Friday, June 24, 2011


Pide Pie 3 bis
"Time is the only thief we can't get justice against."
- Astrid Alauda

No time, running. How many of you people have said or heard that sentence before? Too many, unfortunately. Sadly, most of us regularly struggle with a life that is far from being relaxed and suffer from that situation.

We always seem to be rushing and stressing like crazy, because our days are not long enough and we are engrossed in work and in doing chores. We are not capable of coping with the fact that hours pass incredibly fast and that we rarely get anything done as expected. I don't know about you, but although I don't mind being busy and having lots of things to do, I hate being on the run or put under pressure. It is just not a Feng-Shui/Zen lifetsyle. As a matter of fact, it is not for no reason that my favorite expressions is "trrrrranquile!" (pronounced with a Spanish accent)..

I have no clue why suddenly time started to fly by with infinite velocity, but I remember that when I was a college girl I went to school from 8am 'til around 5pm, then I studied for a while, listened to some music/CD's, wrote letters to my penpals, read novels, roamed town with friends and even had leisure to get bored or lie on my bed daydreaming. Nowadays, I barely can do half of those things and I'm continually keeping a concentrated eye on the clock!

This week, I got overtaken by the events, overwhelmed by the shortness of the those 168 hours and challenged by the incessant permutation of minutes. From Monday to Friday, I have been preparing a guest post for a foodblogger friend (creating a new dish, cooking it, taking pictures and putting my thoughts down on paper isn't all that easy and demands a certain amount of concentration), answering questions to an interview and taking care of all the household tasks (cooking, cleaning, etc...). Quite exhausting! And to crown it all I felt extremely lazy and lacked ambition. As a result, I had no stamina left to think about my new post, my schedule got busted as well as unintentionally altered.

You see, as antagonistic as it may sound, despite being a messy and chaotic individual, I am also somebody who needs structure in life, who likes a certain routine and things to be square, otherwise I tend to feel insecure, stressed and panicky. Is it bad or is it good? I don't believe it is, yet I must admit that the motives of this behaviour pattern elude me. I'm pretty sure a psychologist would find a concrete explaination, but I know that's how things work for me. I profoundly dislike having a disorganized agenda. The only places where I like anarchy and clutter to reign supreme are in my computer room, my kitchen or in arts (painting, photography, cinema or music).

For example, if I can't blog as planned I become very fidgety and anxious. Some mornings, I wake up with my heart beating loudly and an unhealthy need to run out of bed in order to sit in front of the computer. Although blogging brings me joy and fulfills my soul, it can also be a burden and a heavy weight for a disciplined perfectionist like me who has high expectations and seldom values herself positively. I am constantly afraid of never being able to deliver quality articles/recipes that are cunning enough.

I really have to find a solution to this problem as my painstaking fussine
ss and hairsplitting manners can be a real hindrance to creativity and productivity. I should learn how to be a little more laidback and cool when it comes to my blog, otherwise I am likely to end up loathing that activity, loosing your mojo and ending up with a burn-out, and that is something I have come dangerously close to experiencing lately...

When what you like becomes a "punishment" that
brings pain, tension and confusion, then it is a sign that you are doing it the wrong way. Such destructive feelings can completely eradicate all the pleasure you used to feel while exercising your hobby and disgust you to the point of no return. Bad and really not constructive, so don't forget not to take blogging too seriously and be casual!

Pide Pie Skanderbeg 1 6 bis
Anayway, despite my hectic mood and difficulty to deal with my "overbooked" agenda, I have nonetheless been able to prepare a post to share with you. I might be someone who needs a lot of energy to get out of her slumber, but it is always a joy to kick myself in the ass for you, my dear readers! So, this Friday I am presenting you one of my fetish recipes for a traditional pizza-like treat that hails from beautiful Turkey.

"A quick poll of our friends revealed that most did indeed think of Turkish food as being limited to endless versions of oily braised eggplant, with a few sticky pastries and limp doner kebabs thrown in for good measure. Yet we had read plenty of books that described Turkish food as one of the greatest cuisines in the world, and numerous magazines and newspapers were busily printing stories about a revitalised Istanbul - the new 'cool' travel destination."
- Greg and Lucy Malouf

Apart from having
amazing landscapes, photogenic sceneries and astonishing monuments, to die for eats, unique atmosphere and being romantically exotic, this incredible country placed at a crossroads between Europe and the Middle East is also the beholder of incredible culinary traditions that blow my mind away. With its Central and Far East Asian, Persian, Arabic, Balkanese and Mediterranean influences, the refined cuisine from "the land of the Turks" is so stunning and bewithchingly authentic that it is quite impossible not to fall under its irresistible charm.

