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Sunday, July 30, 2006
Mmm, c'est trop bon - Muffins aux pépites de chocolat

[Yum, it's so delicious - Chocolate chip muffins]

From Lisa Yockelson's Chocolate Chocolate (page 156)

Today I have a confession to make.
I did say that ChocolateChocolate wasn't that good because
I did think that there were too many similar recipes; making the reading a bit confusing but
I did buy it and
I did like the cover, design, writing and pictures but
I did still think there were far too many junk chocolate added to the cakes and bars then
I did make one recipe and another
And now I do love this book.

The recipes are trustful. You can't go wrong: well explained, accurate measurements (even if it's in cups and spoons).
This book is now a favourite although I won't try all the recipes (especially the ones with chopped chocolate bars added or the ones loaded with shredded coconut).

To tell the truth, I was still unsure about my book choice when I received the book from amazon, but when I made the flourless bittersweet chocolate cake I slightly changed my mind. Maybe it wasn't as bad.
Though the true révélation was when I made the chocolate chip muffins. A pure killer recipe.

Chocolate chip muffins are the type of food I wouldn't eat as a child. I would always go for madeleines and sablés, but certainly not for muffins – not enough fashionable at that time to be sold in France.
Now I crave muffins – not as big as a piece of cake but equally delicious (to say the least).
Though I'm always scared when buying a muffin – it is going to be too dry or too cakey?
With Lisa's muffins, you really don't have to worry. They're perfect.

Giant chocolate chip muffins
These muffins are just delicious. The crumb is fine and light and you have chocolate chips at each bite.
They keep well for 3 days – though I love them still warm from the oven, but the big bonus is that you can freeze them baked for up to a month!

Chocolate chip muffins
makes 14

2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chip (or a mixture of dark chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips)
160g butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
250ml milk

Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, toss the chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture.
Cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the granulate sugar and beat for 2 minutes; add the light brown sugar and beat for a further 2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract and beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Still beating – on low speed – alternately add the flour mixture (in 3 times) and the milk (in 2 times).
Stir in the chocolate chip and divide the batter between 14 muffin cups.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
Place the muffin pan onto a wire rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Then remove the muffins from the pan and serve.

PS. Congrats to Sam that got oven 2000$ of pledges!
'Now Sam you can relax and have bite' says Lapinou...

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Friday, July 28, 2006
Lapinou fait des muffins aux pépites de chocolat pour Sam

[Lapinou makes chocolate chips muffins to support Sam]

In a little more than 16 hours, Sam will be blogging NON STOP for 24 hours!

By participating actively to the Blogathon, Sam will help a San Francisco charity: Food Runners.

What about Food Runners?
"The mission of Food Runners is to help alleviate hunger in San Francisco to help prevent waste and to help create community."
And what a mission!

How I can help?
You can donate here (you could even win a box of SF food goodies!) or show your support on your own blog.

Sam I wanted you to know Lapinou is fully supporting you by making delicious chocolate chip muffins to keep you awake for your audacious challenge.

Recipe to be posted tomorrow, because I am Lapinou is not as brave as Sam!

- - - - - -


Monday, July 24, 2006
Il y a un an..

[One year ago...]
...just back from Paris where I had exams, I decided to start a foodblog. After 48h spent on both nordljus and the traveler's lunchbox, I was ready (I'd really like to thank Keiko and Melissa for being such an inspiration).
I wasn't very confident with blogs nor I was with photography, but I though 'never mind, you love food, that should make it!'.

One year later, I realize how many things I've learnt: from making wine to macaroner; from whipping up the best chocolate chip cookie ever to taking care of goats… It's been a year full of experiences and I think I won't be wrong by saying that lots of these experiences have been motivated by foodbeam.

Foodbeam's been acting like someone who pushes you to make things. Everyday I would think of subjects on which I could write.
Before creating foodbeam, I would have never enjoyed visiting an ice-cream factory as much I did; because this year, I knew I'd be able to share my experience with you.
I do think sharing is the key-word of foodblogging. So I'd like to thank all of you who stopped by to share their own experience, making my food life a little more interesting everyday. I'd also like to thank all the great foodbloggers who have been and remain a daily inspiration, turning life into something yummy and blog-y-licious.
Here are some of my favourite articles among the tons of well-written blogs:
Melissa's sweet story. Jocelyn's brilliant write-up on macarons. Nicky and Oliver's pink pasta – creative, beautiful and tasty. Matt's funny articles. All of Keiko's pictures - she's so talented.

