23 Aug 2013

My Lemon, Coconut and Mascarpone Tart

Girls (or maybe just me) often have a very specific idea of what they expect from their Man as proofs of their love to them.
Flowers, surprise dinners, boxes of chocolate, secret love messages hidden in a drawer ...all of these are in the Universal Repertory of Proofs of Love.
As some boys don't seem to have been given a copy of the Repertory and are not so keen on following any rules but their own anyway, they don't do any of this and get regularly into trouble.

"We've been together for a year and you still haven't offered me flowers?!"

Until one day, out of nowhere and god knows why (probably thanks to some kind of divine intervention), girls realise that proofs of love are all around, just not where they look for them.

Does he always carry your grocery bags (and all your bags for that matter) for you?
Does he serve you breakfast in bed even though you know he's phobic of crumbs in bed?
Does he spend time repairing your broken bike without you even asking for it? 
Does he clean the mess you leave behind you at his place without ever even mentioning it?

Sometimes, you're actually happier and luckier than you think, you just have to look in the right direction.

Lemon, coconut and mascarpone Tart

This tart is very fresh and creamy. It is so easy to make, and so delicious. 
A great new take on lemon tart!

Finely grated zest and juice of 4 lemons
2 handfuls of dissacated coconut
4 eggs and 4 yolks (you can keep the whites to make a meringue)
200 g mascarpone
250 runny honey or maple syrup (I used honey)
1 shortcrust pastry ( I used lighter shortcrust pastry from Sainsbury's)
Unrifined sugar (or light muscovado sugar), for dusting

Make the lemon and coconut tart: 

1/ Take all the ingredients out of the fridge so they come to room temperature. 
2/ Preheat the oven to 150deg C

3/ Prepare your lemon zests and juices and place in a small bowl with the coconut. Leave to soak for 5min

4/ In a large bowl, beat the eggs and yolks with a whisk or an electric mixer until light and pale (this will take 3 to 5 mins)

5/ In a third bowl, beat the mascarpone until smooth and creamy. Add it to the eggs mixture, add the honey, mix, then add the lemon zests and juices and coconut, and mix until combined and smooth.

6/ Line a pie dish with the shortcrust pastry, and bake at 150deg C for 40-50 min. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin. Ice with sugar and serve.


"You're so fine, and you're mine..."

15 Aug 2013

Sensitive taste buds seeking curry - Indian Dhal & Roast pumpkin

One of my greatest culinary discoveries since I've been living in London is Indian Cuisine.

If Coronation chicken, the indian-inspired dish created for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, is anything to go by, British people have a real love affair with Indian food.

In France, we have "Pizza nights", here in the UK, people have "Curry nights"

When I started my curry education 4 years ago, I started from scratch. Not only did I know nothing about Indian food, but I also had baby taste buds that couldn't handle anything that would come near being called a spice.

My world was made of crème fraiche and melted cheese, with no pepper please.

Since then, I fell in love with curry nights, and my Curry Connoisseur Boyfriend takes me to Indian restaurants and teaches my taste buds the great pleasures of chilli powder.
And guess what? I'm going on holidays to India soon! More on that later ;-)

recipe roasted stuffed pumpkin

Easy Indian Dhal 
served in a roasted pumkin

In India, dhal means lentils. A dhal can be cooked in many different ways, depending on the lentils you use and the recipe you're following. 
You can also create your own recipe and include lots of different ingredients in a dhal: green peas, cauliflower, potatoes, Indian cheese, etc
Most of the times, a dhal would remain a vegetarian dish.
Here is a very simple recipe that I served in a roasted pumpkin, just because I love pumpkin. But of course, you can serve your dhal in a bowl!

Ingredients for 2 people: 

1 small glass (a little less than 1/2 pint) or red lentils
2 pints approx of vegetable stock
1 onion finely chopped
1garlic clove finely chopped
1 small thumb of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 small handful of frozen peas
2 medium sized potatoes
2 to 3  tbsp of mixed spices: I crushed cumin seeds and coriander seeds, added turmeric and a pinch of cinnamon. Freestyle!

Make the dhal:  

1/ Sweat (don't grill) the onion, garlic in 1tbsp olive oil for 3 min. Add the ginger and the spices and cook for 2 more min. 

