Sunday, November 30, 2008

[Daring Bakers] Caramel cupcakes

Note: You prefer Oulala? Read this post on my French blog: La cuisine de Babeth
Rare cancer awareness: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma


It's time to reveal November Daring Bakers challenge. This month challenge was: caramel cake, that became cupcakes with me :-)
This month was hosted by: Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater (
It was the first time I made cupcakes, and not the first time I indulged them of course.
The only variation added to DB challenge: physalis fruit on top.
The recipe is well explain and really easy.


10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Notes from Natalie for those of you baking gluten-free:

So the GF changes to the cake would be:

2 cups of gluten free flour blend (w/xanthan gum) or 2 cups of gf flour blend + 1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 - 1 tsp baking powder (this would be the recipe amount to the amount it might need to be raised to & I'm going to check)

I'll let you when I get the cake finished, how it turns out and if the baking powder amount needs to be raised.

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.


2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.


12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brussels sprouts and apples happy together

Note: French version is on my other food blog: La cuisine de Babeth
Rare cancer awareness:
don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

God in France we are living a Florida drama 2000 American election! French left wing party were voting to designate their chief and results were 104 votes tied, so they're counting again. I do hope they're not using punched cards to vote ... Chad where are you ? :-)

After a nice week-end spent in Portugal: my friends T and G got married in a lovely hacienda near Lamego, here I am home, in Luxembourg-French country side. We were welcome with a snow storm. Such a chock after a lovely week-end under Indian summer sun.

My mission for today is to have my tires on my car changed. My tiny car needs its winter tires.

As I shouldn't go out with an empty stomach, let me share with you a quick and very unusual recipe inspired by Heidi (101 cookbooks). Thanks to her I made peace with Brussels sprouts last year. Well you may have the same unappealing souvenir of them, yep you had the same boiled ones at your school cafeteria, yeurkkk!

Last year I prepared them as:
- savory muffins
- with Roma cabbages over rice
- red quinoa cassolettes

This year my Brussels sprouts dish is more adventurous, but still tasty!

Ingredients: (party of 2)
- 1 apple (even a wrinkled one)
- half an onion thinly chopped
- 5 hazelnuts shelved
- 8 Brussels sprouts
- grape seeds oil
- salt and pepper

1- Trim the end and remove the first leaves of the Brussels sprouts. Rinse under clear water. Set aside.
2- Peel and cut the apple into small cubes. Set aside.
3- In a large pot put some water to boil. Add the sprouts and let them cook for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
4- Warm some oil in a wok or pan. Cook the onion until light golden. Add the apple and Brussels sprouts. Cook for 4 - 5 minutes stirring a couple of time.
5- When cooked add the hazelnuts, salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Help beat sarcoma!

Care for French? Read this post on my French blog: La cuisine de Babeth

For those of you who are in my facebook network you may have received an email from me about help beat sarcoma (and no it's not a spam). And if you're a reader of La cuisine de Babeth or here: La vie in English, you may also have notice that for the last months I always start my postings with:
Rare cancer awareness: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

My friend Nathalie who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer: sarcoma. I'm not a doctor, I'm just a normal woman who got speechless after learning Nathalie's disease, and who wants to help.
I invite all of you to:
- read her blog: beat sarcoma
- check the web page of the non-profit organization she created:
- and last but not least you can make a donation to the research team leaded by Amreen Husain
at Stanford.
To donate now click here.

After giving some money to the Stanford research team (who works on sarcoma) I felt I didn't do enough to help. After some brainstorming I had the idea to raise awareness about this cause on internet, but a joyous way. And what more joyous than sharing a good meal!
So my idea is pretty simple: while sharing your favorite Sunday brunch (es) on
and on your blog/site (if you have one), you will help raising awareness about this rare form of cancer!

I'm a food lover and my idea is to spread the awareness through the web with a story-chain.

help-beat-sarcoma-a-thon is YOUR blog, and I would like all of you the share your story about your favorite Sunday lunch. Do you like to go out for brunch, can you only have your Mum roast? You name it :-)

Anybody can participate in English, or in French
Option 1- You have a blog: post your story, recipes, pictures on your blog and add the following html code:

Widget will be:

-Send an email to cuisinedebabeth{at}gmail{dot}com with the link to your post, and give the rights to publish your story/recipes/pictures or any materials you want to share.
Please for liability issues include in your email:
"I, {your name} certify that I have the rights to use and publish this text and pictures and I give the rights to Help Beat Sarcoma to use it."

