zondag 11 april 2010

Vanilla flavoured madeleines

I have always loved madeleines. They always looked like such a chique and sophisticated kind of cake to me, but I never had the chance to make these French delicacies myself...until now.
My French neighbor let me borrow her special madeleine baking tin and I started looking for a recipe. The recipe I initially found was one with rose-buds (by Nigella Lawson). This did sound lovely, but unfortunately I did not have any rosewater or rose-buds. So instead of the rose-flavoured ones I decided to give the recipe a twist and make vanilla ones. I can't help to say, but they tasted amazing and as soon as I took a bite, I was sitting at a beautiful Paris based terrace.

makes 12 or 24 small ones

50 grams of butter
          - melted and cooled down
1 big egg
40 grams caster sugar
a pinch of salt
45 grams of flower
half a vanillapod
           - just the seeds (scrape them out with a knife)

Grease the tin with a tablespoon of the melted butter.
Mix the egg, sugar and salt for 5 minutes untill you have got a thick mixture with the texture of mayonaise. The sif the flower onto the mixture and carefully fold it in with a spatula. Pour in the melted butter and carefully fold this in as well.
Cover the bowl and put it into the fridge for an hour.
Preheat the oven at 220oC, gasmark 7.
Now get the bowl with the madeleine mixture out of the fridge, and let it rest for another 30 minutes at roomtemperature.
Pour about a tablespoon of the mixture into the molds. Do not worry about spreading the mixture out, because this will happen in the oven.
Put the tin into the oven and bake for about 5 minutes. Get them out of the oven and let them cool down on a wire rack.
Once they have coolded down they are ready to eat.
Enjoy them with a nice cup of tea and just imagine you are in Paris :)

I advise you to consume them on the day of preparation, because they tend to turn a bit dry and chewy.

pumpkin soup

This is a recipe for a spicy pumpkinsoup with sweet apple.

The past year I disovered the pumpkin with it sweet flesh and beautiful deep and bright orange colour.
I love to experiment with this amazing fruit and use it in cakes, stews, curries and ofcourse soups.
This is a soup that will give you that beloved warm feeling inside, which is why it's perefect for a wet and cold day.

serves 6

1 medium sized pumpkin (I used the onion pumpkin)
          cleaned, deseeded and cut into 2 cm big chunks
2 sweet apples (I prefer the Dutch Elstar, but apples like Braeburn will work as well)
           washed, deseeded and cut into 2 cm big chunks
2 medium sized onions
           peeled and finely chopped
3 medium sized carrots
          cleaned and sliced (1 cm thick)
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 dried red chilli pepper   
           finely crumbled
1,5 litre of vegetable stock
olive oil

Pour a splash of olive oil into a hot pan and add the coriander and cumin seeds. Toast them for about 30 seconds and then add the onion, cinnamon stick and chilli and turn the heat down to meduim/low. Fry the onions till they are softened and then add the pumpkin, apple, carrot and bay leaves. Put the lid on the pan and let it soften for 15 to 20 minutes, while stirring occasionally. By the time the vegetables are softened they will have spread a deliciously, warm and fragrant smell through the kitchen. Now it is time to pour in the stock and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. To create a bright orange and velvety soup you will now need the help of a (hand-held) blender or food processor.
Add some salt and pepper to taste and the soup is ready to enjoy!

To make it extra special you can decide to:
          - stir in some golden raisins to bring out the sweetness of the ingredients
          - add some coriander leaves
          - add a swirl of cream to soften the heat of the chillies
          - add some pieces of crispy bacon or pancetta for a salty contrast
          - add some shaved, toasted almonds to bring, which is nice with the nutty pumpkin