Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Year!

The year 2012 draws to a close and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your loyalty. It really means a lot to me and I am pleased to see more and more of you everyday visiting Journal of a French Foodie. I really appreciate when someone leaves a comment or sends me encouraging words and I love it when you tried a recipe and tell me about it ūüôā

So, roll on 2013! I wish the new year brings you happiness and success and I’m looking forward to sharing more yummy recipes (Thermomix or not) with you!

Baci Di Dama

Yesterday I gave you the recipe for Hazelnut paste so today, here is an application for it. These yummy Italian biscuits, which name can be translated by “Lady’s kiss”,¬†are filled with amazing home-made Gianduja. It’s very easy to make and yet they look impressive. Perfect with a nice cup of espresso!

Source: Ottoki, who adapted for Thermomix a recipe from La cuisine de Bernard

Ingredients

For about 30 to 40 Baci di Dama

150g sugar
150g plain flour
150g unsalted butter, softened
75g ground almonds
75g ground hazelnuts

Gianduja
200g Hazelnut paste
100g dark chocolate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 150C
  2. Mix the butter, sugar and ground nuts in the TM bowl for 20 sec/speed 4. Check through the hole in the lid and stop as soon at the mix is combined.
  3. Sieve the flour and add to the bowl and mix for 15 sec/speed 3. Note: you can also use a stand mixer to do steps 2 and 3 and mix at speed 2 with the flat beater.
  4. Take out 1 tsp of the mix (it should be the consistency of soft dough) and roll between your palm to make a walnut size ball.
  5. Place on the baking tray lined with parchment paper and flatten lightly with you fingers. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Leave to cool before filling with Gianduja.
  7. To make the Gianduja: melt the chocolate in the TM for 3 to 4 minutes/50C/speed 1.
  8. Add 200g of hazelnut paste and mix 10 sec/speed 3 until combined.
  9. Wait until the Gianduja has thickened (while cooling down it will be easier to fill the biscuits but don’t wait too long or it will be too hard to apply).
  10. They keep really well in an airtight container.

 

Hazelnut paste

I must say, sometimes I take my Thermomix for granted. I’m using it everyday and it’s become mondane for me to make risottos or custard in a few minutes without having to monitor it one bit. However, there are some recipes that bring back the wow factor. This is one of them. I don’t know any food processor that could produce a perfectly creamy nut paste in less than 2 minutes, do you? OK, maybe I’m being biased (and I haven’t tested all the food processors out there) but there it is, after almost 3 years of extensive use, it still amazes me.

Source: Ottoki who adapted to Thermomix a recipe from La cuisine de Bernard

Ingredients

200g dry roasted hazelnuts
200g icing sugar (make your own with Thermomix)

Method

  1. If your hazelnuts are not already roasted, place them on a baking tray in an oven preheated at 180C for 8 minutes. Let them cool down a little, then rub off the skin (if some are hard to remove, leave them, it’s no big deal).
  2. When they are completely cooled down, place them in the TM bowl along with the icing sugar (if you don’t have the exact 200g, just add the same weight of icing sugar).
  3. Blitz 1 min/speed 10.
  4. Scrape down the sides and mix again at speed 10 until it reaches a creamy consistency (it took me 1 min 40 for 160g hazelnuts).
  5. Tip out into a sterilised jar. Can be used to make Gianduja (recipe coming soon), or to flavour any desserts such as creme brul√©e, ice cream…

Peppermint brownies

I couldn’t resist posting this delicious recipe from the blog Love and olive oil. I know it’s not a French recipe but I love the combination of dark chocolate and peppermint and it’s a great dessert to bring to friends or a party. This is a very¬†fudgy brownie¬†I love the¬†white chocolate topping (which you could flavour with peppermint instead of the brownie for an after eight effect!)

Source: Love and Olive oil

Ingredients

225g dark chocolate, cut in chunks
115g butter
110g plain flour
15g cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
150g granulated sugar
2 eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp peppermint essence (I would use 1/2 tsp the next time as the peppermint was barely noticeable)

