Send As SMS
foodbeam has moved here - Go to !
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
In my garden

Tête de chat artichoke

I reckon i wouldn't lie by saying that June is my favourite month of the year. Lots of delicious fresh produce. Think lobster, apricots, melons, peas...
For me June is THE month of Artichokes.
I am lucky enough to live in the souce of France, so artichokes are avalaible in my garden as soon as the start of May, but in June, they really reach their best point -- both in taste, texture and size.

We grow two kinds of artichokes at home:
- the 'tête de chat' [cat's head].
Though it is delicious raw, i like it steamed. Basically you just steam the artichoke and wait for it to cool down.
- the Violet de Provence [Provence purple artichoke] also called 'poivrade'.
I love this one raw and served with a citrus vinaigrette.

Recipes ideas and ressources:
- How to trim an artichoke. The best step by step you could ever imagine.
- Artichoke panzanella
- Deep fried artichokes. My personal favourite!!!


Saturday, May 13, 2006
Bon Anniversaire - Tarte fine aux Asperges et aux Meilleur Chèvre Frais du Monde

[Happy Birthday - Fine Asparagus and Best-Goat-Cheese-in-the-World Tart]

My birthday was few weeks ago and as a foodie, i couldn't help but prepare the dinner myself.
Anyone would have been going to the caterer to order a 5-courses dinner. Or they would have bought a nice entremet from the finest pâtisserie.
But i had to make it. The starter, the main course and the dessert.
The most difficult part was to choose what to make.

Tarte fine aux Asperges et aux Meilleur Chèvre Frais du Monde

The choice of the starter has been quite simple: i knew i wanted to use both asparagus (May = lots of lovely asparagus) and fresh goat cheese.
I really had to use goat cheese simply because i did my second training period on a farm -- milking goats and making cheese.
Actually the cheese from this farm are said to be the best of the French Riviera and i can only agree with this.
Bruno, the nicest farmer in the world, takes care of his goats with love. He deeply loves nature and developped a great range of fresh and 'affinés' organic cheese. Indeed most of the best restaurants of Vence, St Paul... buy their cheese from la Ferme des Courmettes.
I mean, look at this cute goat baby. What's not to love?

La Ferme des Courmettes
06140 Tourettes sur Loup
Tel: 00.33.(0)

So you'll understand why i really wanted to use goat cheese -- i love good organic produce.

Tarte fine aux Asperges et aux Meilleur Chèvre Frais du Monde
Source: adapted from Martha Stewart's Asparagus Gruyère Tart
This tart is very easy to make and taste so good especially if you make your own puff pastry - which i always make, now.
Try to buy nice goat cheese from a local farmer instead of buying it from your local supermarket (though some good supermarket that have a great cheese counter, sell cheese from local farms).
The goat cheese should be 2-3 days old, as i think a fresher cheese would had more creaminess than taste.

Tarte fine aux Asperges et aux Meilleur Chèvre Frais du Monde
serves 6

15 green aspargus
400g puff-pastry (preferably homemade -- go on it's a doodle to make and highly rewarding)
a medium fresh cheese (around 6-7 cm in diameter + fanny: see note above)*
extra virgin oilve oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Trim the bottoms of the asparagus so they are about 20cm long and steam them for 10 minutes or until just tender.
Roll the puff pastry into a 25 x 40 cm square (4mm thick) and lightly score the pastry dough 3 cm in from the edges to mark a rectangle.
Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings.
Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Remove the pastry shell from oven.
Arrange the asparagus inside the tart shell, alternating ends and tips. Crumble the goat cheese over and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes and heat while still hot.

The main course was - Marinated scallops with Citrus Risotto, but sadly i wasn't able to take some pictures.


The choice of the dessert has been quite a pain actually. Ever since i bought my-now-favourite-cookbook-ever PH 10 i decided it was THE book i had to make a recipe from for my birthday.
I read it again and again and said to myself i should make something simple -- who loves to fall in tears on her/his birthday? -- yet delicate and tasty.

As May was called the official strawberry month by Bea, i thought it would be great to use them. And suddenly i stumbled across the perfect recipe: Symphonie.

Symphonie is basically:
- an almond dacquoise
- a cream cheese mousse
- a strawberry 'compote'
- some cream cheese mousse again

All of this being surrounded by a raspberry 'biscuit joconde' and topped with some fresh strawberries and 'miettes de streusel'.

I was very excited about the joconde biscuit as it was the first time i had to make it. It's amazing how many eggs are in this biscuit, but it's so good and looks rather good.
When i tasted the cream cheese mousse, i was quite scared that it would be a little too heavy, but i was wrong. The whole cake was delicious. Very classy and subtle and not too sweet.
Symphonie was very easy to make though a bit time consuming, but i think it was worth the try.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, May 05, 2006
A little feeling of summer- Banana and muscovado sugar cake

It's getting really hot, here in the Côte d'Azur and now all the tourists are gone, it feels so good to go hiking in the mountains to discover beautiful places.
And even better, to lay down in the sun and share a great picnic with some of your friends.

Some pictures of the 'Loup' in 'les gorges du loup'

Few weels ago, i was talking about the power of simple food you had as a child and said that, for me, the best cake in the world would be a 'gateau au yaourt'.
This banana and muscovado sugar is no less than a twist on the original yogurt cake.

Banana and muscovado sugar cake
This cake is extra moist yet light. It's very handy and thus makes the perfect picnic cake.
If you want to make the cake ever more moist you could drench it with a syrup made of 1 cup of hot water + 1 cup of icing sugar.
I recommend using very ripe bananas otherwise the banana taste will be too subtle.

Banana and muscovado sugar cake
serves 8

1 pot of yogurt (125g) = keep the pot as you'll use it later to measure the other ingredients
3 pots of plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 pots of light muscovado sugar
3/4 pot of vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Line a 23cm springform tin with baking parchement.
Put the yogurt, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Mix in the oil and the eggs and add the bananas.
Put the mixture in the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.

Labels: ,