Monthly Archives: June 2013

Key lime pie

I have been wanting to make this classic American dessert for a long time. In fact, each time I have seen it featured in a TV program or in a cookbook, it has got me drooling and wishing I could taste a slice there and then. There are a few versions of the key lime pie, some being unbaked and frozen and others baked and served chilled. I opted for the latter because in Ireland, it’s never hot enough to properly enjoy frozen desserts. It’s also worth mentioning that it is supposed to be made with key limes, which are yellow when ripe, more sour and flavourful than the usual green lime but it’s impossible to find these where I live, so I used regular limes instead.

KeyLimePie_001

Source: Joy of baking

Ingredients

Crust
125g graham crackers (I used chocolate coated digestive biscuits)
2 tbsp granulated sugar (I didn’t put it in)
70-80g unsalted butter

Filling
3 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 can (390g) sweetened condensed milk
120g lime juice (reserve the zest)
2 tsp lime zest

Topping
240g double cream
2 tbsp (30g) icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 170C and butter a 23cm tart/pie dish
  2. Make the crust: melt the butter for 3min/50C/speed 2.
  3. Add the biscuits and sugar if using, lock the lid and turbo pulse a few times until crumbed.
  4. Tip out into the tart dish and press down with the back of a spoon to spread across the bottom of the dish and up the sides to form a crust.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes until set and lightly browned.
  6. Set aside to cool while making the filling.
  7. Filling: place all the ingredients of the filling in the TM bowl (no need to clean it) and mix 20 sec/speed 6.
  8. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until set.
  9. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  10. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  11. The next day, place the butterfly whisk in the TM bowl and weigh in the cream and icing sugar.
  12. Whisk for a few seconds at speed 3, measuring cup OFF, checking through the hole in the lid and stop as soon as the top of the cream looks still a little under whipped: the bottom will be firmer.
  13. Place in piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe on the tart. Sprinkle with the reserved lime zest and serve.
  14. Can be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in cling film for 2 to 3 days.

KeyLimePieColl

Lamb provencal

This recipe comes from Ina  Garten’s cookbook: “How easy is that?” and I really recommend this book because so far, all the recipes I have made are fantastically tasty and easy to make. This recipe is no exception and I love it so much that I have made it twice in the last month, even though I don’t normally cook lamb that much. It’s so tasty, you’ll want to lick the plate!

LambProvencal_002

Source: Ina Garten: How easy is that?

Ingredients

Serves 8

1 bone-in leg of lamb (about 3kg)
3 heaped tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp garlic (9 cloves), peeled
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
700g ripe red tomatoes (I used cherry vine tomatoes but any good quality tomatoes will do), cut in half
50g olive oil
50g liquid honey
1 Spanish onion (or large onion), peeled and sliced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh rosemary

LambProvencal_001

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 220C
  2. Place the leg of lamb in a large roasting dish, fat side up and pat it dry with kitchen paper.
  3. Drop the garlic on running blades at speed 8, set aside.
  4. Drop rosemary leaves on running blades at speed 8.
  5. Add 1 tbsp of the chopped garlic, the mustard, balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper and combine 10 sec/speed 4.
  6. Spread the mixture on the lamb.
  7. Place the tomatoes, olive oil, 25g honey, remaining garlic, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper in the TM bowl and chop 2 sec/speed 4.
  8. Pour around the lamb and add the slices of onion and the fresh sprigs of herbs.
  9. Drizzle with the remaining 25g honey and roast for 20 minutes.
  10. Turn the heat down to 180C and roast for another hour to 1 1/4 hour or until a meat thermometer registers 55 to 57C (130-135F).
  11. Place the lamb on a chopping board, cover with aluminium foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  12. Discard the herbs and return the tomatoes to the oven to keep warm.
  13. Slice the lamb, arrange on a platter and serve with the tomatoes and pan juices spooned on top. Garnish with sautéed potatoes.

You made it…

I would like to share with you another beautiful brioche, this time made by Kathy. Thank you Kathy for sending me the photo and well done!

photoBrioche

 

Homemade Vanilla Extract

This is not a Thermomix recipe but it’s a pretty darn easy one and is very useful if, like me, you use a lot of vanilla extract in your cooking. It is much cheaper to make your own vanilla extract and you know what’s in it! The only problem is that it takes a long time to macerate but your patience will pay! You can top up this extract as you use it by adding a bit of alcohol (either Rum or Vodka) and adding a used vanilla pod once in a while…

VanillaExtract_002

Source: here and there

Ingredients

200ml alcohol (Vodka or Rum – dark or white)
3 vanilla pods
1 tbsp golden syrup or cane sugar syrup or agave syrup

VanillaExtract_001

Method

  1. Pour alcohol in a glass jar.
  2. Cut the vanilla pods in half lengthways and add to the jar.
  3. Add the syrup and mix well.
  4. Close the jar and leave in a dark cool place (cupboard) for minimum 3 weeks, shaking once per week at the beginning.
  5. When using, top up with the alcohol and add a used vanilla pod every so often.
  6. This will keep you going for a long time. The power of vanilla pods will last for 1 year, so discard older ones and replace with a fresh ones every year.

