La Tartiflette

If you are going sking in the Alps this winter, Do Do Do bring back a Reblochon, this might sound like a curious thing to do but there is a very good reason for it.
With a Reblochon you can make a Tartiflette and that is heaven comfort food on a plate and will remind you of your holidays. Now, if you don't go skying in the Alps this winter get yourself half a Reblochon from the local cheese shop, only half is what you will need for the Tartiflette, it is quiet an expensive cheese. If the credit munch is biting then use a very runny Camembert. It won't be a Tartiflette but still good.



  • In a frying pan, melt the butter and fry potatoes, oingon, salt and pepper,

  • When the potatoes have reach a nice golden colour, place them in an oven dish.

  • slice layers of reblochon over the mixture, including the crust which you will place on the top of the layers

  • put under the grill until the cheese is nicely melted.

about a pound of potatoes for half a reblochon, but it is entirely up to you.


and last but not least, be warned, Reblochon will not get through customs in hand luggage.

Waiting for January's Challenge

Yesterday was the Daring Bakers challenge posting day. The challenge was a French log which should have been easy for me but as he said it is a challenge which separates the bakers from the bonkers. I seem to belong to the latter category as I took one look at the recipe and shrivelled under the sink : The recipe called for the following 6 elements: A Dacquoise (a nut meringue), a mousse with a stabilizing component that will allow it to freeze smoothly, a creme brulee insert, a ganache insert, a praline feuillete insert (a chocolate, praline, and crushed crunchy cookie layer), and icing. Let's cross fingers and wait for January's challenge.

It Is Xmas

Well not just yet but I wanted to wish you a Merry Good Time before flying away to friends and family, so what best picture to use but that of Sue and Michelle's creation. Isn't it just the cuttest ginger bread house ever?

Tea Anybody?

As a Result of entering Jolen's cookies competition, Pebblesoup won a lovely voucher for $5 that is £3. something, to spend at a top tea site http://www.adagio.com/. Sadly it is wasted on me, and I would like to offer it to one of you, all you have to do is email me, this is not a competition, it is just a way to say thank you for reading Pebble Soup.

So the first person who will e-mail me will receive in return the voucher code.

Good luck.

Banana Tarte Tatin

All these bananas sitting pretty and yellow in a bowl pretending to be  a 21st century still life, what do you do with them? Soon they will turn black.

Here is my best answer, a really easy recipe to make


Banana Tarte Tatin

La Flamiche or "White Pizza"

Hopefully, we all have around us people who will help us out of a sticky spot a the drop of a hat, warm generous people and last week-end I found myself in one of these situation: I had written an article which had not met the buyer's approval, wanting to do my best, I called on Ann and Barbara, both ex-teachers, Barbara spotted the issues straight away and helped me no end. Still the person whom the article was for, took a red pen to it, I guess there are people who cannot be satisfied, but I was pleased with the much improved end result and to say thank you ask them both for dinner.

Then came the tricky question of what to cook, since I am currently reviewing "Crust" by Richard Bertinet" I decided on his version of the Flamiche, a hearty, convivial pie from Picardie in the north of France, I'll spare you the legend of how a good farmer's wife came to have the idea for such a dish on her way to the market. Richard refers to it as a "pizza blanche" which is spot on have a look:

Flamiche
Ingredients :
for the dough*500 gms bread dough *
10g fresh yeast
500g strong white flour
10g salt
350g water
a little white flour, for dusting
for the topping
1 tablespoon olive oil
200g lardons or sliced pancetta ( I used bacon)
2 leeks, finely sliced
3 eggs
300g creme fraiche
salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
a little grated Gruyere (optional)

To make the base:
  • Rub the yeast into the flour using your fingertips, add the salt and the water and mix well, work it as for a bread dough, (personally I use the food processor)
  • leave it to rest on the baking tray
  • flatten the dough, ridge the edge, using your fingers of a pair of scissor "dimple" the edge.
to make the topping:
  • heat the olive oil in a frying pan, put in the lardons and saute until they start to colour. Remove the lardons and then put in the leeks, saute them lightly until they colour a little
  • in a bowl mix the eggs, creme fraiche salt pepper, nutmeg, add the cooked ingredients
  • top the base with the mixture
  • Put the Flamiche into the oven (230) and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crispy edges, I checked it after a 15 minutes, mine took a little longer.
et voila.
slight adaptation of Richard Bertinet's recipe, map of France from Wikipedia

The Daring Bakers' November Challenge: Caramel Cake

Yes it is already a month since the last challenge, this time I decided to put my little heart in it and bake according to instructions which made me realise I was very bad at following up recipes, but this is my problem. Shuna's Caramel Cake recipe is perfect.
I waited a little before baking my cake so I could benefit from the wisdom of other bakers, and thanks to Dolores from Culinary Curiosity , along with Alex from Blondie and Brownie and Jenny of Foray into Food who hosted the event I could tune in to all the comments on the board and get some really useful tips:

a) you can half the proportions easily which to make cup cakes otherwise my personal trainer would have a heart attack.

b) reducing the sugar also works.

I may have done something not quiet right though as my cake was more "puddiny" than it should have been but still very nice.

Refrigerator Cookies

As I write more and more on US sites (catch me on lifestyle Gourmandia and Paper Palate), I get to hear a little more about American culture. I was looking into cookies today and found out that "every presidential election year Family Circle magazine runs a cookie recipe contest between the two possible First Ladies. The winner of the contest for the past four elections has gone on to be (or continued to be) the First Lady". Except for this year, Cindy McCain's Oatmeal-Butterscotch cookies beat out Michelle Obama's shortbread cookies. May be I should suggest that he runs for president next time because I surely stand a chance with this easy recipe.

these cookies/biscuits are the ultimate in home-baking convenience. They are so easy and popular that the fomula has been "tubed" and you can buy the neatly shaped log ready for cutting and baking. I found the recipe in "The Baker" by Leanne Kitchen and there are as many variations as you imagination allows.


  • Mocha spirals which I attempted though not as neatly as I hoped has 2 tsp cocoa powder into 1 dough and 2 tsp of coffee powder in the other.

