Bresaola and Spinach Eggs en Cocotte!

We all know the difficulties of translating from a language to another. In my particular case I juggle between Spanish (mother tongue), English (2nd tongue) and French (3rd tongue) pfff!

To explain you a little my everyday brain function and understand my casual mistakes, you should know that I think in Spanish, write in English and talk in French. Exhausting right? So how the heck can I translate Oeufs Cocotte?…. I will do my very best so you can understand.

Bea, from La Tartine Gourmande defines the Cocotte in a pretty accurate way, so, “a cocotte is an oval or round casserole with a lid and two hand grips on each side used for stewing or boiling”. Cristal clear right? Now we use ceramic ramekins, small crock pots or even tinny silicon casseroles.

Lets pass to the recipe. I didn’t had much time to make lunch, my husband was leaving to Strasbourg at 3 pm, I was helping him pack when I realize that I haven’t  prepare anything for him. OMG! I ran to the kitchen, checked my fridge and there wasn’t much to cook… I did had some eggs, spinach (he is not a fan), a little of Bresaola and cheese. Voilà that was it.
I went to look online for an easy, fast recipe, and I found it. Eva from ça croustille had the perfect one. I inspired myself from her recipe and changed a few things. Result: Magnifique!

For the Bresaola and Spinach Eggs en Cocotte you will need:
(I did a couple)

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Spinach leaves cut in medium size pieces
  • 4 Slices of Brésaola (Italian dry meat)
  • 4 tbsp of heavy cream
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 4 tbsp of shredded emmental cheese
  • 1/4 cup of red pepper cut in dice
  • bread sticks

Preheat the oven at 180°C. Butter the ceramic ramekins and sprinkle with salt & pepper, I always do this to avoid a tasteless cocotte buttom.
Cut in 1cm dices the Bresaola slices.
Put to a boil 1 litter of water, while you’re preparing the ramekins.

Add 1 1/2tbsp oh heavy cream in each rameking, cover with some spinach, half of the bresaola, shredded cheese, a little of red pepper. Repeat this procedure twice to have 2 spinach/bresaola layers.
Gently, crack an egg in each ramekin (do your best t not break the egg yolk).
Cover with a litle more of cream, shredded cheese and few pepper dices for decoration.
Season with salt & pepper.

Place the 2 ramekins in a baking pan (those you use o do gratin) filled till the half,with the boiling water. The water must reach half of the ramekins high.
Place the whole in the oven, cook for 12 – 14 minutes.
The egg yolk have to be slightly cooked but still runny.

Serve hot with the bread sticks or toasted bread.

Super easy to make and tasty. My hubby left home happy and well fed.
Hope you all enjoy.
Bon appétit,
Sara

Banana Whoopie Pies with Chocolate Cream cheese filling

Last week tweeting with the creative gourmands girls from Lili’s Kitchen, Aux Cuistots Anonymes and Passionnementcuisine we had the idea to propose a little challenge. You might be wondering: challenge concerning which theme? Well, the super trendy Whoopie Pies.

I’ve heard a lot about the whoopies, but personnally, it’s the first time I try to do ones, so for a few days I was surfing the web looking for the right recipe, the one that makes my mouth water, le coup de coeur as we say in french.

I finally chose the Martha Stewart banana whoopie pies recipe, filled with my favorite chocolate cream cheese [a few pounds in a bite but what the heck =P].

I gathered all my ingredients, started the preparation and they were done in no time! Seriously, is super fast and the result is flawless. I totally loved this challenge and my husband ate like 4 whoopies in a second, saying Oh my God they are good, so I’m very pleased and excited to see what my friends will present for this challenge.

Sorry about the pictures, there’s not a cute decoration or theme cause it was kind of late, after a whole day of work.

For the Martha Stewart Banana Whoopies you will need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream + I added a little bit of milk
  • 115 gr unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C . Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
    In a bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine banana, milk and sour cream in another bowl.
  2. Beat butter and the granulated + brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.
  3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart.
  4. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. When done, let cool on a wire rack.

For the Chocolate Cream Cheese you will need:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, 3 tablespoons milk, confectioner’s sugar, butter, vanilla, cocoa, and cinnamon to a spreadable consistency. Beat in additional milk if necessary. For a darker frosting add more cocoa or up to 4 ounces melted chocolate.
To fill the whoopies, pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve.
This challenge was a great surprise for me, I loved the whoopies and they are so easy to make!
Bon appétit,
Love,
Sara

The Raspberry Macaron Story and 3 Different Fillings

I know, I know! Macarons are like an addiction, once you have done them, you want to do them all the time. That’s my story, and heck yeah I’m guilty as charged, but you have to understand why before judging me; so here we go.

