What a place France is. Pretty much everything about it, from the obvious great food and wine, to the climate. Even their relaxed and easy going over-confidence and assurance in that everything in France is the best is appealing to me. It makes me laugh and hey, a bit of confidence never did anybody any harm.
In my opinion, the best bit about France is of course the food. They somehow manage to make the most basic of foods sound posh. Take the Croque Monsieur. Two slices of white bread with a bit of ham and cheese in the middle, dipped in egg and cream and then fried. In other words, eggy bread to you and I. Eggy bread with a bit of ham and cheese in the middle.
Stick a fried egg on the top, it becomes a Croque Madame. Hilarious and brilliant at the same time. And that is why I love the French; they could turn a dog's dinner into a Michelin meal I'm sure. Well, at least they would think it was anyway. And that is all that matters. Sod the rest and all that.
I am partial to a bit of eggy bread, so I had a play around with this idea last week. Same philosophy, egg, cheese and ham, but with a few roasted mushrooms in there for good measure. And what evolved was rather delicious, served alongside some sautéed new potatoes and watercress. And I named it my Mushyeggybreadinarushy, which isn't as posh or as desirable sounding as a Croque Monsieur, but I don't care. I'm taking the French attitude from now on. Confidence is a preference. Au revoir mon ami.
Two large, thick slices of your bread of choice
Good sliced roast ham
200g field mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
25g plain flour
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tbsp English mustard
150g strong Cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
1 - First make your cheese and mustard sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour. Stir for one minute, then gradually add the milk, stirring all of the time until you have a thick white sauce. Stir in the egg yolks, cheese and mustard and taste for seasoning.
2 - Pre-heat the grill. Heat up the oil in a pan and add the mushrooms. Cook until beginning to turn golden and the water has evaporated.
3 - Toast the bread.
4 - Pile on the mushrooms, followed by the ham and then the cheese and mustard sauce. Place under the grill and cook until golden and bubbling.