Monthly Archives: January 2013

Crepes Suzette

Crepes Suzette are a classic in French cooking. I remember having it served once at a restaurant in Paris and it was quite a show! The waiter arrived with his trolley at the table and poured an orange/caramel sauce over pre-made pancakes in a copper fry pan on a hob. He would toss the pancakes in the sauce and when it was heated enough, he added some Grand-Marnier and proceeded to flambé the whole lot. The version of the recipe I will propose today is much simplified and doesn’t require the flambé part but is as tasty as the original. I found the recipe in Pascale’s blog “C’est moi qui l’ai fait” and since Saturday is Chandeleur day (pancake day in France), this is the perfect time to post it!

Source: C’est moi qui l’ai fait

Ingredients

Pancake batter
55g liquid caramel*
150g orange juice (juice of 2 oranges)
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp Grand Marnier
15g butter

Method

  1. Cook your pancakes and keep them warm in a plate sitting on a pan of simmering water (use a piece of foil folded on itself like a cigar to place on the edge of the pan, under the plate to let the steam out) and covered with foil.
  2. *If you don’t have liquid caramel, make it yourself: put 500g white sugar, 125ml of water and 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar in a saucepan stir and put on high heat. Leave to brown without stirring, just tilt the saucepan around to heat evenly. Meanwhile, boil 250ml of water in the microwave or on the stove.
  3. When  the caramel is smoking and amber colour, add the boiling water little by little very carefully as there will be projections. Continue cooking for 1 minute. Leave to cool and transfer into a glass bottle. This caramel will stay liquid even cool, so you can keep it for a long time in your cupboard.
  4. To make the orange sauce:
    1. Thermomix version: place the liquid caramel, the orange juice and the cornflour in the bowl. Place the butterfly whisk in the bowl. Cook 2 min 30/90C/speed 3.
    2. Cook a further 30 sec/60C/speed 2 while adding the butter through the hole.
    3. Add the Grand Marnier and stir 10 sec/speed 2.
    4. Tip out into a bowl and let it cool down to thicken a bit.
    5. Non Thermomix version: in a  fry pan, whisk the orange juice, caramel and cornflour. Turn on the heat to medium high and whisk until it starts boiling.
    6. Then, turn down the heat and add the knobs of butter while continuing whisking.
    7. Take out of the heat and add the Grand-Marnier.
  5. Serve the hot pancakes with the sauce poured over or you can place all the pancakes in a fry pan and toss them in the sauce while reheating gently before serving.
  6. If you want to flambé the pancakes, heat 4 tbsp of Grand Marnier (omit it in the sauce then) in a separate saucepan. When it’s very hot, light a match and place over the alcohol. As soon as it ignites, pour over the pancakes and swirl the fry pan.
  7. To serve, dust with icing sugar and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you wish.

 

Brioche tressée (6 strands plaited brioche)

I’ve seen this recipe on the French blog Paprikas, which featured it as a Challah bread. Since the original challah recipe was altered to add butter and milk, I think it is more appropriate to call it a brioche. It takes a while to make it because you do 3 rises instead of 2 normally but the result is fantastic! The texture is well aerated and soft. I posted a while back a recipe of brioche and explained how to plait it with 3 strands, which is the easy version. This time, I’ll show you how to plait a 6 strands brioche, which is quite a challenge the first time you try but after a bit of practice, it is actually not that complicated and it looks so beautiful that it is well worth it. I’ll even add a video that someone else made to show you how it’s done.

Source: Paprikas

Ingredients

For 2 loaves

500g strong white flour
80g butter ( you can use salted or unsalted), cut in chunks and softened
2 tbsp sugar
20g fresh yeast or 10g dried instant yeast
2 eggs + 1 yolk
200g milk
1 tbsp orange blossom water
1 tsp salt
1 egg for the eggwash and seeds of your choice for decoration (sesame, poppy…)