When I moved to Paris, I was impressed of how beautiful the pastries were, and how sublime was their taste. The only thing I was thinking about is HOW they do those cute little things and how much time they pass to decorate them.  Voilà I was captivated … french pastry: my new love!

When my husband and I got our apartment, we had to buy everything with a small budget, co hard choices were made. We put our priorities first and bought the strictly necessary, like the stove, washing machine, the fridge, the bed, couch a table and  4 chairs, that was it! not budget left. You might be wondering were is the oven? how can I pursue my baking passion without an oven?…. the answer: I couldn’t!

Being a couple and having a new home, was way more expensive than we thought, so a full year passed by and no money for and oven. In december 2011 we finally got married. A small celebration with family and few friends, nice and simple but with tons of LOVE.

My husband grandma’ wanted to surprise me with a thing I really wanted to have, and she offer me my little beloved OVEN! best gift ever, I was sooo thankful and touched by her kind gesture, that I cried and hugged her for an hour. =D She told me that the only way to make my pastry dream come true, was  to start practicing. So she thought the better way was having an oven ❤ She was so right. I’ve been my oven slave for 6 month now and I enjoy every second of it.

Last week I did my first macarons and felted so good when they turned out pretty awesome, so this weekend, by my hubs request I did them again but with 3 different fillings: Pistachio, Raspberry and Lemon curd.

Here is my macaron recipe

Now the fillings.

Raspberry macaron filling ( I did the half)

  • 500g raspberry 
  • 300g caster Sugar
  •  7.5g pectin
  •  25g fresh lemon juice

Preparation : You can prepare the raspberry gélée few days before cooking your maracons.
Mix the raspberries for at least 10 minutes. Combine the sugar with the pectin and then put them with the mixed raspberries in a sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and mix again.
Pour the jam in a container, let it cool and then put it in the refrigerator.

Lemon curd macaron filling

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 40 gr of Maizena
  • 25 gr butter
  • 2 lemons
  • 40 gr sugar

Preparation: Remove the zestes from both lemons.
Disolve the maizena in 20 cl of water. Add the butter and bring the mixture to boil. Remove from stove and add the lemon zestes and juice, the egg yolks and the sugar. Whisk until well incorporated. Whisk constantly in medium-low fire, when the mixture start to thicken remove from fire. Let it cool, cover with plastic paper film  and refrigerate.

Pistachio cream macaron filling ( I did the half)

  • 300 gr of  liquid sour cream (crème fraîche in french)
  • 300 gr white chocolate
  • 45 gr pistachio paste
  • 1 or 2 drops of almond extract.

Preparation: Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Pour the cream and the pistachio paste in a sauce pan and bring it to boil. Whisk until gel mix and add it in 3 parts to the white chocolate. Mix for 10 minutes. let it cool and refrigerate.

I hope you enjoy this macarons as we did.

Bon appétit,

Sara

 

Meyer Lemon Macarons <3

For months; I’ve being dreaming about doing my homemade macarons, but for reason I was so intimidate by lots of people saying that is very difficult to do them. I think my fear of failing my 1st try was taking over me.

In so many food blogs, I’ve seen plenty of macarons recipes turned out beautiful, colorful and from the pictures we can say that even delicious, so how can this little stuffs are difficult?… Mmmm it didn’t make any sense, so, I did some research and came across with the Brave Tart blog and her 10 myths and 10 commandments about macarons and let me tell you, this 2 post boosted me and gave me the courage to go for it!

So I did, and and pleased and very proud to say that they came up wonderfully for a first timer. They aren’t perfect hahaha but delicious! My only problem was pipping them, I had some bigger and smaller, even oval hahah but it was great experience and I hope I’ll get better with practice.

I’m glad to share with you all this great recipe.

French Lemon Macarons

  •   115g blanched almonds or almond flour
  • 230g powdered sugar /sucre glace
  • 144g egg whites aged if possible
  • 72g sugar
  • scrapings of 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Colorant of your choice
  • Lemon extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250g  Swiss buttercream (to fill up the macarons)

Preheat the oven to 300° and have ready a large  pastry bag, fitted with a plain tip.

Prepare your sheet pans lined with parchment paper. I use several cause my oven is too small so I did 6 batches of macarons! all day long..

