Monday, November 2, 2009

Macarons a French true home made luxury :-)


Oh God! I'm a bad student! I'm again late to post the Daring Bakers challenge !!! I'm now living in Eastern Africa and I miss soooo much adsl, high speed internet connexion. We are lucky if it's only working once a week here. Today internet seems to be in a good mood so I'm using this window to post October DB challenge. Last month challenge was to make French luxury delicacies: macarons. I've been making home made macarons since 2007 when I took a pastry class at Lenotre in Cannes.

I made October macarons in pink, to honor Breast cancer awareness month, and filled them with raspberry jam. SO YUMMY!

Ingredients
Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Yield: 10 dozen. Ami's note: My yield was much smaller than this. I produced about two dozen filled macaroons.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Daring Bakers challenge Dobos Torta

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Well mine was a disaster :-( I cannot even present it I'm ashamed but I guess with all my electric baking equipments gone in the move it was too much of a challenge. Most of my baking stuff are en route to Kigali, Rwanda where we are moving. I could have lie to you and say that it was perfect but kitty cat destroyed it. But look how mellow she looks :-)

Sponge cake layers

  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
  • 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

Caramel topping

  • 1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
  • 8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

Finishing touches

  • a 7” cardboard round
  • 12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
  • ½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts

Directions for the sponge layers:

NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.

1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).
2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9" (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.)
3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.)

4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)


Directions for the chocolate buttercream:

NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.

1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.

Lorraine's note: If you're in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you'll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!

Directions for the caramel topping:

1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn't just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.

Angela's note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

Assembling the Dobos

1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

5 Kitchen connection DVDs to win!

brunch recipes lottery


Universal pictures was so nice to give us prices for a little game to help raise awareness on sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

You can enter year long your brunch recipes, memories and/or pictures on help-beat-sarcoma-a-thon but to spicy it up here a little game.

You have until July 31st to send us your best brunch recipe and you may win one of the 5 Kitchen connection DVDs.

If you have a blog post your recipe with the following widget (and don't forget to email me (cuisinedebabeth[at]gmail[dot]com) to let me know about your entry:



If you don't have a blog no problemos just email me your recipe (cuisinedebabeth[at]gmail[dot]com)

After the end of the challenge I will meet up with Patrick, a fellow food blogger and we will choose within all the wonderful entries the 5 winners!

Remember you have until July 31st!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

[Daring Bakers] Bakewell Tart


The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

Bakewell tarts…er…puddings combine a number of dessert elements but still let you show off your area’s seasonal fruits.

I turned mine into tartelettes, frangipane tartelettes and used mirabelle jam!

Bakewell Tart History and Lore

Flan-like desserts that combine either sweet egg custard over candied fruit or feature spiced ground almonds in a pastry shell have Mediaeval roots. The term “Bakewell pudding” was first penned in 1826 by Meg Dods; 20 years later Eliza Acton published a recipe that featured a baked rich egg custard overtop 2cm of jam and noted,

“This pudding is famous not only in Derbyshire, but in several of our northern counties where it is usually served on all holiday occasions.”

By the latter half of the 1800s, the egg custard evolved into a frangipane-like filling; since then the quantity of jam decreased while the almond filling increased.

This tart, like many of the world's great foods has its own mythic beginnings…or several mythic beginnings. Legend has it in 1820 (or was it in the 1860s?) Mrs. Greaves, landlady of The White Horse Inn in Bakewell, Derbyshire (England), asked her cook to produce a pudding for her guests. Either her instructions could have been clearer or he should have paid better attention to what she said because what he made was not what she asked for. The cook spread the jam on top of the frangipane mixture rather than the other way around. Or maybe instead of a sweet rich shortcrust pastry case to hold the jam for a strawberry tart, he made a regular pastry and mixed the eggs and sugar separately and poured that over the jam—it depends upon which legend you follow.

Regardless of what the venerable Mrs. Greaves’ cook did or didn’t do, lore has it that her guests loved it and an ensuing pastry-clad industry was born. The town of Bakewell has since played host to many a sweet tooth in hopes of tasting the tart in its natural setting.

Bakewell tarts are a classic English dessert, abounding in supermarket baking sections and in ready-made, mass-produced forms, some sporting a thick sugary icing and glazed cherry on top for decorative effect.

Enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee or just eat it sneaky slice by sneaky slice until, to your chagrin, you realise the whole tart has somehow disappeared despite you never having pulled out a plate, fork or napkin with which to eat it.


Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Jasmine’s notes:
• If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It's a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn't have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search. That said, our dear Natalie at Gluten a Go Go has sourced some recipes and linked to them in the related alt.db thread.
• You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
• The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.
Annemarie’s notes:
• The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).

Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Jasmine’s notes:
• I make this using vanilla salt and vanilla sugar.
• If you wish, you can substitute the seeds of one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla paste or one teaspoon of vanilla extract for the almond extract

Frangipane

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kitchenaid sale starting June 16th!

Note: You prefer Oulala? Read this post on my French blog: La cuisine de Babeth

Who never dreamed about having a Kitchenaid Artisan? Well let me share with you a great bargain deal! Tomorrow June 16th starting at 7AM on vente-privée they will sale Kitchenaid appliances at outlet prices!
I know with this economy everyone is stretching every dime, but being careful doesn't mean you cannot indulge great products at discount prices!

To take advantage of those bargains you need to be a member, and it's only on invitation. Well you will tell me, great but how I can get a VIP invitation? Simple! Just click here I'm inviting you :-)
They ship to France, UK, Germany, Spain and Italy!


So see you tommorow at 7am in front of your computer?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Follow me!

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

menthe

Follow me into my little "garden" right on the French / Luxembourgish boarder.

Predator ...

The nice round Bay laurel was "imported from Nantes (from Design by Suzanne's garden). With it I will save a lot but not cutting back on taste, those Bay leaves are really expensive. My plan is to spare some leaves and dry them to enjoy Bay leaves feast all winter long.

laurier

My 3 different mint species (easy to grow, like step 0 of gardening for dummies) made friend with the chive pot.

mint
herbes aromatiques

And then parsley, basil, dill and physalis:

Persil
Aneth


And the rose rose bush:

rose rose

Thursday, June 11, 2009

wild asparagus / asperges sauvages

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

scallop_asparagus

Wild asparagus are in season later in Eastern part of France (Lorraine / Luxembourg) compare to South of France were they are ready be enjoyed mid February / March. In Provence you can either find them in the nature - but not easy to unearth -, or at farmers market -where they are very expensive (almost same price as an Hermes scarf). Until recently I was convinced that wild asparagus (asperges sauvages in French) were only growing all around the Mediterranean Basin. Few weeks ago I was really surprised coming across some fresh asperges sauvages at Thionville's farmers market, and even more surprised when asking the farmers from where in Provence they were from he replied " M'am they're from Lorraine!"

asperges_sauvages

Those little palate's bounty are usually accomodated in France with a little vinaigrette (steamed them for 4minutes, then cool them under cold water and add your favorite vinaigrette) or with scrumbled eggs -brouillade- (simply stir them with your scrmbled eggs).

In kitchen they got married to scallops, and served with bulgur.

Ingredients: (serving 2)
-about 10 wild asparagus
-1 red bell pepper
-10 scallops
-butter
-salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:
1- Rinse the asparagus under running water, if needed trim the tough lower edge. Cut them in small sections.
2- Rinse the bell pepper under running water, remove the seeds and cut in thin strips.
3- Warm some butter in a pan, stir fry the asparagus, bell pepper and scallops for few minutes.
4- Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.






Other asparagus recipes:
asparagus
-no brainers citrus asparagus

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mochis

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

mochi

It's spring cleaning in our house!

God it's crazy how much stuff one can keep or store! We are no exception. I'm not organized like Martha Stewart is, but once in a while I got the urge to organize, de-clutter, give to charities or sell (One man's junk is an other man treasure!). The kitchen is also the theater of my de-cluttering operations! While digging into all the accumulated edibles I found glutinous rice flour and some Azuki (red beans paste). In a second I was baking mochis, those little glutinous rice-based Japanese delicacy. When filled they are called daifuku mochis.

My mochis' recipe was published on La vie in English back in March 2008 at the time of cherry blossom and where I also told you a little bit more about my almost 4 years in California.

Ingredients (24 pcs):
Filling (optional)
½ cup dried peeled mung beans or Azuki (red beans paste)
1 cup water
½ cup raw or caster sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil 100g sweet potato, peeled and steamed
Pinch of salt

Mochi
2 cup glutinous rice flour
½ cup cornstarch
3-4 tbsp condensed milk
1 cup & 1 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Food coloring (optional)