  • Maple and pecan with 60 ml maple syrup added to the creamed butter mixture and rolled in finely chopped pecan

  • Spicy fruits : 1 tsp mixed spices and 1/2 teaspoon ground giner added to the flour

  • Coconut and Orange with 1/3 cup desiccated coconut and 1/2 tsp orange essence
If you bake others let me know

Soup of the Week: Spiced Butternut Squash

Of course it all happens at once, I started to write a series on Paper Palate, reviewing the top 50 best cook books, it is a lovely commitment, a week later I also made quite a hit when I got a professional blogging job with Gourmandia, it is all good fun, but my blog is where I feel @ "home", a strange feeling when you know that all this is virtual.
Anyway, I have to keep up to date and this week-end it was the BBC Good Food Show at Olympia so he and I trotted to the fair, I must say I never know how to handle these large crowd and in many way the best bit was the official guide.


The day before, I had seen Anne, their allotment is doing fine; now a piece of advice, if you make a new friend ask them if they have an allotment because if they do, they quickly be your best friend. Every time I see Anne and Oliver, I get some freshly picked vegetable, this time :butternut squashs.
Put 2 and 2 together and you get spiced butternut squash soup which was in the show's official guide.
My soups are usually very good and this was the best I made this season, yeep I know it is only November.

Spiced Butternut Squash

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped (I did not include that)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large mild red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
3 cm piece fresh root ginger, finely grated
1 large butternut squash, deseeded and cut into large chunks
2 large potatoes, cut into large chunks
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock

to serve:
creme fraiche
snipped chives or thyme leaves
croutons

method:
Heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Add the onion, leek, garlic, chilli, ginger and cook gently until the ingredients are soft but not too coloured.
Add the squash and the potatoes, pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat so that the soup simmers gently and cover the pan. Simmer for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes and squash are nice and soft.
Puree the soup in a blender (or use a hand-blender) or food processor until smooth. Return the soup to the pan, reheat it gently, and season to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve topped with a little creme fraiche, snipped chives or thyme leaves and croutons.

Sorry Monsieur Roux, I Spiced up Your Apple Tart

Michel Roux has 3 Michelin stars and he has had them for 23 years. There is nothing wrong with his cooking, OOOHHH NOOO. His cookbook "Pastry" sold 430,000 copies. So I don't know what wicked force got hold of me, which mischievous cell in my brain took control when I decided to add crystallized ginger to his apple tart recipe. The only thing, I can say is : "Sorry, Monsieur Roux"..........."but it was a really good idea".

Apple and ginger is a marriage made in heaven and the refreshing kick which you get from biting in the already lovely apple tart does not go unnoticed.

So here it is for a truly delicious desert, to be eaten barely cool from the oven you will need:


APPLE TART WITH CRYSTALLISED GINGER

300g puff pastry
6 dessert apples, about 850g
1 vanilla pod, split length-ways
60g butter
80g caster sugar


Roll out the pastry to a round, 3 mm thick, and use to line a lightly buttered 24 diameter (3mm deep) lose bottomed tart tin of flan ring. Pinch up the edges with your index finger and thumb at 1 cm intervals to make a fluted edge a little higher that the rim. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes ( now as yo will see I need a little practice and the final result should look nothing like the picture)

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6, Peel, core and halve the apples. Place cut-side down on a board and cut into 2 mm thick slices, Put a third of the apples (the outer smaller slices) into a saucepan. Keep the other two-thirds packed together (to stop them discolouring). Add 50 ml water, the vanilla pod and butter to the apples in the pan and cook gently until tender. Take off the heat, discard the vanilla pod and work the apples, using a whisk, to a compote consistency. Leave to cool. For the glaze, in a small pan, dissolve the sugar in 40ml water. Bring to the boil and bubble for 4-5 minutes to make a syrup. Leave to cool.

Prick the base of the pastry case lightly, Pour in the cold apple compote and spread gently with a spoon. Arrange a border of overlapping apple slices around the tart, then arrange another circle inside, with the slices facing the other way. Fill the centre with a little rosette of small slices, trimming to fit as necessary. Bake for about 15 minutes until the pastry and apples are evenly cooked to a light golden colour.

Leave the tart to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing the flan ring or tart tin. Brush the top with the glaze, place the tart on a wire rack and leave until just cooled. Transfer to a plate and serve cut into slices.

Toss It Like a Pizzariolo

When I first read this month Daring Bakers' challenge my heart sunk, we had to make a pizza from scratch? I have got to come out with it straight away: I DO NOT like pizzas, it is not that I don't eat them, I just don't see the point. He, on the other hand, makes the best pizza this side of Italy, friends turn to foes when they admit that one of the most memorable thing on the menu are his pizzas.
There was only one thing for it, follow Rosa's-this month perfect hostess- instructions. The recipe is from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. the recipe uses cold fermentation for the pizza dough, which means that it has to be done over 2 days and a tossy-tossy in the air method to shape the lot. The topping is a free for all.
Over 1,000 Daring Bakers were participating, I intended to do my best but I am afraid to say that I have to hang my head in shame on this one, I made a right pig's ear of it:
a) I manage to delete the video of the "tossy-tossy" moment.
b) I forgot all about the topping so no preparation = plonking all what is suitable from the cupboard and the fridge on the top.
c) I did not use a pizza stone.
And you know what despite all this bashing the recipe, the result was pleasant to the palate and it was rather fun to do, so have a go if you have not yet, as for me I look forward to the next challenge.

Pumpkin Bread

If you don't go pumpkin mad now then there is a chance "the crazy wind" won't get you. As for me I have been blown away by a pumpkin craze. I even make my pumpkin bread shaped like one.

