Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spinach pie (tarte aux épinards)

As I said in a previous post, there are some vegetables you don't know how to cook them, to change a little bit, to give some fun in your cooking life !

Two days ago, I've tried a recipe with cooked chicory ... Only my dear husband ate them. 
He just told me :
"... No ... Really ... Don't do it again."

I guess the only one who will eat chicory, now, will be my rabbit.

For the fun story, I bought parsley and mint for the rabbit, to my little farmer. I say "little", but he's tall and old ...

When I asked for mint, he looked at me as if I was crazy :
"Mint ??.... For your RABBIT ?..."
Absolutely sure of myself, I said : 
"Yeeees ! I never tried, but I read on internet they like it".
His look was the one of an old farmer, in front of a ... YOUNG, YES, urban woman. 
"... Mint ... For a rabbit... That's the first time I heard about that ! I never met a rabbit who liked mint."

But as he's nice, he gave me mint. With a smile...

The evening, very proud of myself, with this lovely and perfumed mint, I went kneeling in front of my baby rabbit. 
She came quickly, sniffed at it and almost had an heart attack !!

She took me by the collar of my shirt. She looked at me, and I read in her eyes : 
"Listen to me well, you, Giant-Woman... Keep on doing what you're supposed to do with me, right ?!
Keep on cleaning my litter, stroke me when you can catch me, feed me with NORMAL rabbit food, but ... Try once again to give me THIS .. And you'll understand what to fly without wings mean !  Capisce ??..."

... I will meet my little farmer on friday. I'm not sure to tell him my rabbit's reaction. 
I guess he will laugh...
And I'll feel good to make him laugh ! 
I'll tell him ... :)

Here what you'll need for a spinach pie :
  • one pie crust
  • 4 eggs
  • 40 cl of light cream
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 200 grammes of bacon. 
  • 500 grammes of fresh spinach.
  • Some olive oil and butter.

Step 1 : 
Take off all the stalk of your spinach. I won't lie to you, it takes AN ETERNITY ! I think this is the last time I do a spinach pie with fresh spinach. 
But, let's tell we've got one million hours to spend in a totally fulfilling work ! 



Step 2 : 
Peel and cut your onion and your garlic. Make them brown in olive oil and butter.


Step 3 : 
When they begin to brown, add the bacon cut in slices.


Step 4 : 
After 5 minutes, pour the spinach and let them reduce. It will take 10, 15 minutes. Stir time to time. 



Step 5 : Then, pour the mixture in a colander to let out the water.
In the mean time, whisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper and unroll your pastry.



Step 6 :
Pour the bacon/spinach in your pie and add the cream. 


In your oven for 45 minutes.
Bon appétit ! 



Recapitulative : 
  • one pie crust
  • 4 eggs
  • 40 cl of light cream
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 200 grammes of bacon. 
  • 500 grammes of fresh spinach.
  • Some olive oil and butter.
Take off all the stalk of your spinach. 

Peel and cut your onion and your garlic. Make them brown in olive oil and butter.

When they begin to brown, add the bacon cut in slices.

After 5 minutes, pour the spinach and let them reduce. It will take 10, 15 minutes. Stir time to time. 

Then, pour the mixture in a colander to let out the water.

In the mean time, whisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper and unroll your pastry.

Pour the bacon/spinach in your pie and add the cream. 

In your oven for 45 minutes.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

One cookie for Hulk !

I'm so sorry for being absent. 
I had some difficulties to focus on light things those days.

I think often to the first sentence of Forrest Gump Movie, with the chocolate box, you know ?
This is really true.

We never know what will be our life. We have dreams, we have plans, we have wills ... 
Some can come true. Others no.

And the hardest part is to try to not feel frustration about wills which didn't come true.

But some days, you only see, as we say in french, "le verre à moitié vide" : glass is almost empty. 
When you look a glass with a half of water, you have the choice to see it half empty or half full.
This is how life looks like : are you a positive person and do you think you're watching the full part. Or... the empty part ?

