Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Crème Chantilly

I just saw some images from New York's hurricanes.
So unbelievable.

Irene, in 2011, was finally something very calm regarding Sandy.

I don't want to begin a debate on this blog, but climatic changes are really worrying. 

Two opposite ideas : 
Man action is devastating earth and climate.
Earth's climate has always changed during millions years. 

In my opinion, there must be a mixing of those two assumptions.

But, for sure, since some years, we're seeing strange weather behaviors. 

On the other side, we're judging with our age. I don't remember if in 1912 or 1732, winter was hot or not. 
I don't know if in 1549, it snowed in july.

But it doesn't prevent us to worry. Because we're living this period and now... we know.

In the south east of france, since some years, we live many "natural catastrophe", as we say here. 
This is not hurricanes. This is violent storm, generally, violent rain. 
Two years ago, in a big town close to mine, river went really high and inundation caused 50 dead persons, in a tragic way : people trapped in underground parking lot, people trapped in their own home, houses carried along by river waters with people in it...etc ...
It was terrific.

And the day after, sun was shining so bright ...  
Just to make you remember how much we're nothing against Nature. 

Today, here, we're in "orange alert". We're waiting for violent winds and storm. 
And Corsica is waiting for tempest. 

This post is a little bit sad, today, I apologize.

So, I'm going to share with you an easy recipe of Crème Chantilly. 
Because we need something light and sweet today.

I hate industrial Chantilly ! And I thought for years I didn't like Chantilly.
Until my husband's aunt made an ARTISANAL crème Chantilly.
And it was Heaven. 

Creme chantilly is very easy to bake, but some points are obligatory to succeed it.

Here what you'll need : 
  • 60 cl of liquid whole cream (no other possibility ! It must be whole cream)
  • 50 grammes of white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla liquid.

Your cream must be extra cold ! In the fridge from the day before ! 
I put bowl and whisk in the freezer for one hour before. Or in the fridge for two hours.
Everything must be very cold. This is the only secret of this recipe.

Step 1 : 
Pour your cream in your bowl's processor and start it, slowly at the beginning and little by little, each 30 seconds, let it go faster. 
It have to be whisked very fast.


A lid will wonderfully help if you don't want to see your face and your kitchen's wall totally drenched !

Let it whisk for 10 minutes or so. It takes a long time !
When I began to bake Chantilly, I thought for several time, I failed it. Just because I was whisking few minutes. 
Of course, it was still liquid !

Step 2 : 
When you'll see the mixture changing, add sugar and vanilla.
It must become "solid", fluffy, as a wedding dress.





Step 3 : 
Stir some seconds to combine everything.


That's it. 
Put it in fridge immediately. You can eat it for two days. No more. 


Bon appétit ! 

Recapitulative : 

  • 60 cl of liquid whole cream (no other possibility ! It must be whole cream)
  • 50 grammes of white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla liquid.


Your cream must be extra cold ! In the fridge from the day before ! 
Bowl and whisk in the freezer for one hour before. Or in the fridge for two hours.
Everything must be very cold. This is the only secret of this recipe.

Step 1 : 
Pour your cream in your bowl's processor and light it, slowly at the beginning and little by little, each 30 seconds, let it go faster. 
It have to be whisked very fast.

Let it whisk for 5 - 10 minutes. 

When you'll see the mixture changing, add sugar and vanilla.
It must become "solid", fluffy, as a wedding dress.

Stir some seconds to combine everything.

That's it. 
Put it in fridge immediately. You can eat it for two days. No more. 



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Easy Gratin Dauphinois

My mother-in-law is from Dauphiné : 
Dauphiné is a province which includes 3 departments, called La Drôme, les Hautes Alpes and l'Isère. 
Geography books place this province in the east south of france. 




You have to know that, for each single person who live in the east south of france (what we call "le midi"), 100 kilometers above Marseille is not the south anymore. 


For us, Lyon, which is considered to be in the south, is truly in the north. 



In fact, you have to draw a line just across Montpellier. All above, it's north. 
For us, Lille (which is the city most in the north, near to Belgium) is considered to be North Pole ! 

My grand mother, who were born and lived in Algeria before coming to Marseille, used to tell me this short story : 
My grand father had a job opportunity in Lille, 40 years ago. Before accepting, they decided to visit the town... in november !
My grand mother told me : 
"Axelle ... I promise ... I never felt so cold in my life ! I had the feeling to walk in a freezer. I was obligated to go into stores to warm me up ! It was sunny, yet ! But tell me ... what is their sun used for ?".