Pay attention this is the scientific bit: the pumpkin puree replaces most of the liquid in this recipe. This results in a flavoursome, moist loaf
Ingredients
350g Pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed and chopped
25g butter
1 small onion finely chopped
15g Fresh yeast (or dried yeast according to the packet instruction)
1 tsp Unrefined brown sugar
450g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
Egg for glaze
Method
Steam the pumpkin for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain and reserve 50ml of the cooking liquid. Puree in a liquidizer.
Melt the butter and saute the onion until transparent.
Mix the yeast, reserved cooking liquid and sugar together and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes until frothy.
Combine the flour and salt. Add the yeast liquid, pumpkin puree and onion and mix to a soft dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface. Cut off a small piece of dough (about 25g)
Shape the remaining dough into a neat round and place on an oiled baking tray. Shape the mall portion of dough into a 5 cm squashed ball and press on to the center of the round.
Cover with oiled polythene and leave in a warm place until double in size- about 45 minutes
With a sharp knife, make cuts in the dough all the way round to resemble a pumpkin.
Brush the dough with egg glaze and bake at 220C/gas mark 7 for 35-40 minutes. Cool on a wire tray.
Serve with a lovely Pumpkin soup and shrimps
Make one loaf- recipe from Cranks Breads & Teacakes

Soup of the Week: Cream of Pumpkin and Shrimps

My best friends are visiting this week end and of course I wanted to have something nice, ready for when they arrive after a long drive all the way from France, Galvanised into action by a Reader's comment, I decided to keep up with Soup of the Week and what a better time then Serge and Pat's arrival.
this soup is from "French Provincial Cooking" by Elizabeth David, so easy to do:

Serves 6
ingredients:
  • 900g of sliced pumpkin
  • 1 stick of celery chopped (I omitted that : a matter of taste)
  • 900ml milk, boile
  • 570ml (1 pint) mild stock or water
  • salt and pepper
  • 100g peeled prawns or shrimps
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
    50g butter

Method:
Put the pumpkin and celery in a heavy-bottomed pan with the milk and stock, and season with salt and pepper. Leave to simmer for about 30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender. Puree and sieve into a clean pan.
Meanwhile pound the prawns or shrimps with the lemon juice. dilute with a little of the pumpkin puree, an add this back in the soup. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, sieve again, adjust the seasoning.
This soup will spoil if it is not eaten within 24 hours of making.

Pumpkin Recipe

We never have enough Pumpkin recipes, here is one that is very quick and tastes really lovely
"Honey-glazed pumpkin with spices"


700g pumpkin flesh, with skin and seeds removed
50g butter
2-3 tablespoons runny honey
3-4 cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne
a small bunch f fresh coriander finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

an ovenproof baking dish
Preheat the over 180C/gas 4. Put the pumpkin in a steamer and cook for about 10 minutes, until the flesh is tender but still firm. Tip the steamed flesh into an ovenproof dish.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the honey. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, ground ginger and cayenne and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the pumpkin then bake in the preheated over for 15-20 minutes.
Tip the glazed pumpkin onto a serving plate, remove the cinnamon and cloves, then sprinkle with the coriander. Serve warm as a side dis to roasted and grilled chicken or meat.

top picture from kwickEcards

Mushrooms Foray

A couple of years back as I was despairing at my lack of knowledge regarding mushrooms, I contacted "Friends of the park", and ask them if they could organise some kind of walk, then you know what....I forgot all about it. So a few month back, when I was grumping again about my lack of fungi appreciation, he reminded me of my request, not only that but apparently, the walks were very popular.
So I had started something which had grown without me, it was about time to check it out. I trotted up the hill and met up with a good size group, off we went and to my amazement the park is full of mushrooms, if you know where to look, even more amazing you are not suppose to pick them up in order to throw them in your frying pan, we were told that anyway it was not worth it and supermarket provided perfectly adequate crops. I was not going to argue as the guide though friendly looked rather fierce and overwhelmed by the strangest of all these mushrooms, I could not really remember which ones were edible and which ones were not....I had already forgotten. I wrote some down to share with you though, here is my virtual crop.


a young fungus and then the same a few days older, would have been nice to have taken correct notes, I thought this was an artist fungus and checked for accuracy but it does not look like it is at all. A guess anyone?

Honey Mushroom, These lives in colony and can spread over 8 kilometers or thereabout making it the largest living organism in the world, can you imagine?

and for my favorite:
Beefsteak mushroom

It remains to give you a recipe but today I will let you roam a site I came by some months back which I really need to share with you because it is a mine of cooking info: The Mushroom Bureau




Chicken, Mango and Helicopter

It is very good to be seating back, nattering away, I have been a bit tied up with deadlines lately. I got my first "properly" paid commission, it IS fantastic to be paid for writing, long may it continue. In the meantime what is the connection between

an
a chicken and a mango.

None is the answer,

except that somehow they all entered my life on the same day and what a day. He offered me an helicopter ride, Bestest present. Helicopters fly very low, it is a little scary to start with, but so much fun and from a view point, it is amazing, all the familiar landmarks as never seen before,

I even saw home:





With all the excitement, planning what to cook had gone out of the window; so when my head landed which was long after my body had done so, I was contemplating some chicken and a mango.


I asked Google for help, and help I got. There are over 80 pages of recipes. I plonked for the very first Chicken/Mango recipe with great results. Unfortunately my brain was still floating in the sky and plates were in the dishwasher when I remembered you, lovely readers, but it was by then far too late for the traditional "photo-plate".