Option 2- You don't have a blog and want to participate, no problem! Just send an email to cuisinedebabeth{at}gmail{dot}com with your text and any materials you want to include in your favorite Sunday luch story, and give the rights to publish here your story/recipes/pictures.
Please for liability include in your email:
I, {your name} certify that I have the rights to use and publish this text and pictures and I give the rights to Help Beat Sarcoma to use it.


Special thanks to Anne who helpt me a lot with html, and spreading the news:-)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flammekueche (or Flammenkueche) recipe

Note: French version is on my other food blog: La cuisine de Babeth
Rare cancer awareness:
don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

I cannot really translate all the French post I intended to (here to read it). In it I was giving results for a quiz about "you and the apron", quiz I only put on my French food blog: La cuisine de Babeth. Sorry guys ... Anyway I will try to make it up to you by revealing the results.
Quiz: you and the apron:
1- Always! 13%
2- Only when I cook 10%
3- Only when it will get messy 41%
4- I have a lot, brand new 13%
5- Never 20%

Number 3 is our winner! And I did vote to number 3 as well ( who said that you cannot participate to your own games? There no small prints here :-) ). But I don't always anticipate the "messy" part, which results to a LOT of laundry ...

Today I want to share with you a typical recipe from the French region where we moved in July. Ciao French Riviera, Hello Lorraine!
Let me introduce you: Alsatian flambéed tart also known as Flammenkueche (or Flammekueche). It's a warm appetizer, a thin-like-paper pizza dough filled with crème fraîche, onions and lardons. In France you can buy frozen ones, but it's a no rocket science to make one at home (and it's really quick and simple too).

Note: if you cannot find crème fraîche use sour cream instead. I'm pretty sure you can buy crème fraîche at Whole Food Market.

The recipe is in 2 parts: first the dough, then the filling.

No-yeast bred dough:
- 1 cup 1/4 (180g) flour
- 1/2 tbs of salt
- 2 tbs of sunflower oil (or 4 olive oil)
- 1/4 cup (10cl) of lukewarm water

1- Sift the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the flour, and pour into it the salt and oil. Combine with your with your hands. Knead the dough few minutes.
2- Add slowly the lukewarm water while kneading the dough. Knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Form a ball with it.
Note: If the dough is too sticky add some flour, if is not elastic add water.

Flammekueche:(appetizer party of 4, diner party of 2)
- 1 plumpy onion
- 4 tbs of crème fraîche épaisse or sour cream.
- 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
- 1 ball of no-yeast bred dough (recipe see above)
- 120g smoked lardons (strips of fat bacon)
- 1 tbs of sunflower oil
- salt and black pepper

1- Peel the onion, thinly cut it.
2- Ina bowl combine the crème, nutmeg, salt and freshly grounded pepper.
3- Flour your work surface. Roll dough, making a long very thin rectangle as big as your cooking baking sheet.
4- Brush your baking sheet with some oil, and place the dough. (or you can line your baking sheet with parchment paper instead). Press the dough all around to form and edge. Gently prick the dough with a fork.
5- Spray on it the cream mixture. Sprinkle on top the onions and lardons. Add few oil drops.
6- Cook in a preheated oven at 480F for 15 min.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let's meet in Périgueux this Friday!

Note: French version is on my other food blog: La cuisine de Babeth
Rare cancer awareness:
don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

For those of you who knows me well, you know that on week-ends I'm browsing yard sales, garage sales and other consignment stores. In Antibes I even was a regular at auctions on Saturdays. (Hotel des ventes, 8 bd Pasteur, 06600 Antibes -Map it-), or when I had the courage to leave my parking spot I would go to Cannes, where auctions are more impressing.

Last week-end I was surfing internet in quest for auctions in my new region: Lorraine, and I found an eye catching one : bibliothèque gastronomique ... in Perigueux. For those of you who are familiar with France geography it's quite the opposite way. Anyway Perigueux's auctions house will conduct auction of rare cookbooks this coming Friday.
To view the catalogue -here-
A video of it -here-
Infos and directions:
Friday 14th of November, at 2:30pm
Perigord encheres-estimations
9, rue Bodin
24000 Périgueux, France
(Map it)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Grilled curcuma Jumbo shrimps

Note: French version is on my other food blog: La cuisine de Babeth
Rare cancer awareness:
don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

