I see some of you have been in a naughty mood recently, landing here with Google requests such as "How to seduce my flatmate" and "Brussel sprout dessert". Now I'd like to point to you that although I don't have definitive answers for either of those problems, I am about to find out whether the pear tart previously featured on this blog did the trick. I will let you know.

For Brussel sprouts, I would recommend a Tatin approach. Caramelise the bottom of a manqué or Tatin pan (what the heck [y a pas à tortiller], pomegranate molasses will doodledo), arrange the sprouts, season well, precook the little dudes for 20', cover with puff pastry and tuck in the edges (hospital corners please), bake 20 more minutes, et voilà, Brussel sprout dessert. Have I tried it, no. I bet it's fab.

On with the naughty mood - I have been secretly baking at my workplace in the past. Secret-wise, it wasn't a success. I had this fun recipe where you mix flour, baking soda and a can of beer (I'm only human, how could I not try it) and you get a loaf. It's fun, it's fast, and the recipe is on the back of my wholemeal flour packet. Or here. The embassy smelled of warm beer throughout the morning. Then of warm bread. Pretty cool, I'd say. People were walking around with fluttering nostrils and puzzled looks. A little like rabbits.

Today, secret poulet à la crème. Again, hard to shush. For about 7 French gourmets:

One chicken and a couple of extra thighs; 7tbsp butter; one fat onion; a dozen button/white/Paris mushrooms; 2 garlic cloves; a glass of white Bourgogne (a Mâcon-Fuissé here), a dash of lemon juice, a tied bunch of herbs (thyme, bay leaf, rosemary), about a quart of heavy cream (I know, I know).

Cut up the chicken in bits if your butcher hasn't. Slice off the thighs and snap the joints,then cut horizontally through the ribcage to get the breasts and cross-cut to free the wing/breast combo from the bottom (which you will not discard but save for broth. Winter is coming guys).


This time, it wasn't Colonel Mustard who'd dunnit. Cut the guy some slack, will you (lâchez lui la grappe deux secondes).

Flip over, split the sternum lengthwise to have two separate breasts, then cut off the wings at the "elbow" joint. The ribcage is still attached to the breasts, it doesn't matter. More flavours, more bits to nibble from. Less work (ahh - I got your attention there). Season the pieces with salt and pepper.


Cooking poulet à la crème in an Upper East Side office. Improbable yet tasty.

Then melt the butter in a large pan (I used two medium-sized ones), and colour the chicken on all sides (leave the skin on, you're have stopped counting calories a long time ago). Halfway though the colouring process, add the cloves of garlic, which you will have smashed (écrabouillé) with the flat side of a large knife, the onion cut in large wedges, the mushrooms cut in four, and add the herb bunch. Don't let the butter burn.


Deglaze with a generous splash of wine, scraping the bottom to get all the good bits (although your arteries will say otherwise), let it reduce for a bit. I then transfered all the chicken pieces and veggies to my larger pan and doused the whole thing with the cream. Stir to combine the juices, and leave to simmer on medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes. Prepare rice, or fresh pasta, in the meantime.


At the end of the 30 minutes, spoon out the 'shrooms and the chicken, and add the juice of about half a lemon to the sauce. It won't curdle on you, pinky-swear (juré craché). Taste, adjust seasoning. Leave it to reduce a little longer if you want a thicker consistency. If you're Mrs/Mr Fancy Pants, dish the rice in a large hollow platter warmed in the oven, then arrange the chicken pieces on top and spoon the cream sauce over them. Rejoice and give thanks for George Blanc's granny.

If you're not Mr/Mrs Fancy Pants, scramble around for some plastic cutlery, paper plates and plastic glasses, and have a picnic in the meeting room of the fourth floor. Down the rest of the bottle.


Yum. Miam.