If, like many, you’re running out of ideas for how to occupy the kids while you’re all stuck indoors, why not get busy in the kitchen? Three Michelin starred Chef Eric Frechon at Le Bristol Paris recommends these two classic French recipes with a gourmet twist: Polenta Croque Monsieur and Hazelnut Spread Madeleines. Both are quick and easy to make for a savoury lunch with a sweet finish.
Add the ingredients to your next shopping or delivery list and enjoy preparing these simple recipes with the little ones in your life. Everyone will have fun working together and you will love the results!
Here’s how they’re made…
Polenta Croque Monsieur
750ml whole milk
40ml double cream
150g dried polenta
4 ham slices
4 emmental cheese slices
4 white bread slices
4 tsp butter, separated
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 160° C/ 325˚ F
Remove the crust from the bread slices and discard. Place bread into a food processor and mix until fine.
Bring milk to a boil on the stove.
Once the milk has reached a boil, add the dried polenta slowly whilst stirring constantly. Cook on low for 20 minutes, stirring regularly and adding the double cream incrementally to avoid sticking.
When polenta has cooked, remove it from flame and pour into a rectangular baking dish so that it reaches 1 cm thickness. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes to cool and firm.
Cut out 12 slices into 10 cm x 10 cm/ 4” x 4” squares
Place 4 of the polenta squares side-by-side on a baking sheet
Top each with 1 slice of emmental cheese and 1 slice of ham
Place a slice of polenta on top
Add one more layer of cheese and ham
Top with a final slice of polenta
Sprinkle each with breadcrumbs and 1 tsp butter
Place in oven for 15 minutes until the inside is warm and cheese is melted
Adjust oven to the grill setting for 30 seconds to brown the top of the sandwich
Serve and enjoy!
Hint from Chef Eric
‘This croque monsieur is delicious when served with a dollop of crème fraiche mixed with nutmeg or parmesan and a green salad.’
Hazelnut Spread Madeleines
1 small pot of hazelnut spread
35 ml milk
100 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
125 g flour
125 g melted butter
2 small eggs
½ packet yeast
1 tbsp butter (to grease the mould)
1 tbsp flour (to dust the mould)
Melt butter over low heat
Grease the madeleine mould with melted butter and dust with flour
Preheat oven to 210° C/ 410˚ F
Beat the eggs in a small bowl
In a mixing bowl, add eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla
Add melted butter, flour and yeast and stir until combined
Add mixture to madeleine mould until half full
Add a dollop of hazelnut spread to each madeleine and top with the remaining mixture until full
Bake for 10 minutes in the oven
Hint from Chef Eric
‘You can also make plain madeleines and fill them with strawberry or raspberry jam with a makeshift parchment paper pastry filler after you remove them from the oven.’
Try Chef Eric Frechon’s recipes at home with the kids and let us know what you think in the comments!