26 Mar 2013

The modern woman is a Mrs Ingalls wannabe (Almond Butter recipe)

Until very recently, I'd never quite understood these women who would try and make homemade yogurt, sparkling water, ice-creams when these are most likely to taste better from the big brands we all know.
Let's be honest, there might be a reason why Mr Coca-Cola became a billionaire. Maybe his product simply tastes the best, the same for Mr Nutella's.

So why? Why would you go to all the trouble of spending time, money and effort trying to make a runny yogurt when Mr Danone does it for you so well?

Are we all housewives wannabes, taking pride in looking after our family needs, using only raw ingredients, like Caroline Ingalls in her Little House in the Prairie? (who hasn't dreamt of tasting Mrs Ingalls's homemade ice-cream?)
Is it just the pleasure of using fancy yogurt, ice cream or bread machines?
Is it the wish to find a healthier, yet still tasty, alternative to our industrial (and suspicious) food favourites?

Now that I'm gradually becoming a baking geek, I think it might be a bit of both. 
That, and of course feeling proud of holding a peanut butter pot saying "I made it! And it's almost as good as Skippy's!"

recipe almond butter peanut butter

Almond butter
(100% natural!)

It takes only 20min in total to make this delicious almond butter, which contains only almonds and honey. No added hydrogenated fat, no sugar, yum! 

I haven't tried yet, but I'd guess you can follow the same recipe with any kind of nuts you like. Depending on how fat the chosen nuts are (walnuts are quite oily for example), the consistency might just be smoother or croaser.

Ingredients (for a 500g capacity jar): 

300g skin on almonds
a good lump of honey (2tbsp)

Make the almond butter: 

1/ Preheat the oven at 190deg C for 10min

2/ Roast the almonds on a baking tray (with no oil, no foil) for 10min, take out of the oven, leave to cool completely

3/ In a food processor, process the almonds for 10min until smooth (yes, it works!), stopping the processor from time to time to scrap the sides of the bowl)

4/ Add the honey and process for 15 more seconds. Done!

NB: The almond butter will keep up to 3 weeks in a jar in the fridge

homemade almond butter recipe

peanut butter recipe

This post is for you Mélie, for all the times I teased you about your homemade yogurts, your homemade soaps, and your 60 different kitchen robots! Love you!

13 Mar 2013

Banana and blueberry skinny muffins

A wind of panick has blown over my kitchen.

I've realised that if this bitterly cold winter ever comes to an end, the sun will come back, and I'll have to wear skirts without my super 350deniers tights that hide my cellulite.
Like a baby penguin trying to get through the winter without freezing to death on the ice field, my body has been covered by a thick layer of fat for the past few months.
The Man yet has solemnly announced "If you even think of going on a diet, I'll stop speaking to you"

There's only one solution left : CHEATING.
ie....making super skinny puddings disguised in indulgent cakes. 

Can I get away with it? 
Challenge accepted!
recipe banana muffins

Banana and blueberry super skinny muffins 

This recipe is super skinny and super easy to make. 
I used real cow milk because that's what I had in my kitchen, but the original recipe is completely vegan and calls for rice milk, what don't you give it a try?


1 banana, very ripe
3/4 of a cup of fresh blueberries
90 gr flour
50 gr porridge oats
2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
45 gr nuts (whichever you like. I used walnuts, croasely chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
50 ml milk
1 tbsp shredded coconut
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Make the muffins:

Preheat the oven at 185deg C.

1/ In a big bowl, mash the banana, add the flour, oats, sugar, nuts and mix with a wooden spoon

2/ Add the oil and the milk, mix well

3/ Add the coconut, blueberries, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix until just combine (try not to overmix)

4/ Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto a silicone mat (or baking tray lined with  baking parchment) and bake for appox 10min until risen and golden

5/ Transfer to a cooling rack and heat warm with vanilla ice-cream or custard

easy vegan muffins recipe

recipe vegan blueberry muffins

Recipe adapted from the lovely vegetarian blog 1 2 3  cerises

The Man'sVerdict: these muffins are very light and fruity. They make up for a nice week night dessert or heathly snack...but some of us will probably want to deep them in melted chocolate or a swimming pool of custard, cause in all honesty, they might be lacking of the oompfh factor we could expect from a real treat.

6 Mar 2013

My lovely & easy Walnut Pie

Last week, during my lunch break at work. I'm sitting in the kitchen, eating my sandwich and reading Shortlist. I'm captivated, reading celebrity baker and TV judge of The Great British Bake Off Paul Hollywood's interview giving his view on the rise in home-baking in the UK: "Baking is a nostalgic, emotive thing. Baking reminds you of your childhood, loved ones, trips away. They transport you back, whether it’s to a holiday or your gran’s house"

I raise my eyebrows and think "Ohh, really Paul? you're a bit stating the obvious here, aren't you?", but already I'm gone, half smiling and suddenly taken back to my grandma's kitchen, where she would bake in minutes the most delicious apple cakes without ever measuring the ingredients. Two seconds later and I am thinking of my grandpa, flipping crepes in an old pan with a coin in his hand for good luck as told by old Pancake day traditions.

And you, if I talk to you about cakes and baking, where does that take you back to?

homemage walnut pie

My walnut pie

This pie was supposed to be a pecan pie, but when my supermarket turned out to be out of maple syrup, I improvised!
I used golden syrup instead of maple syrup, and walnuts instead of pecans, to make this cheap and delicious alternative to our usual pecan pie!

This pie is surprisingly light and not dry at all. It shows off the flavours of the walnuts, coated in the lovely caramel-like filling. It's divine, and perfect for a winter tea break or dessert!

Ingredients for the pastry
185g plain flour
95g softened butter
95 caster sugar
1 egg
1 pinch of salt
up to 30ml of water

Make the pastry
1/ In a food processor, place the flour, sugar, egg, and salt in the bowl with the dough hook. Process for 30sec until mixed

2/ Add the butter in cubes, while running, add the water via the feeder tube until the dough form and ball. (you might not need to use all of the water. just stop adding water when the pastry forms a ball)

3/ Take out of the processor, knead briefly and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for 30mins.

Ingredients for the filling
450g walnuts
4 eggs
225g soft brown sugar
170g golden syrup
1/2 tsp salt
55g butter, melted
1tsp vanilla extract/ essence
2tbsp plain flour, sifted

Make the tart
1/ Pre heat the oven at 200deg C

2/ Line a metal pie dish with the pastry, prick all over with a fourch, cover with foil and baking beans (or rice) and bake blind for 15min. Remove the paper and the beans and bake for 5 more minutes (the pastry should be cooked but not golden)

3/ Chop 3/4 of the walnuts and put the best looking aside.

4/ In a big bowl, whisk the eggs. Stir in the sugar, golden syrup, vanilla essence, melted butter, salt

5/ Sift in the flour, making sure there are no lumps in the mixture, and stir in the chopped walnuts. Spread over the pastry case and arrange the remaining walnuts in top of the pie

6/ Bake for approx 25-30 min or until well golden. Serve warm or cold

homemage walnut pie

recipe homemade walnut pie

Pastry recipe adapted from Magimix cook book
Filling recipe adapted from Leith Cookery Bible

I dedicate this blog post to my grandpa Maurice and my grandma Gisèle, with all my love.