I've literally been overwhelmed by this food world and I'm not trying to escape yet. My love for food has been growing constantly from my childhood and even faster from last July.
I do love food in every single way. I love to shop for it, to prepare it, to grow/breed it...

To round up this 90th post, below is my top-ten:
Chocolate espresso cake with caffe-latte cream
August 12
This cake is one of the best chocolate-coffee cake I've ever had. As I admitted on the article, I'm not so much into coffee (drink), but I love it in sweets.
The cake itself is light. So the combo with the caffe-latte cream is a real winner: you end up with a fluffy as heaven cake.

Aubergine, yogurt and mint dip
October 15
I am fond of dips, salsas... And especially of a caviar d'aubergine my mother is used to make.
But this dip is quite special: creamy yet very fresh. I love the combinaison of aubergines and mint.
And the pinenuts really set the final touch, adding a nutty taste to make a perfectly balanced dip.

La pissaladiera
October 19
I was born in the Mediterranean and Mediterranean dishes hold a special place in my heart. I don't know about you, but when eating un pan bagna, une salade niçoise or du poisson délicieux péché en Méditerranée, I can feel the sun in my mouth. That may sound a bit odd, but that's the way it is.
This pissaladiera is a onion confit tart and is so full of sun.

Chocolate puff pastry
December 29
This is definitely one of my greatest discoveries of the year. Mostly because it was the first time I made puff pastry but also because of the chocolate-twist that really magnifies the feathery nature of puff-pastry.

Honey semifreddo
January 22
I love semifreddos because of their texture: between an ice-cream and a soufflé, in one word, dreamy!
This honey semifreddo is luscious and has a real melt-in-your-mouth consistency, which makes it the perfect treat to end a light summer lunch.

Macarons Plénitude
March 7
These are so special to me because this is the first recipe I made from one of my favourite cookbooks: PH10.
In this book, Pierre Hermé reveals the recipes for all his dazling creations.
The macaron plenitude is a caramel/chocolate macaron with a chocolate-caramel à la fleur de sel ganache. Really, what's not to love?

Choux et éclairs à la vanille
March 28
In France, you find vanilla éclairs in every single bakery. They're just part of French cuisine. When I was a child, I used to love them and I still do.
So making them at home is a good way to feed your cravings.
The choux pastry is from Pierre Hermé and the crème pâtissière is from Christophe Felder, a favourite pastry chef of mine.

Fanny and the Ice Cream Factory
April 7
Are you an ice-cream lover? Then you should read this post.
I'm lucky enough to be an engineering student and hence I can visit food factories.
This article sums up my visit of one of the leading ice-cream factories in France. Lots of behind-the-scene pictures!

Charlotte aux framboises et au fromage blanc
April 25
A charlotte is a pudding made of a savoiardi crust filled with a fruit mousse. It's fresh and frutty: the ultimate spring treat.
Everyone loves it, from 1-year-old to grow-ups.
PS. The picture was voted 'grand winner' for May DMBLGIT.

And because i can't resolve myself to choose only ten things, the last one:

Pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup
April 13
Using pistachios results in a highly fragrant and moist cake that will send you straight on the Moroccan coast. So delicious!


Thursday, July 20, 2006
I am a 'mango chick' or should I say 'cheek'

From Bill Granger's Sydney Food

I've always been in love with mangoes. But when I spotted this mango on the farmer's stall I couldn’t help but imagine myself walking through a mango orchard in India.
In my dream, the trees were beautiful. The air smelled like orange and lime tree flowers with just a hint of vanilla.
The mangoes were so red they looked like rubies suspended in a mass of green feathers. I picked one of these plump jewels. My fingers closed around something as smooth as a silk ribbon.
The farmer, who was looking at me with sympathy, gave me his small knife so I could peel off the divine skin of the fruit. He knew I couldn’t resist for another minute.
I carefully skinned the mango, revealing its golden flesh.
I closed my eyes and took it to my mouth. It was firm and juicy and tasted just like I had imagined.
Then I woke up. It was anything but India. But I still had that mango in my hand.

