Pistachio and feta dip

I recently bought a great cookbook about Persian cuisine called “Persiana”. It’s full of very tasty and fragrant dishes and if, like me, you love middle-eastern food, you’ll be in for a treat. Every dish combines beautiful flavours such as cumin, lemon, sumac or rosewater with gorgeous colours like pistachio green or pomegranate’s flamboyant red. This dip is a great hit and I was asked the recipe many times when I served it.

Pistachiodip_001

Source: Persiana from Sabrina Ghayour

Ingredients

100g shelled pistachios
60g olive oil
200g feta cheese
Handful of dill, leaves picked out
3 handfuls of coriander, leave picked out
1 garlic clove
1 long red chilli, deseeded
145g greek yoghurt
Grated rind of a lemon, juice of ½ lemon

Method

  1. Blitz pistachios and oil on turbo for 2 sec at a time until powdered.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend 30 seconds /speed 8.
  3. Scrape down the sides and blend another 15 sec/speed 8 until smooth but with still some grainy texture.
  4. Serve with flat bread.

Chocolate Guinness cake

This cake is dynamite. Don’t do it if you don’t intend to do it again and again and again afterwards. This cake is so good, your kids will ask you to have it at every single occasion. So stock up on Guinness, turn on your Thermomix and get cracking!

ChocGuinnessCake_002ChocGuinnessSlic_001

Source: www.cookwithjanie.com

Ingredients

Cake
250 g Guinness or stout
250 g unsalted butter, diced
60 g cocoa powder
400 g sugar
140 g sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
280 g plain flour
2½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking powder)
Chocolate Ganache
250 g dark chocolate
250 g double cream
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1 tsp unsalted butter

Method

  1. Weigh Guinness into the TM bowl. Add butter and melt 3 min/50C/Speed 1 (the butter should be softened or melted).
  2. Add cocoa, sugar, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Mix 45 sec/Speed 5.
  3. Add flour and bicarbonate of soda. Mix 20 sec/Speed 3. Pour into a buttered and lined 23cm springform tin.
  4. Bake for 45 to 70 minutes at 180C without fan/160C with fan/Gas Mark 4.
  5. Cool completely before applying ganache topping.
  6. Ganache: heat all the ingredients together 3 min/50C/Speed 2 or until chocolate is completely melted. Pour onto cooled cake and smooth over the edges.

ChocGuinnessCake_004

Express chocolate mousse

Each time I ask my daughter what she wants for dessert, the reply is always the same: “chocolate mousse!”. I came across this quick and easy version for chocolate mousse recently where you whisk the whole eggs and it works beautifully. The texture is a bit denser and firmer than the traditional mousse but it is equally as delicious.

QuickChocMousse_002 QuickChocMousse_004

Source: chic chic chocolat

Ingredients

3 eggs
1 tbsp water
35g sugar
180g dark chocolate
60g strong coffee (or orange juice if you don’t like coffee)

Method

  1. Place the butterfly whisk in the TM bowl with the eggs, sugar and water. Whisk 3 min/70C/speed 3.5.
  2. Whisk another 5 min/speed 3.5.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and coffee (or juice) in the microwave in short bursts and stir between each until the chocolate is just melted.
  4. Fold gently some of the egg mixture into the chocolate. Add the remaining egg mixture and fold gently until combined.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set.

Molasses bread

I love making bread. There is something deeply soothing in handling bread dough, letting it rise and shaping it. And I’m not even talking about the smell of freshly baked bread! Anyhow, I have been experimenting with different bread recipes lately and I particularly love bread with molasses in it. The caramelised flavour it confers to the loaf is just amazing. I’ve loosely used the recipe from Fast & Easy cookbook, the book that was sold with any TM31 in UK & Ireland.

