14.3 Grams, ½ ounces, 3 teaspoons, 15 millilitres, ¼ cups…
Who would have thought that cooking would sometimes require a degree in mathematics?
For some people, cooking is considered to be a universal language where everybody gathers for the love of food… until the time comes to debate about the best way to weigh chocolate chips.
Although every kitchen around the world has a wooden spoon and pan, it’s another story to open a cookbook without a calculator and an Internet connection and make sure to use the proper mass of flour or chicken.
Sometimes the success of a diner may just hold in the balance of what Miss Cup, Mister Teaspoon or Mrs Gram tell us… as long as we understand their language! Why do we make our lives so difficult? That is the question…
Until you find the answer, why not try the following recipe that uses… yogurt pots as a measurement unit.
Yes, yet another unit to add to your ever-growing list of measurements, but at least it’s universal!
Yogurt Cake – 6 persons
1 pot of natural yogurt
3 yogurt pots of flour
2 yogurt pots of sugar
1 yogurt pot of sunflower oil
1 tablespoon of baking powder
Pre-heat the oven at 180°C/Gas 6
In a big bowl, mix all the ingredients together and stir well until smooth.
Pour the mixture in a non-stick cake form.
Place it in the oven for 30 min.
How to define French cuisine?
The best traditional wines and the most refined cheeses?
The diversity of regional specialities?
Two hours for a three-course lunch break?
A 500-m queue on a Sunday morning outside a bakery for a fresh croissant?
A piece of baguette at every meal?
The most recognised gastronomic restaurants?
The Michelin guide?
A multitude of awards to celebrate the best ingredients?
A title for the best artisan in cultivating or creating specific food products?
French Cuisine… Don’t we do a bit too much?!
Most probably, but that’s what French Cuisine is all about after all! Santé!
Gougères Bourguignonnes – 6 persons
100g of unsalted butter
150g of flour
150g of grated cheese
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven over 180°C / Gas 6
Butter and flour a pastry pan.
Boil 25 cl of water with the butter in a non-stick pot with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Take the pot off the fire and the flour in one go and stir vigourously.
Replace the pot on the fire and continue to stir until the dough becomes one big bowl.
Take the pot off the fire and add the eggs one after the other while continuing to mix.
Add the grated cheese and mix again.
Using a tablespoon, form small balls of dough and place them on the pastry pan for 20 mn (the balls will double in size).
A spoon of memories.
A spoon of comfort.
A spoon of wellbeing.
A spoon “that helps the medicine go down”.
The spoon that a baby brings to his mouth for the first time.
The spoon that you used to put in a jam pot after school, seated in the kitchen enjoying the return home.
The spoon of honey that your grandmother used to give you when you couldn’t sleep.
The spoon that your mom let you lick while she was making cakes.
The spoon of hot chocolate on a Saturday morning on a winter’s day.
The spoon that you shared with your love for your first one-person dessert.
The spoon that lets you to taste if the stew is well seasoned.
This small thing made of silver, metal or plastic carries our memories and souvenirs through the years and ages. The hero of the legendary French novel, ‘A la recherche du temps perdu’ – Remembrance of Things Past – by Marcel Proust, lives the same experience, living both the past and present simultaneously, when he bites into a Madeleine cake:
“And suddenly the memory revealed itself: The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane.”
In our modern age, though, what better way to remember the best moments of childhood than with a spoon of chocolate paste?
Madeleine – Make about 20
100g of butter
150g of caster sugar
150g of flour
A teaspoon of vanilla sugar
A teaspoon of bakery powder
A teaspoon of orange blossom
A few spoons of Nutella
Heat the oven at 180°C/gas 6
Whisk the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla sugar until white.
Add the flour and the baking powder.
Add the melted butter and the orange blossom.
Drop a small tablespoon of the batter into the centre of each prepared mould and add a teaspoon of Nutella and cover with some more batter.
Bake the madeleine for 8/9 mn until the edges are golden brown and the centres spring back when lightly touched.
Do not overbake or they will be dry.
The sun and the heat have finally decided to say Hello.
Dresses and skirts are ready for a journey away from the cupboard where they’ve hibernated all winter.
Sunglasses are back, happy to show off their myriad of shapes and sizes.
All is set to make the best of the summer holiday.
It’s now time to start your engines and get ready to enjoy a food speciality road trip of France.
In Normandy, give a ‘l’Omelette de la mère Poulard‘ or ‘Camembert‘ a go.
In Brittany, you can’t escape the ‘crêpes‘ and ‘kouign amann‘.
Along the Atlantic ocean, you wouldn’t resist either the ‘foie gras‘ or ‘confit de canard‘.
Further south, don’t miss the ‘Poulet basquaise‘ or a few ‘boles de Picolat’.
The beautiful south east will tempt you with a ‘ratatouille‘ and a refreshing ‘Salade niçoise‘.
Spend an afternoon hiking through the Alps to prepare yourself for a ‘Gratin dauphinois‘ or a ‘fondue savoyarde‘.
Swinging by the Massif Central, experience the ‘lentilles du Puy‘ or ‘escargots de Bourgogne‘.
