fruit

Mendiants à la fleur de sel..et l’ atelier chocolat.

Mendiants are so quick to make and over the festive times coming soon, are a handy snack to serve with coffee. IN France the habit in a bar, mostly, not everywhere, is to serve a petit biscuit or chocolat along with the coffee. Towards the end of the year it changes to something special, like a petit meringue, or une truffe au chocolat. Why not a mendiant, topped with dried fruit and nuts of your choice?

mendiants aux fleur de sel 15-10-2013 12-19-56 2801x2795

Wikipedia says:  “A mendiant is a traditional French confection composed of a chocolate disk studded with nuts and dried fruits representing the four mendicant or monastic orders of the Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans and Carmelites. Each of the nuts and dried fruits used refer to the color of monastic robes with tradition dictating raisins for the Dominicans, hazelnuts for the Augustins, dried figs for Franciscans and almonds for Carmelites. Usually found during Christmas, recipes for this confection have veered away from the traditional combination of nuts and fruits to other combinations incorporating seeds, fruit peels and other items.”

Larousse says: The mendiant order imposed poverty on the the mendiants(beggars) and they were dependent on donations for their upkeep. They were allowed to get some kind of income as long as they abstained from any benefits from the church.

..mendiants à la fleur de sel..

atelier chocolat 15-10-2013 11-21-55 4034x2820

La recette:

  1. Break 400 g dark chocolate in pieces. Add to a bowl(or top part of double boiler) on a pot of hot water.
  2. Temper the chocolate ( see below under Tempering chocolate).
  3. Keeping the chocolate at 32° C, drop spoonfuls of chocolate onto a baking sheet covered with bakewell paper. Sprinkle very sparsely with some fleur de sel and leave aside for about 10 minutes for the chocolate to settle.
  4. Use dried fruit and nuts of your choice and top by gently pressing it onto the mendiants. (I used dried strawberries, almonds, pistachio nuts, dried papaya strips and hazelnuts).

..my all favorite eating chocolate is dark Lindt chocolate à fleur de sel(left) and in the kitchen I use Lindt dark cooking chocolate 70% cacao and mix it with a cheaper Lindt cooking chocolate(ratio 3/4 – 1/4)..

mendiants

1. Tempering chocolate:

Tempering chocolate gives you chocolate which is beautifully smooth with a gloss and is used when you are “decorating” with chocolate or florentines, or mendiants or making filled cups. When making truffles, it isn’t necessary, because truffles mostly get rolled in cacao afterwards.

  • Using a thermometer, melt the chocolate until  50 – 55°C, while stirring all the while with a spatula.
  • Remove from the heat and cool the chocolate to 28 – 29°C, stirring all the while.
  • Reheat again to 30-32°C and remove from the heat, taking care, because it heats very quick. If it heats above this temperature, it will make white streaks and you will have to start from the beginning.
  • Keep the temperature at 30 -32°C while working.
  • The left over chocolate can be stored and at a later time tempered again and reused.
  • The chocolate chips don’t give such a good result.

..tempered chocolate..

atelier chocolat 15-10-2013 12-42-06 3380x2804

In the top photograph,  the chocolate is tempered which shows the rich gloss and smoothness. The bottom photograph clearly shows the white, dull and milky appearance of untempered chocolate.

..untempered chocolate, simply melted..

atelier chocolat 25-10-2012 11-59-23 2397x2026 

Whip some cream and serve it in the little cup along with a strawberry or raspberry or a fruit mousse or light chocolate mousse. Place it with your main dessert  on a dessert plate for some added interest. Or why not serve it with a late afternoon coffee as a “goutêr“? If it has a quaint rose pattern like in the photo, it can be turned over and your guests break through the chocolate to get to the surprise filling.

2. Chocolate decoration.

  • Use a home made cone – Place a piece of bakewell paper on a tray and draw your design on the paper. Fold a rectangle of bakewell paper into a cone, fill with melted chocolate and draw onto your design. Leave aside to cool completely of place in the fridge in warm weather. When the chocolate designs have settled, remove gently and store in an airtight container with bakewell paper between the chocolate decorations. Use of ice cream or whipped cream or serve on a hot chocolate topped with a thick layer of froth.
  • Making chocolate moulds/cups – use the brush shown below  and paint one layer of chocolate inside the moulds. Refrigerate and paint another. Continue until you have painted 3 coats. Remove gently and store in an airtight container.

