“Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal” – Julia Child

We decided to kick off the spring with a home-made French dinner, in a very friendly and cozy surrounding at Ivi and Dimo’s place. There was a buzz of excitement. The little and precious Sofia was smiling the whole time, not letting us get crowded and tense in the kitchen. Although it might have seemed that there were only two of us making all of this possible, it was honestly nothing like that at all. Dimo started taking pictures, Ivi helped us make the little Eiffel towers that were part of the whole French experience and everyone intuitively knew their job, without having to shake hands on it. Beautiful music and a lovely mix of smells overflowed the apartment, while we gazed at the baguettes in the oven as they rose. It was lovely!

Now please let us capture this beautiful dining experience through a series of photographs taken by Ivi, Dimo and Darko. Thanks guys!

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The combination of crusty bread dipped into gooey baked soft cheese and topped with nuts, is an appetizer that will never let you down. When talking about French cuisine, the victors are definitely the baguettes accompanied by the soft and creamy cow’s milk cheeses Camembert and Brie.

 

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When you’ve got a craving for beef, there’s nothing better than biting into a juicy, meaty chunk. Without doubt, the right cookbook for choosing the best beef recipes is “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child. Bifteck sauté à la Bordelaise. How wonderful that sounds. And the flavor … you can just imagine! At first we were very disappointed, because on the day the dinner took place, we couldn’t find the right beef cut – a proper bifteck (beef steak). Still, we figured that you can’t go wrong with any beef cut sautéed in buttery sauce and red wine, blended together with all its tasty juices.

 

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A banana and caramel tart is possibly the ultimate treat for dessert! We fell in love with this delicious treat. A tasty buttery base and sumptuous caramel filling make for a divine combination. Just one bite of these tarts and you’ll be in paradise. It’s absolutely worth letting your diet boundaries loose for a day: ) The balance between the fresh banana and the rich caramel, undoubtedly makes this dessert the queen of tarts.

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At the end of the day, it’s all about abundance and a sense of being spoiled. If people aren’t rolling out the door, the meal is not a success.

 

 

Photo Credits: Ivi & Dimi and Darko Hristov

Proofread by: Simona Veselinska

 

Recipes

 



Ingredients

For 3 middle sized baguettes
Dry active yeast 11g
Water 375 ml
All-purpose flour 500 grams
Salt

Instructions

The key to creating this beautiful bread is the water and the baking environment.
In a big bowl mix the water, the yeast and the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon and don’t be afraid if the dough is very sticky. It should be!
Then, let it rise for 12-14 hours or until doubled in size. Punch down and shape loaves,  then let it rise in a covered, floured plastic bin for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs or until almost doubled.
To be perfect, a real baguette needs to be crusty and golden in color. That’s why you need to baked it on the highest temperature (in our case it was 250°C) and sprinkle it with water before baking, then at 5 minutes and again at 10 minutes during baking time.



Ingredients

Camembert 150g
Brie 150g
Dried cranberries 100g
Mixed nuts 100g
Garlic 1 clove
Fresh rosemary
Sea salt a pinch
Dried cranberries 100g
Almonds 100g
Slices baguette

Instructions

This receipt is very easy to prepare.
The cheese needs to be beautify baked.So, baked it 15 to 20 minutes on 180 C, or until it is gorgeous and oozy in the middle. For additional flavour cut off the top layer of the skin of the cheese and put inside garlic and fresh rosemary. While the cheese is baking, finely chop the cranberries and the almonds.
Put everything on wooden board and start. A slice of crusty baguette, melting cheese, chopped cranberry and almonds and than … heaven.


Ingredients

Beef steak 200g per person
Olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Butter
Minced small shallot
Red wine 125ml

Instructions

Pan-broiled steak is a very nice method for cooking small steaks. None of the juice essences are lost and it’s easy to tell when the steak is done.
Put the oil in the skillet and place over moderately high heat. Sauté the steak on one side for 3 to 4 minutes and regulate the heat so the fat is always very hot, but not burning. Turn the steak and sauté the other side for 3 to 4 minutes. The steak is done depending on your taste. There are different levels of stake-readiness (rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, well done). To check the desired doneness, press the steak with your fingers  or make a small incision in the steak.
Remove the steak to a hot platter and season it with salt and pepper. Keep warm for a moment to complete the sauce.
Add the butter. Stir in the shallots and cook slowly for a minute. Pour the wine and boil it rapidly, scraping up the coagulated juices for the bottom of the pan until the liquid has turned into a syrup.
Spread the sauce over the steak and serve.


Ingredients

Tart base:
Pastry flour / All purpose flour  250 g
Pinch of salt
Sugar 110 g
Grated zest of 1/2 a lemon (optional)
Cold butter in cubes, 125 g
1 egg and 1 egg yolk (60 to 70 g in total)

Banana caramel:
Bananas 2
Milk full fat 100ml
Brown sugar 80 gr

Cream topping:
Cream 300ml
Dark chocolate 70gr
Bananas 2

Instructions

Tart base:
Combine flour and salt. Add the cold butter cubes and combine until you have a wet consistency. Add the sugar, lemon zest, the egg and egg yolk and quickly bring together to form a dough, without overworking it (you want minimal gluten development, the pastry has to be crumbly and short). Wrap with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Banana caramel:
Mix the two bananas with the milk until well-combined and smooth. In a pan, over high heat melt the caster sugar. Don’t stir it, just gently tilt from side to side as it melts into a dark caramel color. Add the banana milk mixture to the toffee, stirring until the toffee melts back into the bananas. Pour into the pie case and freeze for 20 minutes (we didn’t need it ready for 30 minutes, so we just placed it in the fridge). In the end, cut the 2 extra bananas into circles and spread them evenly on the caramel topping. Whiz the cream, but not too stiff. You can add coffee liqueur or vanilla extract to richen it and gain more flavor. Spread it roughly on top of the tart and add sprinkles some of that beautiful dark chocolate. Remember, always use a good quality chocolate! Always!


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