The most of the time, I want to see it full !

Life is short and I want to laugh.
... What a stupid sentence, don't you think ? ...
I never knew someone who din't want to laugh.  
Really. Did you met someone who tells you : 
"Nooo ... I don't like to laugh. This is something who gives me wrinkle and makes my belly bounce, no, really, I HATE this feeling !"

If you met someone like this, most of all, RUN !

Don't stay close to this person, she must be Lord Voldemort ! Or worst : HULK !
And believe me, this one is not a funny guy !
Okay, except when he explodes Luki, in The Avengers.
And, if you notice, Luki doesn't laugh AT ALL ! 
What it means for sure that Hulk is not a funny guy...

Anyway, when I feel down this way, I bake.
Some smoke, others drink (Oh, I can drink too !), others run (... Oh, I can drink too...), as far as I'm concerned, I bake.

But to bake doesn't mean to EAT ! ... So I bake for my family. 
And my gnomette just adores cookies. The classical ones. With chocolate chips. 
But today, I don't have the energy to make several little cookies. 
So I bake just one enormous. 
That's fine, too ! 
Hulk would like it.

I'm sure you bake it better than me, but here's my recipe. If you've got some advices to make it better, just tell me ! 

Here's what you'll need : 
  • 120 grammes of unsalted and soft butter
  • 180 grammes of brown sugar
  • 130 grammes of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 200 grammes of chocolates chips.

 You oven must be preheat to 180°C (350° F / Th 6).

Step 1 :
Whisk together butter, egg and vanilla until all combined.






Step 2 : 
Then, mix together the dry ingredients : Sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder. Add them gently to the butter mixture. 





Step 3 : 
Then, add the chocolate chips and stir with a spatula. 



Step 4 : 
Pour the mixture as it falls, in a floured dish ! 



... And in the oven for 12 - 14 minutes. It depends how you like it. If you like it crunchy, you can wait for 15 minutes, but not more.




As my daughter eats the mixture raw, I don't let it cook too much. 
 Bon appétit ! 


Recapitulative : 

  • 120 grammes of unsalted and soft butter
  • 180 grammes of brown sugar
  • 130 grammes of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 200 grammes of chocolates chips.

 You oven must be preheat to 180°C (350° F / Th 6).


Whisk together butter, egg and vanilla until all combined.

Then, mix together the dry ingredients : Sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder. Add them gently to the butter mixture. 

Then, add the chocolate chips and stir with a spatula. 

Pour the mixture as it falls, in a floured dish ! 

And in the oven for 12 - 14 minutes. It depends how you like it. If you like it crunchy, you can wait for 15 minutes, but not more.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Leeks pie (tarte aux poireaux)

Yesterday, I opened my fridge and there were 12 leeks and 36 carrots ... or so ...

I use to buy vegetables each week to my little farmer and I have to admit one point : in winter, I begin to be fed up with some vegetables like leeks and carrots.

So when I see one of those two vegetables in my basket, they immediately find  a good place in the bottom of my fridge ! 
... And I forget them.

Until, they begin to knock at the door !

Sometimes, they are old, with a lot of inelegant hair, they can smell bad, and they are very aggressive ! 
I have to be very careful when I open my fridge's door ! 
I do it with a whip and a stool ! 
Nothing is more aggressive than an old leeks, at the point of death ...

... Yes... I live extraordinary adventures in my kitchen.

Well .. So, before this very painful step, I cook them, trying to always find a new way of accommodating them. 

Here what you'll need : 

  • pie crust
  • 4 leeks, only the white part
  • 4 eggs
  • 40 cl of half and half cream
  • Some butter and olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg in powder
  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar (not obligatory)
  • 1 tablespoon of mild cheese, as gruyère (not obligatory).

Your oven must be preheat to 180°C (350° F / Th 6)


Step 1 : 
Cut your leeks in slices, rinse them carefully , then cut them again in small pieces.