MolassesBread_001

Source: Fast & Easy cooking

Ingredients

270g strong wholemeal/granary flour
130g strong white bread flour
1 sachet fast instant yeast or 30g fresh yeast
1 tsp fine sea  salt
1tsp tsp sugar
200g water
50g olive oil
1 tbsp molasses

MolassesBread_002

Method

  1. Warm water and yeast 2 min/37C/speed 2.
  2. Mix in the other ingredients 6 sec/speed 6  (going progressively from speed 2 to 6 to avoid projection of water and flour onto the lid) to combine. The dough should form a ball and should begin to clean the sides of the bowl. If too dry, add a little more water and mix a few seconds more.
  3. Set timer to 2 minutes and set the Kneading function on. The mixture should end up soft and pliable and a bit tacky.
  4. Remove the lid, turn the bowl upside-down, undo the base unit and the dough will drop out, bringing the blades with it. Gather the dough together into a ball.
  5. Press lightly into a tin or make a loaf shape or rolls and place on the baking sheet.
  6. Brush lightly with olive oil, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
  7. Bake 20 to 30 minutes for a loaf or 10 to 12 minutes for rolls at 220C.

Lemon cake (Starbucks secret recipe)

I am not a big fan of Starbucks I must confess. I find their coffee pretty weak and horrid and I can’t remember much from eating their pastries. However, when I saw this recipe going around in Facebook, the picture looked very delicious and lemon cakes are my soft spots. So I tried it and it is every bit as delicious as it looked. Here is the recipe, adapted to Thermomix and the European measurements (I include the cup measures also for those who use it).

LemonCake_001

Source: someone on Facebook…

Ingredients

240g (1 1/2 cup) plain flour, sieved
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 EGGS
215g (1 cup) SUGAR
30g (2 tbsp) butter, Softened.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
80g (1/3 cup) lemon juice
100g (1/2 cup) oil
Lemon icing
230g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) caster sugar
30g (2 tbsp) whole milk
1/2 tsp lemon extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C 170C (fan ovens).
  2. Insert the butterfly whisk in the TM bowl. Blend together the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon juice in the TM bowl 1 min/speed 4. Remove the butterfly whisk.
  3. Add the sieved flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix 10 sec/speed 6.
  4. Add the oil and mix 10 sec/speed 6.
  5. Pour the batter in a greased 9×5 inch loaf tin (23x12cm) and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cook on a grid.
  6. Clean and dry the bowl.
  7. Grind the sugar for 30 sec/speed 10.
  8. Add the milk and lemon extract and mix 10sec/speed 6 or until combined and smooth.
  9. When the cake is completely cooled down, pour over the lemon icing and let it set before slicing.

 

 

Happy New Year 2015!

I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope to be more present on the blog this coming year and I have some new cooking classes coming soon (both Thermomix and non Thermomix). More on this later…

Thank you all for all your lovely comments and support. I am looking forward to a new exciting and busy year!

2015

Liegeois Waffles

Here’s the last day of the year 2014 and with the holiday season, the breakfasts have become more copious. I recently got a proper waffle maker so the first waffles I wanted to make are the famous Belgium ones from Liege. They are not made of the usual liquid batter but rather with a brioche-style dough. It is therefore much longer to prepare (count 3 hours + between making the dough and letting it rise). However, they are totally different from their pancake-like counterparts. They are crispier outside, soft inside and of course, they are absolutely delicious!

GaufreLiege_002

Source: Chic-chic-chocolat

GaufreLiege_003

Ingredients

370 g plain flour
75 g caster sugar
100 g milk (full fat)
2 eggs
2 tsp dried instant yeast
125 g butter, cubed
salt
150 g pearl sugar (or sugar cubes slightly crushed into chunks), optional

Method

  1. In the TM bowl, place the milk, sugar, eggs and yeast and warm 2 min/37C/speed 2.
  2. Add the flour and salt and knead for 6 minutes.
  3. After 1 minute kneading, add the butter cubes through the hole in the lid.
  4. Leave in the bowl to rise for 2 hours.
  5. Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Flatten it with your hands and sprinkle the sugar pearls all over if using.
  6. Fold the dough to cover the sugar and cut into 16 pieces.
  7. Roll each piece into a ball and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  8. Grease and heat the waffle maker and insert the dough balls (one per waffle) to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Eat warm sprinkled with icing sugar, or spread with jam or hazelnut paste.

GaufreLiege_001

Sweet Bretzels

As I am writing this, the scent of freshly baked Bretzels has filled the room and it’s very hard to resist having a bite! To give you an idea, it smells of  brioche with a hint of orange flower water and it’s just heavenly. These goodies will take a bit of time to make (mostly waiting time) but you will be rewarded I promise.