..to make chocolate decorations, I use the home made paper cone(left,  line 1),  the little brown container is useless, for it sucks air and make spurts of chocolate as you can see (line 2), the spoons are very handy and make nice linework(3 & 4),  the only drawback is that they don’t take too much chocolate at a time so your designs have to be small, but they are excellent in making swoops of chocolate on the dessert plate.

atelier chocolat 15-10-2013 11-31-21 3195x3124

..This is a perfect brush to paint the cup moulds inside with chocolate…

atelier chocolat 15-10-2013 11-32-03 2956x2216

..To end this short atelier chocolat(to know more you’ll have to come to my cooking classes), voici la Tour Eiffel, all in tempered chocolate…will I eat it? Definitely not today!..

atelier chocolat 15-10-2013 12-54-39 2339x2940

I bought this cute little book in Paris called, Retour à Paris: les mêmes lieux photographiés d’un siècle à l’autre, by Daniél Quesney. So until next time I’m leaving you with this view of the Eiffel over the Seine, a 100 years apart. Isn’t it wonderful…how I would love to be able travel back to “La belle époque!

..”voies George Pompidou, 16eme arrondissement. On quai du Pont du Jour, the Eiffel tower still carves out its slice of the sky, but the riverboat concertzs of old have have now given way to expressway automobile traffic”..

2013-10-161..à la prochaine..

Ronelle


Panfried quince(coings sautés)..et le jardin du Luxembourg.

It is now time for quince, pears, apples..all the lovely fruits of autumn with their heady fragrances when baked or panfried or poached. With added spices or without, they are wonderful as desserts and even better as accompaniment to venison and the heavier winter red meats. Serving it with a duck breast is something I love to do: Sauté the quince in a pan with butter and sugar, remove, add the juices of the panfried duck and reduce with some red wine, serve with the cooked duck slices and the quince on the side and a pain de campagne to sweep up the juices on the plate.. eh oui, we do love that! Doesn’t it sound delicious?

panfried quince 12-10-2013 12-30-28 3075x2625

La recette:

  1. Wash 2 large quinces and cut in quarters. Peel(optional) and remove the seeds. Cut each quarter again in half.
  2. In a large pan, melt a large knob of butter and about 3/4 cup sugar and some lemon juice to taste. Add the quince and pan fry for about 10 minutes or until the quinces are tender and caramelized. Remove the quinces from the pan heat before they fall apart and keep aside.
  3. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of red wine to the caramelized quince juice and reduce for about 5-10 minutes. Add the quince slices back to the wine sauce and keep warm until needed.
  4. Serve as accompaniment with venison or duck breast or pan fried foie gras.

coing sauté

Pincée de fleur de sel:

  • Use apples or pear instead of quince.
  • Add spices like star aniseed, or a cinnamon stick or juniper berries..
  • Use honey of your preference instead of sugar.
  • These quince can also  be baked in the oven  at 180 degrees C until the quince are tender.
  • Serve as a dessert with a dollop of thick cream or créme fraîche.
  • Use the pan fried quince for tarte tatin or use and make a topping for a crumble.

quince 1 12-10-2013 11-50-024

Well, back from Paris; t’was a quick there and back, but that is how I have to do Paris now with all the animals waiting back here at Coin Perdu. Not that I complain because that is exactly the way I like it. Paris is wonderful, but after a week my head hurts. All is well when you don’t have parcels and bags and cameras and bottles of water and it isn’t raining and you have enough money to be taxied around. But a week of city life is more than enough – enough shoving and pushing on buses and le métro, slipping on wet métro stairs, struggling through narrow métro gateways with parcels and umbrellas, enough garlic odours on the métro from the stranger breathing in your neck and spitting his chatting into his portable above your head.

BUT…thankfully Paris is also filled with stories and a rich history and incredible beauty and there is always a good seat and (albeit expensive) coffee at the next corner. Great lunch meals at bistros, which is cheaper and sometimes better than dinners. Great places(squares) where you can eat your sandwich jambon and read your book(given it doesn’t rain). And of course, there is always le jardin du Luxembourg.

..le jardin du Luxembourg with the Eiffel tower in the background..

Paris jardin du Luxembourg 09-10-2013 11-33-31 1766x1289

..Monsieur is out with his little sailboat..

