Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Nice ‘n’ Easy Peach Charlotte



Well, we haven’t had much of a spring this year, but summer has arrived with blazing sun, blue sky and sizzling temperatures. This is no weather for heavy cakes. This is no weather for baking, to start with. It’s already quite hot in the kitchen, so imagine you add the oven’s heat! No, no way.

Anyway, there are plenty of light and fresh summer dessert recipes. So I’m gonna share the recipe for a very easy-to-prepare Peach Charlotte with you. FYI (but you surely know this already), a Charlotte, according to wikipedia, is “a type of dessert that […] can also be known as an “ice-box cake”. Bread, sponge cake or biscuits/cookies are used to line a mold, which is then filled with a fruit puree or custard. […] Classically, stale bread dipped in butter was used as the lining, but sponge cake or ladyfingers may be used today. The filling may be covered with a thin layer of similarly flavoured gelatin.”

As desserts normally go in my household, this one didn’t last long. And I’ll wager it won’t in yours either!

What you need: 
  • Approx. 24-32 ladyfingers (provide rather more of them than not enough!) 
  • 20 cl of liquid cream 
  • 2 small bags of vanilla sugar 
  • 1 big tin of peaches in syrup 
  • 1 Charlotte mold 
How to proceed: 
  1. Open the tin of peaches and empty it into a bowl. 
  2. Fish out the peaches, cut them into little cubes. Don’t throw away the syrup! 
  3. Prepare the whipped cream before stirring in the vanilla sugar. 
  4. Dip each ladyfinger briefly in the peach syrup. 
  5. Place the first ones at the bottom of your mold. Try to arrange them in a regular pattern. 
  6. Then place the following ladyfingers on the mold’s sides, in a regular and tight pattern. 
  7. Then, fill in a layer of peaches – a layer of whipped cream – a layer of peaches – a layer of whipped cream, and so on. 
  8. Finish the cake with a last, regular and tight layer of soaked ladyfingers. 
  9. Cover with a plate. It has to have the right shape because it should press the whole preparation. If some of the cream comes oozing out at the top, well, that’s too bad! You’ll have to wipe it off with your finger, which will allow you to taste the cream without feeling naughty ;-) 
Put the cake into the fridge. It should stay there for at least 2 hours; overnight is even better. Finally, unmold. And serve. This can be accompanied by some more fruits, or why not? some ice cream or some more whipped cream. Refreshing, not too sweet and soooo yummy! 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Leek-Tart with Ham and Goat Cheese



After another longish silence (still too much work), now for a light spring recipe. Alright, the weather here in Paris is not very spring-like, I admit. But I’m really looking forward to the sunnier days (I mean, they have to show up one day, don’t they?) so when I cook, I prefer to prepare some nice ‘n’ light meals. My as-if-attitude, right?

Today, it’s an easy tart recipe, a must for all those who love leek and ham and goat cheese.

What you need: 
  • 4 rods of leek 
  • Some butter 
  • 4 slices of smoked ham 
  • Some fresh goat cheese 
  • Some ripe goat cheese 
  • 6 eggs 
  • 200 ml of cream 
  • Salt, pepper, ground nutmeg 
  • 1 puff pastry (ready-to-use, unless you want to prepare a fresh one, but be warned: that’s a mighty complicated task) 
How to proceed: 
  • Cut the smoked ham. 
  • Cut the leek. 
  • Heat some butter in a frying pan, then stir-fry the leek. 
  • Preheat your oven, 200°C. 
  • Precook the puff pastry for 10 minutes (prick the bottom with a fork to avoid that the puff pastry swells in inappropriate places). 
  • After the 10 minutes, cover the bottom of the puff pastry with the leek. 
  • Add the ham. 
  • Mix the eggs and the cream; add salt, pepper and some ground nutmeg. 
  • Pour the mixture over the ham. 
  • Finish with the two types of goat cheese (and be generous for Heaven's sake! lol).
  • . Put in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. 
You can serve this tart with some green salad or mixed salad (and don’t you dare serve your salad with a yucky ready-to-use industrial salad dressing, not after I gave you the recipe for the real, self-made sauce vinaigrette!). 
Enjoy this meat, it’s healthy, light and tasty. 

