31 Oct 2013

South West France, from vine to lense (+ special offers)

I recently went to the South West of France on a work trip, where I got the chance to discover a bit more this region and some of its appellations: Fronton, Gaillac, Cahors. 
No need to say that I met lovely people (winemakers must simply belong to the most unpretentious and nicest people on earth), ate amazing food (nothing beats a duck and gâteau basque therapy every once in a while), tasted some delicious wines, and took many shots!

Gaillac vineyards

Puy l’Evêque, near Cahors

I considered for a minute sitting there for ever after and not getting on the plane back to London (Domaine Causse Marines)

Ham and wine anyone? (Domaine Plageoles)

Gaillac, view from Domaine Plageoles

Marc Penavayre, Château Plaisance, Fronton

Tasting wine in the shade of a tree at Domaine Causse Marines

If you would like to discover more about South West France Wines in London, why don't you go to The Maison des Vins du Sud-Ouest at Comptoir Gascon, where you get to sample different wines for free everyday when having lunch and dinner. 
Or go and spend a day at The Wine Gang Fairs (London, Bath, Edinburgh) and look out for The South West France Wines tables and masterclasses!

Special discount for Pauline à la crème anglaise's followers!  
Type in the code BLOG40 when getting your tickets for The Wine Gang Fairs from here and get your entry ticket for only £12 (instead of £20) and get 10% of any masterclass. 

For more information on South West France Wines : www.southwestfrancewines.co.uk

25 Oct 2013

My ugly yet delicious peanut butter cookies

Maybe there's some kind of paranormal activity happening in my kitchen.
Or some kind of cookie god who doesn't like me.
Or the moon not in the right phase of its cycle.

I can't explain.
I've been baking for 5 years now, but still, here there are, my latest delicious but ugly peanut butter cookies.

Peanut butter cookies
with M&Ms and Peanut butter cups

Don't judge them on their looks, just close your eyes and take a bite.

300g caster sugar
130g unsalted butter
70g smooth peanut butter
275g self raising flour
1 egg
1 good pinch of salt
Chunks: I peanut butter M&Ms and Reese's peanut butter cups
Make the cookies
1/ Preheat your oven at 180°C
2/ Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon (or an electric mixer) until light and fluffy (this will take about 10 min)
3/ Add the egg and beat again
4/ Add the flour and the salt and mix until combined (try not to over beat the ingredients or your cookies will end up very dry). If the dough is too dry, add milk one tablespoon at a time
5/ Add the M&Ms and/or peanut butter cups in the middle of each cookie
6/ Spoon 2-tablespoon sized balls of dough on a baking sheet (or silicone baking mat) spacing them out quite a lot as the cookies will spread while cooking

7/ Bake for approximately 15 or until just cooked (you want them to still be chewy in the middle). Wait till they cool down before removing them from the sheet (as they will harden as they cool down)

Featuring Gustav the thief cat!

3 Oct 2013

Great balls of....lamb!

I'm going on holidays!
what, "again"?
I'm not on holidays all the time, I just tend to talk more about my holidays than about my everyday life (would you really want to know about my daily work routine? Nooo, that's what I thought)

This time, I'm off to Kerala, the very South West of India. I've never been to India, so it's going to be a great adventure. 
But don't worry, I've got The Man and Chocolat my Travelling Bear to hold my hand when we'll get lost, cross rivers and eat scary food. I'll bring back lots of pictures and I hope so more great recipes!

In the meantime, I won't let you starve, here one my favourite savoury recipes of the moment.
See you in two weeks! 

Spicy and Minty Lamb meatballs

If you had asked me a couple of months ago: why would you get into the trouble of making your own meatballs?" I wouldn't have known what to answer. 
The truth is, you can find good meatballs in supermarkets. 
But, it's so much fun to make them yourself, and to flavour them following your instinct of the moment!

Here, I went for mint and lamb meatballs, but you can swap the lamb with beef, and flavour them with whichever herbs and spices you like.

This dish is light, packed with flavour, and it's easy to double or triple the quantities if you have lots of guests over, without being so much more work. Give them a go!

Ingredients for the courgette carpaccio (for 2 people)
2 large courgettes (or 3 small)
half a lemon
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Make the courgette carpaccio

1/ Wash the courgettes, cut the ends, leaving the skin on
2/ With a peeler, slice the courgettes accross the full length, place them in a bowl
3/ Drizzle with the juice of half a lemon, few tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, and leave to marinate 30min to an hour

Ingredients for the spicy minty and lamb meatballs
Approx 400 minced lamb
a dozen of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp of white breadcrumbs
3 tbsp of milk
1 or 2 spring onions (white and green parts), finely chopped
1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp cumin or coriander seeds, salt and pepper, and pretty much any spice you might like

Make the meatballs: 
1/ In a large bowl, place the breadcrumbs and milk for a couple of minutes until the breadcrumbs have absorbed the milk

2/ Add all the other ingredients and mix well until combined. With your hands, form balls the size of approximately the size of a small ping pong ball (but you can make them bigger if you like) and place them in the fridge for 1/2 hour to ensure that they're stick together before you cook them

3/ Fry them on the barbecue or in a pan slightly oiled. 

Side fresh sauce
Mix together 3 or 4 tbsp or grecque yoghurt with fresh basil finely chopped, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper

To Serve: 
In a wrap (I bought square wraps from M&S), place 3 meatballs, a few rocket leaves, a dollop of side fresh sauce, roll and close the wrap, and serve aside the courgette carpaccio. Enjoy!

Alternative: you can serve the meatballs with couscous, courgette carpaccio and side fresh sauce.