Mangoes are the sort of fruit I can never have enough of. Even though I buy almost a dozen of mangoes per week, they seem to disappear faster than it takes to say 'good bye'.
Before I even realize how good they are I've already devoured at least three of them! Can you believe this?
Finally, only one –out of twelve- was left. I had to keep it in a safe place by making this extraordinary tart.

Mango tart
This tart is an elegant way to use mangoes. The custard – bursting with vanilla flavours – is balanced by adding whipped crème fraiche and nicely enhances the vanilla hint of the mango.
The pastry is quite difficult to work with but patches beautifully, so don't be scared.

Mango tart
serves 8

1 quantity of sweet shortcrust pastry (see below)
250ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
25g butter
125ml cream, lightly whipped
1 big mango, peeled and sliced

On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry. Lightly press the pastry into a 23cm tart tin and freeze for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Remove pastry shell from the freezer and line with baking paper. Fill with baking weights or rice and bake the shell for 10 minutes. Remove paper and weights. Bake for a further 10 minutes, until dry, golden and crisp. Leave to cool.
Place milk in a saucepan over medium heat and heat until just before boiling point. Add vanilla. Remove from heat.
Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until thick. Add the cornstarch and hot milk and stir until smooth.
Return mixture to a clean saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until thickened.
Bring the custard to the boil, turn the heat down and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring to combine. Strain mixture into a bowl, lay plastic wrap on the surface and refrigerate until cold. Fold through cream.
Remove tart shell from the tin and place on a serving platter. Pour in custard and arrange mango slices decoratively on top.

for the sweet shortcrust pastry
260g plain flour
35g icing sugar
a pinch of salt
180g unsalted butter

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and rub trough with fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add 30ml of ice cold water and cut in with a knife until the dough comes together in a ball.
Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006
Willy Wonka's ever lasting chocolate gelato

A little more than a year ago, the movie Charlie and the Chocolate factory was finally released on screen.
As a foodie and chocolate-addict I had to see it. I was sure I would enjoy and I did.
The story is great. But my favourite part of the movie is the behind-the-scene stuff: the luscious chocolate river, the whipped cream, the back-shop… A pure delight for both the eyes and mind.

Ever since I’ve been obsessed with chocolate (ok I admit I am finding a reason to my ever-chocolate-obsession); but how one can’t be obsessed with chocolate once one discovers the creativity and yumminess of Willy Wonka’s chocolates.

Sometimes I like to think that the WW chocolate factory does exist and that I am able to buy its delicious treats.
Sadly I can’t.
But by making this gelato I found the true essence of Willy Wonka’s ever lasting chocolate gelato: creamy, intense, delicious.

To tell the truth I came across gelato quite late in life. All I knew was crème glacée [ice cream] and sorbet.
I’ve always find ice cream a bit too creamy and sorbets a bit too icy; so the discovery of gelatos (or gelati) has changed my whole perception of iced delights.
I don’t really know how gelato should be defined, but in my approach a gelato (which is by the way the Italian name for ice cream) is an ice cream made without cream, but still containing eggs and dairy products.

I love gelato for many reasons:
it is creamy but not heavy
it is soft and not icy
in one word: THE ice cream luxury

As Willy Wonka could have said!

From Gourmet magazine July 99

Intense chocolate gelato
This gelato is very intense. I love its deep chocolate-flavour, its creamy texture and the fact that it holds its shape well even by hot summer weather.

Intense chocolate gelato
makes 1L

60g high-quality dark chocolate
375ml whole milk (fanny: I used semi-skimmed milk)
250ml condensed milk
160g white caster granulated sugar
100g Van Houten cocoa powder, sifted
4 large egg yolks
pinch salt

Coarsely chop the chocolate.
In a heavy saucepan bring the milk, condensed milk, and about half of sugar just to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the cocoa powder and chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
In a bowl beat the egg yolks, remaining sugar and salt until thick and pale. Add the hot chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking, and pour into saucepan. Cook the custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Pour the custard through a sieve into a metal bowl set in ice and cold water and cool. Chill the custard, covered, until cold. Churn the custard in an ice-cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden for several hours.

