Apple Tart & Chocolate sauce


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Serves up to 8

Ingredients for the tart:

  • 500g dessert pastry block
  • 12 apples
  • 50g sugar
  • 500ml water
  • 20g butter (for the oven dish)
  • 25cm tart dish

Ingredients for the chocolate sauce:

  • 100g 50% dark chocolate
  • 25g sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 50ml water

Method:

Preheat the oven at 180°C.

  • Peel & core the 12 apples and place them in a bowl full of water and a half lemon to prevent the apple from
    Cooked apples

    Cooked apples

    darkening.

  • Cut 7 of those apples into small pieces and place in a small pan with 500ml of water and 50g sugar. Cover and leave to cook for 20 minutes.
  • Once the apples are cooked pour into a sieve to remove the excess water. Using a hand blender, blitz to obtain a very smooth paste… That paste is called compote.

Set the compote aside.

  • Remove the pastry block from the package, place it on a flat surface (or kitchen worktop) dusted with flour. Then, using a rolling pin or a wine bottle, press down the pastry evenly, but not too thinly. What you are looking for is the pastry wide and thick enough to fit in to the cake dish.

    Compote, Orange zest and apple slices

    Compote, Orange zest and apple slices

  • Once that is done, gently flip the pastry on the rolling pin, then transfer it on the baking dish. Now, using your hands flatten the dish on the base of the dish, then prick it with a fork to allow steam to escape from the base while the cake is baking. Trim and remove the excess pastry*.
  • Now pour the compote over the cake base, then thinly slice 5 apples and align the slices as shown on the photo.
  • Once the whole surface of the cake is covered, place the tart in the oven and bake for 45 minutes at 180C.
Cooked tart

Cooked tart

In the meantime prepare the chocolate sauce.

  • Melt 25g of sugar in 50 ml water. Set aside.
  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat proof dish.
  • Bring water to boil in a sauce pan, then place over it, the dish containing the chocolate.
  • Stir gently until the chocolate is fully melted. Now add the butter and continue to gently stir until the butter disappears.
  • Take the mix away from heat, then add in the sugar & water mix. Stir quick to make a smooth sauce.

Following these proportions the sauce should be liquid enough not to set even when it cools down.

Chocolate sauce

Chocolate sauce

Once the tart is ready, allow 30 minutes to cool down before serving. The  little hearts on the photos are made from the extra pastry trimmed further up. Using my rolling pin again, I rerolled the pastry and cut it in hearts and lips shapes.

The shapes were baked for 10-15minutes, cooled down, and then dipped into the chocolate sauce just after I melted the butter in it.

 

Plate and serve as above.

Enjoy.

Toasted Madeira & whipped Cream sandwich soaked in a Jack Daniels & fruits syrup


Syrup absorbed...

Syrup absorbed…

Toasted Madeira & whipped Cream sandwich soaked in a Jack Daniels & fruits syrup

For 4 people.

 Ingredients:

  • 200g readymade Madeira cake

    The necessary

    The necessary

  • 12 fresh cherries
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lime
  • 150g tinned pineapple
  • 200ml Double cream
  • 200g sugar
  • 50ml 40% Whisky (or even rum. Both are optional)

 

Method:

The citruces

The citruses

Start by making and cooling the syrup.

De-stone and chop 6 cherries, set aside. Cut the orange in 4 then in very thin slices. Cut the lime and set aside. Open the pineapple tin and drain. Set aside.

Chopped cherries

Chopped cherries

In a small deep pan, combine the citrus fruits, pineapple and chopped cherries. Add the sugar and 500ml water and 50ml Jack Daniels whisky. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes… what we are looking for is for the skins of the citruses to be very soft and edible. Once they are soft enough, the liquid in the pan should have diminished.

After 20 minutes open the pan and leave to simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes. The consistency of the liquid should be almost the same as oil, but light enough to be absorbed by a pastry or even bread.

Once the right consistency is obtained, transfer the content of the pan in a bowl to cool down for at least 1 hour, then place in the fridge to make it really cold.

The cooked fruits in Jack D syrup

The cooked fruits in Jack D syrup

Meanwhile, pour the cream in a bowl and whisk continually for about 2 minutes until it forms firm picks, then, spoon into a piping bag then place in the fridge in the piping bag.

Now, cut the Madeira cake into 8 slices of 9cm long and a width of 4.5cm. Each person will have 2 slices.

Once all the slices are cut place them in the toaster for a minute and a half to harden them. The reason for this is so that the Madeira will have a much more resistant consistency and will

Madeira slices

Madeira slices

not crumble away once the syrup hits it. The toasting also add another taste to the dessert.DSC03037

Once all the slices have been toasted, place them on a baking rack not only to cool them, but also to stiffen at room temperature.

Now that all the elements of the desserts are ready, set them aside and only mount them just before serving the first course of the dinner.

