Gougères - French Cheese Puffs

Gougères – French Cheese Puffs

Gougères are classic French cheese puffs made with choux pastry and grated cheese (Gruyère / Comté). French they may be but it was in Russia that I really took a liking to them.

I blame it on the French bakery Volkonsky‘s, which was in dangerous proximity to Katya’s Moscow appt. A small bakery / café selling delicious pastries, sandwiches, breads and coffee not to mention gougères.

It was a lesson in how something so innocent can be so addictive … I could have eaten them by the handful.

In memory of  Volkonsky’s gougères, here is  my recipe (see link Gougères below):

Gougères Cheese Puffs

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PIZZA & PIZZA DOUGH

31 August 2009

SP-Courgette-pizza

Courgette pizza

PIZZA : A kitchen garden is a dream I have had for some time, however as we currently live in the city center with only a balcony fit for potted herbs,  I have to live vicariously through Olivier’s mother. Josiane has a wonderful potager in France, where she grows everything from runner beans and beetroot to leeks & lettuce.

However it is the courgettes (zucchinis) that are growing like wild fire, taking up more than their share of the vegetable garden. As the summer months pass and Autumn draws near, Josiane has an increasingly difficult time keeping up with their pace and as a result, come August I am the happy owner of several enormous courgettes.

Now I tell you, grateful as I am, a girl can only do so much with courgettes and after my fifth batch of soup I was getting desperate. The fact that I have been on an Italian theme for the past few post and recently been perfecting my hand at homemade pizza dough, gave me the idea for this recipe!

The mint to be honest was a lucky accident…. I  was preparing the pizza for this post, grabbed the herb jar of dried ‘basel’…. shook it generously over the pizza, only to look down and discover that the label read MINT! Shit I thought… oh well, too late to turn back now, so into the oven it went.

RECIPE

BRIOCHE BREAD

5 March 2009

sp-brioche-bread

Brioche Bread

BRIOCHE BREAD RECIPE : My mother-in-law has a black-belt in bread making, especially when it comes to her famous Swiss tresse (braided pain brioché). But I am getting ahead of myself and if I am going to tell a story it’s best told from the beginning.

Before I met Olivier’s family, breakfast for me was a non event. It was generally eaten quickly, on the run, out the door to work. So it will come as no surprise to you that a quick fruit, piece of toast or cereal, was all that was on the menu.

My sad petit déjeuner habits were interrupted one Sunday, when I was invited to Olivier’s parents for breakfast. Sweet idea I thought – though someone really should have warned me not to eat for several days before, entering what I can only describe as, a Roman feast…..

BRIOCHE BREAD

HOMEMADE BREAD RECIPE

16 October 2008

The butcher, the baker, the candle stick maker… I certainly know which job I would choose!!! Which perhaps explains why every time I entered the local boulangerie (lovely French word for a bakery), a little voice inside my head would say “why are you not making this yourself…. “

The best kept secret is : BAKING BREAD IS EASY!

The basic recipe : 500 grams flour to 300mL water, yeast & salt

Then I play around with the types of flour used, sometimes adding extra cracked wheat, oat flakes or seeds!  The possibilities are endless. It is best to just throw caution to the wind and try your hand at what has been a time honoured tradition for centuries (even before the Kitchen Aid …. yes this era did actually exist). And did I mention the smell…. this is what the extra effort is all about – the secent of freshly baking bread wafting through your house.

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HOMEMADE BREAD MAKING 101

SWEDISH BREAD Recipe

21 February 2008

Swedish Bread - Fullkornight Formbrod

{FULLKORNIGHT FORMBROD} This is a story of  Swedish bread, my friends Nina &  Sophie – 2 Swedish sisters, their mother, Elisabeth, and four cities.

Nina was not into baking bread, that is to say not until this past Christmas…. when I got her roped into the kitchen, and not even my own kitchen but that of her mother’s….. as when I saw Elisabeth a few months earlier I asked her how to make Swedish bread… She said not to worry, that she had just the recipe and as Nina was home in Stockholm for the holidays, and would come back an expert.

As she did! And further family help was on the way, as Sophie, brought the authentic Swedish ingredients (vetekross – cracked wheat & grahamsmjöl– wholewheat flour etc.) from Stockholm, to London to Paris and finally to Geneva, where this past weekend Nina and I made the recipe together. So impressed was I with the outcome – thick crunchy crust, soft, yet dense centre of cracked wheat, that I just made another loaf just to post the results this evening.

So a big thank you to Nina, Elisabeth & Sophie – I truly believe that I was Swedish in another life!

RECIPE

POTATO BREAD

26 November 2007

Potato Pesto Bread

Can you believe that it is the end of the month already! It just crept up on me… which means that Christmas is only a few short weeks away, as is all the wonderful festive cooking & baking. And to get my kneading muscles in shape – Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups blog , host of this months DARING BAKERS challenge, has set us the task of making ‘Tender Potato Bread’.

 DB mini web logo I was really looking forward to this challenge, as lately I have found myself drawn to making bread – I don’t know if it is the cold weather or the need to bake that is the root, but the results have been encouraging! So far I have my mother-in-law’s recipe for ‘tresse au beurre’ (like a braided/platted brioche bread) and a Swedish rhye bread under my belt. There was a small incident in which the Swedish dough took on a life of its own and starting climbing out of the bowl… the bowl was too small, the yeast was too strong, and well I was too slow. However the situation was saved just in the nick of time & all turned out well, including two lovely golden loaves.

So when it came time to tackle the DB challenge, I was ready. To personalise the recipe (within the allowed modifications of course) I created a savoury pesto & pine-nut version, brushing the tops with a light egg wash to give them that lovely gleam, and then sprinkled them with pine-nuts – the ones I bought in Barcelona at E&A Gispert this summer and had been saving!!! I also halved the recipe, which scaled down nicely, producing fifteen small rolls, but for the purpose of this competition I have posted the original recipe.

RECIPE