Yes ... Because we don't have the same sun ... Their sun give them light. It gives us warm. ;)

Of course, all those jokes are for fun. It's a way to tease each other.

Some years ago, a famous french humorist made a movie called "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" (Welcome to the Ch'tis, nickname given to the Nord/Pas de calais department's inhabitants - Lille).
The story was this one : 
A southern inhabitant made a mistake with his boss. This one can't fire him, so he send him in the north. Close to Lille. To punish him.
For this south man, his family and his friend, this is a real catastrophe ! 
Everyone complain with him. He decided to go over there alone and to come back in the south, for week end. 
Welcomed by his new team job, very friendly, he discovers that, in this department, sun is not in the sky but in the inhabitant's heart.
Little by little, he will begin to really love his north life but he won't dare to tell it to his family. No one could understand him ! 
It's a funny movie. 

Well, SO ... Because I'm losing myself talking and talking and talking ... 
STOP ME ! 
My mother-in-law is from Dauphiné ... and in this province, they cook the wonderful gratin dauphinois ! 

I'm going to give you here a recipe. Not THE recipe. Because each grand mother has THE recipe ... which is never the same from the neighboor ...

But, FOR SURE, please, please, please ... There's no cheese in gratin dauphinois. There's no mushroom, no ham, no parsley...Etc ...

This could be very good with all that, but it won't be a gratin dauphinois. 
It will be a potatoes gratin. But not a gratin dauphinois.

Some use milk and cream. I just used cream. Light cream.
Here's my recipe.

You'll need for 6 persons : 
  • 2 kg of potatoes floury
  • 120 cl of light cream.
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt, pepper.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg powder (grated)
  • A little bit of butter.
Oven preheated at 150°C (Th 5 / 300°F)



Step 1 :
In a bowl, pour the cream, the nutmeg and press one clove of garlic, salt and pepper and whisk it.





Step 2 : 
The longest part... Peel the potatoes and cut them in thin slices. If you've got a processor, use it. I don't ... And I regret it ! 

Very important point : Do not wash potatoes when they are peeled. We need the starch they contain.


Step 3 : 
Rub the dish with the second clove of garlic first and with butter in second.
You can press the rest of the garlic in your mixture. That's what I did.



Step 4 : 
Arrange the potatoes slices as you can. No matter.


Step 5 :
Pour the cream. It must cover the potatoes almost to the top.


Step 6 :
In the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes minimum ! It must cook a long time and slowly.
After 1h30, I stopped the oven but left the dish in it for 30 minutes more.
It's ready.

Believe me ... It was SO GOOD ! Potatoes were perfumed and fondant. 
Heaven ! 


Bon appétit.


Recapitulative for 6 persons :


  • 2 kg of potatoes floury
  • 120 cl of light cream.
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt, pepper.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg powder (grated)
  • A little bit of butter.
Oven preheated at 150°C (Th 5 / 300°F)

In a bowl, pour the cream, the nutmeg and press one clove of garlic, salt and pepper and whisk it.

Peel the potatoes and cut them in thin slices. 

Very important point : Do not wash potatoes when they are peeled. We need the starch they contain.

Rub the dish with the second clove of garlic first and with butter in second.
You can press the rest of the garlic in your mixture. That's what I did.

Arrange the potatoes slices as you can. No matter.

Pour the cream. It must cover the potatoes almost to the top.

In the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes minimum ! It must cook a long time and slowly.
After 1h30, I stopped the oven but left the dish in it for 30 minutes more.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Salmon pasta (pâtes au saumon).

First, I wanted to show you the cute basket I bought some days ago ...



Tadaaaaa !
I LOVE those kind of little antiques objects. It was used for salad, a long time ago. 
My mother in law told me :
"... Oh ... I've got one million old and awful objects to give you, if you want ! All we wanted to get rid before, now become fashion !"

I have to say that, in France, for some years now, we go back to old values. I mean, for example, old forenames make a glorious come back ! 
We've got a lot of Antoine, Jules, Pierre, Oscar, Léon, Mathilde, Manon, Juliette...etc ... which are very old first name. 
My grand mother told me : "Young, if a boy was called Léon... no chance with me !".

While today, they're very fashion.
For example, my name : Axelle. 
When I was a little girl, no one knew this name. I was the only one at school, for example. 
All my friends were called Stephanie, Nathalie, Virginie ...etc ...
But Axelle ... People used to ask me for many years how I spelt it, or why my mother called me this way ! 
Secret : My mother is passionated by french history, and it was in honor of Axel of Fersen, the Marie-Antoinette's supposed lover.

