BORDIER ❤

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I once read some writing guidelines that said you shouldn’t write stories about moments in time that change everything forever, because that’s boring. Never mind. Isn’t that most stories?

Paris, my birthday, spring. We’ve torn through a poulet rôti in the park. And we’re all what shall we do now?

Do you want to look at clothes?

Another gallery?

Coffee?

A chipsy, cigarettesy Marais pavement cafe for WiFi, Orangina and research. On my phone, the Independent says Echiré is a “stand-out spread” but you can buy it at Waitrose, so never mind Echiré, that’s not birthday butter. The smoky pavement WiFi wobbles its way to 10 Insanely Delicious Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Paris, a blog post by King David Lebovitz.

after I tasted this handmade butter from Brittany, I’m spoiled for life and won’t spread any other butter on my morning toast

There’s this butter called Bordier.

The Oranginas at this cafe are like 5 euros each, so I push the WiFi to its limits.

da rosa St-Germain
62, rue de seine

We start walking to the fancy bit where we were earlier. All the way back there to find this place that may or may not have this Bordier. It’s my birthday and this is what I want to do.

We buy five blocks, and when we get back to London, we get a crusty loaf. The Bordier is embarrassingly creamy. Rich, smooth, butteriest. Correctly salted. We hardly use the knife to spread it. There are toothmarks where I bite.

So, you know, then everything was a bit different and stuff. Lurpak lost its lustre.

[Le Beurre Bordier]

TWO CURDS

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It’s a source of much excitement to me that most of my best fruits can be turned into curds.

So, when I’m not enjoying my freelance job and I have no time for a haircut and someone has vomited on my car and I feel kind of like I can’t do it anymore, I remember that I haven’t made passionfruit or apple curd yet and I’m ~ ice cool ~. Today, we’re doing raspberry and lime.

This coconut loaf is a thing that cries out for curd. It is one of my favourite things to bake. If you or someone you like is having a shit time, this is an A* comfort thing. It swells all bronze and triumphant over the loaf tin. It’s easy, but gratifying in a way that actual bread probably is if you don’t fear yeast like I do.

Some curd recipes use way more sugar than mine. Some use more fruit. I reckon this is the right tartness to richness to sweetness ratio, but you might not. That’s life.

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THE VESSELS:
One large jar per curd

RASPBERRY CURD:
400g raspberries
100g sugar
60g butter
2 eggs

LIME CURD:
2 limes
100g sugar
60g butter
2 eggs

FOR RASPBERRY ONLY:
1. Put the raspberries in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water and simmer for a few minutes, until the fruit is really soft.
2. Force the pulp through a sieve and into a bain-marie…

FOR BOTH:
3. Put the butter and sugar in a bain-marie with the raspberry pulp or lime zest and juice.
4. Stir occasionally with a whisk until the butter has melted.
5. Mix the eggs in a mug with a fork, then stir them into the fruit mixture (still off the heat).
6. Cook the curd on a low heat, stirring regularly with a whisk, for about 12-15 minutes, until thickened and heavy.
7. Remove from the heat and stir occasionally as it cools.
8. Force through a sieve before jarring up.

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PASSIONFRUIT PROFITEROLES

In Paris, I ate a perfect finger of food: a raspberry and passionfruit eclair from L’Éclair de Génie.

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I mean this thing was pristine! If a knowledgeable Parisian hadn’t handed it to me, I would have assumed it was too beautiful to be delicious. But they are clever, these French people, and their beautiful things are delicious.

Anyway, I can’t really make perfect patisserie, but I can make a big ol’ mess.

So, I made choux buns, filled them with passionfruit custard and poured chocolate sauce on top. Ta-da.

Mum used to fill a measuring jug with chocolate sauce. This was back before mum had bought all the Nigellas, Delia had taught everyone about houmous, and Britain had been through the transformative Christmases of Ken Hom’s woks and Jamie Oliver’s Flavour Shakers (what the actual). Mum’s chocolate sauce was really dark and rich, so I just sort of loosened up melted dark chocolate with hot water and a bit of milk – I didn’t want it to out-dairy the filling; I wanted it to be glossy and dark.

Otherwise, my recipe is adapted from this Great British Chef dude.

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THE TRAY:
A lined baking sheet

MAKES:
24 buns

OVEN
Pre-heated at 200ºC

CHOUX BUNS
100g butter
130ml milk
130ml water
1 tsp golden caster sugar
½ tsp sea salt
120g plain flour (pre-measured and set aside, so you can add it quickly)
4 eggs

PASSIONFRUIT CUSTARD
3 egg yolks
65g sugar
20g plain flour
250ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Icing sugar
The pulp of 5 passion fruits
50ml double cream, pre-whipped

CHOCOLATE SAUCE
200g dark chocolate
Some boiling water
Some milk

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PASTRY FIRST
1. In a saucepan, bring the water, milk, butter, salt and sugar to the boil until the butter has melted.
2. Add the flour in one swift motion. Stir it in and take the pan off the heat.
3. Beat fiercely with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the pan.
4. Separately, beat the eggs while the flour mix cools.
5. Add the eggs to the flour mix a drop at a time, beating well.
6. Use teaspoons to form the buns on a baking tray, leaving gaps in between (about 8 buns per tray). Slightly damp fingers will help to smoothen them out, but spiky’s just fine.
7. Bake for about 16 minutes, turning the tray half-way through.