Topping
170g white chocolate
20g butter (I used coconut oil)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 170C.
  2. Place dark chocolate, butter and sugar in the TM bowl and cook for 4min30/50C/speed 1.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl amd cook for a further 2 min/50C/speed 1.
  4. Add the eggs through the hole in the lid on the running blades at speed 3 until combined.
  5. Sieve the flour, salt and cocoa together, add to the chocolate and for 10 sec/speed 4.
  6. Scrape down the sides and add the peppermint and vanilla extracts, mix 3 sec/speed 4.
  7. Pour into a rectangular or square mould (lined with parchment paper), make sure you use a small enough mould if you want your brownies to have a good thickness to them. Mine were on the thin side and I used a 21x31cm mould so I’ll use a smaller one the next time.
  8. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes depending on thickness (the top should be craqueled).
  9. To make the white chocolate topping: clean and dry your TM bowl. Add the white chocolate and butter and cook 5 min/37C/speed 1.
  10. When the brownie has cooled down, pour the white chocolate topping on top. Smooth with a spatula and sprinkle with any decoration you like.
  11. Place in the fridge until the topping has hardened, then take out of the mould, remove the baking parchment and cut into squares or triangles. Can keep for up to a week in the fridge in a closed container.

Salmon Terrine

I hope you all had a great time at Christmas with your family!

Today, the recipe is another festive dish and it comes from Aja as part of the Supertoinette recipe challenge of the month. It was a very successful starter with a lovely balance of flavours between the lemony salmon terrine, the salty smoked salmon and the creamy and sweet sauce.

Source: Aja

Ingredients

Serves 6 as a starter (can easily be doubled)

200g smoked salmon
400g fresh salmon
25g lemon juice
Dill or chives
2 tbsp mayonnaise
60g cream
1 gelatine leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
100g Philadephia
50g mayonnaise
1 tbsp ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste
A few drops of Worcestershire sauce

Method

  1. Place the fresh salmon, cut into big chunks into the internal basket. Pour 500g water in the bowl, place the internal basket inside and cook for 12 min/100C/speed 1.
  2. Tip out and shred with a  fork and leave to cool down. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaf in cold water.
  3. Whip 50g cream in a separate bowl (for that quantity, I don’t use the Thermomix).
  4. Chop the dill or chives.
  5. Combine the chopped herbs, 2 tbsp of mayonnaise and the lemon juice. Mix in the cooked salmon.
  6. Gently fold in the whipped cream.
  7. Heat the remaining 10g of cream in a saucepan and add the soaked and drained gelatine leaf. Stir well until melted and leave to cool down for a couple of minutes.
  8. Then add this to the mayonnaise and salmon mix. Taste and add salt, pepper or more lemon juice if needed.
  9. Line ramequins dishes with cling film (or use individual silicone moulds) and line with the smoked salmon, cutting bits that hang out of the dish. Make sure there is no hole in the salmon lining.
  10. Pour the terrine in each dish/mould and cover with cling film.
  11. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (you can also make this the day before).
  12. Before serving, make the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients.
  13. Turn each ramequin onto a serving plate and serve with the sauce, a sprig of dill or chive and cooked prawns for decoration.
  14. Note: I cooked the prawns myself using the varoma: I placed 500g of water in the bowl and heated it for 6 minutes/Varoma/speed 1. Meanwhile, I coated the raw prawns with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper. I placed them in the varoma and put the varoma on the bowl. I cooked them for 3 minutes/Varoma/speed 1 (I only had about 15 prawns so if you have more check after 3 minutes and add a couple of minutes more if needed). Don’t overcook the prawns! They are cooked when they are firm to the touch.

Rudolph the reindeer’s christmas log

In France, the traditional Christmas dessert is a genoise rolled and filled with flavoured creme au beurre, iced with more creme au beurre and decorated with little Christmas plastic figures.¬† It’s called a log as it¬†should look like one: we use a fork to make the icing look like the bark of a tree and we use cut outs of the¬†genoise to looks like stumps.¬†This year however, I had my heart set on an original version of this dessert, which¬†looks like Rudolph the red nose reindeer.¬†I thought it would be fun for my little daughter so here it is…

Source: Mes gourmandises qu’on se le dise

Ingredients

Genoise
3 eggs
90g sugar
90g sieved flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

Creme au beurre
4 egg whites
170g icing sugar
250g softened butter
70g dark chocolate
70g chestnut purée (unsweetened if possible)

Decorations
40g dark chocolate
10g white chocolate
Cocoa powder
1 glacé cherry for the nose

Method

  1. The day before, make the genoise and creme au beurre:
  2. Preheat the oven at 180C.
  3. Prepare the genoise : put the eggs and sugar in the TM bowl with the butterfly whisk and mix 10 min/speed 3, measuring cup OFF. The mixture will triple in volume.
  4. Tip out into a bowl and add the sieved flour and baking powder. Mix delicately with a spatula with a folding motion.
  5. Line a baking tray with a buttered and floured baking parchment.
  6. Pour the genoise batter on the tray, spreading the mix with a spatula in a rectangle shape about 1 cm thick.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Wet a clean tea lightly towel by throwing drops of water all over (don’t over wet, it should just be humid).
  9. Leave to cool slightly before turning onto the tea towel and gently peel the parchment away, work slowly and if the genoise is stuck, use a spatula to release it gently.
  10. Straight away, roll into the tea towel like a swiss roll and leave to cool completely.

