Praise for ‘The Little Paris Kitchen’ …

I know I have mentioned this book by Rachel Khoo before, but it’s worth repeating! Each recipe that I cook from this book is utterly delicious.

Today, for lunch, we had the egg, cheese and ham muffins. They were amazing, really filling, easy to prepare and enjoyed by all:

 

They are clearly not your traditional muffin, but they are baked in a muffin tin! Crust free slices of white bread were rolled flat and then brushed with melted butter, they were then pushed in to the muffin tray so that the bread formed the ‘case’. Inside each bread case I put a thin slice of ham followed by an egg yolk with some of the white, followed by a couple of tablespoons of a thick cheese sauce – I used a Comté cheese which was really strong and made the sauce go quite string-like. Each ‘muffin’ was topped with a little grated cheese, they were then baked for about 10-15 minutes. These treats made a very tasty change from sandwiches!

 

I did the weekly food shop this morning and decided to take a chance by opening my recipe book at 2 random pages. I was really lucky because our main course of Lemon Sole with Burnt Butter, Parsley and Capers was unbelievably quick and easy, this enabled me to take the time needed to make ‘Millefeuille‘!

First off, the main course – the fish literally took 5 minutes to cook and it was kept warm whilst I made the burnt butter to drizzle over it. We could really taste the zing of the lemon juice that was added to the butter, I was really pleased I decided to add the capers, I wasn’t sure if my boys would like them but they demolished their tea as if they hadn’t been fed for a week! A real hit that will be made again soon:

 

Next we had the Millefeuille. I’ve never made these before and consequently didn’t roll the pastry out quite thinly enough to get the proper effect. I did however manage to slice each rectangle of puff pastry in half, I then filled the middle with vanilla crème pâtissièrre, apple purée and lightly whipped double cream:

 

Yum!!

Brilliant Bacon and Excellent Eggs in a Super Salad …

I arrived home from work having failed to stock up on food the day before and my rapidly growing boys were hungry for their tea. I looked in the cupboards and in the fridge and was faced with some unsmoked bacon, a lettuce, some spring onions, some eggs and some plain flour. After a bit of thought I came up with a meal that really worked, so much so that we will be having it again soon.

I made some flatbreads with the flour – the dough was left to rest for just 15 minutes which was when I shallow fried the bacon, hard boiled a few eggs, washed and shredded the lettuce, chopped the spring onions and made a small bowl of mayonnaise. The bacon was allowed to crisp up in the oven whilst the flatbreads were cooked. The result was a very tasty, summer-like tea : flatbreads with a crispy bacon and egg salad & mayo :

The flatbreads were rolled up with the Bacon & Egg Salad and Mayo inside – yum! For some additional heat we added some extra hot chilli sauce – even yummier!!

Wholemeal drop scones – what’s not to like?!

My youngest was out playing football this morning and I knew that he and hubby (who had been standing on the touchline for a couple of hours) would be needing something warming for lunch, so I prepared some of our all time favourite warm but quick and easy to make wholemeal drop scones:

 

 

They did the trick, delicious and hot, oozing with melting butter. Here’s my version of the recipe (from River Cottage Every Day) by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall:

 

Makes about 21:

 

250g self raising wholemeal flour

a pinch of baking powder

a pinch of sea salt

25g caster sugar

275ml milk

50g butter, melted (I used Bertoli, an olive oil based butter substitute and it worked perfectly) plus extra for buttering the scones

a little sunflower oil

 

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre and break in the eggs. Pour in about half of the milk and whisk gently to form a thick paste, gradually add the rest of the milk and the melted butter. Beat until the batter is the consistency of thick cream.

Put a frying pan over a medium heat, if you have an oil sprayer, spray a tiny amount of oil over the base of the pan, alternatively rub the base of a pan with some oil dribbles onto a sheet of kitchen paper. Drop desert spoonfuls of the batter into the pan – I normally manage 6 around the outside edge and 1 in the middle.

Once bubbles are appearing on the surface of the scones, flip them over to brown the other side – this will only take 30 seconds or so. Tip the scones onto a warm plate and top with a little butter. Add some more oil to the frying pan and cook the next batch. These ingredients normally make 21 drop scones for us, depending on how big I make them on the day.

Serve and eat straight away, be prepared for them all to rapidly disappear. If you do have some left over, store them in an air tight container and refrigerate over night. They are really tasty cold with just the smallest smear of extra butter (or butter substitute).

I was tempted to make these recently with white self raising flour but be warned, they are nowhere near as tasty as the wholemeal ones and they were not good the following day. It’s wholemeal flour in this recipe for us from now on.

 

The tastiest thing this Christmas …

was a Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart. It looked tasty on paper, the ingredients were a great combination – chocolate, cream, sugar, butter and digestives – but I wasn’t expecting the final result to be quite so delicious. I even prepared our visiting parents for the fact that I thought desert had gone a ‘bit wrong’.

Here are the pictures, the recipe follows. There was total silence around the table whilst this was being eaten, someone even asked if they could lick their plate clean!

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And so to the recipe:

For the crust:

250g digestive biscuits, crushed

125g butter, melted

For the caramel:

225g caster sugar

100g chilled butter

100ml double cream

1 heaped tsp Maldon sea salt

For the topping:

100g caster sugar

2 eggs

2 extra egg yolks

250g dark chocolate

150g butter

Ice cream, to serve

1. Heat your oven to 180*C. Lightly grease a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin.

2. Place the crushed biscuits in a bowl, add the butter and mix well. Press the biscuit mixture in to the greased tin, chill the tin in the fridge for 30 minutes or the freezer for 10. Remove the tin from the fridge and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the base feels dry. Leave to cool.

3. For the caramel, bring the sugar and 100ml water to the boil in a pan over a medium heat, stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the butter, return to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is a toffee colour. Pour in the cream and the salt and boil for another 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. Cool for a few minutes before pouring over the biscuit base.

4. To make the chocolate topping, whisk the sugar, eggs and egg yolks for 4 minutes, or until thick and pale. Gently melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water), leave to cool for a minute and then add to the sugar  and egg mixture, whisking until smooth and glossy.

5. Spread the chocolate mixture over the caramel and bake for about 20 minutes or until it is almost set but still a bit wobbly. Allow to cool in the tin, refrigerate if you prefer your caramel firm rather than gooey (either way is great!)

And that’s it – a recipe that will definitely be going in to the family file, one which I will no doubt use again and again, whenever I get the chance.