{FFWD} Butter and Rum Crepes

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So this is my first FFWD post for 2014. Apologies. I’ve been really busy with a string of random stuff that experimenting with French dishes has taken a back seat. This week is rather calm and as I looked at the dish for this week, I was excited. It could well be Faith’s breakfast minus the rum, that is and I set about preparing the batter yesterday. Crepe batter has to rest and chill in the refrigerator to become perfectly blended and to thicken. Two hours is the minimum; 12 hours or more is ideal.

To make the crepe batter,

Rub these ingredients until the sugar is moist and very fragrant.

Rub these ingredients until the sugar is moist and very fragrant.

I thought this can be used when decorating cakes! Idea!

I thought this can be used when decorating cakes! Idea!

Using the food processor and in my case, food chopper,

Add these and blend them well, making sure that the flour is blended but don't overmix the batter.

Add these and blend them well, making sure that the flour is blended but don’t overmix the batter.

Then you pour into a pitcher. For me, I divide the batter into two as I do want some (1 tsp) Grand Marnier in mine.

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Yum!

This morning, the batter was ready and to make the crepes, I rub my nonstick pan with lightly oiled crumpled paper towel and put it over medium heat. I poured about 5 tbsp of the batter each time.

The crepe is ready when the underside is specked with brown spots. Use your finger to flip!

The crepe is ready when the underside is specked with brown spots. Use your finger to flip!

The sauce to match this crepe uses 1/3 cup honey, 1/3 cup fresh orange juice, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 7 tbsp unsalted butter at cool room temperature. After heating the honey, I added the juices and then used a whisk to whisk in the butter, a tbsp at a time. The sauce should be smooth and slightly thickened however mine turned out rather runny. Could it be the type of honey used?

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The little girl was enthusiastic about her breakfast initially until she took a first bite and spit it out! I was so surprised! She didn’t take to the texture well. In the end, I added banana to the crepe. Oh well, perhaps she prefers the crispy version of the crepe. I’ll try it tomorrow!

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I enjoyed mine though, complete with Cafe Au Lait. Love the citrus in the sauce. It definitely helps to perk me up!

20140221-111101.jpgThe little girl soon forgot about the breakfast after a wonderful time at the playground.

This is a weekly attempt at French food via French Fridays with Dorie. If you are interested in French cooking, why not join us?

FFWD | compote de pommes two ways

The name above is basically applesauce in French and being a lover of apples, I’ll definitely avail myself to make this! I used20131108-211629.jpg NZ colt apples and Fuji apples for this and it takes a while for the colt apples to soften. In the end, the chopper did the mashing for me.

I proceeded to do apple turnovers since mom loves these. Knowing she doesn’t really appreciate very sweet desserts, I have scaled down the amount of sugar by a bit and didn’t add anymore during the cooking process. And the best thing is, she likes the turnover, saying that the sweetness is just right!

Makes my day, I tell you.

This is the first way that Dorie talked about, the traditional way. I’ve yet to try the second way which is to add salted butter and vanilla extract. Next time.

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This is a weekly attempt at French food via French Fridays with Dorie.
If you are interested in French cooking, why not join us?

 

FFWD | Hurry Up and Wait Roast Chicken

Loving this recipe because I just have to add some oil, salt and pepper to this combination and put the skillet into the oven. It saves a lot of time too since I can do my stuff while waiting for the chicken to be ready. Since there are only two of us, I used two chicken thighs instead of the whole chicken. Of course, in my family, vegetables are important and to complete this meal, potatoes, cauliflower and carrots are thrown in.

Both Ken and I had a scrumptious dinner! Yummy!

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This is a weekly attempt at French food via French Fridays with Dorie. If you are interested in French cooking, why not join us?

A lazy Sunday and a steamed asparagus & fish recipe

How many of you actually take Sunday off and eat out?

I do but when the refrigerator is filled with perishables waiting to be cooked and consumed, I can’t bear to leave them alone. So on this rainy and therefore lazy Sunday, I decided to let the oven do the cooking so that I don’t have to use too much effort to clean the kitchen.

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The FIL is coming over for lunch so I thought of potato gratin ( our family loves it) and a steamed asparagus and fish dish which I saw from here and I thought I should seriously cook it myself.

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The potato gratin is mighty simple. All you need are potatoes, heavy cream, garlic, salt and pepper. Cut the potatoes into thin slices then lay them out on a baking dish. Meanwhile, heat up the heavy cream (I normally use up 200ml) and cloves of garlic (if you like them, put more!). As you arrange the sliced potatoes in slightly overlapping concentric circles, spoon over some warm garlic-infused cream and season each layer with salt and pepper.