Paris jardin du Luxembourg 09-10-2013 11-16-52 1905x1268

*Did you know…?

total surface of le jardin du Luxembourg:      about 23 hectares

  • ornamental lakes:    2 800 m²
  • lawns:                         5 400 m²
  • Shrub beds               17 700 m²
  • flower beds                6 000 m²
  • interior perimeter:       2km
  • Trees forming lanes:  2 200
  • trees forming shade:     740
  • shrubs:                         35 000

(source: Sénat.fr)

..the garden is still dressed in summer attire with géraniums in the pots and will soon be replaced by the habitual chrysanthémes..

Paris jardin du Luxembourg 09-10-2013 10-25-56 1677x1325

Paris jardin du Luxembourg 09-10-2013 10-21-37 1936x1462

..le jardin colours later in  autumn with the gay Chrysanthémes..(images from November 2009)

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..Luxembourg pigeons basking in the November light..

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..le palais in November with its security guard an elegant backdrop to they sunny yellow chrysanthémes..

luxembourg 2009 19-11-2009 16-21-01 1631x2252

..les chaises ..- I have always been fascinated by the chairs in le jardin and I am keeping my eyes wide open to find some for my own garden..love them, don’t you?

Paris jardin du Luxembourg 09-10-2013 10-50-13 1795x1345

..sketchbook exchange: my theme for the sketchbook exchange in 2008 was the chairs of le jardin du Luxembourg..see more here of our exchange Flying pictures

Luxembourg 7-29-2008 11-17-00 AM

..la buvette des Marinonnettes..

Paris jardin du Luxembourg 09-10-2013 10-56-28 1825x1309

..le Pavillon de la Fontaine..

Paris jardin du Luxembourg 09-10-2013 10-24-12 2048x1536

..Don’t forget to look upwards every now and then..

Paris jardin du Luxembourg 09-10-2013 10-36-20 1385x1616

 

..and for thirst and directions, always some help..

Parys Oktober 2013

..after a morning spent walking, reading, watching people, watching school kiddies run relay around the fountain, witnessing a great game of tennis, drinking coffee at le Pavillon de la fontaine, doing some tai chi with other Parisiens, I said goodbye to le jardin and left by the gate of Medici..

Paris jardin du Luxembourg 09-10-2013 10-26-55 1744x1256

*Read more about le jardin du Luxembourg: (they can all be translated)

..à la prochaine..

Ronelle


Salmon, apple and dill amuse bouche…and a touch of green.

The regulars here on Myfrenchkitchen will by now know how much I love an apéro(apéritif), or amuse bouche, or the spanish tapas.. On weekends it is standard practice in our home to have a glass of wine before dinner with an apéro. I hope one day in heaven there will be some apéros awaiting me on weekends- that and good coffee-or else I will take my business elsewhere…

As all the regulars will alos know, is that everything on Myfrenchkitchen is simple, as these salmon amuses bouches clearly show. The only requisite is “l’envie”, the desire to make it and enjoy it.

apple salmoin amuse bouche 04-10-2013 12-50-19 2462x2106 La Recette:

  1. Cut 140 g smoked salmon into thin strips, about 2cm wide. If possible, use wild salmon, which is much stronger in flavour. If you have your own gravlax that you made, all the better. Wash and cut green 1 large Granny Smith apple(unpeeled) into matchtsticks. Drizzle liberally with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  2. Wash a few branches of fresh dill.
  3. Roll about 5 matchsticks of apple and a tiny branch of dill in a strip of salmon.
  4. Arrange on a platter, sprinkle with freshly milled pepper and decorate with lemon slices, dill flowers and serve with cold white wine, rosé, sparkling wine or champagne.
  5. One large Granny Smith apple and 140g smoked salmon (4 slices) make about 14 amuse bouche.Provide for 3 – 4 helpings per person if it is the only apéritif served.

Serves 3-4 people.

