Monthly Archives: February 2013

Beetroot, orange and goats cheese salad

Beetroots are underappreciated root vegetables. I remember bringing a beetroot salad in my lunchbox at work a few years back and this lovely colleague of mine looked at it horrified and muttered in her best Irish accent “Whats za???”.

I don’t know if she has brought herself to try eating beetroot since but this salad has such beautiful colours and flavours that maybe she would have had a taste and changed her mind… Just maybe. In the meantime, I dedicate this recipe to her, wherever she might be.

For 2 servings as a starter

1 orange, segmented (collect the juices for the dressing)
4 to 6 uncooked beetroots
100g creamy goat cheese (I used St Tola), in chunks
1 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 tbsp rapeseed oil (extra virgin olive oil would work well too)
Seasoning and parsley for decoration


  1. Peel the beetroots (use rubber gloves if you don’t want to stain your hands), cut into wedges and place them on a large baking tray so they don’t overlap.
  2. Sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt and bake at 200C for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the dressing: mix together the raspberry vinegar, rapeseed oil, salt and pepper and add any juice from the segment orange.
  4. Turn the beetroots on the other side and bake for another 20 minutes. Check for tenderness and if some are done at this stage, take them out and toss into the dressing
  5. As soon as the beetroots are cooked, toss them in the dressing, add the orange segments and goats cheese and sprinkle with parsley. It’s better eaten warm.

Barquettes (soft sponge biscuits with a jam centre)

A stapple of French kids 4 o’clock break (quatre heures), barquettes are yummy spongy biscuits shaped like little boats with some jam in the middle (a small boat in French is called a barque, hence the name of barquette). Most kids will lick the jam first and might then proceed with eating the sponge… or not. But one thing is sure, they LOVE it! So, now that I have a child of my own but can’t buy them in the shop, my only option is to make them myself and it’s actually very easy and much better than the industrial version…

Photo curtesy of

Source: Flexipaninie


4 eggs
100g sugar
100g flour
Jam or any other filling you might fancy such as homemade Nutella


  1. Preheat the oven at 180C.
  2. Separate the yolk from the whites and put the whites in the TM bowl. Place the butterfly whisk securely on the blades and whisk 3 min/speed 3.5, measuring cup OFF. When the whites have started to foam, add the sugar a little at a time.
  3. Program 20sec/speed 2 and pour the egg yolks through the hole in the lid while the blades are running.
  4. Programm 20sec/speed 2 and pour the flour through the hole.
  5. Remove the butterfly whisk and use the spatula to combine the bits of flour that have not been mixed in.
  6. Pour into silicone moulds of any shape you like (for easy unmoulding) or a small scone or muffin tray, well greased and floured will do the trick.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes (check for colouring) depending on the size. For my small heart shape, 8 minutes were enough.
  8. While still warm out of the oven, use a clean wine cork to press down the center to create a cavity so you can fill with jam later.
  9. Then, take them out of the mould and leave to cool on a grid.
  10. Fill them to your heart’s content and enjoy! They will keep well in a tightly closed box and are even better the next day…


Homemade Nutella & Passion fruit Curd

Spreads are so versatile. You can use them on bread, biscuits, as fillings for brioches, in a tart case, in pancakes or waffles… I just love making them. So, today I give you not one, but 2 recipes for great classics to make with your Thermomix: passion fruit curd (who doesn’t love passion fruit??) and your own Nutella, which is far better than the shop-bought one (and with no palm oil)!


Homemade Nutella
8 tbsp Hazelnut paste
8 tbsp cream
6 tbsp grated dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)

Passion fruit curd (based on the Lemon curd recipe in Fast & Easy Cooking)
4 passion fruits (spoon out the seeds and press through a sieve to collect all the juice)
75g sugar
2 large eggs
50g unsalted butter


  1. For the Nutella: make the Hazelnut paste and take out 8 tbsp.
  2. Warm the chocolate and cream together 4 min/37C/speed 2 (or use the microwave:  heat the cream 20 to 30 sec until just bubbly and add the chocolate and stir until melted).
  3. Add to the hazelnut paste and stir. Keep in a tightly closed jam pot.
  4. For the passion curd: Grind the sugar 20 sec/speed 10. Add eggs, butter and juice of the passion fruit and mix 10 sec/speed 6.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula. Cook and stir for 4 min/80C/speed 4. If it hasn’t thickened enough, add 1 to 2 minutes more. Spoon out into a bowl and leave to cool, or in a sterilised jar if you want to conserve it for longer than a week.
  6. For different flavours, try with 35-45g orange/lemon or lime juice instead of the passion fruit.
  7. Both spreads will keep well in the fridge for a week (2 weeks for the chocolate/hazelnut spread).