This morning I want to share with you a recipe I posted on my French food blog, La cuisine de Babeth, a week ago. This recipe was posted just before catching a train to Paris where I went to FIAC and a cooking show. I'm not famous enough to have the TGV driver waiting for me when I'm running late, that my lame excuse for the delay to post in English :-)

Thanks God I didn't pay the entrance's ticket to the cooking show (salon cuisinez), because how disappointing it was! It took place at Le Carrousel du Louvre, but they only occupied a third of the space and let no room to navigate easily. There were few cooking classes (all over-booked), not a lot (and I'm being kind!) to sample and booths with stuff to buy (few) ... not to mention the ticket price: 10 euros! You may think that I'm being negative, but I was disappointed! The only great part, frankly, was the people I met. How nice is it to meet in real-life some bloggers I love to read :-)

FIAC was a nice surprise, a lot of eye candies! FIAC is a Contemporary art fair held in the heart of Paris. In Paris during FIAC, French and international actors of the art world suggest you a selection of exhibitions and openings, national museum, Parisian institutions, foundations, art parallel fairs to FIAC.

Visiting FIAC is like visiting a museum where everything is on sale, and where you can take pictures :-) Some of my favorites are: Calder's mobiles and design furniture from the 50s.

Anyway I didn't win the lottery to be able to shop at FIAC so let's go back to our raviolis :-)
This recipe in English is for you my friend Elra (from Elra's baking), even if she already read it in French on La cuisine de Babeth :-) The recipe is from a French cookbook: Ce soir c'est cuisine indienne (Tonight, it's Indian cuisine), I received to test. I must tell you that this one is a keeper! It's super quick, it won't require more time that to cook some rice, and tasty and full of colors!

Grilled curcuma shrimps:
Ingredients: (for 2)
-2 medium size onions
-2 green bell peppers
-2 Tbs of sunflowers oil
-1 small garlic clove
-0.5 lb (250g) fully cooked, peeled and deveined Jumbo shrimps
-1 ts of curcuma
-fresh coriander
-1/2 lemon juiced
-salt and pepper

1- Peel and thinly sliced the onions, cut the green pepper in small slices.
2- In a wok or skillet add a splash of sunflower oil, when the pan is nice and hot reduce the heat to medium, add and cook the onions, green pepper and the garlic crushed with.
3- Saute until the onions are golden, add the shrimps and curcuma. Cook for 10 mins.
4- Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and the thinly sliced coriander.

Previously on La vie in English: Making-off my 3rd cooking video
Other Fish and seafood recipes on La vie in English, click here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My 3rd cooking video, the making-off

Note: French version is on my other food blog: La cuisine de Babeth
Rare cancer awareness:
don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

Monday 13th of October I was invited to shoot again, a cooking video in association with Philips small appliances. If I was selected it's because of you my dear readers: THANK YOU! MERCI!

The first video (beet mousse recipe) I shoot for Philips was a solo one, just me and the camera ( and a make-up artist, and few crew members :-) ) but this time I teamed up with Cyril Lignac (a French celebrity TV chef ).

An other big difference: the recipe was not mine but one of Cyril's, and I learned about the recipe itself right in front of the cameras!

The day was a blast and the cherry on top (la cerise sur le gâteau as we say in French): I spent my day with fellow French food bloggers.

For lunch we were invited to the nearby new French bistro owned by Cyril Lignac. The décor is Belle Epoque and the food, apart from being delicious, is typical French bistro style.

le Chardenoux
1 r Jules Vallés 75011 PARIS
tel: 01 43 71 80 89
Map it

Even if I woke up at 5 a.m to catch my TGV, I was late for the group picture. Not to mention that this early departure implies a LOT of work for the make-up artist to made me look alive and not a Zombie :-)

I'm still waiting for the video and unfortunately I don't have any picture of the dish we prepared. But it was delicious and one of those quick recipe to prepare, as I love them.

Calamari a la plancha and curcuma carrots purée:
For the calamari:
-juice of a lemon
-1 garlic clove
-3 fresh basil leaves
-olive oil
-salt, ground pepper
- ground Espelette pepper

1- In a large bowl mix the lemon juice with 1 tbs of olive oil. Add some salt, fresh ground pepper and the garlic crushed. Add the calamari and sprinkle 2 tbs of ground Esplette pepper. It will nicely colored the calamari.
2- On a hot plancha grill the calamari.
3-Serve with a carrots purée seasoned with curcuma.

Other Babeth's videos: Beet mousse, grilled marinated shrimps
Previously on La vie in English: Happy Halloween, Bake your own pizza
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