French fries… slow food

Oh yes these are slow food indeed. At least 40 minutes to bake and nowhere near the common chip when it comes to fat content & you get to choose the quality of the fat you use.

my french fries

The secret lies in cutting the fries the same size. I do use a little machine designed for the purpose but you can just as well do it by hand. Soak the fries in cold water to get rid of some of the starch, since & dry. Coat them in a good quality oil that can be heated (no extra virgin olive oil) so they are just covered, no extra oil needed. I added some thyme and lemon zest to give them a little kick. (Isabella’s in NY is my source of inspiration there). Bake them on a tray at 200°C for 20 minutes on each side. Yes, that means turning them one by one 😉 Make sure they do not touch each other which ensures that they get crispy.

Eat well

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preparing for winter…with jam

I am not chopping wood or knitting jumpers. Just back from London I stick to my promise of making apricot and strawberry jam for my nieces’ and nephew’s pancakes as well as for the yoga retreat that I will be catering for later in summer.

making jam London Derren Brown

I am in London quiet often, this time I went to see Derren Brown. If I could just beam me back and forth between Luxemburg an London…the perfect mix of inspiring big city creativity and the comfort of the familiar as well as the serenity of country side living. Derren’s amazingly clever show is of course a secret and I will stick to that promise just as I do to the jam one;) There is not much to say about making jam, so after a short description I will shut up and spam you with a few pictures…

making jam London Derren Brown

For 1 kg of washed and pitted fruit you need 1/2 kg sugar (the special jam kind)

The test to see if it will turn into jam is to pour some on a plate and see if it “gels”, if not keep cooking.

The glasses should be as clean as possible, I submerged each one in cooking water although the were already dish washer clean.

Fill to the brim, put the lid on and turn upside down for a couple of minutes.

making jam London Derren Brown

Eat well

Tortano…filled bread or rolled Pizza?

Back from an inspiring weekend with the girls in Paris.

No baking & learning this time, but enjoying the company, the city &… lots of nice food.

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One of the places I always wanted to go to and somehow never managed to, is Rose Bakery and it was all I hoped for;) I’m in love with that place and as I observed the (totally international) staff, cooking, baking and just generally working their b… off I was imagining what it would be like to work there & live in a small cozy flat nearby…I guess it would be a wonderfully stressful experience;)

I admire everybody’s welcoming manner considering how packed the place was and how crazy our style of having brunch. Showing up at different times, wanting to share a table, not fitting on one though and ordering our way chaotically up and down that menu! In the unlikely case that you (Rose Bakery elves)  will read this, you made my day;)

So it has to be a recipe today that is fit for brunch.

The inspiration comes from Leila Lindholm’s book that I own in dutch since, holding the copy in my hands in a shop in Brussels, I convinced myself that I am perfectly able to read enough dutch to comprehend a recipe…I recently bought a second copy in a language I actually do understand perfectly well;)

Ingredients:

15g baker’s yeast

300 ml warm water (not hot, that would kill the yeast)

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp honey

1 & 1/2 tbsp salt

170g durum wheat flour (also used in making pasta)

250g whole grain spelt flour

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and make sure the salt and yeast do not touch until you actually mix everything together. Salt kills yeast!

Cover the dough and set it side to rise for about half an hour.

Then work the dough and roll it out into a long shape that you can fill with the vegetables, cheese …of your choice. I went for courgette, dried & fresh tomatoes and some mozzarella. 

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Roll the dough with the filling inside and close by using some water like glue on the edges and form into a circle.

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Let this rise again for half an hour while preheating th oven at 250°C.

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Just before putting the tortano into the oven reduce the heat to 200°C and bake for 35 minutes (more or less).

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The perfect side for a wintery soup or a salad!

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Eat well

Paris & gluten free bread…

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I have been to Paris to study gluten-free baking & cooking at my favourite cooking school where I did my pâtisserie training less than 2 years ago.

When the train entered the gare de l’est the weather was so nice I toyed with the idea of skipping the course and just enjoy Paris…my conscience and passion for all things kitchen luckily won.

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I loved the atmosphere, the chef was just amazing, as they all seem to be. All the chefs trained at the most famous places and are eager and passionate to transmit their knowledge. The pace of the learning process….gogogogogogo and don’t ever even think about sitting down;) I love it. An entire day feels like 5 minutes.

Back to the gluten-free with its ingredients, smells, consistencies and taste…obviously it’s different from the “real thing”. It’s so ingenious how the chef used the different flours, rising agents & the gums and starches that keep the creations together. One lemon cake truly blew my mind and taste buds. Watch out, it will certainly show up here soon!

