Clafoutis

Clafoutis

Bruno
Clafoutis is by definition a seasonal baked desert of French origins using fresh black cherries. My Clafoutis (clafouti) recipe uses frozen cherries as these are available year round and so is no longer confined to be a seasonal desert. Clafoutis was among one of Monet's favourite deserts.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Pie dish, Ø of about 24 cm

Ingredients
  

  • 600 g Cherries frozen, 1 bag
  • 125 g Flour all purpose or pastry
  • 150 g Sugar superfine
  • 2 Eggs
  • 100 ml Milk
  • 8 g Vanilla sugar 1 sachet
  • 1 tbsp Butter softened, for greasing pie dish
  • 1 pinch Salt

Instructions
 

Cherries

  • Thaw cherries overnight in refrigerator
  • Strain cherries keeping liquid and setting aside in a small sauce pan

Batter

  • Add flour to a medium sized bowl
  • Add 50 grams of the sugar, the vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt, then stir to combine
  • Add milk to a small bowl and break the eggs into the milk
  • Scramble the eggs and milk with a fork until well blended
  • Add egg and milk mixture to flour and whisk to obtain a smooth pancake like batter

Pie

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Grease the pie dish with the butter
  • Place the strained cherries into the pie dish in a single layer
  • Pour the batter evenly over the cherries
  • Sprinkle 50 grams of the sugar evenly over the top of the pie
  • Bake for 45 minutes

Coulis

  • Add the remaining 50 grams of the sugar to the sauce pan with the cherry juices
  • Simmer on low heat until all the sugar is dissolved and he juices have reduced and thickened to a fairly thick syrup (think honey)
  • Set aside to cool
  • Drizzle artistically over servings of Clafoutis and serving dish

Notes

If cherries are in season, by all means use about 500 grams of fresh cherries with stems removed and pitted, although leaving the pits in is permissible and, according to tradition, even desirable as it is said to enhance the flavours and aromas of the Clafoutis. Alas, in that case serve this dessert with a warning and, please, no cherry pit spitting contests 🙂
In any event, use black cherries if available.
If using fresh cherries you will not have the juices to make the coulis. Of course you can always take a handful of cherries, turn them into a puree with a blender and strain out the juices to make the coulis.
Keyword cafloutis, dried cherries, easy, flan

The original source for this recipe came from the book “The Monet Cookbook – Recipes from Giverny” available from Amazon.

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Chocolatey Pear And Amaretto Cheesecake

This cheesecake has to be my all time favourite cheesecake and will impress your guests and make them beg for seconds. It takes a bit of time but is actually easy to make and requires no baking.

Chocolatey Pear And Amaretto Cheesecake

Bruno
This decadent and somewhat exotic cheesecake is like no other and is suitable for the highest level of gourmet entertaining. The ingredients are fairly common but also easily substituted. The fact that it does not require any baking might be a welcome change too.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Setting Times 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine International
Servings 10

Equipment

  • Spring Form of about 24 cm Ø.

Ingredients
  

Poached Pears

  • 2 Pears large, ripe, preferably Bosc
  • 50 g Sugar Super Fine or Caster
  • 100 ml Water
  • 1 Vanilla Pod

Cake Bottom

  • 150 g Graham Cracker Crumbs see notes
  • 50 g Butter unsalted
  • 4 tbsp Nutella see notes

Filling

  • 300 g Cream Cheese Philadelphia type
  • 125 g Sugar Super Fine or Caster
  • 550 ml Whipping Cream 35%
  • 3 tbsp Amaretto Liqueur e.g. Disaronno
  • 100 g Amaretti Biscuits see notes

Decoration

  • 60 g Chocolate Dark or Semi Sweet
  • 1 tbsp Icing Sugar

Instructions
 

Poached Pears

  • Peal and quarter pears
  • Core the quarters
  • Slice quarters in half lengthwise to end up with ⅛ slices
  • Chop the slices into 4-5 mm chunks
  • In a small saucepan dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat
  • Split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into a large bowl
  • Cut the pod halves in two and add to the sugar syrup simmering 5 minutes to infuse
  • Remove the vanilla pod pieces and add the pears
  • Simmer for 10 minutes
  • Strain, set aside and let pears cool off

