Monthly Archives: March 2013

Homemade Easter egg

I have made homemade chocolates before here. However, this is my first attempt at an Easter egg. I had bought the special moulds in my favourite bakeware shop last January during the sales and was eagerly waiting for Easter to try them out. So here I was finally using the eggs mould, all excited when I decided to give them a wash (they were pretty clean but thought they might be a bit dusty). No harm done there but then I got a “brilliant” idea. I had used my oven earlier in the day to make banana and chocolate cakes so it was still pretty warm. I thought, wouldn’t it dry them quicker if I slip them inside the oven?? Worst idea ever. At first, they looked fine but after 10 minutes, I was horrified to see they had started to lose shape on the edges. I took them out pronto and tried re-shaping them to no avail. I still decided to go ahead since the egg shape itself hadn’t been too disformed and I thought it would still look OK. Well, from a certain angle it does look OK but unfortunately, the 2 halves have lost their perfect symmetry so one is slightly bigger than the other. I learned my lesson and will probably have to drop by the shop again to get a fresh set…

EasterEgg_001

Ingredients

200g dark couverture chocolate (55% cocoa) – I used chocolate callets but if you have it in a block, cut into chunks and process a few seconds on speed 6 to break down in small bits.
30g white chocolate (I used Valrhona ivory couverture chocolate)
2 Easter egg  plastic moulds (14cm high)

EasterEgg_004

Method

  1. Warm the white chocolate in a bain marie (I don’t use Thermomix for such a small amount) and pour over both half egg. Spread with a silicone spatula to cover the half but try to keep the layer very thin and uneven to create a marble effect. Let them cool until set.
  2. Temper 200g dark chocolate 4 min/50C/speed 2. Half-way through, scrape down the callets of chocolate that have stuck to the sides. At the end of the 4 minutes, there should be unmelted bits of chocolate. Stir them with the spatula to melt. This stage is important as the unmelted chocolate will contain the crystals that will ensure the proper tempering of the chocolate, dropping the temperature and making it nice and shiny when set.
  3. Pour some of the chocolate on both half eggs and tilt them on all sides to cover every inch of the egg. Pour back the excess in the TM bowl (this can be messy but don’t use any utensil to help doing this). Scrape the edges of the eggs with a flat spatula and turn them upside down on a grid to let the remaining excess drip out. Scrape every so often to keep the edges sharp.
  4. While the chocolate sets, keep the remaining chocolate at 37C (don’t forget to program a time otherwise the Thermomix won’t heat) in the Thermomix so it doesn’t set in the bowl. It will be near impossible to take set chocolate out as the blades won’t spin.
  5. When the first layer of chocolate is set, pour another layer of melted chocolate and tilt again to cover the egg evenly. Remove excess, scrape the edges and let drip. Keep scraping the edges to keep them sharp and straight.
  6. Check the thickness of the chocolate. It should be about 3 mm thick. If not, continue pouring melted chocolate over the set layers until the right thickness is reached (I only needed 2 layers but it depends on the chocolate).
  7. Once completely cold and set, unmould each egg half by pulling the edges slightly and tap the egg gently upside-down against your worktop. It should fall off easily.
  8.  Put some of the remaining melted chocolate into a small piping bag (I used a DYI greaseproof paper bag, check the video here to see how to make one). At this stage, if you want to fill the egg with small chocolate eggs wrapped in foil, do this now. Pipe a small line of melted chocolate on the edge of one egg half.
  9. Carefully place the other half over and keep in position until set.

EasterEgg_003

No base quiche

Stuck with ideas for a quick and tasty lunch? Why not try this beautiful, quick and easy quiche sans pate, i.e.: quiche with no pastry base? It needs very few ingredients, which you almost surely have in your fridge and cupboards, is good to use up leftovers and, cherry on the cake, it’s done in a very speedy time.