Pincée de fleur de sel:

  • Use fresh fennel or fresh chertvil instead of dill.
  • Add a dollop of sour cream or crème fraìche when rolling the salmon.
  • Serve with a bowl of mayonniase or crème fraîche as an accompanying dip.
  • Use other fruits in season and use smoked ham instead of salmon.

apple matchsticks 04-10-2013 11-13-33 3644x2914

Since we are in the greens today…the hydrangeas are beautiful at the moment with nuances of green and salmon. Two Granny smith apples complete the picture in the barn.

green hydrangeas and apples 04-10-2013 13-46-16 3132x3157

..Green is one of the colours I love for setting tables outside. And blue. And red. And of course white. And ochre. Well, for that matter, all colours! I have a few things here at Coin Perdu which we often use for dining on the terrace in summer: rustic green rimmed glasses, old bottles, green fun plates, green banana lreaf bowls, green pottery bowls..

green crockery 04-10-2013 15-18-59 3467x3122

..Some small wild apples live in harmony with berries and egglantine rosehips..

wild apples 04-10-2013 13-39-08 3994x3030

..the birds don’t shy away from digging into the small wild apples..

wild apples 04-10-2013 13-42-19 3152x2817

..and neither do the horses..

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..when going through my artwork in search of painted apples, I realized I have almost nothing. I had to rectify that immediately with a sketch. Green is a difficult colour. So many shades of it in nature. The challenge lies in creating your own green from yellows and blues with touches of reds and purples. That way you get much richer and interesting greens than the greens directly from the tube.

apples aqua

..à bientôt!.

Ronelle


Summer peach soup with red berries..and Provence

In midsummer, when the sun is blazing hot and the cigales are singing away, we don’t have much desire for eating, except for indulging in ice cream. A cold simmer peach soup is perfect for those days and brings a bit of welcome change to the ice cream menu.

Summer peach soup 11-07-2013 19-36-49 3619x3208

La recette:

  1. Bring to the boil 1 liter of water with 1 vanilla pod, 200 g sugar and the rind of 1 lemon. Remove from the heat, add a handful of fresh mint leaves and set aside to cool.
  2. Peel and cut 6 peaches of your choice into slices.
  3. Add to the warm syrup and leave to cool down completely before storing in the fridge for about 4 hours to infuse.
  4. Serve cold in glasses or bowls and add a handful of fresh red berries of your choice to the soup(optional).
  5. Decorate with fresh mint leaves and serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Serves 6 people.

Pincée de fleur de sel:

  • I used a mixture of white and yellow peaches.
  • Macerate the berries with some sugar before adding to the soup, since they may be too sour for the soup.
  • Add the berries on a little kebab/cocktail stick and stick into the soup, to eat separately.
  • Leave the berries if so desired.
  • Replace the mint with lemon verbena for something different.
  • Serve in frozen glasses for an icy effect.

peaches  18-06-2007 13-06-29 3008x2000

The signature of Provence is its white limestone..in the countryside, the hills,  in the built walls, the drywalls, the houses, the pavings ,  the flowerbeds, the villages… Some of them new and some weathered handsomely by the mistral  and rains of centuries.

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I love an atmospheric window..

Provence 2013 27-06-2013 18-18-29 2405x2908

Clearly seen in this image below, is the different types of stone used, maybe at different times by different craftsmen.

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Just look at that stone…beautiful non?..

Provence 2013 27-06-2013 18-08-006

A  stone staircase between these beautiful stone walls, going up and up and up…

Provence 2013 27-06-2013 18-27-23 3139x4349A typical Provencal door..

Provence 2013 27-06-2013 18-21-21 3179x4415

A flowerbed by a front door, typical in the small villages with no gardens..

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Lovely shutters and vigne vierge creeper..

Provence 2013 27-06-2013 18-25-14 3264x4928

Sedum growing on the rooftiles..totally content in the heat, like me…

Provence 2013 27-06-2013 18-53-28 4928x3264

Holly hocks…an old world flower and one of my favorites..

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Gay colour in an ochre coloured flower container..

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Bonnieux is known for its brocantes..

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..which overlooks the valley..

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A window peeking from above a fig tree..Provence 2013 29-06-2013 11-30-09 3212x4619

Lavenders on the windowsill..

Provence 2013 29-06-2013 11-30-40 3232x3005

A cloche against a perfect Provencal sky…Provence 2013 29-06-2013 11-46-17 3238x3877And lastly,  a sunset goodbye …

Provence 2013 28-06-2013 21-39-53 4050x3223

So, with these images it is back to reality here at Coin Perdu, where summer is in full swing..and I don’t want it to end!

à la prochaine

Ronelle


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