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Friday, July 14, 2006
Joyeux 14 Juillet!

I wish you all the best:
good evening
good food
good drinks
good fireworks (i love fireworks!)



Thursday, July 13, 2006
An afternoon in Casablanca - Pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup

From Bill Granger's Simply bill (page 221)

Remember, a few days ago I was wondering about how to use the tons of apricots from my backyard.
I got some lovely ideas from Joycelyn: slow roasted apricots in orange caramel; from Melissa: chilled apricot soup with Muscat and from Estelle: tarte renversée aux abricots et au sucre muscovado.
These recipes sound good for sure, but I didn't have le coup de foudre you need to have when discovering a recipe for the first time.

Then I completely forgot about apricots and decided to just have them fresh from the tree or in a chilled drink.
That's only when I started browsing for a pistachio cake recipe through my cookbooks that I found the best way to use these apricots for a sophisticated dessert – pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup.

The recipe originally calls for fresh figs. But figs aren't available yet here. Though, I was determined to make this cake with or without the figs.

Aren't pistachio and apricots known for being a winner combination? I had find: 1) a recipe to use the apricots I had been stocking and 2) a substitute for the figs.

Pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup
This cake reminds me of lazy afternoon spent on a charming terrace in Rabat, drinking delicious thé à la menthe and tons of homemade patisseries.
The breeze, the sea, the perfumes... are set back in my mind at each bite. These days are one of the best I've had and thus this cake is high-placed on my top-ten favourites.
It's definitely airy and all the flavours go so well together: pistachio, apricot and orange blossom. In one word, the Moroccan essence!

Pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup
serves 10

140g shelled pistachios
6 eggs, separated
225g caster sugar
185g yoghurt
125ml light-flavoured oil (fanny: i used 100ml canola oil and 25ml extra virgin olive oil)
150g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23cm springform tin with baking paper.
Finely grind the pistachios in a food processor.
Beat the egg yolks and half of the sugar until pale and frothy. Fold in the yogurt and oil. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold. Add the ground pistachios.
In a clean metal bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and gradually add the remaining sugar until very firm and glossy. Gently fold into the cake mixture.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes. Then loosely cover with foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
Leave to cool completely in the tin and unmould. Serve with the orange blossom syrup and the roasted apricots.

for the orange blossom syrup
225g caster sugar
125ml freshly squeezed orange juice
125ml water
1 tsp orange blossom water

Place all the ingredients into a large pan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until syrupy.

for the roasted apricots (adapted from Claudia Fleming's Roasted apricots with camomile)
10 apricots, halved and pitted
orange blossom syrup

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Sieve the syrup into a roasting tray. Place the apricots in the syrup, cut side down, then roast for about 10 minutes. Turn them over, baste with the syrup and roast for another 5 minutes. Keep aside both the apricots and the syrup.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Mousse au chocolat au lait et au caramel au beurre salé

[Caramel au beurre salé and milk chocolate mousse]

From Trish Deseine's Du caramel plein la bouche (page 76)

On caramel au beurre salé
Caramel au beurre salé [salted butted caramel] might sound strange but it is a classic combination. The beurre salé [salted butter] enhance the caramel flavour, resulting in a delicious treat.
Caramel au beurre salé comes from the north-west of france, from somewhere between Bretagne and Normandie. In these places, it's a common statment to produce milk and thus cream and butter. And because of the proximity of the ocean/sea, salt is also produced for our greatest pleasure, leading to the confection of the famous caramels.

On chocolate and caramel
The association of caramel and chocolate is also un classique these days; from Pierre Hermé's macarons Plénitude to Michael Recchiuti's Burnt Caramel ganache.
This pair is also a favourite of mine.
It seems the caramel boosts the chocolate aroma. And to tell the truth it's nothing but science.
Chocolate = fermented + roasted + ground cocoa beans = Maillard reaction
Caramel = caramelised sugar = caramelisation

Maillard reaction and caramelisation are both non-enzymatic browning.
Non-enzymatic browning is responsible for colours (brown tones) and flavours (subtly burnt).
As a result, chocolate and caramel are made to go together, highlighting each others.