I reached my personal conclusion that I will cut down on gluten containing foods but enjoy them from time to time instead of totally replacing them.

If however you are highly intolerant or worse, allergic to gluten the good news is, bread, pâtisserie, pizza, cake…all can be homemade without that little protein that annoys your body so efficiently and I do plan on passing on to you all the recipes I brought from Paris.

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Before leaving I did make this gluten free bread that ticks all my boxes. It’s not from Paris, it somehow made it’s way from a private kitchen in Danmark to Sarah Britton’s food blog where I discovered it and took ages before giving it a try. It’s utterly satisfying and extremely easy to make.

One of my issues with the gluten free baking is that the gums used to keep the dough together might cause constipation (sorry that had to me mentioned). This bread does the opposite, it has tons of fibre & you have to chew it and we know that that’s where the process of digestion starts.

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What goes into this loaf:

1 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup hazelnuts or almonds (I used almonds)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats (I used whole grain spelt oats, if you worry about the oats being gluten contaminated buy the kind that is labelled as gluten free)

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks

1 tsp. fine sea salt

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil

1 1/2 cups water

First mix the dry ingredients well in a silicone baking dish. Then add the liquids and mix thoroughly. Leave the dough to rest for at least 2 hours before baking it in a preheated oven at 175°C.

For 20 minutes you bake the bread in the silicon dish, then you take it out and bake it upside down for another 30 to 40 minutes. Let it cool off & give it a try.

It’s equally nice toasted.

Enjoy

pumpkin king with the skeleton grin…

…or my small & last of two contributions to the Nigella cook along. 

nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

I choose a small Hokkaido pumpkin that was filled with a spicy rice mix.

nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

The rice is cooked  half through before it becomes the filling for the pumpkin and the whole piece of art is cooked in the oven.

nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

In addition to that Nigella prepares a gingerly tomato sauce.

nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

Lovely warming & filling seasonal recipe!

Use the hyperlinks to see Nigellas recipe or enter the cook along:)

Eat well

divine chocolate cake

This week I have planned to enter the Nigella cookalong. There is one every month and I have been checking out the recipes for a while.

Nigella cookalong devil's food cake

The last two (october & november) are the ones I want to try.

The october one is this irresistable chocolate cake.

Nigella cookalong devil's food cake

The november one will be a pumpkin filled with rice.

I will not even attempt to describe the recipe since it has been done brilliantly here.

I am instead offering the visuals which I hope stand a chance to win the cook along. Fingers crossed!

Nigella cookalong devil's food cake

I have replaced the white flour with a whole-grain spelt & reduced the sugar content by 50% & no chocolate under 75% cacao content…as usual;)

Eat well

cookie monsters wholesome delight

I am not a cookie person…except when I feel that I lose balance & the time to eat well. I guess this should be the other way around & happened over the last couple of weeks.

I was tempted into buying a pack of cookies with chocolate in the middle, on the go, from the health shop. FROM THE HEALTH SHOP for my conscience since clearly they do contain refined sugar which makes them nothing else but addictive.

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In an attempt to avoid being fooled again, I created my wholesome version of the evil cookies.  Whole grain flour & coconut sugar lessens the addictive nature of these & makes them a much healthier treat.

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They are heart-shaped because my cookie cutter collection gave me the choice between a pig, a moon, a witch, a moose…& many others that would reveal difficult to fill with chocolate in a presentable manner.

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For the dough:

250 g whole grain spelt flour

150 g butter

80 g coconut sugar

20 g almond powder

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg yolk (free range)

a pinch of salt

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Then add the butter piece by piece. This will make a crumbly mixture. To that add the egg yolk and knead the dough until it sticks together nicely.

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Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for one hour. (A step that I often skip;))  A “sablé” dough like this one is easiest rolled out between two sheets of cling film.

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Use the cookie cutter of your choice and bake these in the oven for 12 minutes at 180°C. Keep an eye on them and if your oven works like mine, you want to turn the tray around halfway through the baking process. Those at the back bake quicker.

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Let the cookies cool off before you fill & assemble them. If that is where you want to stop, these “sablé” cookie are delicious even without any filling.

For the filling:

100 g dark chocolate (I used 75%)

2 tbsp coconut cream (or regular)

2 tbsp almond powder

Slowly melt the chocolate. Take it off the heat before you add the cream and almond powder. I added the cream so the chocolate wouldn’t go solid again after cooling off. They won’t keep for long & have to be kept in the fridge. If you want to keep these for longer you should leave the cream.

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Set the cookies aside for a couple of hours…

Enjoy