Bretzels_001

Source: Christophe Felder

Bretzels_002

Ingredients

Starter dough
15g fresh yeast or 7g dried instant yeast
75g milk
70g + 255g plain flour

Dough
3 eggs
75g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
1 tsp fine sea salt
115g softened butter, cut into cubes
80g candied peel
1 tbsp orange flower water

Eggwash
1 egg and 1 tbsp milk

Glaze
35g sugar
35g water
1 tbsp orange flower water

Method

  1. In the Thermomix bowl, warm the yeast and milk 2 min/37C/speed 1.
  2. Add the 70g flour and mix 10 sec/speed 3.
  3. Add the 255g flour on top (don’t mix) and leave to rest in the TM bowl, lid closed, for 30 minutes or until the starter doubles in size.
  4. Add the 3 eggs, sugar and salt and knead 2 minutes.
  5. Knead for another 5 minutes and add the butter through the hole in the lid, orange flower water and candied peel.
  6. When the timer stops, check the consistency (it should be very soft and sticky dough but not runny. If it looks too much like cake batter, add a couple of tbsp of flour and knead again for 1 minute.
  7. Tip out into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest for 3 hours in the fridge to firm up.
  8. Divide the dough in 4 equal parts and roll each into a snake shape making the ends slightly narrower than the center.
  9. Cross the ends twice and fold them over the loop. Turn the bretzel upside-down (to have the ends tucked in underneath) on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Do likewise with the other 3 doughs. You have those steps in images on the website Smittenkitchen.com (I forgot to take the pictures while making it).

    Image from Smittenkitchen.com

    Image from Smittenkitchen.com

  10. Place in a warm place (25C) and leave to rise for 40 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 180C.
  12. Brush the bretzels with eggwash.
  13. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce to 170C and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Watch while it cooks and turn around the trays if one side gets browner (often the case with ovens with hot spots). Place aluminium foil over them if they darken too fast.
  14. While they bake, prepare the glaze by heating the water, sugar and orange flower water in the TM bowl 5 minutes/Varoma/speed 1/Measuring cup OFF.
  15. Brush the glaze over the Bretzels as soon as they are out of the oven. Leave to cool slightly before tucking in!

Bretzels_003

Mont Blanc and Merveilleux au chocolat

I must apologise for my long absence from the blog. I have still been cooking but didn’t find the time or the will to post anything on the net. With Christmas coming, I have been trying new things that I wanted to make for a long time but never got the right ingredients or never got around to do. Since those 2 recipes have the same basis, as in: a meringue and some Chantilly cream, I decided to do them both so you are getting 2 for the price of one (this is my gift to you ;-) ).

So what are these 2 desserts? Both Mont Blanc and the Merveilleux are great French classics (although the first one originates from Italy and the second comes from Belgium). The Merveilleux has long been my favourite dessert as a child but the Mont Blanc is equally as delicious with its Chestnut topping.

I didn’t make these with the Thermomix although I could have so I will give you the instructions both ways.

MontblancCollage

Source: inspired by the Mont Blanc recipe by Christophe Michalak

Ingredients

Meringue
120g egg whites (about 4 eggs)
112g caster sugar
112g icing sugar

Chantilly
200g single cream
50g Mascarpone
25g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod

Chestnut topping
200g chestnut purée
150g chestnut spread (I put 75g)
200g chestnut paste (didn’t find it so omitted, hence the half amount of Chestnut spread)
50g softened butter (I used 50g of the Chantilly leftover)
10g Rum (I omitted)