On chocolate, caramel AND salt
Salt is an effective taste-enhancer and adding salt to a confection enable to develop its flavours. Nothing less, nothing more!

Mousse au chocolat au lait et au caramel au beurre salé
This mousse is a delight. Chocolaty, caramely!
I love the way the chocolate and the caramel complement each others to form a perfect after-dinner pudding.
I like serving this mousse (and any other chocolate mousse) in espresso cups.
Let me think... Everything's been said! Enjoy.

Just a short note - The NY times recipe says 'deglaze with the cream and butter', while the butter should be added first until melted, then the boiling hot cream should be poured over. If you follow these two steps, seizing should not occur.

Mousse au chocolat au lait et au caramel au beurre salé
serves 6

100g granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
30g good-quality salted butter
200ml double cream or crème fleurette, heated to the boiling point
200g milk chocolate (38% cocoa solid)
3 eggs, separated

Make a caramel with the sugar and water.
Off the heat, mix in the butter until melted.
Then pour over the boiling hot cream and continue mixing til smooth.
Add the milk chocolate and wait for a minute or two for the chocolate to melt. Homogenise by mixing.
Mix in the egg yolks. Whisk the egg whites until they form firm peaks and fold into the chocolate mixture.
Divide between six ramekins and chill for at least 6 hours.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006
Une soupe couleur rubis - Gazpacho Andaluz

[A ruby-red soup - Gazpacho Andaluz]
From Neil Perry's The food I love (page 94)

It seems i am into colours at the moment. Pink, bleu-blanc-rouge, orange, green...
I reckon it might be because of the summer; I don't know about you, but when in summer i agree eating is only brightly coloured food.

This gazpacho andaluz is a great example = intense red soup sprinkled with emeralds, rubies, gold chunks and diamonds.
What a paradox for a soup that was originally made of stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt and vinegar!
Though, a soup known as ajo blanco [white garlic] is still eaten in Andalusia.
Ajo blanco is a bread, almond and garlic soup served sprinkled with green grapes and drizzled of olive oil
This soup appears to be quite close from the original gazpacho and sounds very interesting.
I can't wait to try it so I can finally sample this intriguing taste!
But this is another story...

Gazpacho is a good hint of what summer food should be: straightforward, refreshing and stunning-looking.
I think that in general, Mediterranean food offers the greastest possibilities regarding summer food.
Rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts and fish. It doesn't only sounds good but is good in taste and for your body.

Straightforward – isn't Mediterranean food based on simple flavours combined in the easiest way and just relying on the quality of the produce?
Refreshing – vegetables and fruits are packed with water and vitamins.
Stunning-looking – beautiful vibrant colours. Think olive oil, peppers, red onions, fresh herbs...

Gazpacho andaluz
This soup is so easy to make and a real delight to eat. Very fresh it makes a great entrée but could also make a lovely light lunch if you add freshly cooked seafood to it just before serving.
I love the way Neil Perry makes it: instead of grinding the vegetables in a mortar and pestle to get a nice texture, he suggests making a smooth soup and then sprinkling over diced tomatoes and peppers.

Gazpacho andaluz
serves 4

400g vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, desseded and roughly diced
1 small cucumber, peeled and roughly diced
2 red peppers, peeled and roughly diced
1/2 green pepper, peeled and roughly diced
2 large red chillies, split, deseeded and chopped
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
1 brown onion, chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
60ml extra virgin olive oil (fanny: I only used 30ml)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Tabasco sauce

for the confetti
1 vine-ripened tomato, peeled deseeded and very finely diced
1/2 small cucumber, peeled deseeded and very finely diced
1 red pepper, very finely diced (fanny: I used a yellow pepper instead)
1/2 green pepper, very finely diced
1 small red onion, very finely diced
olive oil