Well, today, there're 2 or 3 Axel or Axelle in my daughter's school ! 
For the first time in my life ... I'M FASHION !!!

The fun is my daughter's friends reaction. They are 10 years old and I'm almost 40. 
They suddenly realize I'm a precursory !
... Or that they called as an old person ...

Today, I'm going to share with you another pasta recipe. 
Did I already say how much I'm in love with pasta ?... ;)

Easy, quick dish which seem so sophisticated !

You'll need : 
  • 500 grammes of pasta
  • 20 cl of entire cream or half and half, as you prefer.
  • 4 slices of salmon (150 - 200 grammes)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Parsley
... Don't take care about the glass of white wine. It was just for fun : I drank it.


Step 1 : 
Cut and make brown your onion in olive oil, on a low fire, with a pinch of salt.
Add the garlic when it begins to gold.





Step 2 :
Cut your salmon in slices. Or as you can, it doesn't matter.
Let it cook for few minutes. Until it becomes clearer, in fact. 




Step 3 : 
Pour your cream.


Step 4 :
And grate the lemon skin. 


Step 5 : 
Cut and add the parlsey.




Step 6 : 

Let cook for some minutes, until the cream becomes a little bit more thick. 
It's ready ! 


Pour on pasta and buon appetito ! 




Recapitulative for 4 persons : 

  • 500 grammes of pasta
  • 20 cl of entire cream or half and half, as you prefer.
  • 4 slices of salmon (150 - 200 grammes)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Parsley

Cut and make brown your onion in olive oil, on a low fire, with a a pinch of salt.
Add the garlic when it begins to gold.

Cut your salmon in slices. Let it cook for few minutes. Until it becomes clearer, in fact. 

Pour your cream.

And grate the lemon skin. 

Cut and add the parsley.

Let cook for some minutes, until the cream becomes a little bit more thick. 

Pour on pasta and buon appetito ! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meringues for hopeless ! (Meringues pour les nuls)

This past week was … crazy ! No quiet moment !

I cooked. But I didn’t find one little tiny moment to take care of this blog an I apologize for this !

Now, life is calmer and I want to share with you one deepest philosophical thought I had this week end :

There’s something I wasn’t prepared, when I start blogging …

To be obligated to clean my kitchen every day !
WORST : I am obligated to clean between EACH PICTURE !!

Well … don’t get me wrong, my kitchen is generally clean enough and orderly.

But sometimes, I force myself to not be perfect, it’s hard, but I have to fight against myself.

So after diner, when table is clear away and dishwasher... is dishwashing, I slouch in the sofa, and watch Bones, or the mentalist or NCIS !
And it doesn’t prevent me from sleeping !

Hello … My name is Axelle and I don’t clean my kitchen everyday.
Hello Axelle …

When I started blogging, I thought I could assume this fact very easily. 
I just wanted to be a cook ! Not a cleaner ! ;)

But when I began to take some pictures and I saw, in the background , vegetables peelings, dirty dishes in the double sink, messy cooker, oil traces on the work top, I had to admit that, maybe, I should clean between each picture.

That’s what I did … for some weeks.

Then I found a solution.

No need to keep a sponge in hand all the time … Just learn to focus better with your camera.
Now, I capture only the mixture or the dish…
This way, you can’t see the rest of my kitchen !
That’s’ what imperfect women do. Or maybe all bloggers …

Today, I’m going to share with you my recipes of meringues.
For years, I never dared to bake meringues. They seem to be so fragile and delicate to make…
For me, better being a real baker to bake meringues.
Then I found this recipe. And my life has changed !
I found this on internet and this recipe was really called like this : “meringues pour les nuls”.
The woman who posted it said : “I’m hopeless in baking yet I never spoil those meringues.”
So …Why not me ?

And it was true. Ok, they are not as fluffy as in a bakery. But they are well for a diner or just a will of sugar, believe me ! 


Your oven must be preheated at 120°C (Th 4 / 250°F)

You'll need for 20 little meringues :
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 grammes of white sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod (or a teaspoon of vanilla liquid)
  • A pinch of salt.


Step 1 :
Carefully, separate white from yolks and add a pinch of salt in the whites.

Aaaaarghh, I'm not a cleaner and I'm not a photographer !! 

I absolutely have to make a diet for hands... Do you think it is possible ?? ... 

Step 2 : 
Whisk whites until they become tough.



