Monthly Archives: September 2011

I’ve been tagged!

I’ve been tagged by Christalie from the blog “Les folies de Christalie” !!

This means that I have to:
1. Thank the person who tagged me (thank you Christalie!) and add the link to her blog (that’s done)

2. Insert the logo of the tag:

3. Tell 7 things about me :

  • As Wallace would say, I’m crackers about cheese
  • I’m addicted to chocolate
  • I’m totally crazy about animals
  • I prefer cooking sweet things
  • I dislike offal
  • I am absolutely not into sports
  • My idea of bliss is to enjoy good food in good company

4. Now, I’m supposed to tag 7 blogs but I’m afraid I don’t have know know half as many blogs so I will only tag 2 wonderful blogs:

Caramel au beurre salé (butter caramel)

Once you have made this caramel, you will become addicted to its yummy gooey texture and the caramel is well balanced with the saltiness of the butter. It is extremely versatile, so use it wherever you fancy (on pancakes, with ice cream, in yoghurt…)

(Source: C’est moi qui l’ai fait)


80g sugar (don’t use brown sugar as it doesn’t caramelise)
40g butter (the salted version)
100ml single cream
A pinch of sea salt

  1. Put the sugar in a large saucepan on a medium heat and wait without stirring until it turns into an amber coloured liquid. It is important not to stir as it cools down the sugar and prevents it from turning into caramel. Once it has turned golden brown and liquid, stir very gently  to bring the sugar that has not yet browned into the center of the pan and let it brown. Make sure the heat is not too intense as the caramel must cook slowly. Don’t overcook it as it would become bitter.
  2. While the sugar cooks, heat the cream in the microwave until just starting to boil.
  3. As soon as all the sugar has turned liquid, take it off the heat and add the cream in one go (careful of the hot projections!)
  4. Stir and add the butter, mixing well with a spoon.
  5. Bring the saucepan back to the medium heat and stir for 2 to 3 minutes until all the hard caramel bits have melted.
  6. Add the pinch of sea salt and stir some more.
  7. Pour into a sterilised jar and leave to cool down (to sterilise: either heat the jars in the oven at 150C for 10 minutes or pour boiling water in the jars and wait for 10 minutes before pouring the water out. Make sure you sterilise the jar tops as well).
  8. These can keep for months at room temperature as long as the jars are not opened. Once opened, consume within a week (that shouldn’t be too hard) and keep refrigerated.


Camembert & Apple tartlets / Goat’s cheese and plum tartlets

These are delicious served on a bed of salad leaves, they would make a very smart starter for a dinner party. In season, you can replace the apple slices with fresh figs. Just place 1 or 2 quarters of fresh figs on the camembert and cook in the oven. Yummy!


350g puff pastry

For the Camembert tartlets

150g Camembert cheese
1 apple (Granny Smith or Golden delicious)
1 tbsp dark Muscovado sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

For the Goat’s cheese tartlets
1 log of fresh goat’s cheese
Plum Chutney
A sprig of thyme

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Roll out the puff pastry and cut out rounds to fit your tartlet tins. Butter and flour the tins and fit the pastry into each one.
  3. Step 3

    Prick the pastry with a fork, line with baking paper and fill the paper with baking beans or rice and blind bake for 15 minutes.

  4. Camembert filling:
    1. Peel and core the apple. Slice it not too thinly (2 or 3 mm thick).
    2. Heat a good knob of butter in a frying pan and add the sugar and vinegar. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
    3. Step 4.C

    4. When it starts caramelising, place carefully the apple slices in the pan, trying to fit them all side by side. Cook 3 or 4 minutes each side on a medium heat until they are golden brown.
    5. Take the tartlet shells out of the oven and discard the beans and baking paper. Cut pieces of Camembert and place at the center of each tartlet.
    6. Carefully lift 2 or 3 caramelised apple slices and place on top of the Camembert.
  5. Goat’s cheese filling:
    1. Place a good teaspoon of chutney in each tartlet
    2. Slice the goat’s cheese log (about 1 or 2 cm thick) and place at the center of the pastry. Sprinkle with thyme leaves for decoration (pine nuts would also work well).
  6. Step 6 - tartlets before cooking

    Bake in the oven for a further 10 minutes at 200C and serve hot on a bed of salad leaves with a cider vinegar and olive dressing.