Being a big fan of the gastronomy from this part of the world and a fervent admirer of the great Australian Lebanese-born chef Greg Malouf, I constantly crave the dishes that can be found in his three marvelously written as well as illustrated award-winning food and travel compendiums "Turquoise" (Turkey), "Saha" (Lebanon & Syria) and "Saraban" (Persia). They are a fantastic source of recipes and inspiration.

I have already tested a few of the specialities that this talented cook dispenses in his remarkable cookbooks. One in particular has been on the menu more than once and has never failed to sweep us off our feet. His succulent "Cheese, Suçuk And Olive Pide Pies" are terrific and so addictive.

Those scrumptious boat-shaped tarts known under the name of "Sucuklu Pide" are made with simple bread dough which is enriched with olive oil and garnished with halloumi, kasseri (or Mozarella if you can't find this Greek/Turkish stringy cheese), Kalamata olives, green bell pepper and a pungent sausage called suçuk. A wonderful delicacy that is lipsmackingly spicy, cheesy and bready. There sure is more to the Turkish cuisine than kebabs!

Submitted to Yeastspotting!

Pide Pie 4 bis
~ Cheese, Suçuk & Olive Pide Pies ~
Recipe adapted from Greg and Lucy Malouf's, "A Chef's Travels In Turkey: Turquoise".

Makes 3 medium (or 2 big) pide pies.

Ingredients For The "Pide":
1 x Pide dough (recipe follows)
250g Halloumi cheese, finely sliced (see remarks)
150g Mozarrella, finely sliced
12 Pitted Kalamata olives, cut in 4
1 Medium-sized green pepper, seeded and cubed
1 (240g) Suçuk sausage, sliced
Kirmizi biber (Turkish chilli powder, see remarks), to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 Egg yolk
2 Tbs Milk
Ingredients For The "Pide Dough":
1/2 Tbs Dry yeast
A pinch castor sugar
190g/ml Warm water
250g Bread flour or all-purpose flour
3/4 Tsp Fine sea salt
2 Tbs Extra-virgin olive oil

Method For The "Pide Dough":
1. In the bowl of your mixer, dissolve the yeast in half the warm water and sprinkle with the sugar, set aside in warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
2. Incorporate enough flour to create a sloppy paste (similar in texture to pancake batter) and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 20 minutes in a warm place or until bubbly.
3. Add the remaining flour, the salt, water and the olive oil. Using the dough hook attachment, knead on low speed until the
dough is smooth, springy and passes the window pane test, about for 10 minutes (add a little flour or water according to need - the dough should be slightly sticky, but not be tacky).
4. Transfer the dough to lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic film, and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hour.
5. Cut the dough into 3 equal portions and set aside.

Pide Pie Pregny 1 1 bis
Method For the "Pide":
6. Preheat the oven to 250° C (450° F).
7. Roll each piece of dough into a long 30 x 10cm (14 x 4 inches) rectangle.
8. Scatter 1/3 of the topping over the dough (start with the halloumi, then the mozarella, the olives, the pepper and the suçuk), leaving about a 2cm (1 inch) border around the edges.
9. Fold up the two long sides of the dough, bringing them up and over the topping, but without meeting in the middle, then squeeze the sides together at each end, twisting them together slightly to create a long "canoe/boat" shape. Sprinkle with the chilli powder and black pepper.
10. Repeat the operation with the rest of the dough.
11. To make the egg wash, mix together the yolk and the milk. Brush each pide with the egg wash.
12. Bake one Pide at a time for about 7 minutes, or until the bread is golden in color and the cheese has completely melted.
13. Serve hot.

If you don't have any halloumi, suçuk or kirmizi biber, you can replace them with quality Edamer cheese, Calabrese/dried or raw chorizo sausages and the chilli powder of your choice (fragrant and medium hot).

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with onion slices and a salad (tomato & cucumber or lettuce).
Sprinkle with additional olive oil and fine sea salt if you wish.


Pide Pie 1 3 bis
~ Pide Au Fromage, Aux Olives Et A La Saucisse Suçuk ~
Recette adaptée du livre "A Chef's Travels In Turkey: Turquoise" par Greg and Lucy Malouf.

Pour 3 pide moyennes (ou deux grandes).