CRÈME LOVE
8. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy.
9. Whisk in the flour.
10. Bring the milk and vanilla extract to the boil. Then add a splash of hot milk to the yolk mix, whisking like a boss. Add the remaining milk in stages.
11. Return the mixture to the (low) heat, and stir with a wooden spoon until it thickens.
12. Sprinkle icing sugar on top to stop a skin from forming, and leave to cool.
13. Add passionfruit pulp.
14. Fold in whipped cream.
15. To fill the buns, skewer a hole in them, and pipe the custard into it. Or, give up and chuck it on top.

FREESTYLE YOUR SAUCE
16. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie.
17. Loosen up the chocolate by adding splashes of boiling water and milk until you
say so.

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IN PRAISE OF: CHEESE SAUCE

As a baby, I liked pudding. I was fed alternate spoons of dinner and pudding and that is the only way you could make me eat my dinner. After I’d finished being a baby, I liked tagliatelle with cheese sauce and a bit of ham and I would eat it until it ran out. Until the world’s (my mum’s) supplies ran dry, and the world’s (my mum’s) wrist had béchamel fatigue and the very, very last strand of tagliatelle had been slurped from the world’s (my plastic red) bowl.

I am deadly serious.

I would eat it and eat it and eat it. I will still eat it and eat it and eat it. In bed. On a weekday. For Sunday brunch. Baked into macaroni cheese with stacks of buttery leeks (because my palate has ~matured~), by the spoonful out of the pan, on a crepe or a waffle, any time of the day, whether I’m happy or not.

I have a dream that one day I will dip chip shop chips in it.

MAPLE BUTTERMILK PIE

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Pies and tarts are the best for taking to your pal’s house. No heating of sauce, no fear of collapse, minimal balancing on the bus. So, stick this one in your back pocket (or, a cake tin), especially if you love a slightly savoury sweet thing. It’s the new custard tart. Eat it with loads of sour cream.

I love you, Gourmet.

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TIN:
23cm tart tin (preferably with a pop-out bottom), buttered up

CRUST:
200g plain flour
100g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Pinch of salt
Cold water

CUSTARD:
380ml buttermilk
100ml maple syrup
4 egg yolks
25g plain flour
25g light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

COLD HANDS, GOOD PASTRY:
1. Rub the cubed butter into the flour and salt until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs.
2. Add ice cold water very gradually, until the mixture comes together into a smooth ball.
3. Flatten it slightly (to make it easier to roll later), then wrap it in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

BAKE THE BOTTOM:
5. Roll out the pastry and line your tin with it.
6. To blind bake, cover the base with greaseproof paper and fill it with baking beans.
7. Put it in the oven for 10-15 minutes, removing the beans and paper for the last five minutes.
8. Turn the oven down to 160°C.

MAKE THE CUSTARD:
9. Whisk all of the custard ingredients together in a bowl, until just combined and lump-free.
10. Pour three quarters of the custard into the pastry shell.
11. Move the tin into the middle of the oven and pour in the remaining custard once it’s in place.
12. Bake until just set in the middle – about 55 minutes.
13. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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MASSIVELY CRUMBLY BISCUITS

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Before granny died I did not ask her how she made those crumbly biscuits. I didn’t have her recipe; I didn’t have a recipe because I had no idea how to type the name of those crumbly biscuits into Ask Jeeves. I knew the word had that loaded, guttural ch sound in it, and granny liked to over-do it.

In my head, they were basically just cccchhhhh biscuits.

They didn’t have any weird ingredients, they weren’t complicated – they were like shortbread – but grainier, crumblier. They were NOT uniform in shape, EVER. They were beige, bouldery things. That was her style.

Traditionally, there were three things granny brought over for Sunday dinner:
1. ccccchhhhh biscuits
2. suet pudding (renamed “sewage pudding”, by me)
3. rock cakes

I worked it out. The word was kichel. Which, I think, might just mean ‘cookie’. Because the things the Internet suggests for kichel are not correct.

So, I made these things that are the most granny’s biscuit-like things I’ve eaten since her final batch. I ate them at Al Fassia in Marrakech, a beautiful restaurant run entirely by women. They came free with mint tea and they were crumbly as. Grainy but melty, with toasted sesame. The kind of biscuits that disappear even when you think you’re too full to eat them. The real name of these biscuits is ghriba. Shouts to Alia. Shouts to granny.

