How to make a good sorbet

The last couple of weeks have been so hot that I’ve been craving for sorbet.
I own an ice cream machine but use it rarely because I don’t usually have time to make ice cream or sorbet.

We’re going on holiday in a couple of days so I had to empty the fridge and our perishable food. I happened to have quite a lot of strawberries and cherries. I also had a bottle of limoncello I’ve been waiting to try in recipes since a while. All the omens were there: I had to do a sorbet.

I’ve made sorbets in the past but never really got it right. It was always rock hard or it would melt away after 2 minutes in a cup. So I had a look on-line for advice and found out how easy it is to master a sorbet.

You’ll need a few ingredients (for the measures, I used US cups):

– 3 measures of juice of your choice or fruit puree, relatively thin.

If you’re planning on making a lemon or lime sorbet, use 2 measures of juice and one of water otherwise your sorbet will be too sharp.

– (Sugar Syrup) 1 measure of sugar, boiled until the sugar has disolved, with 1 measure of water

– 2 to 3 tablespoons of a fruity alcohol

First make the sugar syrup and leave it to cool completely.

Pour your fruit juice in a tall and shallow container.
Add an egg to it (a whole egg, still in its shell). This may sound weird but as you add your sugar syrup to the fruit juice, the egg will float to the surface.

Add the syrup little bit by little bit, you may not need the whole quantity.

When the egg floats, it means that the amount of syrup is enough to make your sorbet the right texture.

Add the alcohol, it will help the sorbet not to become rock hard as the alcohol won’t freeze.

Taste your mixture.
It should be slightly too sweet. Once frozen, you’ll taste it less as it’s so cold. Don’t worry if you can taste the booze, I thought I put too much in mine but couldn’t taste any of it once frozen.

sorbet with mint

Mylène

Sesame bars

The other day, I was looking for a recipe using golden syrup. I really love it, it’s one of the proper British thing I enjoy a lot.

Anyway, I was browsing through some recipes and I found a sesame bar recipe.
When I was at school, everybody used to have a snack at the 10 o’clock break, I was one the only one that didn’t have anything to eat…
Luckily, my best friend always used to give me a bit of hers. Her parents were very healthy food orientation-wise so she would always have sesame bars.

I’m sure you know what they are; they’re very small thin bars with 4 or 5 of them in a tiny packet. They’re great for kids because they are just sweet enough for them to enjoy but still good for nutrition.
With high hopes to recreate this vivid childhood taste, I started the recipe…

It’s very simple and quick. When I put all the ingredients together in my tin, I didn’t think it would be good at all, it just looked like a big mess to me.
Well I was wrong (once more)! Once it cools down, it gets really hard, just like the proper stuff.

It was very nice and did meet my expectations. Even if I was happy with it, I’ll try again with honey instead of golden syrup, just to see the difference.

For about 20 bars, you’ll need:

– 200g of sesame seeds
– 125g of oatmeal
– 3tbsp of golden syrup
– 50g of brown sugar
– 4tbsp of vegetable oil

Gently heat the golden syrup in a pan.

Combine the sesame, oatmeal and brown sugar. Add the oil and warm syrup.

Stir until well combined, pour it in a 20 x 30cm tin, previously lined with baking paper.

Bake for 25min at 180C until golden.

Cut while warm as it will get hard when cooled.

sesame bars

Mylène

Honey-roasted nuts

I love honey roasted nuts, I discovered them in the uk and it was love at first bite. The thing is that I like them quite sweet, nicely coated in honey.

Supermarkets offer some very expensive and very salty ones, with absolutely no taste of honey at all. I prefer the ones you find on mediterranean stalls but they’re incredibly expensive.

I found a few recipes, they were all similar but different in the same time. I found one that combined maple syrup and honey… Heaven.
Anyway, I got all the ingredients ready and started. I followed the recipe but just added a little more honey. I found the roasting time a bit short so made it a little longer.