Ingrédients Pour La "Pizza Turque":
1 x Pâte à pain pour pide (la recette suit)
250g de Halloumi, tranché finement (voir remarques)
150g de Mozarrella, tranché finement
12 Olives kalamata, dénoyautées et coupées en lamelles
1 Poivron vert moyen, nettoyé et coupé en petits cubes
1 (240g) Saucisse suçuk sausage, coupée en rondelles
Kirmizi biber (poudre de piments turque, voir remarques), à volonté
Poivre noir, moulu, à volonté
1 Jaune d'oeuf
2 CS de lait
Ingrédients Pour La "Pâte A Pizza Turque":
1/2 CS de Levure sèche en poudre
190g/ml d'Eau tiède
Une pincée de sucre cristallisé
250g de Farine à pain ou farine blanche
3/4 CC de Sel de mer fin
2 Cs d'Huile d'olive extra vierge

Méthode Pour La "Pâte A Pizza Turque":
1. Dans le bol de votre robot, dissoudre la levure dans la moitié de l'eau, puis saupoudrer avec le sucre. Laisser reposer à température ambiante pendant 10 minutes, jusqu'à ce que le mélange soit mousseux.
2. Ajouter assez de farine afin de former une pâte visqueuse (telle une pâte à pancake). Recouvrir avec un linge de cuisine et laisser la "pâte" lever pendant 20 minutes à température ambiante.
3. Incorporer le reste de la farine et de l'eau, le sel et l'huile d'olive, puis pétrir dans votre robot (à l'aide du crochet) à basse vitesse pendant 10 minutes (ajouter de l'eau ou de la farine selon besoin - la pâte ne doit pas être collante) afin d'obtenir une pâte douce et élastique (elle doit passer le test du "vitrail").

4. Mettre la pâte dans un bol huilé, recouvrir avec du film plastique et laisser lever pendant 1 1/2 heures (la pâte doit avoir doublé de volume).
5. Couper la pâte en trois parts égales et mettre de côté (recouvrir avec un linge humide pour pas qu'elle sèche).

Pide Pie Old Farm House 1 5 bis
Méthode Pour La "Pizza Turque":
6. Préchauffer le four à 250° C.
7. Abaisser la pâte en un rectabgle de 30 x 10cm.
8. Recouvrir la pâte 1/3 de la avec la garniture (commencer avec le halloumi, puis continuer avec la mozarella, les olives, le poivron et la saucisse suçuk) tout en faisant attention de laisser un bord de 2cm de chaque côté.
9. Rabattre les deux bords de 30cm vers l’intérieur, sur la garniture, sans les faire se joindre (seulement les 2cm de pâte qui doivent être repliés), puis entortiller les bouts afin d'obtenir une forme de bâteau ("canoe"). Saupoudrer avec la poudre de piments et le poivre noir.
10. Répéter l'opération avec les deux autres parts de pâte.
11. Mélanger ensemble le lait et le jaune d'oeuf, et dorer les bords à l’aide d’un pinceau culinaire. 12. Cuire pendant environ 7 minutes, ou jusqu'à ce que la pâte soit cuite, dorée et que le fromage ait fondu.
13. Servir.

Si vous ne trouvez pas de halloumi, de suçuk ou de kirmizi biber, vous pouvez les remplacer par
du Edamer de qualité, de la saucisse de Calabre/du chorizo cru ou séché de qualité et dela poudre de piments de votre choix (parfumé et pas trop épicée).

Idées de présentation:
Manger chaud et servir avec des oignons en rondelles et une salade (tomate et concombre ou laitue).
Si vous le désirez, vous pouver aussi ajouter un giclée d'huile d'olive et saupou
drer avec un peu de sel de mer fin.

Pide Pie 2 bis

Friday, June 17, 2011


Train Satigny 1 11 bis

Due to unawaited circumstances (nothing serious), my Friday post will be online a little later than expected (probably, no later than Saturday or Sunday). I hope you'll understand and will visit my blog again very soon...

Thanks for you fidelity and support!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Chilli Salsa 3 bis
"We do not live an equal life, but one of contrasts and patchworks; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action".
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rare are the people who would accept to live an insipid and hollow life without highs and lows or a uniform existence in which nothing good or bad happens and days flow in a homogenous way. At first, the thought of eradicating all troubles, drama, conflicts and discords is very appealing, but when you start to meditate a little more on the question, you soon realise that the lack of a healthy Russian mountain-style peak of emotions would be pure hell. Nobody can feel alive when neutrality surrounds them. Humans need to experience pain, sadness, despair, negativity and anger in order to understand the true meaning of pleasure, happinness, hope, positivity and peace. "Negative" and "positive" or Yin and Yang energies rule our world. There is no doubt that good and evil exist...