QuicheSansPate_001

Source: A table avec Thermomix (cookbook sold with every Thermomix in France)

Ingredients

Serves 3 to 4 as a light lunch or 6 as a starter

3 eggs
500g milk
100g plain flour
100g emmenthal cheese (you can substitute with cheddar, in which case, omit the salt)
4 slices of ham, cut into dices or 100g lardons or any filling you like (cherry tomatoes, mushrooms…)
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 210C (fan 200C)
  2. Place the cheese in the bowl and chop 8 sec/speed 7. Reserve a handful in a bowl.
  3. Add all the other ingredients except the ham and mix 30sec/speed 5.
  4. Butter a tart tin (or a round cake tin about 26cm, or individual ramequins). Place the ham or any of the filling you chose on the bottom of the tin.
  5. Pour over the mixture and sprinkle with the reserved handful of cheese.
  6. Bake 40 minutes (20 minutes for individual portions). Serve with a salad and enjoy!

Happy Saint Patrick’s day!

On this special day, I will not post not a recipe, but some Irish poetry gleaned on the internet:

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
~Irish Blessing

 

 

 

 

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
~Irish Blessing

So, success attend St. Patrick’s fist,
For he’s a saint so clever;
Oh! he gave the snakes and toads a twist,
And bothered them forever!
~Henry Bennett


Saint Patrick was a gentleman, who through strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from Ireland, here’s a drink to his health!
But not too many drinks, lest we lose ourselves and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick, and see them snakes again!
~Author Unknown

 

 

Chocolat Liégeois

What do you do with leftover egg yolks?? Well, chocolat liégeois is a good alternative to cremes brulées and custard. I love the look of this elegant dessert and it tastes as good as it looks!

On a different note, I have been recently interviewed by another French foodie: Ketty who runs the blog French Foodie in Dublin. Check it out here.

ChocolatLiegeois_001

Source: Cuisine AZ

Ingredients

4 egg yolks
60g sugar
15g cornflour
500g milk
100g cream
100g dark chocolate, cut into chunks

For the Chantilly:
150g whipping cream
3 tbsp icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract or the seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod

Chocolate vermicelli for decoration

Method

  1. Place the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar into the TM bowl and mix 30 sec/speed 3.
  2. Add the milk and cream and cook 7 min/90C/speed 4
  3. Add the chocolate and mix 30 sec/speed 3.
  4. Pour into glasses until 3/4 full.
  5. Let it cool and set.
  6. Before serving, make a Chantilly by beating the cream in the TM bowl with the butterfly whisk at speed 3, measuring cup OFF and after a few seconds, add the icing sugar and vanilla extract through the hole in the lid. Watch through the hole and stop as soon as the top of the cream looks almost done. You can also stop every 10 seconds and test with a spoon to check the consistency. I should form soft peaks. Be mindful that the bottom will be more firm than the top of the Chantilly.
  7. Place into a piping bag fit with a star nozzle and pipe onto the cooled chocolate cream. Sprinkle with chocolate vermicelli and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.

Granola with warm prunes marinated in tea and vanilla yoghurt

I have recently won a Neven Maguire’s cookbook. For those who don’t know him, he’s an Irish celebrity chef who owns a beautiful restaurant in County Cavan called McNean. It’s also a guest house, so if you are travelling to Ireland, this would be a great spot to stay. Anyway, I was flicking through the mouth watering recipes in this book and got very interested in his granola recipe. Not only did I have all the ingredients in my cupboard and fridge, but it looked very easy to do. The beauty of this recipe (apart from its fabulous taste and texture) is that you can make all the different parts in advance and assemble when needed. One last thing: Neven owns a few Thermomix at his restaurant and he says about them: “It’s the one piece of equipment I’d miss most and it’s in heavy use all day in the restaurant’s kitchen”. Need I say more?