Other
1 cup coconut flakes
Directions:
  1. Filling: Rinse the mung beans and discard any residual peels. Combine beans with water and bring to boil. Cover and let it simmer over low heat, stir occasionally until all water is absorbed by the beans. It can also be cooked in the microwave using a microwave rice cooker as if cooking rice.
  2. Combine cooked mung beans, sugar, oil, sweet potato and salt in a food processor. Blend all ingredients to form smooth paste. Remove paste from food processor, divide and shape paste into 24 small balls. Keep in refrigerator until ready to assemble.
  3. Mochi: In a large mixing bowl, mix together glutinous rice flour and cornstarch. Pour in boiling hot water and stir rapidly to mix. Add in condensed milk and oil, mix well and knead to form a soft dough. Divide and shape dough into 24 small balls. Cover with damp cloth until ready to assemble.
  4. Assemble: Take a dough ball, make a deep impression with thumb (like a well) and place a filling ball in the middle. Bring all edges together and pinch to seal. Roll it around with palms to smooth out the edges and form a ball.
  5. Steam mochi balls over medium heat for 10 minutes. OR drop them into a pot of boiling water (medium heat), once they floated on the surface remove it with a spoon. I used boiling method, find it easier.
  6. Roll cooked mochi balls in the coconut flakes while they are still hot. Ready to serve.
Quick trick: Don't try to keep mochis in the fridge! Unfortunately they became hard and tasteless. Enjoy them fresh!

Other pink recipes:
Pink mousse(dip)
Pink mousse video
Quinoa mixed berry muffins
Lamb shoulder chops with pomegranate

Monday, June 1, 2009

Smell and lick!

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

Elle à table 10ans

Or why it does smell good in my purse!

I was a long time subscriber to Elle à table (the food edition of the French Elle magazine) and kept carefully recipe's cards cut out Elle weekly edition. (Note: Elle the fashion magazine, it's available in French, English (US, UK, New Zealand ...), German, Russian, Japanese and so one. In most places it's solely a monthly fashion magazine but in France Elle is actually published weekly, with 4 detachable recipes cards at the end.) Last May (read the full story here) the love story got tainted. At that time they changed the layout and the pictures were dull. Few issues passed and pictures started to become mouth-watering again (important in the appealing process with food).

Anyway Elle à table celebrates their 10th birthday! Happy Birthday !! A great publishing success as well as a chic but not too stiff magazine!

To celebrate in style with the magazine you have a free booklet with 50 spring recipes and a perfumed cover! Yes a perfumed cover, it smells cotton candy or a bit like perfumed rubber I used to collect in my young teenage age.

Cherry on top a 20000 euros sweepstake is organized, check it out!

timbre chocolat

One more thing for chocolate lovers. It also smell chocolate in my purse. The French post office publish a 10 stamps booklet that look like a chocolate bar and smell like chocolate!
I'm sure you will lick those stamps with appetite!

[daring baker] Apple strudel


The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Babeth and the centrifuge machine

Hello and welcome in my real kitchen!

The video is in 2 parts.

Enjoy and don't forget the popcorn :-)



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Breadmaker's bread

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

Bread

Last February a new cook toy made it to Babeth's kitchen: a programmable breadmaker. Not that I scorn the baker's art, but I living in the country side right on the boarder between France and Luxembourg and the closest bakery is miles away!
A favorable juncture of circumstances made me bought one of those machines:the urge for morning's toasts bread and having fresh bread to pair with cheese, and the unbeatable low-price (30 euros). Fellow Europeans check your local LIDL store for this kind of deal.

Since them I've been baking fresh bread from scratch or from store mixes and even brioches. The mixes I'm buying are from LIDL, they're make really good cereals breads and are cheap (less than 80 cents for 1kg). With 1kg of mixes you bake two 700g breads.

I did check on walmart and target web-stores and for about $70 one of their breadmakers can be yours. But do your researches, check online, read what other users are saying on forums before buying anything ;-)

Here few tips to not to get frustrated by your breadmaker:
1- read the manual
2- even with the manual recipe you may not get a well rounded crispy bread loaf. Humidity and warmth are key to get beautiful plump bread (you know stuff they discuss all day long on the weather channel), depending of where you live if your bread trials are not plump enough consider decreasing the amount of water, and remember always use luckwarm to warm water.

Other breads recipes:
Julia Child's French baguette
Tender potato bread
Be Comté

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Video recipe: Babeth and her 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


Babeth and her caramel cupcakes

After a teasing and the making-off story of my 4th cooking video, I received a lot of messages asking me when the video would be released. Well I'm proud to announce that the video is now online! To watch it just click on it above.
For autographed pictures just ask my agent: Philips, sense and simplicity :-)
No! I'm kidding! I don't have an agent, and am still a normal woman cooking and blogging for fun. And I'm not considering myself a chef nor an expert, just in love with food.

Anyway I'm always really happy when they ask me to shot an other video with them. Many it's many years of acting, but I'm always really interested in the work behind 2 minutes clip, and respectful for all the hard workers on set.

For the making-off story, just follow this link!

