Monday, 21 January 2013

White chocolate macarons and a dark chocolate mousse filling (Macaron mess)

150g ground almonds (very fine)
225g icing sugar, sieved
100g white chocolate- probably about 80g once you've had a bit of it*
3 egg whites - keep the yolks for later
50g caster sugar
dash of salt

150g dark chocolate
20g salted butter
3 egg yolks
a whole egg separated

Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar until thoroughly combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the salt and gradually add the caster sugar whilst whisking on a slow pace.
Fold the almonds and icing sugar into the meringue mixture, and then fold in the melted white chocolate.
Pipe the macarons  onto a baking sheet evenly spaced. If there are peaks on top of them, dab them with a damp finger.
Leave the macarons to rest for 40 minutes, until a skin forms on the top of the macarons.
In a preheated oven of 150C, bake the macarons, and make the mousse filling during the meantime.

Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a bain marie.
Once fully melted, beat the egg yolks into the chocolate and butter.
Whisk the egg white into stiff peaks and completely fold into the rest of the mousse mixture.
Pipe the chocolate mousse onto the cooled macaron halves.

However, if like mine you decided to use all your macaron mixture in one batch... break up the macarons and combine into the mousse getting a macaron mess (instead of Eton Mess - see what I did there?). It tastes the same even if the presentation is questionable.

use coffee or dark rum in the mousse
make caramel macarons instead of white chocolate
make a lavender praline filling

*it might just be worth getting 200g on the off chance you eat more than a nibble. Just a thought...

Monday, 14 January 2013

Chloé's warming meaty winter broth

3 small white onions, sliced medium-sized
3 garlic cloves, crushed and cut in half
one and a half teaspoons garam masala
a teaspoon of dried chillies
one and a half teaspoons of cumin seeds
a tin of plum tomatoes- use blended fresh tomatoes for a more concentrated paste
beef chunks
lamb chunks
rapesed oil
red wine- deep, rich ones work best
*worcester sauce/balsamic vinegar - not mandatory but it adds that little je ne sais quoi

In one pan and one pot, heat generous drizzles of rapeseed oil until they run around the pan/pot quickly. Use the a medium-high heat on the hob.

In the pan add the sliced onions and garlic, and in the other add the meat. Turn both hobs down to medium at most. You want to brown/ sear the meat, whilst softening the onions. When the meat is completely browned (you can see no pink), and the onions have reduced in size by at least double, it's done.

In the onion pan, push the onions to the sides and drop in the cumin seeds. Leave the cumin seeds to toast for about half a minute, and then stir into the onions. Repeat again with the garam masala, then again with the chillies.

Add the tomatoes (and worcester/balsamic) to the meat along with a generous glass of the wine. For the chef. I mean the meat. No definitely the chef. You can blend the tomatoes before you add to the meat, but you get a more watery outcome at the end, so if you throw them in whole, they'll break up naturally into juicy chunks.

When the onions have fully absorbed the spices and are nice and golden-brown, add to the the tomatoey meat pot. Cover the pot and leave to simmer until the meat is nice and tender (30 minutes- 2 hours depending on how you like it and how big the chunks are). If you have a concentrated sauce, add a knob of butter a few minutes before serving to smoothen the sauce and give a more creamy, delicate flavour.

Serve with rice or a big hunk of foccacia.

All of the recipe can be varied to be adapted to your ingredients. I used beef and lamb because they were reduced from £5.60 to 50p...Obviously not boasting or anything.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Tarte au citron Meyer

Tarte au citron is a classic French tart filled with a tangy lemon custard. I used Meyer lemons which are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin. They are quite sweet in comparison to other lemons, yet still quite tangy.

A nice even bake :-)

175g 00 flour (this flour is very fine, so makes the pastry more crumbly, it's fine to use normal plain flour though too)
140g unsalted butter, diced
30g soft brown sugar
25g icing sugar
zest of one lemon

5 eggs
160ml double cream
the zest and juice of 3 Meyer lemons
100g caster sugar

Sieve the sugar and flour, and mix with the zest of one lemon.
Add the cold butter and rub until you achieve a crumble mixture. As there is a lot of butter in this pastry, it shouldn't need any liquid. If you do add liquid, the consequence is that the pastry will not be as crumbly when cooked.
Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden up.

Preheat the oven to 200C and butter a tart case.
Roll the pastry to less than a 1 centimetre thickness, and roll over the tart case.
prick the pastry case and blind bake it in the oven for 20 minutes. Instead of using baking beans, you can use baking paper with a similar sized cake tin on top.
Whilst the cake is cooking, whisk the eggs until they increase in size by about one and a half.
Add the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice to the eggs, but continue whisking.
When thoroughly combined, pour in the double cream, and whisk again. You can add milk if you want a thinner mixture.
Pour into the tart case and bake for about half an hour, or until the filling is a little wobbly.

Serve cold with a spoonful of clotted cream.

You could
  • decorate with candied lemons
  • spread the base with lemon curd or melted dark chocolate, and cover with the filling mixture
  • use tangerines instead of lemons