May 15, 2008

Keep Practising Even When Cooking Family Meal...

These days at The French Consulate, things are going slow and quiet : there is not a great deal of receptions or official lunches, may be once or twice a week at the moment. So my time is busy to cook for the family, sometimes only for the kids and the nanny... So I have to keep myself busy learning and experimenting new tours de main, from stuffs I read in magazines or on the Net... Even for a basic dinner for kids, there is always a way to practice...
Tonight, for example, I serve some crab cakes. I did a mayonnaise but I also took the chance to prepare a mango chutney from a recipe I found in REGAL, a French magazine I enjoy reading. I buy it from a local news stand, down the street here in SOHO.

Here is the recipe of the mango chutney :

Cook the mango cut in small dices (macédoine) in sugar and white vinegar until it turns gold. Add one anise star, one cinnamon stick, one smashed garlic clove and some freshly grated ginger. Cook slowly until it looks like a chunky jam.
Mine had a very complex flavor but was too sweet. Next time, I will divide the quantity of sugar (80 gr with 15 cl of white vinegar) by two (as I usually do for any pastry recipe).

I also took the time to bake one recipe of chocolate tuiles found in one French book about pastry, Gourmandises, from the famous Le Notre...

The recipe (yield = 15 tuiles) :
  • 50 gr butter
  • 40 gr powdered sugar
  • 30 gr AP flour
  • 30 gr cocoa powder
  • 20 gr chopped nuts
  • 10 gr honey

Mix the soften butter and the sugar. Add the chocolate powder and the sifted flour and mix until well incorporated. Then add the nuts and the honey. Using a template to shape the chips, form the chips on a baking sheet (silpat). If you don't have a template, just try to form a nice circle with the mixture, using an offset spatula or a spoon. Let rest for 2 hours (should prevent the chips to shrink...). Bake for 3 to 4 mn at 220ºC/430ºF. Then remove them white a knife or a spatula. If you want to have a nice curved shape, let them rest on a rolling pin. ACT FAST since the chips will harden fast.

The original recipe calls for 5 mn's baking but they turned black, so keep an eye on the oven since it goes very fast...
The result was nice but I found the chips very fragile. So handle with care...

On the same page, I found that recipe of Tuiles à l'orange that I didn't have time to try yet.

  • 50 gr confectioner sugar
  • 25 gr butter
  • 1 tbs of orange juice (or grapefruit)
  • 20 gr AP flour
  • 30 gr chopped almonds

Heat the butter (I usually cook it beurre noisette to give a nutty flavor). Stand aside. Mix almonds and sugar, add flour and juice, then incorporate the butter. Let rest for 24 hours. The procedure is the same than the Tuiles au chocolat, except that you have to bake for 10 mn at 180ºC/350ºF.

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