Dare seeing my other food videos?
-grilled marinated shrimps
-beet mousse (dip)
-calamari a la plancha

For caramel cupcakes recipe, just follow this link!

cupcake_caramel

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Be Comté

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


comte

No need to rob a bank to make me a happy girl! But if a Chanel bag, a cottage in Brittany or a Vermeer cross your mind, I would be more than glad to accept those. But some chocolates, inexpensive jewelery or a chunk of cheese will do the trick and please me very much. The other day a secret admirer (just Comté cheese PR ... I'm not that special ...) sent me 2 huge cheese chunks by mail. Cheese well packed in airtight box via express mail does travel in style. The nice PR also added an apron and a handy cheese knife to the cheese bounty. Lucky me!


comte

I was as thrilled as when Mathieu gave me pair of Repetto ballet flats. Imagine for a second a hefty Canadian entering the Parisian Repetto shop (if you're not familiar with the brand: their target is more dancers and jeunes filles en fleur) to buy a pair or shoes his wife (me :-) ) cliped out of Elle magazine.

I do receive now and then some free goodies: food or books, and I choose freely to talk or not about them. And this time well I loved it!
Comté cheese I received was well aged, a palate nirvana.
Comté is also called Gruyère de Comté and is a French cheese made from unpasteurized cow's milk made with love in Franche-Comté. While cut the 20 inch circular discs reveal a pale yellow paste, hard to touch and nutty and fruity to taste.

We eaten the cheese "naked", freshly cut directly to the mouth, or combined to make chic appetizers.
On wheat toast with Serrano jam
On a stick with a dice of fresh pear

Serve with a fresh Muscat wine!

comte_apero

Comté can also be cooked try out in (just click on names on to get recipes): puffy gougères and mashed potatoes flaky cakes, or in quiches.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Love your leftovers!

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

Galette de purée / Mashed potatoes burger style

Why should we love our leftovers?
1- wasting food cost a lot of money and especially in this economy where everybody is stretching every dime the following tips aren't harmless.
2- accommodating leftovers is eco-friendly. Trying to make the best of every ingredients will save you some trips to the grocery store to fill your fridge, and will effectively reduce transportation pollution.
3- using them is like using semi home made, easy and quick diner's fixes!

Leftovers should not be a punishment nor dull, here my 2 cents on the subject.
First you should have some containers to store them.
I try not to use plastic or aluminum wraps (too much wastes) and I tend to use less and less plastic sealed containers (like tupperware). Most of plastic boxes include BPA in their composition. BPA (aka bisphenol A) is suspected to be hazardous for humans.What really sadden me is that there's BPA in baby bottles.
To store my leftovers I either use a bowl with a plate on top, but not the best to manage fridge inventory ... Here where my Mum comes to the rescue ;-) a while ago she gave me some Pyrex containers. Pyrex implies glass, so no BPA and no pasta sauce tainting tupperwares.
Boites Pyrex / Pyrex containers
Note: use refrigerated leftovers within 4 days.

So let talk about how to customize leftovers for the sole pleasure of your palate.
-pasta: macaroni & cheese style, or cold salads
-rice: salads, or reheat with a splash of olive oil in a pan (will become crunchy, so yummy!)
-veggies: recycle them in gratin
-quinoa: salad or vegetarian burger
-meat: cold with strong Dijon mustard, in hachis-parmentier
-mash potatoes: flaky cakes

Recipe for mashed potatoes flaky cakes:

Ingredients:
- mashed potatoes leftovers (home-made or not)
- some all-purpose flour
- chives
- Comté cheese, or any Gruyere
- salt and pepper

Directions:
1- Wash under running water 2 chives blades. Cut them thinly and mix with mashed potatoes and some salt and pepper, with your fingers (or a fork if you don't like dirty work)
2- Pour 2 tablespoons of flour in a soup plate.
3- Roll in your palms mashed potatoes balls (as big as eggs).
4- Then roll them carefully in the flour, and flatten them.
5- Make a whole with your thumb, place inside a small cheese cube. Them cover it.
6- Heat some oil in a pan, when hot cook 4 minutes on each side.

Others environmentally conscious posts:
environementally conscious design
plastic is not eco-friendly!
DIY cardboard kitty pad
Brad Pitt's Christmas wish

Monday, April 20, 2009

Free cone day! Free ice cream!!!

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



I wish I were living in Paris, Lyon or Strasbourg or in the US or Canada. Why? For free ice cream! Tomorrow April 21st it's free cone day at Ben & Jerry's. The famous Vermont company will be 31 tomorrow and like every year they're giving away in their stores free ice cream! With no limit :-)
So grab a friend, a coworker or even your boss and have a scoop!



I remember when I was still a Californian, on April 21st I was spending most of my day not in front of my Sun station but at Ben&Jerry's on AMC20 plaza ...

