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Clafouti – a little bit different

November 12, 2008

Clafouti – a little bit different

I love Clafouti – the fruit variety. The other day, I fancied a Clafouti, but didn’t have any cherries or the like in the house. Instead I had some dark unsweetened chocolate, and ground almonds, and the idea got born.

So here’s the result:

Ingredients

  • 200 gr granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 375 gr natural, unsweetened yogurt (3 little pots, or a bit more than 13 ounces)
  • 3 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 100 gr ground almonds (1 1/4 cups)
  • 100 gr dark unsweetened chocolate (chopped) (3.5 solid oz)
  • 1 teaspoon bitter almond extract

* * *

How to do it:

First, put the chocolate in the fridge for a few hours, it will be easier to chop it later!
Preheat your oven to 180-200 °C / 360 – 390 °F.
Take a not too deep baking tin (spring form), butter it and line it with baking parchment (this will stick otherwise since the chocolate will not float like fruit would).
Chop the chocolate into relatively fine dices, this should be rather easy if it is cooled. Scatter the chocolate on the bottom of your parchment lined tin.
In a bowl, beat together the yogurt, the eggs, the sugar, the salt, the corn starch, the almonds and the bitter almond extract. You should have a relatively fluid batter.
Pour the batter over the chocolate, then put in the oven, on the lowest level, and bake for about an hour (60 minutes).
The clafouti could rise like a soufflé, but it will sink back down during the cooling process. When cooled, take it out of the tin carefully and peel off the baking parchment.
Your result should be a lovely smelling double layered clafouti, where the chocolate at the bottom forms a dark layer, and the rest of the dough a clear one; it should have a golden yellow top. Can be eaten warm or cold.
Bon appétit!
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Jam or Chocolate Rolls

November 2, 2008

Jam or Chocolate Rolls

This is one I just invented – I am posting the recipe here for reference, I’ll try out other variations at some point!

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 150 gr all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cup)
  • 95 gr granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 80-100 gr hard unsalted butter (about 1 stick maybe a bit less)
  • 1 egg

For the filling:

  • a few half bars of dark chocolate with as little sugar as possible (as many as you plan rolls)

or

  • jam, or quince bread

* * *

Sift flour into a bowl. Add the sugar, mix together.

Cut up butter into it, rub it in with fingers.

Add the egg and quickly knead into a homogenous dough, using your hands.

Refrigerate for half an hour.

Separate dough in 6 even parts.

Preheat oven to 200°C / 390°F.

Roll out each part of the dough (not too thinly, you can also flatten them with your hands.
Put a half bar of dark chocolate, a slim slice of quince bread or a good dollop of jam in the middle, wrap the dough around it, close tightly.
Put the rolls on a baking sheet, preferably line with a sheet of baking parchment.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool – Enjoy!

If you use chocolate, let it cool enough so the chocolate doesn’t burn your gums but is still soft before serving.

If you use jam or other fruit preparations, use less sugar in the dough (I’d go with just 1 or 2 tablespoons, not more).

The rolls are rather big, so it’s more like a dessert than a snack. One could conceivably cut the dough into more parts and use smaller amounts of filling though!

Easy Peanutbutter Cookies (without flour)

July 18, 2008

Easy Peanutbutter Cookies (without flour)

Very easy, very quick, ideal for making with children:

Ingredients

  • one cup (180 gr) of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, as you prefer)
  • one half cup or one cup (95 – 190 gr) – to taste – of caster sugar
  • one egg
  • some caster sugar in a plate

How to make them

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together well. Let rest for a few minutes so the dough won’t be as sticky any more.

Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.

Line your baking tray with baking parchment.

From your dough, take walnut-sized portions, roll them into balls and put them on the tray. Flatten them with a fork covered in sugar (to avoid sticking), once to get stripes, or twice (second time in the opposite direction) to get the typical criss-cross pattern.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy!

Lemon sorbet

June 14, 2008

Lemon Sorbet

There is nothing more refreshing in summer than a nice clean sorbet – and the classic is a lemon sorbet.

Here is the basic recipe (enough for about a liter / quart of it – if you need more, adapt) :

Ingredients

  • one egg white
  • 200 ml (about 6 3/4 liquid ounces) of freshly squeezed lemon juice (from untreated lemons)
  • 200 gr (about 1 cup) of granulated sugar
  • 300 ml (about 10 liquid ounces or 1 1/4 cups) of cold water
  • grated rind of a few of the untreated lemons

How to make it

Grate the rind of some of the lemons (I used 4) and add it to the water. Leave it to marinate for half an hour.

Squeeze enough lemons to get the amount of juice required (I needed about 7-8 small lemons).

Strain the lemon juice and the water through a sieve to remove pits and rind.

Mix in the sugar and the egg white. Make sure the sugar is dissolved completely.

Pour into an ice cream maker and let it do its thing – or, if you don’t have one, pour the mixture into a bowl and put it in the freezer. In that case, check it every hour and turn with a spoon or a fork to prevent chunky ice crystals from forming.

When it has the desired consistency (not too hard, will take quite a few hours in the freezer though), enjoy!

If you can’t use it all, leave it in the freezer but allow it to thaw / soften a little before consuming.