Cake Bottom

  • Add Graham Cracker Crumbs to a medium sized bowl
  • In a small sauce pan melt the butter
  • Add the Nutella and stir to dissolve
  • Add this mixture to the Graham Cracker Crumbs and mix really well
  • Tip this mix into the spring form and distribute evenly over the bottom pressing it down firmly
  • Place in refrigerator for 45 minutes

Filling

  • Crush the Amaretti Bisquits using a rolling pin until you get crumbs about the size of Panko crumbs
  • Add the cream cheese to the bowl with the vanilla seeds
  • Add the sugar
  • Using a hand mixer or a whisk beat the mixture until evenly mixed and creamy
  • Slowly add 450 ml of the cream while continuing to mix
  • Add the Amaretto liqueur
  • Continue to beat the mixture at an increased speed until you get a soft peaks consistency
  • Fold in the Amaretti crumbs and the poached pear chunks
  • Remove the spring form from the fridge
  • Ladle the filling over the cake bottom and level the surface
  • Chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes until well set
  • Pour the remaining 50 ml of cream over top in a thin layer
  • Chill again for a minimum of 30 minutes
  • Unmold the cake by running a thin-bladed knife around the edges of the cake and pop off the spring form rim
  • Use a palette or pastry knife slid under the cake and transfer to a suitable flat serving plate or cake bell

Decoration

  • Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl (see notes)
  • Spread the chocolate in a thin, even layer over a smooth surface such as a marble slab, Corian type countertop or the underside of a clean baking sheet
  • Let cool off until set
  • Using a sharp knife held at an angle of about 25° and working quickly, draw it across the surface to shave the chocolate into good sized curls
  • Arrange the chocolate curls on top of the cake
  • Finish this masterpiece by dusting it with icing sugar

Notes

Instead of using Graham Cracker Crumbs you can also use digestive biscuits turned into fine crumbs using a blender or food processor.
Nutella can be substituted with any other chocolate spread especially if you have allergies to nuts.
If you can’t find Amaretti biscuits in your local supermarket just make your own a day ahead (See my recipe here).
Melting chocolate the traditional way over a hot water bath has never worked well for me so I use the microwave as follows (adjust process according to how powerful your microwave is – my current one is not):
  • Blast chocolate at full power for 30 seconds
  • Let sit for 60 seconds
  • Repeat
  • Test chocolate with a clean wooden or silicone spatula
  • If you can easily stir the chocolate, you’re done. If not, repeat the process until you can
Times given in this recipe are only approximate and the total time needed depends on how well you are organized or how good you are at multitasking as you can overlap some processes and have them going simultaneously.
Keyword amaretti, amaretto, bosc pears, cheesecake, chocolate, pears

This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I found in Gordon Ramseys book “Christmas with Gordon”.

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Proscuitto Wrapped Meatloaf

Most meatloaf recipes are pretty much the same and while perfectly good and satisfying, I always felt they lack imagination and are missing out on flavour. That said, there are typically two ingredients in conventional meatloaf recipes that I actually profoundly dislike. One is Ketchup and the other is Worcestershire Sauce. So here is a recipe that substitutes those two components with ingredients that I believe make for a better meat loaf. But there is more to it than just that, so…

Proscuitto Wrapped Meatloaf

Bruno
Take your same old boring meatloaf to the next level with this recipe and you will never go back to you the one your Grandma has handed down to you.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine International
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Meatloaf

  • 1 kg Ground beef regular or lean but not extra lean
  • 8-10 slices Proscuitto
  • 250 ml Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Onion large
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives pitted and chopped
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 3 cloves Garlic peeled, germ removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp BBQ sauce *see notes
  • ½ tin Tomato paste
  • 3 sprigs Thyme fresh, leafs only, *see notes
  • 1 sprig Rosemary fresh, leafs only, chopped, *see notes
  • 1 tsp Basil dried
  • 1 tsp Parsley dried
  • 3 tsp Beef bullion powder or 2 cubes crumbled
  • 1 tsp Black pepper

Glaze

  • 1 tin Tomato past about ¼ cup
  • 1 tbsp Honey e.g. wildflour
  • 3 tbsp Water warm
  • 2 tsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Hot sauce optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Oil or spray a suitable loaf form or baking dish