Soup of the week : Lamb and Fusilli soup



Soups and Breads by Jane Price contains a classic collection of recipes from around the globe. When I first saw this book, I turned green with envy; this is the book I'd promised myself to write . . . one day. This is a stylish, beautiful book, a perfect present.
As soon as you open it, you want to flick through to take in all the photographs. The photography is faultless, inspiring, the kind of pictures that make you think: “Hmmm, I am going to make this.” Soups are often thought as a compulsory winter starter, here to fill you up and that’s it.
Jane Price throw a very different light on the subject, her collection of soups covers an array of occasions from meals in a bowl to snazzy dinner-party dishes. The variety goes further, with recipes from around the world, all the classics under one roof - from Won Ton Soup to Harira via New England Clam Chowder, 250 pages of delicious ideas that can’t fail. There is little or no blurb, the focus is recipes and what they look like when made. A bread section adds to the pleasure. If the other titles in the series are as good a this, we indeed have “Kitchen Classics.”
Lamb and Fusilli Soup
Ingredients:
2 tbs oil
500g lean lamb meat, cubed
2 onions, finely chopped
2 carrots dice
4 celery stalks, diced
425g tinned crushed tomatoes
2 litres beef stock
500g fusilli
chopped flat-leaf parsley
Method:
serves6-8
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the cubed lamb, in batches until golden brown. Remove each batch as it is done and drain on paper towel. Set aside.
Add the onion to the pan an cook for 2 minutes or until softened.
Return the meat to the pan, add the carrot, celery, tomato and beef stock. Stir to combine and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the fusilli and stir to prevent the pasta from sticking to the pan. Simmer, uncovered, for a further 10 minutes, or until the lamb and pasta are tender. Sprinkle with parsley before serving
serves 6-8 cooking time 40 minutes

Vegan dip + Lavash Crackers

The Daring Bakers challenge this month is Vegan: Great I know a lot about vegan food, friends were/are vegan, I once cooked an all Vegan Christmas meal back when, so I knew I would have no problem with the dip + a couple of Sunday back, I happened to visit the National Vegan Festival. However Lavash Crackers, no idea. so I read on, may be there was a clue in the text: "It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern and Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), and pideh (Armenian)" ahhhhh, got you, pita, so what I had to do was extra thin pitas.

and there they are

before




after


For the toppings I was determined to make my crackers colourful so I used


sesame seeds for white, poppy seeds, seeds with no name from a market in the Yemen, for black Charawma : a blend of Moroccan spices, for brown paprika for red

and for the dip:





Hummus without chickpeas.

a can of white beans, 2 garlic gloves, 3 tablespoons of Tahini, a teaspoon of lemon, salt, paper, cold water to smooth. everything in the food processor, transfer to a serving dish, a sprinkle of paprika.
if you would like to try the Lavash Crackers here are the instructions

The key to a crisp lavash,...is to roll out the dough paper-thin.
The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking.
The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.
Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers
1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour
1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.
2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bread-Dough-Has-Been-Mixed-Long-Enough for a description of this). The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap
3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing)
4. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes.

Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors. or4.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to pre cut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

If you fancy doing October's challenge, join the Daring bakers, as for the blog roll it contains all the posts for this month's challenge

Roll the Pin, Beat the Egg, I am....

Tam tam tam, TAM TAM TAM TAM a Daring Baker.

And what is that? I hear you say, oh yes by the way I can hear you again, he kindly fixed my Google Stats which indicates that readers of this blog do exists.

Back to the Daring Bakers: it is one of these amazing web story, in short 2 people challenged one other to bake from the same recipe, great fun, next thing they know thousands of people have joined them and do the same. Power of the web; a DB is sworn to secrecy and can't reveal the monthly challenge content until a certain date, when all DBs post the recipe of the month on their blog. Make sense?

The great thing is that you get to keep the little badge which adorns the left end side of PebbleSoup, I have always wanted one of these. So watch that space...... in the meantime here is a list some of the past challenges:

January 2008: Lemon Meringue Pie February 2008: French Baguette March 2008: The Perfect Party Cake April 2008: Cheesecake Pops May 2008: Opera Cake June 2008: Danish Braid - Chocolate & Raspberries August 2008: Chocolate Éclairs

The Secret Scottish Tortilla

I hope you are still with me, lovely readers, I have not been able to use my google stats for a while, it requires a new code which I have got but I don't know where to paste. I shall ask for advice as it is a bit lonely talking to the ether.

Anyway, I recently came back from Scotland where Ailie makes the best tortilla this side of the Alhambra. This time I stole her secret, so no telling OK?




Chop 2 onions









cook slowly 5 medium potatoes diced in olive oil for about 25 minutes







whisk 6 eggs and 2 cloves of garlic pressed.



Now pay attention because here comes the trick:


Return the content of the frying pan into the egg mixture and beat








Pour back into the pan, and here Ailie let slipped that the non-stick quality of the pan is all important. Go tuck tuck around the corner with your spatula as demonstrated. until the tortilla looks set.



do that nifty trick where you put a plate on the top of the tortilla so that it covers it and turn the lot round to transfer the tortilla into the plate, making sure that you are holding your plate with one hand.
transfer the content of the plate back in the pan for a few minutes

et voila, best tortilla known on earth.


Happy Cookies

You go away for a few weeks and on return, the world has been transformed. The world, may be a little bit of an exaggeration.
Let me elaborate: when I have a minute, I take a sweet delight in reading "the Greenwich Phantom". Every district, town, village should have a phantom, ours is a kind of contemporary freelance town-crier. This morning as I looked at his/hers website, I gasp, threw my shawl over my head and flew out of the house direction....... a new bakery. We have not had a bakery for pffffffff many many years, I got to Rhodes in 5 minutes flat, that is its name: "Rhodes Bakery" not the island, I have not grown wings yet. It was hiving, a joyous site, lovely, brown breads in the window, buttercups and tartelettes parading on their stand, this is really good new and it would seem that artisan-bakeries are back.
Sometime ago, I got an email from a friend who was about to finalise her dream: opening a bakery. Rather they are going to re-open the village bakery in Wye (Kent) which had long closed and will offer freshly baked high-quality breads, cakes and all sorts of other baked "deliciouseries". So it was with some anticipation that I tried one of her recipe.

Chocolate and Ginger Cookies

Chocolate and Ginger is a marriage made is heaven, we are all aware of the mood-boosting properties of chocolate and if the best property of crystallized ginger (also called candied ginger) is its tastes, it also relieves indigestion, the symptoms of colds, it alleviates nausea of all sorts including morning sickness and now.... wait for it..... it could even burn fat, the latter I doubt a little, certainly not when used in this recipe.

