To me, one of the best things about France, is the wonderful food and drink on offer. I adore French food; from the croissants at breakfast, to the wonderful bread, rich pates and ripe cheeses at lunch, ending with butter and cream laden dinners, swiftly followed by the beautiful works of art that are French desserts and patisserie. If you are a drinker you can wash all this down with some beautiful wine, traditional cider or even some fizzy champagne. Needless to say, when I do visit France, I tend to overindulge somewhat…..
After a trip to France earlier this year, my Dad thoroughly spoilt me by surprising me with some mussels from Donald Russell. The quality of the mussels, as with all of the products I have sampled from Donald Russell, were fantastic. They were big and juicy and seemed perfect for some Moules Mariniere…
I adore Moules Marinieres, so creamy and garlicy with a big glug of white wine to measure however, this is not a particularly calorie friendly French dish and I had overindulged enough of late so it was time to go in search of some lower-fat options for a French meal for two.
For the starter, I came across a recipe in an old Slimming World magazine for cheese souffles and simply couldn’t resist trying it out.
Light Cheese Souffles
4 spring onions, chopped
Small handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
113g parmesan, grated
2 tsp low fat margarine
3 large eggs
225g low fat fromage frais
1 tsp English mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
2. Grease four ramekin with low fat margarine.
3. Place a teaspoon of grated parmesan inside of each ramekin and roll to evenly coat the inside of each one.
4. Separate the eggs and place the whites in a large clean mixing bowl.
5. Place the egg yolks in a separate bowl with the fromage frais, quark, mustard and cayenne pepper, seasoning well. Stir in the remaining parmesan making sure that the mixture is well combined before adding the spring onions and parsley.
6. Whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until stiff.
7. Add a quarter of the egg white mixture to the cheese mixture and fold in gently using a metal spoon. Fold in the rest of the egg whites until combined.
8. Gently spoon into the prepared ramekin and place on a baking tray. Cook for 12 – 15 minutes until golden and risen.
YUM! This recipe is most definitely a keeper! The souffles rose perfectly (although I probably could have cooked mine a little longer), they were very rich, creamy and cheesy and it was pretty much impossible to tell that they were a low-fat version. I would most definitely recommend this recipe, in fact, I may well cook this again for my next dinner party. It is so straightforward and tasty it would be rude not to!
I decided to cook the mussles ‘au provencale’ which is basically a lovely tomato sauce involving white wine, garlic and fresh herbs. I didn’t follow a particular recipe for this and just kind of threw it all together however, a recipe by Ed Baines can be found here.
The tomato flavour was a refreshing change to the cream laden alternative and it really complimented the juicy mussels. Of course, I couldn’t resist a few ‘frites’ to dunk in the sauce however, instead of deep-frying, I boiled them on the hob for 5 minutes or so before sprinkling with herbs, paprika and salt and pepper and baking in the oven for half an hour.
The conclusion? A wonderfully tasty French meal that was low in fat but did not sacrifice on taste which meant that we could accompany our meal with a glass of vino or two….result!