For me today, there is life BEFORE and AFTER Pedro…
Here is a fresh idea for a sophisticated breakfast or a light lunch:
Take a slice of Pain Poilâne – or chunky wholemeal- , spread it with cream cheese, slice fresh strawberries, chop some mint on top, give it a shake of black pepper and a swirl of Pedro Jimenez reduction and savour with a cup of Earl Grey, a jug of Pims or a glass of Prosecco! I am talking PROPER breakfast here : the kind you want just before you are off to Ascot or Henley or Wimbledon… And the touch of Pedro here is just the thing to make you swoon. If no Pedro, then try just a dash of thick balsamic vinegar or even some dark honey… Though Pedro IS irreplacable, you can make substitutes – much like you do in a football match when things don’t quite work out!!! What on earth is happening to Brazil right now???!!! Come on Guys…
This is light snack food at its best! On top of that, it is super healthy and delicious so why not indulge…
Shop version from Le Pain Quotidien in Marylebone
More of a tip than a recipe but here is another photo to show you how it all gets together – in case you thought the above was complex. This is tomato, basil, artichoke in brine and PEDRO…
A more mediterranean version
Moist and fragrant
This savoury tart is a great way to use over-ripe figs or ones that have hardened a bit instead of softening with maturation- which happens quite often to me with imported figs. Make it quickly before the last figs disappear off the market stalls… Or fly over to where they grow! That is what I intend to do myself by the time your get this anyway so this purple tart is a parting gift. I am still chasing the sun…
- 10 figs
- cream cheese, 125g
- soft fresh goat cheese, 125g
- balsamic vinegar, a generous drop
- acacia honey, 1 Tbsp
- pepper mill
- Filo sheets or puff pastry
Prepare the filo sheets (or puff pastry) by brushing them with oil and laying them inside a removable-bottom flan or tart tin. I lay each corner of the filo slightly off the previous ones so they resemble a large flat flower. I would have used puff pastry for a richer tart but I did not have time to make any. Filo is a health-conscious option after all.
Mix the soft goat cheese and the cream cheese together in a bowl and sprinkle a little pepper.
Spread the mix over the filo sheets. Don’t try to cover all as it will melt anyway.
Wash the figs and cut them up in four without peeling them. Just top and tail them.
Sprinkle a thick balsamic vinegar over it all and put in a hot oven for about 20/30 min. The pastry needs to be golden and the figs nice and soft.
Serve at room temperature with a drizzle of acacia honey.
This is a savoury tart but it is so indulgent I would not mind it for starters AND pudding! Don’t know if I invented it or if it has been done before but don’t mind either way because it is a great combination anyhow… Figs, honey and goat cheese… Flavours that sing together in your mouth…
Quick and easy to use up the last figs…
Courgettes make for a very unusual but surprisingly delicious ingredient in our Friday cake… A great recipe to bake at the week-end whilst keeping to your 5-a day.
A lovely way to eat your veg
- 3 large eggs
- 250ml sunflower oil
- 250g soft light brown sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 300g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 300g courgettes, peeled and grated
- 100g walnuts, chopped roughly
Preheat oven to 180C and prepare two 8” round cake tins.
Grate the courgettes, making sure to choose them fresh and small so they are not bitter! This could ruin your best efforts…
Beat the eggs and sugar and add the oil. Then add the flour followed by all the other ingredients.
Pour into two sandwich tins or one round tin. Bake for 35 min to 45 min, depending on your tin size. Check the top is springy and nicely raised before taking out.
I decorated the top with pumpkin seed to keep to the autumn theme.
I chose to sandwich it and spread a mix of light cream cheese and lemon curd (shop bought) in between. This is not always necessary and this cake is also nice on its own. I like the fact it is not overly sweet and the oil gives it a very springy, soft and aerated texture.
Green tea cupcakes
- Caster sugar 125g
- Cornflour 65g
- Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
- Matcha tea powder 2 tsp
- Eggs 4
- Butter 80g
Green tea icing:
- Icing sugar 125g
- Butter 40g
- Cream cheese 100g
- Matcha tea powder 1 Tbsp
- Lemon juice 2Tbsp
Cream the butter and sugar until light.
Then add the egg yolks (or the whole eggs if in a hurry). If you have the time, whisk the whites separately.
Add the cornflour and green tea powder.
Fold in the whites- if you have separated them. I often don’t do that to save time and the result is pretty much the same!
Spoon the mixture into the muffins cases.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 180º- they are ready when they raise and do not colour.
Now onto the next stage: Decorating is healing and stress-busting so take your time to enjoy this!
While they bake, mix the icing sugar, lemon juice, soft butter and cream cheese.
Beat with a whisk until fluffy, being careful to crush any lumps and get a silky smooth result. Taste and add lemon or sugar if necessary. Put in the fridge until needed.
Take the cupcakes out of the oven. Let them cool down.
Use a piping bag and nozzle to decorate your cupcakes with the cream. Make a nice swirl and put a sugar bud or a rose in the middle. Sprinkle a dust of Matcha.
Et voilà! I made those for a friend to share in the afternoon but you could just have them plain with a cup of coffee as a morning treat.
Dainty and light, ready to go!
Recipe inspired by “Les cordons bleus de Londres”, published for the association Enfants du Mekong, Londres.