Friday, November 30, 2007


The very bustling Anne at "Papilles et Pupilles" (France) is organizing a very cool game which's main subject is our favorite cucurbitacae: the pumpkin!

On that occasion, this post features my own pictures as well some links to my best pumpkin recipes. I hope that you'll enjoy what you'll see!

La très active Anne de "
Papilles et Pupilles" (France) organise un jeu très sympathique autour de nos cucurbitacés préférés: les courges...

A cette occasion, ce billet contient mes propres photos ainsi que quelques unes de mes meilleures recettes de courge.
J'espère que vous y prendrez du plaisir!

Pumpkin recipes/Recettes de courge (en anglais):
  • Luscious Pumpkin Jam/Confiture De Courge (See recipe)
  • Pumpkin Apple Bread/Pain Aux Pommes Et A La Courge (see recipe)
  • Pumpkin Challah/Challah A La Courge (see recipe)
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake/ Cheesecake A La Courge (see recipe)
  • Pumpkin Latkes/Latkes A La Courge (see recipe)
  • Pumpkin Muffins/Muffins A La Courge (see recipe)
  • Pumpkin Pasta Bake With Speck/Gratin De Pâtes A La Courge Et Au Lard (see recipe)
  • Pumpkin Pie/Pie A La Courge (see recipe)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


On the 11th of November, our little group of foodies met again. This time, we didn't only have home cooks/bakers around the table, but also a few testers (we were eight) who came to eat our creations (we always have so much food that we desperately need mouths to feed; people whose aim is to indulge with us)!

Regarding the season at that moment, we decided that the theme would be related to autumn/fall. With such a vast and interesting subject, it was impossible for our imagination to fail...

Kiriel (Australia) at "The Papillon Pantry" made a "Lobster Scented Potato Velouté" (see recipe) which was served in tiny porcelaine casseroles. Very cute! We ate it as an amuse-bouche and let me tell you that it was really wonderful and delicate tasting! The lobster oil came directly from Australia and added a really special tinge to the whole dish.

As main course, she prepared "Port & Fig Duck". That duck breast was very tasty and pleasing. The sweetness of the sauce was very pleasant and the combination of the dried figs with Port wine was amazing...

For dessert, Kiriel delighted us all with her "Pavlovas With Spiced Clementine Sauce, Macadamia Nuts And Cream" (see recipe). The leatherwood honey from Tasmania that she used for the sauce was also imported from Australia and it gave a gorgeous dimension to this ambrosial treat. I've never tasted a variety of honey like that. It tasted ever so gorgeous and was heavenly aromatic... Definitely a hammer!

Mike (Malaysia) made a starter which was marvelously exotic. His "Shrimp Sambar On Bread" was well-balanced flavor-wise and harmoniously spicy. Fusion food at it's best!

Corinne (Switzerland), our new member and friend, brought a delicious "Pumpkin Salad" as a side dish. It was made with a hazelnut oil, vinegar and roasted sesame seeds vinaigrette. Exquisite!

As main course, she delected us with her "Spicy Lamb Casserole" which was gently aromatised with fresh coriander and cinnamon. She also made some excellent "Chocolate Chip Muffins". Yummy!

I - Rosa (Switzerland) - brought a main dish which I particularly enjoy eating when October's around... I served my "Greek Pork Stew With Quinces" (see recipe) with a homemade "Wheat And Rye Sourdough Baguette" (The King Arthur Flour) which contained anise seeds, caraway seeds and ground cardamom. It matched the stew pretty well.

I also made an extremely hearty cream cheese-ladden "Pumpkin Cheesecake" (see recipe) which was accompanied by a "Cranberry Coulis". Mind-blowing!

As usual, our "Dinner Party" was a real success! We ate really well and tasted to so much good food. It was an unforgettable experience and I'm looking forwards to our next get together!

Our next rendez-vous is planned for December the 9th. The theme will be "Afternoon Tea", so I hope you'll stay tuned!

Monday, November 26, 2007


This is my second troubleless challenge as a "Daring Baker" (see link) and once again, I had lots of fun while taking it. The recipes chosen are invariably captivating and it is always a totally unique and fulfilling experience which makes you learn a lot about baking and which helps you surpass your fears in order to wash away any leftover reluctances and push you outside of your comfort zone...

This month's (November) hostess is Tanna at "My Kitchen In Half Cups" (USA). She proposed a very interesting, addictive and extremely scrumptious savory recipe that pleased us all and made us very cstatically ehappy.