The same can be said about alimentation. Bland food is generally shunned, but on the contrary, dishes rich in different aromas always meet a frank success. The
re is absolutely nothing worse or more boring than vapid chow. It makes you lose your appetite as it is uninteresting and dull to the point of no return. The act of feeding then only becomes mechanical and its sole purpose if to fill the stomach. Eating should not only maintain your body in vigour, but should also uplift you soul, bring you joy, make you dream and titillate all your senses. It is an everyday celebration that can be compared to a Pagan life glorifying ritual.

As you might have guessed by now, I have no problem admitting that I am a zealous worshipper of firewo
rk flavors and a crazy spice enthusiast who loves to surprise my tastebuds rather than make them go to sleep with plainness. My passion for cuisines that rock is immense and I do not tolerate any form of taste obscurantism. Forbidding yourself to indulge in a meal is a crime and an insult to the almighty power that gave us the opportunity to materialize our spirit in the human form we impersonate and to walk this earth. It is our duty to make the most out of the time that has been granted to us during our current incarnation.

Chilli Salsa Flute Player 1 1 bis
I am a buoyant hedonist and an open-minded woman of extremes who has schizophrenic tastes and who cultivates an attraction for intensity and things that are in total opposition to one another. For example, I enjoy the cold season as much as the hot season. My idea of great climatic and atmospheric conditions usually differs from that of others. The perfect weather for me is when the sky is azure blue the sun is shining blindingly and the air is dry as well as reasonably hot - you can hear the birds singing a symphony and the grass is lush green -, but it is also when the skies are pitch black and threatening, lumps of clouds hover in the abysmal sky, the wind is blowing tempestly, lightening is striking wildly, rain is falling in big drops - you want to stay home and curl up in the settee with a cup of warm tea and a breathtaking vampyre romance book - or when the air is freezing cold and snow is dancing in the heavens above- you can admire the naked and frosty trees that appear like ghosts, the snow covering the landscapes, flocks of crows screaming hauntingly.

This contrast can also be observed in other domains that are close to my heart. Photos or artistic creations that talk t
o me are soft, dreamy, colorful and have pastel tones, yet I am a total sucker for dramatic pictures or illustrations that are dark, glooomy, morbid and monochromic. My interest in music are also quite neurotic as I listen to a wide variety of sounds. Those can be classified into two antagonist and distinct styles that can be described as "ugly", raw, agressive, grim, violent, nihilistic, dissonant, ominous, tenebrous, extreme, unorthodox, insolent, metallic, testosterone-fueled/war-like (Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom Thrash, harsh EBM, etc...) or beautiful, peaceful, empyrian, soothing, ethereal, bluesy, romantic, feminine, atmospheric, bubbly and luminous (Ambient Music, Electro Pop, Goth Rock, Blues, etc...). My choice of films is pretty eclectic too. I am able to watch thrillers, horror flicks and switch over to dramas without a problem (as long as they are not big cheesy Hollywood productions - I am a fan of small budget films, especially those from Scandinavia and Germany). Idem when it comes to homes, apparels and the masculine gender. Modern Botta-like buildings or design residences has as much effect on me as cute little old stonebuilt English cottages, NOLA Garden District mansions, American log cabins or Scandinavian colored (red, blue, white, yellow and brown) wooden houses. Funky, classy, sassy, boyish, gothicky, rock'n'roll and romantic clothes generally catch my eyes. Men I find attractive cannot fit in one category either as I have never had one particular type of man (I do have one selection criteria, though I must admit that I prefer lean males...). It all depends on how charming they are and how much charisma they have (however, I have a boyfriend, so I am not free anymore ;-P) . And the list can go on forever...

At the end it all comes down to character. I am fond of people or things that have personality. It is not suprising then that I appreciate food that hails from all f
our corners of the globe and crave ambrosial sweet treats as much as I dream of savory and fragrant specialities. I am addicted to yummy yums that make my drool, bring a smile to my face and make my mouth sing.

So, while I was reading the latest issue of Jamie Magazine (one of my favorite publications and a real source of inspiration), I stumbled upon a Mexican-inspired recipe for a tantilizingly crimson sauce that immediately caught my eye and fascinated me.

Jamie Oliver's funky "Hibiscus, Chipotle & Hibiscus Salsa" looked insanely palatable, unique and promising that I had to make it immediately! So, I went in the kitchen in order to check the contents of my cupboards and fridge to make sure that I had all the ingredients I needed on hand. Luckily, I could proceed to cook straight away and was able to concoct a zesty relish.

