So I was planning on writing about how wonderful it is in the winter months here in Dubai, because it allows you to live an al fresco existence. Laa dee daa. Bla bla bla. And then it started raining. It felt a little wrong sticking to “perfect-weather” Plan-A, so I had to eat my words and come up with Plan-B.
I was on my way home from work this evening when my mum called. She asked me what I had planned for the evening. I told her that beans on toast were in my future. She proceeded to tell me that she was about to whip up a fondue for herself and my grandparents, who are out visiting for a few weeks. I told her I was on my way immediately. Who wants beans on toast when fondue is an option? No one. No normal person, at least. No abnormal person, come to think of it. No person full-stop.
So this brings me to the theme of this post – fondue (in case you hadn’t yet guessed that detail already). If you have been following my blog from the beginning, you might recall a previous post on the same topic back in July 2013 – #fondueheaven. I’m an absolute loser and did a little calculation for y’all. At my current post count, I can officially tell you that 5.3% of my babble has been on the subject of fondue. Isn’t that just ruddy wonderful?! Get to the main event, Harry. I wonder how many times I will have written the word “fondue” by the end of this post? Including that one. I’ll let you know.
I remember having fondue as a child. My mother used to create special fondue picnics for myself, my dad, and my brother, in the living room. We were chatting about this over this evening’s fondue, and I think the reasoning behind the picnic idea was so that we were able to reach the fondue pot with our mini arms. I mean small child arms. Smaller than adult-size arms. Argh! You know what I mean. She’d pour summer fruit squash into wine glasses to make us feel all grown-up. These were good memories. I have an abundance of wonderful food-related memories from my childhood, many of which I am sure will make an appearance here at some point.
Now – unless you plan on pulling up some stools and squeezing round your stove, you really do need a fondue set for this. Otherwise – you’ll have molten fondue for about 5 minutes before it transforms into a solid chunk of greasy cheese which looks rather like the dairy world’s answer to Flubber. Good movie, but I doubt you’ll have any luck spreading it on a crouton. Moral of this paragraph? If you’re making it at home, then get the kit – it’ll be worth it, I promise!
If you really can’t be bothered with making it at home, I suggest you shimmy on down to The Agency in Souk Madinat Jumeirah between the hours of 5 and 8 pm for a cheeky chef-made one, and a half-price bottle of vino (or two) during happy hour. I did this last week – we gobbled two fondues and two bottles of red between three of us for a mere AED 130 each! Not bad at all, if you ask me. Top tip though – if you’re anything like us – ask for two pots of croutons per fondue. A thick coating of cheese with each dip is entirely necessary.
So – whether you’re heading out or staying in, why not treat yourself to a marvellous fondue feast. You know you want to. Happy cooking/consuming y’all!
ps. “FONDUE” COUNT = 18. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for that. Fondue fondue fondue fondue. Oops – we’re up to 22.
This serves 4 hungry people or 2 ravenous ones.
Also – in terms of cheese – for a french-style fondue, use cheeses like Comté & Beaufort or if you want to go down the Swiss route, go for Emmental & Gruyère. You can choose other similar options, but stick to harder cheeses with a fat content of at least 45% for ease of melting.
1 clove of garlic
1/2 pint dry white wine
500g cheese, grated
4 tsp corn flour (essential for thickening, and bringing the cheese and liquid together)
1 shot (about 30ml) of Kirsche (fruit Brandy) if you have it – regular brandy works too!
French stick, cut into bite-size chunks
Cauliflower if you fancy something healthy – again in bite-size florets
1/ Cut garlic clove in half, and rub inside of the fondue pot.
2/ Heat wine on a low to medium stove-top setting, then stir in grated cheese until melted.
3/ In a small jug or glass, dissolve the cornflour in the Kirsche/Brandy. Add to cheese mixture, a little at a time, until the fondue is thick enough that it coats the back of the spoon (see picture below). You might not need all the cornflour mixture!
4/ Serve on fondue-heater with bread and/or vegetable chunks. YUMMO!