Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Berries Cake

Advice of the day: stick to what you know, i.e using baking parchment is best!
I made a lovely cake full of berries (raspberries, cherries and blueberries). It is absolutely yummy but looks like it fell down and was turned upside down 10 times :-/
I thought I would make a presentable cake and take a beautiful picture, so I decided not to use baking paper (as  it can leave some marks if it is not put in the tin properly). I greased the tin with butter instead and covered it with flour. And taaaa-daaaa, the whole bottom stayed in the tin when taking it out. Lovely!
It is still very yummy and eatable, just not presentable (see picture).
This is normally the cake mixture I use for the rhubarb cake, but as I still haven't found rhubarb, I replaced it with a mix of berries and it is as good.

300gr berries
165gr self raising flour
175gr caster sugar
175gr butter, softened
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
1tsp flour, 2tsp sugar, 25gr butter

Preheat oven to 190°C.
Beat together the eggs, butter, flour, sugar and vanilla extract. Fold in the fruits and spoon the mixture into the tin.
For the topping, rub the butter into the flour and sugar and sprinkle over the cake (that will make a nice crust on top of the cake). Bake for 50/60min.

Monday, 5 December 2011

My Mum's Flamiche aux Poireaux (Leek Tart)

Flamiche aux poireaux is a typical dish from my region in France, Picardy. It has one main ingredient, leek.
I can not count how many times I have had it at home (Mum's is always the best), and then made it myself. At some point I loved it so much that I made it every Sunday for dinner.
You can find many different recipes of the Flamiche aux poireaux online, but none of them are like the one I use. For me, the prefect leek tart should not have any bacon, cheese and in the preparation, nothing like eggs and cream as this would make it a quiche. I only use leeks, flour and milk and it make a delicious creamy tart!
It is way better to use a homemade dough, enough for 2 tarts, because the tart should be covered with pastry too. I usually cover mine only with stripes of pastry because I think it is too much dough (but that's my preference). I served it with chicory, which is also something we eat a lot at home :-) It's a home day!

3/4 leeks
2 tbsp flour
salt, pepper and optional: paprika or nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Clean and cut the leeks very thin. Cook them slowly in a large saucepan until they get translucent and soft. You can leave a lid on and let them cook on low heat for 20 min. Once they are ready, add the flour, enough to absorb all liquid in the pan and from the leeks. Then add milk little by little and stir. The mixture should thicken. Add more milk and stir again.. repeat until you get enough mixture to cover your tart dish. Season to your taste. Another option is to add some Gruyere with the leeks and let it melt all together.
Line a tart dish with brisee pastry. Pour the leek mix onto it. Cover the leeks with another pastry (or not).
Bake for about 40-45 min, until the tart edges become golden brown. Serve right away. Bon apetit. Enjoy this "north of France" dish.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Apple and Almond Cake

Here I am, it's Saturday afternoon, the shopping is done, and I'm home, wondering what to do.. It is too early to make dinner but I want to make something.. so here it is, a cake. Apple and almond cake to be precise. Simple ingredients to make a delicious cake.
I really want to try a piece tonight, so I will have a light, healthy dinner and enjoy some cake afterwards, with a warm drink, in front of a good movie.. I think that's a good plan for a Saturday evening (especially when the movie involves Mr George Clooney and Ryan Gosling - as yummy as the cake!)

200gr plain flour
25gr ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
170gr sugar
115gr melted butter
3 eggs
almond extract or vanilla extract
2/3 apples
flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Mix in a bowl the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and sugar. Add the melted butter, almond or vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time, and beat well in between. The texture should be quite thick. Peal and cut the apples and fold them into the mix. Pour the mixture into the cake or loaf tin, sprinkle with almond flakes and bake for 1h15min, until the cake is golden brown and slightly firm. Serve it warm or at room temperature. You will need a drink, it is quite a dry cake ( and I have added an extra egg to the original recipe I add).

