Thursday, November 29, 2007

ma dernière tuerie : bouchées fondantes chocolat peanut butter


Vous avez remarqué comment certains blogueurs abusent de l'appellation "tuerie" pour attirer les lecteurs assoiffés de gourmandises décadentes chez eux? Eh bien, histoire de gonfler mes stats -je viens juste de réinstaller un compteur- et tout en me moquant un peu, je fais pareil. J'aime pas le mot "tuerie", je lui préfère son homonyme "tu ris".

Passons.

Si vous avez des amateurs de beurre de cacahuètes autour de vous, et même s'ils ne sont que de simples chocophiles parce que, par exemple, ils n'ont pas encore découvert que l'association des deux était fantastique en bouche, faites-leur plaisir et offrez-leur ces petits carrés mortels pour la ligne, si bons sur les papilles.

Aux Etats-Unis on trouve les "peanut butter cups" de marque Reese's. Nigella a créé pour nous autres la recette pour les réaliser chez soi, mais en mieux, de plus on peut contrôler la qualité des matières premières, évidemment très très cheap dans l'industrie.

Sans plus attendre, la recette, tirée de How to Be a Domestic Goddess (Nigella Lawson)...

50g de muscovado/vergeoise brune (mais la blonde ici utilisée marche très bien)
200g de sucre glace
50g de beurre
200g de peanut butter crémeux (mais j'ai pris du crunchy pour le croquant)

200g de chocolat au lait
100g de chocolat noir
1 cs de beurre

Mélanger les 4 premiers ingrédients jusqu'à obtenir un mélange homogène à la texture de sable. Etaler sur un moule carré ou rectangulaire tapissé de papier cuisson. Egaliser.
Faire fondre les chocolats et la cuillérée de beurre puis l'étaler sur le dessus. Mettre à figer au frigo ou dehors s'il fait froid. Quand le chocolat a durci, sortir du frigo, attendre cinq minutes avant de couper en carrés. (si vous êtes trop impatients, le chocolat se brise, je le sais d'expérience...)

Conseil d'amie: si jamais, hélas ou tant mieux, vous vivez avec des phobiques du gras-sucré, ces carrés se conservent parfaitement au congélateur. Je me suis laissée dire que certains gourmands totalement dépravés les dégustent à peine sortis de là... quelle honte!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A few of my favourite kitchen things

Following in the footsteps of Mara, who first had this brilliant idea, Anna, Norm, Paola and Sandy I am going to show you a few of my favourite kitchen things.

Here are my favourite teapots, Japanese cast iron beauties. The big one is a gift from my parents on my 30th birthday, the smaller one I got subsequently from W the following Christmas. The black one can accomodate about four tea drinkers whereas the second one will suit an avid tea fanatic or two restrained élégantes.

They're really sturdy yet so beautiful and keep tea warm for quite a while. They feel quite grown up and worldly to me (two characteristics I otherwise lack!)
The pestle and mortar, so beloved by Jamie Oliver, is a souvenir I bought while holidaying on La Réunion. This is the island of one half of my ancestors, where various cultural groups live in harmony. A volcanic gem of green beauty, wild flowers and steep valleys.
This pestle and mortar is made out of volcanic stone found in the bed of a dry river. A little piece of the island, as it were.
Ah, my Peugeot pepper grinder... I love having it around, for cooking, for showing off to the occasional guests, who never fail to comment on it, usually in a positive way, but one (ex-) friend said it scared her (?!?!). I find it a delightful mix of feminine curves and phallic power. I love its glossy finish although initially I wished for a matt one. Another present of my parents.
This is my darling cookie tin, bought a few years back when we lived in Aachen, in a Dutch shop called Xenos, which I loved to visit as it had lots of bath and kitchen gimmicks, and also some exotic food items. I must confess that I bought it for my Mum, but ended up so in love with it that I couldn't bear to part with it. My mum also has a thing for vintage tins and owns many so don't worry, she can live without this one. I like to line it with a cute paper napkin and lay some home-baked biscuits or cookies. It is empty now, sadly, but won't be for long...
Silicon spatula with little hearts. Sent to me by the lovely Dani as part of the Valentine swap. Much loved and used, for cooking, frying and baking. I love the fact that it's resistant to high heat, so you can flip steaks in the frying pan with it. Great for scraping the sides of mixing bowls while making cookies or cake. I have one with Easter eggs too, courtesy of Diane. I think you can't have too many of those. Plus, I have yet to see them in shops here, which makes them extra special.


