Category Archives: Breakfast

Liegeois Waffles

Here’s the last day of the year 2014 and with the holiday season, the breakfasts have become more copious. I recently got a proper waffle maker so the first waffles I wanted to make are the famous Belgium ones from Liege. They are not made of the usual liquid batter but rather with a brioche-style dough. It is therefore much longer to prepare (count 3 hours + between making the dough and letting it rise). However, they are totally different from their pancake-like counterparts. They are crispier outside, soft inside and of course, they are absolutely delicious!

GaufreLiege_002

Source: Chic-chic-chocolat

GaufreLiege_003

Ingredients

370 g plain flour
75 g caster sugar
100 g milk (full fat)
2 eggs
2 tsp dried instant yeast
125 g butter, cubed
salt
150 g pearl sugar (or sugar cubes slightly crushed into chunks), optional

Method

  1. In the TM bowl, place the milk, sugar, eggs and yeast and warm 2 min/37C/speed 2.
  2. Add the flour and salt and knead for 6 minutes.
  3. After 1 minute kneading, add the butter cubes through the hole in the lid.
  4. Leave in the bowl to rise for 2 hours.
  5. Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Flatten it with your hands and sprinkle the sugar pearls all over if using.
  6. Fold the dough to cover the sugar and cut into 16 pieces.
  7. Roll each piece into a ball and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  8. Grease and heat the waffle maker and insert the dough balls (one per waffle) to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Eat warm sprinkled with icing sugar, or spread with jam or hazelnut paste.

GaufreLiege_001

Sweet Bretzels

As I am writing this, the scent of freshly baked Bretzels has filled the room and it’s very hard to resist having a bite! To give you an idea, it smells of  brioche with a hint of orange flower water and it’s just heavenly. These goodies will take a bit of time to make (mostly waiting time) but you will be rewarded I promise.

Bretzels_001

Source: Christophe Felder

Bretzels_002

Ingredients

Starter dough
15g fresh yeast or 7g dried instant yeast
75g milk
70g + 255g plain flour

Dough
3 eggs
75g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
1 tsp fine sea salt
115g softened butter, cut into cubes
80g candied peel
1 tbsp orange flower water

Eggwash
1 egg and 1 tbsp milk

Glaze
35g sugar
35g water
1 tbsp orange flower water

Method

  1. In the Thermomix bowl, warm the yeast and milk 2 min/37C/speed 1.
  2. Add the 70g flour and mix 10 sec/speed 3.
  3. Add the 255g flour on top (don’t mix) and leave to rest in the TM bowl, lid closed, for 30 minutes or until the starter doubles in size.
  4. Add the 3 eggs, sugar and salt and knead 2 minutes.
  5. Knead for another 5 minutes and add the butter through the hole in the lid, orange flower water and candied peel.
  6. When the timer stops, check the consistency (it should be very soft and sticky dough but not runny. If it looks too much like cake batter, add a couple of tbsp of flour and knead again for 1 minute.
  7. Tip out into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest for 3 hours in the fridge to firm up.
  8. Divide the dough in 4 equal parts and roll each into a snake shape making the ends slightly narrower than the center.
  9. Cross the ends twice and fold them over the loop. Turn the bretzel upside-down (to have the ends tucked in underneath) on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Do likewise with the other 3 doughs. You have those steps in images on the website Smittenkitchen.com (I forgot to take the pictures while making it).

    Image from Smittenkitchen.com

    Image from Smittenkitchen.com

  10. Place in a warm place (25C) and leave to rise for 40 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 180C.
  12. Brush the bretzels with eggwash.
  13. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce to 170C and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Watch while it cooks and turn around the trays if one side gets browner (often the case with ovens with hot spots). Place aluminium foil over them if they darken too fast.
  14. While they bake, prepare the glaze by heating the water, sugar and orange flower water in the TM bowl 5 minutes/Varoma/speed 1/Measuring cup OFF.
  15. Brush the glaze over the Bretzels as soon as they are out of the oven. Leave to cool slightly before tucking in!

Bretzels_003

Pain perdu au four (Bread and butter pudding)

I sometimes get asked what to do with stale bread. The obvious use (apart from breadcrumbs) is to turn it into a delicious sweet bite. In France, we do pain perdu, which is bread soaked in an egg and sugar mixture and then pan fried in butter until caramelised and set. This version is closer to the bread and butter pudding because we bake the bread soaked in milk, egg and sugar. You can add anything you want to the mixture: spices, raisins, red fruits or chocolate chips like I did. No matter what you have on hand, this is a very quick and tasty dish.