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Flourless Chocolate Torte

OK, more chocolate.. I was planning on doing a fruit cake, with rhubarb, but I can't find rhubarb anywhere! I went to different stores, had a look online, went to the fruit market and it is nowhere to be found... They didn't even know what it is! So my challenge is to find some and bake one of my favourite cakes.. but for the time being, I baked a flourless chocolate cake. Instead of flour, I used ground almonds. It adds a lovely taste to this yummy cake.

Here is the easy recipe to follow:

200gr dark chocolate
200gr unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 medium eggs, separated
150gr caster sugar
100gr ground almonds
50gr pure cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 180C°. Grease a round tin.
Melt the chocolate and butter together, and add in the vanilla extract. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with 50gr caster sugar until pale. Then pour in the melted chocolate and butter mixture, fold in the ground almonds and cocoa powder.
Beat the egg whites until stiff, then gradually add the remaining sugar (100gr) until combined. Gently fold the egg whites in 3 times in the chocolate mix, until blended. Pour into the tin and bake for 35 minutes.
Easy and delicious!
The cake is a little bit crumbly so it is better to let it cool down before taking out of the tin.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Chocolate & Oreo Brownies

Mmmm I love the smell of the warm chocolate. I have just taken out of the oven some delicious chocolate brownies and I can't wait for them to cool down to taste them.
I used to watch that show on BBC Two called "Baking Made Easy" on Saturday mornings, while I was at the gym (unfortunately, it only broadcasted for a few weeks) and I came to see Lorraine (the pastry chef) bake those great chocolate brownies with a twist, as she added some Oreo cookies in them. I had to try them too..
I have baked those brownies several times and they're always a success as the recipe is so easy to follow. The brownies are soft and moist and dense with chocolate. Ohhhh they are perfect!
So, If you love chocolate as much as I do, try them and even add different cookies to see if it works out!

Here is the very easy recipe:
165 gr butter
200 gr dark chocolate, grated, or finely chopped
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod / vanilla extract
165 gr brown sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
a pack of Oreos (around 150 gr)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm/8in square baking tin with butter, then line with baking paper. Melt the butter and the chocolate in a pan over a low/ medium heat. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla together in a large bowl until the eggs begin to get light and fluffy. The add the sugar in two additions, whisking between each. Pour it around the side of the egg mix so as not to knock out the air that has been whisked in. Once the egg mixture is ready, pour the chocolate into it.
Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and a third of the biscuits and stir until fully combined, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
Scatter the remaining biscuits over the top, pressing them in slightly. Bake for 25–30 minutes. Leave to cool down and indulge yourself a big piece of brownie!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Broccoli and Goat's Cheese Quiche

For today's lunch, I chose to make a quiche. Basically, anything that is the fridge can be made into a quiche. I chose broccoli and goat's cheese.
You can easily add bacon or salmon to make this quiche even more delicious :-)

For the dough, follow the bread dough recipe I used in the leek and ham quiche.
The rest of the recipe is as easy as this: Cut a broccoli and boil it for 4-5 min (the time will depend if you prefer the broccoli crunchy or not). Cut the broccoli into pieces and place it on the dough (previously lined in a pastry case). Scatter pieces of tasty goats cheese over the broccoli. Then beat 2 large eggs or 3 small eggs with 120ml of milk and 120ml of single cream, add salt and pepper to your taste (maybe some paprika, or nutmeg) and pour the mix onto the broccoli and cheese, and bake it at 200°C for 45min in a preheated oven. Bon appetit!

Note: it is optional to blind bake the dough for 20 minutes to prevent from soaking all the water from the broccoli while it bakes. I did not do it this time, but will try next time I make a quiche.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Lemon Tart

At the moment, I don't work and I have plenty of time to bake and blog new recipes. I also have the opportunity to bake dishes that take a big more time and effort.
Today I am making one of my favourite tart: a lemon tart. I know i can also share it with my friend Laeti because it's one of her favourite too :-)
We like it very tangy and tart, so if you want to repeat the recipe less tangy, simply put less lemon juice and less lemon zest.

