January 30, 2011

White Chocolate and Pink Pralines Palmiers with Baileys Hot Chocolate

My plan was to give you a recipe of beetroot and ricotta ravioli. However, it didn’t all go according to plan. It was my first attempt at making ravioli and I was all excited about it. In the end, they turned out to be not bad, but not as good as I imagined they would be. The dough was a bit chewy and the filling went out of the ravioli. This however hasn’t discouraged me, and I will be happy to try again, maybe with another recipe.

Instead, here is a lovely recipe for tea time. I saw it in a magazine (Prima, November 2010) a while ago – it was with dark chocolate and praline. I had pink pralines in my cupboard that I had brought back from France last year, and I thought that they would be great with white chocolate.

We also drank that very rich hot chocolate. It was even a bit too rich. If you like sweeter flavours, I would advice that you use milk chocolate instead of a very dark one.

This turned out to be the perfect treat after a long winter walk.

White Chocolate and Pink Pralines Palmiers – makes about 20 palmiers

  • • 250g puff pastry
  • • 125g white chocolate, chopped
  • • 4tbsp pink pralines

  • 1. Spread the puff pastry into a large square.
  • 2. Melt the chocolate and spread it on the puff pastry. Sprinkle with the pink pralines. Roll 2 sides of the square until they meet in the middle. Wrap into cling film and put in the freezer for 30min.
  • 3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut the roll of pastry into slices 1cm wide. Put on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 20min until well puffed and golden.

    Palmiers au Chocolat Blanc et Pralines Roses – pour environ 20 palmiers

  • • 250g de pâte feuilletée
  • • 125 de chocolat blanc, coupé en morceaux
  • • 4cs de pralines roses

  • 1. Etaler la pâte feuilletée en un grand carré.
  • 2. Faire fondre le chocolat et l’étaler sur la pâte. Parsemer de pralines roses. Rouler 2 côtés du carré sur eux-mêmes jusqu’à ce qu’ils se rejoignent au milieu. Envelopper dans du papier sulfurisé et mettre au congélateur pendant 30min.
  • 3. Préchauffer le four à 180°C. Couper le rouleau de pâte en tranches d’1cm d’épaisseur. Les mettre sur une plaque de cuisson et enfourner pour 20min jusqu’à ce que les palmiers soient dorés et gonflés.

    Hot Chocolate with Baileys – makes 2 to 4 mugs

  • • 350ml milk
  • • 100g dark chocolate at 70% cocoa, chopped
  • • 4tbsp Baileys
  • • 100ml whipping cream

  • 1. Put the milk in a saucepan with the chocolate and heat gently, stirring until the chocolate is melted and the milk is hot but not boiling. Give the mixture a whisk. Stir in the Baileys and pour into mugs.
  • 2. Whisk the cream until it is just peaking and spoon on top of the hot chocolate. Serve straight away.

    Chocolat Chaud au Baileys – pour 2 à 4 tasses

  • • 350ml de lait
  • • 100g de chocolat noir à 70% de cacao
  • • 4cs de Baileys
  • • 100ml de crème fleurette

  • 1. Faire fondre doucement le chocolat avec le lait dans une casserole. Faire chauffer jusqu’à ce que le lait soit bien chaud mais pas bouillant. Mélanger à l’aide d’un fouet. Ajouter le Baileys, mélanger et verser dans des tasses.
  • 2. Monter la crème en chantilly avec un batteur électrique et répartir dans les tasses sur le chocolat. Servir tout de suite.
  • January 22, 2011

    Bananas Flambé

    Just a second, imagine: blue sky and bright sunshine, white sandy beaches, turquoise warm waters, palm trees... Yes, I wish I was there too!

    As a couple of friends have shared pictures of their travels in Tahiti and La Réunion Island, I have decided to bring a bit of Caribbean sunshine in our plates, so that for a few moments, we could forget about the cold outside.

    My mum had already made this recipe for us when we were in France, and we loved it so much that we wanted to have it again. But I have a confession to make: when I did it, the delicate bit of the recipe, that is flaming the rum, didn’t actually work. We had bananas flambé not flambé! It was delicious nonetheless. Actually, something I like about cooking is the fact that you need to experiment. Sometimes it works straight away, but sometimes you have to try a recipe several times to perfect it. I think that what happened for us is that we didn’t pour exactly enough rum in the pan, and we waited too long before flaming it. The recipe I am giving you is how it should work, in theory. Give it a try, and hopefully you will manage to have these beautiful blue flames in your pan.

    Bananas Flambé – serves 2

  • • 2 bananas, halved lengthways
  • • 2tbsp sugar
  • • A knob of butter
  • • A good splash of Caribbean dark rum

  • 1. Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Put the bananas in the pan, sprinkle with sugar and leave to cook for 3min on a medium heat.
  • 2. Delicately, turn your bananas and leave them to cook for another 3min.
  • 3. Turn off the heat. Straightaway, add a good splash of rum, light a match and flame the rum. Move a bit you pan while you do that, so that the flames can go well over the bananas.
  • 4. Dish up and serve.

    Bananes Flambées – pour 2 personnes

  • • 2 bananes, coupées en 2 dans la longueur
  • • 2cs de sucre en poudre
  • • Une noix de beurre
  • • Une bonne goulée de rhum brun des Caraïbes

  • 1. Faire fondre le beurre dans une petite poêle. Mettre les bananes dans la poêle, saupoudrer de sucre et laisser cuire à feu moyen pendant 3 min.
  • 2. Retourner les bananes délicatement et les laisser cuire encore 3min.
  • 3. Eteindre le feu. Rapidement, ajouter une bonne goulée de rhum, allumer une allumette et faire flamber les bananes. Incliner la poêle de façon à ce que les flammes aillent bien sur toutes les bananes.
  • 4. Mettre dans des assiettes et servir.
  • January 16, 2011

    Baked Potatoes

    This month, I’m feeling like going back to simpler food. Hearty winter dishes are often on the menu. We’ve been cooking gratins, soups and tarts. Potatoes are often one of the main ingredients we use. They help keep out the winter chill. I find it so heart-warming to place a big pot in the centre of the table and share it with those around.