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THE TRAY:
A lined baking sheet

MAKES:
12ish

INGREDIENTS:
30g sesame seeds
115g butter
285g flour
60g icing sugar
60ml vegetable oil
pinch of salt

GO:
1. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until evenly bronzed, shaking intermittently.
2. Set the butter melting.
3. Mix the dry ingredients (including the toasted seeds) with a whisk.
4. Add the oil and melted butter, and combine with a wooden spoon.
5. Start working the mixture  with your hands. It’ll be really crumbly. You’ll be able to force it into clumps and then easily collapse them. Work your clumpy crumble for a solid 10 minutes.
6. Leave it in its crumble form covered with cling film in a fridge for 2-3 hours.
7. Preheat the oven at 180°C.
8. Work the mixture for a minute or two to loosen it back up.
9. Then, form little balls of dough in your hand, pop them on your lined baking tray, and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until golden.
10. Icing sugar party!

WHITE CHOCOLATE NUTELLA


When Richard lived in France he rang the landline at my university house in the hallway every night. He would ring from some freaky phone box because there wasn’t as much Skype in those days. He didn’t have Internet in his flat. Lol.

He would often be eating a McDonald’s cheeseburger.

But then when I’d visit, we’d eat mussels or Mexican or roast chicken. Our palates were not clever, but we were learning. He had a mole sauce once that was disgusting. That roast chicken and dauphinoise potatoes is still the best Sunday lunch I’ve ever eaten.

Rich told me of a place where you could go for breakfast. A magical place where you paid a certain price and then they would bring you a basket of bread and an ARRAY of spreads. A festival of toppings. Jams of fig and framboise, miel and white chocolate spread. It was called Le Pain Quotidien. Lol again. We never got there. But 8 years later, I have made my own white chocolate spread.

Big up Elizabeth Minchilli for this.

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THE VESSELS:
Jars. I used two big ones

OVEN:
Pre-heated at 180°C (only for roasting the pistachios)

INGREDIENTS:
60g powdered milk
325ml whole milk
200g de-shelled pistachios (around 400g with their shells on)
2 heaped tsp salt
1 tbsp honey
300g white chocolate

NUTS:
1. Spread the pistachios out on a baking tray and roast for 5 minutes.

MILK:
2. Warm the milk on the stove with the powdered milk, honey and salt, and heat until dissolved. Then, remove from the heat.

CHOCOLATE:
3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate slowly in a bain-marie.

ASSEMBLE:
4. Grind the pistachios in a food processor, and once they’re as fine as can be, pour in the melted chocolate, and keep grinding. Gradually add the warm milk.
5. Mix really well and scrape into jars. It’ll thicken as it cools.

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PIÑA COLADA CAKE

Pina
Never mind Negronis, or Old Fashioneds, or other cocktails that make my face screw without my say-so. Piña Coladas are the ones I want to drink when I’m on a lilo in Tenerife. And the ones I want to drink when I wish I was on a lilo in Tenerife.

My mum and dad don’t really drink apart from if it tastes like sweets. That’s i) Asti Spumante (grown-up pop) and ii) Bulmers (“tastes like pear drops!”). Piña Colada is Bob Goodman’s favourite. And the first alcohol I ever drank was a sip of Elaine’s Malibu and pineapple.

So, I made this Piña Colada cake for my boyfriend’s brother’s showery April birthday. Sun on a plate. It tastes like holidays.

There are no photos of its insides because it was for Jonathan, not for you.

The PINEAPPLE CURD especially is a massive game-changer.

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TIN:
Two 20.5cm sandwich tins, buttered

OVEN:
Pre-heated at 180°C

The recipe is a big ol’ blend of bits from Gourmet (this and this), and bits from Sky High, by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne.

BROWN SUGAR CAKE:
325g flour
1 tsp bicarb
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
180g light brown sugar
150g unsalted butter
250ml buttermilk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

PINEAPPLE CURD:
435g tin of pineapple chunks in juice
3 egg yolks
50g golden caster sugar
15g cornflour
Pinch of salt
Squeeze of lime

COCONUT FROSTING:
400g cream cheese
40g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
400ml tin of coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dessicated coconut to decorate

BAKE THE CAKES:
1. Put the flour, soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
2. Mix with a whisk.
3. Add the brown sugar, butter and 200ml of the buttermilk.
4. Blend with a spoon, then use an electric whisk to mix for about 3 minutes, until pale and fluffy.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the remaining buttermilk and the vanilla.
6. Fold the eggs into the rest of the mixture in three additions, until incorporated.
7. Bake for 20-22 minutes and then leave to cool.