Glaze

  • Mix all ingredient in a small bowl and set aside

Loaf

  • Add Panko to a large bowl
  • Chop onion into chunks and purée in a blender
  • Add onion purée to Panko and mix well
  • Add all dry ingredients and mix well
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix well using your hands
  • Form mixture into a loaf
  • On a clean surface or cutting board lay out proscuitto in two overlapping rows of 4 slices and place loaf at one end
  • Start rolling the loaf across the proscuitto. It shoud pick up the proscuitto but you may have to coax it along to adhere to the loaf
  • If necessary, use two more slices of proscuitto to cover the ends of the log
  • Transfer the loaf into the prepared loaf tin or baking dish
  • Brush ½ the glaze generously over the loaf
  • Bake the loaf for 45 minutes
  • Remove from oven and brush it with most of the remaing glaze
  • Bake the loaf for an additional 30 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes
  • Turn out, brush remaining glaze over top and carve into slices about 20 to 25 mm thick
  • Serve with your favorite sides and gravy (Shown here wth Hasselback potato and green beans)

Notes

I use Bulls Eye Hickory BBQ sauce. It’s a staple in my house. Feel free to substitute with your favorite flavour, e.g. Chipotle, Guiness etc.
If fresh herbs are not available, substitute dry ones except for rosemary. Dried rosemary will not soften enough to integrate well into the finished loaf.
Keyword ground beef, panko, proscuitto
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Crispy Free Form Amaretti

Crispy Free Form Amaretti

Bruno
Amaretti are an Italian bitter-sweet almond flavored macaron. Amaretti cookies or bisquits are often used as an ingredient in some other recipe ( see notes). They can be hard to find in your local grocery stores however and may also be a seasonal item. This recipe is a super easy way to make some yourself with ingredients that every grocery store carries.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g Almond flour or ground almonds
  • 100 g Icing sugar
  • 3 Egg whites
  • 1 tsp Almond extract 2 for a stronger flavour

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl mix the almond flour or ground almonds with the icing sugar
  • Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks
  • Fold the egg whites and the almond extract into the almond/sugar mixture
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Using a couple of teaspoons, scoop up some Amaretti mix and drop onto the parchment paper leaving a couple of centimeters of space in between
  • Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours
  • Preheat the oven to 150°C
  • Bake the Amaretti for 30 minutes or to a nice golden colour
  • Let cool and store in an air tight container

Notes

An example of one of my recipes that uses Amaretti cookies is found HERE
Keyword almond extract, almond flour, amaretti
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Pear Torte Ticinese

Pear Torte Ticinese

Bruno
This pear torte has its origins in the Italian speaking Canton of Ticino in Switzerland. The Italian name of this torte would then be "Torta di pere alla Ticinese"
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Dough 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Swiss
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Spring Form (see end of post)

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 250 g Flour All Purpose
  • 150 g Butter unsalted, cold
  • 50 g Sugar
  • 2 ml Salt
  • 5 tbsp Water

Filling

  • 1 kg Pears Bosc, about 5-6
  • 4 Egg yolks
  • 100 g Sugar
  • 200 g Amaretti Cookies See notes
  • 150 ml Heavy cream 35%, Whipping cream

Instructions
 

For Dough

  • In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt
  • Cut butter into 1 – 2 cm cubes and add
  • Using your hands, quickly form into a crumbly dough mix
  • Continue to knead dough until you get a nice smooth consistency
  • Form dough into a ball, place on a plate and flatten it down a bit into a half round
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour

Tarte assembly

  • Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a diameter 5-6 cm larger than your spring form
  • Line form with dough pulling up dough on rim about 4-5 cm
  • Press dough carefully against rim and even out height
  • Using your thumb to make decorative impressions along the top of the dough rim
  • Use a fork to prick the dough bottom all over
  • Peel the pears, cut them in half and core them
  • Score the pear halves along their outside length spaced about 5mm and being careful not to cut all the way through
  • Arrange the pear halves radially on the tart bottom using a trimmed half for the middle piece

Filling

  • Using a rolling pin, crush and grind the Amaretti to about the size of coarse salt
  • In a medium bowl beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fluffy
  • Add the crushed Amaretti and fold in the cream
  • Pour and distribute the filling over the pears

To Bake

  • Preheat stove to 200°C
  • Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes
  • Cool and let set before slicing

Notes

If you can’t find Amaretti cookies, you can make them yourself with this quick and super easy recipe found HERE
You can make the dough for this recipe by combining all ingredients in a food processor and pulsing it until you get to the “crumbly” stage and then finishing it by hand.
The tart crust can also be formed by by using half the dough just for the bottom and the other half cut into thirds, rolled and formed into the rim.
Keyword amaretti, pears, torte

The spring forms I use are “Wilton Excelle” in 24 cm (9″) or 26.7 cm (10″) size as per below.