Granola_004

Source: The mcNean Restaurant Cookbook

Ingredients

Serves 6

For the prunes
100g large pitted prunes
1 tea bag (Barry’s gold blend, Earl grey or Darjeeling)
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out
350g Greek yoghurt

For the granola
100g mixed seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and/or sesame seeds)
40ml maple syrup
25g flaked almonds

A few dried fruits like dried apricots cut into small dices, sultanas… (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the grill/broiler to medium.
  2. Make the granola: place the mixed seeds in a bowl and mix with the maple syrup until evenly combined. Tip the seed mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and spread in an even layer.
  3. Place under the grill for 8 to 10 minutes, until light golden, stirring occasionally to break up any large lumps. Watch while it’s baking as it can brown quite quickly!
  4. Add the flaked almonds, stirring to combine and cook another 5 minutes (I forgot about the flaked almonds so I took out the seeds and placed the almonds on their own to brown for 5 minutes, turning them once).
  5. Leave to cool and harden and place in an airtight container.
  6. Place the prunes, tea bag, sugar and vanilla pod (scrape the seeds out and reserve for the yoghurt mixture) in the TM bowl. Add 175g of water. Cook 5 min/100C/speed spoon/REVERSE DIRECTION.
  7. Simmer for 3 min/90C/speed spoon/REVERSE DIRECTION.
  8. Leave to cool completely. Discard the vanilla pod and tea bag and blend for 20 sec, turning the speed dial very slowly from speed 1 to speed 6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and repeat (it won’t be completely smooth). Place in an airtight container and chill in the fridge until needed.
  9. In a separate airtight container, mix the yoghurt and vanilla seeds. and chill until needed.
  10. To serve, divide the prune purée among 6 x 120ml martini glasses  and spoon over the yoghurt to cover completely. Finally, scatter over a layer of the granola (add dried fruits at this stage if you wish).

Granola_003

Hazelnut cake

This month challenge in the Supertoinette forum was originally called a hazelnut tart. Indeed, there is a base, which is made of a plain cake batter and the topping is a mixture of ground hazelnuts and meringue. However, it looks and tastes more like a cake so I changed the name accordingly. What is sure however, is that it’s a pretty darn good cake, very soft and moist with a delicate hazelnut flavour. I served it with some light caramel but you could use a berry compote, a chocolate sauce or eat it as is.

Source: laptitelinette

Ingredients

Cake base:
4 egg yolks
125g butter
125g sugar
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
30g creme fraiche

Hazelnut topping:
4 egg whites
75g sugar
125g ground hazelnut (ground them yourself in Thermomix: 5sec/speed 8)
1 pinch ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 170C.
  2. Make the cake base: melt the butter in the TM bowl 3 min/60C/speed 1.
  3. Add the sugar and program 1 min/speed 3.
  4. While the blades are running, drop the eggs yolks through the hole in the lid.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder and creme fraiche and mix another 15 sec/speed 6.
  6. Place in a cake tin, buttered and floured.
  7. Clean and dry the TM bowl and place the butterfly whisk.
  8. Beat the 4 egg whites 4 min/speed 3, measuring cup OFF and add the sugar through the whole in the lid when they start to foam.
  9. Add the ground hazelnut and ground cinnamon and mix gently using the spatula.
  10. Pour over the base, spreading evenly with a flat spatula.
  11. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Leave to cool before removing from the tin.

Sunflower bread

I love to try different presentations for bread and I also like going out of the beaten track so when I saw this bread on a French blog a few weeks ago, I went “wow!”. This bread is a show bread, it’s a kind of bread you want to make when you invite people over for a nice meal and wait for the amazed look on their face when they see it. And it’s not that hard to make either. It needs a little bit of patience but with this step-by-step, you will be able to reproduce this beauty with ease and it’s fun! Oh and it doesn’t just look good, it’s gorgeous too! I love peeling each petal as a slice of bread and I even used it to make fancy sandwiches for tea!

