Today London feels like the gateway to summer! 24 degrees and rising!..
For breakfast, I whipped up those delicious waffles. Maybe it is the sunshine outside or my impending trip to Spain soon but I felt like giving the kids and I a particularly fruity breakfast and here it is.Those are made with skinny buttermilk so they are lighter and more virtuous than ever! plus covered in fresh fruit, they can definitely count towards your 5-a-day… Or is it 7 these days?!
This made 8 generous waffles.
- 4 eggs
- Self-raising flour 250g (I used light brown flour)
- Butter 125g (I used English butter – with salt)
- Buttermilk 280ml
- Vanilla sugar, 2 large spoonfuls
(I make my own vanilla sugar by putting a split vanilla bean into a jar full of caster sugar.)
In a large bowl, work the butter and sugar until fluffy and creamy.
Split your egg whites from their yolk. Then, add the yolks one by one to the mix. Use an electric whisk for that and add the cream and flour, bit by bit. It should be creamy not lumpy.
Clean your hand whisk to beat the egg whites to a stiff consistency, adding a pinch of salt to help start it. They must make peaks when you pull out the blades but don’t overdo it! Carefully fold the whites into the mix with a wooden spatula. You now have a gloriously plump batter, soft as a pillow.
Warm the waffle iron or the electric maker and drop a large spoonful of batter in the centre. Bake until crisp and brown.
Those waffles are lighter and just as gorgeous as my previous recipe with full fat cream. This is the perfect version for a bit of spring clean – but with a smack of indulgence!
Try them with a dash of maple syrup in the morning or just with fresh fruit and a dollop of rich yogurt anytime of the day. They taste so delicious they hardly need the extra sugar so pile them high with fresh fruit -or fruit purée- and have them guilt-free.
Used light whipped cream no sugar
In any case, guilt is a useless negative emotion and probably worse for you than the indulgent food you might be having, so just enjoy and forego the guilt – next time you might balance this out!
Just remember that enjoying a stress-free treat is very good for your mood and therefore good for your health: you will appreciate it better, certainly digest it better and maybe feel contented for longer! No-one can be virtuous all the time… Not even Gwyneth!..
Spring is here!
Another one of my “tartines”
A few weeks ago, I had a windfall of fresh figs from a friend and neighbour and here I post one of my favourite “tartines”!
- Slice of bread
- Fresh goat cheese
- Fresh basil
- Two fresh figs
- Cracked pepper, optional
Take a slice of Poilâne bread – or any other sourdough or artisan bread with substance- , spread a nice fresh goat cheese over, slice a juicy fig on top, then decorate with chopped basil and Pedro Jimenez reduction or a thick balsamic vinegar. Perfect lunch!
My neighbour grows her figs in central London in her front garden and I enlisted the help of my son on half-term break to go and get a small boxful! They were green but nicely ripe and I decided to do a jam with the rest of it.
Adding vanilla and cinnamon into it, I cooked a truly delicious jam and managed to fill two pots of London fig jam – a very special thing indeed!
Collected in Hammersmith!
Recipe for the fig jam:
- Figs, 2 kg
- Jam sugar (with pectine), 1 kg
- Cinnamon sticks 2
- Vanilla bean, one scraped
- Lemon juice of one lemon
Halve the fruit or quarter them and put all the ingredients in a jam pan.
Get to boiling point, rolling for 3 minutes, then reserve until the next day, covered with a grease proof paper so the jam does not develop a skin.
Next day: Get to boiling point again and keep on a rolling boil for 5 minutes.
Put in sterilised jars straight away and screw the tops then turn each jar upside down so the air inside is sterilised through the hot jam.
Enjoy with bread, cheese or just as a spooned sweet.
This is surely a little bit late for figs in most parts of Europe but I am so thrilled I still managed to gather those in my neighbourhood that I can’t resist posting it.
Here is my son, grabbing some earlier!
Sfinci are fried dumplings of ricotta that Sicilians eat for breakfast and they make delicious snacks for summer or outdoor eating. You can flavour them with vanilla as they did in Noto and shake sugary cinnamon over if that is your fancy. I like mine dipped in honey! They are tastier and fresher than doughnuts but just as naughty…
Tucking into cafe size Sfinci in Noto
Ingredients list: Makes about 8 to 10 Sfinci
- 6 eggs
- Sugar, 125 g
- Ricotta, 500g
- Flour, 250g
- Baking powder, 4 Tbsp
- Vanilla pod, to taste
- Honey, 60 ml or 60 g of sugar mixed with 1 tsp of cinnamon
Beat the eggs with the sugar until it turns pale yellow.
Add the ricotta, followed by spoonfuls of flour, baking soda and scrapes of the vanilla pod. Make sure it is all blended in.
Use a cast iron pan to heat the oil bring it to a low frying temperature.
Drop big dollops of batter into the oil and leave it to brown on both sides. Keep the fire low so it does not burn too fast! Do check that they are moist inside but not too runny. My children turned their noses up at a runny batch and I had to fry them all over again… The things we do for love…
Serve at rooms temperature with a dip of sugared cinnamon and a dip of honey, to choose from. These treats are deliciously indulgent and very very addictive.
Details of a Sicilian window
I love making these energy balls for my daughter’s packed lunch or to have as a snack during my printmaking tuesdays. I also send supplies of them on school trips! They give you lots of energy and nutrients in a very small package. I customise them endlessly according to what I have in my cupboard but here is a very tasty mix that works. They are also very good value when you compare with the price of similar energy bars or balls in health shops…
If you have not come across Spirulina, read below. It is a sort of algae/seaweed and is a very good supplement but tastes foul so it is great to have it in a guise you can actually enjoy! There is no real measures in this recipe so I just used a ratio of cups to 1/2 cups and 1/4 cups… Just to give you the idea.
- 1 cup almond powder
- 1 cup medium or fine oatmeal
- 1/4 cup wheatgerm or oatbran
- ¼ cup chopped dates
- ¼ cup brazil nuts or macadamia nuts
- ½ cup raisin
- 4 tbsp brown rice flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 bite size crushed ginger
- 1 tsp powdered Spirulina
- 2 Tbsp prune juice (or apple juice)
Mix all of the above ingredients in a food processor on the highest speed until it starts forming a slightly sticky dough. Bind with more juice if too dry and roll in very clean hands. These balls can keep for a fortnight in a metal box in your fridge.
Ready, steady, go
Nutrition note: Spirulina is often deemed the most nutritionally complete of all food supplements, containing a rich supply of many important nutrients, including protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, and vitamins A, K, and B complex. It also has a high supply of carotenoids such as beta carotene and yellow xanthophylls which have antioxidant properties. It is also rich in chlorophyll, fatty and nucleic acids, and lipids. Thus, spirulina has countless uses as a supplement for maintaining good health and for preventing diseases.
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I had never attempted puff pastry or picnic eggs but I did both last week-end for a picnic we were taking to the river. Being the royal wedding bank holiday, I wanted to put together a very British luncheon and … Continue reading