Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Bonne Maman - Madeleine Charlotte Cake with Eric Lanlard

Madeleine's are French of course, however who knew these voluptuous pillows of temptation were so versatile. They are not just to be eaten in copious amounts of simply dipped in Marsala, but they can be used as a base for so many sweet indulgent treats. I was invited to a recent event with the very charismatic Eric Lanlard, who showcased just that simplicity with his spin on a Madeleine Charlotte Cake.

Winter fruits and Bonne Maman Madeleine Charlotte cake
Recipe by Eric Lanlard

A light and fluffy strawberry mousse topped with delicious winter fruit, all held beautifully in place with Bonne Maman Madeleines, this indulgent dessert is perfect for dinner parties or a quiet night in. Using buttery Bonne Maman Madeleines instead of the usual sponge fingers gives this dessert a traditional French twist and is guaranteed to impress your friends and family.  

Serves: 8
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes
Set time: 3 hours
For the Bonne Maman Madeleine syrup:
·         100ml water
·         100g golden caster sugar
·         100g strawberries

Everything else:
·         20 Bonne Maman Madeleines
·         250g of mixed winter fruits
·         Sugar icing

For the mousse:
·         300g strawberries
·         100g golden caster sugar
·         4 egg yolks
·         300ml whipping cream
·         2tsp vanilla bean paste
·         5 gelatine leaves

For the Bonne Maman Madeleine syrup:
·         In a saucepan, mix the sugar and water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Leave to cool.
·         Wash 100g of strawberries, remove the stems and liquidise in a food processor to make a coulis.
·         Pass the coulis trough a fine sieve to collect all the seeds.
·         When the sugar syrup is cool, mix with the coulis and put to one side.

For the mousse:
·         Wash 300g strawberries and remove the stems.
·         Heat the strawberries in a small saucepan with 50g of golden caster sugar to create a puree.
·         Cover the gelatine leaves with cold water in a separate bowl.  
·         In a separate bowl, whisk 4 egg yolks with the remaining 50g of golden caster sugar.
·         Pour the hot strawberry puree on to the yolk and sugar mixture and whisk continuously.
·         Put the strawberry puree, yolk and sugar mixture back in to a saucepan and heat whilst continually mixing until the puree thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
·         Drain the gelatine and add it to the hot strawberry puree. Put it to one side to cool.
·         Use an electric hand whisk to whip 300ml of cream in to soft peaks, adding the vanilla bean paste half way through.
·         When the strawberry puree is cold, fold in the whipped cream in two stages to create a smooth and creamy mousse.

To build then Bonne Maman Madeleine Charlotte cake:
·         Line a 22cm in diameter springform tin with baking paper.
·         Cut the Bonne Maman Madeleines in half length ways and line the tin with the curved sides against the wall of the tin.
·         Fill the bottom of the tin with the other Bonne Maman Madeleines halves – cut them to fit if need be.
·         Using a pastry brush, paint the Bonne Maman Madeleines with the syrup made at the very beginning.
·         Using a ladle cover the Bonne Maman Madeleines with the mousse.
·         Repeat the process – add Bonne Maman Madeleines, paint with syrup and add mousse. Make sure you leave a small gap between the final layer of mousse and the top of the Bonne Maman Madeleines.
·         Place the cake in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours.
·         When set, gently remove the tin and put on a serving plate or cake stand.
·         Decorate with mixed winter fruits, add a sprinkle of sugar icing and enjoy!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Filled baby peppers - Southern Italian Family Cooking by Carmela Sophia Sereno

Now theses voluptuous beauties are simply delicious. If I cook for friends, I will always make a tray load of these baby filled peppers. The only reason I make them so often is because I absolutely love them, a little too much in fact. As they are so small they make a great finger food or perfect served alongside an antipasti spread. This mixture would also suit a long Romano pepper. Buon appetito..

10 small pepper, halved
100g fresh breadcrumbs
50g freshly grated Parmesan
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Small bunch of oregano, thyme and basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to season
A little pinch of chili or a small fresh chilli
2 large eggs
Oven dish

1. Preheat the oven to 190C.
2. Choose a dish and slice your peppers lengthways, remove the white internal pith and seeds leaving on the green stalk as this will hold the pepper together.
3. In a bowl you need to mix all of the ingredients listed above. If you enjoy a little spicy kick add a small freshly chopped chili or a tiny bit of dried chili.
4. Fill the peppers using a teaspoon and place into your dish, push and squeeze them in and make sure the peppers are full to the brim. A tight fit in the dish is perfect.

Drizzle over some 'Extra virgin olive oil' to add a little added flavour. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and bake for around 30 minutes until lightly golden. 

These peppers will smell incredible. If you double the amount above they will keep in the fridge and are ideal as a side dish in a salad, squashed between some bread and also a wonderful accompaniment to fish and steak.