Un Petit Peu Francais – A Little Bit French

Bonjour!

In our house, we do birthday parties, every birthday until the children turn ten, then it is a friend or maybe two for dinner/dvd. My little mademoiselle decided in order to celebrate her 10th, she needed to celebrate in style with a french themed dinner party. Being the obliging Maman that I am, it didn’t feel too far fetched to achieve.

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I own a raclette machine, a what I hear you say?  Raclette is a traditional french meal revolving around melting Raclette cheese and pouring it over potatoes, saucisson (salami), ham, cornichons, pickled onions and bread. It’s a delicious, fun and interactive meal, which requires all participants to over see the melting/cooking of their cheese.  While we can buy Raclette cheese here in New Zealand, it is relatively pricey and is a little pungent for younger palettes.  Edam has a very similar fat content and makes a suitable replacement as it melts beautifully. Raclette is one of those meals that gives maximum effect for minimum effort and can easily be tailored to a variety of fussy eaters. Always fun for kids because they can get involved.

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Knowing I can do macarons and eclairs sans beaucoup d’effort, for dessert, mademoiselle ordered up petit fours. My oven can be a little dodgy at times (hanging out for my new kitchen and appliances).  Thankfully the oven behaved on the day of the baking of macarons and eclairs, however it did not when it came to cooking le gateau. Merci, Moore Wilsons for saving the day on the gateau front.  I managed to brush the bought gateau off as being quintessentially francais, as after all that is what most french mamans would do!

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Thanks to Oncle Sam who lives in France, we were able to include some real french sweets in little bags to send home with the wonderful friends who came to celebrate.  Mademoiselle is now in double digits and this means no more big parties until her brother turns a rather significant number.

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I did it … I think!

I love Jamie Oliver’s book  15 Minute Meals, but lately, had kind of forgotten about it due to the frenzy and mess achieved in making any of the meals.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone actually prep all the bits for you, cut the vege or at least have it washed and prepared on the bench, the jug pre boiled, and everything required within easy reach! And then of course, clean your kitchen up afterwards, while you sit with an after dinner sticky, feet resting on a lovely soft pouf.

I had none of that tonight, in fact, I even had to go buy the supplies to make the meal. From arriving in the supermarket carpark, to having the meal on the table took me 40 mins total.  I am sure that I spent at least 15mins in the Supermarket and driving each way takes another 5mins each.  So, I had at the most 20mins to cook the meal. I think I can actually say that I cooked the meal in 15 minutes!!!

The meal of choice tonight was Gorgeous Green Chicken with Herby Vegetable Couscous and Tzatziki. The end result should look like this:

Gorgeous Greek Chicken

I’m a bit of a fan of raw vegetables, this recipe calls for most of the vegetables to remain raw, just be finely chopped and mixed through the couscous, so kind of perfect.  There is a freshness that only raw vegetables can give. I didn’t take too many pictures as I cooked as, I was trying to cook it in 15 Minutes. I love a good challenge, do you?

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A little blurry, but this is the vege all chopped in the food processor and ready to be mixed with the couscous.

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The chicken all nicely seasoned, crispy and brown

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Aftermath, mess and a cluttered bench! What do you expect…life is happening too – lunch boxes, discarded glasses and the medicine cup.

IMG_0230And on the table ready to be consumed, in just on 15minutes. (I think!)  mmm….Lemon and mint are perfect companions anywhere, anytime and I just love the lemony minty goodness of the Tzatziki Jamie recommends to accompany the chicken and vegetable couscous, particularly good if the chilli you use is awesomely fresh and spicy!  The kids even gave this the thumbs up.