Shortcrust pastry (home made or already made) or a plain tart pastry
Juice of 6 lemons
Zest of 3 lemons
40 gr butter
4 large eggs
200 gr caster sugar
165 ml cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Blind bake the pastry for 20-25 min and an additional 10 min without the weights/ beans.
At the same time, prepare the filling: lightly whisk the eggs in a bowl with a fork. Add butter, cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar to the bowl. Place the bowl on the top of a sauce pan au bain marie (double boiler). The water needs to be simmering and not boiling. Use a heatproof spatula and stir constantly to prevent the mix from sticking at the bottom of the bowl. You need to stir until the filling thickens enough to stay on the spatula (it normally takes 20-25min). Strain the filling into the bakes pastry case ( to remove lumps), smooth the top and bake for 20min.
The tart needs to cool down and can be served at room temperature or slightly cold.

Egg Noodle & Vegetable Stir Fry

A quick and easy yummy lunch: veggie stir fry with egg noodle. Just stir fry some red pepper, spring onions until they soften. Then add the carrotts and courgettes. Boil the egg noodle for 4 min.
Finish the stir fry with some soy sauce/ ketjap, and nuts ( I added sesame seeds, but I thin cashew nuts would be great!) Mix it all together and you get this yummy meal:

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

American Pancakes

Breakfast time! What is the easiest, fastest home made breakfast? Pancakes. I have to admit that I normally make crêpes (the thin pancakes) in the evening, but for breakfast I think the American pancakes are much better.
While they cook, you can prepare a cuppa and get the marmalade and everything else ready to enjoy breakfast.
This batter is not too sweet so you can make bacon and eggs to go with the pancakes but I've had mine with strawberry jam and it was delicious. What is your favourite topping?

135gr plain flour (sifted)
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
130 ml milk
1 egg
2tbsp melted butter

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together. In another bowl, beat the egg and milk.
Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients: add the milk & egg mix + melted butter. Beat the mix until you get a soft batter (it should be thick though). Cook the pancakes on a medium heated pan. Eat them warm.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Chocolate Brownie cake

I have just moved to a new flat, city, country and that kept me busy and away from baking, for a while.
Finally settled in my new home, I craved a cake. I have all basic ingredients in the pantry and some cake tins and I was thinking of a cake I could make. I don't have an egg beater yet and and that doesn't leave me with a lot of possibilities.. So I found a recipe of a chocolate brownie cake that I changed a little (again, because I didn't have all the ingredients) - and to my surprise it turned out quite good. It is so chocolaty, gooey, sweet.. yummy! I ate a piece nearly right after baking it, and I served it with some plain yogurt. (it looks broken on the picture because i cut it when it was still hot and fell apart)
So, chocolate lovers, aprons on, let's bake!

Here is the easy recipe to follow
100 gr butter
250 gr caster sugar ( if possible, half of brown sugar)
140 gr dark chocolate
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 gr flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
Optional ( i didn't have): 1 tbsp golden syrup and 2 tbsp cocoa powder

 Preheat oven to 180C
Grease and line a 20cm cake tin. Melt the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar, chocolate (and golden syrup) tpgether on low heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Break the eggs into the bowl and whisk Add the eggs, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder (and cocoa powder) to the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a greased cake tin and bake for 30 min. Eat warm or cold :-)

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Chocolate and Almond Biscottis

Ahhhh chocolate.. today I had to make something with chocolate, it's been too long since I've had it. I have been looking and looking to do something with chocolate, almonds and chocolate chips (again, using what i have home), but not a basic cake or brownie.. and I found biscottis! I made them last month with pistachios and they were very yummy, but nothing beats a chocolate biscotti to go with a cuppa.
I have mixed a few recipes and came up with the one below. The biscottis taste great, i like the extra chocolate chips, they add extra goodness to those yummy biscottis!
This is actually my second try. I made them yesterday and burnt them a little - they didn't taste too bad, but I really wanted to make them right, so I had another go today; and it is a success!

