Monthly Archives: July 2012

Breakfast pancakes

Berrirs or Baghrirs are thick but cloud like pancakes that are consumed in Morocco, with a honey and butter sauce, for breakfast – or for pudding during Ramadan. They have a chewy and supple bite and keep only for 24h, but they rarely last that long.

Al fresco breakfast

Ingredients list:

  • Warmed Water 1l
  • Sel
  • Fresh bakers yeast 2 tsp
  • Milk 2 tbsp
  • Eggs 2
  • Flour 100g
  • Semolina 250g

Heat the water in the Thermomix bowl until touch warm. About 3min at 80 degrees will do.

Put all the ingredients in the mixing bowl of the Thermomix.
Mix at speed 4 or 5 for 4 /5 minutes.
Leave to rise until the mixture thickens and tiny bubbles appear on the surface. 15 minutes to start with.
If the mix is too thin, whisk some more and leave for a few minutes. It should have the appearance of a light custard and create a ribbon when the spoon is dipped in.

Heat a pancake grid or a cast iron plate on the hob and drop ladle-fuls of the batter to form round pancakes, the size of a pudding plate. They cook on one side and lots of bubbles appear on the top side.

Serve warm with some butter melted in honey. I thank Chaibia and Noheed for their kind help in teaching me this family recipe with patience and generosity…

Courgettes flowers in light batter

Our best loved summer snack in Le Midi.

Light batter for summer frying: Here is a quick recipe from Languedoc where the courgettes flowers are in season.
Ingredients list:

  • Fine flour (type 00) 100g (or 50/50 cornflour)
  • Egg,1
  • Raising powder, 1 tsp
  • Cold water, 80ml
  • Chilled Soda or Perrier water, 2 tbsp
  • Pinch of salt

Put the flour, the whole egg, salt, raising powder and the cold water in the bowl of the Thermomix.
Mix at speed 5 for around 2 min. And add a little soda water or Perrier towards the end.

This makes a very light, almost “tempura” like batter, perfect for frying courgettes flowers!
Slice the dry and clean flowers in two, dip into the batter and shallow fry in a pan.
Serve warm as a starter.

You can also fry other flowers, but do check for toxicity first… I know pansies and poppies are fine and I have even heard of tulip eaters but never tried!

Recipe curtesy of my grand-mother.

James Ramsden’s quick spinach curry

My two British food “heroes” are currently and unashamedly, Jamie Oliver and James Ramsden. The first needs no introduction but the second is a very talented blogger and this dish is loosely based on two recipes from his book  “Small adventures in Cooking”.

Ingredients list:

  • Olive oil, 20ml
  • Onion, 1
  • Chickpeas, 1/2 tin
  • Red kidney beans, 1/2 tin
  • Pinto beans, 1/2 tin
  • Tomato puree, 1 Tbsp
  • Spinach, 1/2 tin
  • Coconut milk, 150ml
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Garlic clove 1
  • Curry powder, 1 Tbsp
  • Chilli, 1 pinch
  • salt and pepper

The beans add a nice texture and plenty of protein to this version, but if you have trouble digesting them, just skip!

Melt the chopped onion in a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Add the spices and the beans, then the drained spinach, the crushed garlic, the tomato paste and lemon juice.

Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk towards the end so it does not ever boil.

Serve hot with some naan bread or chapattis.

This curry is delicious re-heated and will keep for a few days in the fridge.

The greatness of this dish is that every ingredient is coming out of a tin and can be stored in your cupboard. Perfect when the fridge has been empty for days because of exam stress! Or just when work is getting out of hand…

I am leaving the country at dawn and throwing this recipe as a life-line to the three men of my life who are going to have to cook for themselves from tomorrow evening!…

My brioche “all butter”

This is NOT a quick recipe: hence I offer it for the week-end…

…But if you have never eaten homemade brioche, I promise you are in for a treat. Every time I make it, I glow in “domestic goddess” pride because somehow my guests are more touched by that offer than that of any cake or pudding. The truth is, I only make it on very special occasions because it does take 24h and I do have a life, you know… But really, it is not complicated at all and time spent on their behalf is the best gift you can bestow on your friends. At least, it is the one gift I appreciate most of all. Somebody gives me some time, or spends time doing something for me, and I go all wobbly with gratitude!

Ingredients list:

  • Flour, 350g (light and fine such as 00 type)
  • Salt 1 tsp
  • Raising yeast, 1tsp (Dry quick yeast type is fine) or if using fresh yeast, 1 thistle
  • Milk, warm and whole, 60ml
  • Eggs, 3 beaten lightly
  • Soften butter, 175g
  • Sugar, 2 tbsp
  • 1      extra Yolk to brush on tops

Take note that the butter must be soft and the eggs very fresh.

Mix the yeast into the warm milk and then pour into the flour while turning. Add the beaten eggs and salt.

Beat the dough a few minutes with a wooden spoon.

Cream the sugar with the butter and mix into the dough.

Cover the bowl with cling-film and leave to rise for 1 or 2 hours.

Knead into the bowl for a few minutes and then leave again to rise for the night or a good few hours of the day.

On the day, prepare and oil the brioche, or muffins tray, or one single pan.

Take the sticky dough out onto a floured surface and knead vigorously. Add a little flour to prevent sticking to your hands but do work quickly and with floured cold hands so it does not have time to glue your fingers together! The dough must be light and elastic.

Shape a little ball and drop it in each pan and then a smaller one on top. Brush with the yolk.

Leave for ½ hour at least in the pans, in a warm place in the kitchen.

When it has pumped up a little, put into a warm oven for 10min at 230 then lower to 180 for another 15 minutes.

I serve those little brioche with foie gras as starters or with a “fricassée” of mushrooms. But they are also delicious with butter and jam, anytime of the day. For the photo, I put whipped cream and Morello cherry jam inside and this was particularly groovy…

Fresh strawberry scones for summer

A pretty cardboard stand (try Asda or Paperchase) inspired my latest twist on the ubiquitous scone. I served a fresh batch with lightly whipped cream and freshly cut strawberries. No clotted cream, no jam. A very enjoyable summer version of a British classic. Version in French here!

Use whipping cream and whip it into peaks with a dash of vanilla extract and a spoonful of caster sugar.

This month’s idea – while waiting for summer to start…