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Traditional Apple Frangipane Flan

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Stromburg, Stromberg, Germany

Along the riverbanks of Rhine and in the midst of the Rheinland forest, sits the ancient fortified castle of Stromburg turned luxury hotel and restaurant. Husband and wife team Sylvia and Johann Lafer, both celebrated chefs, turned the ancient premises into a place of warm luxury and a respected gastronomic destination. To get the castle, guests pass by a 15-minute scenic drive through the Bingen forest. The interiors of the castle are rooted in tradition but provide all the luxurious comforts of a modern hotel. The restaurant serves one of the finest cuisines in the region and is well acclaimed throughout Europe.
A household name in Germany, Chef Johann Lafer pioneered cooking shows in Germany and most of his shows are filmed and produced in the castle. He is frequently shown on German television and is one of the countryâs first celebrity chefs. His philosophy revolves around the use of high quality, fresh produce, and noble ingredients with origins that can be traced from production to the very moment it gets to his kitchen. Chef Lafer draws inspiration from tradition and the countryside and is influence by French, Italian, Mediterranean, and Asian cooking. Typically, the product itself is what gets Chef Laherâs imagination going. He believes that besides the flavor and the texture, the terroir itself is what makes the product unique and from there, one can take a journey of the senses.
Some of his specialties include Larded liver served on a rosette of caramelized apples, Roe buck fillet cooked in Indes-verbana vapour, Stuffed mushrooms with bilberries and glazed chestnuts, and the famous Tête de nêgre. 
The convergence of tradition and history, the fortified castles, the vineyards, all make of the Rhine banks such a wonderful region. Nowadays, it is The German Embassy in Paris, which appeals to Chef Johann Lafer and calls upon his services to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Berlin Wall Fall.
Stromburg, Stromberg, Germany
La Provence, France

The cuisine of Provence resembles Italian, Greek and Mediterranean cooking more than traditional French fare. Seafood, fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits are often prepared simply and there is great emphasis on local, fresh and high quality ingredients. The dry Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for grazing sheep and goats, and near the coast, there is an abundance or fresh fish and seafood.  
The basic ingredients used in Provencal cuisine include olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes, which are generously used in almost every dish. Other common ingredients include olives, sardines, sear urchins, rockfish, octopus, rouget fish, loup fish, tuna, sea bass, anchovies, red snapper, red mullet, monkfish, shrimp, crab, mussels, scallops, oysters, goat, lamb, eggplant, bell peppers, onions, potatoes, fennel, lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini (courgettes), cabbage, asparagus, and artichokes. 
Vegetables are often used for making soups, baked, or grilled, flavored with herbs, and drizzled with lots of olive oil. They are also often eaten raw in salads. Fruit is eaten as a dessert or snack. Local fruits include strawberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, grapes, apples, oranges, lemons, dates, figs, and melons of Cavaillon. 
Fresh and dried herbs are used extensively in Provencal cooking and the most common are parsley, basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, savory, marjoram, and thyme. Other common seasonings include capers, aioli (garlic mayonnaise), rouille (chili and garlic mayonnaise) anchoiade (anchovy paste), saffron, tapenade, lemon juice, and wine vinegar.   
Wheat is used for making breads like whole grain loaves, crusty baguettes and pizza. One of the most popular snacks in Provence is the pan bagnet, which is a sandwich filled with tuna, tomatoes, peppers, and olives seasoned with olive oil dressing. Beans are also a common feature in Provencal cooking and are included in stews and soups or are baked with other ingredients. The most commonly used lentil is the Puy lentil.
La Provence, France
Montreux, Switzerland

The âPearl of the Swiss Riviera,â Montreaux is located on the shore of Lake Geneva and is known for being a town of music, primarily because of the Montreux Jazz festival held for a stretch of 20 days every July and attracts some 250,000 visitors. Not only jazz musicians are invited to play but also popular musicians like Beck or David Bowie.   
Montreux is also home to the most extraordinary and most visited castle in Switzerland, the Château de Chillon, an island castle that dates back to the 12th century made popular by the Lord Byron in his poem âThe Prisoner of Chillonâ written in 1816. The castle is also one of the settings in Henry Jamesâs novella Daisy Miller written in 1878. Three major periods influenced the history of Chillon, including the Savoy Period, the Bernese Period, and the Vaudois Period.    
Montreux has long been an inspiration to artists, writers, and musicians throughout the centuries and until the present. Ernest Hemingway, Lord Byron, and the Shelleys were one-time residents. In 1971, while Frank Zappa was playing in the Montreux casino, the building caught fire and cast a pall of smoke over Lake Geneva, inspiring Deep Purpleâs classic rock single, âSmoke on the Water.â Freddie Mercury and Igor Stravinsky are also frequent visitors.       
Montreux has a breathtaking landscape composed of palm trees, Lake Geneva, the Alps, vineyards, and a glacier within a short distance. The favorable Mediterranean microclimate and easy access from the Geneva International Airport also makes it a favorite getaway at every time of the year.
Besides the famous Chillon castle, there is also an Alpine garden, an animal park called Marmottes Paradis, and Mongolian yurts for spending the night in. The Christmas market is also a huge event, held a month before Christmas, and features a wide array of culinary tastings, gifts, and chalets. For the best hiking experience, head off to Hauts de Montreux.
Montreux, Switzerland
Hôtel de la Gare, Le Noirmont, Switzerland