    At the farmers market, I’m lucky to find all sorts of spuds that are locally grown such as Desiree, Wilja, Maris Piper, Pink Fir Apples or King Edwards. We’ve also tried Vitelotte, which is a variety with violet-blue flesh – quite impressive!

    Baked potatoes are an easy classic. I just fancied sharing a few toppings ideas:
  • • Crème fraîche and herbs
  • • Chilli con/sin carne
  • • Aubergine hummus
  • • Pineapple with curried coconut milk
  • • Ratatouille
  • • Guacamole
  • • Blue cheese sauce
  • Baked Potatoes with a Crème Fraîche, Mint and Pink Peppercorn Topping – serves 2

  • • 2 large baking potatoes, such as King Edwards
  • • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • • A few sprigs of mint, chopped
  • • Salt and pepper
  • • 1 tsp pink peppercorn, crushed
  • • Grated cheese, to serve

  • 1. Heat the oven to 230°C. Prick the potatoes with a fork.
  • 2. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for 45min – 1hour, depending on the size, turning them several times during that time so that they cook evenly.
  • 3. In a bowl, mix the crème fraîche, salt and pepper.
  • 4. Once the potatoes are cooked through, take them out of the oven. Put them on plates and open them by making a cross with a knife. Pour over the crème fraîche sauce, sprinkle with the pink peppercorns and some grated cheese if you like. Serve with a green salad.

    Pommes de Terre au Four avec une Sauce à la Crème Fraîche, Menthe et Baies Roses – pour 2 personnes

  • • 2 grosses pommes de terre de type King Edwards
  • • 4cs de crème fraîche épaisse
  • • Quelques brins de menthe, ciselés
  • • Sel et poivre
  • • 1cc de baies roses, écrasées
  • • Fromage râpé, pour servir avec

  • 1. Préchauffer le four à 230°C. Piquer les pommes de terre à la fourchette.
  • 2. Mettre les pommes de terre directement sur la grille du four et faire cuire 45min-1heure, en fonction de la taille des pommes de terre, en les tournant plusieurs fois au cours de la cuisson de façon à ce quelles cuisent uniformément.
  • 3. Dans un bol, mélanger la crème fraîche, la menthe, le sel et le poivre.
  • 4. Une fois que les pommes de terre sont bien cuites, les retirer du four. Les mettre dans des assiettes de service et faire une croix au couteau pour les ouvrir. Verser dessus la sauce à la crème fraîche et parsemer de baies roses et de fromage râpé si vous le souhaitez. Servir avec une salade verte.
  • January 10, 2011

    Endive Soup

    Here are a few shots from the sunset yesterday on the beach. It was one of these beautiful winter days – a nice change from the pouring rain we had all week long. We packed a box with cranberry muffins and mandarins, and took a thermos of warm tea. We walked for about half an hour before finding the perfect spot. And there we took pictures and watched the sun set behind the hills.

    When we came back from our little excursion, we cooked a tasty soup for dinner (parsnip and mustard) – not the one I will talk to you about in a second, but another one that was just as perfect to end the day.

    Endive is a bitter vegetable that is not always liked. I however do love it, whether cooked or raw in salads. In France, I used to eat a lot of them as it easily found on stalls. However, I find hard to find some where I now live. This is why I had asked my mum if we could make this soup while in France. Luke is usually not a big fan of endives but he liked the soup though. In my opinion, endive is a vegetable that is worth giving a try at – there are so many ways to cook it that you might find that actually, it is not that bad!

    Endive Soup – serves 4 to 6

  • • 6 endives, chopped
  • • 1 leek, chopped
  • • 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • • 1L vegetable stock
  • • 3tbsp Olive oil
  • • A pinch of nutmeg
  • • Black pepper
  • • 10cl single cream

  • 1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Gently fry the leek and endives until soft. Add the potatoes.
  • 2. Pour the stock over the vegetables and bring to the boil. Boil for 25min.
  • 3. Blend the soup until smooth. Add the cream, black pepper and nutmeg. Mix well, reheat for a minute or two and serve.

    Soupe aux Endives – pour 4 à 6 personnes

  • • 6 endives, émincées
  • • 1 poireau, émincé
  • • 4 pommes de terre, épluchées et coupées en morceaux
  • • 1L de bouillon de légume
  • • 3cs d’huile d’olive
  • • Une pincée de noix de muscade
  • • Poivre noir
  • • 10cl de crème liquide

  • 1. Faire revenir les endives et le poireau à feu doux jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient tendres. Ajouter les pommes de terre.
  • 2. Verser le bouillon de légume et porter à ébullition. Laisser bouillir pendant 25min.
  • 3. Mixer la soupe de façon à obtenir un velouté. Ajouter la crème, la noix de muscade, et le poivre et mélanger. Remettre sur le feu quelques instants et servir.
  • January 04, 2011

    2010 Favourites and Welcome 2011

    Happy New Year! I hope you have a good one, filled with happiness and good times.

    2010 brought me foodmoods – I really enjoyed the journey so far – thanks to all of you who are reading my blog.

    2011 sounds exciting with some nice projects to look forward to.

    2010 Favourites

    I thought I would have a look back at what I have written on my blog in 2010 and make a selection of the recipes I liked the most. You, which were you favourites?