Source: Chic chic choc…olat! and La popotte de Manue

Ingredients

250g milk
125g water
15g fresh yeast or 7 g of dried fast action yeast
100ml of oil (I used mild olive oil but sunflower oil seems appropriate 🙂 )
700g strong white bread flour
2 tsp sea salt
30g melted butter
1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp milk for the eggwash
Sunflower, sesame, poppy seeds for the decoration

Method

  1. Non Thermomix: mix the water, milk and oil and warm in the microwave for a few seconds until luke warm (do not heat it too much or it will kill the yeast). Thermomix version: place in the bowl along with the yeast and mix 3 min/37C/speed 3. Skip step 2.
  2. Mix in the yeast until dissolved.
  3. Add the flour, salt and knead (use a stand mixer with the dough hook, a bread machine or by hand) until the dough is soft and non stick. Thermomix version: mix 20 sec/speed 3 then knead 1min30.
  4. Cover with a wet tea towel and leave in your oven slightly heated at the lowest temperature so it reaches about 40C, then turned off. Leave for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Take out of the bowl and cut the dough in half. Reserve one half and cut the other in 5 equal portions of dough.
  6. Roll each one to a 20cm circle. Brush 4 with melted butter (pic 1 below) and stack them on top of each other. Do not brush the 5th one with butter and roll it slightly bigger so it covers the stack.
  7. Place on the stack as shown in the picture 2 below (at this stage, I moved the stack on the baking tray covered with my silicone mat or use greaseproof paper).
  8. Using the flat end of a dough scraper (or the back of the blade of a knife), cut the stack in 8 triangles but don’t go all the way to the edge, keep a good inch uncut (pic 3).
  9. Now fold each triangle outward (pic 4).
  10. Now, take the reserved dough half. Cut in 4 equal pieces and reserve one (this will be the center of the flower) (pic 5). Reform a ball with the 3 remaining pieces and cut in 5 (pic 6).
  11. Roll in 15cm circles. Stack them as previously, only brushing 4 with butter and the last one being sligtly bigger than the others.
  12. Place that stack in the hole of the first stack (it should fit quite neatly but don’t worry if there’s a little gap: pic 7).
  13. Cut in 8 triangles as previously, making sure each cut is bang in the center of the petals in the first stack (pic 8). Fold outward: the new petals should sit between 2 of the first stack’s petals.
  14. Roll the last bit of dough between your palms to form a ball and place in the center. Cover with the wet tea towel and return to the warm oven for a second proving (about 1 hour).
  15. Brush the dough with some eggwash and sprinkle with seeds (pic 9).
  16. Bake at 200C for 10 minutes, then reduce to 180C and bake for a further 20 minutes.

Chocolate Marquise

I have recently bought one of the Masterchef-UK cookbooks and while flicking through it, the recipe for this marquise grabbed my attention. It seemed fairly straight forward to make, didn’t need many ingredients and promised to be delicious. It delivered on all counts and was a great hit with my little family. I have changed the recipe slightly to swap the full fat cream with egg whites to make it lighter and it was an absolute knocker. I’ll make this again and again…

Source: Masterchef everyday

Ingredients
Serves 6 people

200g dark chocolate
80g butter
80g caster sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 eggs

Method

  1. Mix the chocolate cut into chunks and the sugar 5 sec/speed 10.
  2. Add the butter and cocoa powder and melt for 8 min/50C/speed 2 Scrape down the sides every so often to get the unmelted chocolate and butter.
  3. Turn the speed to 3 and drop the 3 egg yolks through the hole in the lid.
  4. Tip out into a bowl, clean and dry thoroughly the TM bowl.
  5. Place the butterfly whisk securely on the blades and add the 3 egg whites.
  6. Whisk 3 min/37C/speed 3.5 or until the whites are firm
  7. Add 1/4 of the whites to the chocolate mixture and mix vigorously to loosen it. Add the remaining whites and fold them in gently using a spatula.
  8. Pour into ramequins or a 1lb cake tin lined with cling film.
  9. Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge (or overnight) until set.
  10. Serve with fresh fruits and pouring cream and dust with cocoa powder if you wish.