White chocolate & vanilla panna cotta with honey roasted figs

For the chocolate week, I have to make something with white chocolate. As I’ve never made panna cotta, I thought it would be nice to try it.

But there was a little problem: it’s usually made with pork or beef gelatine, and I’m a vegetarian.

But that didn’t stop me. I’m too aware of veggie setting agents to let it go like that!!

So I looked in my cupboard to try and find that veggie powder gelatine I bought a couple of months ago.

I followed a recipe found on-line and replaced the gelatine with my vegetarian powder.
I wasn’t that happy with the texture of it, I think I’ve put too much setting agent so it wasn’t wobbly enough to my liking but the taste was really good.
I think the setting agent I used was very strong so I recommend to use half of what it says on the packet.

For 4 pots, you’ll need:

– 500ml of cream
– 150ml of milk
– 100g of white chocolate, chopped
– 60g of sugar
– 1 vanilla pod, scrapped
– 1 tsp of veggie setting agent, or 4 gelatine leaves, soaked

Heat the cream, milk and vanilla together.

When it’s almost boiling, remove from the heat, add all the other ingredients and stir well until everything is well melted.

Pour into individual ramequins and leave it to set for 4 hours.

panna cotta skin with vanilla seeds

You’ll also need:

– 4 figs
– 1 tbsp of honey

Before serving, roast the whole figs in the honey for 5min in a hot oven (200°C).

Take the panna cotta out of their ramequins by running a thin knife around it or run some hot water on the ramequin to make it come out.

Serve the panna cotta with one roasted fig next to it and drizzle with the ‘honey and fig syrup’.

Mylene

Sorting out a website and more

These last few weeks, we were thinking about selling our goodies online; we thought about it since we started our business but we didn’t have a real think about it until the last few months.

At the same time as trying to create a website, we ordered safe and beautiful boxes to send our stuff in. We finally got macaroon boxes and decorated biscuit boxes and they look absolutely amazing! I’m so happy with them! Even if the website isn’t ready (at all), I’m really excited about it!

Anyway, I had a quite busy week last week but very nice. I had a lot of occasions to celebrate : 3 Birthdays and, of course, Valentine’s day. This year was the first year when I really felt creative about it so I let my imagination go!! Valentine’s day is really big over here compared to France where people don’t really celebrate lover’s day.

I made a whole meal as a valentine’s present, my starter was a roasted red pepper soup with goat cheese. It was very tasty!

Here’s the recipe:

For 3 people, you’ll need:

–  4 red peppers
–  1 medium onion
–  1 clove of garlic
–  Half of a potato
–  Half a litre of vegetable stock
–  1 desert spoon of sugar

Cut in half and de-seed your peppers. Roast them under the grill until the skin goes black. Put them in a jug and cover it with cling film. When it’s cooled down, remove the burned skin, chop your peppers and leave them in a bowl.

Chop the onion, garlic and potato and cook them for 5 minutes in a bit of oil. Add you peppers and stock and cook for about 15 minutes. Blend your vegetables and season with salt, pepper and sugar.

You can serve it as it is or with a piece of goat cheese and a drizzle of cream.

Also this week, we worked in a lovely shop in Northampton: St Giles Cheese.

We supply them every week with a selection of our stuff. They are really nice people who care about local businesses and the quality of their products, I really recommend this shop, and not just because they sell our stuff!

Mylène

Halloween

As you know, Halloween is here and it doesn’t only mean kids coming to knock at your door for treats . It means an other occasion to make seasonal and fun recipes.

When I think about Halloween, I especially think about pumpkins. They are wonderful for loads of things. Pies, soups, toasted seeds for a healthy snack, muffins, ice cream, cupcakes, cheesecakes,…

I couldn’t wait to try some recipes. So let’s buy pumpkins!

The first recipe I tried was a pie.

It was a “normal” pumpkin pie recipe that I found in one of my vegetable cook books. I used very dark sugar instead of light brown and all I could taste was the sugar and the spices. I couldn’t taste the pumpkin at all. It was still good but not wonderful. Well, maybe it’s only personal taste.