This "Tender Potato Bread" was a real hit. I have rarely eaten such a delicate bread with an exhilarating consistency and taste that makes you gasp in surprise. It is a bit as if I had attained the breadmaking-Nirvana. It's texture is really uniquely smooth and magically elastic. Flavor-wise, i his bread is definitely hallucinatingly luscious. Undescribable!

With my dough, I decided to make one big "Focaccia" with olive oil, rosemary and "Fleur de Sel de Guérande". It was gorgeously tender and made perfect sandwiches which I filled with mozzarella, Black Forest raw ham, ham, raw onion rings and basil. I also baked a batch of breathtaking "Cheese Rolls" that contained grated Gruyère, cream cheese, caraway seeds, onion powder and ground black pepper. Fantastic!

I can only recommend you to test that amazing dough and bake this brilliant bread. After having tried it, your life will never be the same again!!!

~ Tender Potato Bread ~
from "Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World" by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid and adapted by Tanna @ My Kitchen In Half Cups & Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums

Makes 1 "Focaccia" and about 10-12 "Cheese Rolls".

Ingredients for the dough:
4 Medium floury potatoes (~ 400g), peeled and cut into chunks
4 Cups (950ml) Reserved cooking water + water if necessary
1 TBS + 1 Tsp Salt
2 Tsps Dried yeast
6 1/2 to 8 1/2 Cups (1 kg to 1350g) Unbleached all-purpose flour
1 TBS Unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup (130g) Whole wheat flour

Ingredients for the focaccia:
Olive oil
Fleur de sel de Guérande
Dried rosemary
Ingredients for the cheese rolls:
Cream Cheese (Philadelphia)
Grated Gruyère or Cheddar cheese
Onion powder
Caraway seeds
Ground black pepper

Method For the dough:
1. Put the potatoes and 4 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil.
2. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, half covered, until the potatoes are very tender.
3. Drain the potatoes, save the potato water and mash them well.
4. Measure out 3 cups (~700ml) of the reserved potato water. Add extra water if needed to make 3 cups.
5. Place the water and mashed potatoes in the bowl you plan to mix the bread dough in. Let cool to lukewarm (70-80°F/21 - 29°C) - stir well before testing the temperature.
6. Mix and stir yeast into cooled/lukewarm water and mashed potatoes and let stand 5 minutes.
7. Then add 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour to the yeast mix and allow to rest several minutes.
8. Sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the softened butter. Mix well.
9. Add the 1 cup whole wheat flour, stir briefly.

10. Add 2 cups of the unbleached all-purpose flour and stir until all the flour has been incorporated (at this point you have used 4 cups of the possible 8 ½ cups suggested by the recipe).
11. Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes incorporating flour (the 4 1/2 cups left) as needed to prevent it from sticking.
12. Place the dough in a large clean bowl or the rising container of your choice, cover with a tea towel, plastic wrap or lid, and let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in volume.
13. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently several minutes. It will be moist and a little sticky.
Method for forming the Bread:
14. Divide the dough into 2 unequal pieces in a proportion of one-third a
nd two-thirds (one will be twice as large as the other). Place the smaller piece to one side and cover loosely.

15. To make the focaccia: Take the biggest piece of dough and flatten it out to a rectangle about 10 x 15 inches with your palms and fingertips. Tear off a piece of parchment paper or wax paper a little longer than the dough and dust it generously with flour. Transfer the focaccia to the paper. Brush the top of the dough generously with olive oil, sprinkle on a little coarse sea salt, as well as some dried rosemary and then finally dimple all over with your fingertips. Cover with plastic and let rise for 20 minutes.
To make the cheese rolls: Take the leftover dough and roll it out to an 0.6cm (1/4 inch) thick rectangle, on a lightly floured sur
face. Using a spatula, spread the cream cheese (don't use too much) over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1.3cm (1/2 inch) border. Sprinkle with the grated cheese, ground pepper, onion powder and caraway seeds. Roll up the dough tightly (lengthwise) to form a log. Trim the ends using a serated knife. Using a sharp knife and a sawing motion, slice the dough crosswise into 12 rounds. Place on a prepared baking pan. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 35 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled in size.
Method for baking the bread:

For the focaccia:
Preheat the oven to 230°C (450° F). Dimple the bread all over again with your fingertips. Leaving it on the paper, transfer to the hot baking stone, tiles or baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack (remove paper) and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
For the cheese rolls:
Bake rolls at 200° C (400° F) until golden, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer the rolls to a rack when done to cool.

