Sunday, 18 July 2010

Chocolate Profiteroles - So Easy a Child Could Make Them...?

My children surprised me the other day by announcing they were going to make profiteroles.  I've never made them before and have always regarded choux pastry as 'too tricky'.  Plus, I was busying myself with other things, so I agreed, but told them that I wouldn't be able to help.

Surprisingly rapidly, they had summoned up these with the help of the River Cottage Family Cookbook:

They weren't prepared for how much they expand during cooking and the little lumps of pastry mostly merged into one big choux bun.  The pasty doesn't have that much sugar in and when we tasted it, a bit warm from the oven, we all agreed it tasted (and looked) like Yorkshire Pudding - obviously, as the recipe is very similar.  The four profiteroles around the edges of the tin were perfect.

The children still weren't convinced.  

"We've just made Yorkshire Pudding and it's rubbish," they sighed, ready to chuck them away.

After dinner,  I convinced them to make a chocolate sauce regardless and that we could fill the profiteroles and the big blobby one with vanilla ice cream instead of whipped cream.  The results were delicious.  Yorkshire Pud with chocolate sauce and ice cream perhaps, but delicious nevertheless.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Our Vegetable Patch and Cheeky Chickens

The veg patch is looking pretty amazing at the moment, all thanks to N's hard work and a bit of help from Mother Nature - more lettuce than we can possibly eat; courgettes getting nice and plump; potatoes flowering and beetroots bursting forth:

And did I mention lettuce?

It's a beautiful sight.  The full bloom of summer time.

The homemade scarecrow occasionally gives me a real shock while I'm picking peas. I think that my son has crept up behind me to 'boo' on me.  Ironically, it doesn't scare away the crows, pigeons or seagulls.

And next door to the veg plot, we have the cheeky neighbours: Con Carne, Rascal and Peppermint:

This one (Con Carne) is the boss and gets right under our feet.  She is forgiven though, as she provides us with wonderful large speckled brown eggs with bright yellow yolks.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Dutch Truffle Brie - The World's Most Delicious Cheese - go oranje!

A quick caveat:  I usually blog about all things situated in the South West of the UK, but this one is a triple import / cheese amalgam and has nothing to do with Devon let alone England.  This is a French cheese that has travelled to the Netherlands to a simply amazing cheese shop called L'Amuse just outside of Haarlem in Santpoort-Noord and then blended with Italian ingredients.   So while the rest of my family are watching Holland in their World Cup semi-final, I thought I would post about a Dutch cheese to show my support for their great football team (without having to watch any football = result!).

There are two branches of L'Amuse - the one in Santpoort-Noord, that I have been lucky enough to visit, and one in Amsterdam. They are a family-run, friendly business with an incredible selection of the best 400 cheeses from around the world, but this is the one that everyone goes there for, Truffle Brie:

Our wonderful, beautiful, kind, fun friends (yes, you can come again, A, D and A!) visited us from the Netherlands and generously brought us a wickedly ,melting slice of L'Amuse's truffle brie.

The cheesemongers take an entire round brie, slice it in half, spread it with a thick layer of rich, white mascarpone and thin shavings of black truffle, then replace the two halves and shave some more slivers of truffle on the top and leave to mature.

It is one of my favourite foods in the entire world.  It tastes like brie, only more so.  Pungent, earthy, creamy and melting.  You have to wrap it in several layers if it gets to your fridge as the aroma can pervade all your food.

I apologise to the unnamed pale orange whole cheese (with fern) that is fading into insignificance in the background in a very modest and unassuming way.  This was also really tasty - all I can remember is that it's from Corsica - but it cannot beat its upfront rival - Dutch Truffle Brie.  I enjoyed this cheese platter at the end of a lovely summery dinner at home, with four great friends.

1-0 to Holland so far at 20:05 - Go Oranje!

Oh no 1-1 at 20:10......Come on Holland!

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