Friday, 30 March 2012

Thai Night

This week as a massive thank you to my mum I decided to make her an authentic Thai night, which included cocktails, sticky rice and fresh mangos from Thailand. I got the idea when I was doing the food shop earlier on in the week and in Sainsburys found mangos that where grown in Thailand. So I got very excited and thus the Thai night came in to plan. 

To start with, a fruit based cocktail 

La Recette 
4cl Gin
2cl Cointreau 
1 passionfruit 
passion fruit juice 

Pop it all apart from the fruit itself, (put this straight in to the glass) in to a shaker filled with ice, and shake it like you are Tom Cruise in the film Cocktail, if you have not seen this film make sure its on your list. and serve up in martini glass. Then all that is left to do is enjoy with your friends in the early English sun, and plan your summer adventures. 

Passionfruit Martini 

I am not a huge fan of curry, but when it comes to Thai curry, its another story. I am in love with Green Curry, it is easy to whip up and transports not only me but my family back to our holidays out the exotic country (incase you haven't read my pervious post about Thailand you can read it here - Somewhere Exotic, which would explain the love I have for the country) 

So I whipped up Green Chicken Curry with completed with sticky rice (this impressed mum), though for obvious reasons I could not find the typical veg used in the curry so I used courgette, baby button mushrooms and spinch. still tasted good. 

Green Curry

With the rest of the sticky rice I moulded in to small balls and chopped up the mango in to finger slices. Then I made the coconut milk slightly sweet and thicker by using palm sugar and heating it.

So the with the sweetened coconut in a small glass jar on the plate so you can use your fingers to dip the rice in to the syrup. This is another dish that is good to share with friends and family, also there is not much preparation to it.

Sophie Style Mango with Sticky rice and Coconut milk

After the lovely week of sunshine, this was the perfect way to feel like where somewhere else for an evening with out leaving the comforts of your home. 

Bon Appétit

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Genoise aux fruits d'ete

The french version of the classic Victoria Sponge, but it is light with a lovely texture and a nice rich colour in comparison to the tradition english cake. This wonderful looking cake can be put together in under an hour (including cooling time). 

Les Ingredients 
50g unsalted butter melted
250g plain flour 
250g golden caster sugar 
8 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/350°F/ gas mark 4) and grease your cake tin, I used two circular ones around 20cm approx.

Now this is where it gets interesting, as there is no 'chemicals' in the mixture to get the cake to rise is the magic part. In a heatproof bowl set over pan with gently simmering water, put the eggs and sugar together and use an electric whisk on full speed and whisk together till the mixture is hot, this will take about 10 minutes and the mixture will double in volume and should have the ribbon effect. When this is achieved remove from the heat. 

Add the flour and mix by hand, I found that using metal spoon is easiest, then add the melted butter, but be careful not to over mix, finally divide the mixture in to the prepared cake tins and place in the oven for about 25min or until golden in colour. 

Leave cool on wire rack.

Les Finition 
Double cream whipped up with fresh fruit, the fact that the cake has loads of fruit within it, it has a less guilty element to it, also if you use light double cream, no one will know.

To add the final touch, a small bit of icing sugar and chocolate shavings on the top to add the je ne sais quoi.

I served this for our sunday desert with the left over cream that was not used and yet more fruit and of course a lovely pot of tea. This is a lovely desert to serve in preparation to the summer ahead. 

Bon Appétit 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Mother's Day Lunch

Mothering Sunday.

This year was quite different than what we normally do. Our little dinner turned in to a big lunch, from originally four of us it quickly increased and became eleven of us.

So true to ourself. We created a nice table and using bits from the garden to add that spring element to the table. We set the table up differently from normal and the colour scheme, kept it to Black and White with spring colours.

La Table

Parma Ham with charantais melon, avocado and cherry tomatoes 

Plat Principale 
Souris d'agneau 
Concombre et carotte a la creme 
Roast Potatoes 

Baba au Rhum 
Red Velvets
Fresh Fruit 


Each place was set up with a little treat a chocolate chick, the ladies had a Lindt chick and the men had a Smarties one.

Plat Principle 

As there were a number of us to cater to, we done a dish that was not required too much attention once the guest got here and easy to cook, what is magic about this dish is the preparation and the cooking of it,  can cook in the slow oven of the Aga over several hours and voila, ready to serve.

My Famous Red Velvets

Lunch its self was lovely, we all laughed at each others silly child stories and embarrassing moments, was a pleasant afternoon, the dessert was long awaited as my cupcakes are starting to get a name for themselves, and I had them placed on the table so when everyone came over they saw them, there too good to hide them, also my mum did Baba au Rhum, which is a small little cake that resembles a doughnut which is soaked in liquor (we used spiced rum) and then whipped cream fills the centre. This was a light treat. A good dish for a dinner party as you prepare it before hand and just have to the cream before you serve. 

Hope everyone had a pleasant mothers day,

Bon Appétit.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sea Food Tagliatelle

My mum has an exceptional talent of making the most elaborate dishes and sauces out of simple ingredients, So this is one of my mum wow factor dishes. This is another dish that mum and I put on the week menu when I was home the other week.

Using fresh scallops and crevette grise (literally translated into grey prawns) to make a lovely sauce to go  with the wild garlic tagliatelle. Crevette grise are very similar to prawns but they are minuscule and still full of flavour.