After Eight Ice cream duo

I can’t believe I haven’t posted one recipe of ice creams or sorbets since my first post on Strawberry sorbet!!I had never tried making mint ice cream and my only attempt at a chocolate sorbet in the past was not completely conclusive. This time, I found 2 recipes that are fantastic! Of course, you could make either on their own but when you combine the two, it’s divine. The idea came about because I’m in love with After Eights! They are so yummy and addictive. The problem is: once I start eating one, I can’t stop until I have had half a dozen!! Not so good. This duo of ice cream and sorbet is perfect to satisfy my cravings and is a brilliant summer dessert.

AfterEightIceCre_003

Source: Petit Chef Lustine for the Chocolate sorbet and a mixture of recipes found on Thermomix forums for the Mint ice cream

Ingredients

Mint ice cream

2 eggs
250g cream
250g milk (full fat for me)
75g sugar
2 handfuls of fresh mint leaves
peppermint extract (to strengthen the mint flavour, to taste)

Chocolate sorbet
160g dark chocolate (70% cocoa is a must)
500g water
120g caster sugar
40g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp instant coffee granules
1 pinch of sea salt

AfterEightIceCre_001

Method:

  1. Mint ice cream: pulverise sugar 5 sec/speed 10
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except the eggs and mix for 30 sec/speed 6 to chop the mint leaves.
  3. Add the eggs and cook for 5 min/90C/speed 4.
  4. Blend 30 sec/speed 8 to completely mix the mint leaves.
  5. Taste and add peppermint essence if needed.
  6. Leave to cool at room temperature, then pour into ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
  7. Chocolate sorbet: place water, sugar, salt, coffee granules and cocoa powder in TM bowl and cook for 5 min/90C/speed 2.
  8. Add the chocolate in chunks  and cook for 30 sec/90C/speed 4.
  9. Leave to cool and pour into ice cube trays. Freeze overnight.
  10. The next day: place cubes of sorbet in the TM bowl and blitz on speed 7 until the sorbet clings together.
  11. Scoop out or use second TM bowl to do the same with the mint ice cream.
  12. Scoop out and serve immediately.

AfterEightIceCre_004

Quatre Quarts

Quatre quarts (Pound Cake, also called Quarter pounder cake in the US) is a simple and delicious cake, perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. This classic French cake is called that way because the 4 main ingredients (butter, eggs, flour and sugar) are used in equal proportion. This results in a moist cake with a nice crispy crust when it’s been freshly baked, which mellows after a day. This cake keeps really well for a few days and can be derived into many different cakes if you add fresh or dried fruits to it (apple quatre quarts is a must) or change the flavours (chocolate, rum, coffee, Amaretto…).

QuatreQuarts_002

Source: Nuage de farine

Ingredients

3 eggs (weigh them)
Same weight as the eggs of self raising flour (if using plain flour, add 1 tsp baking powder), sugar and butter
1 pinch sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used 2 tsp Amaretto liquor)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C.
  2. Make sure you weigh the eggs in a 1g precision scale for better accuracy. Keep the same weight for the other 3 main ingredients. For me, 3 eggs amounted to 152g.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan or the microwave. Set aside.
  4. Thermomix version:
    1. place the eggs, sugar and flavour in the TM bowl along with the butterfly whisk.Whisk 10 min/speed 4, measuring cup OFF. The mixture should be pale and fluffy.
    2. Continue whisking for 1 min/speed 4 while adding the warm melted butter through the hole in the lid.
    3. Remove the butterfly whisk and add the flour + salt and mix 20 sec/speed 3. Finish mixing with the spatula in a clockwise motion until the flour is mixed in.
  5. Non Thermomix:
    1. whisk the eggs/sugar and flavouring for 10 minutes.
    2. While still whisking, add slowly the warm melted butter.
    3. Add the flour and salt and fold in with a spatula until combined.
  6. Pour into a cake tin about 20cm long (buttered and sprinkled with icing sugar all over so it doesn’t stick). If using fresh pears or apples, peel and slice them thinly and spread half at the bottom of the tin, pour half the cake mixture, spread the other half of fruits and finish with the remaining batter.
  7. Place the tin on 2 cold baking sheets and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Leave for 5 minutes, then unmould and leave to cool on a grid.