Yield: c.24
150 gm plain sifted flour
2 gm baking powder
100 gm crystallised ginger, finely chopped
50 gm soft light brown sugar
120 gm castor sugar1 large egg
120g plain chocolate chips
120g butter, softened

Method


Beat sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in egg. Sift flour and baking powder and add to mixture, along with ginger and chocolate chips. Blend lightly but well.
Drop rounded dessertspoons of the mixture onto two greased baking sheets spacing well apart. Bate in pre-heated 175 C oven for about 18 minutes until light golden brown. Transfer to cooling rack. Store, when coll, in airtight container.

Slowing Down for the Summer

I am slowing down with the hot weather and the summer being here, or at least here for the next 5 minutes. I got very excited with the possibility to write on the BBCgoodfood blog but though I was shortlisted among thousand of entries, I did not make it. So I need to recharge, I will be away for a month. When I come back you can look forward to new categories: I have signed in to be a member of the "Daring bakers" and since the office has been redecorated and the computer back where it should be, I have access to the sound system so postswith music will be back on the menu. I also decided to post the book reviews I write for Paper Palate and as it is I will leave you with one to savour.




Already, I hear you say. It will be no time before they leave home again to their respective universities and colleges, resuming their busy students' lives; the question is "WHAT WILL THEY EAT THEN?" here is a book which title is a bit of a mouthful but will ease parents' worries. "The Really Useful Ultimate Student Vegetarian Cook Book" by Helen Aitken.
2 categories of recipes easy and very easy, the blurbs around the recipes are comprehensive and informative, the recipes themselves are easy to follow though some of them are not particularly on the cheap side on a student's budget as we are talking cooking and not throwing lentils in a pot. They are all accurate and will provide a myriad of variations a meal time, the recipes are suitable for beginners, tried and tested so success is assured.
I put the book to the test, asked around me, quickly realising that very little cooking was going on among young adults or if cooking was taking place it was mostly the old favorite such as pasta, so with 40 pages of pasta recipes it will hit the target. On the other end, the most enthusiastic cooks often googled the ingredients available in the fridge or cupboard so will they use a cook book? the answer remains a mystery but if they did "The Really Useful Ultimate Student Vegetarian Cook Book" would be a good choice?
I put it to the taste, there are 6 chapiters: soups, pastas and noodles, rice, grains and pulses, casseroles, curries and bakes, stir fires, salads and vegetables, breakfast, snacks and standbys. I cooked Chickpeas Patties with Caramelised Onions, it will not reach my top 10 but I realised that I hardly ever cook my onions that way and that I should they were delicious.
Ingredients
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
15g of fresh coriander , roughly chopped
310g can chickpeas , drained and rinsed
35g besan flour
1 small red onion , finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp plain flour
oil, for shallow-frying
15g sunflower seeds
caramelised onion
20g butter
1red onion, thinly sliced
1½ teaspoons soft brown sugar
plain yogurt, to serve
Besan flour is also known as chickpea flour
Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute. Allow to cool slightly.
Blend the drained chickpeas, sunflower seeds, coriander, eff and onion mixture in a food processor until smooth. Fold in the besan lour and season. Divide the mixture into four portions and, using floured hands, form into patties. Heat 1 cm oil in a frying pan and cook the patties in two batches over medium heat for 2-3 minutes each side, or until firm. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm.
to make the caramelised onion, melt the butter in a small frying pan and cook the onion over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and cook for 1 minute, or until caramelised. Spoon over the patties with a dollop of yogurt.
Easy
50 minutes
serves 2 .

Vanilla Currant Loaf

Yum Yummy, I love new bread recipes, this one has a very smooth texture which is the trademark of "quickbreads". Quickbreads differ from cakes which are made creaming butter/sugar/eggs or from breads made with yeast. Quickbreads are often associated with "Afternoon tea" a tradition started by the Duchess of Bedford in the mid 19th century. It is said that the Duchess could not wait from lunch till dinner, don't we know the feeling, so she requested to have a pot of tea with bread and small cakes. Very likely, finding it boring to eat and drink on her own, she started to invite her "aristo-mates" and started a trend.
In the quickbreads family card pack you will find scones, muffins, sodabreads, teacakes and other fruit or veg loaves such as pumpkin. So your pack of cards is virtually endless. Dead-easy to make, perfect for beginners, can't really go wrong, remember to sift the flour and make sure that the oven is preheated to 180C (350F/Gas 4) that is all. Ah! and mix the ingredients in the order the recipe tells you, quick breads allow neither anarchy nor cosmic order allowed.

Vanilla Currant Loaf


ingredients
250g plain (9z/ 2cup) (all purpose) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
60g (2 ½ oz) cold unsalted butter, chopped
115g (4oz/ ½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
75g (2 ½ oz/ ½ cup) currants
1 large egg
170ml (5 ½ fl oz/ 2/3 cup) milk
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
sifted icing (confectioners') sugar, for dusting, optional
butter or cream cheese, to serve


Method
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/Gas 4). Grease a 21 X 7 X 8 cm loaf (bar) tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, lightly rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sugar and currants, then make a well in the centre.
In another bowl mix together the egg, milk and vanilla, then pour into the well in the flour mixture> Using a wooden spoon, stir until just combined.
Spoon into the prepared tin, smoothing the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
Just before serving, dust with icing sugar if desired.
Slice and serve with butter or cream cheese.


Vanilla currant loaf is best eaten on the day it is made, but can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 8 weeks
recipe from Leanne Kitchen's "the Baker"

Worthy of a Restaurant

The great thing about food writing is that you are taken on little adventures all the time. As I wrote a review of Feast Bazaar, a page about Argan oil caught my imagination. Forest of Argan trees cover large areas in the Essouira region (Morocco), where the Berber community and my maternal ancestors settled.
The fruit which is a hard nut, the size of a plum contains one to three kernels, 100kg of seed yield 1 to 2 kg of oil, which make it the caviar of oils.
Though this oil has a plethora of benefits being rich in polyunsaturated fatty acid, see below for full composition, it reduces cholesterol & containing large amounts of vitamin E, what impressed me most was the production which is done entirely by hand mostly by community of women.

