July 31, 2010

Apricot, honey & lavender

It's apricot season! It is time to cook some fragrant jam so get out those big jam cooking pots! I was wondering if I should cook some lavender scented apricot jam, but I didn't do so. I do like lavender once in a while, but that would have been too much. However, I wanted to prepare a dessert using this combination.

This dessert was born using leftover honey ice cream and sablé breton, that I baked for the raspberry mousse cake. The apricots were poached in a simple syrup flavoured with vanilla. Ah and the lavender? Well, that came in form of a custard.

250 ml whole milk
1 teaspoon lavender
55 g sugar
3 egg yolks
20 g corn starch

Heat milk together with lavender and 1 tablespoon sugar. Beat the rest of the sugar with the
egg yolks until creamy. Beat in the corn starch and as the milk begins to boil, remove from the heat and stir in the egg mixture. When it is mixed well, press it through a sieve and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes until it thickens. Let it cool. You can also fold in some whipped cream to it before serving.

July 30, 2010

Patty Pan Squash Cake

Taking advantage of the cold weather I use the oven almost daily. I found small patty pan squashes that first I wanted to fill, but then I discovered a savoury cake recipe, that I felt I should try.

It was the right decision to go for the cake! The baked squash is so moist and has a wonderful flavour. Sure it would go really well as a side dish with grilled meat or fish, but
together with the cheese and the dough, just lovely! While eating, it reminded me of sweet corn, I think the next time I am gonna add some fresh grains to the dough.

(recipe adapted from Joël Robuchon)
100 g butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
250 g flour
10 g baking powder
3 patty pan squashes
1 courgette
150 g cheese
salt, pepper

Whisk butter and olive oil, add 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk in 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, and when they are completly incorporated whisk in the other yolk and egg. Whisk until it is homogeneous. Sift flour and baking powder and fold it into the mixture. Boil the vegetables for 5 minutes, then dice along with the cheese. Stir it into the mixture. Butter a cake tin and press the dough into the pan and refrigerate for 1 hour. Bake for 45 minutes on 180°C and serve it either warm or cold.

July 29, 2010

Raspberry mousse cake

The only good thing about this rainy and windy weather that it feels so good to stand in the kitchen and bake something, while enjoying the warmness of the oven. At the weekend I bought a lot of beautiful berries, I just can't help it, I always end up with too much. But when if not in the berry season! I decided to prepare a raspberry mousse cake with blackcurrant gelée on sablé breton, that is a nice buttery shortbread.

For the raspberry mousse:
(recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay)
50 g sugar
1-2 tablespoons water
1 egg white

For the Italian merningue put the sugar and water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until dissolved. Boil for 5-7 minutes until it reaches 120°C. Meanwhile whisk the egg white to soft peaks and slowly add the hot syrup while whisking all the time. Keep on whisking until the bowl is not hot anymore. Set aside.

400 g raspberries
2 sheets of leaf gelatine

Soak gelatine in cold water. Soften raspberries over high heat until they start to break up. Press it through a fine sieve, reheat the purée and add the gelatine. Let it cool. Fold in the Italian meringue. Whip 200 ml cream and fold it to the mousse. Chill for 2-3 hours.

For the blackcurrant gelée:

100 g blackcurrant
2 tablespoons port wine
15 g sugar
1 gelatine leaf

Bring the blackcurrant, port wine and sugar to boil, press it through a sieve and stir in the gelatin. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes and pour it over the mousse cake after the mousse has been chilled for at least 2 hours.

For the sablé breton:
(recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay)
112 g flour
a pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
80 g butter, room temperature
80 g sugar
2 egg yolks

Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Beat butter until creamy, add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, a little at the time and fold in the sifted ingredients. Shape a log and chill for a few hours (it can also be frozen up to a month). Slice the dough and put a disc in buttered dessert ring and bake for 8-10 minutes on 180°C.

July 28, 2010


Probably, most of you have already cooked and seen this soup in many blogs, so have I. However it was yesterday the first time that I cooked it and I must say it is one of the bests soups I have ever had. It is actually a soup that is served chilled and it tastes even better the next day. However the weather is so cold these days that it is also appreciated warm. It would be a funny idea to serve it in three small cups one warm, another lukewarm and a cold portion. I tasted it yesterday in each way, and it tastes most intense when it is well chilled.

(recipe adapted from Anthony Bourdain)

2 tablespoons butter
4 leeks (only the white part)
2 small potatoes
500 ml chicken stock
200 ml cream
pinch of nutmeg
salt, pepper
Peel and cut leek in thin slices, and the potato in small cubes. Heat butter and sautée leek for about 5 minutes, but don't let it get brown. Add the potatoes and sautée for another minute or two. Add chicken stock and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked. Puree, add the cream, nutmeg and bring it to boil, cook for another 5 minutes, season and let it cool to room temperature, then chill for some hours or over night.

July 27, 2010

Rustic berry tart

This is something fresh, sticky and full with gorgeous berries of the season. You just want to eat it right after you got it out of the oven. It is also perfect for breakfast with a nice cup of coffee instead a croissant.

Basically you can flavour it with anything you desire like vanilla, cardamom, lavender sugar or even rosemary. I also added some port wine sour cherries I had in the freezer. The preparation takes only a few minutes. Brush the sides of the puff pastry sheet with a simple egg wash and fold the
edges over.

the berries on the middle of the pastry and sprinkle with the flavoured sugar and bake the whole thing for about 20 minutes. That's it!

July 26, 2010

Artichoke and oven-dried tomato pasta

Long time no see! It is not that I stopped cooking but...Well, I could say a couple of reasons, but I rather head on to this delicious, light summer pasta dish. I've already made green pasta before, but the one full of green spots. The solution for spotless green pasta has been found long time ago in Robert's blog, but somehow it took me years to go for it. I have no idea why I have waited so long, it is easy to make and the result is amazing! So today it was the day, where I took a bunch of fresh basil and some celery leaves and extracted my first chlorophyll. While the taglierini are boiling you have perfectly enough time to prepare the rest of this dish.


3 small or 1 big artichoke per person
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small clove garlic
50 ml dry white wine
oven or sun dried tomatoes
roasted pine nuts
salt, pepper

Prepare the artichokes and keep in lemon water until you need them. Heat olive oil, add sliced garlic, artichokes and cook in white wine until the liquid is absorbed. Fry artichoke until golden brown, add dried tomatoes and some tablespoons of oil from the tomatoes ( I used home made oven-dried tomatoes that I keep sealed in olive oil.) Season with salt (be careful because the dried tomatoes may contain a lot of salt!) and pepper. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

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