Real vegetarian food, served in an imaginary world...

Saturday 17 October 2020

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - LOIE FULLER

Loie Fuller was an American actress who became famous for her modern dance interpretations, incorporating silk costumes and revolutionary lighting techniques.
In the 1890s, she found recognition in Paris and performed regularly at Folies Bergère.

Here is a beautiful film (Pathe 1905) of her in action.

Her dancing at Folies Bergère was discussed in this amazing book I had for my birthday this year.

I don't know of any existing menu for Folies Bergère, but the book contains one for the other famous French cabaret club, Le Chat Noir.

This one calls for classic French recipes, (tweaked to make them vegetarian). Each serves 2. 

Tonight, Zelda and Loie will be eating these items from the menu:
Soupe a l'Oignon
Gruyere Sandwich
Omelette aux Fine Herbes
Pomme de Terre Frites

Soupe a l'Oignon - French Onion Soup

3 large onions

1tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1tsp sugar
2tsp fresh thyme chopped + 2 whole sprigs to garnish
1tbsp plain flour
1½ litres vegetable stock
dash of white wine
2 slices French bread
50g gruyere cheese, grated

Peel 2 of the garlic cloves. Finely chop with the thyme.
Peel and finely slice the onions.
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions.
Cook over a very low heat for about 10 minutes (until soft).
Stir in the chopped thyme, chopped onions and sugar. 
Continue to cook (for as low and long as possible) until golden.
Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, for a minute or so. Then add the wine and the stock.
Bring to the boil. (If any scum comes to the surface, skim it off.)
Reduce the heat to very low again and simmer gently for about 45 minutes.
Toast the bread on both sides under the grill. 
Rub the toasted bread with the remaining peeled garlic clove.
Ladle the soup into heat-proof bowls.
Float a piece of toast in each bowl and divide the grated cheese between each piece.
Grill for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted.
Serve with the remaining thyme.

Gruyere Sandwich - see Croque Monsieur

Omelette aux Fines Herbes

6 free range eggs

100g butter
½tsp chopped chives
½tsp fresh flat-leaf parsley
½tsp chopped chervil
salt and black pepper
additional chopped chives to garnish

Mix the chopped herbs together.
Break 3 eggs into a bowl and beat with a fork. Add half of the chopped herbs and season well.
Heat half of the butter in a pan until it froths.
Pour in the egg mixture.
As it starts to set, draw the outsides to the centre and allow the raw egg to move to the edges. 
Cook for about half a minute more so that the underneath is golden. Allow the top to stay creamy.
Tilt the pan and roll the omelette into a cigar shape and onto a plate.
Garnish with more chopped chives.
Repeat for the second omelette.

Pommes de Terre Frites

4 large potatoes 
lots of oil – I used sunflower oil 

Peel the potatoes and slice into chunky chips.
Leave in a bowl of cold water for about ten minutes. 
Drain and dry well. 
Heat the oil in a deep pan.
When very hot, add the chips in two batches.
Stir a little if needed to allow all to fry freely for about 6 minutes.
Remove, using a slotted metal spoon and allow to cool.

When ready to eat, reheat the oil and cook for another 5 minutes.
Place on absorbent paper to remove any of the remaining oil.
Serve sprinkled with salt. 

Serve with a cheeky little bottle of French wine and some appropriate music:

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