Preparations for the coming Winter ski season

On Sunday, we hosted a dinner party for friends.
What a wonderfully delightful opportunity to trial new recipes for Winter!!!

Helen spent the day in the kitchen preparing different foods, gutting pigeons and preparing two types of stock…
I spend the morning preparing the Pepper Ice cream for dessert…

Dinner was…

Salmon mi-cuit in vanilla and star anise oil with Parsnip purée…  The salmon was gorgeous.  We cook it in flavoured olive oil at 35-40°c for about 40 minutes..   When done right, the salmon almost looks uncooked as it comes out really pink and incredibly moist.  By cooking it at that temperature, none of the oils in the fish cook or congeal, so the fish retains its moisture and colour, and the texture – well, the fish falls apart.  Very succulent…  The parsnip purée was prepared by simmering parsnips in milk, then puréeing them with lots of cream and a dash of s&p.  Delicious, light and very tasty!

Roasted pigeon breasts with caramelised figs and pigeon jus, on a bed of spiced red cabbage with Swede sautéed with sage.   This took a lot of effort – hence Helen preparing two stocks from scratch, spending nearly an hour gutting fresh pigeons… However, once the stocks are prepped (and can be frozen for the future), the actual cooking of the pigeon is only 6 minutes!  It was simply delicious!!  Not sure what most people think about eating pigeon meat though??  What do you think?  Unfortunately, the swede was a little bit disappointing and not at all like normal.  The previous times that we have sautéed swede with sage, it was delicious – however this time, it was a little bitter.  I think it was because we used a frying pan instead of our deep heavy-based pot (which was full of stock at the time!).  This meant that some of the cubes of swede were not nicely covered in that layer of melted butter that helps brings out their sweetness, and they dry-fried instead…. Lesson learned.

Followed by…   Individual peach tatins with caramel sauce and Pepper ice cream.   Sweet.  The risk with the pepper ice cream is either adding too much pepper and having it too strong – or too little and it is a very plain ice cream.   When ice cream freezes, the flavour actually gets less intense.  It was good, but next time, I think I’ll up the quantities of pepper just a little….  It is the pepperiness of the ice cream that offsets the sweetness of the peaches which become sticky and gooey in the oven.  Also, I think we’ll up the glaze on the puff pastry for added sweetness.

If that gets you salivating, fantastic!
Sadly we were too busy with our guests to photo the food.  Sorry.

Preparations are well and truly underway for this coming ski season…
We are renovating the “green” room this autumn. The room has been completely stripped, skirting boards ripped off,  and Helen is upstairs right now busy painting it yellow and “cutting in”. I call this “doing the edges”!

Rough-cut wood was ordered from the mill yesterday for a rustic pine headboard, just like in the other two rooms on that floor. I’ll wizzy-brush that to bring out the texture of the wood and create it’s unique style.
New heavy-weight rich red curtains have been sewn in keeping with the alpine style and our other rooms.

We have a small issue though…
With three rooms now painted yellow, it seems a bit daft to keep calling them the blue, green and yellow rooms….
(and could be slightly confusing at first for Robert, our new chalet assistant, who will be joining us in December).

We were thinking about naming them after famous skiers….   Anselme Baud, Glen Plake, de Benedetti,  McConkey, and Vallençant…


We are undertaking some modifications in some of the bathrooms too.
New custom-sized mirrors have been cut by the local glazier and we are planning some lovely, thick, distressed pine frames aged to fit in with that alpine chalet feel.  They should look good!

Roll on the snow and the start of the ski season!

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