Tarte au sucre like a cheesecake

This recipe was born out of a biscuit recipe gone wrong. The biscuits were dry and unpalatable but I didn’t want to throw them away so I wanted to use them in a cheesecake. Then, I saw a recipe for a sugar tart in the French blog Amuse Bouche by Sylvie Ait-Ali. Her recipe itself is a take on the North of France speciality made of a brioche base and a sugar and cream topping. She used a sweet pastry instead of the brioche whereas I used my biscuits and some butter as a base. Then, she used the cream and sugar topping but I thought it would be too rich and I had some Philadelphia in the fridge so to stay in the cheesecake theme, I used it to replace the cream. Thus was born my cheesecake/sugar tart and I was very please with the outcome. It’s better to eat it the next day to let the flavours of the brown sugar develop. It’s sweet but not overly and it’s got a nice hint of molasses flavours . It also marries great contrasting textures between the creamy, almost fudgy topping and the crunchy base.

Inspiration: Amuse bouche


200g biscuits
50g butter

50g butter
210g soft brown sugar (or muscovado)
50g milk
50g butter
160g Philadelphia
30g flour
1 egg


  1. Preheat the oven 180C.
  2. Melt the butter 3min30/70C/speed 2.
  3. Add the biscuits in the TM bowl and crush 3 sec/Turbo speed.

    Crumbed biscuits and butter base

  4. Tip out into a sprinform tin (20 cm), make sure the base of  the tin  is turned upside-down so you can slide it out easily after the cheesecake is cooked. Refrigerate the base while making the topping.
  5. Use a spoon to press down the biscuits to evenly spread them around the tin like a pastry (see picture)

    Press the biscuits down the tin to form a pastry shape.

  6. To make the topping, mix the butter 3 sec/speed 5, then melt 3 min/70C/speed 2.
  7. Add all the other ingredients and mix 5 sec/speed 6, scrape down with the spatula and mix again 10 sec/speed 4.

    Mixed topping.

  8. Pour onto the base and bake for 20 min (you will have some topping leftover, so just pour it into ramequins and bake with the cheesecake for 10 min only).

    Cooked cheesecake

  9. Leave for 12 hours minimum in the fridge before tasting for better flavours.




The Kouglof (or Kougelhof/Kugelhof/Kugelhopf) is a brioche speciality from Alsace, Austria, Czech Republic and south Germany. It would have been brought into fashion in France by Marie-Antoinette, who famously said about the hungry French peasants asking for bread: “let them eat brioche!”. Kouglofs have a very distinctive shape and special moulds made of ceramic are traditionally used to make them. The shape is apparently modelled from the hats worn by the parliament dignitaries in Strasbourg in the middle age. Nowadays, we can use silicone or tin Bundt cake moulds.

I’ve only started to make Kouglofs recently, after a recipe from my friend Christalie took my fellow French Thermomixers into a Kouglof frenzy! Everyone raved about the light, moist and airy texture of this brioche so after a trip to my favourite cookery shop, I got cracking. It takes a bit of time to make because you need 3 provings but boy is it worth it!

Source: Les folies de Christalie


90g raisins
10g fresh yeast or 5g dry fast action yeast
100g milk
300g plain flour
3/4 tsp salt
30g sugar (add more if not using raisins)
4 eggs
150g butter
50g flaked almonds (optional)


  1. Heat the milk and yeast 2 min/37C/speed 2.
  2. Add flour, salt, sugar and eggs, lock the bowl and knead 2min30 using the kneading button.
  3. Add the butter and raisins and lock the bowl. Knead another 2min30. The dough will look more like a thick cake batter than a brioche dough but this is normal.
  4. Tip out into a bowl, cover with cling film and place for 1 hour in an oven briefly heated at the lowest setting for 30 sec, then turned OFF.
  5. Stir the dough to deflate it and cover again with cling film and leave in the fridge for 2 hours.
  6. Take out of the bowl with a spatula and place in the mould (if it’s not a silicone mould, butter it well). If using flaked almonds, place them at the bottom of the mould first.
  7. Let the dough rise again for 1 hour (or until doubled in size) in the oven then take out, preheat the oven at 180C and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
  8. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the mould/tin.
  9. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee. Divine!