The flowers are a little wink ;) but the bowl (off white with a pink rim) is a reminder of my childhood and has a little anecdote attached to it. My parents had bought a few of these (pink- and blue rimmed, Habitat ca. 1982) for my aunt, who is a practical woman and lives in a small village in the Southwest of France, as a Christmas present. As she opened the gift, she shocked us all into silence when she said she didn't need them. I think my mum was rather annoyed at this open lack of politeness, but then, that's my aunt for you. So we took them back and I grew up with them and to this day, only this one has survived and was bequeathed on me when our household wares were split and spread across Europe.

I love the following mug. It feels very comforting due to its size, and is one of my most stylish mugs (I have 5 Simpsons mugs too, to give you an idea). I also often think of a friend to whom I gave the same one when having my cup of tea. (I bought it for myself afterwards, I liked it so much).

One of my serving dishes and the serving hands from the Living Kitchen collection. Even though the dishes are easily scratched and being a klutz, I have to give them special TLC, I enjoy using them. The hands are melamine so quite klutz-proof. I like the small dish for when I'm on my own, but they all look so fabulous and make any salad or paste dish feel quite stylish and special. Another present from W.


I've shown you mine, now show us yours!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bill de retour avant les fêtes

Bill Granger, dont je vous ai déjà parlé, et dont les livres ne sont pas, à ma connaissance, traduits en français, est de retour avec un livre intitulé Holiday. Pas holiday comme les vacances, mais holiday comme dans fêtes/célébrations.

Sur un concept se rapprochant de celui de Feast, de Nigella, le beau Bill passe en revue toutes les occasions de faire la fête, ne serait-ce que pour accueillir l'automne par exemple, et les recettes qui vont avec.

Laissant un peu derrière lui les recettes plutôt ensoleillées (il est australien), la plupart des pages sont consacrées à des ambiances plus automnales, voire hivernales, -avec même un soupçon de French touch- que dans ses livres précédents. D'ailleurs, le livre est conçu comme le dernier, même type de format et beaucoup de photos, ils sont donc de faux jumeaux, l'un étant consacré au quotidien (Every Day), l'autre aux jours de fête.
Cela dit, la signature de Bill est bien présente, les recettes sont plutôt faciles, rapides et pleines de saveur, sans pour autant être trop riches.

Voici un échantillon de ce que j'ai déjà testé...


Poulet poché sur riz au gingembre et sésame.
Juste de l'oignon sauté, du gingembre et de l'ail, du riz cuits dans du bouillon et sur lesquels on pose des tranches de blancs de poulet. Servi avec de la sauce soja, des oignons verts et du piment frais. Un plat rapide et délicieux pour soirs de semaine, et plutôt sain.

Rigatoni à la saucisse et à la roquette. Pas sans rappeler une certaine bolognaise blanche goûtée et approuvée l'année dernière. Prendre de bonnes saucisses, bien sûr...

Et puis cette fabuleuse soupe aux carottes. Réalisée dans le livre avec des panais, pas trop communs par ici, mais en remplaçant un légume-racine par un autre, on ne se trompe pas trop. Et puis, une substitution en appelant une atre, j'ai pris de la pâte de curry madras au lieu du korma préconisé. Je la referai souvent cet hiver, car elle était vraiment délicieuse, épicée, revigorante et rend les carottes sexy, ce qu'elles ne sont pas d'habitude, enfin, je trouve, surtout dans leurs petites barquettes plastiques au supermarché. On les prend plutôt par pitié, mais là, non, vous les verrez sous un autre angle.