To know if they are ready, you can turn your pan upside down. If they don't fall, they are good ! If not... take other eggs. 




Step 3 : 
Cut your pod in two and, with a knife's tip, recover the grains and add them to the beaten whites.





Step 4 :
Little by little, whisking each time, pour the sugar until combined. 


Your whisk must look like, what we call "le bec d'oiseau" (bird's beak).


Step 5 : 
With 2 tablespoon, pour some little piles on a baking sheet. No matter the form !! Do it as you can, don't worry.


And put them in the oven for 50 minutes, if you like them a little bit chewy inside, and 1 hour if you prefer them a little more dry inside.
Very important : don't open your oven during the cooking time ! 

After 50 minutes for me, they looked like this : 



Bon appétit ! 


Recapitulative for 20 little meringues :

  • 4 eggs
  • 250 grammes of white sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod (or a teaspoon of vanilla liquid)
  • A pinch of salt.



Carefully, separate white from yolks and add a pinch of salt in the whites.

Whisk whites until they become tough.

Cut your pod in two and, with a knife's tip, recover the grains and add them to the beaten whites.

Little by little, whisking each time, pour the sugar until combined. 

With 2 tablespoon, pour some little piles on a baking sheet. No matter the form.

And put them in the oven for 50 minutes, if you like them a little bit chewy inside, and 1 hour if you prefer them a little more dry inside.
Very important : don't open your oven during the cooking time ! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Just a compote of apples (compote de pommes).

Weather is finally becoming a little bit more ... cool. Not even cold. Just cool. 
We still have 20°C here (70°F) and it's difficult to think it's fall.
At the moment, all my windows are open and the heating still doesn't work, of course.

I'm not complaining ! Because it's very pleasant for sure. But, I can't help myself worrying about what happen to climate. 
Like million persons, I presume...

I needed some comfort food. 
This past week end, I made apples compote. Simple. And sweet.

You'll need, for 4 persons : 

  • 1 kg of apples (or so)
  • 150 grammes of brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla liquid)
  • 50 grammes of butter.
  • If you don't want to use butter, you can replace it by 1/4 liter of water. On this picture, there're water AND butter, but in reality, it's water OR butter ;)
  • You can add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. That's what I usually do. But this time, you'll see at the end, I use cinnamon biscuits, for decoration. 


Step 1 : 
Begin by peeling the apple and took away the core. For this, there's a great instrument which give me fun, when I use it.
All right ... But, life is not always a big laughing moment and we have to take fun where we can ;)



video

If you still have all your fingers after this operation, we can keep on ! 



Step 2 : 
Cut your apples in small pieces. That's a little bit long, I have to admit. 



Step 3 : 
Let melt the butter in the pan, and add your apples. If you don't use butter, just pour your apples.



Step 4 :
Pour sugar and stir together.



If you use water, that's the moment to pour it, baby ! 

... NB : just look this gorgeous beginning of caramel ...


Step 5 : 
Open you pod in two and grab it to collect the grains with the knife's point.

video

Step 6 :
Add it to the apples pod and grains. 



Step 7 :
Cover with a lid and let it cook, on a low fire, for 30 minutes, stirring time to time. 


Step 8 :
At this step, it's ready, let just cool. 
But I wanted something special. So I took some cinnamon biscuits (speculoos) and use them to made a bed for the compote.

You'll need 1 biscuit for each single pot. 


In a plastic bag, break them just enough to have powder and pieces.



Step 9 :
Cover the bottom of one cute pot, and pour the apples, when they're cold. 




Bon appétit ! 



Récapitulative for 4 persons : 

  • 1 kg of apples (or so)
  • 150 grammes of brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla liquid)
  • 50 grammes of butter.
  • If you don't want to use butter, you can replace it by 1/4 liter of water. 
  • You can add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Or use cinnamon biscuits.

Begin by peeling the apple and took away the core. 

Cut your apples in small pieces. 

Let melt the butter in the pan, and add your apples. If you don't use butter, just pour your apples.

Pour sugar and stir together.

If you use water, that's the moment to pour it.

Open you pod in two and grab it to collect the grains with the knife's point.

Add it to the apples pod and grains. 

Cover with a lid and let it cook, on a low fire, for 30 minutes, stirring time to time. 

At this step, it's ready, let just cool. 

With cinnamon biscuits : You'll need 1 biscuit for each single pot. 

In a plastic bag, break them just enough to have powder and pieces.

Cover the bottom of one cute pot, and pour the apples, when they're cold.