When I think of spring and Easter, I think of Easter eggs(of course!), roasted lamb, asparagus and petits pois, daffodils, blossoms, new born animals playing on green prairies with yellow dandelions. A beautiful time of year. For this Easter, we will enjoy some oeufs cocotte, salads, some oven roasted rosemary lamb and we will probably finish our day with a mini Nantais cake. Made to stand for 2 days, its flavour just gets better and better. It can also be baked as one big cake, but a change is always good, so I made it into individual mini cakes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas 6, 356°F).
- Grease a cake tin(20cm diameter), or mini cake molds of your choice.
- Beat together 125g soft butter, 125 g castor sugar and 100g ground almonds until creamy.
- Add 3 eggs, one at a time. Beat until well mixed.
- Add 40g flour, 2 TBSP of apricot jam and 50ml of rum. Mix until the mixture is light and fluffy
- Pour the mixture into the greased cake tin of the mini tin. Bake in oven for 40 -50 minutes for the large cake tin, or 30-40 minutes for the mini cakes. If the surface gets too dark, cover with a sheet of tin foil or brown paper. Test with a skewer which need to be dry when pulled out.
- Prepare the icing: Mix together 50ml rum with 100g icing sugar. Pour over the cakes and serve.
Serve 6 people
Pincée de fleur de sel:
- Bake the cake about 2 days for a more flavourful cake.
- Replace the rum with lemon juice of 1 lemon if you don’t want alcohol.
- Replace the rum in the icing sugar with a few drops of lemon juice.
The garden is far from finished – I walk around with a knee brace after hurting it with a fall, the days are filled with rain the ground is soaked…so working is not very apparent. At least the bulbs planted in fall have no problems showing off their splendour. So.. to accompany this Easter posting, here are some images from the garden beginning April.
..Bienvenue dans mon jardin à Pacques..
..A bed of daffodils, tulips and muscaris..
..No need to encourage the chickens to go play outside!..
..Two chicks, only 3 days old..
..daffodils waiting to flower..
..Have a lovely Easter time..
Easter is coming up pretty fast and everybody is munching on Easter chocolate. So are we. But one can’t live on chocolate alone. An egg every now and then will help. An “oeuf cocotte”. It is easy to make with many variations to suit each taste an ddesire.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. (39°F, gas 6)
- Butter 4 ramekins(with volume of 125 ml or 1/2 cup) liberally with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place some shredded spinach on the bottom.
- Spoon 1 heaped TBS of créme fraîche onto the spinach and spread it evenly over the spinach.
- Break open 1 egg into a little bowl and and slide onto the créme fraîche in each ramekin without breaking the egg yolk.
- Drizzle a little cream over the egg yolk to protect it during cooking.
- Place in a deep ovenproof dish, fill with boiling water up to half the height of the ramekins and bake at 200°C for 9 minutes for a runny yolk. The egg white should just be coagulated and don’t worry if there is still a little transparent egg white left…while standing the eggs will still continue cooking a bit.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper, some fried bacon pieces and chopped chives. Serve immediately with toasted bread fingers to dip into the eggs.
Pincée de fleur de sel:
- Use any nice containers for the eggs as long as they are ovenproof. Glass looks especially nice with the layers of egg and cream showing through the sides.
- Place bacon pieces or asparagus tips, frozen creamed spinach, mushrooms, strips of ham… and place at the bottom before filled with créme fraîche. the list is endless.
- Use small brioche buns instead of ramekins and steady them in muffin pans, fill with eggs and bake…especially popular with children.
- Infuse cream with saffron, or other spices/herbs of your choice, bring cream to a boil and simmer a few minutes to reduce and use instead of créme fraîche.
I am not one for a lot of Easter decoration. But I love having spring flowers in my house and the chickns provide me with a moutain of eggs, which I use simply in bowls to add an Easter flavor.
..Eggs from the poulaillier, rosemary and terracotta in which the eggs end up when stolen from the poullaillier…a winning combination for me..
..For a little playfulness – an empty egg carton filled with shredded wooden strips colour green, the egg shells used for the recipe filled with water and holding spring flowers and herbs, some eggs and tiny quail eggs..
..tulips in hotelsilver, my ink drawing book, a feather pen, feathers from the poullaillier and …some eggs!..
..biscuit de Savoie..
My hens, tiny as they are, provide us with a plenitude of eggs. As if that is not enough, the two geese, Sidonie et Aglaé, add their daily quota as well. I donate eggs left and right and we still end up with a surplus! I don’t complain..an old Paysanne told me that laying hens are happy hens. So how can I deprive a happy poule from laying a happy egg?