Step 2 : 
In some olive oil and butter, let them become transparent for 10 minutes, on a low fire, with sugar, salt and pepper.


Step 3 : 
In a bowl, whisk eggs, cream and nutmeg. 



Step 4 : 
Then, on your unrolled pie crust, pour leeks and mixture. 


If you've got it, add your cheese. 


In your oven for 35 - 40 minutes.

Bon appétit ! 


Recapitulative : 
  • pie crust
  • 4 leeks, only the white part
  • 4 eggs
  • 40 cl of half and half cream
  • Some butter and olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg in powder
  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar (not obligatory)
  • 1 tablespoon of mild cheese, as gruyère (not obligatory).
Your oven must be preheat to 180°C (350° F / Th 6)

Cut your leeks in slices, rinse them carefully , then cut them again in small pieces.

In some olive oil and butter, let them become transparent for 10 minutes, on a low fire, with sugar, salt and pepper.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, cream and nutmeg. 

Then, on your unrolled pie crust, pour leeks and mixture.

If you've got it, add your cheese. 
In your oven for 35 - 40 minutes.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My mother's vanilla custard tart (le flan au caramel de ma mère)

My mother bakes a very good custard tart.
This is the only one I love. And my husband just adores it.

My mother uses to repeat me how much it was easy to bake !  Soooooo easy !

I asked her the recipe and she gave it to me. Without problem.

Some days after this, we had to take lunch to my oldest sister. 
I was tired and without will to bake some long dessert. 
I said I would bake the famous custard tart.

After one hour of cooking, I took it out of the oven and, as my mother told me to do, I put it in the fridge and waited for the cold to harden it.

I've waited for 2 hours !

When I took it out of the fridge, it was still liquid.

I called my mother for help.

She replied, suspicious : 
"Are you SURE you made all I said ??...
- Yes, mum ! 
- Read me the recipe !
- blablabla ..
- And you really did ALL THAT ?
- Yes, mum ! 
- So, it must be ready ! 
- No, mum ! It's always liquid ! 
- It's normal, girl, you have to let it into the fridge...
- I DID IT ! It's still liquid after 2 hours !
- ... Impossible. 
- ... Muuuum ... Don't tell me "impossible", I know what I've got in front of my eyes ! And this is the Blob or anything else, but this is not a custard tart ! 
- ... (still sceptic)...I do not understand. This custard tard is sooooooo easy you could bake it with closed eyes ! 
- Well, that's maybe because I kept my eyes OPENED !! 
- Don't be stupid. Do you still have eggs ? Yes ? Do it again."

And I did it again, because I'm well educated and obey to my mother 10 percent of my time...

After the exact same result, I called her once again ! 
- "HEEEEEELP ! It happened the same ! 
- Axelle, really ! I DO-NOT-UNDERSTAND ! This ALWAYS works ! AL-WAYS ! 
I've done it 500 times without any failure ! Are you sure you used 8 eggs ? 150 grammes of sugar ? Used a bain marie ? Not whisk too much ?
- Yes ! Yes ! Yes! Yes ! 
- ... So, I don't understand. I'm sorry. But don't throw it away ! ... Put it in a bottle, it will make a kind of custard, you will eat it with chocolate cake, for example. 

This is how end the story of the first custard tart in bottle of the Culinary History of Custard tart ! 

... One year after, my mother send me an email, with custard tart recipe, asking me : 
"Is this THE recipe I gave you ??"

Yes, mum, it was THE recipe you gave me. BUT ... you told me to put the oven at 150° C (300°F / Th 4), while on THIS recipe, you wrote 180°C (350°F / Th 6).
In baking, those kind of ... details can fail a recipe ! 

She laughed ! 

And finally, here's the TRUE recipe of my mother's custard tart. 