The result was really great, you get golden brown nuts with a deep honey flavour but there are two things I wasn’t too happy with: the first is that the nuts stuck quite a lot to each other so I had to take them apart while they were still warm, one by one. The other thing is just my personal taste, I would have liked a bit more coating, I really like them very sweet. Everybody else thought they were just right.

nuts

You’ll need:

– 450g of nuts of your choice (I used almonds and cashews)
– 3 tbsp of honey
– 1 tbsp of maple syrup
– 30g of butter
– vanilla powder or extract, to your taste
– 1 pinch of cinnamon
– 2 tbsp of sugar

Heat the honey, syrup, butter, vanilla and cinnamon in a pan until all melted.

Lay aluminium foil on a roasting tray, transfer the nuts and syrup onto it. Make sure you coat all the nuts with the syrup.

Put the tray in the oven (180C) for 6 min.

Take the tray out and mix all the nuts, making sure they all get another layer of hot syrup on them.

Put the tray back in the oven for 6min.

If you’re happy with the look of your nuts at this stage, you can decide to take them out now or give them a stir and put them back in for a further 6min.

The nuts should be golden brown and the syrup not too runny.

Toss them in sugar while hot and eat cold.

Mylène

No new year’s resolutions… A very sweet recipe

I’m warning you now: the recipe I’m about to share will not fit in with a new year’s resolution plan to eat less sugar. But it’s soooo good….

I’ve made it twice now and I don’t know why I don’t make it more often, I absolutely love it, as does everybody!

I especially like the texture of the cake, which is really “almondy” but still moist, the outside it crisp and sweet and the orange syrup… it’s lovely.

It’s also great for dinner parties as well as for a quick pudding for 2, so fast and easy, you don’t need any fancy ingredients.

For 6 muffin sized cakes, you’ll need:

for the cakes:

– 70g of plain flour
– 110g of sugar
– 110g of ground almonds
– 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder
– 50g of chooped dated, or raisins
– 75g of melted butter
– 2 tablespoons of milk
– 1 egg

For the syrup:

– 110g of sugar
– the juice and zest of 1 orange

For the cakes, mix all the ingredients together, pour in muffin tins and put in the oven at 160°C for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the syrup by combining the sugar, orange zest and juice in a saucepan.

Simmer the mixture until slightly thickened (this will take about 10 minutes).

When the cakes are cooked, leave them to cool down for a bit before pouring the syrup on the top of each cake.

Eat cold.

Mylène

Chocolate tiffin

For my second chocolate recipe, I chose to make tiffins.

I love chocolate on its own, it’s such a good feeling to bite into a bar of chocolate but things made with chocolate, especially cakes, make me feel a bit sick.

Like all my dad’s family, I have a very slight allergy to cocoa, I sneeze when I eat something very strong in cocoa.

It’s not too bad as I don’t really enjoy the bitterness of a very dark bar of chocolate but you get that bitterness too often in chocolate cakes, mousses, ice cream…

I suppose it’s why I don’t really like them.

So these tiffins…
I made them with very good quality milk chocolate as I didn’t want them to be too high in cocoa content.

For 20 tiffins, you’ll need:

– 400g of biscuits of your choice, crushed (I used ginger biscuits, but I don’t think they worked as well as digestives or shortbreads would have)
– 200g of butter
– 140g of golden syrup
– 150g of mixed roasted nuts (almonds and hazelnuts are good)
– 30g of cocoa
– 70g of raisins
– 300g of milk chocolate

Mix the crushed biscuits, nuts, cocoa and raisins together.

Melt the butter and golden syrup together, pour it on the biscuit mixture and mix.

Lay a tin with baking paper and pour the mixture in.
Press it until you have a levelled base for your tiffins.

Chill for at least 1 hour.

Melt your chocolate, pour it on the biscuit base, then wait for the chocolate to set a little bit (20min) and run a knife on it to create paterns.

Enjoy

Mylene