Les Ingrédients
Crevette Grise
Spring onion 
Mushrooms finely chopped 
Double Cream 
White Wine

To recreate this is fairly simple, brilliant for a weekday treat. While your pasta is cooking, you can start on the sauce. Start by frying the mushrooms, onions, garlic with the scallops, when they start to get a nice warm colour to them toss in the crevette grise and the spring onion and stir in together, allow 3 to 5 minuets before adding a splash of the water which the pasta was cooked in, (use this for extra flavouring) add the wine at the same time and add the cream to make the sauce slightly more indulgent. Don't forget to season and your ready to serve. 

The wild garlic tagliatelle with the seafood sauce was a lovely mid week treat. The good thing about cooking with wine, is more of an excuse to have a glass, so that is exactly what we done. 

The way the sauce complimented the pasta was delightful, though there is cream in this dish the cream dose not over power it, it makes its slightly thicker and helps the flavours come out.

Bon Appétit

Friday, 9 March 2012

Uni Life

Food is a big part of my life, and my up bringing, when I go home to Alsace, France, the typical conversation always includes, food or wine. Though the best is, when I wake up and having breakfast, my mum and auntie are already discussing what the lunch menu is, and at lunch what the dinner menu is. So where am I going with this?

Being a student, food can be exciting, quick and easy. Though sometimes when you are tried and stressed out you just want some home comforting food or quick easy dishes which aren't usually the best for you, like the good ol' beans on toast, or the reliable take-out from down the road. But I do like proper dinner, so pre planning for when I'm stressing out I made my own pre cooked meals, which are currently sitting in the freezer, and ready to go.

So this is what I done, I spent a whole day at home, cooking up a feast. In all I cooked 3 separate dishes, which feeds altogether 16 people. I made Garden's Pie, Spinach and Cheese Pudding and a Sloppy Joe influenced recipe. These recipes have had my attention for a while, so I thought why not create them for student living,

The Sloppy Joe recipe was surprisingly quick to put all together. What took the longest was prepping the vegetables. This I will serve with either boiled new potatoes or some garlic bread, depending on my indulgence levels.  

Sloppy Joe

The Spinach and Cheese Pudding is simple to put together. This dish is very similar to quiche, though is has no pastry and is made of large hand full or two of spinach, couple of slices of wholemeal bread and 3 eggs, all whip up together in a food processor and then once in the dish, cover with cheese and cherry tomatoes and pop in the oven till its looking golden and ready to dish up.

Spinach and Cheese Pudding

Garden's Pie similar to a cottage pie but this is done with vegetables, so still filling and healthy and not so heavy, toped of with swede parsnips and carrots rather than potatoes and and the filling is a mix of different vegetables.

Garden's Pie 

Et Voila, all packed up and ready to be taken down to my uni house with me, My house mate laughed at my labelling when they saw it in the freezer. The Spinach and Cheese Pudding was not a dish that could be frozen so that was packed separately and eaten first as lunch or a light dinner.

Box and Labeled up

Bon Appétit 

Monday, 5 March 2012

Fondue Bourguignonne

I spent last week at home, so this meant I had all the home luxuries, from mother making me a cup of tea while I was studying to Rocky one of my puppies keeping company all week. Mum and I created un menu gourmand. When I'm at uni, mum is always creating lovely dishes which make me jealous, as because when I get home, she has a hard idea on what to cook.... this could just be a ploy to get me to cook. So last week, we created the menu and cooked together.

First, was the Fondue.

As a catch up, we treated our selves to a Fondue Bourguignonne. Similar to the Mont d'Or fondue, but rather than cheese based, this is with meat, and you cook it in the hot oil. The oil which we add herbs and chilli to it so that the oil has a unique flavour,

Les Sauce 

I just had to include these cute little sauces, We got these in France, but they are perfect for meals like this, as you can have a verity of different flavours, something for everyone.

This is another brilliant social dinner, a great way to impress a dinner party, and the good part is, not much on the preparation front, just chop up your meat, choose your wine and heat up the oil, and you good to go.

 This is Rocky, I had to add a this photo of him, just chilling out on my Irregular Choice bag. He did not leave me alone the time I was home. Was hard to leave him =[


Bon Appétit 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Beetroot and Hazelnut Cake

This new recipe has been keeping my attention recently, as we are in the season of lent, my friends will know I have given chocolate up, it sounds easy, but its not as easy as seems. When I came home my taste team (my brother and his friends) was not entirely impressed of the chocolate ban.

So with this ban in mind I wanted to try new recipes that aren't entirely sweet. The Beetroot and Hazelnut Cake is a surprising mix of sweet and wholesome.

While making this cake, was quite interesting to see how the different flavours would complement each other, I used a variety of nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts and pine nuts.

The end results was rather interesting, the cake turned out to be a winner. My mum who doesn't have a large sweet tooth, really enjoyed this cake.

Enjoyed this with some mint tea in my Carry On Shopping mug, As a few of you will know I have a large collection of different mugs and tea cups. The beetroot in the cake saves the cake from being to dry and the nuts add some flavour and texture, while also adding protein, makes you feel less guilty while tucking in to a slice.

Bon Appétit