Mon, 8 Apr 2013 By Sally Ann Voak
Mountain air gives you a huge appetite – but pizza and beer every night won’t help improve your skiing or satisfy your taste buds!
In the image (above)
Lex Starling from Mountain Kitchen www.mountain-kitchen.com
Ali Ward-Lee of Alps Accommodation www.alpsaccommodation.com cook up a storm in Samoens, Grand Massif.
Alps Accommodation is a Samoens based chalet company it’s boss Ali Ward-Lee has 10 years’ experience of serving up great nosh for hungry skiers in France.
She says: “More and more skiers opt to prepare their own meals and use outside caterers on some evenings. My company* offers both options. It works out economically, so you can afford a restaurant trip as well.”
Ali’s top tips:
- When booking, check inventory details to find out what equipment is available in your chalet or apartment. All you need is an ovenproof casserole and baking dish, saucepans and a frying pan! French mountain kitchens often include pressure cookers – use with care!
- Pick easy recipes which will keep fresh and tasty until the last skier is down from the lift.
- Pack two important items: Bisto and Bird’s Custard Powder (hold luggage only!). See recipes below.
- Some supermarkets loan electric “Raclette” machines when you buy cheese. Get the blokes to set it up (with care), add baked potatoes, salad, fresh bread and charcuterie for a fantastic, gooey, cheese-y meal.
- Plan ahead. Many food shops close at lunchtime. Local wine merchants will be delighted to arrange a tasting of delicious Alpine wines. Sherpa Alimentation (in over 100 French ski resorts) will deliver free – useful for large groups.
- Local butchers often sell takeaway dishes like chilli con carne and “Tartiflette” (cheese and potato pie) as well as meat.
- Give the chef a rest – check out local caterers (on your holiday company’s website) for gourmet meals, delivered to your doorstep.
- Pack a shopping bag. French supermarkets don’t hand out plastic bags.
- Use leftover cold meat, salad, cheese etc, to make a picnic lunch. Just pick up a baguette on the way to the ski-bus.
- Important: at very high altitudes water boils at a lower temperature, so take care if you are boiling eggs or kids are in the kitchen.
CHICKEN AND CHORIZO HOTPOT Serves 10/12
You need: 4 medium onions, 6 garlic cloves, 1 tbsp olive oil, 250g chorizo (“extra fort”), 2 chicken stock cubes, 2 tsps Chicken Bisto, 2 x 400g cans chick peas, 10/12 chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces, 2 glasses red wine (about 350ml), 4 x 400 g cans chopped tomatoes, 2 large sliced peppers, 1 lemon, tomato ketchup or honey to taste, coriander or flat leaf parsley.
Peel and slice onion and garlic (wafer thin rounds). Heat olive oil in a spacious, heavy-bottomed pan, stir in onion and garlic, and seasoning. Cook gently until onions start to soften. Slice chorizo, and stir through, gently browning and releasing its oils. Add cubed chicken, stir for a few minutes, then add wine and cook until bubbling. Dissolve the stock cubes and Bisto in ½ pt boiling water and add. Increase heat, let it boil for a few minutes, add peppers and tomatoes. Return to boil, reduce heat and leave to simmer, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes until chicken is tender and veggies have merged together into a thick sauce. Stir in drained chick peas, reheat, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and lemon juice and a slug of honey or ketchup to taste. Serve with blob of crème fraiche and sprinkling of chopped coriander/parsley, rice or potatoes and salad. (Note: if no big pan available, prepare in batches and finish cooking in the oven in a large, ovenproof casserole, or two!)
LUXURY FISHERMAN’S PIE Serves 10/12
You need: large bag (750g) frozen mixed fish and prawns, defrosted; 800ml half-fat crème fraiche; 2tbsp cornflour, 150g Parmesan, grated, 5 hard-boiled eggs, in quarters, 4 tsp Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste, 8-10 large potatoes and milk and/or butter for mashing, 100g Cheddar, Comté or Gruyère cheese, bag of plain crisps.
Preheat oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas Mark 7. In a large bowl, mix cornflour with four tbsps of the crème fraiche. Gently fold in defrosted mixed fish. Season, spoon into large ovenproof dish. Arrange egg quarters over fish, then top with mashed potato, remaining Parmesan, grated cheddar and crushed crisps. Bake in the centre of the oven for 35-45 minutes until nicely golden, and piping hot in the middle.
Email or send us your most successful chalet recipe, plus a snap of your ski group enjoying the grub. We’ll ask Ali, and her gourmet catering pal Lexi Starling from Mountain Kitchen (www.mountain-kitchen.com), to choose the best.
Lex’s advice: “We’ll be looking for recipes with an original twist. For instance, one of our most popular dishes is Greek Moussaka made with classic aubergine, minced beef or lamb and cheese, plus an additional layer of potatoes. Add a large mixed salad and fruit to top up energy reserves for those early morning red and black runs!”
APPLE BRIOCHE PUD WITH BRANDY CUSTARD Serves: 10/12
You need: 300g brioche slices, 250g butter, 300g soft brown sugar, 100g ground almonds (optional), 6 eating apples, honey to drizzle.
Rub brioche pieces together with your hands to make large breadcrumbs. Add butter pieces and rub through with fingertips until broken down into breadcrumbs (leftover breakfast croissants can be mixed in) .Stir in sugar and almonds, if used. Peel and slice apples, place in the bottom of large or individual ovenproof dishes, drizzle with a little honey and cover with topping. Bake at 180C/Fan for 40 minutes or until caramelising around the edges and lightly browned.
Serve with custard, made according to packet instructions, with a slurp of brandy stirred in.