Put all the ingredients, except the extra virgin olive oil and seasoning in a blencer and add 125ml water. Blitz for at least 1 minute, until the mixture is smooth.
Sieve into a bowl and stir in the olive oil. Season to taste.
Chill for at least 2 hours.
In another bowl, mix all the confetti ingredients together and set aside.
Divide the soup between four glasses, sprinkle with the confetti and drizzle with olive oil.
If you like a bit of heat, add some Tabasco.
Serve immediately.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006
When Thierry Henry scores a goal... - Blueberry, raspberry and vanilla cake

It all started last Saturday when France won 1-0 against the Brazilian team.
I'm not usually a football lover, but i have to admit i appreciate big events such as the world cup or the euro.
And as the saying goes, if you're going to get wet... you may as well go swimming make a tricolour dessert.
Then from Saturday, ideas started to pop in my head. One thing was clear: it had to be bleu-blanc-rouge [blue-white-red].
Let think...
Blue food? Hum... Ten minutes after = eureka, les blueberries c'est bleu non? [Blueberries are blue, aren't they?]
Red food? Big choice: lots of berries = strawberries, raspberries, red gooseberries, red currant etc.
I started with a blueberry, raspberry and vanilla pannacotta, but i really wanted to make something that resembled the French flag.
Then i remembered a beautiful blueberry layer cake in the 21st issue of Donna Hay Magazine. Though the recipe didn't sound that good.
I had to find a good and simple butter cake.
At that exact moment, Bill (read Granger) came to help me with his delicious butter cake from Sydney Food.
I finally had my French glory cake!

Bluebbery, raspberry and vanilla cake
The cake itself is adapted from Bill Granger's Sydney food. I reduced the the amount of baking powder used because i wanted the cake to be dense.
The icing is made of fresh ricotta mixed with a little fromage blanc or yogurt, icing sugar and vanilla seeds. It goes so well with the dense-almost-almondy cake.
As for the fruit topping use whatever fruits you've got on hand - just remember that tangy fruits like blueberries, raspberries or redcurrant help balancing the lusciousness of the cake + ricotta icing.

Bluebbery, raspberry and vanilla cake
serves 8-12

for the cake
160g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
83g butter, softened
130g caster sugar
2 eggs
seeds from half a vanilla pod
160ml sour cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.
Place the butter and sugar in a bowl an cream together.
Add the eggs and vanilla seeds and mix. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with sour cream, mixing well after each addition.
Pour the cake batter into a lined 18x22cm rectangle cake tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack until completely cold.

for the ricotta icing and the fruit topping
250g ricotta
2 tbsp fromage blanc
seeds from half a vanilla pod
30g icing sugar
a big handful of blueberries
a big handful of raspberries

Combine the ricotta, fromage blanc, vanilla seeds and icing sugar and mix until smooth. Spread the top of the cake with this icing. Arrange the berries on top.

Note - this cake offers many possibilities from laid-back after-barbecue cake to posh summer dinner cake.

For the latter one, i reckon using only blueberries gives a sophisticated touche.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006
Le temps des abricots

[Apricots' time]

Apricots... What to say about apricots?
A golden velvety skin.
A sweet tender flesh.
Really you must love them!

I'm lucky to have an apricot tree in the back of my garden and though the tree is really old, it still produces the best apricots one can have. Juicy, sweet and soft... In one word: the perfect apricot.
It seems the combinations are endless. But with apricots i usually prefer to keep it simple.
Bite in a luscious apricot just picked from the tree.
Or cook them into a compote.
Or mix them with ice, as below, to get a fresh summer drink.
Or slice them finely and sprinkle over a goat's milk faiselle with a drizzle of honey.

Today i'd like to discover something new and i am interested in the ways YOU use apricots.
Do you have a favourite recipe using apricots?
I am looking for a sophisticated dessert that highlights the freshness of apricots.
Any suggestion welcome!

Summer apricot iced drink

This drink embodies the fruit at its purest form. No added sugar, just ice and water.
It is very refreshing, as you may have already guessed.
I love to have this after a hot summer day or even in the morning, for breakfast.

Summer apricot iced drink
serves 2

4 apricots
2 cups ice cubes
1/4 cup iced water
a handful of icecubes, extra

Put everything into a food processor and blitz for at least 40 seconds.
Pour in tall glasses and add extra icecubes.
Serve and chill your mouth!

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