There is not one more word I can say about the heavenly, golden, glistening triumph that is aioli that hasn’t been chanted by very other cook before me. It is a great carrier – you can add all sorts of herbs, spices and ingredients and it only adds light and happiness to almost everything. Grande Aioli is when you surround the mayonnaise with salt cod, langoustines, snails, eggs and cooked vegetables – a typical Southern French Friday lunch.
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 egg yokes
tsp Dijon mustard
500ml extra virgin olive oil or 1/2 olive 1/2 vegetable oil
1. Mash the garlic and salt salt together with a mortar and pestle.
2. Stir in the egg yokes and mustard with the pestle then gradually add the oil drop by drop.
3. When half the oil is in add a little lemon juice and warm water and continue the stream of oil, stirring with the pestle till all is incorporated. Or make it with an electric beater or the food processor. You may add more salt or lemon juice to taste.
NB If it curdles, throw in an ice-cube and beat like mad. If that doesn’t work, take a clean bowl and crack an egg yoke into it. With the hand beater, gradually add in the turned mayonnaise.
Kesra – Moroccan bread
Makes 5 big rolls
30g fresh yeast or 1 tbsp dried
350ml warm water
500g plain flour
4 tbsp cornmeal
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 egg yolk, beaten with a little water for the glaze
1. Put the yeast, half the warm water and the sugar in a small bowl to activate – takes about 15 mins. It will start to bubble on the surface.
2. Sift the flour, cornmeal and salt into a large bowl or onto the bench and make a well in the centre.
3. Into the well pour the yeast mixture, half of the rest of the warm water, the beaten egg and the olive oil. Mix together till it forms a soft ball. Add more warm water if necessary. Turn out onto the floured bench and knead for 10 mins.
4. Divide the dough into five pieces and knead into slightly flattened round balls. Flour a tray, put them on it, sprinkle with more flour and cover with a clean cloth. Place in a warm corner of the kitchen and leave for 45 mins to double in size.
5. Preheat the oven to 200oC. Remove the cloth, prick the rolls in three or four places, brush with egg yoke and sprinkle with a little cornmeal and anise seeds. Bake for 25 mins till crisp and golden.
NB Moroccan cooks sometimes bake this bread in a tagine dish.
Fortunate students can attend her classes each summer in her spiritual home in the South of France. Her ‘Fete Accomplie’ culinary adventure is housed among the lavender and wild thyme in a traditional Mas (provencal farmhouse) at St. Victor des Oules near Uzes. She mixes the food as she does her tours – with great diversity. The itinerary starts with a pick up at Nimes train station. There’s a soupcon of cooking lessons, touring markets, visiting goat and snail farms, eating at top restaurants, guest French chefs and vineyard visits. At Nimes train station at the farewell, it seems even the most steel hearted bursts into tears. Ditto with her culinary adventures in Marrakesh. The itinerary starts with pick-up at Marrakech airport and is followed by a week of crushed rosebuds and falling pomegranates. Half the week is spent in the countryside and half in the medina, encompassing cooking classes, meals in Berber village homes, visits to wild country souks and organic gardens, chic restaurants in the French quarter and henna painting. Knowing Peta, the unexpected is to be expected.