That will make 15 to 18 biscottis
55gr butter, softened
125gr caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
145 gr plain flour
30gr cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
Big pinch of salt
Handful of sliced almonds
Handful of chocolate chips

Preheat the oven 175°C.
In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until smoothly blended. Add eggs and vanilla extract, beat again until smooth. In another bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Mix into butter mixture until smooth. Stir almonds and chocolate chips into dough. Shape the dough into a log on the baking tray and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes. Slice the log into 1/2 inch slices. Place slices back on sheet, and bake for another 6 minutes. Flip slices over and bake for 6 minutes more. Ready!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Chocolate and Cherry Bread (Brioche) Pudding

Guess what, more berries today! But it should be the last recipe with berries in a while :-) Today I am using some cherries and chocolate (still using the ingredients I already have).
I found this recipe of Chocolate Cherry bread pudding on this lovely blog and thought it was perfect for tonight. I am going out to dinner at a friend's house and of course volunteered to make dessert! I didn't want some heavy creamy chocolaty dessert, instead, I think this bread pudding is ideal, and I have never ever made bread pudding before.. so here's my opportunity to impress :-)

200gr pitted sweet cherries (I used frozen ones)
235gr sugar
235ml Sherry or Amaretto
1 loaf brioche (oh, yes, I did have to buy that one!)
200gr chopped dark chocolate
700ml milk
2 tsp of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
3 large eggs

Make the cherry compote: In a saucepan bring the Sherry and 100gr sugar to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cherries and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the cherries have softened and the liquid has thickened. Set aside and leave to cool down
Preheat the oven 175°C. In a large saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla to a simmer. At the same time, whisk eggs, remaining sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Once the milk is simmering, pour a small amount into the egg mixture while whisking. Then pour the rest of the milk, whisking constantly.
Then prepare the baking dish, greasing it with butter. Slice the brioche and place the slices at the bottom of the dish, sprinkle half of the chopped chocolate. Cover with the cherry compote, then the remaining brioche and sprinkle the rest of the chocolate. Pour the custard mix over the bread and let it soak for 5min.Bake 40 minutes.

It looks so lovely, crunchy on top, and I'm sure all gooey in the middle. I have to wait a few more hours before I can taste it.. cant wait!!!!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Raspberry & Blueberry Clafoutis

More berries today.... I am still in the process of using whatever ingredients I have already at home and even after 2 blueberry recipes, I still had many frozen berries in the freezer. So I decided to make something simple but so good: a clafoutis. I have made clafoutis since I was little. My grandma would make us a clafoutis on wednesday afternoons. Apple clafoutis and cherry clafoutis are the traditional ones. Today I used rasperries and blueberries, with a zest of lemon.. Let's see how this turns out!

Well, I have to say, it's delicous!
You see that piece missing, I've just had it! The acidity of the lemon and raspberry and the sweetness of the flan is just the perfect balance. It's a light dessert, fresh and reminds me of summer. Now you enjoy it too :-)

65 gr plain flour
75 gr sugar
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
Zest of a lemon
90 ml milk
200 gr Raspberries, Blueberries
Icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 190°C.
In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the eggs, butter and lemon zest + juice of half the lemon until smooth. Add the milk and mix until light and very smooth.
Pour the batter into a quiche dish and scatter the raspberries and blueberries on top.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until the clafoutis is golden brown. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Coconut and Blueberry Muffins

I have decided to make the best of what's in my baking cupboard, fridge and freezer... I will use what I already have at home for my next recipes. I have plenty of frozen berries, chocolate, nuts, and other ingredients.
I had been thinking for a while how to use the 200gr dehydrated coconut I had in the cupboard. I originally got it to sprinkle on some chocolate shortbreads = 15 gr!
So I browsed the gojee.com website (thanks Julie for the link!) and found this very appetizing recipe of coconut and blueberry muffins. Perfect since I had some frozen blueberries left from last week's Polenta cake.
These are delicious and the coconut gives them an unexpected twist..