I wasn’t totally impressed by the pie so I had to try something else. I then made cupcakes. I used a recipe found on the internet, very easy to find. I made them and they looked really good and tasted great!

 

I was glad with the result of the cupcakes but I still had half a pumpkin to use.

I didn’t even think about it for one second, it had to be soup otherwise the kitchen would have been full of goodies and I would have been too tempted to resist eating them!

The soup was very nice, especially the texture but if I could have had another variety of pumpkin, it would have been much better (the one I had was grown for the size and shape and not for the taste). Anyway, here is the recipe…

You’ll need

:

– 1kg of pumpkin
– 2 sweet potatoes
– 2 onions
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 800ml of vegetable stock
– a pinch of cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg
– 200ml of cream (less or more, depends of your taste)

Chop all the vegetables. Cook for 5 min the onions in some olive oil. Add the other vegetables and cook for 2 min. Add the stock and the spices. Cook until the pumpkin is tender.

When it’s cooked, blend the vegetables and add the cream. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

 

Apple time!

As you know, it’s the apple season and if you’re lucky, you may have apple trees in your garden, or generous friends who can share some of their fruit.
I was given some cooking apples last week, so what to make with them?

If I was listening to my greedy boyfriend, I would make apple crumbles everyday but I’m trying to be creative and prepare some other wonderful puddings.
Here are some examples of things I’m making at the moment:

Old favourite, apple crumble (you can see the recipe on one of my older posts)

 

Apple pies. I’ve got so many different recipes: you can cook the apples separately or not. Take a pastry case and if you use an almond and egg filling with the apples (very popular in France) it’s called “tarte amandine”. You can make a kind of sweet apple quiche with eggs and cream and sugar which you pour over the raw apples before cooking (I know it sounds weird but it’s very good, it’s my special mum’s recipe)… I also love to just caramelize the apples with butter and sugar before to pour them in the pastry, mmmhhhh… 

Tarte tatin, this wonderful invention. Thank you so much to the Tatin’s sisters (French, of course!!) for this amazing new age apple pie. You just make a brown caramel with 50g of butter and 100g of sugar, pour it in a tin with high sides, put the apples all nicely on this lovely caramel, an finally put some pastry (puff, shortcrust or your own nice one) on the apples.

Make a little hole in the middle of the pastry to let the air go out. Cook it until the pastry looks golden and then turn the tin upside down onto a plate (don’t wait, it has to be hot!!), knock it a bit and remove it. If everything went okay, you should end up with a nice caramelized pie.

Compote or stewed apples. Everybody has their own recipe, I personally add a little bit of water, sugar and cinnamon to the apples when you’re cooking them.

Apple juice, if you’ve got a juice extractor

Sorbet!!!! Even if you haven’t got an ice cream maker, you can find a recipe online, doing it normally, pour the mixture into a plastic tub and leave it in the freezer for the night. The day after put the sorbet in your food processor until it goes creamy. Put it back in the freezer or eat it now! You have to take this sorbet out of the freezer about half an hour before to use it.

Have an appley day!

Mylène

Canapes

This week, we had our usual weekly order and an order which was very new for me: canapés. We had to make 300 canapés, looking beautiful and posh.
After a bit of thought we chose to make five different ones.

The option of a savoury macaroon was nearly automatic. I know it sounds a bit weird, the sweet shells and the savoury filling but the result is quite spectacular!
So, along with the macaroons, I made mini pizzas, toast with humous and pepper, blinis with smoked salmon and nice little potato croquettes on cocktail sticks.

Everything went perfectly until Saturday morning, the day of delivery. I was packaging the canapés to transport them and…. all my beautiful macaroons were stuck together and falling apart. They were impossible to use. It was 9 o’clock and they were needed  at  12.60 macaroons in 2 and a half hours, let’s start!
Macarooning, piping, resting (not me, the macaroons have to rest for an hour minimum), cooking, cooling and filling!!

At the end, they were ready by 11.30 and were looking much better than the first ones I made. We took the car to Blakesley to deliver them et voilà! The canapés were very much appreciated.

So finally a bit of a stress but everything end up perfectly in the end!!

 

Mylène