For stores location in US and Canada, follow this link.
Otherwise in France, stores location in Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux and Strasbourg here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

environmentally-conscious design, 2 brands in the spotlight

Note: French version is on my other food blog: La cuisine de Babeth

Rare cancer awareness: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

Last week in France sustainable development was in the spotlight. French government wanted us to think about how could we make our life, house, shopping more eco-friendly and gentle for Mother Nature. So I tried on my French food blog: La cuisine de Babeth, to celebrate this event with sustainable oriented posts. I got caught up by others activities and didn't had time to translate simultaneously into English my posts here. Shame on me! Anyway those posts will be translated, because eco-friendly habits are important to me and sharing those also.

In 2007 La vie in English featured BIOSYLVA plates/cups and silverware. Those products are disposable and are not made from oil and are not taking centuries to disappear! They are 100% compostable, on other great aspect of Biosylva: the company respect eco-friendly processes.

So I started my mini serie by presenting the 2 new items we bought recently.
-Knife block by Ekobo. Ekobo makes beautiful bamboo ethical handcraft home accesories. Right now we all starving for bamboo in our kitchen and homes but ethical bamboo items is very important to prevent looting emerging countries.

EKOBO MIKOTO

-Bookshelves by Ethnicraft. Same vision for this company which makes solid wood furniture. Ethnicraft uses mostly reclaimed teack wood extracted out of neglected or old building in Java. The rest of teach used is coming from strictly managed plantations.

ethnicraft double collection




Monday, March 30, 2009

[Daring Bakers] Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna

God! March is already ending and so with it March Daring Bakers! This month we were all baking Lasagna. With Mathieu we love Lasagna, home-made are the best! But I've never tried making home-made pasta dough. It was fun!
As usual I'm a bit late to post the challenge ... don't know why I'm not learning from a month to the next one ...

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.


Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna (Lasagne Verdi al Forno)
(Serves 8 to 10 as a first course, 6 to 8 as a main dish)

Preparation Time: 15 minutes to assemble and 40 minutes cooking time

10 quarts (9 litres) salted water
1 recipe Spinach Pasta cut for lasagna (recipe follows)#1
1 recipe Bechamel Sauce (recipe follows)#2
1 recipe Country Style Ragu (recipe follows)#3
1 cup (4 ounces/125g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Method
Working Ahead:
The ragu and the béchamel sauce can be made up to three days ahead. The ragu can also be frozen for up to one month. The pasta can be rolled out, cut and dried up to 24 hours before cooking. The assembled lasagne can wait at room temperature (20 degrees Celsius/68 degrees Fahrenheit) about 1 hour before baking. Do not refrigerate it before baking, as the topping of béchamel and cheese will overcook by the time the center is hot.

Assembling the Ingredients:
Have all the sauces, rewarmed gently over a medium heat, and the pasta at hand. Have a large perforated skimmer and a large bowl of cold water next to the stove. Spread a double thickness of paper towels over a large counter space. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Oil or butter a 3 quart (approx 3 litre) shallow baking dish.

Cooking the Pasta:
Bring the salted water to a boil. Drop about four pieces of pasta in the water at a time. Cook about 2 minutes. If you are using dried pasta, cook about 4 minutes, taste, and cook longer if necessary. The pasta will continue cooking during baking, so make sure it is only barely tender. Lift the lasagne from the water with a skimmer, drain, and then slip into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking. When cool, lift out and dry on the paper towels. Repeat until all the pasta is cooked.

Assembling the Lasagne:
Spread a thin layer of béchamel over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange a layer of about four overlapping sheets of pasta over the béchamel. Spread a thin layer of béchamel (about 3 or 4 spoonfuls) over the pasta, and then an equally thin layer of the ragu. Sprinkle with about 1&1/2 tablespoons of the béchamel and about 1/3 cup of the cheese. Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used, finishing with béchamel sauce and topping with a generous dusting of cheese.

Baking and Serving the Lasagne:
Cover the baking dish lightly with foil, taking care not to let it touch the top of the lasagne. Bake 40 minutes, or until almost heated through. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until hot in the center (test by inserting a knife – if it comes out very warm, the dish is ready). Take care not to brown the cheese topping. It should be melted, creamy looking and barely tinged with a little gold. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and let the lasagne rest for about 10 minutes. Then serve. This is not a solid lasagne, but a moist one that slips a bit when it is cut and served.

#1 Spinach Egg Pasta (Pasta Verde)

Preparation: 45 minutes

Makes enough for 6 to 8 first course servings or 4 to 6 main course servings, equivalent to 1 pound (450g) dried boxed pasta.

