February 24, 2012

Pear & Vanilla Financiers

These beauties were light and soft. The vanilla flavour really enchanted the pears! Financiers are a type of French little cakes with, as the main ingredient, ground almonds. They are in the shape of an ingot, which is where they got their name from. I like them plain or with berries or chocolate. The combination of pears, vanilla and almonds was really a winner. I used rice flour, which made them naturally gluten-free, and also gave them a perfect texture. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did!

I took a book at the library, called the Chopra Centre Cookbook, which features beautiful healthy recipes. In the first section there was a chapter in which they gave 7 precepts to follow for a diet that helps you get greater mental and physical well being. I found them very inspiring and would like to share them with you:

  • 1. Eat a wide variety of foods during the day
  • 2. Listen to your body’s signals of hunger and satiety
  • 3. Use food to fill the emptiness in your stomach, not your heart
  • 4. If a meal isn’t delicious, it isn’t nourishing you
  • 5. Favour foods that are natural and vital
  • 6. Use herbs and spices liberally as both flavour and health enhancers
  • 7. Eat with awareness

    Have a lovely weekend!
  • Pear & Vanilla Financiers – makes 9 small cakes

  • • 3 egg whites, beaten
  • • 40g rice flour
  • • 100g ground almonds
  • • 6tbsp agave syrup
  • • 90g unsalted butter
  • • A pinch of salt
  • • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • • The seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • • 1 pear, peeled and sliced

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • 2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, leave to cool for a few moments and add the agave syrup and vanilla extract.
  • 3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, almonds, salt and vanilla seeds. Add the eggs and the butter mix. Mix well.
  • 4. Spoon into 9 financier (or little cakes) dish. Place a slice of pear on top of each cake.
  • 5. Pop in the oven for 20-25min until cooked through. Leave to cool down for a bit before unmolding. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!

    Financiers Poire-Vanille – pour environ 9 financiers

  • • 3 blancs d’œufs, battus
  • • 40g de farine de riz
  • • 100g de poudre d’amandes
  • • 6cs de sirop d’agave
  • • 90g de beurre non salé
  • • Une pincée de sel
  • • 1cs d’extrait de vanille
  • • Les graines d’une gousse de vanille
  • • 1 poire, pelée et coupée en tranches

  • 1. Préchauffer le four à 180°C.
  • 2. Faire fondre le beurre dans une petite casserole. Une fois fondu, le laisser refroidir quelques instants, puis ajouter le sirop d’agave et l’extrait de vanille.
  • 3. Dans un grand bol, mélanger la farine, l’amande, le sel et les graines de vanille. Ajouter les œufs, puis le beurre. Bien mélanger.
  • 4. Verser le mélange dans 9 moules à financier. Mettre une tranche de poire sur le dessus de chaque gâteau.
  • 5. Mettre au four pour 20-25min. Laisser refroidir un peu avant de démouler. Finir de refroidir sur une grille. Déguster !
  • February 21, 2012

    Pancake Day

    It's crêpes day today!

    February 10, 2012

    Dry Fruits Poached in Tea

    At this time of year as not many fruits are in season, I naturally use dry fruits in my cooking. I’ve always loved them, whether as a snack or in a more elaborate dish. Funny how sometimes creating a dish happens by accident. A colleague at work told me that she made fantastic biscuits last weekend using leftovers from a crumble topping. This is also what happened with this recipe: I started it having in mind to make a dry fruit compote, but halfway through, it transformed into lovely fragrant poached fruits. This is delicious on its own or with natural or vanilla yogurt.