Chocolate topping
75g chocolate, roughly chopped with a knife

Method

  1. Non Thermomix
    1. Make the meringue the day before: preheat the oven at 100C.
    2. Whisk the egg whites at low speed until foamy.
    3. Add the caster sugar and continue whisking while increasing the speed to medium until it form soft peaks.
    4. Add the icing sugar and increase the speed to high until all the sugar is combined and the meringues are firm.
    5. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and fill a piping bag with a round nozzle with the meringue mixture.
    6. Pipe little domes a few centimeters apart and bake 2 hours. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven (don’t open the door) until completely cooled down or overnight.MontBlanc_003
    7. Make the chantilly: whisk the cream, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla beans until firm. Watch out not to over-whisk or you will get butter!MontBlanc_002
    8. Using a spatula, apply some chantilly on each meringue to cover the top.MontBlanc_001
    9. Make the chestnut topping by mixing all the ingredients with the flat beater/K whisk a few minutes at medium to high speed (or use the whisk if you don’t have a flat beater).
    10. Fill a piping  bag with a small round or star shaped nozzle and pipe over the little meringues.
    11. To make the Merveilleux, sprinkle the chocolate flakes over the meringues instead of the chestnut topping.
    12. Refrigerate until serving.
  2. Thermomix
    1. Meringues: make sure you have a squeekly clean TM bowl, blades and whisk. Insert the butterfly whisk. Whisk the egg whites 1 min/speed 3.5/measuring cup OFF. Add the caster sugar
    2. Whisk for another 2 minutes/speed 3.5/measuring cup OFF. Add the icing sugar and whisk 2 minutes/speed 3.5/measuring cup OFF.
    3. Pipe with a round nozzle onto baking tray lined with baking parchment, a few centimeters apart. Bake as per the traditional method above.
    4. To make the chantilly, insert the butterfly whisk into the TM bowl and whisk all the ingredients 30 sec/speed 3 and watch through the hole in the lid. Stop when it looks like it’s reached soft peak. It will be firmer at the bottom.
    5. Use a spatula to cover the meringues with the chantilly to keep a dome shape.
    6. Make the chestnut topping by mixing all the ingredients 30 sec/speed 6.
    7. Pipe over the meringues using a small round or star shaped nozzle.
    8. To make the Merveilleux, sprinkle the chantilly  topped meringues with chocolate flakes instead of the chestnut topping.
    9. Refrigerate before serving.

 

 

Almond purée

I often find recipes that require almond purée as a healthier alternative to butter but unfortunately, it is not an ingredient easily available in Ireland. However, I have a powerful tool that can do almost everything so a little search on the web and I got the recipe to make this wonderful ingredient!

You can use almond purée in many recipes: replace tahini in your homemade hummus or aubergine dip, use to make mayonnaise (replaces the egg yolk and some of the oil), use in dips (guacamole, tapenade…),  in sauces as a replacement to butter (béchamel, rémoulade…). Add into your risottos, purées and soups. In desserts, use in cakes, creams and pastry. To know how much almond purée is equivalent to the butter in a recipe, follow the ratios below:

Cold butter -> use 100% weight almond purée

Softened butter -> use 80% of the butter weight in almond purée and 20% oil

Melted butter -> use 50% weight almond purée and 50% oil or vegetal milk

(source: Cléa)

AlmondPuree_007

Source: Pause cuisine

Ingredients

300g blanched almonds (you can also use almonds with the skin on but the colour will be brown and the taste more rustic)

Method

  1. Place the almonds (or ground almonds) in the TM bowl and mix 1 min/speed 5, then 30 sec/speed 6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix another 30sec/speed 6.AlmondPuree_001
  2. Pause for 5 minutes to let it cool down, scrape down the sides and mix 30 sec/speed 7. Leave to rest 15 minutes.AlmondPuree_002
  3. Scrape down the sides and mix 1 min/speed 6. Leave to rest 30 minutes.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix another 1 min 30/speed 5. The texture of the almond paste is turning oily. Leave to rest 10 minutes.AlmondPuree_003
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix 30 sec/speed 5. Scrape down the sides and mix 30 sec /speed 5 again. Leave to rest 5 minutes.AlmondPuree_004
  6. Mix 1 min/speed 6. Now the almond purée est ready to use. Tip it onto a sterilised jar (to sterilise, place 10 minutes in an oven at 150C).AlmondPuree_005
  7. Don’t wash the bowl! Add 300 g of water in it and mix 20 sec/speed 6, then 20 sec/speed 10 and voilá! Almond milk ready to use (as suggested in the recipe, I made some clafoutis with the almond milk and the purée to replace the butter).AlmondPuree_008AlmondPuree_009
  8. Keep at room temperature for up to a week or in the fridge for a month.

AlmondPuree_006