  • 1 liter of whole milk (WHOLE ! Don't discuss this point !)
  • 150 grammes of sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 vanilla pod or 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Caramel. So... As my mum and me, use an industrial caramel. If you want to do it by yourself, you'll need 75 grammes of sugar and 2 tablespoon of water.
Your oven must be preheat to 180°C (350°F / Th 6).

You can use a big dish. I used several little ones. 


Step 1 : 
Make your caramel. In a pan, pour your water with sugar and let it caramelize, on a low fire, making your pan swing. Don't mix it.
When it's done, pour some in the bottom of your dish. Here you see my small pans, with industrial caramel (but good) caramel. 


Step 2 : 
In a saucepan, open your vanilla pod in two, add it in the milk and let it cook on a low fire, until it begins to boil. Then, STOP IT ! Don't let it boil with big bubbles. 
Take the saucepan out of the fire and wait for 5 minutes. 



Step 3 :
Whisk eggs and sugar, but NOT TOO MUCH ! Use your weak hands ! 




Step 4 : 
Make boil some water and pour it in a large dish, to make your custard tart cook in a bain-marie. 
Then, add one ladle of milk in your eggs mixture, very slowly, mixing with a wood spoon. 
Do it till the end. 




video

Step 5 : 
Pour the mixture into your dish, slowly. 


video

Step 6 :
Put the dish in your bain-marie and let it cook 40 minutes for small dishes, and 45 - 50 minutes for a large one. 
Those indications must be adapted to your oven, of course. 



Here what they look like after 40 minutes. 




Step 7 : 
Take them out of boiling water and put them in the fridge for hours. Better doing them the day before. 
You can add some caramel on the top of it. 

Bon appétit ! 




Recapitulative. 

  • 1 liter of whole milk
  • 150 grammes of sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 vanilla pod or 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Caramel. So... As my mum and me, use an industrial caramel. If you want to do it by yourself, you'll need 75 grammes of sugar and 2 tablespoon of water.
Your oven must be preheat to 180°C (350°F / Th 6).

You can use a big dish. I used several little ones. 

Make your caramel. In a pan, pour your water with sugar and let it caramelize, on a low fire, making your pan swing. Don't mix it.
When it's done, pour some in the bottom of your dish. 

In a saucepan, open your vanilla pod in two, add it in the milk and let it cook on a low fire, until it begins to boil. Then, STOP IT ! Don't let it boil with big bubbles. 
Take the saucepan out of the fire and wait for 5 minutes. 

Whisk eggs and sugar, but NOT TOO MUCH ! Use your weak hands ! 

Make boil some water and pour it in a large dish, to make your custard tart cook in a bain-marie. 
Then, add one ladle of milk in your eggs mixture, very slowly, mixing with a wood spoon. 
Do it till the end. 

Pour the mixture into your dish, slowly. 

Put the dish in your bain-marie and let it cook 40 minutes for small dishes, and 45 - 50 minutes for a large one. 
Those indications must be adapted to your oven. 


Take them out of boiling water and put them in the fridge for hours. Better doing them the day before

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tuna and pasta (Pâtes au thon).

The last tuesday, my baby rabbit has been sterilized. 

For 3 days, she didn't eat and drink and stayed curled up in a ball. 
The 4th day, she accepted to let me feed her blade after blade. 
She's going much more better now, but it took one entire week for that, and even if I know I'm stupid, I was really worrying for her. 

This is funny, because people understand if you worry for a dog or a cat, but not for a rabbit. 

I guess it's less glorious ! 
"Oh, you've got a pet ?? What kind ? A RABBIT ?... Yeeeees... And if she dies, could you eat her ? I mean, like supermarket rabbit ??".

Usually, I answer :
"yes, of course ! That's the reason why we feed her with basil or thyme or parsley ! This way she will smell good in our plate ! "

For us, she's not a rabbit, she's is Luna.

In reality, in my family, we love cats. We had cats for years. But my husband is allergic.