After some research, I obtain a bottle from Belazu, a company which seems to have its heart at the right place, reinvesting money in good causes such as building a school in a village they work with. They import North-African / Mediterranean top quality products, have hit "fame" with their rose harissa. Argan oil has a deep golden tint to it, as soon as you open the bottle the aroma jumps out like the Genie tickling your nostrils with nuttiness and "spiciness" Anxious to try straight away I chose to simple recipe, the result was heavenly, the nutty flavour of the oil really makes it gold. I am so taken that I am considering a visit to the land of my ancestors.

CHICKEN & MANGO SALAD WITH ARGAN OIL VINAIGRETTE
here is the recipe, The secret of a good vinaigrette is "use a fork"

In a bowl beat a tablespoon full of mustard, salt and pepper, season well with salt and pepper keep stirring, add a couple of dashes of vinegar, here you will need a non-obstructive kind, wine vinegar for example, add 2 tbs of Argan oil, one of vegetable oil, one spoon at the time, stirring the entire time. The consistency remains thick, if it gets thin top up the mustard.

For the salad: in a bowl mix 1 cooked and cubed chicken breast without the skin, 1/2 mango cubed, as much green salad as you can fit in the bowl, toss all this add the vinaigrette, serve

recipe adapted from "the sauna club" below is the fatty composition of argan oil
Saturated fatty acids 16-20 %
Palmitic acid 12 %
Stearic acid 6 %
Monounsaturated fatty acids 45-50 %
Oleic acid 42.8 %
Polyunstaturated fatty acids 32-40 %
Linoleic acid 36.8 %
Alpha linolenic acid

Marblellous Cake


Did you know that the origin of the word "cake" can be traced back to the 13th century. It is a derivation of 'kaka', an Old Norse word. Medieval European bakers often made fruitcakes and gingerbread, but it is only in the latter part of the 19th century that "Marble Cakes" appeared.
According to the recent ---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, in Victorian times when impact was of the utmost importance, the marble cake was a novelty which had to be seen on the American tables, it was also the logical extension of the American fascination with cake color. "When marble cake first appeared, its dark swirls were produced through the addition of molasses, spice, and, in some recipes, raisins or currants. The simpler recipes were prepared using a single whole-egg batter, half of it darkened, but more ambitious recipes produced a more dramatic effect by making use of separate silver and gold batters, the latter darkened. Other bi colored cakes soon entered the scene. Hard-money cake was made by swirling silver and gold batters."
May be we should give the Marble Cake a 21st century make-over so if anyone fancies playing with their food, here is your opportunity to have a slice of fun, just replace the chocolate powder/milk with any artificial/natural lurid coloring for psychedelic effect and send me the pictures for all to see.
recipe mostly from the one the Baker by Leanne Kitchen
Marble CakeServes 10

Ingredients
185g (61/2 oz) butter , softened
230g (8 oz) caster sugar
3 eggs
280g (10 oz) self-raising flour
185ml (6fl oz) milk
1 tsp natural vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons warm milk, extra (for the chocolate powder)

Preheat oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Lightly grease a 25cm loaf (bar) tin and line the bottom with greaseproof (baking) paper.
If you want to make life easy, simply put all the ingredients (except the cocoa powder) into a food processor and whizz for 1-2 mins until smooth. If you prefer to mix by hand, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
If you are using the vanilla bean, split it down the middle and scrape the seeds into a bowl. Alternatively, put the vanilla in the bowl, then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Sift the flour and fold it in, alternating with the milk until the mixture is smooth.
Divide the mixture between 2 bowls. Stir the cocoa powder and the extra milk into the mixture in one of the bowls.
Take 2 spoons and use them to dollop the chocolate and vanilla cake mixes into the tin alternately. When all the mixture has been used up , tap the bottom on your work surface to ensure that there aren't any air bubbles. Take a skewer and swirl it around the mixture in the tin a few times to create a marbled effect.
Bake the cake for 50-60 mins until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool. Will keep for 3 days in an airtight container or freeze for up to 6 weeks.

The Baker by Leanne Kitchen


As I was writing the title, I was transported back in time, reminding me of the poetry sessions at primary school. Do you remember them? When you stood up by your desk trying not to shuffle your feet, declaiming title and verse, not really understanding what it was all about, all the time knowing that you were saying something beautiful. It was not an easy exercise, but the important thing was that you were learning, and some of us, many years later, might still read poetry.
The Baker is a bit like that: an ode to baking. Everything is in there, information on ingredients, equipment, techniques, etymology, history, even a trouble-shooting section. This sounds more like a handy reference guide than a book of poems, and it could easily have been, if it was not for the fantastic recipes and their beautifully styled photographs worthy of the best coffee-table compilation. If you have a present to give, either to yourself (especially to yourself) or to somebody else, with this book you will make someone very happy.
Now for the scientific bit: Leanne Kitchen trained as a chef, her career in food spanning some fourteen years. This book contains 100 recipes divided into chapters on Quickbreads, Yeast, Cakes, Biscuits, Pies and Tarts, Batters, Desserts and Puddings.


Mango and Passion Fruit Pies


Ingredients:
400g plain flour
165g icing sugar
200g cold unsalted butter
2 egg yolks mixed with 2 tablespoons iced water
1 egg, lightly beaten
Icing sugar for dusting
Filling:
60 ml passion fruit pulp
1 tablespoon custard powder or instant vanilla pudding mix
3 ripe mangoes peeled, sliced, and chopped
80 g caster sugar

Method:Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, lightly rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the center, then add the egg yolks to the well. Mix using a flat-bladed knife until a rough dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, then gently press together into a ball. Form into a flat disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Grease a round pie dish ( the recipe indicates six fluted loose-based flan tins).
Roll out 2/3 of the chilled pastry between two sheets of baking paper until 3 mm thick.

Cut out the shape of your tin. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 190 degrees C (375F/Gas 5).
To make the filling, in a small saucepan stir the custard powder and the passionfruit pulp until thick - will take a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mango and sugar.
Fit pastry in the tin(s), add the filling, roll out top pastry and fit over tins, and then brush with beaten egg. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Serve at room temperature with whipped cream.

