PLUM AND CINNAMON TARTLETS

10 September 2007

Plum tartlets

{TARTELETTES AUX PRUNEAUX ET CANNELLE} I know I know, I promised more savoury & less sweetie recepes – but little purple plums are TAKING OVER MY KITCHEN!!! Everywhere I look there is a bowl, box or plate of them. Why you might ask – well it just so happens that Olivier’s parents have plum trees at their country house in France…. and as they cannot keep up with them, the torch has been passed! Something had to be done….

As I have already made ‘PLUM, GREEN GAGE & CINNAMON JAM’ (soon to be posted on the SP blog) I thought I would turn my attention to tart making… before the plums turn or the season passes! And seeing as the cinnamon was a nice added touch to the plum jam, I decided to make a sweet cinnamon pastry crust for this recipe.

RECIPE

Chocolat noir et blanc cardamon

{PETITS POTS DE CHOCOLAT NOIR ET BLANC A LA CARDAMOME} The dinner party…… a wonderful event, but for the host it can become a juggling act to create delicious dishes that are easy, made in advance and beautiful! Do not let the picture above fool you – this is an easy recipe, that is based on Trish Deseine’s ‘Petits pots de chocolat’ with a twist. I have wooed many a guest at the end of a dinner where the conversation goes quiet and everyone relishes in this heavenly desert.

The original recipe calls for only dark chocolate, which is sinful but as it is summer I felt the need to lighten things up – so I divided the recipe in 2 and created one rich dark chocolate cream layer and a 2nd delicate white chocolate layer with a hint of cardamon, finished with a dust of cacao.

RECIPE

PEACH & PINK PEPPER JAM

13 August 2007

Peach pink pepper jam

{CONFITURE DE PECHE ET POIVRE ROSE} First a funny fact about me and the sweet little peach…, the fuzzy skin gives me ‘les frisons’ (shivers / goose-bumps)  like scratching your nails on a chalk board – not apricots or quince, just peaches – I know I am odd!

This fact however did not hinder my enthusiasm to make jam, nor Olivier’s ability to eat it (funny that – I think he may have an addiction) As do I for pepper… white, green, black or pink, so perhaps that is the source of my inspiration to combine peaches and pink pepper (poivre rose). Pink peppercorns (schinus terebinthifolius) come from Brazil or Peru and are not in fact a true peppercorn but a dried fruit from the Baies Rose. They have a lovely soft flavour with a little spice which compliments the white peaches very sweet taste.

Peach Jam HELPFUL HINTS:

  • Peach season in Europe is from June to the end of September
  • End of season peaches are sweeter as they have had more sunshine
  • To easily remove peach skin, choose ripe peaches. Plunge them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then in cold water for 10 seconds. The skin will peal off easily.
  • Use lemon juice as natural pectin
  • If your peaches are not very ripe, they will not completely disintegrate when cooked and your jam will require a little hand mixing (see recipe below)

RECIPE

GINGER COOKIES

27 June 2007

Biscuit Gingembre

GINGER COOKIES

I have come to believe that cookies/biscuits or ninnies as my aunt calls them, are the unofficial 5th major food group, and one that I cannot live without, especially as it has not stopped raining for the past week and feels more like October than June…. who is playing the cruel joke! So I am having cravings for hot drinks and cookies, and with the urge to bake last night came across this recipe from an old issue of the Globe and Mail newspaper.

The original cookie recipe called for shortening / hydrogenated vegetable oil or vegetable lard, not to be confused with normal lard if you don’t want your cookies tasting of bacon!. However  I am a purist when it comes to butter, even more so after reading about the negative side effects of eating industrially created trans fats by partly hydrogenation plant oil. The moral of the story = eat what nature naturally intended and not what humans have manipulated to increase shelf life!

I like these cookies as they are, however I did go out on a limb and added cubes of candied ginger and nutmeg, then reduced the cooking time to 8 minutes to give them slightly chewy centres.

GINGER COOKIES

Spinach & mustard cream quiche

{QUICHE A LA MOUTARD ET EPINARDS} The word ‘quiche‘ comes from the German word ‘Küchen’ meaning cake and started as an open pie made with bread dough and an egg, cream and bacon filling (the cheese came later!) It originated in the medieval German kingdom of Lothringen, later conquered by the French and renamed Lorraine – hence quiche Lorraine.

As fate would have it, my inspiration to adapt this traditional French / German recipe came when I was invited to lunch at Laura’s mother’s house in Surrey…. Wendy served a delicious warm tomato quiche, but what left a lasting impression was the mustard and cream layer that she added. With this tangy taste still fresh in my mouth (or shall I say mind) and spinach being one of my preferred vegetables of choice, my traditional childhood quiche was about to have a makeover!

RECIPE