Monday, March 31, 2014

Chocolate Tart

Chocolate Tart

1/2 cup milk
7oz finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 large egg yolk
7 1/2oz Mascarpone or creme fraiche
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
small pinch salt

    Butter and line a 9" pastry shell with wax paper so that some of the paper rises above the edge of the container.  You will use these edges to lift the pie out when it's cooked and cooled.

Lightly whip the egg yolk and Mascarpone or creme fraiche, stir in the vanilla essence and pinch of salt and set aside.

Bring milk to a boil, turn off heat and add chocolate, stir until chocolate is melted.

Add a little of the chocolate mixture to the egg yolk mixture to temper it, then add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until well mixed.

Pour the ensuing mixture into the lined pastry shell and place in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F/163 degrees C for 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with whipped cream.

Serves 8 

Yogurt Cheese

Yogurt Cheese

2 cups yogurt

    Line a colander with cheese cloth and place over a bowl. Pour in the yogurt and cover with a moist towel. Place in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. The whey drains into the bowl and the yogurt cheese is left in the cheese cloth.
    Serve the cheese plain or mix with herbs and salt and pepper and serve with crackers, bread or vegetables as an appetizer. Or serve drizzled with honey and garnished with sun dried tomatoes marinated in oil.

Jerusalem Artichoke Salad

Jerusalem Artichoke Salad

1/2 lb Jerusalem artichokes
3 Carrots
2 Persian cucumbers
Black jumbo olives
Romaine lettuce
Salt and Pepper

    Shred the artichokes - you may peel them first, if you like. Wash and shred the carrots and mix these into the artichokes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Make a bed of lettuce in a serving dish. Mound the artichoke and carrot mixture in the lettuce bed. Peel, then cut the cucumbers into strips and garnish the salad with these and the olives.

Parmesan Sauce

Parmesan Sauce

8oz softened cream cheese
3/4 cup evaporated milk - UNsweetened
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Beat the cream cheese in a saucepan, gradually stir in the evaporated milk and beat until smooth. Heat until hot over very low heat, about 3 - 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic salt and parsley.
Serve over baked potato, green beans, asparagus or cauliflower.

Egg Pie with Potatoes, Onions & Red Bell Peppers

 Egg Pie with Potatoes, Onions & Red Bell Peppers

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and halved
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball the amount
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and halved, then thinly sliced across into half moons
1 small onion, halved, then very thinly sliced
1 small brown paper sack
8 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp tarragon
Salt and pepper

Preheat broiler to high. Place red pepper halves on a cookie or baking sheet. Place peppers under broiler and allow the skins to blacken all over, about 10 minutes.
While peppers are working, heat about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add sliced potatoes and fry in oil until they begin to become tender, 5 minutes. Add onions and cook 5 minutes more. Remove potatoes and onions to a bowl using slotted spoon. Wipe out pan, return pan to heat and add remaining oil. Reduce heat to medium. Remove peppers from broiler. Leave broiler on. Place peppers in a brown paper sack and seal sack tightly. Allow peppers to stand and cool for a couple of minutes. Peel away charred skin and slice. Add peppers to potatoes and onions, add tarragon. Add beaten eggs to cooked vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Add mixture to the pan and cook until eggs settle and brown on the bottom. Transfer pan to broiler and allow the egg pie to brown on top and puff up.
Slide pie out of the pan and on to a serving plate. Cool slightly, then cut into 8 wedges and serve.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Candied Citrus Peel