QuatreQuarts_001

Antipasti platter

With the glorious weather we’ve had recently in Dublin, cooking a dinner is not always on my priority list. I had a pack of delicious Blazques cured ham waiting to be eaten in my fridge so I decided to make a cold platter of antipasti. I arranged the cured ham, some salami, green olives and smoked chicken slices on a plate and made some goats cheese balls and roasted artichokes tossed in balsamic vinegar. A few red roasted peppers from a jar and voilá! A simple and tasty platter, served with Italian breadsticks that left us perfectly contented without me breaking a sweat!

AntipastiPlatter_001

To make the goats cheese balls:

  1. take some fresh goats cheese and crumble into a plate.
  2. Dry toast some pine nuts and walnuts on a fry pan.
  3. When golden, take out to cool and chop roughly the walnuts.
  4. Mix with the goats cheese and form into balls.

AntipastiPlatter_003

Special Mention

MargaretBrioche

Margaret, a Thermomix consultant in Australia has made my brioche Nanterre and sent me her picture. You’ll agree with me that her brioche looks fantastic! Well done Margaret and thank you for sending me your photo. If you too have made one of the recipes on this blog and want to share your results, please send me your pic and I’ll post it here 🙂

Cupcake Bouquet

Last Sunday was my daughter’s birthday. I had recently seen a beautiful arrangement of cupcakes in the blog Amuses bouche and it looked so pretty! The cupcakes were iced with a rose pattern and assembled in a bouquet and I knew that this would look irresistible to a bunch of 7 years old girls! Her buttercream is also quite unusual: using half butter and half custard, making it less sickening while keeping its shape beautifully. I used floral flavourings for the buttercream, keeping with the bouquet theme but you could use any flavouring you like…

CupcakeRoses_003

Source: Amuses Bouche

Ingredients
For 12 to 15 cupcakes

200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
4 beaten eggs
200g self raising flour, sieved

For the buttercream:
150g custard
150g softened unsalted butter
4 tbsp icing sugar
2 drops rosewater and 2 drops of violet essence (or any flavouring you want)
Food colouring of your choice (prefer gel or liquid colouring to powder)

Tip: if doing lemon cupcakes, replace the custard with lemon curd and omit the colour and flavouring…

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C
  2. To make the cupcakes (Thermomix):
    1. place the butter and sugar in the TM bowl with the butterfly whisk. Cream together 2 min/speed 3.
    2. With the blades running at speed 3, slowly add the beaten eggs through the hole in the lid.
    3. Remove the whisk and add the sieved flour. Mix 20 sec/speed 3 or until just combined. Don’t overmix.
  3. Non Thermomix:
    1. Whisk butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
    2. Slowly add the beaten eggs.
    3. On low speed, add the self raising flour.
  4. Place in cupcake cases no more than 4cm diameter (don’t use too big cases as it wouldn’t stay on the stick because it’s too heavy, see picture).CupcakeRoses_002
  5. Smooth the top of each cupcake so that it rises evenly.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 min. Leave to cool on a rack completely.
  7. Take wooden skewers and place some sellotape around the non pointy end, about 1 inch/2cm away from the edge (see picture). This will stop the cupcake from sliding down the skewer later on.CupcakeRoses_001
  8. Pierce each cupcake bottom with a toothpick at the center. Place the cupcakes in the fridge to harden for 1 hour minimum.
  9. Meanwhile, make the buttercream:
    1. Thermomix: place the butterfly whisk in the bowl with the butter and cream for 1min30/speed 3 until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides with the spatula half way through.
    2. Add the custard and beat together 1 min/speed 3 until well combined.
    3. Add the icing sugar and beat another 10 sec/speed 3.
  10. Non Thermomix:
    1. Whisk the butter until pale and fluffy.
    2. Add the custard and beat again until well combines
    3. Add the icing sugar and whisk for a few seconds.
  11. Divide the buttercream in 2 (if you want to make 2 colour roses).
  12. Add colouring and flavouring to match and mix well.
  13. Place in piping bag with a 2D nozzle (see picture). This is important as a different shape nozzle will not render the rose petals. Note that other nozzle brands might not call this shape 2D so go by the shape of the nozzle.CupcakeRoses_003
  14. Take the cupcakes out of the fridge and pipe them starting from the center and going in circle outward. You don’t need to go until the edge of the cupcake as it will be easier later on when arranging in bouquet. Sprinkle with edible decorations.
  15. Place in the fridge to harden the buttercream.
  16. To assemble: stick the non pointy end of a skewer into the bottom of a cupcake, the sellotape will stop the cupcake from sliding.
  17. Fill a vase with ceramic beans or dried beans and stick each skewer into the beans. This will keep them from sliding into the vase.