2 jumbo eggs (2 ounces/60g or more)
10 ounces (300g) fresh spinach, rinsed dry, and finely chopped; or 6 ounces (170g) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3&1/2 cups (14 ounces/400g) all purpose unbleached (plain) flour (organic stone ground preferred)

Working by Hand:

Equipment

A roomy work surface, 24 to 30 inches deep by 30 to 36 inches (60cm to 77cm deep by 60cm to 92cm). Any smooth surface will do, but marble cools dough slightly, making it less flexible than desired.

A pastry scraper and a small wooden spoon for blending the dough.

A wooden dowel-style rolling pin. In Italy, pasta makers use one about 35 inches long and 2 inches thick (89cm long and 5cm thick). The shorter American-style pin with handles at either end can be used, but the longer it is, the easier it is to roll the pasta.
Note: although it is not traditional, Enza has successfully made pasta with a marble rolling pin, and this can be substituted for the wooden pin, if you have one.

Plastic wrap to wrap the resting dough and to cover rolled-out pasta waiting to be filled. It protects the pasta from drying out too quickly.

A sharp chef’s knife for cutting pasta sheets.

Cloth-covered chair backs, broom handles, or specially designed pasta racks found in cookware shops for draping the pasta.

Mixing the dough:
Mound the flour in the center of your work surface and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs and spinach. Use a wooden spoon to beat together the eggs and spinach. Then gradually start incorporating shallow scrapings of flour from the sides of the well into the liquid. As you work more and more flour into the liquid, the well’s sides may collapse. Use a pastry scraper to keep the liquids from running off and to incorporate the last bits of flour into the dough. Don’t worry if it looks like a hopelessly rough and messy lump.

Kneading:
With the aid of the scraper to scoop up unruly pieces, start kneading the dough. Once it becomes a cohesive mass, use the scraper to remove any bits of hard flour on the work surface – these will make the dough lumpy. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes. Its consistency should be elastic and a little sticky. If it is too sticky to move easily, knead in a few more tablespoons of flour. Continue kneading about 10 minutes, or until the dough has become satiny, smooth, and very elastic. It will feel alive under your hands. Do not shortcut this step. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and let it relax at room temperature 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Stretching and Thinning:
If using an extra-long rolling pin work with half the dough at a time. With a regular-length rolling pin, roll out a quarter of the dough at a time and keep the rest of the dough wrapped. Lightly sprinkle a large work surface with flour. The idea is to stretch the dough rather than press down and push it. Shape it into a ball and begin rolling out to form a circle, frequently turning the disc of dough a quarter turn. As it thins outs, start rolling the disc back on the pin a quarter of the way toward the center and stretching it gently sideways by running the palms of your hands over the rolled-up dough from the center of the pin outward. Unroll, turn the disc a quarter turn, and repeat. Do twice more.

Stretch and even out the center of the disc by rolling the dough a quarter of the way back on the pin. Then gently push the rolling pin away from you with one hand while holding the sheet in place on the work surface with the other hand. Repeat three more times, turning the dough a quarter turn each time.

Repeat the two processes as the disc becomes larger and thinner. The goal is a sheet of even thickness. For lasagne, the sheet should be so thin that you can clearly see your hand through it and see colours. Cut into rectangles about 4 by 8 inches (10 x 20 cm). Note: Enza says that transparency is a crucial element of lasagne pasta and the dough should be rolled as thinly as possible. She says this is why her housekeeper has such strong arms!

Dry the pasta at room temperature and store in a sealed container or bag.


#2 Bechamel

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60g) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60g) all purpose unbleached (plain) flour, organic stone ground preferred
2&2/3 cups (approx 570ml) milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste

Using a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Sift over the flour, whisk until smooth, and then stir (without stopping) for about 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk a little at a time and keep the mixture smooth. Bring to a slow simmer, and stir 3 to 4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and a hint of nutmeg.


#3 Country Style Ragu’ (Ragu alla Contadina)

Preparation Time: Ingredient Preparation Time 30 minutes and Cooking time 2 hours

Makes enough sauce for 1 recipe fresh pasta or 1 pound/450g dried pasta)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (45 mL)
2 ounces/60g pancetta, finely chopped
1 medium onion, minced
1 medium stalk celery with leaves, minced
1 small carrot, minced
4 ounces/125g boneless veal shoulder or round
4 ounces/125g pork loin, trimmed of fat, or 4 ounces/125g mild Italian sausage (made without fennel)
8 ounces/250g beef skirt steak, hanging tender, or boneless chuck blade or chuck center cut (in order of preference)
1 ounce/30g thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma
2/3 cup (5 ounces/160ml) dry red wine
1 &1/2 cups (12 ounces/375ml) chicken or beef stock (homemade if possible)
2 cups (16 ounces/500ml) milk
3 canned plum tomatoes, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Working Ahead:
The ragu can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. It also freezes well for up to 1 month. Skim the fat from the ragu’ before using it.