Heading back north east, it’s time for a ‘Quiche Lorraine‘ with a glass of ‘Champagne‘.
Finally, make your last stop in the north to enjoy a ‘gratin d’endives‘ or a very tasty ‘tarte au maroilles‘.
For those who are ready for a little overseas travel to the French Islands, a ‘colombo‘ or ‘acras de morue‘ will bring you the sun you miss.
Quiche Lorraine – 6 persons
1 shortcrust pastry
350g of smoked bacon, diced
200g of grated cheese
40 cl of ‘creme fraiche’
2 pinches of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas 6
Stretch the pastry into a tart form and put it into the fridge.
Place the bacon in a pot of boiling water for one minute and drain.
In a non-stick pan, fry the bacon for 5 mn at medium heat without oil or butter.
Drain the bacon on absorbent paper.
In a salad bowl, mix the eggs with the cream, the nutmeg, the salt and the pepper.
Add the bacon and the pieces of ham.
Pour the mixture on the pastry in the tart form and cover with grated cheese (preferably gruyere).
Place in the oven for 40 mn.
Serve with lettuce.
You can also find this recipe on a foodie friend’s blog – http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com – http://bit.ly/eC9e2
Two people meet each other for the first time and at the first glance, they know they are made to be together… the indescribable chemistry that we call love.
Two egg whites in a bowl meet each other and with a little help from a human hand, the two eggs get tranform into a cream so smooth that you can’t help yourself but dipping a finger into it.
This incredible chemistry between two egg whites suddenly opens the door to a whole new field of possibilities for the cook.
Just like with love, cooking is a magical alchemy where the association of two ingredients is the beginning of a new story.
Strawberry mousse – 3 persons
3 egg whites
50g of castor sugar
300g of strawberries
15 cl of double cream
10 cl of orange flower water
Whizz the strawberries to a purée
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks.
While whisking, add the sugar to make a glossy meringue.
Whip the double cream softly and fold it with the egg whites into the strawberry purée with a wood spoon from up to down.
Add the orange flower water.
Pour the mix into glasses and chill a night in the fridge.
Watching a chef cooking a marvellous recipe on TV always seems to be easy as pie; something that anybody should be able to reproduce at home.
Everything always seems to work perfectly from A to Z. You haven’t had the time to finish your drink that the chef has already pulled up a sophisticated 3-course menu.
But once back in the kitchen with your mind set to recreate the fantastic menu and impress your invitees, the reality appears to be slightly different.
For an unknown reason that only a divine force should be able to explain, the onions have decided to burn, the sauce is in a liquid mood and the meat doesn’t seem to enjoy its new special treatment.
The atmosphere is getting stormy and anyone who dares step into the kitchen to check if everything is under control is taking a huge risk.
Cooking, a piece of cake? Well, that depends …
The one most important thing in any cooking experience, no matter how simple or insurmountably difficult, is to have fun! And enjoy a piece of cake!
Red pepper and basil cake
250g of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
10 cl of milk
150g of melted butter
2 tablespoons of mustard
2 red peppers
10 sundried tomatoes, chopped
70g of grated Parmesan
A handful of fresh basil
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Place the peppers in the oven at 200° C/ gas 6 for 30 mn.
Peel the skin off and chop the pepper into thin slices.
Bring the oven down to 180° C/gas 5 for the cake.
In a bowl, mix the eggs, add the milk, the olive oil, the flour, the baking powder and stir well.
Melt your butter in a microwave.
Then, add the butter, the mustard, the parmesan, the sundried tomatoes and the basil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pour in a cake form
Place in the oven for an hour.
The smile of a child who is surprised by an icecream on a warm afternoon.
The smile of a pregnant woman savouring strawberries in the middle of the night.
The smile of a teenager splitting a pizza with his friends.
The smile of two grandmothers sipping afternoon tea over pictures of their grandchildren.
The smile of a foodie swooning over the latest creation of a chef.
There are moments in anyone’s life, where the binding catalyst of any experience or memory is the food we enjoy it over.
What better way to bring comfort to a friend than offering them their favourite guilty pleasure.
And what better spice than seeing the smile of the person you share it with.
Thai salmon fishcakes with sweet chili and mango dip – 2 persons
For the fishcakes
20g fresh coriander
Zest of 1 lime
4 spring onions
1 teaspoon peeled and finely grated ginger
Large garlic clove, crushed
Large pinch dried crushed chilies
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 x 180g cans of salmon, drained
½ tablespoon fish sauce
1 egg, beaten
For the dip
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 mango very finely chopped
In a food processor, whiz the first seven ingredients until finely chopped.
Transfer to a bowl, add the salmon, fish sauce and beaten egg and mix together gently until well combined.
Shape into 12 fishcakes and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Just before cooking, dust every fishcake in a little flour, shaking off the excess.
Shallow fry for 3-4 mn each side over a medium heat.
Meanwhile, mix together the dip ingredients and set aside.
Serve the hot fishcakes on lettuce leaves with the dipping sauce on the side in a bowl.