September 2018 Newsletter
Every month we will be sending out a news letter with seasonal recipes that we will be cooking at La Desmeuniere over the coming season, a few bits of news from us and from Morzine and what availability and special offers we have.
What we’ve been up to…
We’ve been working very hard over the summer organising the start-up of our company. We haven’t stopped since we got married on the 1st of June this year. We even had a month apart when I went to work on a yacht in the Mediterranean leaving Aneta to deal with all the bookings and the last bits of setting up the company. In fact, I signed the registration documents the morning I was leaving to head south; talk about cutting it fine!
The plan has been to come to Aneta’s home town Przemyśl in Poland to have her documents changed and get a European marriage certificate in preparation for Brexit. It has sort of been our mini moon (which I didn’t know existed until we had a booking for a lovely couple who have chosen to stay with us for theirs!). We’ve made the most of it by driving here in our faithful Volvo and making a few stops along the way.
In true Falkner fashion, we had about a million things to do before we left so the first leg was a short one over to Stuttgart, where we stayed in a sleepy little village for the night. We were recommended a traditional German restaurant by our AirBnb host called Deutschen Haus. It couldn’t have been more German. We enjoyed a quick beer and some braised beef with spaetzli and a really great salad with all sorts of pickled vegetables in it. The spaetzli was so good I’m working on a dish for the winter.
The next stop on our road trip was Prague. Neither of us had been to Czech before, we didn’t even realise that they had their own currency, Czech koruna. Also, you have to buy a vignette like Switzerland to drive in Czech. Luckily, we saw the sign. Prague is a pretty big city full of amazing architecture and lots of tourist! Even in mid-September it was pretty packed. We asked our AirBnb hosts for some recommendations (always good to ask a local!). We skipped Prague castle and went to a farmers/street food market by the river for lunch and then to Vyšehrad and the Saint Peter and Paul Basilica, which was really beautiful and not over crowded. We walked around the wall of the castle and took in some great views of the city. We checked out a few of the other touristy spots including the Jewish Quarter and the old town square where I was trying to get a picture of a street performer’s snake to scare one of my friends and promptly had it hung around my neck!
Street Food Market
Aneta enjoying her dinner
Wasn’t expecting that
The last stop before we got to Aneta’s parents was Kraków. This has been on my list for a long time. We took a day and drove out of the city to Oświęcim to visit Auschwitz. We only saw the original camp which had previously been a barracks of the Polish army before it was taken over by the Nazis. Now it is a museum with many different Holocaust related exhibitions and a lot to see in one day. One of the most interesting was about the Jewish population in France before WW2.
Triple fence at Auchwitz
Prisoners living conditions exhibition
On the way into the city centre that evening the Uber driver (local Knowledge again) told us to go on a free walking tour (it’s not really free, it’s up to you to decide how much to pay the guide at the end). We found a restaurant called the Czarna Kaczka (the black duck) where they specialise in duck surprisingly! We had a whole roasted duck to share with potato dumplings, red cabbage and mushroom sauce. It was fantastic, something special about a whole roasted duck. The breast although cooked all the way through was so succulent, more so than when the breast is cooked on its own. We walked back through the park and booked ourselves on to the Jewish Quarter tour for the next day with Kraków Explores. Our guide Bartek, an archaeology graduate, literally knew everything about his city. He took us on a trip around the city from when the Jewish people first started to arrive in Poland up to the present day.
Like the Broly Bartek
One of the twelve synagogue’s in Kraków
Aneta’s home town Przemyśl
Since we arrived in Przemyśl it has been back to work putting together our summer webpage and chipping away at the winter season preparation. Oh, and a couple of visits to the forest with Aneta’s dad, Janek, mushroom picking and cooking with Dorota, Aneta’s mum. Dorota has been making sure we know how to make the essential Polish dishes like Pierogi and Szarlotka. The recipe is below!
Watch out for the bears
Some big mushrooms in this forest
Even bigger, had to take the shotgun to this one!
As we picked so many mushrooms with Janek we had to use them up! So, we dried a batch for mushroom stock and made a hearty broth to warm us up now the weather is on the turn. The apple tree in the garden was jam-packed with cooking apples so we made a Szarlotka, a sort of apple pie.
Yield: 12 portions
Preservation: 2 days
1kg Wild or button mushrooms
250g Smoked bacon (optional)
2 Large onion
4 Celery branches
4 Large potatoes
2 Garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1tbs Tomato puree
2lt Chicken (mushroom/vegetable stock)
Parsley, chives, tarragon
Clean the mushrooms, then wash them 3 times in cold water, spread them out on a tray with a kitchen towel beneath and on top, leave to dry (overnight ideally).
Remove the skin and/or any bones from the bacon and dice in to 1cm pieces, moderately heat a large pot with a splash of olive oil and add the diced bacon, gently fry for a few minutes.