    Roll the genoise in the humid tea towel

  11. To make the creme au beurre : clean and dry the TM bowl thoroughly and place the butterfly whisk in it. Add the 4 egg whites and whisk 4 min/speed 3, measuring cup OFF.
  12. Whisk 5 min/70C/speed 3, measuring cup OFF and add progressively the icing sugar while whisking.
  13. When the 5 minutes are over,¬†whisk on¬†speed 3 for about 18 min or until the bowl is luke warm to the touch. You’ve just made Italian meringue using the Thermomix!
  14. Turn on the machine to speed 3 again and drop small pieces of softened butter through the hole in the lid. The mixture will turn into a foamy cream.

    Creme au beurre should have a creamy and light texture

  15. Tip 2/3 in a bowl and add 70g of chestnut purée. mix with a hand whisk.
  16. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time and stirring between each cooking time until a few bits of unmelted chocolate subside. Mix to melt it and leave to cool before adding to the the 1/3 of creme au beurre that is left in the bowl. Mix 20 sec/speed 3.
  17. Unroll the genoise and spread 1/3 of the chesnut creme au beurre on one half of the sponge. Spread all of the chocolate creme au beurre on the other half.

    The chestnut cream and chocolate cream are spread on the genoise.

  18. Roll the genoise and cut each end to have a clean edge.
  19. Cling film and refrigerate with the remaining creme au beurre until the next day (!! caution though if you don’t have a powerful electric whisk, see next step).

    Roll and cling film, then refrigerate until the next day.

  20. On the day, leave the creme au beurre at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften. Whisk well and spread over the rolled genoise to cover it all over. I had a little problem with my cream, it looked like the butter had split so I used my Kitchenaid to whisk at the maximum speed and it brought it back to normal. If you don’t have a Kitchenaid, it would be preferable to spread the creme au beurre on the rolled genoise the day before…
  21. Dust with sieved cocoa powder.
  22. To make the antlers: draw a template on a piece of paper. Use an acetate sheet (you can find them in an office supply store, it’s the transparent sheet used for retro-projectors) and place on top of the paper.
  23. Melt the dark chocolate and apply with a brush on the acetate sheet following your tempate. Apply a few coats to make the antlers nice and thick, it would be easier to handle later.
  24. Do the same for the eyes using white chocolate and dark chocolate (I used a toothpick to apply rather than the brush as it’s more finecky). Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes and carefully lift off the acetate sheet. Make the shiny side visible on the log for a better finish.
  25. Use a glacé cherry for the nose and voilá !

Don’t be scared by the number of steps, this cake will need patience but nothing is¬†really complicated.

Happy Christmas to all!

 

Spiced Christmas trees

There are a few recipes for beautiful biscuits stacked as a Christmas tree on the blogosphere but this one caught my eye because the biscuits are delicately spiced with ginger, aniseed, nutmeg and other spices a bit like a ginger biscuit. They are really easy to make and fun to assemble (kids will love to give a hand) and would really look a picture on the Christmas table as edible decorations!

Source: J’en reprendrai bien un bout

Ingredients

220g plain flour
60g icing sugar
1 pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice (or mixed spices)
1/2 tsp ground aniseed (I put cinnamon instead)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 drop of almond extract (optional)
160g unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into cubes (if using salted, omit the sea salt)

Royal icing (that will make plenty)
1 egg white
250g icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

  1. Place all the biscuits ingredients in the TM bowl and mix a few seconds speed 6 until the dough just clings together (don’t overmix).
  2. Tip out onto a big piece of cling film and form into a flat ball, wrap well and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Before rolling the dough, preheat the oven at 160C.
  4. Roll the dough to 3 mm thick and cut out star shapes of different sizes (I used 5 different sizes but a minimum of 3 would do as well).
  5. Place on a baking tray and bake for 10 to 15 minutes (the edges should be firm to the touch).
  6. Let the biscuits cool down. Meanwhile, make the royal icing: mix all the ingredients together until you obtain a paste that is not too thick nor too runny.
  7. Place the icing into a piping bag with a small round nozzle (if you don’t have a nozzle, make a very small cut at the tip of the piping bag instead).
  8. When the biscuits are cool, stack them up using the royal icing as a glue and decoration. You can stack 3 big stars, followed by 3 middle size and 3 small ones for instance. Sprinkle with silver sugar balls, white flakes or icing sugar.
  9. Let them dry 1 hour before keeping them in a tupperware box until needed (these are great to make up to a week in advance!)