Soupe de carottes au curry (adaptée de Holiday)

1 cs d'huile végétale
2 oignons hachés
2-3 cs de pâte de curry (korma ou madras)
1 kg de carottes, pelées et coupées en tronçons d'un cm
1,3l de bouillon (poule ou légumes)
15cl de lait de coco
2cs de coriandre fraîche hachée

Faire chauffer l'huile dans une cocotte et faire revenir l'oignon. Quand l'oignon est tendre, ajouter la pâte de curry et laisser cuire 1-2 minutes. Ajouter les carottes, le bouillon, du sel et poivre. Amener à ébullition, puis couvrir, baisser le feu et laisser mijoter 20-30 minutes. Quand les carottes sont tendres, mixer la soupe, puis ajouter le lait de coco et faire chauffer sans bouillir. Servir avec la coriandre. Et ici une tartine de tomates, jud (une charcuterie luxembourgeoise de type jambon fumé) et chèvre gratinée. Un soûper de prince.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

bills new book

People who have given up on Bill Granger a while ago will be in for some surprise/shock if they were to open his new book. Gone are the days when everything was white, from the furniture to the clothes his family were pictured wearing (I actually wonder how that went with three small kids but that's another story). In Holiday, there is colour everywhere, and because the theme is rather autumnal/wintery, the photos have been shot in a house that is obviously not Bill's, where the furniture is antique-looking- dark woods, leather armchairs, dark floor tiling...

That's not to say his recipes have changed, there's still a summery section to the book with beach photos and picnic recipes, but there's more of a French twist here and there, red wine stews, mussels, lots of comforting puds with lashings of sauce...most of them quick, rather light and full of flavour-Bill's signature.

Holiday is pretty much the wintery companion to Every Day, both books being really similar in layout and design, leaving the format of his former ones behind (not that they're bad, they just feel a little bland by comparison).

Anyway, there are lots of recipes I want to try, and I have already given two of them a go.

Ginger and sesame rice with poached chicken. A simple affaire of cooking onions, then adding grated ginger and crushed garlic, then rice and stock before laying scalloped chicken breasts on top, covering and letting cook. Served with chopped soy sauce, spring onions and red chilli, it was really a quick and tasty midweek dinner. Healthy too.

The following soup is nothing short of wonderful. In the book, the recipe calls for parsnips, which might be everyday food to some shores but aren't widely available here. It didn't stop me from subbing carrots (another root veg, celeriac perhaps would also be great), even madras curry paste for korma. I'll be making it again very often (until I tire of it) this winter as it's warming, spicy, and makes carrots really sexy (which they often aren't).


Curried carrot soup (adapted from Holiday)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
2-3 tbsp Indian curry paste (korma or madras)
1 kg carrots, peeles and chopped
1,3 l stock
150ml coconut milk
2 tbsp chooped coriander

Heat the oil in a pot and cook the onions until soft. Add the curry paste and stir for two minutes. Add the carrots and stock, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. When the carrots are tender, blitz the soup, then add the coconut milk and heat through, without letting it boil. Serve with the chopped coriander.

Bill suggests serving this soup with cream cheese toasts, but I made tartines of tomatoes, some cold cut called jud (it's a luxembourgish sort of cured pork fillet) and goat's cheese. A glorious supper.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Intense chocolate chip cookies


Another recipe taken from Nigella Express, this time with the instructions. Nigella borrowed it from Elinor Klivans, author of Big, Fat Cookies. It may make you want to buy that book. Personally, I try to resist such temptations, sometimes.
There is a little confusion between the recipe in Nigella's book and the original recipe which I found online with both sets of measurements, so in the end, rather than giving you NE's metric ones and both of the others, I just wrote Nigella's first, then the American cup version. I made about eighteen cookies with a good size, you can choose to make them bigger or smaller. They're really intensely cocoa-rich, especially as I used (natch) my stash of Paris-bought Valrhona bitter 70% chocolate called Guanaja. I don't know how they'd fare with kids, but with us, grown-ups, they didn't last very long, especially if feeling hormonally unbalanced. Don't bake them for as long as the recipe stipulates, I found it too much with my first batch so shortened it for the second one. Remember that overbaked chocolate tastes bitter.