* * *

Variations

  • Instead of pure water, you can use strong black tea. In that case, allow the tea to cool down completely before using. It will affect the colour, but it’ll give your sorbet a nice ice-tea flavour.
  • Instead of lemon juice, you can use orange juice or other fruit juices (fresh!). In this case, you can cut down the sugar a little.
  • Instead of sugar, you can use honey or maple syrup (only use 1/2 cup; this will also affect the colour).

Papas arrugadas

June 4, 2008

Papas Arrugadas

This is another recipe from the Canary Islands, their typical and yummy way to cook potatoes. Literally, it means shriveled potatoes…

Ingredients

  • small evenly sized potatoes, enough to cover the bottom of pan
  • water (enough to just cover the potatoes)
  • a small handful of coarse salt

How to make it

Wash the potatoes, and put them in the bottom of your pan. They should cover the bottom in one layer, but not more.

Add enough water to just cover the potatoes, throw in a small handful of coarse salt.

Bring to a boil and let it boil until the water is all evaporated – they are now cooked. (You’ll have to stay around, it won’t do to burn them when the water is gone!)

Remove from heat. Once they cool a little (and the remaining moisture on the peel dries), you will see that the peel has shriveled up a little and is now covered in a thin layer of salt (as well as the walls and bottom of the pan). Excellent served with mojo.

Green “Mojo” with Coriander (Cilantro)

June 4, 2008

Green “Mojo” with Coriander (Cilantro)

This is a recipe from the Canary Islands, a typical sauce they serve with most everything, from potatoes to meat, to fish and cheese, and even boiled bananas. (There is also a red, hotter version, which I haven’t tried making myself though). For garlic lovers!

Ingredients

  • 3 or more cloves of garlic
  • a really big bunch of coriander (cilantro) (the leaves)
  • one or two big green chili peppers (these are mildly hot)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of salt (to taste)
  • some pepper if you wish
  • two cups of vinegar (0.5 liter)
  • two cups of olive oil (0.5 liter)

Yields a good quart of sauce. It is easy to keep in the fridge in jars, but once the jar is opened, it is best to use up the Mojo as fast as possible.

How to make it

Chop the garlic, the coriander (cilantro) and the chili peppers, mix in the salt and the pepper.

Blend it all with the vinegar (in a blender). When this is done, stir in the oil and mix well. (It is advisable to use rather too little than too much salt in the beginning, you can always add it to taste later)

Fill in jars, and use with your dishes.

Excellent with grilled or fried meat or fish, but especially with “papas arrugadas

Good old-fashioned Salad Dressing

May 23, 2008

Good old-fashioned Salad Dressing

This is the recipe for salad dressings my mother taught me. It is yummy and refreshing, and it goes with about everything you can think of to make a salad with – it only needs a few simple variations to adapt.

Here is the basic recipe (enough for a salad bowl serving 2 – if you need more, adapt) :

Ingredients

  • one shallot
  • a bunch of chives
  • one heaped tsp of mustard (preferably not sweet)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • one tbsp of vinegar
  • two tbsp of oil
  • a dash of liquid cream (unsweetened)

How to make it

Salt the bottom of your bowl so that it is covered in a thin layer of salt; add pepper to taste.

Chop the shallot and cut up the chives – put both in your bowl.

Add a heaped teaspoon of mustard, then a tablespoon of vinegar. (Adding the vinegar first is important, otherwise the mustard won’t dissolve properly)

Mix, then add the oil and a dash of liquid cream (the cream acts as emulsifier, so the oil won’t separate from the rest any more).

Add your salad, turn, serve, enjoy! (If your salad is a green salad, remember to only put it in the dressing just before serving or it gets limp)

* * *

Variations

  • If you have a salad like chicory or iceberg, you can add a crushed clove of garlic with the shallot if you like.
  • If you want a lighter dressing, you can replace the two spoons of oil with one spoon of oil and two spoons of water; you can replace the cream with milk (some oil is however necessary since some vitamins are only fat-soluble; your body needs the oil to be able to assimilate those. I would also advise to use full fat milk for the same reasons.)
  • If you want a thicker dressing, for example for potato or pasta salads, you can use a good tablespoon of yogurt (unsweetened and without fruit or aromas of course) instead of cream or milk. Another option is sour cream, which goes nicely with potatoes and avoids the need for mayonnaise.
  • If you want to make green bean or pea salads, use an onion instead of the shallot. Cut it in rings or half rings and mix it in with your vegetables. (If you make a pea salad, you will need a bit more dressing as they soak some up, add half again the amount)
  • If you use grated root vegetables, like carrots, celery, parsnips, etc., you need more dressing too. Use double the quantity, make the salad and keep it in the fridge overnight. The wait is worth it!
  • Of course you can play around with different kinds of mustard, vinegar and oil – but in general, I’d advise not to use sweet mustard and to use rather neutral-tasting oils unless you like strong tastes like olive oil. You also need to know that Balsamico and other dark vinegars completely change the colour of the dressing.
  • Instead of vinegar, you can use lemon juice. In this case you can use olive oil; leave out the milk or cream and use the dressing for a tomato salad, or for mediterranean style salads.