Archive | France RSS feed for this section

Savoury sacristains

12 Oct

sacristans

Sacristains are made by spreading a sheet of pastry with something tasty, slicing it into strips, then twisting each strip before baking. I usually make them when I have puff pastry to use up.

Sacristains can be savoury or sweet. These are made with tapenade, but I’ve made sacristains with pesto, mustard and grated cheese, sundried tomato paste, Nutella, cinnamon sugar… Continue reading

Cheese and mustard palmiers

24 Aug

cheese and mustard palmiers

Savoury palmiers, my penultimate Great British Bake-off challenge…

If I’d gone to the effort of making my own puff pastry like the contestants did, these would have been a challenge. Using store-bought puff pastry, they’re a doddle. Continue reading

Croque monsieur

10 Jul

Croque monsieur

The croque monsieur is a French café classic. Done well, it’s a toothsome delight of crispy, cheesy deliciousness – too often, it’s a tepid, limp disappointment.

All the more reason to make croque monsieur at home, using good bread, good ham and good cheese, for a great weekend lunch. Continue reading

Passion fruit chocolate truffles

11 Feb

Passion fruit truffles

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about chocolates is the element of surprise. Shapes can be a giveaway – square toffees, dome-shaped cherries and so on  – as is the printed guide when it exists. But until you commit and sink your teeth into a chocolate, you don’t really know what’s inside.

The acute disappointment of biting into a strawberry cream with its cloying taste of cosmetics. The outrage of a square chocolate unpardonably filled with fibrous coconut. The double delight of getting whatever chocolate you and your brother both favour after he went first and chose wrong…;-)  Continue reading

French 75

19 Dec

french75

We won’t be repeating our twelve cocktails of Christmas extravaganza this year, but we did want to mark the start of the holiday season with something festive.

The French 75 (or Soixante-quinze) is apparently named after a field artillery gun, because of the punch it packs. Adam sees it as a gin and tonic for the Christmas season, a time of year when you do things like substitute champagne for tonic water…;-)

I recognise it as the inspiration for last year’s A Cocktail of Two Cities, which had the same London/Paris-gin/champagne thing going on.

A simple, elegant drink, the magic of a French 75 is in the balance of ingredients: gin, lemon juice, sugar and champagne. I went for a 2 to 1 ratio of the gin/lemon mixture to champagne.

Continue reading

Pear frangipane tart

6 Oct

Pear frangipane tart

The Great British Bake-off signature bakes seem to be increasing in complexity as the weeks go by – which is as it should be I guess.

Still, I find myself watching in trepidation, wondering what challenge I’ll be inflicting on myself next…

Continue reading

Crème brûlée

21 Sep

Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée is – without a doubt – my favourite dessert. I love the moment when you crack the crust of caramelised sugar, and the shards shift apart to reveal the creamy custard waiting beneath. I’m already happy before I even raise the first spoonful to my mouth…

Until now, all my crème brûlée moments have occurred in restaurants. But the fourth Great British Bake-off signature bake was crème brûlée, so it was time to give it a go. Continue reading