Food from Canada


is a brilliant initiative from Jasmine. She and a friend called for a round up to gather recipes from Canada. The submissions seemed to have come from every corner and the end product is inspiring.
Just as French President Nicolas Sarkozy is asking the UN to award French cuisine Unesco humanity heritage status, previous winners in this field have included a Belgian carnival and the royal ballet of Cambodia, should we look at our respective national cuisine as immoveable heritage or melting pot in evolution?

Dressed to Impress: En Papillote

"En Papillote" is basically a posh denomination for a fun and easy way of cooking. Often applied to fish it can also be used for chicken or vegetables on their own.

All what you have to do is slice thinly the vegetables, wrap all the items in a parchment or a tin foil and cook the parcel in the oven gas mark 200C for 20 minutes or on the barbecue so that the food cooks in its own juices, keeping the moisture in the bag which will swell with hot steam. When cook slide the bag on the diner's plate and watched at they unwrapped their parcel, never falls to impress, serve with new potatoes or couscous or rice

It is an healthy way of cooking which suits perfectly food with delicate flavour here are some ideas:

Dry vermouth or dry white wine, thyme, parsley, dill with fennel, carrot, celery and shallot or onion.

note that fennel has a strong flavour which is not to every body's taste could be replaced by leek

A taste of the East : Soya sauce, a splash of sherry, just a drop of sesame oil with julienne of ginger, garlic, sweet peas

Be adventurous: White wine or dry vermouth, tangerine or orange slices, fennel, red onion, chives

Provencal style: Chopped (seeded, drained) tomatoes, olives, oregano,capers, garlic.

North African way: garlic clove, 1 tsp cumin seeds, extra virgin olive oil, juice of 1 lemon + zest or one finely chopped preserved lemon,1 jalapeño pepper, seeded 1 bunch coriander, salt & pepper to taste

Now for the more complex question of which fish? whole gutted and clean trouts, soles, salmon fillets, breams mostly farmed so sustainable, they never achieve the same flavour as there "free range" counterpart but when it comes to cod should we still provide a demand when stock are being depleted? is there still plenty of fish in the sea?
My understanding is that the quotas are not doing much good as a lot of the cod is caught by trawling-nets when fishing other species and then thrown back in the sea. As consumers we seem to be only a small part of the answer, the solution resting firmly with the political powers and the fishing industry.
My answer to that one is that I have not stopped buying cod but I diversify what I buy and look out for new yummy recipes, don't hesitate to comment would love to know how you tackle the issue.

Fun with Jam Drops

"A cup of coffee, friends and a natter" rates in the top five of my feel-good list at the moment, so yesterday as I was getting food ready for diner, Anne was coming around, I thought it would be nice to finish the meal with coffee and biscuits, slumped in cosy corner, exchanging news. Looking for a biscuit recipe in my new bible "the baker" by Leanne Kitchen, I knoooow, I still can't believe it is a real name either, but more of this in another post, I spotted jam drops.

When I was very small, at school, they taught us how to make "lunettes", biscuits shaped like spectacles, sprinkled with icing sugar, the eyes filled in with jam. Jam drops obey the same principle and they could have been named "eye balls" but I guess that would not have been very appetizing. There is nothing to them, they are a little time consuming to make but I have not had so much fun in the kitchen for a long time and they are delicious.


Jam Drops

Makes 32
Ingredients:

80g unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup / 80g caster sugar
2 tblsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup /125g self-raising flour
1/3 cup/40g custard powder or instant vanilla pudding mix
1/3 cup raspberry jam/100g ( I used recently home made strawberry jam)

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to moderate 180C/ 350F/Gas 4 and line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in a small bowl with electric beaters until light and fluffy, or a fork will do, Add the milk and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the sifted flour and custard powder and mix to form a soft dough. Roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place on the trays.

3. Make an indentation in each ball using the end of a wooden spoon. Fill each hole with a little jam. Bake for 15 minutes, cool slightly on the trays, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Jam drops will keep up to 7 days, stored in a cool place in an airtight container, or can be frozen in which case, you will have to be really fast as they disappear so quickly.

Not Quite A Domestic Goddess Yet : Tomato Tarte Tatin

For me Tatin conjures up images of cataclysm, well, what can you expect from a recipe created out of an accident.
Once upon a time "there was 2 spinster sisters who lived in Lamotte-Beuvron, a small rural town in the Loire Valley of France, owned and ran the hotel called l'Hotel Tatin in 1888. The elder sister, Stéphanie, dealt with the kitchen. She was a particularly fine cook but was not the brightest of people. Her specialty was an apple tart, served perfectly crusty, caramelized and which melted in the mouth. One day during the hunting season, during the midday scramble, Stephanie placed her tart in the oven the wrong way round. The pastry and apples were upside-down but, nevertheless, she served this strange dessert without giving it time to cool. The French call this dessert tarte des demoiselles Tatin".
Once upon another time, much much later than 1888, my parents where invited to stay with his mum who then run a lovely B&B where everything was perfect in the Peak District. My dad always keen to show his culinary talents took upon himself to make une Tarte Tatin, there was lots of excitement all around as he swapped his persona for that of a stereotypical male chef : giving orders, swearing a lot. What we had not foreseen was that there is a world a difference between cooking with a gaz stove and a metal plate and using an halogen cooker with china dishes.

It took no time for the china to explode, the melting caramel to burn on the halogen, my dad to swear even louder, his mum to run around in horror, mine to try to help and me to wish that the cursed Tatin sisters had never been born.

Understandably, Tatin remained a taboo recipe for a long time, I can only eat savoury Tatins but never attempted to make one until the other day, as I was reviewing Easy Food magazine, I was attracted to the Tomato Tarte Tatin like a magnet to the fridge. As far as I know curiosity only kills cat, so I tried. It is just delicious, though you will agree the presentation was worthy the sisters' first attempt.
TOMATO TARTE TATIN
As seen in Easy Food Magazine
serves 4-6
Ingredients:
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp thyme leaves
finely chopped
400g cherry tomatoes
1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry
cut to fit over a 20cm/8in ovenproof flan or quiche dish
100g mozzarella
goat’s cheese or Parmesan shavings
Fresh basil leaves
to garnish
2 tbsp olive oil for drizzling

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6 and grease an ovenproof quiche or flan dish with a little butter and set aside.

