Monday, 23 March 2009

Ode to Nutella

Just a mini post to make you hungry, a heart shaped puff pastry with a slap of Nutella on top.

Hungry yet?

Half apple half chocolate tarte

Here's a sweet post for you, sprinkled with little sugar hearts and cinnamon.

Could not be easier, but could be healthier, ok.... It's a yin yang concept, one side is healthy, the other side could give you a heart attack, let your guest choose what suits them!

In a hurry as your guests will arrive in a short time:

For the pastry:
(I have tastier ways to make it, but this recipe is for the last minute emergencies)

250g flour (coeliacs use soya flour)
1 espresso cup vegetable oil (or soften/melted margerine or butter)
1 espresso cup hot water
1 pinch salt

Mix all together as quickly as possible, do not knead it or manipuilate too much or the pastry will come out too hard, the dough should not be elastic.
spread the dough and lay it in a tart mould.

For the Chocolate topping
25g butter
200g dark chocolate
a dollop of nutella (optional)
a small dollop of double cream

Melt the butter with chocolate, stirr well and add cream at the end.

For the apple side:
4 apples (steam them for 10 min if you can whilst you prepare the pastry)
1 pinch cinammon
a sachet of vanilla sugar
a sprinkle of sugar hearts

In the tart pastry, arrange the apples cut in thin quarters in half the tart making a dam in the middle as a future barrage for the chocolate sauce - you can make it look like a yin yang, but if you are in a hurry it won't happen, will it..! -, sprinkle with the vanilla sugar, the cinnamon and the sugar hearts.
Then pour the chocolate on the other half, and
Place in the oven for 15-20 min at 200degC (a bit less if you steamed the apples)
Et voila!
A fun and fast chocolate and apple tart, and believe me, there can't be anyone who does not like one or the other!!

Vegans, skip cream and butter and use alternative (soya?) it should do the trick easy

Source: me

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Baked fragrant tofu

When I was in Singapore, I tasted a dish called fragrant tofu: a slab of hot silken tofu covered with a meat and herbs topping. I absolutely loved it, it was like a savoury creme brulee!

So recently I have bought some silken tofu, and it stayed in my fridge until I was reminded of my intent by an article about baked tofu I read on the internet. So my intents gave birth to a cross between fragrant and baked, hence the title!
And today, I wanted to eat something healthy and tasty, easy, and most of all satisfying.
Hence I knocked my own version of fragrant tofu with what I had in my fridge and baking it because I fancied it caramelised:

- 1 slab silken tofu
- 1 big slice of ham chopped in small squares
- 1/2 big green chilli chopped
- 1 spring onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon full of chopoped ginger
- 1 dash oyster sauce
- 2 tblspn sesame oil

Place the tofu on a small oven dish, mix all the other ingredients together and cover the tofu with it.
Place in the oven for 1/2h at 200 degC
I did not have time, but marinating the tofu in the mix first could have worked really well too, if you have the time. For vegetarian or vegans, skip the ham and replace by vegges.

Also, the same dish could be steamed, and I reckon it would be pretty tasty too!...

Source: my own food meanderings

Friday, 13 March 2009

Le pâté en croute (pâté lorrain) PART 2

This post is a follow up of this one, where I had not given the recipe for the pâté lorrain. UponMarjolaine's request, I will now post the recipe.
Where I come from, we call this dish the pâté en croute, but it is recognised other parts of France as the pâté lorrain.
I have eaten this pâté many times in France since I am originally from the Champagne region, next to Lorraine.

Here in Britain, I really miss it. So everytime I go back to France, I ask my mum to cook it for me.
Why don't I cook it myself?
Well, I cannot get hold of rabbit or veal very easily here, it's quite a big hassle. And rather than compromise on the taste - if it does not taste of my childhood, what's the point...- I prefer to eat it only in France. The bakeries sell it in Lorraine and we used to buy it there, but my parents have moved to the sunny south of France, so we have to cook it as it can't be gotten hold off down there...

For the stuffing:

- 500g
porc neck, noix de veal, rabbit, cut in thin strips
- 2 shallot chopped finely
-2 tblsp parsley chopped
- 10g sel + pepper
- 10 cl of Riesling white wine

Mix the ingredients with the hands, then marinate for 12h in the friedge, covered with
plastic film.