For the beginner bread baker I suggest no more than 240g (8 ounces) of potato, for the more advanced no more than 480g (16 ounces). The variety of potatoes you might want to use would include Idaho, Bintje, Russet & Yukon Gold (there are others).
The potatoes should be mashed as smoothly as possible and no lumps should be left.
Regarding the temperature of the potato mixture, it should feel barely warm to your hand. You should be able to submerge you hand in the mix and not be uncomfortable.
The dough will be very sticky to begin with, but as it takes up more flour from the kneading surface, it will become easier to handle. Use a dough scraper to keep your surface clean.
The kneaded dough will still be very soft.

If you want to make you can also make "normal" rolls and loaves with this dough.
The breads are ready if it sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
Note about baking order: bake the flat-bread before you bake the loaf or the rolls. Bake the rolls at the same time as the loaf.
Note about cooling times: Let all the breads cool
on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. The cheese rolls and the focaccia can be served warm or at room temperature.

Serving suggestions:
For the focaccia: Cut into squares and slice in half lengthwise. Spread some mayonnaise on both inner halves and then top with Black Forest raw ham, basil, sliced mozzarella, sliced onions, ham and then cover with top half focaccia.
You could also fill them with sliced cooked chicken or turkey meat and pesto.
For the cheese rolls: Eat them alone or with a salad.


~ Pain Moelleux A La Pomme De Terre ~
Recette tirée du livre "Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World" de Jeffrey Alford et Naomi Duguid, et adaptée par Tanna @ My Kitchen In Half Cups & Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums

Pour une "Focaccia" et environ 10-12 "Roulés Au Fromage".

Ingrédients pour le pâte:
4 Pommes de terre farineuses (~400g), pelées et coupées en gros cubes
4 Tasses (950ml) d' Eau de cuisson des pommes de terre + d'eau (si nécessaire)
1 CS + 1 CC de Sel
2 CC de Levure sèche
6 1/2 à 8 1/2 Tasses (1 kg à 1350g) de Farine blanche/fleur
1 CS de Beurre non-salé
1 Tasse (130g) de Farine complète

Ingrédients pour la focaccia:
Huile d'olive
Fleur de sel de Guérande
Romarin séché

Ingrédients pour les roulés au fromage:
Cream Cheese (Philadelphia)

Fromage rapé, type Gruyère ou Cheddar
Oignon en poudre
Graines de carvi
Poivre noir moulu

Méthode pour la pâte:
1. Mettre les pommes de terre dans une casserole avec 4 tasses d'eau. Porter à ébullition.
2. Ajouter 1 cuillère à café de sel et faire mijoter à feu moyen jusqu'à ce que les pommes de terres soient cuites.

3. Sans jeter l'eau de cuisson, égoutter les pommes de terre et les écraser pour former une purée fine.
Récupérer 3 tasses (~700ml) du jus de cuisson. Si il vous manque du liquide, ajouter de l'eau afin d'obtenir 3 tasses.
5. Mettre l'eau de cuisson et les pommes de terres en purée dans un grand bol. Laisser refroidir ce mélange afin qu'il soit tiède (70-80°F/21 - 29°C) - bien mél
anger avant de prendre la température.
Mélanger la levure sèche au liquide pommes de terre/eau de cuisson et laisser reposer pendant 5 minutes.

7. Puis, ajouter 2 tasses de farine fleur à ce mélange. Bien mélanger et laisser reposer pendant 5 à 10 minutes.
Ajouter 1 cuillère à soupe de sel et le beurre mou. Mélanger énergiquement.
9. Puis, ajouter 1 tasse de farine complète, mélanger brièvement.

10. Ajouter 2 tasses de farine fleur et mélanger jusqu'à ce que la farine soit complètement incorporée. Vous aurez utilisé 4 tasses de farine et il en reste encore 4
1/2 (4 + 4 1/2 = 8 1/2, comme suggéré dans la recette).
11. Mettre la pâte sur une surface farinée et pétrir pendant 10 minutes tout en incorporant la farine qu'il nécessaire (4 1/2 tasses) afin que la pâte ne colle plus.

12. Mettre la pâte dans un grand bol et couvrir avec un linge. Laisser lever/gonfler la pâte pendant 2 heures, jusqu'à ce qu'elle ait doublé de volume.
Reprendre la pâte et la pétrir pendant quelques minutes sur un plan légèrement fariné. Elle sera alors humide et un peu collante.