Browning the Ragu Base:
Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch (30cm) skillet (frying pan) over medium-high heat. Have a large saucepan handy to use once browning is complete. Add the pancetta and minced vegetables and sauté, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, 10 minutes, or until the onions barely begin to color. Coarsely grind all the meats together, including the prosciutto, in a food processor or meat grinder. Stir into the pan and slowly brown over medium heat. First the meats will give off a liquid and turn dull grey but, as the liquid evaporates, browning will begin. Stir often, scooping under the meats with the wooden spatula. Protect the brown glaze forming on the bottom of the pan by turning the heat down. Cook 15 minutes, or until the meats are a deep brown. Turn the contents of the skillet into a strainer and shake out the fat. Turn them into the saucepan and set over medium heat.

Reducing and Simmering: Add the wine to the skillet, lowering the heat so the sauce bubbles quietly. Stir occasionally until the wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Scrape up the brown glaze as the wine bubbles. Then pour the reduced wine into the saucepan and set the skillet aside.

Stir ½ cup stock into the saucepan and let it bubble slowly, 10 minutes, or until totally evaporated. Repeat with another ½ cup stock. Stir in the last 1/2 cup stock along with the milk. Adjust heat so the liquid bubbles very slowly. Partially cover the pot, and cook 1 hour. Stir frequently to check for sticking.

Add the tomatoes, crushing them as they go into the pot. Cook uncovered, at a very slow bubble for another 45 minutes, or until the sauce resembles a thick, meaty stew. Season with salt and pepper.

Alternative Recipes from Mary of Beans and Caviar

#1 Gluten Free Egg Pasta

The choice of the first flour is personal. I used corn flour because the subtle taste blended well with the dish. However, this is a matter of personal taste – please feel free to substitute a different flour for the corn flour but don't subsititute a starch.

150 gr corn flour or masa in North America - yellow with a slightly gritty feel (250 mL, 1 cup) NOT a starch
100 gr corn starch* (3/4 cup, 187.5 mL)
100 gr tapioca flour* (225 mL, 9/10 cup or a little over 7 volume ounces)
150 gr of potato starch* (250 mL, 1 cup)
100 gr of glutinous rice flour* (200 mL, ¾ cup)
10 gr of Xanthan powder (1.5 tsp, 7.5 mL)
10 gr of salt (1 tsp, 5 mL)

6 extra large eggs (60 gr each or 2.5 oz in weight, 1 fluid oz in volume)
3/8 cup of water (95 mL)
50 mL of extra virgin olive oil (1/5 cup)
Note: If you add cooked chopped spinach to this recipe, you may have to reduce the water. The recipe was not tested (yet) with the addition of spinach.

*fine white powder that squeaks when rubbed between fingers

Plastic wrap or parchment paper for your work surface
Aluminium foil to cover the lasagne

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.

Whisk together 3 eggs, the water and/or spinach, and the oil. Pour into the middle of the dry ingredients. Mix with a sturdy wooden spoon, gradually drawing more of the flour mix into the wet ingredients. Add each egg as needed. The dough will be crumbly at the beginning but will gradually come together as you add the eggs. You will need to use your hands to squeeze and mix the dough.

The dough will be firm and stick together when ready. It will not have the elasticity of gluten dough therefore it will crack when kneaded and pushed. Form it into a smooth ball, oil it lightly, and cover securely with plastic wrap. Let it rest for an hour.

Put a sheet of plastic wrap on your work surface. This is very important as the dough will not hold together very well when lifted. Have flour ready for dusting (corn flour etc) and dust the surface lightly. Cut a piece of dough about the size of really large egg – it doesn’t matter the size but start small for the first one to gauge how much space you need. Keep the remaining dough covered so it does not dry.

Roll the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc with your hands. Put it on your work surface and flatten with your hands. Use a rolling pin and gently push the dough down and out ward from the centre. You may have to place one hand on the plastic wrap as you push the dough down and away. Gluten free dough does not stretch like wheat dough therefore it needs gentle flattening and pushing. If it breaks, pat it back together. If it is too dry, dab a little water with your finger.

The gluten free dough will be thicker than wheat dough and you will barely be able to see your hand through the dough. Once it is flattened, cut into strips or squares that will fit your pan.

Set the dough aside on the plastic sheet. There is no need to dry the dough. But if you do dry the dough, it will not be able to hang because it will break. Stack the rolled out dough with plastic sheets in between.

Stack the sheets when dry and wrap securely. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Freezing will make the dough crumbly and difficult to work with – so freeze only as a last resort!

This dough does not need to be precooked before being assembled into the lasagne.

