24 February 2009

GF Orange Cranberry Pecan Muffins

I recently came across an excellent Gluten Free recipe book "125 Best Gluten-Free Recipes" by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt, I highly recommend it to people affected by gluten intolerance, and even for non celiac the recipes in this book "work" and taste great. Here is my adaptation of one of their recipes

Orange Cranberry Pecan Muffins

1.5 / 375 ml cup Rice flour
1/3 cup / 75 ml Cornstarch
1/3 cup / 75 ml Tapioca starch (you can grind your own from tapioca pearls in a coffee grinder)
1.5 tsp / 7 ml Xanthan gum (essential in gluten free baking to "glue" the GF flours together)
1 Tbsp / 15 ml Baking powder (GF)
3/4 tsp / 4 ml Salt
1 cup / 250 ml Dried cranberries
1/2 cup / 125 ml Pecan (grossly chopped)
1 cup / 225 ml Orange juice

2/3 cup / 150 ml Orange marmalade
1 tsp / 5 ml Cider vinegar
1/2 stick / 50 gr Butter
2 Eggs

In a bowl mix together all the dry elements (rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, dried cranberries, pecan).
In another bowl mix well the wet ingredients (orange juice, marmalade, vinegar, melted butter eggs)
Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and gently combine with a fork (do not overwork).
Using a cookie spoon fill each muffin mold and let them stand for 30 mn.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 360 F / 180 C for 20 to 30 mn depending on your oven and the size of the muffin molds you are using (I use mini silicon molds which makes it easy to unmold when baked).
Let the muffins cool on a rack before enjoying them for breakfast or with a cup of tea or coffee.

23 February 2009

Mushroom soup

Mushrooms are typically an autumn crop (thus the photo), but soups are really a nice comfort food, especially in these long winter months. While living in Ireland I was given this delicious recipe for mushroom soup, I make it from time to time and always love it.

Mushroom soup
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Shallot
1/2 pound Mushrooms (I use crimini)
2 cloves of garlic (according to taste)
1 slice smoked bacon
2 Tbsp Parsley (fresh if possible)
1 Thick slice of bread (brown preferably, cut into small pieces)
1.5 pint Chicken stock
A pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 pint Cream or Milk

Wash the mushrooms (do not peel or remove the stalks), cut them in small pieces.
Finely chop the shallot.
In a large pan pour the olive oil on medium heat and soften the shallot, add the mushroom pieces and let them soften for a few minutes.
Add the garlic finely cut (or crushed), the slice of bacon thinly sliced and 1 Tbsp of parsley.
Let it all stew for a few minutes then add the slice of bread and chicken stock and simmer for a further 15 mn or more. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Liquidise then add the cream or milk, re-heat and serve with 1 Tbsp of fresh parsley.

20 February 2009

Sablés aux noisettes/Hazelnut shortbread cookies

In Pike Place Market (Seattle) there is a French bakery, Le Panier, they make all sorts of delicious "patisseries", while there last week end we bought some hazelnut shortbread cookies and we liked them so much that I decided to recreate them at home. I used a recipe my brother gave me for lemon "sablés" (will be posted later) and changed it as follows...

Sablés aux noisettes
For 50 or 60 cookies, depending on the size and shape

200 gr unbleached all purpose flour
100 gr hazelnuts (whole)
100 gr confectioners sugar
200 gr butter at room temperature (like an ointment, very important, it shouldn't be too cold nor melted)
A few drops of vanilla extract

Gently toast the hazelnuts in a pan on medium heat to enhance their taste, then while they cool, in the bowl of a mixer (Kitchen aid) measure and sift the flour, add the sugar and the butter in small pieces, then add the vanilla (to taste).
Now the hazelnuts should be cooled enough to be grounded, not too much, as you want to have big chunks to bite in.
Add them to the bowl and using the paddle, blend all until you obtain a dough (like pastry dough), when it sticks all together stop and place on a sheet of plastic wrap and shape as you want (a round log or a long rectangular log). Put in the refrigerator for 30 mn to 1 hour until cold and solidified.
Take out and cut into thin or thick cookies and place them on a cookie tray covered with a silpat/parchment paper.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 400 F for 10 mn or a little longer if thicker cookies, they should not brown and will spread a little while baking and once they have cooled down they will harden.
Enjoy these treats with a cup of coffee or tea.

Tip: you can also freeze part of the log and have fresh cookies for these unexpected guests anytime

05 February 2009

Cardamom yogurt cream

A few years ago while still living in Ireland I tasted a very unusual and flavourful refreshing dessert cream infused with cardamom, I was given the recipe and never made it and forgot about it. Then last week while flicking through my recipes I found it again and decided to make it. Enjoy this very easy recipe with a fresh fruit salad of orange and kiwis. Prepare the cream one day ahead as it needs to chill.

Cardamom infused yogurt cream
1 jello mold is best
225 ml / 8 oz Milk
200 ml / 7 oz Cream
200 gr / 7 oz Sugar for more flavour you can substitute with honey
8 cardamom seeds hulled and grounded with a pestle and mortar (it is very advisable to use whole rather than already ground cardamom as the flavour will be more intense)
3 rounded tsp powdered gelatin (I yet have to try this recipe with agar agar)
4 Tbsp cold water
425 ml / 15 oz Plain yogurt

Pour milk, cream and sugar in a stainless saucepan with the ground cardamom on low heat, stir until the sugar is melted and the liquid is warm to touch.
Turn off the heat and set aside to infuse.
Pour the gelatin in a small bowl containing 4 tbsp of cold water and let it "sponge".
Then pour over the gelatin and stir some of the infused mixture then gradually add the rest of it.
Beat the yogurt lightly until smooth then add it to the cardamom/gelatin mixture.
Pour all in a Jello mold, cover and place in the refrigerator for several hours until set (preferably overnight).