As I always have the tendency to make modifications to all the recipes I test, I made no exception with this one. I tweaked it to my convenience. Instead of only using one kind of chilli, I decided to combine chipotle chillies together with ancho chillies. I also thought it might be awesome to add a sprinkle of Peruvian oregano (less pungent and more lemony than its Mediterranean alter-ego) as well as a splash of olive oil and replaced the red vinegar by sherry vinegar.

Needless to say that I was pleased with the final outcome (impossible to fail when cooking one of "The Naked Chef's" dishes). The sauce was delicately tangy, ever so slightly sweet (cherry tomatoes & red onions), delightfully fresh, lushly smoky (chipotle chillies), elegantly chocolaty (ancho chillies), lightly herby, subtly garlicky and had a lovely intensity/deepness. A fabulous condiment that adds a touch of sunshine to any meal!

Chilli Salsa 1 bis
~ Cherry Tomato, Dried Chilli And Hibiscus Salsa ~
Adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver found in "Jamie Magazine", May/June 2011.

Makes about 400ml salsa.

2 Dried chipotle chillies
2 Dried ancho chilies
10g Dried hibiscus flowers
3 Red onions, cut into quarters
5 Cloves garlic, skin on
240g Cherry tomatoes
2 Tbs Tamarind paste
2 Tbs Sherry vinegar
1/2 Tsp Peruvian dried oregano
4 Tbs Olive oil
1 - 1 1/2 Tsp Fine sea salt (to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Chilli Salsa 4 1 bis
1. Cut the cherry tomatoes in two and with the help of a teaspoon discard the seeds. Set aside.
2. Put the chillies and the hibiscus in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with 120 ml boiling water.
3. Over low heat, simmer gently until you get a thickish deep red syrup.
4. Strain the juice into a bowl and discard the chillies as well as hibiscus flowers. Set aside.
5. Heat a non-stick frying pan or griddle (cast iron) pan until extremely hot, then add the onions. Char on all sides.
6. Halfway through the charring, throw in the garlic and let them get soft.
7. Once the garlic is well charred, peel and throw in a blender together with the tomatoes, syrup, onions, tamarind paste, vinegar, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper.
8. Blitz until you obtain a thick, smooth and homogenous sauce.
9. Serve.

You can replace the sherry vinegar by red vinegar or white wine vinegar, and the Peruvian oregano by "normal" oregan (the flavor will be slightly diffrent) or even thyme.
This sauce can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for about one week.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with grilled veggies or meat/fish, fried or hard boiled eggs, jacket or oven fried potatoes, or use in a burger or a sandwich.


Chilli Salsa 2 bis
~ Salsa Aux Tomates Cerises, Piments Séchés Et A L'hibiscus ~
Recette adaptée d'une recette de Jamie Oliver trouvée dans "Jamie Magazine".

Pour environ 400ml de salsa.

2 Piment chipotle séchés
2 Piments ancho séchés
10g de Fleurs d'hibiscus séchées
3 Onions rouges, coupés en quartiers
5 Gousses d'ail, avec la peau
240g de Tomates cerises
2 CS de Pâte de tamarin
2 CS de Vinaigre de sherry
1/2 de CC d'Origan séché du Pérou
5 CS d'Huile d'olive
1 - 1 1/2 CC de Sel de mer fin (selon goût)
Poivre noir, fraîchement moulu, selon goût

Chilli Salsa Door 1 bis
1. Couper les tomates en deux et enlever les graines à l'aide d'une petite cuillère. Mettre de côté.
2. Mettre les piments et l'hibiscus dans une casserole et ajouter 120ml d'eau bouillante.
3. A température basse, faire cuire à petits bouillons jusqu'à obtention d'un mélange sirupeux et rouge foncé/pourpre.
4. Passer au chinois et jeter les piments ainsi que les fleurs d'hibiscus. Mettre le jus de côté.
5. Faire chauffer une poêle anti-adhésive ou en fonte à haute température, puis quand elle très chaude, ajouter les quartiers d'oignons et les faire "carboniser" légèrement (griller) sur tous les côtés.
6. Quand les oignons sont à moitié "carbonisés"/grillés, ajouter l'ail et le laisser cuire afin qu'il soit mou et grillé.
7. Une fois que les gousses d'ail ont été grillées, les peler et les mettre dans votre blender avec les tomates, le sirop, les oignons, la pâte de tamarin, le vinaigre, l'origan, l'huile, le sel et le poivre.
8. Mixer afin d'obtenir une sauce épaisse, homogène et lisse.
9. Servir.

Vous pouvez remplacer le vinaigre de sherry par du vinaigre de vin blanc ou rouge, et l'origan du Pérou par de l'origan "normal" (le goût sera un peu différent) ou même du thym séché.
Cette sauce peut être conservée au frigo, dan un récipient hermétiquement fermé, pendant une semaine maximum.

