Have you considered going online to buy French food this winter to spice up your traditional festive feasts? If you’ve not really considered going out to buy French food or gourmet ingredients then the reason may be either because your local supermarket simply doesn’t stock such food or ingredients, which is of no surprise, or perhaps you’re not too sure which gourmet ingredients you should be looking for, and what you can do with them.
In a previous article I suggested one or two things that can be done with goose fat, which is really one of the most incredible ingredients that you can introduce into a whole variety of traditional meals which we all do throughout the winter season. But today I want to introduce another gourmet ingredient which can also be used in a whole heap of feasts in a multitude of ways that can really take an old, slightly dull meal and totally transform it into something which will really get you noticed.
When you go to the supermarket to buy mushrooms you generally find that you have two or three varieties. The only particularly clear way of identifying which variety is which is that the button mushrooms are about the size of buttons, and the big mushrooms are, well, bigger. But they all really taste the same don’t they? In fact most of the time I use supermarket mushrooms in recipes I can barely taste mushroom at all.
That’s the problem with using supermarket ingredients, because most of us use the same ingredients in our recipes, completely oblivious to the fact that we are actually well aware that those ingredients made little difference as far as the flavour is concerned, and largely seem to end up only as psychedelic mushroom chocolate bars for sale adding texture. If you head over to France to buy French food or to eat at a French restaurant you will almost certainly notice that the flavours are very much more distinct, rich, and delicious.
Often you can tend to assume that it’s a gourmet chef who has done something magical and horrendously difficult to the ingredients in order to rustle up something so monumentally fabulous. Rubbish. In most cases the only real difference is that they been able to buy French food. Proper French food, not just the stuff in your supermarket that begins with ‘le’ or ‘la’.
You could easily do just the same with your own recipes this winter, and so the gourmet ingredient I would strongly recommend to you today is to buy a jar of dried porcini mushrooms. You don’t actually need a great many dried porcini mushrooms because they have a very intense flavour, and used sparingly can be used in a whole variety of recipes.
For almost any stock, source or risotto in which you will usually include mushrooms, use dried porcini mushrooms instead and you’ll find that the flavour is unbelievable. You’ll need to soak the mushrooms in warm water for about half an hour before you need to use them, but here’s a good tip: many people just throw the remaining liquid away, but this is an appalling waste. If you’re going to use porcini mushrooms in a stock, source or risotto, then after you have finished soaking the mushrooms strain be liquid and add this to the recipe wherever possible in place of water