A Rant, A Rave, and a Flognarde

I can’t quite figure out why it takes 3 or 4 months to get Australian food magazines into the shops here in the States. One month, sure. I’d understand. I suppose normally, it doesn’t matter. There’s a new one each publishing period, and the seasons are out of sync anyway, so it doesn’t exactly matter if it was published months ago or is right up to date. Except when I want to wish the fine folks at one of my favorite food magazines, Gourmet Traveller, a Happy Anniversary after reading their 40th Birthday issue, and now it just sounds silly because it’s now November and the issue came out in August. But, despite the delay, this was an issue that I can’t help but to comment on.

To begin with, the issue contains one of the funniest articles I’ve ever read in a magazine, much less a food magazine. So funny that I forced my husband to sit through me reading it aloud to him, something I could barely do because I kept nearly crying from laughing too much. It’s almost as funny as a Bill Bryson story. I mean who would ever expect to read this in a foodie mag:

“I walk across a beach, and in 30 seconds, I knew it was the worst beach in Minorca. The sea was fine, the sand was okay, the view was lovely, it was clean and sheltered. I got off it as soon as I could. People occasionally ask, where are the best beaches in the world? And I always reply it depends on who you are with. But I can tell you how to tell the worst beaches in the world: they’re the ones with the bare-naked people on them.” (Gourmet Traveller, Aug 06, Song Sung Blue, p 55)

Oh, it goes on and it gets better. “I’m also often asked for insiders’ tips on being able to tell a good restaurant from the other sort. My advice is to enter, ask for a menu, order some food, and when it arrives, eat it. Generally, the inquirers are not satisfied with this.” He continues, “What they want is a tip, a secret inside sign. Okay. Well, don’t eat in a restaurant that has ankle-deep pools of vomit outside.”

All this leads up to, well, something entirely different that I don’t want to spoil for you. Suffice it to say, author AA Gill had a few more rants on his mind and I just love a sardonic wit.

But, there’s certainly more to this issue than the Song Sung Blue article. I dog-eared page after page of beautifully shot recipes to try in this issue (as I seem to do with all of them… my must try recipe list is now approaching the 3 digit mark), including one for an Apple and Pear Flognarde. Honestly, I’m not even sure how to pronounce Flognarde, but it looked so delicious and I had a whole bowl of apples and pears to use.

Flognarde is a Flemish take on clafoutis, and eggy custardy baked pancaky sort of dessert. It’s basically a bread pudding without the bread, so the fruit takes on a much bigger role. It’s so easy to make, the hardest part is probably peeling all the apples. The Gourmet Traveller recipe calls for double cream as a topping, but I think this would be even more delightful with a big scoop of vanilla and some plum sauce.

I followed the recipe quite to a T this time… well almost to a T… I left out the oil called for in the original, and dotted the top of the fruit with little cubes of butter instead. The recipe below reflects this change.

Also, in many of the recipes on this site, like this one, I call for casters sugar. If you don’t have caster’s sugar or superfine sugar, you can fairly easily make your own. Just throw some regular granulated sugar into a food processor and let it spin for about 5 minutes. I learned this trick from More from ACE Bakery, which I recently received a copy of to review, and it’s already come in handy a couple of times when I ran out of casters. More from this cookbook next week.

Apple and Pear Flognarde
(recipe from Gourmet Traveller, Aug 06, p 93)

3 cooking apples
3 ripe pears (bosc or other firm fruited pear)
1 T unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup casters sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly grease a shallow ceramic dish.

Peel and core the apples and pears, and slice into wedges. Place them in the baking dish and dot with the butter cubes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and flour. When just combined, add the milk and stir in till smooth. Pour the batter over the fruit.

Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. The edges will tend to brown a bit more than the middle, so you might want to cover them with some foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and dust with powdered sugar if desired. Best served immediately while still warm.

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  • http://www.dessertfirst.typepad.com Anita

    What a beautiful use of fruit! Your photos are always amazing! And I agree with you about the frustration of getting foreign magazines in the U.S. – I’m always haunting the local Japanese bookstore to see when they’re getting the latest cookbooks!