PainPerduColl

Source: Amuse bouche

Ingredients

400g milk
2 eggs
A pinch of salt
1tsp vanilla extract
About 10 slices of stale bread (or brioche)
80g soft brown sugar
Topping of your choice (choc chips, raisins, berries, cinnamon, nutmeg…)
A few knobs of butter

Method

  1. Cut the bread into thin slices and place in a baking dish
  2. Mix the milk, eggs, vanilla, salt and sugar and pour over the bread.
  3. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, turning halfway.
  4. Add the topping, dot with the knobs of butter and bake at 180C for 30 minutes or until golden.
  5. Serve with Maple syrup or on its own. It’s great for breakfast too!

 

Star studded brioche

I have seen this brioche in many blogs recently and it looks so beautiful that I was set on making it one of these days. I have made my own Nutella because I don’t like what is in the shop bought version (mostly palm oil and sugar). This brioche is delicious and sure looks absolutely gorgeous!

BriocheNutella_008

Source: C’est ma fournée

Ingredients

500g plain flour
1 sachet of Fast action yeast or 20g fresh yeast
200g creme fraiche (I used sour cream)
100g sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 eggs + enough milk to make up 180g (i.e. eggs weight + milk weight = 180g)

Method

  1. Weigh all the ingredients in the TM bowl (make sure the salt and sugar are not in contact with the yeast).
  2. Mix 30 sec/37C/speed 3. Check the consistency. If it’s too tacky, add more flour.
  3. Knead 5 min (lock the lid and press the wheat symbol).
  4. Leave in the bowl for 2 hours to rise or place in a different bowl to rise in a warm place.
  5. Take out the dough from the bowl (turn the TM bowl upside-down on the bench, release the base and push the blades down).
  6. Split in 4 equal portions.
  7. Roll each portion into a circle.
  8. Place 1 circle on a baking parchment or silicone mat and apply a thin layer of chocolate/hazelnut spread on it.BriocheNutella_001
  9. Place a second circle and spread more chocolate/hazelnut. Do likewise with the 3rd circle and finally place the last circle of dough on top.
  10. Use a pastry ring to cut out a perfect circle. BriocheNutella_003
  11. Twist the excess dough and turn it into another brioche.BriocheNutella_002
  12. Use a glass to mark the center of the brioche.BriocheNutella_004BriocheNutella_005
  13. Cut from outside the glass marking towards the edges to get 4 quarters, then cut inside each quarter into 3 equal parts.BriocheNutella_006
  14. Take 2 parts side by side and twist them in opposite directions 3 times. Do the same for each pairs.BriocheNutella_007
  15. Place the ring around the brioche, cover with cling film and leave to rest for 2 hours in a warm place or overnight in the fridge. The dough won’t rise too much but don’t worry.
  16. Preheat the oven at 150C and bake the brioche for 30 minutes (along with the extra one made of excess dough).
  17. Eat quickly or freeze as this brioche doesn’t keep too well.

Super healthy green smoothie

We all need to eat dark green leafy vegetables because they are low in calories and fat but high in vitamins, dietary fibers and nutrients. We should be eating 1/2 cup of dark green leafy vegetables per day but if, like me, you don’t really like them, then this smoothie is for you. Not only are all the goodness in these vegetables left intact because no cooking is involved, but also it is a much more palatable way of consuming these superfood. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients, the beauty of this smoothie is that you can put in anything you like or have at hand. Also, thanks to Thermomix, you don’t need a juicer to turn leafy vegetables into a drinkable smoothie because its blending power will grind them into a very fine pulp. The same is true of fruits and hard vegetables, so not only do you get their vitamins, but also their fibers! You can put in a whole apple (you don’t even need to peel it!) or a whole carrot and Thermomix will turn it into the smoothest of drinks, how brilliant is that??

GreenSmoothie_001

Source: inspired by Dr Oz Green smoothie recipe

Ingredients

Serves 3

A handful of dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, green cabbage, celery…), washed
1 lemon or 1/2 lemon and a lime or 1 orange, peeled
300g water (I used kefir water for added probiotic!)
1 whole apple, quartered
1 ripe banana (fresh or frozen), cut in chunks
3 dattes or 1 tbsp honey
2cm piece of ginger
4 or 5 ice cubes
Optional: seeds such a sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, flax seeds…

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients except ice cubes into the TM bowl and blend 1 minute/speed 8.
  2. Add the ice cubes and blend for 1 minute/speed 8.
  3. Serve immediately for optimal health benefits

Brioche Nanterre

Yet another brioche recipe (you have one here, here, there and again there). But this one is THE brioche I will make again and again because it has the texture I have always been looking for!  This brioche is as light as a feather with a soft airy and stringy inside and a crisp thin crust outside. Just like at the bakery! I owe this recipe to Puce bleue from J’en reprendrai bien un bout and the secret of this fabulous texture is the flour type: instead of using strong white flour (or bread flour) as I usually do for breads, this recipe states to use Type 45 flour (French category of flour), which is known here as the Type 00 or Pizza/pasta flour. The reason behind it is because this flour is made with soft wheat grain and is the finest flour of all. Its gluten content is not as high as bread flour but the texture of breads made with it is softer with a crispier crust. The other secret behind this brioche is the long rise in the fridge (12 hours), which allows the yeast to develop slowly, enhancing again the texture of the brioche. Use good quality butter for making this as margarine or butter substitute will never render the same richness and taste to the brioche as real butter does.