Tigrés au chocolat (Chocolate dotted cake)

This very nice spongy cake will delight children and adults alike and is a doddle to make with (or without)¬†Thermomix. I had seen the recipe a while ago in one of Demarle’s magazines. For those who don’t know Demarle, it’s a French company who specialise in very high quality silicone moulds. They are probably the best on the market but like Thermomix, they only sell through demonstrations. Anyways, I had the recipe in the back of my mind when I see it in Lylou’s blog “Quand Lylou cuisine“. So no more prevarication, I finally decided to try it and here is the recipe…

Source: Demarle

Ingredients

180g softened unsalted butter
180g sugar (I only put 150g)
120g flour
3 eggs
60g ground almond
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g chocolate vermicellis (or a mixture of vermicelli and chocolate chips)

For the ganache

100g dark chocolate
100g cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C
  2. Butter and flour individual moulds or use a silicone tray of any shapes you like (I used the square savarins tray)
  3. Place the butter and sugar in the TM bowl and mix 30 sec/speed 4.
  4. Continue mixing at speed 4 and add the eggs one by one through the hole on the running blades.
  5. Turn off the speed and add the ground almond, flour and baking powder.
  6. Mix for 10 sec/speed 6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix another 10 sec/speed 6.
  7. Add the chocolate vermicelli/chips and mix 10 sec/speed 3/reverse blade.
  8. Pour into the silicone moulds or individual tins and bake for 12/15 minutes.
  9. Take the cakes out of the oven and let them cool down while you prepare the ganache.
  10. In the clean TM bowl, place the chocolate chunks and cream and cook for 5 minutes/90C/speed 2.
  11. Pour onto the cakes and serve warm. I used a thickened orange coulis for decoration but orange segments or any other coulis will do…

 

Pear and Roquefort tart

If you are one who hesitates between cheese or dessert, why not do both? This recipe allies the sweetness of pears with the sharpness of Roquefort cheese and the walnuts add a nice crunch. It’s wonderful served with a simple green salad!

Source: Tartes, quiches et cakes salés from Sylvie Ait Ali

Ingredients

For 6 people

100g Roquefort
4 pears
A handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
1 puff pastry

 Method

  1. Butter and flour a tart tin.
  2. Roll the puff pastry and place in the tin. Prick with a fork and refrigerate.
  3. Preheat the oven at 200C.
  4. Peel and quarter the pears. Core them if necessary.
  5. Crumble the Roquefort cheese.
  6. Take the tart tin out of the fridge and harmoniously place the pear quarters on the pastry. Add the crumbled evenly cheese between each pear quarter and finish by sprinkling the chopped walnuts on top.
  7. Bake for 20 to 30¬†minutes (watch the walnuts so they don’t burn).
  8. Serve hot with a salad of your choice.

 

Gorgonzola panna cotta, honey and chutney verrines

I hosted a Christmas canapés party recently and I made these yummy verrines which are easy to make and look gorgeous.

Source: Mathon verrines

Ingredients

For 14 small verrines or 6 starter size

80g Gorgonzola
400g cream (full fat)
1 1/2 gelatine leaf
Honey

Chutney
375g fresh figs, quartered
75g brown sugar
45g raisins
150g onions, peeled and quartered
1 Granny apple, peeled, quartered and cored
3 cloves
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
2cm fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

Method

  1. Place the onions, apple and ginger in the TM bowl and chop 3 sec/speed 5.
  2. Put the rest of the chutney ingredients and cook for 20 min/100C/speed 1, measuring cup OFF or until it has reached jam consistency (to test, place a tiny amount on a cold plate, and push slightly with your finger, you should see wrinkles, if not, add 5 minutes cooking at a time and repeat test).
  3. Tip out into a bowl and reserve.
  4. Place the gelatine in a bowl with cold water.
  5. Clean the TM bowl and place the cream into it. Cook for 4 min/90C/speed 1.
  6. Add the Gorgonzola and cook for 1 min/100C/speed 4.
  7. Add the drained gelatine and mix another 10 sec/speed 3.
  8. Place some chutney at the bottom of each verrine.
  9. Pour gently the Gorgonzola cream onto it. Leave to cool, then refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours or until the cream is set.
  10. Just before service, pour some honey on top and place a toasted walnut on each verrine.