Post Christmas goodies and a piece of lemon cake

December 28th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Be merry!
So, we’ve made it past Christmas and the world is still turning around.
I hope you had a grand time.
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Lovely ugly roots, part 2: old fashioned carrots and parsnip

December 14th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

It’s not a secret anymore, the gourmande loves the old roots

My latest discovery dates to a couple of months, at my favorite greengrocer: a whole collection of old fashioned carrots in all kinds of sizes and shades: white, yellow, black… you name it! I just couldn’t resist. I’ve tried them all.

The black ones were such fun with their deep purple color and their coral red hart. I made a french style veal and carrot stew with them. What a color feast! The white and yellow ones looked more fragile and fancy, so I decided to pair them with my beloved parsnip.

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Pastry nostalgia

December 9th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

For a couple of weeks already, my sweet tooth is aching out of excitement… Yep, definitely, the winter celebrations’ season has begun!

It all started on a rainy Sunday morning at my favorite ‘patisserie’ in town when my 20 minutes of patient queuing were rewarded with warm fresh croissants, a couple of newly designed macarons and a taste of Chef Philippe’s Christmas creation: an elegant and delicate entremet layered with genoise, champagne mousse and peach… And there I was, down memory lane: Christmas 2007 and my first fancy pastry creation ever, an entremet with a thin almond biscuit, champagne sabayon mousse and a heart of white peach and lavender coulis!!! My presentation skills were far from Philippe’s back then, but still I couldn’t help but blushing with pride.

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Merry Christmas from Holland!

December 28th, 2007 § 4 comments § permalink

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

Amsterdam3
Sunset in Vondelpark

So far so good for my stressless Christmas… We do not know how to do without stress in the family! No worries, it ended up al well and we all had a great time and the Christmas dinner was a success. I’ll post about it later once I fully recovered from this week.

In the mean time, here’s a few photos from some of my favourite spots in Amsterdam I took after the Christmas eve rush on Christmas day…

Amsterdam1 amsterdam4
Amsterdam2

Couldn’t get to post the recipe for the cheese sablés before Christmas. Here it is at last! The recipe is based on the recipe for the ‘Goudse Kaasmoppen’ from the famous dutch baker Kees Raat from the book ‘Koekje’. The shortcrust texture of these cheese bites sablés is wonderful and Kees Raat uses Chick pea flour which gives a little nutty something to the taste. As a twist to the recipe I added some spices to the dough: I spiced half of the cookies with crushed pepper and chilipepper and the other half with slightly toasted and roughly crushed cummin seeds… Perfect!

goudsekaasmoppen
Spicy Goudse Kaasmoppen

Spicy dutch cheese sablés
Petits sablés épicés au gouda

Makes about 40.
prep: 15min +1hr rest. cook: 15 min

Ingredients:
160 g dutch gouda cheese,
160 g butter at room temperature,
140 g chickpea flour,

2g sea salt (~1/2 tsp),
pepper, chilipepper, cummin seeds… according to taste

Mix the cheese and butter together. Knead in the chick pea flour, the salt and spices until the dough is homogeneous. Roll the dough into two cilinders of ~2cm diameter en leave to cool in the fridge for at least one hour. Preheat the oven at 170 deg C. Cut the dough in 1cm thick slices and lay them on a baking tray covered with baking foil. Cook for about 15 min at 170 deg C or until golden. Watch out that the cookies do not get brown, they could get bitter. Leave to cool on a rack and store in a metal tin.

Bon appétit!

Running late for Christmas?

December 21st, 2007 § 1 comment § permalink

Eid, Christmas and Hanoeka are coming close…

christmas2

Are you all set? … I am not: the house is a mess, haven’t had one minut yet to think of my christmas dinner, still got to get the christmas tree, the presents… and my family will be at the door two days from now for a whole week of festivities! Sounds desperate… Well, nevermind! I’ve decided to (try to) keep cool this year. *deep breath*.  

In case some of you out there can recognise themselves, I thought I could share my christmas race with you (If I manage to fit posting in the program). 

First, I’ve got one tip for your christmas presents: Have you heard of the Menu for Hope raffle yet? If not, have a look… you’ve got until tonight to get a chance of winning amazing food related prizes worldwide (meals in world famous restaurants, culinary tours of your favourite cities, cooking equipment, signed cookbooks, cooking workshops…) while helping children in Lesotho getting food for lunch! Don’t miss it… I got tickets for the guided tour of El Bulli of course, a culinary tour of Barcelona and a lovely vintage print.

For the rest, my moto this year is: get organised and go simple!
(I know that my friends will no doubt get tears of laughter reading this…)

So in that spirit, here are a couple of tips for great homemade appetizers that will impress your guests while being so simple and easy to prepare…

apetizers
Asparagus mousse, cheese sablés* and candied tomato tartlets

Mousse or soup shots always make a great impression, while they can be pretty easy and prepared in advance. The asparagus and vanilla mousse on the picture is based on the recipe I cooked for Blog Appétit quite a while ago. This time I used canned asparagus, and I baked the mousse in shot glasses for 20min. They can be prepared a couple of days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. For the decoration, I used green aspasragus tips blanched for a couple of minnutes an strips of smoked salmon. For Christmas, I am thinking of trying this with artichoke hearts instead of asparagus, with seared slices of scallops on top maybe.

pumpkin_cappucino
You can also think of shots with a celeriac or pumpkin cappuccino or creamy jerusalem artichokes soup topped wth scallops or langoustines.

For the celeriac, cook in half water, half milk until soft (~15min) and mix. For jerusalem artichokes, sauteed them with a small shallot before adding the liquids, spice to your taste. You can prepare and freeze these soups well in advance. Take out of the freezer the night before. On the day itself, mix with liquid cream and warm up before serving. Top with whipped cream, seared scallops, truffles, langoustines, crushed hazelnuts, nutmeg, sechuan pepper… whatever fit your mood that day.

mini candied tomato tartlet
And what about homemade mini savoury tartlets? sounds to complicated…

The trick is to prepare a savoury shortcrust well in advance (70g flour, 30g powdered almonds, 60g butter, 1 Tsp milk, salt, pepper and any spices or herbs you fill like). Bake in mini silicon molds and freeze the tartlet bottoms. You’ll only need to take them out of the freezer a couple of hours in advance, garnish when thawed and warm up in the oven.
I like to garnish them with homemade candied tomatoes, or spicy apple compote topped with ‘magret de canard’ (smoked duck breast), sauteed spinach and goat cheese or smoked trout… but really the possibilities are endless!

asperge_stJacques
And then, there’s the scallops… I love scallops, just seared served with a drop of argan or hazelnut oil, spiced with sechuan pepper, or with a strawberry coulis. Or mini blinis or baghrir (prepared in advanced and frozen), just warmed up, topped with creme fraiche with a touch of lemon or wasabi and garnished with salmon or fish eggs.

I could go on for hours, but I’ve got to seriously get started, so I’ll finish with dried fruits… Prunes rolled in bacon and baked until crispy in the oven, dates filled with foie gras topped with sea salt and pepper. So easy!

Bon appétit and merry christmas!

*I’ll post the recipe later, I’ve got to run to the market…

 

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