Making 12 medium size muffins
260gr all prpose flour
1tbsp baking powder
100gr sugar
1tsp salt
50gr toasted coconut
1 egg, beaten
60gr melted butter
235ml milk
fresh blueberries -150 gr (more if wanted) 


Preheat oven 200°C. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin, lining it up with paper muffin cups. Set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir in toasted coconut. Whisk the egg with the melted butter and milk. Add to dry ingredients and mix lightly till combined.
Toss blueberries with 1 T flour and fold into batter. Spoon the batter into muffin cups. Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes (I baked the first batch for 23min, the second was done in 20min)

Monday, 3 October 2011

Lemon & Blueberry Polenta Cake

So, I didn't have time to bake anything special this weekend but was planning on baking a polenta cake. I just had to find the right recipe. I found this cake, with lemon and blueberry. It is delicious. The polenta gives it a crunch and the yogurt some lightness.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

100gr sugar
90gr polenta
100gr ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
100gr soft butter
100ml natural yogurt
100gr blueberries
zest and juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, adding a tbsp of ground almonds with each egg. Stir through the polenta, baking powder, zest and lemon juice, and remaining ground almonds. Then add and stir in the yogurt and blueberries. Pour into a cake loaf and bake for 50m to 1hr (a skewer should come out clean)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Chocolate, Walnut and Banana Cake

I ate my first piece of banana cake only a few months ago and absolutely loved it. I had never tried any banana muffins or cakes before and thought I should definitely make it at home one day. The day has come! Old bananas on the kitchen counter? Today is finally the day I make it. So I flipped through my baking recipe book and the internet and found many different recipes: recipes with or without milk, chocolate, nuts, oatmeal..I have decided to use the one described below, adding chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. I think it's a great combination.
For a first try, I am pretty proud.

(Should serve 12people)
175gr plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Half a tsp of baking soda (optional - I did not have nay and omitted it)
125gr unsalted butter
150gr caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
275gr very ripe banana
150gr dark chocolate chips
handful chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda. In a second large bowl, beat together the melter butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the vanilla and mashed bananas. Beat well.
Then gradually add the dry ingredients in. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
Pour into a greased tin loaf and bake for 50min to 1hr (to check, insert a skewer in the centre and it should come out clean).
Optional: icing the cake with icing sugar mix with water.

Mum's Gaufrettes (Small waffles)

I can't make waffles for the simple reason that I don't own a waffle iron. We used to make them so many times at home, the normal waffles and the small, thicker ones, called Gaufrettes.
My Mum made some the other day and sent me the recipes and the pictures for the blog :-)
So here is the very easy recipe small waffles:

500grplain flour
250gr butter
250gr caster sugar
11gr of baking powder (this is levure chimique in french)
1 pinch of salt
1/2 glass of milk
4 eggs
Melt the butter and the sugar togather, add the milk, and leave it to cool. Mix in a bowl the flour, salt, baking powder, the 4 egg yolks and add it to the butter-sugar-milk mix.Then beat the eggswhites until stiff, and add them to the mixture. Leave it to rest for about 1hr. 
Bake the waffles in a waffle iron (1 waffle= 1 tablespoon of the mix)
Et voila :-)


Saturday, 17 September 2011

Leek, Onion and Ham Quiche

Since I stayed home this afternoon, I got time to think and prepare dinner ahead (for once): leek, onion and ham quiche.
My mum makes quiches with anything. Her traditional one is the Quiche Lorraine (which I thought was made just for me, until I was old enough to understand it was not - big deception there!!). Quiche Lorraine was originally made of egg, cream and bacon only. We now add cheese (gruyere), and other ingredients such as onions etc.
I make quiches with leeks, simply because I love leeks.
The best dough for quiches in general is bread dough. Making dough scares people, but it's very easy and you really can't miss it.
For a large quiche or tarte you need to knead 200gr of plain flour, a pinch of salt, 100gr of margarine (vegetable oil butter), and half a glass of water. Knead for a good 5 minutes until you get a soft, bouncy and elastic dough.

