Brik and The Parc de Bagatelle
Approx cost: €5
Approx calories (per Brik): ~400
Approx preparation and cooking time: 45 mins
H owdy folks – I was going to go picking blackberries and sweet chestnuts this weekend. Going out on Sunday I was rather dismayed to see that both places I’d planned on going for my gathering activities were literally chock-full of people. They were either out enjoying the wonderful weather or they had the same idea of gathering as I did. Regardless, they were, unfortunately, there first, so I went on my merry way.
So, what did I do this weekend? Well, I tried my first proper set of time-lapse photography. As I don’t have an intervalometer to hook up to my camera I drove down to a nearby lake, hooked up my laptop to my camera and set it to take photos every 10 seconds. The result is … ok. Not something worth showing to anyone, but I can share with you one of the stills, taken just as the sun is about to set. When you have a several hundred photos it’s incredible to see just how much the sun moves, even in 10 seconds
As for the “adventure” – well, I was in a bit of a quandary. I wanted to post some sort of “adventure” related photos, but don’t really have any. So, I decided that for situations such as these I might as well post a few photos I’ve taken in the past of various places which may (or may not ) be interesting, so I’ll start off with Parc de Bagatelle, just outside Paris (sorry, no English Wikipedia link available). I used to rent a (very, very) small studio apartment down the road from this lovely park when I was a student. It wasn’t until I’d been living there quite some time that I discovered it for the first time. It’s next to the “Bois de Boulogne” and has a small “château” inside but that’s far from the main attraction, which is of course the large, beautiful gardens. Lakes, large rock formations with waterfalls and a belvedere – a large hill with a spiral path going to the top. From the top you can see the park and also notice that even though you’re surrounded by peacefulness and tranquility the bustle of the city is not far away.
The park also has quite a large number of peacocks and peahens strutting around. I find the sound of peacocks very mournful – reminds me of childhood trips to a large country park – unfortunately it seems quite rare that the birds want to play along and put their feathers up, and of course when they do there is a flurry of attention from visitors, making it impossible to get any good photos! In these cases I was lucky to find a couple just resting in, and eating the grass. Armed with my zoom lens I was able to capture one of them just as he was trying to swallow a blade of grass the wrong way!
The park has a wonderful restaurant – I was lucky enough to go there recently for a brunch. It’s a very popular location for weddings and receptions so naturally they adapt their prices to match their popularity, but in the summer I can imagine it would make a lovely dinner location so you should definitely try and check this place out if you’re in the area! Behind the restaurant they have a building which is built to look like a small cottage – I’m not sure if it was ever used for anything in particular, but next to this there is a small “potager”, or kitchen garden. As per my last post the food grown here seems to mould away in the fall, but in the spring and summer it looks beautiful with many different fruits and vegetables being grown here. Past this they have a small set of steps into a hedged area which contains an oft-overlooked, but beautiful orchid garden. It’s nice to sit on one of the benches here and while away a few hours with a book or just sit and think!
So that’s the Parc de Bagatelle! Keep a look out for a little pathway carved through some rock which leads round to a seat behind a waterfall! I hope you liked the photos and I’ll try and have something more “fresh” for you next time! In case anyone wanted to download full size versions of any of these photos you can do so from my Downloads page. Now on to the recipe! Brik (pronounced “Breek”) are a Tunisian dish consisting of what is essentially “something”, wrapped in pastry. There are about as many different fillings as there are ways to fold the pastry, although the most common folding methods are either “small package”, “cigar shap” or “triangle”. You can make them sweet or savoury and they’re usually deep-fried, although you can shallow-fry them if you’re a bit nervous.
I’m making the recipe which my wife introduced me to here because, in my mind, it’s the best. I’ve had a few other types but this one has the ideal flavour in my mind. If you make these, be sure to leave at least one to try cold the next day. It might not sound tasty – especially since these are so delicious when they’re crispy and hot – but the next day, when cool, sure… they’re “soggy”, but they’re SO good! Enjoy
- 1 pack of “Warka” pastry (Brik pastry)
- 1 large tin Tuna in brine
- 4 tbsps Capers
- 4 eggs (2 boiled, 2 raw)
- 1 Onion
- 3 medium sized Potatoes, peeled and boiled
- 1 handful Parsley
- 1 bottle of Frying Oil (special or something like Peanut, or just Sunflower Oil)
- Start by chopping up the boiled eggs, parsley, potatoes (into small chunks) and onion. Add to a bowl with the capers. Drain the tuna and add this in too, give a few good grinds of salt and pepper and then add in one of the raw eggs and mix well until everything is blended.
- I like to roll mine in a “sort of almost” cigar shape (that’s how I say I’m not very good at rolling them ). I position about 2 or 3 tbsps of the mixture in a sausage shape towards the top of one of the sheets of brik pastry. Fold the closest edge down over the sausage tightly and roll it towards the bottom a few centimetres (just enough to seal the sausage in slightly).
- Fold over each edge as shown below and then continue rolling towards the bottom. Using the remaining raw egg, brush the last tailing bit of pastry before pressing it into the brik.
- Prepare all your brik and set aside on a plate while you heat up your pan of oil. Remember not to leave it unattended. I won’t be held responsible for any burning kitchens!
- When the oil is very hot (test it with a cube of bread… it should start to sizzle violently immediately upon touching the oil) carefully transfer in one or two brik. Be sure that the brik doesn’t unravel on entering the oil. Also make sure it doesn’t split into the oil or you’ll have a massive mess. Cook in batches and remove and allow to drain on kitchen paper when golden brown all over.
- Brik aren’t exactly the world’s healthiest food, so you’ll probably want to eat them with something both healthy, and fresh tasting, to offset the oiliness. I served them with a simple salad – you won’t need much more as they are also very filling. Enjoy!