Méthode pour façonner le pain:
14. Diviser la pâte en deux parts inégales (2/3 et 1/3). Mettre la plus petite part de côté et la recouvrir d'un linge.
Pour la focaccia: Prendre la plus grande part de pâte et l'applatir avec la palme de la main et les doigts en un rectangle de 25cm x 38cm (10 x 15 inches). Prendre une feuille de papier sulfurisé, le saupoudrer de farine et y transférer la pâte. Bien répartir l'huile (de manière généreuse) à l'aide d'un pinceau, saupoudrer avec le sel de Guérande et le romarin séché, puis enfoncer le doigt dans la pâte pour créer des petits fossettes. Couvrir avec une feuille de plastic alimentaire et laisser reposer/lever dans un endroit chaud pendant 20 minutes.
Pour les roulés au fromage: Prendre la plus petite part de pâte et la rouler (sur une surface légèrement farinée) afin d'obtenir un rectangle de 0.6cm (1/4 inch) d'épaisseur. A l'aide d'une spatule, répartir le cream cheese (pas trop) sur toute le surface de la pâte en faisant attention de la
isser un rebord (de chaque côté) non-couvert de 1.3cm (1/2 inch). Saupoudrer de fromage rapé, d'oignon en poudre, de poivre moulu et de graines de carvi. Rouler la pâte (bien serrée) en commençant pour l'un des côtés étroits afin d'obtenir un rouleau. Couper le rouleau obtenu en 12 tranches avec un couteau très affuté et graissé. Mettre sur une plaque recouverte de papier sulfurisé. Couvrir avec un linge et laisser reposer/lever pendant 35 minutes, jusqu'à ce que les roulés aient presque doublé de volume.

Méthode pour la cuisson du pain:
16. Pour la focaccia: Préchauffer le four à 230°C (450° F). Tapoter à nouveau du bout des doigts le dessus de la pâte pour faire des petits creux (en option). Enfourner la focaccia qui sera cuite soit sur une plaque de cuisson ou une pierre (tout en restant sur le papier sulfurisé). Cuire jusqu'à ce qu'elle soit dorée, pendant environ 10 à 15 minutes. Sortir du four et laisser refroidir au moins 10 minutes sur une grille (en ayant au préalable retiré le papier sulfurisé).
Pour les roulés au fromage:
Cuire les roulés à 200° C (400° F) jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient dorés, pendant environ 25 à 30 minutes. Les sortir du four et les transférer sur une grille afin qu'ils refroidissent.

Si vous n'êtes pas très expérimentés dans la fabrication du pain, je vous conseille de ne pas utiliser plus de 240g de pommes de terre. Les plus expérimentés pourront utiliser jusqu'à 480g de pommes de terre. Il vous faut impérativement utiliser une pomme de terre à chair farineuse (plus riche en amidon).
Les pommes de terre doivent être réduites en une purée très fine et sans grumeaux.
En ce qui concerne la température du mélange pommes de terre/eau de cuisson, il doit être tiède et ne pas être trop chaud (proche de la température du corps).
Au début, la pâte sera très collante, mais au fur et à mesure que vous la pétrirez et que vous y ajouterez de la farine, elle sera plus facile à gérer/manipuler.
un grattoir à pâte (espèce de petit racloir en plastique) afin de récupérer la pâte collée à la planche ou au plan de travail.
La pâte pétrie sera très douce au toucher.
Si vous le désirez, vous pouvez aussi former des petits pains tout simples ou un pain rectangulaire (dans un moule à cake) à la place de façonner des roulés au fromage.
Note en ce qui concerne l'ordre de cuisson des différents pains: Cuire la focaccia en premier. Vous cuirez après les roulés, petits pains ou le pain rectangulaire. Cuire les roulés ou petits pain en même temps que le pain rectangulaire.
Laisser refroidir les pains (sauf la focaccia et les roulés) pendant au moins 30 minutes avant de les couper en tranches. Les roulés et la focaccia peuvent être servis encore chauds ou tiède.
Si le pain sonne creux lorsqu'il est tapé, alors il est bien cuit.

Idées de présentation:
Pour la focaccia: La couper en morceaux carrés et les partager en deux dans le sens de la longueur. Puis tartiner les deux tranches avec de la mayonnaise, ajouter le le jambon cru de la Forêt Noire, le basilic, la mozzarella en tranches, les onions en rondelles et le jambon. Puis refermer.
On peut aussi faire des sandwich avec de la dinde ou du poulet (cuits) en tranches et du pesto.
Pour les roulés au fromage: Mangez-les seuls ou accompagnés d'une salade.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


This week, the kitties at "House Of The (Mostly) Black Cats" (USA) are happy to announce that they are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #129...

To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in their blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact them via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed informations.

Another stressful and sleepless morning...
Once again, the nasty and disharmonic furry "alarm-clock" (Maruschka) has struck!
I'd love to be zen and totally relaxed like Fridolin on those pictures.
Why do I have to suffer? Is it a bad karma?
Be very careful kitties, I am very ANGRY and in a BAD MOOD!!!