Fruity cakes

As you probably remember from the last post, I have used my yummy fruit tagine , which I had made the day before, as a filling to cakes. They proved really moist and gorgeous and work well in bite size. In fact, these little buggers are very addictive! Since it’s Valentine’s day soon, I have used heart shape silicone moulds for some of the cakes. In the original recipe, there was the addition of raisins soaked in rum. I omitted them since there are a lot of fruits in the tagine and I thought it wasn’t necessary (but I added a little bit of rum though!).

Source: Nuage de farine


170g softened butter
140g sugar
60g ground almond
2 eggs (~ 100g)
2 egg yolks (~ 35g)
25g milk
75g cream
5g rum
110g flour (I put 130g as my batter was too liquid)
90g fruit tagine (you’ll have plenty leftover for other use!)


  1. Preheat the oven at 180C
  2. Place the butter in the TM bowl and mix 30sec/speed 4.
  3. Add the butterfly whisk on the blades.
  4. Add the sugar and ground almond and mix 30 sec/speed 3.
  5. Add the eggs + egg yolks and mix 30 sec/speed 3.
  6. Add the milk, cream, rum and mix 30 sec/speed 4
  7. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix 15 sec/speed 4.
  8. Add the flour and mix 25 sec/speed 4.
  9. Scrape down the side and mix for 10 sec/speed 4. The batter should be a little liquid.
  10. Place a small dollop of fruit tagine in the bottom (if your mould is for an upside-down presentation, otherwise, place the dollop on top of the batter) of each individual  mould and delicately pour the batter on top.
  11. Cook 10 to 15 minutes (more if the moulds are big, mine were bite size and 15 minutes was still a little undercooked but I had my oven at 170C). If the cakes are too light in colour, add a further 5 minutes and watch. Use a skewer to check it’s cooked through.

Fruit tagine

My friend SorbetCitron who writes the blog Nuage de farine posted this recipe a few weeks ago and her description of this dish was so mouth watering that I had to make it the next day. I had almost all the ingredients at hand and after a little trip to the shop, I got cracking with it. As soon as the mixture was ready, I couldn’t resist to try it (the smells were so delicious) and it was amazingly tasty. The recipe states to leave it for a day to blend all the flavours together and it was hard to wait so long but it’s well worth it. There is a cake recipe to follow soon that uses this gorgeous tagine but you can of course eat it on its own or on a slice of fresh bread or brioche…

Source: Nuage de farine


For the foamy butter
30g butter
50g brown sugar
35g lemon juice
1 vanilla pod

2 apples (I used Golden delicious), peeled, cored and cut into chunks
65g sultanas (use the golden variety as they are nicer)
25g blanched almonds
175g orange segments (about 3 oranges)
175g grapefruit segments (about 2 grapefruits)
Juice of 1 grapefruit (the juice leftover from segmenting the grapefruits will suffice)
Juice of 2 oranges (same as above)
1 tsp vanilla extract
10g candied ginger, chopped finely
1 pinch of ground allspice
1 pinch of cinnamon
40g brown sugar
10 mint leaves, chopped


  1. To take out the orange and grapefruit segments, use a serrated knife and cut the skin off using a see-saw motion as close to the fruit as possible (you want to remove the white skin as well). Then cut each segment as close as possible to the membranes but leaving them out so the segments have no skin at all. Make sure to do this on top of a bowl to collect all the juices and press the leftover fruit when all the segments are taken out.
  2. Prepare and weigh all the ingredients before proceeding to the next step.
  3. Make the foamy butter by melting the butter in a saucepan until it starts making bubbles. Add the sugar, vanilla seeds and pod and the lemon juice.
  4. Add the apples, sultanas and almond. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the orange and grapefruit segments and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Add half the juice of orange and grapefruit and all the other ingredients except the mint leaves.
  7. Reduce for 20 minutes on medium heat and add more juice if it gets too dry.
  8. Take off the heat and add the chopped mint leaves. Leave to cool and refrigerate for a day before using (I would warm it up before eating to give it back its shine…)