Peel and dice the onion, carrot, celery branch and celeriac into 1cm pieces, add the diced vegetables to the bacon, season with a pinch of salt, stir and cover for 5 minutes.
Peel and crush the garlic (by hand or garlic crusher is fine), add to the pot, stir and taste the vegetables. They should have started to soften.
Peel and dice the potatoes the same size as the vegetables and bacon, add them to the pot, stir and cover. Keep cooking on moderate heat with a lid on stirring frequently until the vegetables are soft but have no colour.
Slice up all the mushrooms as finely as you like, add to the softened vegetables, throw in the bay leaf and cover (you may have to add half the mushroom’s and then the other half a few minutes later depending on the size of your pot).
Once the mushrooms have softened and there is only a little liquid left in the pot, add the tomato puree. Turn the heat up and keep stirring.
You can add a glass of wine or sherry at this stage if you like, if you do cook until the alcohol has almost reduced away then add the stock.
Bring to a boil, skim and leave to cook for a few minutes on a low heat. Season the soup and finish with chopped herbs before serving. A drizzle of truffle oil would also be a nice finish.
Diced Onion, Carrot, Celery
We were lucking enough to find plenty of Pied du Mouton or Hedgehog mushroom when we went to the forest with Janek, but you could use a mix or button mushrooms are great too. you might not need all the stock, so add what you need and save the rest. I like to let the soup stand after cooking for a while as it will thicken slightly as the potatoes release their starchy goodness. Also a dollop of crème fraiche wouldn’t hurt.
Preservation: 3 days
600g Plain flour
1tsp Baking powder
4 Egg yolks
4/5tbsp Sour cream/natural yoghurt
1 Vanilla pod (seeds)
2.5kg Cooking apples
Put the flour, baking powder and butter into a mixer (or mix by hand) with the paddle attachment. Slowly mix until breadcrumb consistency.
Add the sugar, mix through. Add in the rest of the pastry ingredients, mix to a rough dough. Turn out onto a work surface dusted with four and gently kneed the dough adding more flour if needed until a smooth texture with a little resistance.
Cut the dough in half and refrigerate for an hour or two. The dough can be frozen and saved for a later date.
Peel and core the apples and slice thinly on a mandolin if you have one (if not take your tie with a knife as the Szarlotka will not cook as evenly if they are too thick.
Grease and line (with baking paper) a 25cm by 40cm baking tray (ideally 10cm deep).
Roll out one half of the pastry to around 1/2cm and line the tray. Add half the apples to the tray as evenly a you can and generously sprinkle with cinnamon.
Add the remaining apples to the tray and sprinkle with more cinnamon.
Roll out the second half of the pastry to 1/2cm and cover the apples. Tuck the pastry in, but it doesn’t ned to be sealed with the bottom sheet. Alternatively, you can freeze the second half and grate coarsely like cheese and evenly sprinkle over the apples.
Bake at 160c for an hour and 180c for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool completely (best overnight if you can wait), dust with plenty of icing sugar before serving.
This is a really nice recipe as it’s not too tricky, the pastry isn’t very delicate to work with but is beautifully crumbly on top and soggy in a good way on the bottom where all the apple flavour has cooked into it. The most important parts are slicing the apples as thinly as possible and looking after it when it’s in the oven. In Poland, it is usually serves with whipped cream or ice cream. Mega!
Resort News/What’s New
New Chair lift in Chatel
A brand-new Pierre-Longue lift is going to be ready for the skiers and snowboarders coming to the Portes du Soleil at the start of this season. The old four-man chair in the Plaine Dranse bowl of Chatel, which has seen better days has been replaced with a new detachable six-man chair increasing the flow of people from 2,600-3,000 people an hour. This will definitely ease the queues at the bottom of the lift where there is a large beginner’s area and car park. Also, it’s a super fun run down to the bottom of the bowl via the Les Rochassons red, a very wide not overly steep run with lots of little fun bits of forest for kids and adults to bounce their ways through. I’m double pleased as the old lift dripped oil onto one of my favourite jackets a few years ago and the stain never came out!
La Cottage is being knocked down
We are saying good bye to one of Morzine's iconic buildings and favourite aprés bar on Pleney road. We knew since last year this day was gonna come when the building company bought it to build more luxury apartments, but still seeing this happening is pretty heart breaking for local people.
Great news everyone!!!
La Folie Douce Avoriaz is located inside an entirely new building on the site of Chez Lanvers, next to the Yeti on the Plateau in Avoriaz and includes a huge new terrace.
La folie Douce is launching one of its famous bars and restaurants in Avoriaz! This will be the first location in the amazing Portes du Soleil ski area and fantastic addition to the Avoriaz après scene.