Thursday, 22 January 2009

Of starch and cheese… again (sorry)

I was in a fantastic cheese shop in Paris and saw they were selling tomme fraîche from the Auvergne... so I popped to the organic veg stall in the street market for some potatoes and went home to make Aligot... It's basically cheesy mash, but as made by the gods.
For four people:
1kg floury potatoes (I used red skinned ones)
350g Tomme Fraîche (Elizabeth David says you can substitue very young Lancashire if you're desperate), chopped into little cubes
2-3 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
250g crème fraîche
150g butter

Boil the potatoes, then peel them and pass through a mouli to get a nice fluffy mash
heat the cream and butter in a large pan until the butter melts
Add the potatoes, garlic and cheese and stir vigourously with a wooden spoon until the mixture goes really elastic.

Some people eat it with lentils and bits of pig, I had it with some fresh cèpes sliced and fried like schnitzel...

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Madelaine madness....

These are real madelaines that I actually made! Over christmas my madelaines obsession went overboard in that we decided that instead of the might mince pie we would tamper with the classic madelaine recipe and come up with some chistmassy alternatives to have with coffee.
We had Coffee and Cardamon, Candied peel and cinnamon, Allspice, prune, nutmeg, mace, ginger & cinnamon.... other successful flavours were ameretto and dark choc chip 
and fig and walnut. The regular recipe that I use for Madelaines (which I might add does not need embellishment at all, only for Christmas Fun!) is as follows

150g of quality unsalted butter
200g of plain flour
100g of caster sugar
100g of ground almonds
6 free range eggs
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 orange

Mix the butter, sugar and ground almonds together with your hands until a buttery ball, then crack one egg at a time mixing it in with a wooden spoon ... 
you should now have a runny batter.
Sift in the plain flour bit by bit ... if it gets lumpy then take to it with a whisk.
Lastly, finely grate the rind of one orange and together with a teaspoon of baking powder mix into the thickened batter.

Madelaines have there own type of shell like moulds which you can get in tin or silicone form ... the latter will save you alot of time and heartache in the end. You should be able to pick these up from a good cookery shop or cooks department in John Lewis.

Fill up the mould only half way (a heaped teaspoon should do it) and bake at around 170c for about 15-20 minutes. Eat them within an hour to get them at their best!

The mixture should keep in the fridge for a couple of days at home (although make sure its kept in the fridge as there is raw egg involved) They are wonderful warm for breakfast, elevenses, goute...

When I first started making them a couple of years ago I was sure that there was something missing from the batter as a remembered a crunchiness from my childhood ... I eventually came to the conclusion that as I mostly ate madelaines on the beach in the summer holidays or in the car on the way home from the beach, that the crunchiness was probably sand!

Stirring Up the Charles Lamb Figgy Pudding

A bit belated but here are some pictures from the end of November when we made the Charles Lamb Figgy Pudding. As you can see its a real family affair with Claudette, Hobby myself and bear all having a good stir. Sanchia put it all together with a liitle help from a recipe sent from my sisters husband mother?!?.... 
Christine up in Newcastle. Our Secret? ... Soak the figs in quality London Porter for at least 3 days before you even get going on the rest.