Method

  1.  Place the milk and yeast in the TM bowl and warm 3 min/37C/speed 2.
  2. Add 250g flour and mix 20 sec/speed 3 to mix.
  3. Leave to rise in the bowl, lid closed for 30 minutes (it should double in size).
  4. Add the eggs + yolk, the other 250g of flour, the butter, sugar, salt and orange blossom water. Mix 30 sec/speed 3, then lock the lid and knead 3 min.
  5. Lightly oil a big bowl and tip out the dough into it. Cover with cling film and heat briefly your oven at the lowest temperature to reach about 37/40C. Leave to rise in turned off oven for 2 hours (it should double in size).
  6. Divide the dough in 12 equal parts. Roll each part into a snake shape, make sure it is not too thick (it should be about 1 inch thick).
  7. Take 6 strands and join them at one end. Start plaiting the brioche (see pics below and this excellent video to see how).
  8. Repeat for the other 6 strands.
  9. Place the 2 loaves on a baking sheet covered with greaseproof paper, cover with a tea towel and return to the turned off warm oven (you might need to reheat it a little bit if it’s too cold).
  10. Leave to rise for 30 minutes and take out of the oven. Whisk an egg lightly (you can take out some of the white before whisking to obtain a stronger colour). Brush the brioche and sprinle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or anything you like.
  11. Preheat the oven at 170C and bake for 30 minutes (watch that the top doesn’t brown too quickly, if it does, cover with foil).
  12. You can freeze one loaf once it’s cooled down to keep it fresh for a later use.

Oeufs en Meurette

This recipe was proposed by Gourmande from the Supertoinette Thermomix forum for our monthly challenge. Her version of the eggs en Meurette is lighter than the traditional recipe (no bacon in the sauce) and much easier to do thanks to our friend the Thermomix! This dish comes from Burgundy, so you can use a Burgundy red wine for the sauce although I used a Bordeau, being a fan of more bodied and tannic wines. Also, the poaching of the eggs has been the subject of a heated debate on the forum as everybody has their own way of poaching them. So, you can be all traditional and use a saucepan with boiling water, if you have the silicone contraption that makes it easier and gives a neater result (as I did), you can use that as well. If you have a heat resistant cling film, then the Thermomix will be the best choice (I’ll give you the steps to poach your eggs in the internal basket) and if you have any other way you fancy to try, please be my guest! The important thing is that the egg yolk is still runny and the egg white is not fried.

Finally, I may add that I had never done oeufs en Meurette before (being the daughter of a Burgundy woman, I feel ashamed) but I was absolutely delighted by this recipe! The sauce is tasty and you can’t stop mopping it with the bread at the end, the eggs are fantastic with it and if you made my recipe of the sourdough bread, then you will be in heaven!

Source: Gourmande and Christalie for the method to poach eggs in the Thermomix

 

Ingredients

For 1 person (multiply accordingly for the number of servings)
2 small onions or shallots
30g olive oil or butter
30g chicken stock (or 30g water + 1/8 ctock cube)
100g red wine (try to get a decent wine, you can drink the leftovers!)
1 egg
1 slice of bread, toasted

Optional: fried bacon, cut into lardons and parsley to sprinkle

Method

  1.  Chop the onions in the TM bowl 2 sec/speed 5.
  2. Add the oil or butter and cook 8min/100C/speed spoon/Reverse blade
  3. Add the wine and cook 5 min/100C/speed spoon/Reverse blade.
  4. Add the stock and reduce 15 min/100C/speed spoon/Reverse blade, measuring cup OFF
  5. At this point, you can either set aside and keep warm or blitz the mixture if you want a smooth sauce or if you don’t like the texture of onions (I did it as I like my sauces smooth). Also, if the sauce is a bit liquid, add a tsp of cornflour mixed with 1 tsp of cold water to the hot sauce at speed 3.
  6. Now, for the poached eggs:
  7. Method #1: using a pan of boiling water. Add 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar into boiling water (use a big saucepan and a large quantity of water). Crack the egg in a separate cup, twirl the water with a spoon to create a whirlpool at the center. Drop the whole egg in that whirlpool and continue stirring with the spoon to keep the momentum and get the white to wrap the yolk while cooking. After 2 or 3 minutes, take out the egg with a slotted spoon and place on a warm plate. Sponge the excess water with a kitchen paper.
  8. Method #2: using the easy poach silicone cup (see picture).

    Method #2: using a silicone poacher

    Oil the silicone cup and place an egg inside. Place in a small saucepan and add 1.5 cm of water in the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, place a lid on the saucepan and count 4 to 6 minutes (depending on the size of the egg).

  9. Method #3: using the internal basket of the Thermomix. Place a piece of cling film, big enough to wrap an egg into a small bowl so it lines it. Oil the cling film (important!). Crack the egg into the lined bowl, then peel the cling film off the bowl, twisting the ends together until you wrap the egg. Place the wrapped egg into the internal basket. Add 1.5 L water into the TM bowl. Cook the water 5 min/Varoma/speed 1. Add the internal basket into the bowl and cook another 5 min/Varoma/speed 1. Take out the basket and pour cold water over the wrapped eggs to stop the cooking.
  10. To serve, toast some bread, pour some sauce over a serving bowl, gently place the poached egg on top and sprinkle with parsley and fried bacon if using.