2/ Add the lentils, potatoes and the stock, and simmer for approx 15min. Mix from time to time, until the mix forms a croase porridgy texture. Add the peas and cook for 5 more min. 

3/ Add salt to taste, and serve with rice or in a small roast pumpkin with pitta breads and cottage cheese (we ate directly with spoons from the pumpkin, really good casual atmosphere!)

Make the roasted pumpkin: 

1 small pumpkin, seeds removed
1 tbsp olive oil

1/ Paint the inside of the pumpkin with the oil, place on a baking tray, cover with foil and cook in the oven for approx 30min at 190degC (the foil will ensure the pumpkin slowly roasts without burning).

2/ Take off the foil ans roast for a further 10min until the pumpkin is golden. Transfer to a serving dish and fill with the dhal. 

whole roasted pumpkin recipe indian dhal

Options: of course, you can fill your pumpkin with other preparations, like for example a biryani, or a simple mix vegetable fried rice.

Some (amongst so many) places to try and enjoy Indian delicacies in London: 
Guglee, West  Hampstead & Swiss Cottage
Lahore, Whitechapel
Tayyabs, Whitechapel
If you have favourites to share, please leave a comment!

13 Aug 2013

An afternoon in Greenwich

Last year at that time, I was in Greenwich for the Olympic Games, watching horseriding and having fun with bloggers from all over the world. 
Since then, I always have this sweet nostalgic feeling when I go to Greenwich, remembering that special time of my life.
Last Saturday, we cycled to Greenwich for the afternoon, to eat some great food from Greenwich market and take a nap in the Park. Greenwich has this special relaxed atmosphere to it, I love it.

View from the Observatory

What's this big pointy shiny herb at the back?  The Shard!

Cutty Sark

Fresh lemonade anyone?

Greenwich market

We love Greenwich Market

2 Aug 2013

Citrus and Poppy Seeds Cake

I love coffee. 
Sometimes, I choose a restaurant just because I heard it has a proper espresso machine (which is pretty rare around here). 
My boyfriend, being British, has no idea how to make a good coffee (hellooo stereotype!)
No matter how strong I ask him to make my coffee, it's alway a slightly-black-coloured and tasteless concoction, that has nothing to do with coffee. (We call this "sock's juice" in French)
He is trying hard, but it's not his fault, he doesn't have the coffee gene.

Poor him, I had been teasing him for months...until I realised that I was apparently deprieved of the most important gene in this country: the tea gene. 

Does it matter if the tea brews for 3 or 5 minutes?
How much milk is a "dash of milk"?
What? How come I can't just add the milk when I want?
How am I supposed to judge if it's strong enough?

Slowly, we're learning each other's ways, and becoming caffeinely bi-cultural.
And I'm learning how to shut up from time to time ;-)

poppy seed citrus cake recipe

Citrus Poppy Seed Cake 

Let's be clear, poppy seeds don't bring any taste to the cake, but they make it pretty and they crunch under your teeth, which is quite a pleasurable eating experience. 
The yogurt makes the sponge very light and moist, and the mascaropone topping is a real delight. A crowd pleaser!

Ingredients for the cake: 

175g butter, softened
175g sugar
3 eggs, beaten
250g self raising flour
50g poppy seeds
grated rind of 2 oranges, and 2 lemons
4 rounded tbsp plain yogurt

For the topping:

250g mascarpone
grated rind and juice of 1 small orange or lemon
2 tbsp icing sugar

Make the cake: 

1/ Preheat oven to 150degC and butter a round cake tin

2/ Using a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, poppy seeds, citrus rind and yogurt until smooth
Tip: my secret is to first beat the butter and sugar until the mix becomes light and fluffy before adding the other ingredients. This makes a real difference in making the cake light and moist!

3/ Spread the mixture in the mould and bake for 45-50min until just firm. Cool in the mould for 10min until turning out and cool completely on a wire rack. 

4/ In the meantime, beat the mascarpone with enough orange/lemon juice and the icing sugar to make it spreadable. Spread over the cake, and leave to set for 1 hour before decorating with additional orange rind and serving.

poppy seed citrus cake recipe

poppy seed lemon cake recipe