Put the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and thyme into a nonstick frying pan and heat until the sugar has melted. Bring to boil. Add the tomatoes and stir until they are completely coated with the syrup. take the frying pan off the heat and set it aside to cool.

Arrange the tomatoes in the bottom of the buttered dish and drizzle the sauce on top. Unroll the puff pastry and flatten out slightly with a rolling pin. Cute out a round slightly larger than the buttered dish. Place the circle of pastry on top of the tomatoes. Trim the edges or tuck them down the sides of the dish.

Bake the tart in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until it is well risen and golden brown. Place a large serving dish upside down on top of the tart dish and carefully turn it upside down so that the tomatoes are on top, protecting your hands with a thick towel.

Tear the mozzarella cheese into small pieces and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Garnish with a few leaves of fresh basil and serve drizzled with a little olive oil.

Fat 28g - Carbs 40g - Energy 437Kcal - Protein 9g - Sodium 3g - Fibre 3g
Tale of the tarte Tatin found in whatscookingamerica.net
En Francais dans le texte
TARTE TATIN A LA TOMATE
POUR 4-6
Ingrédients :
2 cuillères a soupe de vinaigre balsamique
2 cuillères a soupe sucre semoule
1 cuillère a soupe de thym finement haché
400g tomates-cerises
1 feuille de pâte feuilletée prêt-roulée
coupez pour l'adapter au-dessus d'un plat a flan 20cm
100g de fromage de chèvre ou copeaux de parmesan
Feuilles fraîches de basilic
pour garnir
2 cuillères a soupe d' huile d'olive
Méthode :

Préchauffez le four 200C/gas à la marque 6 et graissez un plat a tarte allant au four avec du peu de beurre et le mettez de côté.
Mettez le vinaigre balsamique, le sucre, et le thym dans une poêle antiadhésives et faire chauffer jusqu'à ce que le sucre ait fondu. portez a ebullition.
Ajoutez les tomates et remuez jusqu'à ce qu'elles soient complètement enduites du sirop. retires la poêle outre du feu et placez-la de côté pour faire refroidir.

Arrangez les tomates au fond du plat beurré et versez la sauce sur le dessus.
Déroulez la pâte feuilletée et l'aplatissez dehors légèrement, decoupez un rond légèrement plus grand que le plat beurré. Placez le cercle de pate sur les tomates. Équilibrez les bords ou rempliez-les sur les côtés du plat.

Faites cuire la tarte dans le four préchauffé pendant 25 minutes, ou jusqu'à ce qu'elle soit bien levée et brun d'or.
Sortes du four, placez un grand plat sur le plat a tarte et tournez-soigneusement a l'envers de sorte que les tomates soient sur le dessus, en protégeant vos mains avec une serviette épaisse.
"Déchirez" la mozzarella en petits morceaux et places les au dessus des tomates. Garnissez avec quelques feuilles de basilic frais et une peu d'huile d'olive.

Gras 28g - Glucides 40g - Énergie 437Kcal - Protéine 9g - Sodium 3g - Fibre 3g



I Like my Pizza from Syria


Choice is a good thing but too much choice can be bad, for this very reason, pizza can be the most annoying dish on earth. 

For me, going to a pizzeria is always quite traumatic: after much humming and hawing to choose which topping I would prefer, I invariably change my mind when the waiter is about to leave the table with my order; and that is only picking the toppings, if there is also a choice of dough the whole outing turns into agony.

I suspect that master pizza bakers have secret competitions somewhere in the hill around Naples to produce the most unlikely combination of toppings. I am sure they dream up silly toppings and give them Italian names. I can hear the discussions, “What about the Pomegranitela: crayfish, asparagus, and pomegranate pizza, and for this season’s vegetarian choice, the Sisistellina: salad, spring onions, spices, and to top it all . . . come on . . . why not? Be new, be trendy . . . spaghetti, that should be a winner.”

I am sorry, but I do like some things to be simple; this is why I like the pizzas in Syria – no nonsense, full of flavor, simple one-choice pizza. Some of you might say that they had the same in Morocco or in Algeria. I raise my case, across several countries one kind of pizza.

I had forgotten all about the pizza from Syria but as I was reviewing Feast Bazaar: India, Morocco, Syria by Barry Vera, I was flooded with memories of my time spent in Syria. There it was, recipe and all, I had to make it straight away and it was as delicious as I remembered. Here it is, if you would like to have a go, and if you have experienced some silly toppings, let me know with your comment.
Cinnamon Lamb Pizza with Oregano Makes 4

ingredients:
35g wholemeal flour
435 g plain flour, plus extra, for rolling
2 teaspoons fresh yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
21/2 teaspoons salt
420ml water
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
300g minced lamb4 tablespoons tomato sauce
4 balls buffalo mozzarella
2 large sprigs oregano, leaves picked

Method:
To make the pizza bases, place the flours, yeast, sugar, and 21/2 teaspoons salt into a mixer with a dough hook. With the motor running, slowly add 420ml water and 2 teaspoons of the oil. Leave the mixer on low speed for 10 minutes, or until a smooth, firm dough forms.


Divide the dough into four even portions, place on a lightly oiled tray, and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave for about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Roll out each portion onto a lightly floured surface to create four circles that have a 12 cm diameter and are 5mm thick. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F/Gaz7).

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over medium heat.

Add the onion and cinnamon and fry for about 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is soft.

Add the lamb and cook for 20-30 minutes or until it is crispy, Make sure you keep stirring the mince to break it down into small pieces. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.

Place the pizza bases on baking trays.

Spread 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce over each one, spreading all the way to the edge.

Sprinkle the lamb evenly over each base, then tear the buffalo mozzarella over the lamb.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the pizza bases are golden and crispy.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the oregano. Season and serve immediately.
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