Ingredients for the quiche:
The amounts vary on the size of the dish and quiche you make. 
3 leeks
1 large onion
3 eggs
120ml single cream
120ml milk
(If this is not enough, 150ml/150ml)
salt, pepper
gruyere cheese
(Optional: bacon, goat's cheese instead of Gruyere)

Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Thinly slice the leeks and onions and gently cook them for 20-30min.
Prepare the bread dough at the same time. Line it in the pastry case. Spread the cooked leeks and onions on the dough. Scatter pieces of ham over the leeks.
Beat the 3 eggs, the milk and cream. Add salt and pepper to your taste and pour the filling into the pastry case. Scatter Gruyere on top and bake for 40-45min. The result is here:

Serve freshly baked. although it is also good the day after, or cold. I freeze some portions and take one to work from time to time. It is always good to have a portion in the freezer.. just in case..

Biscotti for you, biscotti for me

Whenever I go to Cafe Nero with my friend to meet up for a coffee, I take a biscotti. I just love them. They are my favourite biscuits to accompany a coffee or tea. So I thought I'd try to make them at home and this way have my tea with a pistachio, almond and orange biscotti, in this rainy day.

The following recipe should make about 30 biscottis. You can basically replace the pistachio and almonds by hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, or have them with no nuts at all.

200g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
zest of 1 orange
200gr plain flour, sifted + extra for dusting
1 teaspoon Baking powder
50grs almongs, 50grs pistachios

Preheat the oven to 180°C.Mix sugar, eggs and orange zest together. Stir in sifted flour and baking powder and nuts then mix to get a sticky dough. You then knead the dough on a lightly floured surface.Divide into 2 portions and roll each into a 30cm log. Bake on a baking tray for about 25-30min, until lightly browned. Cool on the tray for 10 min. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C.Cut the logs into 1cm slices diagonally and place them back on the baking tray.Bake for 10 min until golden on top. Turn over and bake for another 5-10 min; Cool down before eating them. Then soak them in a lovely yummy capuccino :-))

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Lunch from Perigord

Perigord is a region in France where we eat foie gras. We call "assiette Perigourdine" a first dish that is made of foie gras, smoked duck breast (magret de canard), duck gizzard, croutons and a nut-dressed salad. This is simple to prepare but need access to the fresh products from the region which is not always easy outside of France. We have had the chance of eating this today. It was really tasty and a not so heavy start of a long Sunday lunch.

This was just the starter... We then had another French classic dish: rabbit cooked in cider, dauphinoise potatoes ( gratin dauphinois) and carrots (usually served with rabbit).
The dauphinoise potatoes is easier to prepare than you think: place all the thinely cut potatoes in a dish. Add salt, pepper and gruyere to your taste inbetween layers. Pour the "appareil" (half milk, half single cream, pepper, salt, nutmeg), and cover with gruyere.. in the oven and its ready.

To end up a already excellent lunch, we had a "pièce montée", which is assembling choux à la crème (choux filled with cream patissiere) together with caramel. This one was not home made, as we were already busy with the rest, but I put it down on my list of things to try. I kept eating the choux.. they are so light and puffy!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Aperitif Time

There won't be a lot of baking this weekend for me ... I am home (in France) and my mum is doing most the cooking, but I am around to help prepare the snack for the aperitifs..First done are the salmon croissants. 2 ingredients: puff pastry and salmon, nothing could be simpler..

Next on the list was making some sausage rolls(using puff pastry as well); cheese and ham rolls, and some olive cake. There's no leftovers so I guess they were good!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A one-bite snack – Chouquettes!