Lazy Sourdough bread

I have long wanted to make sourdough bread. But the idea of having to “feed” the starter dough every now and then and leave it at a constant temperature of 20C to 25C in the initial stages was a big hurdle to me (everyone who lives in Ireland would tell you that temperatures are never that constant and particularly in winter, it’s a struggle to keep a room at en even temperature, never mind 20C).

So I have never attempted making sourdough bread. That is until recently when I found this great recipe for a bread that takes almost no attention (not even kneading)! Because you leave the dough to ferment for 3 days minimum, you will get a bread with a beautiful sourdough-like flavour and the cocotte cooking method will produce a nice thick crispy crust. It was the best bread I have ever made and I will certainly make it very often from now on since it’s such a breeze to make (you don’t even need a Thermomix)!

Source: J’en reprendrai bien un bout

Ingredients

1 & 1/2 sachet of dry instant yeast (or 20g fresh yeast)
700g warm water (or cold if using Thermomix)
1kg strong white flour
20g salt

Method (Thermomix)

  1. Weigh the water in the bowl and add the yeast. Warm 3 min/37C/speed 3.
  2. Add 750g flour and the salt and mix for 20 sec/speed 4.
  3. Add the remaining 250g flour and mix 20 sec/speed 4.
  4. Press the reverse blade button and mix another 20 sec/speed 4 or until the flour is all mixed in.
  5. Tip out the dough into a large bowl (turn the TM bowl upside-down onto the bowl and release the blades to easily empty it).
  6. Cover the bowl with cling film and let rest at room temperature for 2 hours or until doubled in volume (I always put my dough in a turned off oven, which I have previsouly warmed to about 40C).
  7. Place the bowl in the fridge or a cold place (~5C) for at least 3 days and maximum 15 days.
  8. Tip: to clean your hands and TM bowl, don’t use water straight away but add a little bit of flour to dry the bits of dough and rub it off into the bin. When most of the dough is gone, then use water to finish cleaning. This will avoid clogging your drain pipes!
  9. After the resting time, take out a portion of bread dough (I took half the dough to form a 1 pound loaf) and form into a ball with your hands on a floured surface. Place it in a cast iron cocotte (also known as Dutch oven) lined with baking parchment. Score the top of the dough with a sharp blade, sprinkle with flour and close the lid. Let the dough rise for 1 hour (I again used the oven as a raising chamber). It should rise by a third.
  10. Place with the lid on in the oven and cook at 240C for 45 to 50 minutes (don’t preheat the oven).

Method (non Thermomix)

  1. Use luke warm water and mix with the yeast in a large bowl. Leave to stand 10 minutes to make sure the yeast is well dissolved.
  2. Add the flour and salt and mix with a spoon (or your hands) until the flour is mixed in.
  3. Proceed as above from step 6.

Left: sourdough bread, right: non fermented bread. The difference in texture and colour is quite obvious. The taste is quite different too. Try it, you’ll be conquered!

Rain, snow or shine, this song will blow your mind

Today, no recipe but a beautiful song written by French composer Jean-Philippe Verdin aka Readymade FC and sung by Paris born Yael Naïm. Her voice is so beautiful and pure, I just love it and I hope you do too…

The only one

Have a great Sunday!

Express Chocolate cake

Sometimes, I want a quick fix for a dessert and even 30 minutes seems too long to wait before having one to eat. I saw this recipe on Caty’s blog A 2 mains cap délice and I was gobsmacked: you can actually cook a chocolate cake in less than 5 minutes in a microwave and let’s just say that nothing tickles my fancy as much as a chocolate cake! So I hopped to the kitchen and 10 minutes later, I was eagerly munching on this yummy cake (and boy is it a gorgeous, gooey, gimme more kind of a cake!).

Source: A 2 mains cap délice

Ingredients

100g dark chocolate
50g butter
2 eggs
50g sugar (30g for me as I use 55% cocoa chocolate so it’s quite sweet)
60g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
60g cream
100g milk or white chocolate

Method

  1. Melt dark chocolate (cut into chunks) and butter 3min30/50C/speed 1 (more if the chunks are big)
  2. Add flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs and cream and mix 20 sec/speed 4.
  3. Pour into a small dish that goes in the microwave (mine was 20cm square dish and it still too big so the cake ended up too flat), individual ramequins would work too but reduce the baking time.
  4. Sink a few chunks of milk or white chocolate in the batter.
  5. Cook in your microwave at full power: either 5 min at 650W or 4 min at 750W or 3 min at 850W.

