Croque monsieur

By Daniela

We are going travelling!

This year The Little Kitchen felt like travelling around the world

And for us gourmets travelling always goes along with tasting, trying out and cooking new amazing recipes inspired by the places we have visited. Also, being as curious as cats we like learning about the geography, traditions and culture of the wonderful places we end up in.

The world tour in 23 recipes, not to mention the moon!

Our first stop: the croque monsieur.

Surely that’s got to be the funniest name for a cheese toastie! Possible translations include: “Crunchy Sir” or “Sir chew”…. oh, well, let’s just leave it.

And we wouldn’t even be able to explain where this very strange name comes from, as nobody quite knows. The first time it ever appeared was on a Parisian menu in 1910, and even one of the greatest French writers, Marcel Proust, mentioned the croquet monsieur in one of his letters.

A croque madame exists (“Crunchy Lady”) and its only difference to the monsieur is that it comes with a fried egg on top. Why would the Lady be even hungrier than the Sir we have no idea, but why would it matter anyway? All we need to know is that the croque monsieur is incredibly easy to make and really tasty!

As with all our recipes we have tried and tested a simplified version of the recipe so that our mini chefs will be able to make it themselves (almost) without the help of a grown‑up. We have measured all ingredients by spoons and teaspoons, however, in order to be as kind as possible to all you busy parents rushing through those supermarket aisles, we also provided the measurements in grams. Quantities are for one serving. You might need some help from one of your little math geniuses to multiply it by the number of chefs in your kitchen.

And now to work…or rather “au boulot”!

Ingredients (for 1 croque monsieur)

2 slices of white bread; 3 tablespoons (25gr) of double cream; 3 tablespoons (50gr) of gruyere cheese, grated; 1 slice of emmenthal cheese; 1 slice of ham, cut in roughly  the same size as the slices of bread; 10gr of butter at room temperature; a pinch of nutmeg

In a bowl mix together the cream with gruyere cheese and mix well until combined, then add the  pinch of nutmeg.

Spread half of this mix on a slice of bread, cover with the emmenthal slice and the ham. Spread some butter on the plain slice of bread and press it on top of the other one. Finally spread the rest of the cream and gruyere mix on the top side of your croque monsieur and cook in the oven at 180° (fan oven) for 7 minutes.

Interesting facts about France:

Which European country eats the most cheese? It is France, of course, where 23 kg of cheese are consumed per person each year. Second place goes to Italy, followed by Sweden and Holland. Ireland is the country where people drink the most milk.