Idées de présentation:
Servir cette salsa avec des légumes, de la viande ou du poisson grillé, des oeufs au plat ou cuits durs, des pommes de terres au four ou en papillotte, ou comme garniture dans un burger ou un sandwich.

Chilli Salsa 5 bis

Friday, June 3, 2011


Whoopie pIes 2 1 bis

Sometimes the best things happen when you least expect them. They fall upon you like a blitz of lightening, magically enlightening your confined and small world, and instantly reloading your happiness batteries with enough energy to fill you with a gleeful feeling of intense euphoria, and hope that will last many months. An exhalirating suprise effect that makes you savour those unexpected events even more. Not knowing what tomorrow holds for us doesn't always have to be linked to sadness and despair, but can also bring joy and that is exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago when I was contacted by a journalist of the RSR (Radio Suisse Romande -
an enterprise unit within public broadcasting corporation responsible for the production and transmission of French Language radio programmes in Switzerland)...

One sunny morning of May, while browsing through my e-mails, I stumbled upon a message from a reknown radio personality. I was so not waiting for it to happen that it left me speechless for a few minutes. Then, when I recollected my spirits, my astonishment and disbelief gave way to agitation and heart palpitations. Sure, I felt extremely honored that my blog had sparked her interest, but at the same time, her offer terrified me since I'm shy, seriously lack self-confidence and I'm the biggest chicken on earth. I am the kind of individual who prefers to back out of things instead of facing my fears and to take my courage in both hands.

I thought to myself, oh lordy, she wants to interview me for a summer program about people who are passionate about food. Me, the girl the least capable of showing off and speaking about herself lovingly! I am indeed crazy about anything in relationship with the culinary arts, yet the idea of talking with a microphone in front of your face and knowing that it will be broadcasted on one of the most listened-to stations in Suisse Romande is enough to freak me out and make me ventilate like a hysterical woman!

Before making up my mind, I wanted to think about it all thouroughly, weigh the positive and negative aspects carefully and chatt with the woman in question. I didn't want my uncertainty and stupidity to influence my final decision. After a lot of tergiversing, I finally decided to jump into the cold wate
r and I said "YES". I knew that if I had refused her offer, I might have regretted it all my life as such a rare opportunity doesn't present itself often when you are a common mortal and a relatively obscure blogger like me who is rarely under the spotlight. I was not going to be foolish to the point of letting my angst cloud my judgement and take control of my brain as it had done in the past. At least, not on this occasion...

A few weeks later, I was anxiously waiting at home for the reporter to ring m
y doorbell and enter my chaotic den in order to record my thoughts and to observe me while I nervously cooked for/in front of her (I stress a lot when people see what "dirty kitchen secrets" I have ;-P). I was prepared for the worst!

Thankfully, it seemed that the gods were with me on that day as everything went smoothely and no hell broke lose. My "Fish Rendang" curry dish was perfect and a total hit. I could express myself intelligently without going through a painful outbreak of word diarrhea and fel
t really relaxed. As a matter of fact, I spoke so much that the correspondent had more than enough material for her 25 minutes show. I can be a real blabbermouth and always tend to try to fill the silence with my voice when adrenalin flows through my body...

As I usually like to greet me guests in a warm manner, I thought that it would
be a wonderful idea to bake a goodie that will help break the ice and show this friendly lady that I am not only a "excellent" cook, but also a "talented" baker (well, I hope that's what people think of me...). So, although I had never made "Whoopie Pies" before (even if I had been dreaming of trying that treat since at least 4 years - I know, I'm slow), I decided to speedily whip up a batch of those luscious retro babies. Seeing that they were also much appreciated made my day.

Unless you live under a stone, you might have noticed that those old-fashioned sandwich cookies are definitely the latest food craze. Yes, I baked "Whoopie Pies" despite being allergic to trends and abhorring them like the bubonic plague! Bear a grudge against me for being weak and succumbing to temptation if you wish, but to my defense, it was pure coincidence. In no way did I sell my soul to the devil and suddenly stopped being a wildly unconventional creature who worships diversity and dislikes mass movements.

Whoopie Pies Tree Russin 1 3 bis
For me trends are "cultural" dictatorships that are created by the industry who profits from them. I am too much of a free spirit and nonconformist to follow them as they are ephemeral, clannish as well as limitating and bridle people's creativity, imagination and strips them of their personality. I don't want to fit the mold and be a pale copy of everybody else, I just want to be me!