This time round, I’ve decided to put some cauliflower on the top layer before dusting the top with gruyere cheese. You can top it up with some herbs too! Bake in 175C oven for about 45 minutes. The dish is done if you can manage to poke a knife through the potatoes easily.

Moving on, we have the steamed fish. First, I place some asparagus on a parchment paper then lemons on it.

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Next are the fish fillets. Make sure you sprinkle some salt and pepper on them! The next time I bake them, I think I would squeeze the lemon on the fillets since I love the taste of lemon.

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The last part would be to put a dollop of butter (about 30g of it) and sliced garlic on the fillets before wrapping it up.

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Bake it in a 200C oven for about 12 minutes and you would have a scrumptious meal!
I garnish it with coriander leaves.

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Enjoy!

Lemon Meringue Tartlets

What got me baking these tartlets?

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One fine day, da man and I checked out a cafe and I thought I should try their famed passionfruit meringue tartlets. After one bite, I found myself unimpressed -the pastry was hard and for the price I paid, I could have a better experience than that. So, I decided to bake the tarts myself.

Commonly, the crusts of tarts are made from pate brisee, pate sucree and pate sablee. However, my kitchen is really warm and I decided to use the graham crackers crust from Miette whose recipes I love. For the lemon curd, I prefer the lighter version and opted for Dorie Greenspan’s. After topping it up with Italian Meringue and torching it, I was truly satisfied. You would have to allow the different parts of the tartlets time to bind the flavours together in order to get its true taste.

A lot of work, yes. But it’s all worth it.

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For Graham Crackers Base
[Adapted from Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop]

100g all-purpose flour
20g wholemeal flour
¼ tsp salt
A scant (⅛ tsp) ground cinnamon
85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
55g light brown sugar
1 tbsp honey

1. Sift together both flours, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a standmixer (fitted with paddle attachment), combine the butter, brown sugar and honey and beat until fluffy.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in three additions, beating just until combined after each addition. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap/ clingwrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling, or up to 2 days.

Preparation for blind-baking:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Divide the dough to make the portions you IMG_6718need and pat gently into disks. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each dough disk into a round about 2mm thick and about 1 inch greater in diameter than the pan you are using. Drape the roller-out dough into the tart pan(s), gently pushing it into the bottom edges and against the pan sides to make a strong and straight shell. Trim the edges and against the pan sides. Prick all over the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the freezer to form up for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180 C.

To fully blind-bake the shell, line the shells with parchment paper and weight with dried rice, dried beans or pie weights. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before proceeding with the recipe.

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Lemon curd
[Source: Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table]

1 ¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
about ¾ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 4-5 lemons)
112g unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (off-heat), whisk the sugar and the eggs together until blended. Whisk in the corn syrup and lemon juice and then drop in the chunks of butter.

2. Put the saucepan over medium heat and start whisking, taking care to work the whisk into the edges of the pan. If your whisk is too big to clean the edges of the pan, switch to a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula. Keep heating and whisking the mixture without stop. After about 6 to 8 minutes, you’ll notice the curd starting to thicken- it won’t be very thick, but the change is easily perceptible. When the curd is thickened, and most important, you see a bubble or two burble to the surface and then pop immediately, remove the pan from the heat.

3. Scrape the curd into a heatproof bowl or a canning jar or two. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal, and let the curd cool to room temperature (it will thicken slightly as it cools). Chill before serving. The curd will keep up to three weeks, refrigerated.

Italian meringue
[Makes about 4 cups]

1 ½ cups caster sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ cup water
3 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a small saucepan. Stir the sugar to dissolve and begin to heat it over medium-low. Have a heatproof measuring cup sitting nearby.

2. Put the egg whites and vanilla in a standmixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When the sugar syrup reaches 115C, immediately pour it into the measuring cup to prevent it from getting hotter. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites, aiming for the side of the bowl rather than the whisk. When all the syrup is added, turn the mixer to medium high and whisk until the icing becomes thick and holds a firm peak, about 10 minutes in total. Do not continue to beat or the icing will become too thick to spread and pipe.

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FFWD| Sable Breton galette with berries

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So I know that today’s not Friday but I’ve been so far behind the French Fridays with Dorie project that I have to catch up. Earlier, I have resolved to attempt 3 times a month for FFWD but for June, I found myself struggling due to certain commitments but hey, being late is better than never!

The sable breton galette is such a beauty that I couldn’t resist baking. It would be a good dessert for a gathering! So, the day before, I prepared the dough and the lemon curd since the former needs to be chilled for at least 3 hours. The following day, all I need to do is to bake the dough and then just before serving , top the galette with the lemon curd and beautify it with the berries.

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I suspect I would be making this again. Try it if you have the time for it certainly seeks to please.

A similar recipe can be found here.

