February 19, 2015

Pear & Chocolate Crumble

An dish full of a sweet crumble and serving bowls

To me, pears and chocolate is a match made in heaven. I decided to unite them in a comfy rustic crumble, the kind I’d have on a rainy Sunday afternoon, curled up on the sofa. I remember the first time I prepared a pear and chocolate crumble, which was back in my student days, and I had invited a few friends around – they had literally devoured it! I’ve tweaked a bit the recipe since then, making a wholesome topping of oats, rice flour, a touch of muscovado sugar & almond purée. It was a winner and definitely the perfect kind of pud for cold winter days. Hoping you’ll like it as much as we did.
With love & chocolate x

A bowl full of a pear and chocolate crumble

Pear and Chocolate Crumble – serves 6 to 8
•7 pears, peeled and cut into cubes
•200g dark chocolate, 70% cacao minimum, cut into squares
•75g oats
•75g rice flour
•50g muscovado sugar
•3tbsp almond purée

1.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2.Spread the pears and chocolate squares in an oven dish.
3.In a bowl, mix the oats with the flour and sugar. Add the almond purée and rub with your fingers to obtain crumbs. Spread over the pears and chocolate.
4.Put in the oven and cook for 25-30min until golden.
5.Serve warm or cold.

Crumble Poire-Chocolat – pour 6 à 8 personnes
•7 poires, pelées et coupées en morceaux
•200g de chocolat noir à 70% de cacao minimum, coupé en carrés
•75g de flocons d’avoine
•75g de farine de riz
•50g de sucre muscovado
•3cs de purée d’amandes

1.Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
2.Répartir les poires et le chocolat dans un plat à four.
3.Dans un bol, mélanger les flocons d’avoine avec la farine et le sucre. Ajouter la purée d’amandes et frotter du bout des doigts de façon à obtenir des miettes grossières. Répartir sur les poires et le chocolat.
4.Mettre au four pour 25-30min, jusqu’à ce que le dessus soit doré.
5.Servir tiède ou froid.

A dish of pear and chocolate crumble and serving bowls

February 09, 2015

Root Crisps

A cone of root vegetable crisps made from carrots, parsnips and beetroots.

Root crisps have been my go-to snack this winter. I found quite exciting the idea of making my own crisps at home. When a recipe originally calls for deep-frying, there is a good chance that the oven can do the job instead, for a far healthier result. This is therefore the option I went for in this occasion and the trick worked to perfection. I’m sure you could try the recipe with regular potatoes, but I chose to use other root vegetables which are so much more colourful and really tasty too.

Parsnip, beetroot and carrots on a wooden board.

I found that using a vegetable peeler to make the crisps was what worked best as it made very thin slices of vegetable, which is what you are after. The parsnips and carrots are also best shaved lengthways, to obtain long strips. I prepared the beets in a separate bowl, so that they wouldn’t stain the rest of the vegetables. Finally, be aware that cooking time may vary slightly depending on your oven, but the golden rule is to not let the crisps burn, or you will end up with carbonised vegetables!

Have a great week :)

A hand-held cone of root vegetable crisps

Root Crisps – makes a batch
•1 parsnip
•2 carrots
•1 beetroot
•1tsp sunflower oil
•Salt and pepper
•1tsp dried oregano

1.Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
2.Remove the ends of the parsnip, carrots and beet and peel the beet. Make very fine shavings with the vegetables, using a vegetable peeler or mandolin slicer. Place the parsnip and carrot shavings in one bowl, and the beets in another one. Add the sunflower oil, salt and pepper and oregano between the two bowls and mix with your hands to coat them lightly in oil. Spread the shavings onto the two baking sheets and place in the oven for 45min-1hour, until the vegetables are nicely crispy.
3.Lift the crisps with a spatula and transfer to a wire rack to cool down completely. Keeps for a few days in an airtight container.

Chips de Légumes Racines – pour une fournée
•1 panais
•2 carottes
•1 betterave
•1cc d’huile de tournesol
•Sel et poivre
•1cc d’origan séché

1.Préchauffer le four sur 180°C. Recouvrir deux plaques à four de papier sulfurisé.
2.Couper les extrémités des panais, carottes et betteraves et peler les betteraves. Faire des copeaux de légumes très fins à l’aide d’un couteau éplucheur ou d’une mandoline. Mettre les copeaux de panais et de carottes dans un bol, et ceux de betteraves dans un autre. Répartir l’huile de tournesol, le sel et poivre et l’origan entre les deux bols et mélanger avec les mains pour les couvrir d’un léger film d’huile. Répartir les copeaux sur les deux plaques à four et mettre au four pour 45min-1h jusqu'à ce que les légumes soient bien croustillants.
3.A l’aide d’une spatule, déplacer les chips sur une grille pour les laisser refroidir complètement. Se gardent dans une boîte hermétique pendant quelques jours.

February 02, 2015

Coconut Bread

Slices of coconut bread on a wooden board and small pot with nut butter

This winter, I’ve often found myself dreaming of escaping somewhere warm and sunny, preferably with white sandy beaches and turquoise waters… Unfortunately, this is not on the agenda for this year. Flicking through our Barbados honeymoon photo album from two years ago, I was transported to this Caribbean paradise and reminded of the food we enjoyed while there. This is when I remembered the scrumptious coconut bread that we were often served for breakfast and that I was spreading with a good spoonful of locally-made banana jam – yum!

This was enough to convince me; I had to bake coconut bread! I played a bit with ingredients and was finally satisfied by the result. Just a slice of it sufficed to take me back to that sunny island and forget that I was actually sat in my kitchen in the middle of French winter.

If you happen to have banana jam handy or fancy making your own, I’d recommend it by all means. However, another delicious alternative, like I had on this occasion, would be to slightly toast a slice and spread it with a bit of nut butter (cashew or almond are my favourite). Happy February!

Coconut bread in a metal loaf tin

Coconut Bread – makes 1 loaf
•80g butter
•2 eggs
•1 tsp vanilla extract
•300ml rice or almond milk
•100ml agave or rice syrup
•300g whole spelt flour
•100g desiccated coconut
•2tsp baking powder
•2tsp ground cinnamon
•A pinch of salt

1.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2.Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the butter, vanilla extract, milk and syrup and mix well.
3.In another bowl, mix the spelt flour with the coconut, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the liquid ingredients. Mix until you obtain thick dough.
4.Transfer the dough to a loaf tin, lined with baking paper. Place in the oven for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
5.Leave to cool down for a bit then unmold and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Cake à la Noix de Coco – pour un cake
•80g de beurre
•2 œufs
•1cc d’extrait de vanille
•300ml de lait de riz ou d’amande
•100ml de sirop d’agave ou de riz
•300g de farine d’épeautre complète
•100g de noix de coco râpée
•2cc de levure
•2cc de cannelle en poudre
•Une pincée de sel

1.Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
2.Faire fondre le beurre dans une petite casserole. Battre les œufs dans un bol. Y ajouter le beurre fondu, l’extrait de vanille, le lait végétal et le sirop et bien mélanger.
3.Dans un autre saladier, mélanger la farine d’épeautre avec la noix de coco râpée, la levure, la cannelle et le sel. Y creuser un puits et ajouter les ingrédients liquides. Mélanger de façon à obtenir une pâte assez épaisse.
4.Transférer la pâte dans un moule à cake chemisé de papier sulfurisé. Mettre au four pour environ 1h, jusqu'à ce qu’une pique en bois insérée au centre en ressorte sèche.
5.Laisser refroidir un peu avant de démouler, puis laisser refroidir complètement sur une grille.