Unfortunately, the culinary world is also afflicted by this epidemic. Chefs, magazines, stores, bloggers and foodlovers of all kinds are dragged into the spirals of the latest fads. Some feel complied to follow it and others freely accept to surf on the wave of fashion and embra
ce the tyranny of uniformity.

I have never understood why something which has for no reason been despised in the past can suddenly become the center of attention, be adulated for a while and then once again fall into oblivion as soon as it has been decided that it cannot be "in" anymore. That is so stupid! Either you like something as it speaks to your soul or you disapprove of it as it leaves you cold, but you cannot adore or loathe something because the general concensus tells you to. There's no way you can glorify something one day and hate it the next day, unless your love for it isn't real.

How many people do what society tells them to do in order to not be considered "losers"? A myriad, regretfully. Just look at the quantity of human beings who rave about foie gras, because it is something pricy that is acknowledge as being classy and is therefore a must-have. I am sure that most of those folks who gobble foie gras as if there was no tomorrow are disgusted by offals and always smirk when they see fat on their meat. Well, this delicatessen is just geese or duck liver that is saturated with fat. Does it still sound glamorous and appealing now? I'm sure not! Strange that a product can have an incredible success when in fact it is an aquired taste. Speak about psychological wizardry or mental manipulation...

Take macarons. That French confectionery is without a doubt divine and cute, therefore it is an ideal dessert/snack, yet why should it be regarded as the most
exceptional treat ever to have graced this earth and have the monopoly over all other pastries or candies? It is indeed an amazing pâtisserie item that deserves recognition, nevertheless it would be blasphemous to affirm that it is the exceptional and exhalirating delight that has ever existed. It would be so sad to eclipse all the other fantastic yummy delicacies with this one's overblown mediatic popularity. And to be honest with you, I'm sure that the money they generate is as interesting as their incredible versatility and ambrosiality. If it didn't sell like like hot breads, would they still be produced on a massive scale and be found everywhere? I believe not. However, would they be less of a culinary show-stopper? No! A very controversial theme, isn't it?

The same goes with cupcakes. They have existed since long in Anglo-Saxon countries and had fallen into disuse until the stylish heroins of "Sex & The City" made them popular again when they visited Magnolia Bakery (see video here). Muffins and "Whoopie Pies" have known a very similar treatment. Now, you'll find them in every bakery or cheap supermarket and cannot escape reading about them in nearly every newspaper, magazine or site. Brainwashing that is.

It is so sad that your tastebuds cannot speak for themselves, instead of being at the mercy of somebody who instructs you on what to consume and what to enjoy. Aren't we mature and intelligent enough to make our own choices, stand behind wha
t we are nuts about and decide for ourselves? I hope so...

Anyway, I guess you've had enough of my rantings and want to learn more about those litigious and ambrosial "Chocolate & Salted Vanilla Whoopie Pies". Well, let me tell you that they deserve a lot of attention whether they are hip or out as this speciality is unique and orgasmically good and terrifyingly addictive!

For my first experimentation with that cookie I wanted to be assured that they would get satisfying results, so I opted for Tish Boyle's recipe for traditional "Whoopie Pies" (chocolate & vanilla) as I cherish her cookbook
"The Good Cookie" since it has never deceived me.

As expected, my little cake-like dessert biscuits were very pretty and tasted even better than they looked. They were pleasantly crispy on the outside and exquisitely soft as well as moist on the inside. The ever so slightly salty-tasting vanilla filling that can be compared to frosting paired terribly well with the light bitterness of the cocoa-based cookie shells. Sensational!

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~ Chocolate & Salted Vanilla Whoopie Pies ~
Recipe adapted from "The Good Cookie" by Tish Boyle.

Makes about 28 sandwich cookies.

Ingredients for the "Shells":
2 Cups (255g) All-purpose flour
1 Cup (90g) Belgian cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1/2 Tsp Fine sea salt
1 Stick (120g) Unsalted butter, softened

1 Cup (210g) Granulated sugar
1 Large Egg yolk

1 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
1 Tsp Baking soda
1/2 Cup (120ml) Hot water
1/2 Cup (120ml) Buttermilk
Ingredients for the "Filling":
2 Cups (240g) Confectioners’ sugar

4 Tbs (60g) Unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbs Heavy cream (35%)
1 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
1/2 Tsp Fine sea salt

Method for the "Shells":
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 200° C (
400° F). Cover two baking sheets with baking paper or silicone mats.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt until well blended. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until soft, pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

