A scented garden touching all our senses.
For one kilogram of fresh figs
1- Wash and cut the figs in half (or quarters if they are large). Make sure you cut off the stems.
2- Place in a large pot with 750 gr of sugar and let it rest for one hour covered.
3- Place on medium fire and mix. As bubbles start forming, add the seeds of seven cardamon pods (you can omit them if you prefer) and one tablespoon of dried rose petals. Mix again gently.
4- Cook for 25 minutes on a low to medium fire, mixing every other minutes.
5- Place in a sterilised jar then in the fridge. It is ready 24 hours later.
Enjoy with toast or croissant, or better yet crêpes as we did this morning!
Light, colourful and filled with vitamins. Perfect for breakfast or a snack.
Just mix: papaya, cucumber and orange, and top with freshly grated ginger root, raisins, turmeric, high quality olive oil, lime juice and some fresh mint.
Wonderful petits pains made with milk and stuffed with chocolate! And they taste better when an eight year old helps in the process!
For about 16 petits pains
1- Use the recipe for petits pains au lait (link here).
2- At the stage where you make the petits pains (after two hours of letting the dough rise), insert a few high quality dark chocolate squares and fold gently. You can make them any shape you want: long, square, half circles, etc.
3- Let them rise for another hour. Brush with egg yolk and bake as with the plain petits pains for 15 minutes in a 180º c. oven.
Let them cool a little before serving as the chocolate inside will be very hot. They are delicious the next day for breakfast!
Little breads made with milk. They taste like a child’s dream…
My aunt used to make them in the summer in Morocco, and they were our goûter (snack) after a day at the beach, with melted salted butter and jam. They can also be made with raisins or chocolate. In the latter case, simply slip a few squares of chocolate inside the dough.
As with all the breads I make, I used my hands to mix and knead the dough. It is a wonderful meditation exercise.
For about 16 petits pains (half the proportion if you want eight to ten)
1- Start by mixing an envelope of dried baker’s yeast with 25 cl of whole milk. Mix well until the yeast has dissolved. You can heat up the milk slightly in bain-marie if the kitchen is cold as during winter.
2- In a large bowl, mix with your fingers 500 gr of flour (you can use whole or white or a mixture of both), 50 gr of brown sugar (you can replace it with a generous tablespoon of honey), a tablespoon of olive oil (10 cl) and a teaspoon of salt. Mix well running the flour through your fingers to make sure the salt is properly mixed in.
3- Slowly add the milk and yeast mixture and keep kneading until the dough no longer sticks to your fingers. Keep kneading for another 10 to 15 minutes.
4- Shape the dough into a large ball and leave in the big bowl covered with a humid towel. Place in a warm place in the kitchen. I simply leave it under a lamp.
5- Let the dough rise for at least one hour.
6- Take the dough out the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Punch it so that the air comes out and shape it into petits pains. You can make them either long shaped or like little balls. At this point mix in additional ingredients such raisins or chocolate.
7- Place in a baking pan and cover. Let it stand for at least 30 minutes. (I like to leave it another full hour).
8- Heat up the oven to 180º c and place a container with water inside so that some humidity builds up. Make sure the oven has reached that temperature before placing the petits pains.
9- Brush the petits pains with egg yolk and place the baking pan in the oven. Take out the water container and sprinkle the bottom of the oven with water so as to create some steam.
10- Bake for 15 minutes. Ten minutes into the process open the oven and sprinkle the bottom part of the oven with water to create more steam.
Take out and enjoy!
Verveine, known in English as Verbena or Verbena Citronella, is a delicate herb used mainly for tea and as a digestive all around the Mediterranean. It is not readily available in Mexico except if grown in a private garden. So the last time I was in Paris, I bought boxes and boxes of it. I grew up drinking it in the evening, and to this day, I do the same.
Verbena has a lovely minty fragrance and a slightly citrus like taste, making it a wonderful match with many jams such as apricot, peach or raspberries. To use it in jam, the best would be to use loose fresh leaves. But if you do not have any at hand, as in my case, simply prepare a infusion as indicated in this recipe.
For one kilogram of fresh apricots
1- First, make the verbena infusion. It should be concentrated. Place one teabag in 100 ml of boiling water and let it sit until the water becomes dark gold.
2- Wash the apricots, cut in half, take out the pits and cut again in quarters if the apricots are large.
3- In a large cooking pan, place the apricots, the verbena infusion and a mix of 550 gr of white granulated sugar and 250 gr of brown sugar (sugar should total 800 gr).
4- Place on medium heat until it starts to boil. During that time, mix gently so that the sugar does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
5- Bring down the heat to low and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. Stir every five minutes or so during the process, do it gently so as not to break the fruits.
6- You know the jam is done once you place a drop of the liquid on a cold plate and it does not run when you tilt the plate. Once it is done, immediately place the jam in tightly closed glass containers previously sterilized with boiling water.
7- Let it cool down then place in the fridge. The jam is ready 24 hours later.
Enjoy as you would enjoy any jam!