The goose eggs are perfect for baking. They are far too rich for eating on their own, too rich even for an omelette or mixed with chicken eggs. Seeing that I have these basket fulls of goose eggs, I found this delicious Biscuit de Savoie that asks for 14 eggs. Yes, you read right – FOURTEEN eggs. It may seem expensive to you, but the cake is worth it. To me of course, it is a bargain, because I only dig into my basket for 7 goose eggs and I have a perfect cake. Mon chéri, who is not a cake lover, now asks for the 14- eggs-cake, as he calls it. I hope you try it…you will like it!
- Preheat the oven to 170 °C.
- Separate the yolks and whites of 14 eggs into 2 bowls.
- Add 500g castor sugar and the seeds of 1 scraped vanilla pod to the egg yolks. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk/beat until stiff peak stage.
- Sift together 185 g Flour and 185 G Maizena(cornflour/cornstarch).
- Add 1/3 of the stiff egg whites to the creamed yolk and sugar mixture and mix well. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites into the mixture, alternating with the sifted dry ingredients. Don’t over mix! Always stir/fold in by going in the same direction.
- Pour the batter into 2 buttered and flour dusted cake tins of 26cm in diam. each. Fill the cake tins only 2/3 with batter, as the cake rises high while baking.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer is removed clean when piercing the cake.
- Leave to cool and dust with sifted icing sugar or top with a vanilla butter icing.
- Serves about 8 people or more.
Une pincée de sel:
- Remember that 2 large chicken eggs = 1 goose egg.
- The lightness of the cake is due to the 14 beaten egg whites.
- Fill the cake tins only 2/3 with the cake mixture..the cake rises high in the oven.
- The cake is baked when a knife blade is retracted clean when piercing the cake.
- From this recipe I get 2 cakes (26cm diam. and 24 diam.). Half the recipe to get only 1 cake of about 26 diam.
- Use eggs at room temperature.
- Flavour with almond essence instead of vanilla.
- Dust only with sifted icing sugar, or top with a butter icing, or drizzle with a runny milk icing.
- Replace the vanilla pod with a packet of vanilla sugar (7.5g) or a tsp of vanilla essence.
- Serve (without the topping of butter icing) as dessert with strawberries, whipped cream and a strawberry coulis.
I am still old school. I love my metal cake tins. I have succumbed to the silicone stuff, but now I’m handing them all out as gifts and I am reverting back to my old tins, some of which still come from my mother. Maybe it is what happens when one gets older..you revert back to the things that once gave you joy, in spite of new trends and “fashionability”. By oiling my tins with butter and giving it a dusting of flour, sticking to the pan is not a problem. But of course..freedom of choice is what makes the world go round, so by all means use whatever you fancy!
The biscuit de Savoie was adapted from the book Pâtissier, Petit Larousse.
…a handful of spring lilacs..
Spring is awakening very slowly this year, causing the garden to be in a slow rising too. but nonetheless, colour is everywhere. The glycine (wisteria) is absolutely gorgeous in the gardens and of course, we all have lilas..of all colours. I only have the light lilac, of which the colour fades beautifully as it ages. And they fit into all pots and vases and tittles and cups. For tables and bathrooms and shelves and corners to enjoy to the full. They don’t last too long once picked, but for the day or two they provide me with such satisfaction and my barn house smells like spring, even on a cool rainy day! It is true. The biggest happiness comes in small doses.
*Our little poulain (faul) is a week old today and getting just more cute by the day. If you would like to see some pics of her and her equally adorable maman, make a stop at A spring poulain! on my blog Coin Perdu, to read and see how things went last Friday night with the birth! Very exciting, it was!
*Have a great Sunday tomorrow..I will be off to a brocante, make a stop at the jardinerie for some tomato plants and do some weeding at home…
So, as always..
à la prochaine!..
It is epiphany weekend and here in France we have “les galettes des rois” tempting us around every corner! I almost gave in, but I held my ground firmly and walked past.
Safely here at home, I can now proudly boast about my steadfast self discipline! After a season of nibbling on all the festive foods, I want to get back on track with healthy eating. Doesn’t that sound quite boring? NOTE TO SELF: Keep the healthy eating exciting! Tall order, since I have become a bit lazy in the cooking department. Proof…I haven’t even baked a galette this this year! But that is no problem. I have links up this lazy sleeve!
First: My own galette des rois from last year…oops…not last year, but 2010!
How did a year pass without me knowing about it?
Ronelle’s (that’s me..)galette des rois
And here is Monique’s galette des rois:
So this is what dictionary.com has to say about epiphany:
noun, plural -nies.
- 1. ( initial capital letter ) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.
- 2. an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.
- 3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
- 4. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.”
I hope your weekend will be filled with all the meanings of the word epiphany; eat a galette on 6 January, experience a pleasant appearance, receive that sudden insight we all need so desperately, and present your epiphany by means of a piece of work…maybe by baking a galette, even if only this once in your life?
Enjoy the weekend, stay warm in the north, stay out of the sun in the south, eat “healthy”, and enjoy your epiphany.
“Epiphany”. I have to say it again.
Such a nice word.