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4. Add the egg yolk and beat again until the mixture is homogenous (scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary) and repeat with the vanilla extract.
5. Stir the baking soda into the hot water.
6. Adding one-third of each ingredient at a time, alternately add the hot water mixture, the buttermilk, and the dry ingredients (you have to end with the dry ingredien
ts). Mix just until combined.
7. Using moistened hands, shape the dough into 2.5 cm (1-inch) balls and place them 5cm (2 inches) apart the baking sheets. Using your palm, flatten each of them into a 3cm (1 1/4-inch) round.
8. Bake the cookies, one tray at a time, for about 5 to 7 minutes, until their surfaces are cracked.
9. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Method for the "Filling":
10. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the confectioners’ sugar with the butter at medium speed until the mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute.
11. Add the cream and beat at high speed until smooth, then incorporate t
he vanilla extract and salt and beat until blended.
12. Using a small offset metal spatula or butter knife, spread each of the bottoms of half of the cookies (14 all in all) with the equivalent of teaspoon of filling. Top with the remaining cookie shells and press them together gently.
13. Voilà, you can enjoy your Whoopie Pies!

The baked cookies will still be quite soft when coming out of the oven, but their exterior will firm up as they cool (crispy outside and soft inside).
Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 5 days.

Serving suggestions:
Serve for teatime, dessert or snack.


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~ Whoopie Pies Au Chocolat Et Leur Garniture A La Vanille Salée ~
Recette adaptée du livre "The Good Cookie" par Tish Boyle.

Pour environ 28 cookies sandwichés.

Ingrédients pour les "Coques":

255g de Farine blanche
90g de Cacao non-sucré
1/2 CC de Sel de mer fin
120g De Beurre non-salé, ramolli
210g de Sucre cristallisé

Le jaune d'un gros oeufs
1 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure
1 CC de Bicarbonate de soude
120ml Cup d'Eau chaude
120ml Cup de Babeurre (lait battu)
Ingrédients pour la "Garniture/Crème":

240g de Sucre en poudre
4 CS (60g) de Beurre non-salé, ramolli
3 CS de Crème double (35% de mat. grasses)
1 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure

1/2 CC de Sel de mer fin
Méthode pour les "Coques":
1. Placer une grille de cuisson au milieu du four et le préchauffer à 200° C. Recouv
rir 2 plaques de cuisson de papier sulfurisé ou avec des silpats.
2. Dans un bol moyen, mélanger ensemble la farine, le cacao et le sel. Mettre de côté.
3. Dans le bol de votre mixeur (batteur plat), battre le beurre et le sucre à vitesse moyenne, pendant 2 minutes afin d'obtenir un mélange pâle, homogène et léger.

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4. Ajouter le jaune d'oeuf et battre à nouveau afin d'obtenir un mélange lisse (râcler les bords du bol si nécessaire) et répéter le même procédé avec la vanille.
5. Dissoudre la bicarbonate de soude dans l'eau chaude.
6. Ajouter en alternant l'eau chaude, le babeurre et les ingrédients secs (1/3 chaque fois), mélanger afin qu'ils soient juste incorporés.

7. Former des boules de 2.5cm avec la pâte (mains mouillées) et les placer sur les plaques à 5cm d'interval, puis les applatir avec la paume de vos mains en un disque de 3cm de diamètre.
8. Cuire les cookies pendant environ 5 à 7 minutes, jusqu'à ce que leur surface soit craquelée.
9. Mettre les cookies cuits à refroidir sur une grille.
Méthode pour la "Garniture/Crème":

10. Dans le bol de votre mixeur (batteur plat), battre ensemble le sucre en poudre avec le beurre pendant 1 minute afin d'obtenir un mélange grumuleux/sablonneux.
11. Ajouter la crème et battre à grande vitesse jusqu'à obtention dun mélange lisse, puis incorporer la vanille et le sel. Battre à nouveau pour que la garniture soit homogène.

12. A l'aide d'une petite spatule ou d'un couteau à beurre, étaler 1 CC de garniture sur 14 des 28 cookies (sur la partie plate). Refermer avec le 14 autres cookies non-glacés, puis presser légèrement afin de coller les deux parties ensemble.
13. Voilà, vos Whoopie Pies sont prêts à être savourés!

Les cookies cuits seront assez mous à leur sortie du four, mais après un certain temps ils durciront (croustillant à l'estérieur et moelleux à l'intérieur).
Garder ces cookies dans une boîte hermétique, à température ambiante, pendant pas plus de 5 jours.

Idées de présentation:
Servir vos Whoopie Pies à l'heure du thé, pour le goûter ou en guise de dessert "fun".

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