I had so much fun whipping up French food with FFWD and I’m encouraging you to do so too! Join us in the fun!

A busy saturday and a madeleine recipe

Saturday is always a busy day for us as we attend church service in the evening and thereafter, host our small group. Yesterday, it got really exhausting since we had a wedding lunch to attend. Thankfully the food was good and little Faith did not act up.

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Made our way to the hotel and took a snapshot of this. I would never take blue skies for granted again after the recent haze experience.

20130707-145353.jpgSince we were rather early for the lunch, we chilled at Joe & Dough and father & daughter spent some quality time together. Faith was eyeing the blueberry yogurt tart which was rather yummy.

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I was brought up with the belief that we should always make our guest(s) feel welcome and ‘full’ as a host so no matter how tired or busy the day could be, I would try to make it a point to bake something for the small group. A few days ago, I finally got my hands on the madeleine pan and well, you guess it right, I made honey-spiced madeleines for my guests. The recipe is taken from my favourite cookbook author, Dorie Greenspan. Since this recipe requires you to chill the batter for at least 3 hours, I prepared that early in the morning and I just need to bake them in the oven when I got back home in the afternoon.

It was easy to make and the madeleines found their way into my guests’ stomachs quickly so maybe they were good?

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Recipe taken from about.com

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves (or a little less, if you prefer)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt, and pepper.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or use a hand mixer or a whisk; add the eggs to the bowl and beat until the mixture is light colored, fluffy, and thickened, about 2 minutes. Beat in the honey, then the vanilla. Switch to a rubber spatula and very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter.

3. You can use the batter now, but it’s better if you give it a little rest. Or, for real convenience, you can spoon the batter into buttered-and-floured madeleine molds, cover, and chill, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge. (See below for instructions on prepping the pans.) Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

4. When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 200C. Butter 12 regular madeleine molds (or 36 mini-molds), dust them with flour, and tap out the excess. (If you have a nonstick madeleine mold, butter and flour it or give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If your pan is silicone, you can leave it as is or, just to be sure, give it a light butter-and flour coating.) Place the pan on a baking sheet and spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one to the top.

5. Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes and minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when prodded gently. Remove the pan from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or room temperature.

6. Just before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

A ME morning spent in Patisserie G

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It’s the last day of May and I’m getting a bit emo(tional). Nope I’m not having PMS. Fact is, today is the last day of my No-Pay-Leave. Instead of cooping myself up at home, I placed Faith at my parent’s and went down to Patisserie G for brunch. I needed some time to read up on the notes from Parenting with Confidence before I go for lesson the next day.

I had wanted to visit Patisserie G after I was lured by the aroma that perfumed the surrounding environment when I passed by that 14-seat French bake shop the other day. Perhaps, I was also enticed by the Japanese outlook of the cafe, the simplicity in decor and the Maruni Hiroshima armchairs. Whatever it is, I’m going to have my ME time there.

Patisserie G opens at 8am (good for early-risers) and it was empty except for a customer who had almost completed her meal. The desserts were not displayed (pity!) and I had to settle for a latte and a croissant with ham and cheese.

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Going through last week’s notes, I was most impressed by this – 2 related things that threaten successful parenting and lead to the demise of the family are:
1) Not understanding the importance of the husband/wife relationship in the parenting process
2) Having a child-centred parenting

It is important to maintain the husband-wife relationship as the greatest overall influence we can have on our children will not come in our role as a dad or mom but as husband and wife. The quality of parent-child relationship depends on the quality of the husband-wife relationship so do make the latter an ongoing priority throughout the child-rearing years.

I thought it is important to note that there are 3 basic emotional needs of young children.
a) A child has a need to know that he is loved by Mum and Dad.
b) Every child has a need to know where he fits in Mum and Dad’s world.
c) A child has a need to know that Mum and Dad love each other.

While we want to meet the needs of our children, we have to be careful that in doing so, he does not become the centre of the family universe thus resulting in a me-ism attitude. Healthy families, on the other hand, produce children with a we-ism attitude.

There are 5 ways to meet all our child’s needs and not be child-centred:
1) Maintain your relationships that were important to you before your children were born
2) Get back into the habit of dating our partner and allowing friends or relatives to take care of the children
3) Continue to do those things that were markers of your special relationship before the children came.
4) Invite friends over for a meal or an evening of fellowship. Being hospitable forces us to focus on our home for the sake of minitering to others (healthy distractions such as these show children that service {to others} should be part of their lives)
5) Practice “Couch Time that takes place when the children are awake. This provides children with a visual sense of your togetherness.

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As I took a bite of the croissant and a sip of the latte, I wish the former could be a tad more buttery and crispy and the coffee to be warmer. They didn’t meet up to expectations and I so wish they could play some French music in the background, rather than some American pop music.