Candied Citrus Peel

    Collect the peel from lemons, limes, grapefruit and oranges. These will not keep longer than a week in your fridge so I usually buy the fruit, peel it and store the fruit or juice separately. I like to segment the grapefruit and oranges and to juice the lemons and limes.
    Cut the peel into one inch square pieces, place these in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for ten minutes, stirring the skins to make sure all get a good dunking in the simmering  water. Do this three times. This eliminates the bitterness in the skin.
    Next place the skins in a measuring jug and assess how much there is. For every cupful you will need 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup of water. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. When the sugar has melted and you've created a simple syrup add the skins. Now comes the difficult part: you will need to keep this at a slow simmer on low heat and stir continuously until all the syrup has been absorbed. I usually let it simmer for three or four minutes and stir it for two minutes. The important thing is to keep the skins turning over in the syrup in order to distribute it evenly.
    When all the syrup has been absorbed turn the skins out onto a plate or silicone mat. Spread them out into a single layer, dust them with sugar and let them dry for a few hours. I like to put most of them into a food processor, chop them into 1/8 inch pieces, put them into a glass container and freeze them to use later. I'll post some recipes for using them. Some I keep to dry out and become tasty morsels to eat when I feel like a sweet, crispy nibble.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fruit Galette

Fruit Galette

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

A galette is an open, rustic, French pie - there's no need to worry about making it look perfect! It will look beautiful once it has baked! Use any fruit such as apples, rhubarb, apricots, peaches, plums, etc. 

1 1/2 lbs of fruit
a few squirts of lemon or lime juice
3 Tbs butter (for dotting the fruit before baking)
1/3 cup brown sugar (for sprinkling on the pie before baking)

Prepare the fruit.  Peel it, pit it (as needed) and cut it into pieces - quarter the plums or apricots, cut rhubarb into 2 inch pieces and apples or peaches into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the prepared fruit in a bowl, add lemon or lime and mix the fruit to coat it well.  You can use a little more or less juice, if you prefer, but you must use enough to coat and stop the fruit from browning, especially apples. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Next prepare the base:

3 Tbs whole ground almonds
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs flour

Place these ingredients in the food processor and pulse until they look like very fine bread crumbs. Set aside.

The secret to the pastry lies in having all ingredients very cold, leaving the shortening in large chunks, working very quickly and allowing the dough to rest in a cold environment before baking. If you keep your flour in the refrigerator it will always be cold when you need it!

For the pastry:

8 oz cold organic, whole grain, pastry flour
6 oz cold butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup ice cold water

Cut the butter into 1 cubes. Measure the flour, mix in the salt and place in the food processor. Make sure to keep the water cold until you're ready to use it.

Add the cold butter to the cold flour in the food processor and process to a count of 8 short pulses, so that the butter is cut very little and mixed roughly into the flour - the butter should still be clearly visible and no less than about 1/2" in size. Pour the water in through the funnel to a count of 4 short pulses. The dough should form into a ball. You will have to work with this until you produce the required results as it is affected by your environment. You can now wrap it in some plastic and put it in the refrigerator or use it immediately.

Place the ball of dough onto a lightly floured silicone mat or, failing that, a piece of grease proof or waxed paper. Carefully press a rolling pin down across the dough starting in the middle, working towards the edges and slowly flattening it. Always work from the middle to the edges with the pin or you will stretch and break the dough. Keep the pin and dough lightly floured and flip the dough occasionally to avoid sticking. Work methodically, turning the dough a little when the pin reaches the sides, rolling it into an oblong about 15 inches across, 18 inches long and about an 1/8 inch thick. Leave it on the silicone mat/waxed paper and put it on a cookie sheet.  Spread the prepared base cover to within an inch of the edge. The base cover will keep the bottom layer of pastry dry and crisp.

Spread the fruit to the edge of the nut mixture and carefully fold the pastry edge up over the fruit. If the pastry tears or develops a hole, patch it with a little pastry from the edge. Dot the fruit with tiny chunks of the 3 Tbs butter. Dampen the pastry edges with some of the liquid left in the bowl and pour the rest over the fruit. Sprinkle the fruit and damp edges with the 3 Tbs brown sugar.Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Meantime heat the oven to 400 degrees F or 204 degrees C.

Transfer the pie to the oven and bake for 1 hour. The pastry should be brown and the fruit soft. If you have used grease proof or waxed paper, slide a knife under the pastry as soon as it comes out of the oven to ensure any escaped juices don't make it stick. Brush a little berry jelly or strained preserves over the fruit to give it a sheen. The pie can be eaten cooled a little or completely cold.

Serve as is or with mascarpone, whipped cream or ice cream.


This is a plum galette