#2 Gluten Free Béchamel - White Sauce

2 & 2/3 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or Extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons corn starch (fine white and squeaky) – another starch can be substituted
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg

Mix the corn starch with ½ cup of cold milk. Heat the rest of the milk in a small sauce pan until steaming but do not boil. Add the milk/cornstarch mixture to the steaming milk. Stirring constantly, raise the heat and heat the mixture until thick. Once it is thick, remove it from the heat and add the butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Have the béchamel warm or at room temperature ready to assemble the lasagne. Whisk the sauce occasionally if it becomes stiff or thick.

help-beat-sarcoma-a-thon now speaks Spanish!

Note: French version is on my other food blog: La cuisine de Babeth

Rare cancer awareness: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

After last week 1st bilingual French/English brunch post, I'm really proud to introduce the first Spanish/French brunch. I guess now help-beat-sarcoma-a-thon, share your bunch for a good cause is trilingual whouhahou :-) This week recipe is from a friend of mine, Ana. She's from Guatemala and followed her husband to Luxembourg last year.

Her recipe is a staple from Guatemala: Rellenitos, basical fried platanos, black beans and chocolate balls. It sounds really yummy! To read her recipe just click here!

help beat sarcoma

In association with beatsarcoma.org we host a campaign on the web: "share your Sunday brunch for a good cause". We are well aware that won't change the world but it shows that we care and we may also raise some funds (adsense has been implemented on the dedicated blog and you can find a direct link for donations).

One of my friend Nathalie was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer: sarcoma. A cancer that doesn't get much public attention. With her support I launched help-beat-sarcoma-a-thon or how to share your Sunday brunch for a good cause. The idea is to raise awareness, and why not also donations, about this cause on internet, but a joyous way. And what more joyous than sharing a good meal! To participate don't forget to check here the rules here.


To read again the 9th help-beat-sarcoma-a-thon entry, follow this link!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hey Luxembourg, let's have a cultural week-end!

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

This week-end, Saturday 28th andSunday 29th of March Luxembourgish museums part of « d’stater muséeën » group, open their doors to the public. And the good news doesn't stop here:
-it's free!
-you can catch guided tours in French, Luxembourgish or German
-a lot of kids activities are organised
-you can meet artists
-or catch a conference
-and free shuttles to go from one place to another are also free

So let's beat the gloomy weather in Grand Duché and let's make this week-end a cultural one!

Program in pdf format can be download here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

evoo toasted pumpkin soup

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

evoo toasted pumpkin soup

Today is the 25th of March and it's ... snowing ... Quite depressing after a really (I mean REALLY) long winter here in Luxembourg area. This morning snow took us by surprise after a lovely first sunny spring week. Where did the sun goes? Please come back!

Anyway to keep me warm I had soup for lunch, one of the many I made and froze during all winter. Before living with Mathieu I was not a huge soup fan. They made it to the table only when I was sick, but let me tell you that my Canadian husband adores soups. I tried prepare with veggies in season the soups we eat. I always make a big batch and freeze the left-over. It comes handy on those lazy evenings when I don't want to cook.

Anyway soup du jour was a creation of mine: evoo toasted pumpkin soup, served with a dash of squash seed oil. This oil is a little souvenir from Geneva, Switzerland where I visited my dear friend Emma. Squash seed oil, also named butternut squash seed oil is great to kick to flavor of this soup, but also great as a salad dressing. The oil is dark brown green and has a roasted nutty taste, especially delicious in Fall or Winter.

Ingredients:
- about 10 oz of pumpkin (or 1 slice of a medium one)
- 2 small turnips
- 3 potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 1/6 of a medium size celeriac (note if you don't use the rest sprinkle some lemon juice on it to prevent it to darkened)
- evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
- 1 Maggi chicken stock cube (or about 4 1/4 cups of chicken broth in that case no need to add water in #3)

- optional: butternut squash seed oil

Directions:
1- Peel and clean the pumpkin slice. Cut in cubes.
2- Peel and sliced the celeriac, carrots, turnips and potatoes.
3-Add the chicken stock cube to about 1 liter (4 1/4 cups) of boiling water. Stir. (the more water you will use the more liquid your soup will be). Add the sliced veggies (but not the pumpkin, anyway it's a fruit :-) ). Cover and let it cook for about 20 minutes.
4- How do I know the veggies are cooked? Test them with the tip of a knife, if it enters them like butter it's ready.
5- In a hot pan add a splash of olive oil and the pumpkin slices. Cook it for about 15 minutes until it's nicely golden. (it's cooked when the pumpkin flesh color turns dark orange) Set aside.
7- Mix it altogether with a blender.

Other soups recipes:
-Jerusalem artichoke soup
-soup at Tiffany
-
cream slip peas and bacon
- cream hokkaido squash soup
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