MAKE THE CURD:
8. Tip the contents of the pineapple tin – juice and all – into a food processor and purée.
9. Pour through a sieve directly into a saucepan. Get rid of the stringy solids.
10. Add the yolks, sugar, cornflour and salt.
11. Cook over a medium to low heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture starts to bubble.
12. Whisk it on the boil for 2 minutes – it’ll start to thicken.
13. Remove from the heat and whisk in lemon juice.
14. Force the curd through your sieve again, straight into a bowl. Cover with cling film, so that the cling film touches the surface of the curd.

FROST:
15. Take your ~unshaken~ tin of coconut milk, and lift the more solid cream off the top. Put it in a big bowl and get rid of the remaining liquid.
16. Add cream cheese, butter and vanilla and mix well.
17. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
18. Chill for at least 30 minutes

ASSEMBLE:
19. Spread your cooled curd on one of the cakes, leaving a border around the edge.
20. Pop the second cake on top.
21. Smother the whole thing with frosting and [glittery] dessicated coconut.

BREAKFAST #1: BAKED YOGHURT

baked yoghurt 3For a few years, I had ~some issues~ with dairy. Boring! My issues have subsided. But the point is that I know I brought them on myself, by eating kilo tubs of yoghurt. At university, I didn’t order a pizza every night, or smoke weed every day, or dine on baked beans in tortilla wraps like housemate Sam, but I had yog practically on tap.

I am so into it. On a night in with The Good Wife, I would rather polish off a bowl of Fage with lemon curd or honey or melted dark chocolate, than a tub of ice cream. I love the tang, the slight sourness. I’d take a Fro-Yo over a Feast every single sunny day.

So the first of my breakfasts is BAKED YOGHURT, which is literally yoghurt, baked. It goes cheesecakey. I made these with lemon  and roasted pistachios, two other things I eat almost daily.

If you love yoghurt, bake it.

If you don’t, make a cheesecake. More kilos for me.

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THE VESSELS:
Six ramekins

OVEN:
Pre-heated at 160°C

INGREDIENTS:
100ml milk
500g Greek yoghurt
6tbsp condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 lemons – zest and juice
120g pistachios

PREP:
1. Put your yoghurt in a sieve over a bowl, covered with a plate. Leave it for an hour, so that the watery stuff falls down.
2. De-shell the pistachios and toast them on a baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. Then, rub off the husks and chop them roughly.

MIX:
3. Stir the yoghurt, milk and condensed milk with a wooden spoon until combined.
4. Add vanilla, half of the chopped pistachios, lemon zest and juice. Mix well.
5. Divide the mixture between ramekins.
6. Place the ramekins in an oven-safe dish. Pour boiling water around them, so that it reaches two thirds of the way up the ramekin walls.

BAKE:
7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until set.
8. Leave to chill in the fridge.
9. Top with the remaining chopped pistachios.

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MILKYBAR BLANCMANGE

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Sometimes I have really clever thoughts. Like, why is the world eating pannacotta and not blancmange? As far as I can tell they’re the same thing. Real talk.

I had never eaten a blancmange before I made this one. But I had always felt strongly that jellied milk would be the pudding for me. So, when my boyfriend’s parents bought me this spectacular beast for my birthday, it was game on blancmange…

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I made a basic recipe and added a bit of white chocolate for silliness. It tasted just like jellied Milkybar. It’s a perfectly weird and wobbly, magnificently milky thing to serve to your pals. Imagine their faces! Especially if you pop a gold cherry on top.

THE VESSEL:
My jelly mould takes about a litre of liquid.

INGREDIENTS:
7 sheets of leaf gelatine
25g cornflour
450ml semi-skimmed milk
65g caster sugar
450ml single cream
300g Milkybar buttons

THE ‘CUSTARD’:
1. Let the gelatine soften in a bowl of cold water.
2. In a saucepan (off the heat), mix the cornflour with some of the milk until smooth.
3. Add the rest of the milk, the sugar and the cream.
4. Place on the heat and bring it slowly to the boil, stirring with a wooden spoon all the time.
5. When it’s thick and bubbling a little, take the pan off the heat.
6. Lift the gelatine out of the bowl with a runcible spoon and stir into the custard until it’s dissolved.
7. Tip the chocolate buttons in and stir until melted and totally combined.
8. Pour the mixture into your mould.
9. Leave to cool before you put it in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

GETTING IT OUT IN ONE PIECE:
10. Get your nerves nice and steely.
11. Loosen the top edges with the very tip of a knife.
12. Fill a basin with hot water and lower the mould into it carefully for a few seconds.
13. Rest a flat plate or tray on top and invert. Shake the mould gently until you feel the blancmange loosening.
14. If you don’t feel it dropping, you might need to re-dip. Stay calm.
15. Lift away the mould and behold.

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