Proceeding to my next read, the peace was disrupted by two customers who were rather loud in their conversation. Distracted, I bade the ME time goodbye. It’s time to head home, to my baby. By then, the desserts were out on display and I purchased The G Spot (Dark chocolate mousse with chocolate meringue, on a chocolate hazelnut praline crunch) to try. Hopefully, it will turn out to be good.

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So, I would be back to work in June, though not on a permanent basis. I’m serving my notice, you see, and that is another story in itself.

Update: The cake is good. I should just stick with her desserts/cakes.

Patisserie G
9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-40
Millenia Walk

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We are the DinoFamily

FFWD | Coupetade (french-toast pudding)

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I had a rich breakfast today, all thanks to this recipe which is French toast soaked in custard. It is a dessert from central France and it is said that you can achieve best results by using brioche or challad. Since I had neither at the time of baking, just a normal loaf of white bread did the job for me.

The steps are relatively easy:

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1. Make the French toast.
2. Arrange the cut slices of French toast in the baking pan and moist raisins, dried cranberries or cherries under, over and between the slices.
3. Make the custard and pour it over the bread and fruit.
4. Bake it.

Obviously, there are tiny details within these few steps but really, it’s a breeze making this.

If you are interested in French cooking, why not join us in French Fridays with Dorie?

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Cocotte

One of my group members has managed to arranged for an industrial visit to Wanderlust hotel and I thought a dine-in experience would complete the visit. Have read good reviews about the French restaurant, Cocotte, found on the 1st floor and decided to give it a try.

It was surprisingly empty when we reached. In fact, only a few tables were occupied. The restaurant provides complimentary valet which is good since I don’t really like parallel parking.

The interior is unpretentious and exudes a warm communal style of dining; it makes one feel at ease. Only set lunch is available, which is quite unfortunate since I’m all ready to try out their signature roast pork collar. But for only $32 ++ for the set, I guess I can’t complain much.

I must say, with regret, that I was less than satisfied with the food. Perhaps I came with high expectations and it was disappointing that they didn’t quite deliver.

The soup of the day was pumpkin soup. ML and I thought it was rich and creamy but rather bland.

I had the Pear, Bleu D’Auverge Salad which is a mixed salad tossed in lemon-hazelnut dressing with fresh pears and toasted hazelnuts & Bleu D’Auverge cheese. It was rather refreshing and zesty and I was enjoying it until I consumed the cheese and realised I shouldn’t be eating such cheeses! It’s all right as an appetizer but nothing to be excited about.

For the main, ML ordered the Trout Amandine which is a whole rainbow trout with almonds and brown butter. I like the caramelised taste and the toasted nuts but the fish itself, again, was rather bland. Was it my taste buds? But ML wasn’t very impressed either, only perhaps by the size of the fish.

I wanted to order the Steak Frites but it was not available (pity) and in the end, went for Chicken & Black Trompette Mushrooms. The dish was really all right but… the chicken leg was not well-cooked and there was blood oozing when I cut into the flesh.  According to Chef Ramsey (in Masterchef), one shouldn’t serve uncooked meat. There’s a no-no for chefs and I’m not talking about eating steak in which you can choose how it could be done. Chicken has to be well-cooked! Disappointed, I returned the dish to the server for some ‘touch-ups’.

My dessert was Creme Brulee which was pleasant. The coffee was good too. Like it.

Would I come again? Perhaps ( I still want to try the Roast Pork Collar), and I would suggest coming in a group since they have this offer for DBS/POSB card – one dines free for every 3 paying guests until Dec 2012. It’s a good place to hang out with your friends.

Sauteed chicken in mustard-cream sauce

This dish uses the classic French sauce which also makes an excellent topping for fish, such as seared salmon or trout. The original recipe calls for chicken breast but I prefer the tenderness of the thigh. Complement with roasted baby potatoes and steamed trimmed asparagus to make a full meal.

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Potato gratin (pommes dauphinois)

How ‘sotong’ can I be?

For the past few days, I was all hyped up about French Fridays with Dorie and was looking through the recipes and purchasing the required ingredients.

I baked potato gratin for breakfast and then realised that this is one of the dishes for November! Oh my! I have fast-forwarded the month in my eagerness! Today, according to schedule, we should be baking marie-helene’s apple cake! Sigh! I shall bake it later for tomorrow’s party. According to Dorie, the cake gets more comforting with each passing day (actually, it’s her husband’s opinion).

This is nice and easy to do.  I halved the portion since there’s only the hubs and I who would eat it. In addition, I added bits of cooked bacon and small broccoli florets for more colours. Comfort food and good for carbo-loading.