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Balsamic Roasted Potatoes And Carrots

The aromas that fill the kitchen and house when you are roasting potatoes and carrots infused with balsamic vinegar and combined with herbs like thyme and rosemary, will leave you salivating in anticipation of the finished dish.

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes And Carrots

Bruno
Roasting potatoes and carrots infused with aromas of balsamic vinegar, thyme and garlic makes for a wonderfully aromatic side dish to serve with pretty much any cool weather main dish.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Canadian, International
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 kg baby mixed colour potatoes cut in half
  • 500 g carrots peeled baby or baby cut
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled, germ removed and smashed
  • 2 shallots peeled and thinly sliced
  • 75 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 50 ml butter melted
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme (2 ml dried)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (see notes)
  • 5 ml salt
  • 2 ml pepper freshly ground

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 220°C
  • Line a large baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Arrange potatoes, carrots, shallots and garlic in a single layer on sheet
  • Combine the balsamic vinegar, melted butter, dried thyme, (if using), salt and pepper
  • Pour over vegetables and toss to coat
  • If fresh thyme and rosemary is used, insert the sprigs among the veggies
  • Cover the sheet with aluminum foil sealing the edges
  • Roast covered for 45 minutes giving it a good shake every now and then
  • Remove foil and roast for an additional 20 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally until potatoes and carrots are tender and golden
  • Remove any remaining sprigs or stems of the fresh thyme and rosemary (if using) before serving

Notes

I do not recommend using dried rosemary in this recipe as the needles will not soften sufficiently to make for a pleasant eating experience.
Keyword balsamic vinegar, carrots, potatoes, thyme
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Rosemary and Pecan Biscotti

Rosemary and Pecan Biscotti

Bruno
A savoury biscotti to serve at cocktails or with a hot bouillon. The aromatic rosemary is supported with a hint of cayenne pepper and the pecans round out the Umami of this unconventional biscotti.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Cooling between bakes 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine International, Italian
Servings 24 biscotti

Ingredients
  

  • 550 ml (2½ cups) Flour All-purpose
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) Baking Powder
  • 25 ml (1 tbsp) Rosemary Fresh, finely chopped
  • 2 ml (½ tsp) Salt
  • 1 ml (¼ tsp) Cayenne pepper
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 125 ml (½ cup) Butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 25 ml (2 tbsp) Milk
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Pecans coarsly chopped and lightly toasted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • To a large bowl add flour, rosemary, cayenne, salt and mix thoroughly
  • In a medium bowl beat eggs using an electric mixer until fluffy and pale yellow
  • With mixer running, add butter and milk
  • Add this mixture to the flour bowl and stir until combined
  • Stir in pecans
  • Moisten hands with water and grab half the dough
  • Form dough into a roll about 30 cm long and place on one long side of the baking sheet
  • Moisten hands as necessary and form the roll into a log about 33 cm long and 12 cm wide, flattening it down a bit on the process to get a nice biscotti profile
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough placing it on the other side of the baking sheet leaving a gap of about 5 cm between the two
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes to a stage where the dough develops some crack and appears firm when gently pressed on
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  • Reduce oven temperature to 160°C
  • Place loaf on a cutting board and, using a bread knife, cut crosswise into slices of about 10 to 15 mm cutting at a slight angle
  • Remove parchment paper from baking sheet and carefully place slices standing up on baking sheet maintaining a gap of 5 – 10 mm
  • Bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes or until biscotti feel dry when touched on the sides
  • Cool and store in a tight container

Notes

This recipe is easily altered to achieve different flavour profiles, e.g.:
  • Use walnuts instead of pecans
  • Use thyme leaves instead of rosemary
  • Add 200 ml of grated Parmesan
  • Use white wine instead of milk
  • Or, use your imagination
 
Keyword cocktail, nibbles, party snack, savoury
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Mixed Green Salad with Smoked Salmon and Crostini

We tend to associate this kind of salad with Spring and Summer. It can however make for a nice treat in any season.

