Archive for 2011

Michel Roux’s Puff Pastry

Posted 20 November 2011 by
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Puff pastry — lovely rich, buttery, flaky… don’t you just love it? I do! Not the healthiest thing in the world, but if you’re going to have it, you might as well have it made with butter. Here in the UK it’s surprisingly difficult to find ready made puff pastry in supermarkets that is actually made with butter. The brand sold in most places is full of all kinds of rubbish. A young lady on a recent episode of Come Dine With Me claimed that “puff pastry is so difficult to make that even top chefs buy it ready-made!” I hope not! Or at least, I hope they are buying the good stuff. The truth is, puff pastry is not that difficult to make yourself. It takes a little effort, and some time, but it’s not hard. Plus, most of the time consuming part is when the pastry is relaxing in the fridge, at which time you can relax too!

This is Michel Roux’s recipe for classic puff pastry from his book Pastry. (Check out his recipe for shortcrust pastry too.) This puff pastry is delicious and you can really taste the butter, so if you’re a real butter connoisseur, this is a good time to use good quality butter. I often start it the day before I need it, and one of the resting periods can be overnight. Once you have it, you can use it for all manner of delicious buttery pastry treats, including pies, palmiers and feuilletés.

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Homemade Mayonnaise

Posted 5 November 2011 by
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It’s been a while — over six months actually. I’m back with a recipe for homemade mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is really easy to make, but quite easy to messup too. Mayonnaise is a classic French “sauce” and there are loads of recipes out there. Homemade mayo is quite different from the bright white jarred stuff, and there are lots of things you can add to the basic recipe to jazz it up. I used Michel Roux’s mayonnaise recipe.

A small dish of hommade mayonnaise, with a teaspoon-full of mayo Continue reading “Homemade Mayonnaise”…

Maple Mousse in Nutmeg Tuile Cups (Daring Bakers)

Posted 28 April 2011 by
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The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

The suggestion for the edible container for the mousse was bacon. Now, I love bacon. And, I do appreciate some sweet/salty combos, eg. sweet & sour Chinese, chocolate peanut butter cups etc. but for me, bacon dessert is taking things a bit too far. I was thinking of making something white chocolate-y for the edible cup, but I thought that would be too sweet with all the maple syrup, so I decided to make a nutmeg tuile cup.

A cooked nutmeg tuile on a baking tray Continue reading “Maple Mousse in Nutmeg Tuile Cups (Daring Bakers)”…

Nigella’s Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake

Posted 17 April 2011 by
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Fancy a chocolate cake without flour? Whether you’re looking for a gluten-free cake, or just something a bit lighter than normal chocolate cake, this is definitely worth a try. The recipe is Nigella Lawson’s flourless chocolate and lime cake. You could use orange instead of lime, or omit the fruit altogether if you want a pure chocolate flavour. To make it flourless, the recipe uses ground almonds instead of flour.

A slice of Nigella's flourless chocolate lime cake with a fork

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Carrot and Orange Soup

Posted 22 March 2011 by
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At my former job there was a canteen, and in that canteen they served soup every day for lunch. Occasionally, they served carrot and orange soup. It was always a good day when carrot and orange soup was on the menu. It’s quite a summery soup, especially if you blend it up at the end. I couldn’t find a recipe for this in my soup book, so I just kind of made this up. the exact measurements don’t really matter, but the orange flavour is quite strong, so taste as you go and add just enough orange juice.

A white bowl full of carrot and orange soup

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Brioche

Posted 7 March 2011 by
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I got this recipe for buttery brioche from The Guardian. It seemed quite hard work, and it was in a way. It was done over two days, and the part where you rub the butter into the dough is very messy, so be warned! The result was a rich, buttery, sweet loaf of bread that was particularly good toasted (you just have to be careful about it burning, with the sugar in it).

Slices of brioche on a plate

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Pomegranate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted 3 March 2011 by
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I’ve never tried combining pomegranate with chocolate before, although I know raspberry goes very well with chocolate. Back in December, I stumbled on Pomegranate Double Chocolate Chip Cookies by Michelle at Taste as You Go (which looked lovely) and saw that they were inspired by Pomegranate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies by Two Peas and their Pod. Both looked delicious, and I knew I’d end up making at least one of them. So, here are my version, too late for Christmas, but never mind! They were really tasty, but the pomegranate seeds got slightly lost amongst the white chocolate chips, so I’d put a few more in each cookie next time!

A pomegranate and white chocolate chip cookie Continue reading “Pomegranate White Chocolate Chip Cookies”…

Goat’s Cheese, Parmesan and Caramelised Onion Palmiers

Posted 28 February 2011 by
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Palmiers are so easy to make, but I haven’t tried savoury ones up until now. It took me about 5 seconds to decide what fillings to use – sweet caramelised onions, salty parmesan cheese and creamy goat’s cheese go so well together! These can be really simple, if you use ready-made puff pastry (obscenely easy if you use ready-rolled!), and you can use caramelised onions from a jar. Of course, if you’re looking to put a bit more effort into it (and get more credit!) you can make the puff pastry and caramelise the onions yourself. I think the tangy red onion chutney I made back in December would work a treat.

Baked caramelised onion, goat's cheese and parmesan palmier, cooling on a rack. Continue reading “Goat’s Cheese, Parmesan and Caramelised Onion Palmiers”…

Panna Cotta and Florentines (Daring Bakers)

Posted 27 February 2011 by
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It’s time for February’s Daring Bakers challenge. Unfortunately real life got in the way a little this month, and I will need to do this one again to get the full range of photos!

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Florentine with chocolate drizzled on

I’m not too keen on Florentines usually, but luckily this recipe was a little different.

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Joconde Imprime Entremet (Daring Bakers)

Posted 27 January 2011 by
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A little while ago, I joined the Daring Bakers, and January marked my first Daring Bakers challenge. It turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever made.

Completed joconde imprime cake with brown and white sponge, topped with Chantilly cream

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

If you’ve never heard of some of the words in the paragraph above, you’re not alone. When I first read the instructions for this challenge I was intimidated to say the least. The biscuit joconde imprime is a fancy French sponge made from two separate parts that  make a design that’s visible on the outside of the finished cake. the sponge, which forms only the outer layer of the cake, is filled with the ”entremet”. If this doesn’t make much sense, hopefully the pictures will enlighten! The challenge provided a recipe for the joconde imprime, but we had to make the entremet up ourselves. I decided on a chocolate hazelnut brownie base, with chocolate nutella cream, topped with chai tea flavoured Chantilly cream. I had no idea if this would work, but it did!

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