Mounting the dessert, lie 4 slices of Madeira on a flat surface, pipe on each, 3 large squirts of the cream. Now carefully place the second slice of Madeira on each of the slices and pipe another 3 squirts of the cream on the top layer. On the middle cream squirt, carefully place the best of the leftover cherries. And place them on the serving plate and back in the fridge.DSC03039DSC03040

Bring the plated dessert out about 5 minutes before dessert time. Carefully and artfully display the sliced of the fruits from the syrup around the dessert then, pour at least 2 tablespoons of the Jack Daniel Syrup over the cake and leave the cake to absorb the syrup before tucking in and degustating every single mouthful.

Bon appétit!

Serving suggestion

Serving suggestion

Strawberry tart


Glorious Strawberry tart

Glorious Strawberry tart

Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-rolled pastry
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g ground almond
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 200g caster
  • 600g strawberries
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod – Split and scraped
  • Jelly

Method:DSC05932

Preheat the oven at 180C. Wash and cut the strawberries. Put them in a colander to drain. Place in the fridge.

For the pastry case: Butter a 24cm tart dish and unroll the pastry unto it making sure there is no air pocket left at

Cooked pastry case

Cooked pastry case

the bottom of the dish. Remove the extra on the edges and prick (lots of picks) the bottom of the dish before bake to avoid it bubbling up. If you’ve got baking beans for blind baking, use them. Place the pastry in the oven for up to 30 minutes at 180C depending on how golden you want it.

Once this is ready, remove from oven and allow 30 minutes to 1 hours to cool down completely.

For the filling – Crème Patissiere: Split the milk and put 400ml in a deep pan with the split vanilla pod and seeds. Set aside.

Transferring the cream

Transferring the cream

In a bowl, combine 100ml milk, all the egg yolks, and the sugar. Beat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ground almond and sieve in the flour. Mix well and set aside.

Place the pan with milk on heat and let the milk simmer until it starts bubbling up. Turn down the heat, remove the vanilla pod and slowly add the content of the bowl containing the mix with eggs, sugar, and almond while continuously whisking the mix. Once the bowl is empty, remove the pan from the hob and continuously whisk until the mixture becomes silky and homogenous with the consistency of a natural yogurt.

Now transfer the contents of the pan into a clean bowl and leave it to cool down.DSC05945 DSC05946

Glorious Strawberry tart

Glorious Strawberry tart

Once both the pastry case and crème patissiere are cold, fill the case with the cream and assemble the strawberries as you wish.

Once that is done, gently brush the strawberries with melted jelly to keep it shinny. And plce in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1hour to allow the jelly to set. Serve. x

Enjoy

Mardi Gras – Churros


Churros for sharing

Churros for sharing

It is that is that time of the year again! Crepes Tuesday. While everybody else will be looking to make do those regular flat crepes with a syrup of some sort, I’d recommend that you opt for Churros as most Spanish will be doing on this occasion.

Churros are much easier to do and they tend to come in weird shapes. Am sure the kids and adults will find much to talk about looking at the ridged shapes coming out of the piping bag.

Churros shapes

Churros shapes

Churros, just like crepes can be great for snacks or desserts.

Ingredient for 20 to 30 baby Churros:

For the churros:

  • 150g flour
  • 150ml milk
  • 50g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Deep fryer with oil
  • Piping bag and any other pippin apparatuses

    Ingredients for the churros only

    Ingredients for the churros only

 

For the chocolate sauce

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 25g sugar
  • 50ml milk

Method:

In a deep pan, pour 150ml milk and 50g butter. Bring to boil and turn down the heat.

Hot churros dough

Hot churros dough

Sieve I the mix 150g flour and work the dough continuously with a flat spatula until it look homogenous, soft and lumps free.

Remove the pan from heat and immediately incorporate 1 whole egg. Work the dough again quickly to avoid the egg cooking and forming lumps.

Once the churros dough is done, it should look smooth and non-sticky no matter what. Once you get there. Fill the piping bag and set aside.

Freshly piped

Freshly piped

Now heat the deep frying oil and here we go! Try 1 churro first to test the oil. The dough dropped in the oil should rise to the surface immediately. That signifies that the oil is ready.

Fry the churros by batches. And depending on their sizes they should cook and become golden within 2 minutes. Do not leave them unattended as the cook very quick.

 

Just like chips, when you remove them from the fryer, place them on tissue paper to absorb the excess oil. Repeat until all is done. Sprinkle the lot with a lot of sugar.

Fresh sweeten Churros

Fresh sweeten Churros

I served mine with a chocolate sauce made as follows:

100g dark chocolate melted over boiling water, add in 50ml of milk previously sweetened with 25g sugar.

Happy Mardi Gras!

Dipping chocolate

Dipping chocolate

If you are trying this, let me know how it went.

 

The Nutter x

Homemade strawberries jam


 

O' yum-my! fresh baguette

O’ yum-my! fresh baguette

For a jar of 400 – 500g jam – Ingredients:

  • 350g fresh strawberries
  • 350g sugar
  • 350ml water
  • 35g fresh ginger

 Method:

Peel, chop and blend the ginger in 50ml of water. Sieve thru a tissue paper towel to remove all the remains of the roots and collate just the pure essence (juice).