BriocheNanterreColl

Source: J’en reprendrai bien un bout

Ingredients
For 6 people

280g pasta flour (type 00 or pizza flour) – if substituting with bread flour, only use 250g as it absorbs more water than type 00.
1tsp sea salt
35g caster sugar
10g fresh yeast or 5g dried fast action yeast
1tbsp milk
150g eggs (about 3 eggs)
125g unsalted butter, diced
Eggwash (1 egg  beaten with 1tbsp milk)

Method

  1. Thermomix: place in that order: the milk, yeast, flour, salt & sugar and eggs in the TM bowl making sure the yeast doesn’t come in contact directly with the salt or sugar. Mix 3 min/37C/speed 3.
  2. Add the butter, program 5 min, turn the dial to locked lid position and press the kneading button. Go to step 6.
  3. Non Thermomix: warm the milk until luke warm (make sure it is tepid as too hot milk would kill the yeast) and mix in the yeast.
  4. Place the flour, sugar, salt in a bowl, mix and make a well. Crack the eggs inside the well, add the yeast mixture and knead in the bowl for 5 minutes (or use a stand mixer with the flat beater). The dough will be quite soft and sticky, which is normal.
  5. Add the butter and knead again for 15 minutes (stand mixer: use the dough hook) until the dough comes out of the sides of the bowl and is soft and as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
  6. Tip out the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 2 hours (I use the oven heated for 1min to 50C then turned off to rise my dough).
  7. Punch down the dough and knead for a few seconds to give it back its initial volume.
  8. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 12 hours.
  9. Take out the dough and leave at room temperature for 15 minutes before punching it down and kneading it again. Fold the dough a few times over itself, lift it and let it fall sharply on the worktop. Repeat 2 or 3 times. This step is important to get the gluten  working and the dough will become more elastic.
  10. Weigh your dough (mine was 630g) and divide in 6 equal balls (I had 6 balls of about 105g each).
  11. Arrange side by side in a rectangular dish (I used a heart shaped silicone dish) and leave to rise, covered for 2 hours.
  12. Preheat the oven to 180C (if the dough was rising in the oven, take it out first!).
  13. Brush the dough with the eggwash and bake for 30 min. Eat soon after baking as it is when it’s at its best!

Orchidee_001Spring is still shy but at last we have had a few flowers growing and amazingly these Orchids blossomed again after a long winter!

 

 

Huevos rancheros

I love Mexican food. The classic ingredients that go into Mexican dishes such as chillies, coriander, avocadoes, lime juice and tomatoes really tingle my taste buds. I know this blog is mostly about french (and sweet) food but once in a while, I allow myself to steer out of the beaten track!! I have long wanted to try huevos rancheros (ranch eggs) but never got around to it, however last week, this was about to change. I was flicking through Ainsley Harriott’s “100 meals in minutes” cookbook and there it was, a quick and tasty recipe of huevos rancheros, in Ainsley’s flamboyant style. It was everything I was expecting to be: spicy, tomatoey and egg-gooey with the cumin and coriander flavours coming through. Heaven!

HuevosRancheros_001

Source: Ainsley Harriott “100 meals in minutes”

Ingredients
Serves 4 as part of a brunch or 2 for a main.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 red and yellow pepper (I peeled them using my Zyliss soft skin red peeler), deseeded and quartered
1 red chilli
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
4 eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:
Coriander or chives, chopped and crusty bread

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C/350F/gas 4
  2. Thermomix version: place the peppers, onion, garlic, chilli and oil in the TM bowl.Chop 3 sec/speed 5.
  3. Cook for 5 min/100C/speed 1.
  4. Add oregano, cumin, sugar and chopped tomatoes. Cook for 20 min/Varoma temp/speed 1 measuring cup OFF and internal basket sitting on the lid to reduce the sauce. Season to taste. Follow the recipe from step 7 onward.
  5. Non Thermomix version: heat the oil in a fry pan, add chopped onions, garlic, chilli and peppers and fry over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in the oregano, cumin, sugar and chopped tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and reduce for 15 minutes until the peppers are cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened. Season to taste.
  7. Pour the sauce in a gratin dish (or individual ramequins) and using the back of a tablespoon, make 4 holes in the pepper mixture just large enough to fit the eggs.
  8. Carefully crack one egg into each hole, season and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny. If using a mini casserole like I did, bake for 8 minutes instead as the lid will make the egg cook quicker.
  9. Scatter over the coriander or chives to garnish and serve straight away with plenty of crusty bread.

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