Pork loin with Calvados sauce and hazelnuts

Pork, apples and Calvados is a classic French, specifically Norman combination. There is a reason why classic combinations endure and that is because they work. Continue reading


Normandy-style pheasant breast

Norman cooking uses the local ingredients and the most important ones are dairy produce and apples. In practice that means, butter, cream, apples, cider and calvados.

Pheasant is surprisingly cheap these days, so this is by no means a luxury dish, although it is a pretty classic combination.

I sautéed the seasoned breasts in butter for about three minutes on each side and left them in a warm oven to rest while I made the sauce.

I sautéed some cubes of Cox’s apples in the same butter that I’d used for the pheasant and then flambéed them with a good glug of calvados.Once the flames had died down, I added some crème fraiche and the juices that had come out of the pheasant while it was resting. Once the sauce was amalgamated, I served the sliced breasts with mustard mash and some steamed chard, with the apple pieces and sauce spooned over the top.

The whole thing took about 25 minutes to prepare and cook and was delicious.

Apple pancakes with crème anglaise

I made a pudding last night too.

We had some apples that had been hanging around for a while and were really past their best. I peeled, cored and chopped them and sautéed them in butter and sugar, then flambéed them in a big splash of Calvados. You could use brandy or even whisky if you don’t have Calvados, but I think that some alcohol is essential here for the extra depth of flavour. Grand Marnier would work too, but I think you would probably want to grate some orange zest into the cooking apples in that case, to give the dish a more orange quality.

I had already made some simple pancakes which were waiting on warmed plates and I topped these with the cooked apples and poured over some cold crème anglaise, which I’d made earlier in the afternoon. You could just as easily use a shop-bought custard or maybe vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream would also be nice. In a Breton crêperie, you would probably get a squirt of crème chantilly from a can, so that would be another option.