So today, I came back home feeling a bit "gourmande".. but I didn’t fancy anything heavy or naughty, so I decided to make some chouquettes! They are small “choux”, like the profiteroles, with pearl sugar on top. They are delicious, light and eaten in one bite (that makes me eat more!!). They are perfect for a snack in the afternoon, or evening. I made them once before going to the cinema- my friend was really surprised to see I had made us bags of chouquettes to eat during the movie :-)
Normally people prefer to eat them still a bit warm, but I like them cold, even if they get a bit soggy.
Because there's only my flatmate and I at home tonight and we won't eat them all, I will take what’s left to work tomorrow, and I’m sure no one will mind their sogginess….

Here are the ingredients – that will make 28/30 medium size chouquettes
125 ml milk
125 ml water
100gr butter
150 gr plain flour
pinch of salt
2 tea spoon caster sugar
4 eggs
50gr pearl sugar (I buy it in france but you can find it  easily on the internet)
Preheat the oven 185/ 190 C.
In a saucepan, bring the milk, water, salt and butter to a boil. Then take it out of the heat and add in the flour. Stir well until it all comes from the pan (if it helps, put it a few seconds over the heat to make it all come off the bottom of the pan (it should NOT stick to the bottom). Then add in 2 eggs, whisk well (a good 2 minutes – the texture will get weird at this point, but it’s normal). Add the 2 other eggs and again, whisk until you get a smooth sticky blondie texture – at this point, you’ve got pain in the arm). You can then add some of the pearl sugar or only put it on top of the chouquettes – I like to add some to the mix.
On a tray covered with baking parchment, drop dollops of the mix (this should make 2 trays of 15 chouquettes), sprinlme the sugar pearls on top of them and bake them for 25 minutes until golden brown
Now quick, quick, eat ‘em all before they get cold!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Breakfast breads.. an old time favourite!

Hi! My name is Laurene, I live in London but am originally from France.
I have been thinking about starting a blog for a while now, to share some recipes and ideas about the food I like.
I have always liked baking and cooking in general. I remember myself, little, helping my mum prepare desserts (and staying til the end just to have a taste and lick the spoon covered in chocolate). I would also bake a lot on Wednesday afternoons (as we wouldn’t have school) and prepare brownies, cookies for my step dad (that was only the excuse).
Since then, I have been baking my own cakes and biscuits regularly and thought I should share some of the recipes with friends and family via a blog. I will mainly post sweet dishes, as they are my favourite to make, but also some savoury ones.
Anyone can comment on the posts... let me know if you try the recipes and add a tweak to them.

I thought I would start today with something that I do nearly every week: sweet breakfast breads. They are so easy to do  - they take about 5 minutes to prepare!!!
 Those yummy little breads are perfect for breakfast or for an afternoon tea with cream, jam and a hot drink. I personally have them for breakfast “on the go”. I bake a batch (see recipe below – that should make 12-14 breads) and freeze them in bags where I put 2. I take a bag from the freezer in the morning, and have them with a coffee at work. Fast and easy :-)

Try them & enjoy them as much as I do!

Sweet Breakfast breads recipe:
400gr of flour ( I mix plain and wholemeal flour)
Pinch of salt
65 gr of sugar
16 gr of yeast
65 gr of butter
200ml milk
1 egg
Extra and optional: sugar in pearl
First, mix in a bowl the flour, salt, sugar, yeast. Add in the melted butter, warm milk and egg. Mix it all by hand. The mixture is going to be sticky. Create 12-14 balls with the dough (adding flour), place them a couple of cm apart on a tray so that they have enough space to rise. Place the tray in a dry but warm place ( a cupboard) for about 1hr, giving enough time to have the breads rise double their initial size.
Preheat the oven at 185 degrees and bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
They are delicious eaten warm or cold, with jam, butter, or any spread
Bon appetit!