Archive for the ‘family recipe’ Category

My Grandmother’s Clafoutis

April 26, 2009

Uhm. Hi. Yeah… I know. But, let’s not talk about it, mkay?

Instead, let’s talk about SPRING! And Cake! and my Grandmother! This grandmother, to be exact. The one whose understanding of cooking and baking is close to mine, because it’s about making something very good very fast and with little effort. She is a true homecook and has herself spawned a few more homecooks in my mother and uncle and their children in turn aaaand before I scare you away with more genealogy, let’s get back to the mention of cake made at the beginning of the post.

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One of the desserts my Grandmother used to make for us regularly, was a Clafoutis. The Clafoutis is a cross between a cake and a baked custard to which you add fresh fruits*. As a child we used to be a bit bummed when she made Clafoutis, because it seemed incredibly boring and plain, but now, come SPRING, I could practically make it all the time. It comes to together in seconds and bakes fast, too. You can eat it warm or cold. There really is nothing not to like about it!

My favourite way to make it is to use rhubarb (see also: SPRING!) and to add a teaspoonful of homemade vanilla extract**. The last time I made this, the five of us destroyed it in seconds: the two little ones were howling for more and J. just quietly ate one piece after another while L. and I tried hard to practice moderation. Our friend who was visiting was quickly given seconds before the whole thing vanished. That’s what it’s like at our house: eat it now or someone else will!

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Rhubarb Clafoutis

Prep Time: 5 min cooking time: 35 min

4 stalks of rhubarb (just short of a kilo), peeled and chopped in trunks
3 eggs
6 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp flour
1 Tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
200 ml cream
more sugar to sprinkle on the rhubarb

mixing bowl, wire whisk, 1 gratin dish (23 x 23 cm)

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Preheat the oven to 190°.
Wash, peel and chop the rhubarb. Sprinkle with enough sugar to cover each stalk and set aside in the baking dish.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder and cream whisking and mixing until well combined. Pour over the rhubarb and bake for 35 min or until set.
Enjoy warm or cold.

* Some fruits worth mentioning are cherries (please pit them, nothing more annoying than pits keeping you from scarfing down enjoying your delicious dessert), tiny yellow plums, apricots, anything really! Some people are partial to apples in a Clafoutis, personally i’m not a big fan but go ahead and try it out for yourself.

** go make this, right now. it’s really easy and the results are spectacular, especially if you use good vanilla, as I did. Come to think of it, I used vanilla sent to me by my grandmother!

A good soup

October 26, 2008
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I was going to get all economic-crisis-y on you with this particular recipe, but then I realised that the only reason to post this recipe is because it’s damn good.

Let me take a few steps back to explain what this is all about:

The soup shown here is made from turnip greens — something you wouldn’t normally think of using in that way, since it’s what one would generally consider waste or would feed to rabbits (if you had one); but growing up, we often had a soup made with the greens from radishes, and it was one of my favourites. Also, with the whole economic crises thing, I was thinking waste-not-want-not kind of food — though I have sometimes bought radishes just for the purpose of making the soup, discarding the actual radishes in the process (humhum, waste not what?!).

Anyway this weekend was the first time I made this soup with this particular ingredient and I am happy to report that it was equally as delicious as my memory of it with radish greens. The flavor is really delicate, nutty, and somewhat green close in taste to watercress soup. Plus I find the color really refreshing and spring-like. So, go get yourselves some turnips w greens or some radished and give this a try!

P.S. I don’t plan to throw out the turnip tops, though, because I really like them steamed, or in a soup, or with chickpeas and raz-el-hanout in a couscous…

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Turnip Green Soup

Prep Time: 5 min cooking time: 15 min
1 medium sized saucepan / stockpot, blender

1 bunch of turnip leaves (about 4 cups), washed
4 medium sized potatoes
1 bay leaf
about 4 cups water
salt and pepper, to taste

Peel and roughly chop the potatoes.
Put them in a saucepan together with the bayleave. Cover with cold water (2 cups should be enough),bring to a boil and cook on medium heat until just tender (about 10 min).
While the potatoes are cooking, wash the turnip greens in a lot of water. Add them, still wet, in to the saucepan with the now softened potatoes and leave the greens to wilt and slightly cook (5 more min).
Take the saucepan of the heat and thoroughly blend the whole thing together, making sure that there are no remaining chunks or stringy bits. You can add more water to adjust the consisteny, I ended up using about 4 cups. Season with salt an pepper and serve with toasted bread and creme fraiche.

Home is…

July 21, 2008
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We have had a most grueling weekend here at the 13desserts, and I am happy to be back. Twin2 suffered a fairly hefty bump on the head, and so I had to spend 48h with him at the hospital as he was under observation. It was…not superfun. Hospitals make me really unhappy. I feel lonely there, and sick and just plain worried and always uninformed. It was good that we went however, and got medical proof that he was OK. Also, my sister is luckily a doctor as well as a sister, and gives us the soundest of advice. Also I can call my parents blubbering, and they will listen and pretend that they are not worried, just so I can calm down. And we have friends who are ready to drop everything at 11pm to come and watch our children so we can go to the hospital – I am talking to you I and J!

But most luckily of all, we have resilient and patient children. And good doctors. Anyway, twin2 is fine and I am watching him at home today. And to make up for the stress and worry of the weekend, I made something to remind me of my mother (and her mother): something that I never thought I could do. I made jam.
And can I just say wow? It’s so easy! Really, scarily easy! 10 min and you’ve got enough jam for — oh wait, that’s a bad calculation, since we seem to be going through a big pot of jam / a week– well it makes lots of jam. It makes your house smell delicious and homey, and in my case, it makes me feel close to my mother.

I made mine with a bit of ginger, because of the layer cake I made last week that had a raspberry-ginger-preserve filling. There is only a hint of ginger in this recipe, a little bit of heat, and it’s really really nice, but you can totally skip it if it’s too froufrou for you*. I just found out, speaking of Froufrou, that my mother made jam this weekend with cherries and rosemary. And word is, it’s delicious.

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Strawberry-Ginger-Jam

prep time: 10 min, makes about 4 340ml jars (regular jar size)

one big pot and several jars with tight fitting lids

1 kg strawberries, washed and hulled
1 kg jam or preserving sugar 1:1**
1,5 cm long piece of ginger, peeled

Cut the strawberries in quarters into a big pot. Grate the ginger into the pot. Mix to combine. Add the preserving sugar and mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring. Boil under high heat for 4 minutes (or according to package instructions) while continuously stirring and making sure not to get burned. Turn off the heat and transfer into the clean jars using a ladle. Close the lids tight and let it cool.
Keeps for up to four months in a cool dark place!

*now that’s a good band name, no? The Too Froufrou For You’s?
** This type of preserving sugar is fairly commmon in Europe, it has pectin and citric acid in it to help the gelification of the fruit sugars along. The package didn’t disclose a percentage of ingredients, so email me if you have any questions about that and I will try to answer them. Or maybe my mother will?