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After a few days in Alsace, we spent a weekend in Zürich with our friends. As always, on my agenda was a fresh food market, and the Oerlikon Market was the perfect place to be on a Saturday morning.
The produce was of such good quality, the freshest I’d seen in a while and the florists made some of the the loveliest arrangements. I remember my chef at school once told us that the best apricots come from the Swiss valley, and a punnet from the market confirmed that.
We ambled through the market with a wedge of cheese to snack on and got ingredients for our bbq that night. Arjun bought me a sunflower the size of my face and I walked around all of Zürich with it.
Other markets in Zürich:
Bürkliplatz Market (Tue, Fri) – Must follow Kerrin for her market updates!
Helvetiaplatz Market (Tue, Fri)
Marktplatz Im Viadukt (Mon – Sat)
I have a really good chocolate cake recipe on the blog, but this one’s a classic. The génoise forms the basis of this surprisingly simple cake. Making this reminded me that I don’t need to go searching for new-fangled recipes and methods when the classic génoise works like a dream.
A génoise is amongst the first things we learned at school, and something we were tested on. The list of ingredients for the cake is straightforward – something you’ll usually have around.
Some tips for making the perfect génoise: [read more…]
Jerusalem artichokes are one of my favourite root vegetables. These knobby roots are sweet, earthy and taste like honey when roasted.
I first spotted them when I moved to France. I asked a friend about how I could use them, bought a little bagful and then never used it. Partly because it was unknown territory and partly because I thought that I had to make something incredibly complicated to be able to get the most out of it. I couldn’t be more wrong. Keeping things simple, and letting the ingredients speak for themselves is something I learned over time with visits to the market. The belief was fortified when I experienced incredible flavours in the simple, market fresh salads I’d make: tomato and mozzarella or pear and beetroot.
Back to the Jerusalem artichoke. You don’t have to worry about peeling the Jerusalem artichokes – just scrub the muddy roots down well and they’re good to go. I tossed them in a little salt, pepper and olive oil and cooked them in the oven for 20 minutes. The skin got crispy and puffed up and on the inside, the Jerusalem artichoke was soft and buttery.
Jerusalem artichokes are pretty amazing made into a soup as well. Chrisitan Eschebest makes a Jerusalem artichoke soup with chorizo and hazelnut oil at his restaurant in Pigalle, and Inaki Aizpitarte did something pretty amazing – served a sweet purée of it with an almond granita, and at Chez Michel we made a mash to serve as a side. Here’s a pretty amazing Jerusalem artichoke gratiné that the people at Abri do. [read more…]
This is the chocolate ice-cream I was talking about last week. The ice-cream base is special. It’s the kind that you don’t pour into the ice-cream maker to churn, but the kind you’ll have to spoon into the ice-cream maker because it’s so rich.
There’s more of everything in this ice-cream. More yolks, more chocolate, more cocoa. It’s this richness that makes its presence felt when you spoon into a scoop of ice cream. And as if that weren’t enough, there’s caramel in there too that adds depth to the flavour.
I followed Fergus Henderson’s recipe for chocolate ice-cream to the letter. He says you need to let the ice cream mix sit in the fridge for 2 days for the flavour to really meld together and then another 3 days in the freezer once its churned; I did just that. [read more…]
I’m hoping to start a new Christmas Day tradition with this year’s kugelhopf. A kugelhopf is a yeasted cake or a rich bread, whichever way you’d like to see it, that adorns pastry shop windows all over Alsace. It’s a traditional French Christmas bread, with a disputed history, made in earthen moulds. If you don’t have one, you could use a metal bundt pan mould instead, which offers better browning.
I’d bought an earthen kugelhopf mould from a tiny, crammed vintage shop in Montmartre. With access to top quality kugelhopfs all over Paris, the kugelhopf mould had been relegated to serving the purpose of decorative kitchen object for the past year. I used Christmas as the perfect excuse to make this humongous rich festive bread.
Traditionally, the kugelhopf is made with raisins that have been soaked overnight in cognac or armagnac. I simply plumped them in water. I also veered away from the norm a bit – I was quite intrigued by the recipe in Tartine Bread (USA | UK | India) which also added a mixture of apricots, pistachios, freshly ground cardamom and orange blossom water to the dough. [read more…]
We’re getting ready to take time off and visit our family for the holidays. We’re going to have a traditional roast for Christmas lunch. I’ve packed my bags with cranberry sauce, kugelhopf dough, chocolate chip cookie dough, chestnuts, chocolate, Comté, and my knife kit.
I made the cranberry sauce a day before and bottled it. It is my first time making it and I am surprised at how incredibly easy the process is. Cranberries are quite tart to eat on their own and they need a whole lot of sugar to mellow their flavour. It works surprising well with roasts. I can imagine making a sandwich with the leftover meat, cranberry sauce, rocket and some sharp Pecorino Romano.
300g fresh cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange, zested
- Put the cranberries, water and sugar and cinnamon stick in a bowl. Cook on a medium heat until the cranberries have burst and it looks like a ruby red jam, about 10 minutes. You can cook it longer if you want it to be more spreadable or cook it just until the berries have burst for a chunky sauce.
- Once it has thickened, stir in the zest of 1 orange.
- Bottle and seal until you want to use them.
- Note: Because of the high pectin content in cranberries, the sauce may firm up to a solid on cooling. Rewarm with a little bit of water to make it spreadable again.
Kouign Amann is a rich, buttery viennoiserie made with an unthinkable amount of butter and a generous sprinkling of sugar for a little sweetness and caramelisation. It’s crisp, flaky and caramelised on the outside and soft and cakey inside. One bite and you’ll know what I mean.
I’ve learnt two ways of making kouign amann. One, that I’ve listed in step-by-step details and the other I learnt while working at Chez Michel in Paris. A few times a week, after the lunch service when the kitchen was clean and the burners turned off, I’d help the chef make kouign amann. It was always made with Bordier butter and always in a copper pan. The kind that you use for a tarte tatin. The kouign amann was denser – with only 3 turns. And the sugar was sprinkled on the slab of butter right in the beginning.
A few pointers:
- Use the best salted butter you can get your hands on because that’s where all the flavour’s coming from.
- Bake at 180C (reduce to 170C halfway if it’s browning too quickly) for a good caramelisation.
- I used this kouign amann recipe, but scaled it down to 25% and that made me 10 individual cakes that I baked in a muffin pan.If you’re using French salted butter, the kind that has tiny chunks of salt, I recommend laminating the dough in one go. Because salt crystals are hygroscopic, it’s going to make the dough damp in parts when you leave in the fridge between turns. Laminate, cut and shape in one go.
- I’ve been making a lot of laminated pastries lately and when it comes to the butter, I cut up the cold butter into big chunks, throw it into my stand mixer and beat with a paddle attachment for a few minutes. I’m looking at making the butter malleable to work with but not soft. Then I shape it back into a rectangle between sheets of parchment paper and start the lamination.
Happy indulging, for ’tis the season and all that.
I made the most terrific rye sourdough I’ve made ever since I began making my own bread.
Arjun and I made our first starter in Paris last year to be able to recreate the fantastic breads we’d become so used from the many boulangeries near where we lived. I’ve been feeding it since and even replenishing it with Paris water every time I visit (although I know that that doesn’t make all that much of a difference). I’ve been playing with different types of flours, hydration levels, baking temperatures and times.
Every time I bake a loaf, we’ll slice it up and pretend like we’re back in France with a platter of cheese, charcuterie and cidre doux.
To follow along the bread baking journey catch me on The Perfect Loaf.