Le Noirmont is a small pastoral village in the district of Franches-Montagnes in the canton Jura in Switzerland. Formerly known by its German name Schwarzenberg, Noirmant was first used in 1454. The Franches-Montagnes district is located on a high plateau, stretching to the Doubs River. In the heart of Le Noirmont is the elegant hotel and restaurant, Hotel de la Gare owned and operated by master chef Georges Wenger and wife Andréa.      
Andréa and George Wenger have transformed the Hotel de la Gare into a gastronomical paradise and magical spot. Chef Georges Wengerâs search for culinary simplicity has no equal apart from the feast he offers to the papillae of people who love food. Dishes such as his delicious stuffed onion with larded liver, just carved into a big dice and hardly held, is enough to entice the imagination. Here is a very exceptional cook, out of norms, giving us a quite modern perspective to foodâlight, savoury, inspired from tradition and the products of Jura. He is a specialist allying the knowledge of wines and the harmony of the table service, a chef who promotes teamwork within his brigade. 
In the hotelâs restaurant La Taverne, Chef Wenger creates symphony with colors and flavors using only the freshest and finest market produce, serving traditional Swiss and French haute cuisine. Other specialties and must-try in the menu La Taverne include the Tarte tatin de navets au fois gras and the Poulette de Houdan en daubiere a l'echalote et laurier. Aside from the restaurant is a bar that carries a substantial list of wines and spirits.   
As with the food and wine, the sun-filled guest rooms are also harmoniously decorated and provide a cozy atmosphere and inviting ambiance. The rooms feature a mini bar, cable TV, seating area, modern bathroom with hairdryer, and lush fabrics.
Hôtel de la Gare, Le Noirmont,...

Cooking Recipe Videos

There are many ways to improve your cooking skills: reading great cookbooks, taking cooking classes, and good old fashioned practice in the kitchen are traditional methods. But these days, online cooking recipe videos are another excellent resource for aspiring chefs. Here's how to get the most from the cooking videos you encounter.

Find Them

There are lots of cooking recipe videos out there, but not all are created equal. Before you spend time watching any, consider the source. If you want to widen your cooking horizons, videos featuring famous chefs are a must. Such chefs might include television personalities (who may or may not have formal cooking backgrounds), cooking legends (like Julia Child, Graham Kerr, and Wolfgang Puck), or Michelin star-awarded chefs who've impressed the cooking world with their expertise and talent.

Live Demos

Once you find cooking recipe videos by esteemed chefs, you will probably discover you learn the most if you watch the videos more than once. In the first viewing, you'll likely only get the overall picture of what the chef is doing. If you watch the video once or twice more, you may notice and remember details you didn't before.

Bear in mind that you're not just learning how to make a particular recipe. You're also hoping to learn cooking techniques you can rely upon for other dishes. For example, you might see a Michelin chef chop up food in a faster, simpler way than you've ever seen before. Or you might see how a meal is flambéed. Or you might learn a new way to cook meat so it's crisp on the outside and tender and juice on the inside. There is nothing quite like a live demo, to make those techniques stick in your brain and come to life next time you are in the kitchen.

Share it

Although cooking recipe videos are helpful and educational, they're also fun. You can make them even more entertaining by sharing them with friends. What does your best friend think about trying to make a flambéed meal with you? Does she have a funny story to tell about attempting this on her own? Does your work mate drool over gourmet desserts as much as you do? Are you and your friends inspired by a certain video to try a pot luck gourmet party? Let cooking videos be part of you and your friends online entertainment, and you'll have fun while you improve your cooking skills.

Try it Out

After watching cooking recipe videos, it's a great idea to make the recipes in your own kitchen. The best cooking video websites also have printed recipes to go along with their videos. Print one out and give the recipe your best go.

Or, you could just try out one or two techniques you learned by watching a great chef. For example, maybe you've never tried blanching vegetables before. After watching a chef demonstrate this on a video, you can try the technique almost any time you're preparing veggies.

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