CupcakeRoses_001

 

Courgette salad

This month Supertoinette challenge was presented by Christine and perfectly suited the beautiful weather we are finally having: a salad. Not just any salad, a steamed courgette salad and with a sauce that makes all the difference. Indeed, it is using strong mustard and boiled eggs, the mustard bringing a powerful taste to the dressing and the eggs adding texture. I really enjoyed eating this salad (who would have thought about using courgettes in a salad?) and it looked just wonderful. I’ll be making this again for sure!

SaladeCourgettes_001

Source: Christine_43

Ingredients

Serves 2 people as a starter or 1 as a main dish

1 courgette
2 eggs
1 tbsp strong Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small shallot
Mini roasted peppers from a jar or black olives to add colour
Salt and pepper

 

Method

  1. Thermomix:
    1. Place 500g water in the TM bowl.
    2. Place the 2 eggs in the internal basket and fit in the bowl.
    3. Cook 10 min/Varoma/speed 1.
    4. Meanwhile, wash the courgette and slice it thinly with a mandoline.
    5. Place in the Varoma and when the 10 minutes cooking are over, place the Varoma on the lid (leave the eggs in the basket) and cook for 5 min/Varoma/speed 1.
    6. Carefully remove the Varoma and set aside to cool.
    7. Lift the internal basket using the spatula hook and place in cold water to cool down.
  2. Non Thermomix:
    1. Boil the 2 eggs in a saucepan filled with cold water. When the water is boiling, count 7 minutes while continuing to boil and take out of the heat.
    2. Quickly dip the eggs in cold water to cool.
    3. While the eggs are boiling, thinly slice the courgettes with a mandoline if steaming. Steam until the courgettes are just softened but still bright green.
    4. If you don’t have a steamer, plunge the courgette in cold water and bring to the boil. Leave to boil for 8 to 10 minutes or until the courgette is soft when pricking with a knife.
    5. Take out of the water and leave to cool before cutting with a knife into slices.
  3. To make the dressing: peel and finely chop the shallot and place in cold water to soften the taste. Set aside.
  4. Take one boiled eggs, remove the shell and chop it finely with a knife.
  5. Mix the mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil together. Add the chopped egg and the drained shallot. Mix well. You can add chopped herbs if you like.
  6. Arrange the courgette slices on a serving plate. Peel the other eggs and arrange on the courgettes.
  7. Sprinkle with the dressing and some piquillos peppers or black olives if you wish.

SaladeCourgettes_002

 

Heavenly chocolate cookies

I have recently discovered this absolutely wonderful blog called C’est ma fournée. This French blog, written by Valérie is a gem for anyone who, like me, loves baking. Not only are her recipes and photos fabulous, but she also is hilarious so each time I visit, I end up spending a long time reading, learning and having lots of fun. If you can read French then by all means have a look at this blog, you won’t regret it. If you can’t, keep reading because I am about to write about her cookie recipe which is to die for (well, they’ll certainly send you to heaven!). Her cookies are not hard and crunchy like too many recipes out there, no! They are crisp at the edge but soft at the centre like any proper cookie should be. I have adapted her recipe to Thermomix to make it’s super fast and easy so here we go…

ChocolateCookie_001

Source: C’est ma fournée

Ingredients

125g soft light brown sugar (important to use soft brown sugar as it is a moist sugar so will help keep the cookies moist and soft once cooked)
125g salted butter
175g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
20g ground almond
100g  chunky bits of dark, milk or white chocolate (try not to use chocolate chips)

Method

  1. Place the butterfly whisk in the bowl and add the butter and soft brown sugar. Whisk for 3 min/speed 3, scraping down the mixture now and again. It should be creamy at this stage.
  2. Remove the whisk. Add the egg and mix for 30 sec/speed 3. Finish mixing with the spatula, turning clockwise to avoid the sharp end of the blades.
  3. Add the flour, ground almond, baking powder and vanilla extract. Mix for 30 sec/speed 3 or until just combined. Don’t over-mix!
  4. Add the chocolate chips and mix 15 sec/speed 2/reverse blade direction. It’s important to use chunky chocolate bits rather than chocolate chips as it makes the cookies much tastier!
  5. Tip out onto cling film and roll into a sausage shape (about 6/7cm in diameter).
  6. Leave to set in the fridge for 1 hour, then cut the sausage into 1 or 2cm thick slices (thicker means a softer centre!) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Preheat the oven at 170C.
  8. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes or until the edges start to brown slightly (the centre will still look uncooked and the cookie will be very soft at this stage but it will harden as it cools).
  9. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before lifting with a flat spatula and eat while still warm, although I tasted one the next day and it is still soft enough and delicious 🙂
  10. The beauty of the sausage business is that you don’t have to cook the whole cookie dough in one sitting. Just do as many cookies as you intend to eat and leave the rest back in the fridge. That way, you always have freshly baked cookies!