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Pork with Bell Peppers and Spätzle



Today, I’ll prepare another easy-to-make recipe, very tasty and always a success. I used Spätzle as a side-dish. These are “a type of egg noodle of soft texture found in the cuisine of Germany and of Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Alsace and South Tyrol”, says wikipedia. If you don’t find them in your supermarket, you can replace them with any kind of pasta you like.

What you need: 
  • 500 g of meagre pork 
  • 1 big red bell pepper 
  • 1 big green bell pepper 
  • 1 big onion 
  • Paprika 
  • Salt, pepper 
  • Olive oil 
  • 250 ml of sour cream (or crème fraîche
  • Spätzle or any other kind of pasta (tagliatelle would be the most convenient ones) 
How to proceed: 
  • Cut the pork into small cubes. 
  • Cut the onion and the bell peppers into thin slices. 
  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saucepan. 
  • Stir-fry the pork until it turns a nice colour; add salt, pepper and a spoonful of paprika. 
  • Add the onion and bell pepper slices. 
  • Stir-fry until the onion becomes transparent. 
  • Add the sour cream (or the crème fraîche) and lower heat. 
  • Let the meal simmer for 20-25 minutes. 
  • Prepare the Spätzle in the meantime. 
Serve a portion of meat and sauce with a side helping of Spätzle and another side helping of salad. This is really very easy yet tasty.  
Bon appétit! 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Roast Beef with a Spicy Crust



Dear me, dear me, I haven’t been posting for more than two weeks! Allow me to offer my humblest apologies; it’s that I hardly remember my name after all those crazy working days! Don’t ask me why but everybody seems to have decided to launch a new product, a new campaign, but with no idea of what exactly to promote or what to launch. Utter chaos was the logical result. Thus I didn’t cook much, and those who don’t cook have nothing to post about, right?

But today, I’ll show you how to prepare a wonderful dish; not too difficult and ever so yummy! I’m talking about my fabulous Roast Beef with a Spicy Crust. FYI, I decided to prepare this recipe because I had some Topside in the freezer (a rather low-fat part of the Round for my American readers), a nice slice that I had originally bought for a Fondue Bourguignonne (this consists of a fondue pot filled with hot oil into which you dip pieces of meat to cook them; various sauces are provided on the side). Yet I wanted to innovate, hence the idea to roast it this way.

What you need: 
  • 1,5 kg of beef 
  • 3-4 slices of (fat) bacon (depends on the piece of beef you’ll use) 
  • 1 spicy little chili pepper (preferably from the Antilles for they are not only very spicy but also very tasteful) 
  • 2 tomatoes 
  • Cumin 
  • Paprika 
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped 
  • Olive oil 
How to proceed: 
  • As I used a very low-fat piece of beef, I had to ensure it wouldn’t dry out while roasting. So I had to bard it with 3-4 slice of rather fat bacon. 
  • For the marinade/crust: cut your spicy chili pepper and your tomatoes. Place them in a food processor and chop. Add some olive oil until you achieve a nice, thick chili pepper paste. 
  • Pour ½ l of olive oil into an airtight dish. 
  • Add the paste. 
  • Add some cumin, paprika and the chopped garlic cloves. 
  • Put the beef into the marinade; turn and toss it until all the sides are coated with the paste. 
  • Close the dish and place in the fridge for 12h. 
  • After 12h, you preheat your oven (150°C). 
  • Filter the marinade, try to retrieve as much paste as you can. 
  • Put the beef in an oven safe plate. 
  • Smear the retrieved paste over the beef. 
  • Drizzle some of the filtered oil over it. 
  • Roast the beef for 15 minutes; return it and continue roasting it for another 15 minutes. Or less if you like your beef less cooked, of course. 
I served this delicious dish with roast potatoes but you can choose other vegetables or a side-helping of salad as well. The Roast Beef was spicy but no too much, and the taste of that little devil from the Antilles underlined the perfect quality of the beef (Topside is one of the best low-fat pieces).  
Bon appétit! 

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