The only pet we could have for years were goldfishes...

Well, it's nice and it's very relaxing. 
It didn't prevent us to live some tragedy !

One of them, after 2 days, tried to swim on his back ... Like for turtle, this is not good for fishes either. 

Another one thought he was Nemo and jumped out of his aquarium to find freedom ! ... He found linoleum ! 
We found him the following morning, he was as dehydrated as a potato flakes ! 
I've tried to soak him into water to see if he could revive ! ...
No ... 

Another one was so in disease that I've tried another solution a friend told me...
In a bowl of water, pour some instant coffee and your fish.
It was supposed to give him some punch. 
Don't do it. It doesn't work ...

The last one fish, seeing he was feeling bad too, I went on internet to find help ! 
They said : In your aquarium, pour one clove of garlic ! 
I swear it was a serious post ! 
...Don't do it either. It won't help your fish, FOR SURE. Promise.

So, I said : STOP with goldfishes ! It was too fragile for our way of living. 
My children and I were desperate.
But my husband was inflexible : NO FUR PETS ! 

And one day, we went to my best friend who lives in a little town. 
He's got a big garden and when we arrived, there were a hare. A true one. 
Bugs Bunny was alive ! In my friend's garden ! 

My friend is a hunter.
So, I was very surprised to find a rabbit alive and, most of all, jumping in the garden without any of his dogs running after him ! 

It was a neighbor's gift.
Strange gift.
Strange neighbor ...

While I thought my friend would be totally unconcerned, on the contrary, he told us a rabbit was fun and interesting.

Then I saw my husband watching this pet all day.

So, I asked him, with a smile : "Do you want a rabbit ?".

He didn't say no.

And believe me, when my husband did not say "no", for me, it means "YES, YOU CAN, DO IT, TOMORROW YES, NO PROBLEM, YOU CAN BUY A RABBIT, TWO CAGES AND A MILLION THINGS FOR HIM !!!"

... That's what my children and I did the day after. 

We had our first rabbit ... Maya. For some months. We made the mistake to buy her in a petshop. She was too fragile. A very sad moment.

Then, we went in a farm and chosen Luna. A blue (well, grey...) baby german rabbit ! Believe me, we're just truly hoping Deutsch quality is not an urban legend !

She's 9 months old. Cross fingers ...

Here's what you'll need for 4 persons : 
  • 500 grammes of spaghetti (better with this sauce)
  • 450 grammes of canned tuna
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 20 cl of half and half cream, if you like your pasta "dry" or 40 cl if you like full of liquid. 


Step 1 : 
Cut your onion in slices and let it brown with olive oil, with a pinch of salt, on a low fire.
When it begins to caramelize, add the garlic. 


Step 2 : 
When it's really caramelized (it can take 10 minutes or so), add tuna and let it cook for 5 minutes. 




Step 3 : 
Pour your cream and let on a low fire for 5 minutes more.



Step 4 :
Let boil pasta. When it's done, take them and poor them in your tuna mixture. If there's some cooked water, that's better. 
I have to say it's the first time I did this way. 


Stir all together. 


That's ready ! 
Buon appetito ! 



If you have lemon, grate and add the zest, it will be divine. 
Idem if you've got parsley ! Well, not grate it, but ... oh, you understand !

Recapitulative for 4 persons : 

  • 500 grammes of spaghetti (better with this sauce)
  • 450 grammes of canned tuna
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 20 cl of half and half cream, if you like your pasta "dry" or 40 cl if you like full of liquid. 



Cut your onion in slices and let it brown with olive oil, with a pinch of salt, on a low fire.

When it begins to caramelize, add the garlic. 

When it's really caramelized (it can take 10 minutes or so), add tuna and let it cook for 5 minutes. 

Pour your cream and let on a low fire for 5 minutes more.

Let boil pasta. When it's done, take them and poor them in your tuna mixture. If there's some cooked water, that's better. 

Stir all together.