Flavour matching game

There is a game going around the blogs at the moment: find 10 matching flavours that come to your mind. Martine from Martinemenu invited me to participate so here are my 10 flavour combinations:

  1. Blue cheese/grapes
  2. Mushrooms/garlic
  3. Chocolate/passion fruit
  4. Duck/redcurrant
  5. Orange/cinnamon
  6. Macha tea/white chocolate
  7. Apricots/pistachios
  8. Cucumber/Feta cheese
  9. Camembert/figs
  10. Strawberries/cream

jeu des saveurs

It is now my turn to invite 5 blogs to participate, so here they are (there is nothing to win, it’s just for the fun!):

La cuisine de Gabie
Super Kitchen Machine
Why is there air
Nuage de Farine
Au bonheur d’Ottoki

Plum chutney

This chutney goes very well with cheese but it can also be used as a sandwich spread or a dip (I recently had it with a beef and fig samosa and it was delicious). I’ve used a recipe from the Fast and Easy Cooking (Apple, peach and apricot chutney) in which I have replaced the apples with plums and the dried peaches with prunes.

(Source: Fast and Easy Cooking)


6 garlic cloves, peeled
5 cm ginger, peeled and cut in 4 pieces along the lines of the skin
500g plums
100g prunes
100g dried apricots
50g sultanas
300g white wine vinegar
400g caster sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

  1. Drop the garlic and ginger into the running blades at speed 8.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the tM bowl with the spatula. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook for 10 min, 100C, speed 2.
  3. Remove the measuring cup and replaces with a piece of kitchen paper, folder in 4, to allow the chutney to reduce and thicken.
  4. Continue to cook 20 min, 100C, speed 2.
  5. When it is cooked, it should be like jam and will thicken more as it cools. Pour straight away into clean jars, close the lid and turn upside-down (this will sterilise the pots). Leave them to cool down, label and store in the fridge or a cool place.

Roast beef cooked in the Varoma

This is a great way to cook roast beef as the meat stays juicy from the steam cooking. It is excellent served with mashed potatoes, and green beans.

(Source: UK Thermomix)


700g to 1kg beef roasting joint
Good quality sea salt
2 or 3 sprigs of rosemary
3 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1 glass red wine
700g water

  1. The day before, rub the beef with the salt and  spread the garlic and rosemary on the meat. Wrap in a piece of foil and leave to marinate overnight.
  2. On the day, take out the garlic and rosemary and set them aside.

    Step 1 - Marinade the beef overnight

  3. Brown the meat on all sides in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil.
  4. Line the Varoma with a big piece of foil. Place the meat in the center and arrange the garlic and rosemary from the marinade around.

    Step 4 - Place the beef with the marinade and wine at the center of the foil

  5. Pour the wine on the meat.
  6. Wrap the beef and seal well but leave some room around it
  7. Put 700g of water in the bowl, close the lid and place the Varoma on top.
  8. For a 700g beef, cook for 35 minutes, Varoma temperature, speed 1 for a medium cooking. For a 1kg beef, cook it for 45 minutes. Add 10 minutes to these cooking times  for well done, remove 10 minutes for medium rare.
  9. If cooking vegetables, add them about 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time for greens (brocoli, green beans, asparagus…), cook at the same time as the beef for other vegs (carrots, potatoes…). Just place them in the Varoma around the beef parcel.
  10. Once cooked, leave the beef to rest for about 10 minutes in its parcel but away from the source of heat.
  11. I like to make a sauce with the cooking juices. Just re-use the frying pan you browned the beef in and carefully pour in the juices and cook on high heat until the sauce has reduced by half.
  12. Pour over the beef and vegetables and enjoy!