Galette Cerises/chocolat (Cherry and Chocolate pie)

As part of the French tradition, the first Sunday of January we celebrate the Epiphanie, which is about the Messiah being visited by the 3 kings after his birth. To remind us of the kings, we eat this delicious galette made of puff pastry and filled with frangipane (a mixture of ground almond, butter, sugar and eggs, mixed with the same weight of creme patissiere). A little ceramic subject is hidden in the pie so whoever finds it in its plate is crowned the king. Nowadays, we like to vary the fillings (and not everyone likes almonds) so it’s up to your imagination what flavours you choose to fill your galette.

Ingredients

Serves 6 to 8 people

375g puff pastry
1 can Cherries (use Amarena if you can find) in syrup
1 egg yolk for brushing

Creme patissiere
180g milk
70g cherry syrup*
20g corn flour
20g sugar
1 egg (~65g)
70g chocolate

*If  your cherry juice is quite thin, weigh the juice and boil with same weight of sugar until reduced by a quarter until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Frangipane
1 egg
25g butter
75g ground almond
30g sugar
140g chocolate creme patissiere

Method

  1.  Make the creme patissiere in the Thermomix: put all the ingredients except the chocolate in the bowl and cook 6 min/90C/speed 4.
  2. Add the chocolate in chunks and mix 20 sec/speed 2 or until it is melted.
  3. Tip out into a bowl and leave to cool with cling film touching the cream to stop forming a skin. Clean and dry the bowl.
  4. Make the frangipane by mixing the butter and sugar 20sec/speed 4.
  5. Add the egg and mix 30 sec/speed 4. Scrape down the side of the bowl half way through.
  6. Add the ground almond and mix 20 sec/speed 3.
  7. Add 140g of the chocolate creme patissiere and mix 20 sec/speed 3.
  8. Tip out into a bowl and refrigerate along with the remaining creme patissiere for 30 minutes.

    Creme patissiere “filmée au contact” (cling film touching the cream)

  9. If making the puff pastry, make sure you do at least 3 foldings (don’t use the snail easy method as it won’t give you enough layers). Refrigerate an hour before using.
  10. Roll the pastry into a large rectangle and cut in half. Keep one half as is and roll the other half so that it overlaps the other by 1 good inch (3 cm) on all sides. My smaller half was roughly 28 cm each side.
  11. Place the smaller half on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  12. Spread the frangipane on it, leaving the edges free on 3/4 inch.
  13. Place the cherries all over the frangipane and place a ceramic

    Spread the filling leaving the edges free

    subject if you want to.

  14. Now, spread the remaining chocolate creme patissiere over the cherries and cover with the bigger puff pastry.
  15. Cut out the excess pastry around and press on the edges with a fork to seal.

    Brush with eggwash and mark with the back of the knife

  16. Brush with the egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp of cold water all over but don’t let the yolk falling off the edges of the pastry as it would stop it from raising.
  17. Using the back of the blade of a knife, trace some design on the pastry (make sure you don’t cut through the pastry).
  18. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 210C with an empty baking tray in it.
  19. Slide the pastry from the cold baking tray to the hot one (this will avoid the soggy bottom) before baking in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190C and bake for a further 25 minutes.

Waffles and hot hot chocolate!

I know you are probably not in the mood for more indulgent treats after all the eating and drinking at Christmas and New Year but it is still winter time and more than ever, we need some comforting food… So, next time you feel down because it’s dark and cold, you might like to warm yourself up with this amazing dark chocolate, Mexican style and some waffles…

Source: Fast and Easy cooking for the hot chocolate and Espace Recettes for the waffles

Ingredients

Waffles
300g plain flour
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
500g milk
100g butter
75g sugar

Hot Chocolate (serves 4)
80g dark chocolate
1/2 tsp instant coffee (optional)
700g milk
50g sugar (I don’t put any because my chocolate is quite sweet)
Cinnamon and Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

Method

  1.  Put all the waffle batter ingredients in the TM bowl and mix 1 min/speed 10. Tip out into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour (I didn’t and the waffles were still perfectly good). To cook the waffles, refer to the instructions with your waffle maker. Dust with icing sugar when they’re done or serve with jam, chocolate spread or Maple syrup…
  2. Clean and dry the TM bowl. Place the chocolate in it (cut into chunks) and mix 10 sec/speed 6 to blitz it into a coarse powder. You don’t need to do this if you use chocolate chips.
  3. Place the butterfly whisk into the bowl  and add the other ingredients except the spices. Heat 8 min/90C/speed 2.
  4. Add the spices to taste and serve.