweet the better) and cut a lemon. I heated another pan, threw in some butter (not a literal throw), added some lemon juice (go light on this or your lips will pucker like a fish), a tsp of sugar and a cap full of rum. I quickly tossed the competed crepe in the pan, flipped it, flipped it again out on a plate, added a dollop of whip cream, and served. Délicieux! This topping variation is not a Julia Child recipe, just to let you know.

Mais (but), although this variation was awesome, I would like to let you know that it wasn’t the best way to eat the crepes. My FBF showed me just to sprinkle some sugar on the crepe, and role it up. With a dollop of whip cream, this variation was divine! It was a lot more simple but I was really able to appreciate the taste of the crepe itself. This is the real French way!

All in all in was a complete success. I do recommend, though, that if you are to make these yourself, a personal French boyfriend master crepe flipper will come in handy!

Julia Child goes on to say that the crepes made by that batter are good for Crepe Suzette (and than she provided a recipe). This is not a feat I am ready for yet, but updates will surely come along with my growing kitchen courage.

And now, let me present to you, Julia Child’s Crêpes Fines Sucrées!

Crêpes Fines Sucrées

(Light batter)

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Tb granulated sugar
  • 3 Tb orange liqueur, rum, or brandy (I used rum and it was yummy!)
  • 1 cup flour (scooped and levelled)
  • 5 Tb melted butter
  • A blender
  • A rubber spatula

Place all the ingredients in the blender in the same order they are listed. If ingredients stick to the side of the jar, scrape with the spatula. Blend and leave in fridge for at least two hours.

If you don’t have a blender: Work egg yolks into the flour with a wooden spoon, beat in the liquids by droplets, then strain the batter through a sieve.

Heat up a pan, add some butter, ladle a small amount on to the pan, heat through, flip and heat on other side. You want the edges to be a little crispy. Just repeat this until the batter is finished.

Bon Appétit!

Welcome back (from Easter)

Hi everyone! I hope you had as awesome of an Easter as I had.

I finally received my copy of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child (volume 1). And a review will be coming shortly. If you remember, the movie  “Julie and Julia” was based on a young woman making every single recipe from this book and blogging from it. I quickly browsed through the book last night and I am eager to get started on these recipes!

FL: être later today…

Stay tooned today for another French language lesson on the verb être (to be). This verb is extremely important and heavily used in French (as well as all languages).

Another Great Blog…

I have also found an awesome blog here on wordpress that has many posts related to French things. There are a lot of videos to check out I now have a long list of French movies to watch because of the info provided.

The blog is called French Stage and here is the link:  http://frenchstage.wordpress.com/

Until later mes amis!

Thank You + Upcoming Adventures In French Cooking

Thank you everyone for your wonderful support with this blog. You are greatly appreciated by me!

And now on to the post…

As I mentioned not so long ago, I will be hosting my sister’s bridal shower very shortly. I will be making a lot of food for nearly 50 guests and this will be a great challenge! As you know, I love cooking and have an intense desire to learn French cooking. Julia Child, although American, revolutionized cooking by introducing the French way; slow, fresh, and delicious!

For this occasion, I will be making a French recipe from Julia Child, spinach turnovers (spinach twins as she calls them). The spinach turnovers consist of  pastry rolled out into a square, topped with a spinach mixture, ham and mushrooms, more spinach mixture and finally half of the pastry is turned folded over and sealed for baking.

Here is a link to the full recipe on an online episode of “The French Chef”. Just click the pic below…

I will let you know how this goes shortly!

Julia Child: My Current Inspiration

As I have grown up (this process is far from over) I have found immense inspiration in a few individuals.

I was very young I was inspired by my stepdad’s Indian cooking and developed a unique love for food. I was five years old the first time he cooked some delicious chicken curry. I can remember this meal in great detail. I didn’t know what to expect, and I wasn’t expecting much. I was only hoping for the usual dinner of pasta or rice to show up in front of me on the dinner table in my small  townhouse. That changed one evening when I was served a meal I would never forget! My plate arrived in front of me and I smelled something I had never smelled before…pure pleasure. I took my first bite and my taste buds were born! I was inspired by the Indian food! (I proceeded to ask if we could serve chicken curry to all of my friends at my birthday party.)

Around the age of fifteen I had found a new inspiration, Christine Cushing. She was (is) a celebrity chef on food network and I loved her show. She inspired me to become a chef (I lost this dream after graduating from highschool). She had trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and she served up delicious meals inspired by her classical training and her own creativity. I would become the next Christine Cushing!

Fast forward once again to this November. I had just started dating my French boyfriend and certain dreams and passions were arising again. My dream to live in France and my dream of learning French cooking had once again awoken after a long hibernation (caused by the pressures young Canadians may feel after highschool to pursue the “right” career and education that will get them the “best” paying job and stability). I walked into the library one day and VERY coincidently the book right in front of my eyes, on display none the less, was “My Life In France“, the autobiography of Julia Child. I had heard of her briefly here and there but never really knew who this woman was. I fell in love with her life after reading this book and to France I would go, the decision was made.

I proceeded to read her other biography, watch her A&E biography, look up some of her recipes on-line and cook them for my French boyfriend (winners every time), watch that hit movie “Julie and Julia“, download and watch many episodes of her cooking show “The French Chef” and ask for the best-selling “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” for my birthday. What I call inspired, others may call obsessed. Oh well, to each their own!

She is my latest and greatest inspiration! The parallelism between her life and my own is outstanding and her beautiful love for French food is captivating. Also, the relationship her and Paul Child shared was beautiful. The love they created is the most inspirational bit of all. Thank you Julia Child for showing me what is possible!

A bored housewife turned into a food revolutionary…What is possible in my life?