Totally chocolate chocolate chip cookies


125 g +2 bags (350g) //2 2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (70%) or dark chocolate broken up into morsels
150g//1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
30g //¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
125g //½ cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
75g //½ cup packed light brown sugar
50g //¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large cold egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF.

Melt 2/3 cup or 125g of the chocolate any way you like.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. In another bowl or in the mixer, beat the butter and both sugars until smooth.
On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate. Add the egg and vanilla and mix.
Add the flour and cocoa mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated. Mix in the remaining chocolate chips/chunks.

Using a tablespoon, scoop mounds of dough onto two prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 3 inches apart.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out with moist crumbs, not wet batter, about 18 minutes. I thought a little less didn't hurt.
Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

"The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days." Ha! Whatever!

I have made this recipe a while ago. I haven't taken many pics recently, nor felt like posting anything, but I have just received Bill Granger's new book, Holiday, as well as In the Mood for Food by Jo Pratt which I've meant to buy for months, so perhaps I'll find inspiration...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bons gros cookies chocolatés



Totally chocolate chocolate chip cookies


Comment résister à un tel nom? Pas possible. Pour moi en tous cas. Cette recette se trouve dans le dernier Nigella, Nigella Express, une recette empruntée à Elinor Klivans, l'auteur de Big, Fat Cookies. Nigella emprunte souvent des recettes, car elle aussi collectionne les livres de cuisine, à une échelle monumentale je pense.
Ces cookies sont délicieux, très forts en cacao. J'ai utilisé du Guanaja de Valrhona, ce qui les rend très adultes, je ne sais pas si des petits apprécieraient. Libre à vous d'utiliser du 50%, ou un chocolat plus doux. Pourquoi ne pas varier le chocolat des pépites également...

125 g + 350g chocolat concassé (70%)
150g farine
30g cacao non sucrécc de bicarbonate de soude
½ cc de sel
125g beurre
75g cassonnade
50g sucre
1 gros oeuf, encore froid
1 cc d'extrait de vanille

Préchauffer le four à 170ºC.

Faire fondre 125g de chocolat.

Dans un bol, mesurer la farine, le cacao, le bicarbonate et le sel.
Dans un autre, plus grand, ou au mixer, battre en pommade le beurre et le sucre. Puis ajouter le chocolat fondu et mélanger, puis l'oeuf et la vanille.
Incorporer le mélange farine-cacao, puis les pépites de chocolat restant.

A l'aide d'une cuillère à soupe, former des tas de pâte bien espacés sur une plaque de cuisson chemisée.

Faire cuire 18 minutes selon la recette, mais moins longtemps permet d'obtenir un meilleur résultat je trouve. Un cure-dent doit ressortie avec quelques miettes collées, mais pas de pâte crue. Laisser refroidir sur la plaque cinq minutes avant de transférer sur une grille.

Les cookies se conservent 4 jours dans une boîte, mais bon, ça m'étonnerait que vous ayez la volonté de leur résister aussi longtemps...

Ah, et aussi, si ma flemme de bloguer ne m'avait pas enveloppée de torpeur, je vous aurais dit plus tôt qu'on a parlé de moi, la gloire me guette, rien moins que sur la Table Monde, le superbe site de Murielle et Stanislas, qui m'ont donc fait l'honneur de tester ma recette de Monkey Bread -le pain des p'tits macaques, et le plaisir de le faire savoir!
Merci à eux pour leur billet!