    Dry Fruits Poached in Tea – serves 4

  • • 120g pitted prunes
  • • 60g dry figs, halved
  • • 100g unsulfured dry apricots
  • • 20g dry goji berries
  • • 50g raisins
  • • 1 tea bag (I used rooibos)
  • • 1tsp cinnamon
  • • 1tsp vanilla sugar
  • • Zest of 1 lemon
  • • Water to cover the fruits

  • 1. Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Cover with water.
  • 2. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 10min. Remove the tea bag.
  • 3. Remove the fruits from the pan with a slotted spoon. Serve warm or cold.
  • Fruits Secs Pochés au Thé – pour 4 personnes

  • • 120g de pruneaux, dénoyautés
  • • 60g de figues sèches, coupées en 2
  • • 100g d’abricots secs non sulfurisés
  • • 20g de baies de goji
  • • 50g de raisins secs
  • • 1 sachet de thé (j’ai utilisé du thé rooibos)
  • • 1cc de cannelle en poudre
  • • 1cc de sucre vanillé
  • • Zest d’1 citron
  • • Eau, pour couvrir les fruits

  • 1. Mettre tous les ingrédients dans une grande casserole. Couvrir d’eau.
  • 2. Porter à ébullition et laisser frémir 10min. Enlever le sachet de thé.
  • 3. Egoutter les fruits à l’aide d’une écumoire. Servir tiède ou froid.
  • February 03, 2012

    Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke and Hazelnut Salad with Goat’s Cheese

    Ok, after my past 3 posts on winter salads, you probably think: no, not another one. But I urge you to try it! I just couldn’t resist sharing the recipe with you. It makes the most of a delicious winter vegetable, Jerusalem artichoke, as the roasting really enhances its flavours. It might not look very attractive at first, but is really worth giving a try.

    I’m loving winter at the moment. We’ve been having beautiful sunny days. It’s cold, but I don’t mind. I love walking in the crisp air and coming back home with rosy cheeks. Also, have you noticed that days seem to be longer now? It’s not the night anymore at 5pm! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do and make the most of winter vegetables as long as they are still in season. Have a good weekend!

    Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke and Hazelnut Salad with Goat’s Cheese – serves 2

  • • 150g Jerusalem artichokes, cut in half
  • • 1tbsp olive oil
  • • Salt & Pepper
  • • 30g hazelnuts
  • • 10 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • • A bunch of rocket
  • • 30g soft goat’s cheese, crumbled
  • • 1tsp wholegrain mustard
  • • 1tbsp cider vinegar
  • • 1tbsp of the tomatoes’ oil

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the artichokes on a roasting tray, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven for about 30min until soft and cooked through.
  • 2. Put the hazelnuts on a baking tray. Pop in the oven for about 5min until golden. Take out and leave to cool. Chop finely.
  • 3. Prepare the seasoning by mixing together the mustard, salt, pepper, the vinegar and tomatoes’ oil.
  • 4. When the artichokes are cooked, put them warm in 2 serving bowl. Scatter over the hazelnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, rocket leaves and goat’s cheese. Drizzle over the seasoning. Serve straight away.

    Salade de Topinambours Rôtis, Noisettes et Fromage de Chèvre – pour 2 personnes

  • • 150g de topinambours, coupés en 2
  • • 1cs d’huile d’olive
  • • Sel et poivre
  • • 30g de noisettes
  • • 10 tomates séchées, à l’huile
  • • Une poignée de roquette
  • • 30g de fromage de chèvre frais, en petits morceaux
  • • 1cc de moutarde à l’ancienne
  • • 1cs de vinaigre de cidre
  • • 1cs de l’huile des tomates

  • 1. Préchauffer le four sur 190°C. Mettre les topinambours sur une plaque à four, arroser d’huile d’olive et assaisonner de sel et poivre. Mettre au four pour environ 30min jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient cuits et tendres.
  • 2. Mettre les noisettes dans un petit plat à four et enfourner pour environ 5min jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient dorées. Laisser refroidir puis les hacher en petits morceaux.
  • 3. Préparer l’assaisonnement en mélangeant la moutarde avec du sel, du poivre, le vinaigre et l’huile des tomates.
  • 4. Une fois que les topinambours sont cuits, les mettre dans 2 assiettes de service. Parsemer de noisettes, tomates séchées, roquette et fromage de chèvre et enfin l’assaisonnement. Servir de suite.