  • http://web.mac.com/tannajones Tanna

    Bill Bryson funny – really funny – have to look for this mag at the library.
    Beautiful pictures. That is a wow dish even if you can’t pronounce it – fun name.

  • http://foodbeam.blogspot.com fanny

    That’s indeed a very funny piece of writing!
    And your flognarde; what a delight for the eyes – and i suspect for the tummy (well palate) too!

    – fanny

  • http://www.davidlebovitz.com david

    Hmmm, that’s funny. I always thought the best beaches were the ones WITH bare-assed people on them. Either they’re going to the wrong beaches…or I’m going to the right ones!

  • http://www.beaskitchen.com/blog/ Bea at La Tartine Gourmande

    Yum, lovely looking. So much my kind of dessert! I have the same issue with the French magazines to which I was once told by a customer repr. that it is because they had to be sent from France! ??? So I asked: “and so, do they come on a boat or what?” I know how long it takes for a letter to get to my parents!

  • http://www.genevestewart.com Geneve

    I have to find that magazine to read the rest of that hilarious article – thanks for the tip!
    Your flognarde looks beautiful.

  • http://www.culinaryconcoctionsbypeabody.com/ peabody

    It’s pretty much a clafouti but it looks wonderful. I have apples and pears right now and I am seriously considering making this today.

  • http://www.rasamalaysia.com Rasa Malaysia

    I found your website through my friend Austin’s Real Thai. Your pictures are soooooo beautiful and delectable. I sat there in front of my computer salivating over all your Flickr pictures.

    Your photography skills are truly inspiring to a novice like me.

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  • http://www.bakingandbooks.com Ari (Baking and Books)

    The other day I saw an Australian cooking magazine (by Fran something, don’t remember her last name) at Barnes and Noble – it looked really unique and interesting! Amazing photos too. But in the end I didn’t buy it because it was so much more expensive.

    This dish looks great!

  • http://www.cookandeat.com/ L

    Anita – Thanks! And yes, with books it’s even longer!!!

    Tanna – :-) Thanks!

    Fanny – Yes, it’s such a nice dessert for a cool fall day. Thank you!

    David – I suppose it does depend upon who is going nekkid… AA Gill apparently always finds the people who should shower with clothes on. :-) Thanks for the note!

    Bea – I couldn’t help to think of your beautiful clafoutis when I was making this! And, who knows what they do for shipping the magazines. I think it would be quicker for me to swim over there and get one!

    Geneve – Thank you!

    Peabody – You should!

    Rasa – Thanks!

    Ari – There are so many great Aussie food magazines… Australian Vogue Travel & Entertainment, Donna Hay, Gourmet Traveller… but they are really pricy. In fact, they are even more expensive if you buy a subscription rather than purchasing them at the store! But, perhaps you get them a bit quicker by paying big $$ for the shipping. Thanks for your comment!

  • http://noemiecuisine.canalblog.com Noémie

    Hi! that’s indeed a funny article! can’t imagine the rest of it! The flognarde is a perfect dessert for automn and it a good variant to clafoutis. I love it still warm with some vanilla whipped cream -or ice cream. By the way, I just love your blog’s new look!! I have missed a lot during my absence, but I can tell you that you’re still amazing me!

  • michelle

    we suffer the same delays here in australia – the american food magazines are always a few months behind, and of course your winter is our summer, so the food doesn’t match the weather! it was a good issue though, and your dessert looks beautiful.

  • http://dessertandcoffee.blogspot.com Orlena

    Hi, I just somehow stumbled upon your website and Wow, that looks really good! I’m just a amateur but do love to bake! Thanks for sharing your pictures and the dessert. I have GOT to try this!

  • http://www.cuisinequotidienne.blogspot.com Betty C.

    I can’t remember if you’re a writer for Well Fed but this post sure looks like something that could go on Paper Palate — (www.paperpalate.net). I just love your blog layout too.

  • Denise

    It’s funny, we live in the land of abundance (North America) but I too love the Australian food mags. I sometimes get the expensive ones but even their supermarkets put out great glossy mags and they’re CHEAP (if bought in Oz). I get whoever is visiting there to bring me some and have never thrown one out. They have such good, easy recipes. As for being able to get fresh fruit and veg. year round i.e. unimported… sigh. And as for their fudge – don’t even get me started.

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