Ginger extract

Ginger extract

Do not throw away that waste as it could be dried and used for tea or even as seasoning.

Now remove the green bits off the individual strawberries, cut the berries in half and rinse.

The drops are neat and are not runny

The drops are neat and are not runny

In a deep sauce pan, place the strawberries, sugar, water and ginger essence. Stew at medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Don’t forget to stir from time to time until the mix starts to become slightly sticky on the spatula.

pure sugar bubbling

pure sugar bubbling

I like my jam with bits in it. If is not the case for you, try to mash to strawberries as you stir them.

To make sure that your jam is ready, just make some drops on a clean plate and if the jam drops (like water drops). If the drops stand, that means your jam is ready and that a lot of the water has evaporated.

If the drops are runny during the test, leave the jam on heat and keep stirring until you get the right consistency.

I used some of this jam for a sponge sandwich dessert

I used some of this jam for a sponge sandwich dessert

Once you have mastered the strawberry jam, you can make any type of jam. Don’t be afraid, just go for it. I have spiced mine with a bit of ginger as I love ginger. If you like spiced desserts, try and make your jams with you preferred spice. How about chillies? That could work?!

Suitable for vegans.

Just have fun and do let me know what you think.

Enjoy

Bonne Annee 2015!!!


So, 2015 is HERE! Whoop! Whoop!

We have officially started the New Year and one of my many resolutions is to do better at posting new recipes on this blog!

But before you “tut tut”, I’d like to inform you that my life has been for the past 6 months very interrupted, by families visiting from France, the release & PR of a book and a Half marathon…

The second half of 2014 was a logistical nightmare and that doesn’t include a full time job which demands regular travelling and few medical problems… A part from that, I have loved loved 2014 and can’t wait to see what 2015 has up its sleeve… in 11 months, I will 40 and very very very much look forward to it!

To wet your appetite on what is cooking in the next few weeks, check out these pictures and tell me what you see!

Bonne année 2015 and check you out later x

The Nutter In Chief

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Nutter’s Truffles


Chilli truffles, Coco coated, coconut & Hazelnut truffle

Chilli truffles, Coco coated, coconut & Hazelnut truffle

Up to now the only reason I would buy dark chocolate was to put myself off of chocolate bars… Dark chocolate last longer and the longer the tablet is in my bag, guiltier I feel about buying the rubbish one bounty, white Kit Kat and white chocolate tablets…

I am not a big fan of truffles, but, having purchased a whole lot of  dark 74% tablets I thought it is about time that I played around with some. So here we go

This is my fist ever batch of truffles. Full fat and proud.

Ingredients:

  • 300g 74% dark chocolate tablets
  • 75g unsalted butterDSC03566
  • 75g double cream
  • Desiccated coconut or grated white chocolate
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • 10 whole roasted hazelnut
  •  Teaspoon of Madagascan vanilla essence
  • Coco powder

Method:

Break the dark chocolate tablets in small pieces and place them in a ceramic bowl, then melt slowly in a bain marie until all the lumps are gone.

DSC03576

Ready mix

Cut the butter in small chunks and add to the chocolate. Gently stir with a spatula until the butter too has melted.

Now remove the chocolate from the heat and while continuously stirring add the double cream and the vanilla, mix well until it is completely integrated to the chocolate. Then transfer immediately in a bowl with a lid. Once the chocolate has cooled down. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

If you choose to leave the preparation overnight in the fridge, you might have to leave it at room temperature for at least an hour before you start working the truffles.

Please remember that, just as butter and chocolate melt at the contact of the DSC03599human hand’s heat, so will the truffles melt as you start rolling them. Just don’t handle them too long and it will be fine.

To roll the truffles, scoop from the bowl with a tea spoon, place it in your hand and start rolling in the palm of your hands making sure that it is a lump free and compact ball.

Immediately place the now formed ball in the bowl with chilli flakes and lightly roll so the flakes will stick on the truffle without incrusting in.

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Chilli truffle

Chillies are hot so, the lighter the covering on the surface, the better.

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Coconut truffle

Now repeat the process with the desiccated coconut…

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classic truffle

Do the same for the classical truffle with the coco coating.

For the truffle with the whole nut, add the nut before rolling into a perfect ball, then dust with either chilli, coconut or coco powder.DSC03604

If your hands become really sticky, just rinse with cold water and carry on. Do not use hot water to rinse your hands as the truffles will melt quicker in your hands…

Repeat the above until you get bored…

If you do get bored after you have done the quantity of truffles you needed. Just turn the left over into spreadable chocolate.

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Whole hazelnut truffle

To do this, dissolve a bit of sugar into some double cream and gently fold into the now melted chocolate until you obtain a spreadable consistency.

Note: if you intend to add sugar to your truffles, dissolve it in the double cream before folding in it in the truffle mix.

Et voila!

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