To make your macarons the same size you can use a silicon sheet for macarons (with predesigned circles on it), or race out guide-circles on your parchment paper, and then I flip it over, ink side down.

In  your food processor, process the almonds, then sift it with the powdered sugar until well mixed.
Take out the mixture and pass through the sieve, if there is some big bits, pass them back to the food processor and run the machine again. set aside.

In a stand mixer, or like me in bowl with my hand mixer (i’m saving for a kitchen aid), whisk the egg whites until stiff. After incorporate little by little the sugar, vanilla bean (not the extract). Mix in medium speed for 3 minutes or so.
Increase the speed to medium-high) and whip another for a few minutes, and then with the highest speed, beat 3 minutes more.

Turn the mixer off and add in any extracts/flavor/color and whip on the highest speed to evenly distribute the color/flavor).
I added a few drops of lemon extract and some yellow colorant that didn’t work as I hopped.

Now,you should have a  stiff, dry meringue. If the meringue has not become stiff enough to clump inside the whisk, continue beating for another minute, or until it does so. As Bravetart said!

Now incorporate dry ingredients little by little and fold them in with a rubber spatula. Use both a folding motion allows to deflate the meringue against the side of the bowl. The mixture will still have a quite lumpy and stiff texture, but with few strokes more you will see the right texture. Be careful to not Undermixe or Overmix the batter.The right consistency is lava-like.

The macaronage is about deflating the whites, so don’t be scare!

Essentially, the macaron batter needs enough thickness that it will mound up on itself, but enough fluidity that after 20 seconds, it will melt back down.

Pour the batter into a piping bag and start pipping your macarons on your silicon sheet or the guide circles your drew before. Don’t be  afraid! The batter will continue to spread just a bit.

After piping your macarons, hold the sheet pan and hit it hard 2 times against your counter. This will break any large air bubbles that might cause your macarons to crack

Bake for 16 minutes, or until you can peel the parchment paper away from a macaron.

When macarons ready let them cool thoroughly on the pans, before peeling them off from the sheet.

Fill a pastry bag with the buttercream of your choice ( I used lemon-orange curd)and pipe some into half of the shells, then sandwich them with their naked halves.

The Macarons will get better with age, so store themin the fridge for a couple of days! If you can resist of course.
Before consuming pull them out from the fridge a few hours before and enjoy!

Bon Appétit,

Love,

Sara

Canneloni… Mamma Mia

From time to time, here at home we have that crazy craving for some italian food. This week we were victims of this craving again, thing that led me to do the delicious Zucchini boats and now the Cannelonis.

Its kind of the same principle but ever simpler I guess. For me it’s confort food, last week was difficult for me and  the only thing I wanted to do was cook rich meals… and italian is my guilty pleasure… Thinking all the time about lasagnas, pizzas, calzones and cannelonis. Probably I’ll get a few pounds more but I’m guilt free. they worth it!

So, I’m sharing with you this simple recipe, that everyone will love:

  • 1 box of pre-cooked canneloni shells
  • 400 gr of Napolitane sauce (or the one you prefer)
  • 400 gr ground meat
  • half onion
  • half red pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 300 ml milk
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 1/2 tsp of Nutmeg
  • Parmesan

Preheat the one at 180°C

Prepare the meat first. Macerate the ground meat with the smashed garlic, salt and pepper and some englsh sauce. let it rest for 20 min to absorb all the aromas.
Cook in a large pan for 5 mins.

Chop is small dices the onion, tomato and pepper. Sauté them in a pan with some olive oil. Cook for a little. When the onion starts to become transparent, remove from fire.

Mix the ground meat with the sautés vegetables. Cook until the meat is well cooked but not dry. Try to conserve some juice.

Mix the  Napolitan sauce with he ground meat, and cook in medium fire for at least 15 min. Stir from time to time. When the sauce has thickened, remove from fire and set aside.

For the Bechemel: Pour the milk in a medium sauce pan on medium-low fire, add one tbsp of flour first and stir gently with a wooden spoon. When lump free, add the second spoon of flour and keep stirring . Add some salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
When the bechamel starts to be thick (not too runny), remove from fire.

Assembly:

Fill up the canneloni shells with the ground meat and place them (one next to the other) in a grill oven plate. Cover the cannelonis with the bechemel sauce and some parmesan. Place in the oven for 25-30 min.

Serve hot and enjoy.

Love,

Sara