Things that made me go 'mmm'
In no order whatsoever, with a bit of a French accent this week...
POMMES BOULANGERE: It was one of those difficult-to-know-what-to-cook-for-dinner evenings: I was home, but my OH was stuck waiting for roadside recovery after his motorbike broke down, so had no real idea when he'd be home. The solution? Pommes boulangère (plus it helped use up some potatoes on the verge of going green): alternate layers of super-thin potato slices, and onion, seasoning and rosemary, topped with a mix of stock and milk. Dot with butter and into the oven. After 50 minutes I ate my half, put the lid back on, turned the oven off and OH's was still hot enough to eat at 10 to 11. (Want to make this? Here's a recipe).
A ROSE MACAROON: as trendy sweet treats go, I certainly prefer a macaroon to a cupcake: yieldingly crisp, deliciously collapsing and subtly flavoured. This one is particularly memorable: I was eating it on a boat on the Seine on a day-trip to Paris with my mum for her birthday. As I bit into the rose-flavoured one (others in my bag included apricot, coffee and chocolate), the golden late-afternoon light was gilding the Eiffel Tower...
BADGER BONFIRE NIGHT BROWNIES: these arrived on my desk and although I don't work on the Food channel I felt obliged to try them (life's hard). The massive brown aromatic slab was baked by the Bull Hotel in Bridport (coincidentally near where my dad lives). The recipe includes dried cherries, which have been presoaked in Badger Poacher's Choice ale. This gives a malty, fudgy and not-too-sweet edge to these delicious brownies. Here's the recipe:
Makes 24 small squares
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 23 - 28 minutes
125g unsalted butter
150ml Badger Poachers Choice Ale
150g dried cherries, roughly chopped
150g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
200g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
130g light brown sugar
65g light brown muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate popping candy and gold glitter to decorate
Preheat the oven to 190C, fan 170C, Gas 5.
Line a 26cm x 16cm brownie or roasting tin with baking parchment.
Place the butter, Badger Poachers Choice Ale and cherries in a saucepan and bring to a boil over a medium heat.
Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted and put to one side to cool slightly.
In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat together the sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract for 3 - 4 minutes until the mixture leaves a trail when the beaters are pulled out.
Reduce mixer speed to low, and beat in the melted chocolate mixture, until just combined.
Using a large metal spoon fold in the flour mixture until just mixed.
Pour into the tin and spread out before baking in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, a skewer should come out a little gooey when placed in the middle, dont overcook them as they will continue to cook while cooling.
Sprinkle with chocolate popping candy and glitter and allow to cool.
Tip: For a quick dessert, serve the brownies warmed topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce or warmed cherry compote.
CITRON PRESSE: Yes, you guessed it, I drank this in Paris. I love this classically French super-refreshing DIY drink. A glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice is brought to your table, with sugar and water. You mix them all together to your taste.
CINNAMON APPLE PORRIDGE: No, not from a sachet. To your basic oats and water/milk mix (with a grind of salt, of course) add a freshly grated apple and a generous dusting of cinnamon. Cook as normal. Add a sprinkle or swirl of whatever sweetening agent you like - mine is agave nectar. Feels like a real treat on a frosty morning
What have you enjoyed eating or drinking this week, at home or elsewhere?
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