Travelling is great, visiting new and exciting places all over the globe keeps my soul immensely happy but I find every time that I come home from somewhere I waste a fair amount of time dealing with post travel blues. So how do you deal with post travel blues? Well apart from booking more flights, I have found one of the best ways is to recreate travel memories at home and what better way than recreating some of the extremely tasty traditional dishes of that country? Creating smells and tastes that instantly take you back to foreign lands.
Last weekend I was invited down to London’s Bankside to cooking class hosted by Chef Katherine Frelon in London’s Borough Market to celebrate Bastille day. On the menu alongside French onion soup and white wine was the most incredible Croque Monsieurs I have tasted in my life, Katherine is quite simply a culinary queen. Instantly I was transported back to memories of time spent in the elegant city of Paris and my constant feelings of wanderlust were fulfilled (well for one evening at least!)
Ingredients (to make eight Croques)
- 40g unsalted butter
- 30g plain flour
- 600ml hot milk
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- pinch nutmeg
- 350g grated Gruyere
- 50g freshly grated Parmesan
- 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
- 4tsp Dijon mustard
- 8 slices of baked ham (Parsley if vegetarian)
- 16 slices of Sourdough bread lightly toasted
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the flour stirring all the time with a wooden spoon
- Slowly pour the hot milk into the pan whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened.
- Turn off the heat and add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, Dijon mustard, 50g of the grated Gruyere and all the Parmesan.
- Mix well and keep warm
- Add a slice of ham to 8 slices of lightly toasted sourdough bread, spoon over some cheese sauce and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. (Vegetarian option: instead of ham use parsley!)
- Top with another piece of toasted bread.
- Slather the tops of the sandwiches with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes in the oven
- Then grill for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is coloured and starts to bubble
- Serve hot with a crispy salad
- Serve with a fried egg on top and turn it into a Croque Madame!
For more of Katherine’s delicious recipes check out her book Shop. Cook. Eat