Assembling of the pâté:

- 500g puff pastry
- 1 egg yolk
- salt
- water
Roll the puff pastry, cut a rectangle, place the meat in the middle, fold the sides onto the meat.

Add a smaller rectangle on the top, and create 2 little chimneys, cut a pattern on the top.

Brush the yolk mixe
d with salt and a bit of water over the pastry.

Leave to rest for 1h30 in the fridge

Place in oven at 200degC for 45 min and at 175degC for 15 Minutes.
The pâté can be eaten hot and cold. Serve with a salad and a pinot noir red wine.

Source: my mum...

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Winter Warmer stew

Yup, still cold here in Britain. Sunny, but cold! So it makes me a bit lazy about spending time cooking. But I still want to eat healthy and balanced. So here's another easy recipe for you.

Ingredients for 2:
- 2 pieces of pork
(filet mignon will do nicely)
- 4 tblspn chinese white wine (or dry sherry)
- salt flakes
&cracked pepper
- 4 tblspn soy sauce

- 1 red pepper bell chopped in squares

- a handfull of sweet dried cranberries
- 4 medium to small potatoes (not new potatoes, King edwards will do nicely) chopped in quarters if small potatoes

- 4 carrots chopped in short sticks

- 1 big onion chopped in squares

- 4 big cloves of garlic chopped in big bits

- 2 tins chopped tomatoes

- 1 tblspn of herbes de provence

- a dash of olive oil
- water

Rub the meat with a bit of oil, salt, pepper, soy sauce and chineese white wine. Leave to rest at the bottom of an oven dish big enough to contain all the ingredients above.
Add the cranberries and red pepper bell Then top with the carrots, garlic, onion and potatoes, pour a dash of oil, add the tins of tomato, top up with water so that the meat is covered, then sprinkle with the herbs. Place in the oven at 200deg Celsius, set the timer for about 1h30, forget about it and snuggle with a cup of tea in front of a good film. When the timer rings, dish up and eat, the sauce is rich and flavoursome, and satisfying! Enjoy and bon apetit!

Source: the inspiration of the day....

Monday, 9 March 2009

Express Asparagus starter

Here's a very simple yet gorgeous starter. It could not be easier.

You need for 2 people:
- fresh Asparagus tips
- 1 heaped tblspoon dijon mustard
- 1 spoon liquid honey
- 2 or 3 tblspoons of vegetable oil (I like to use grapeseed oil)
- 2 tblspoons of white wine vinegar
- salt and pepper

Steam the asparagus tips for 15 minutes

For the sauce: in a small bowl, mix well the mustard and honey, add the salt and pepper, then add the oil beating with a fork to form an emulsion, add the vinegar and beat with the fork to 'fix' what is an eggless mayonnaise in a permanent emulsion..

Serve on plate and pour the sauce over it.
Another quick starter: walnut endive salad for 2 people.
You need:

- 1 big endive
- 1 spoon honey vinegar (balsamic will do)
- 2 tblsp grapeseed oil
- a palmfull of fresh walnut
- salt and cracked black pepper

Wash the endive, cut in slices, pour the rest of the ingredients on top, mix well and it's ready.

I find that these starters add a fresh and green touch to the winter dishes that come as a main. They are no hassle to make and are very quick too when you have guests.

Hope you like it, bon apetit!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Home made Cointreau

I have taken the photos for this post ages ago, and I would have waited a bit longer if I had not seen KyotoFoodie's blogpost about Quince liquor. I find it interesting that some recipes are rather universal. In France, sour cherries are commonly used for making liquor ('cerises a l'eau de vie', my favorite!), and although we had quince in the garden, we never made liquor with it, instead we made jelly and paste with it. However I have tasted some Quince eau de vie in Strasbourg, and I consider it my favorite alcohool, it is so tasty!!
So in this post, I'll give you a recipe to make your own cointrea. You need

- 1 ORGANIC orange (or a few kumkat or a few smaller citrus)
- 1 preserve jar
- strong alcohol (eau de vie)
- sugar (1/3rd of the volume of alcohol)
- 1 bit of kitchen string

Pour the alcohool in the jar with the sugar, then suspend the fruit(s) above the alcohol - without direct contact - then place in a dark place for 3 months, that's it!

You can use the fruit(s) cut in little pieces in crepes or pancakes, it is delicious!