The recession has hit me badly and I can't afford to travel, instead I have decided to cook myself around the world in recipes. As it is the ski season, I will start my journey in the French Alps.
I will begin my French feast with a raclette. Raclette cheese originated in the French speaking alpine areas of the Valais in Switzerland. According to local legends, the trend of melting this semi-firm, cow's milk cheese began when the local farmers set up camp for the night and the cheese accidentally melted next to the fire. One farmer, not wanting to waste any, quickly scraped it off the rock and discovered it tasted even more delicious. The trend quickly spread and is now very popular among the Valais ski resorts.
The traditional dish is served with boiled potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions and a selection of dried meats.
I don't have a fancy raclette melting device so I just melted the cheese under the grill and served with roasted vegetables.
Big chunk of Raclette cheese, chopped
Handful, baby potatoes
1 carrot, peeled and chopped into chunks
1/2 courgette, sliced length ways
1 red pepper, chopped into chunks
4 garlic cloves, peeled
6 mini gherkins
Sea salt and black pepper
V: 1 parsnip, quartered length ways.
M: Selection of dried meats: salami, proscuitto, Viande des Grisons
Heat the oven to 180º. Put the carrot, pepper, courgette and garlic into a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning.
Separately place the parsnip in an ovenproof dish.
V: Drizzle with olive oil, honey and seasoning.
Place both dishes in the oven for approx 20 minutes.
Boil the potatoes until soft but firm (approx 15 minutes).
Divide the chunks of raclette cheese between two oven proof dishes and grill until melted (approx 5 minutes). Serve straight away as the cheese quickly hardens.
M: Serve with dried meat selection.