Mixed Green Salad with Smoked Salmon and Crostini

Bruno
A flavourful salad that can be served at any time of the year.
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine International
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 4 cups Mixed Greens e.g. Mesclun
  • 6 slices Smoked Salmon
  • 12 pieces Crostini store bought or home made
  • 1 tbsp Capers
  • 10 g Parmesan for garnish shaved

Vinaigrette

  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard course grained
  • 1/2 tsp Basil dried
  • 1/2 tsp Tarragon dried
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a small bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Divide and arrange salad greens between six salad plates
  • Add a dab or two of cream cheese on each crostini and add to plate
  • On each plate top salad with an artistically arranged slice of smoked salmon
  • Place a few capers on each slice of smoked salmon
  • Spoon vinaigrette over each salad including salmon
  • Grind a few twists of black pepper over each salad
  • Garnish with a few shavings of Parmesan and serve

Notes

When fresh herbs are available use these in place of dried
If fresh parsley is available add a few leaves as additional garnish 
Keyword crostini, mixed greens, mixed salad, smoked salmon
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My “Easy Sunday Cake”

As the name says, the “Easy Sunday Cake” is incredibly easy to make and requires only a few ingredients, very little time to make and yet, is always a great hit with family and guests alike. Credit for the original recipe goes to my mother.

Jump to Recipe

Easy Sunday Cake

The “Easy Sunday Cake” is a light dessert that goes well with an after dinner coffee or digestive.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Swiss
Servings 12
Calories 347 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g (8 oz) Flour Pastry or all purpose
  • 250 g (8 oz) Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Milk
  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) Oil e.g. vegetable but NOT Olive oil
  • 1/2 package of Vanilla sugar
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) Baking powder
  • 100 g (3 – 4 oz) Hazelnuts or Filberts ground
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) Cocoa powder
  • Icing sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F)
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until foamy with a hand mixer.
  • Add milk and oil while continuing to mix on low speed
  • Incorporate flour, hazelnuts, baking powder, vanilla sugar and Cocoa powder
  • Pour mixture into a suitable baking pan (loaf, spring form, Bundt etc.)
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean
  • Let cake cool of and then finish with a dusting of icing sugar
Keyword cake, easy

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Trout Fillets Amandine aka “Truite Amandine”

Truite Amandine or Trout Fillets with Almonds is a fairly regular dish in our house. It’s easy to make, light fare, looks and tastes great and lends itself as everyday dinner as well as for entertaining.I typically use whole almonds and slice them myself. I like having a bit of skin on the almonds for colour as opposed to using store bought ones that are just plain white.

Trout Fillets Amandine aka “Truite Amandine”

Bruno
The recipe below is for 2-3 people, depending on the size of the fillet. Use 2 fillets if you are feeding more or if the fillets are small, use one per person.Make sure you serve a nice glass of white to go with that. I might suggest a Riesling of Cabinet quality.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 4
Calories 135 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large trout fillet 250 g (8 oz), skin on
  • 1 shallot finely sliced into rings
  • 6 almonds roasted and sliced or a small hand full if store bought sliced
  • 1 sprig of fresh dill or 1/2 tsp of dried parsely or thyme make suitable substitutes, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat you stove to 180°C (350°F)
  • Thoroughly wash the fillet in cold water, then pat dry
  • Prepare a piece or pieces of aluminum foil large enough to hold the fillet and butter them so the fillet doesn't stick
  • Place the fillet on the foil skin down
  • Dowse fillet with lemon juice to your taste
  • Sprinkle dill over fillets
  • Spread shallots over fillet
  • Distribute almonds over fillet
  • Add some salt and pepper to your liking
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (adjust time to your oven and your liking)
  • Finish on broil for 2 minutes or until you get a nice looking colour 🙂
  • Serve immediately with sides of your choice, e.g. rice, asparagus or what ever green is in your fridge
    Trout Fillets Amandine
Keyword almonds, fish, trout
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