Art

tea

“Service de thé” by Jean-Étienne Liotard (Switzerland) – 1781-83.
Via the John Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California.

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Crêpes pour la Chandeleur

The second of February is “la fête de la Chandeleur,” and on this day in our house, we follow the French tradition and eat crêpes. The Mexican tradition is to eat Tamales, but we definitely prefer crêpes.

La Chandeleur has its origins in Roman times when the God of Bread was commemorated, and on that day people walked in the streets with candles (hence “Chandeleur” from the Latin word for candles “Candelis”). It was later “Christianised” and is now celebrated 40 days after Christmas. The day now celebrates the presentation of Christ at the temple.

So why eat crêpes? The idea is that the crêpes can be made with ingredients available during winter (flour, eggs and milk) and it has the shape and the colour of the Sun. The tradition is to flip the crêpes so as to bring good luck for the year and call on Spring to come.

Here is a nice recipe that will sure bring sunshine to your table!

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For 20 crêpes
1- In a large bowl mix first the dry ingredients: 220 gr of sifted flour, half a teaspoon of salt and one generous tables spoon of brown sugar.
2- Then add three whole eggs plus the yolk of one egg, a mix of 30 cl of milk with 30 cl of water and at the end, 60 gr of melted butter.
3- Mix well and when the liquid has an even consistency, let it stand in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
4- Pour on a hot non stick pan (no need to add anything given that the mixture has melted butter), and turn over.

Serve with jam (here a recipe for strawberry jam), honey or a homemade chocolate spread, and some fresh fruits. 

Sachertorte

To celebrate my son’s ninth birthday, I made a Sachertorte. It is one of his favourites, actually anything with chocolate would make him happy. Here is a nice recipe for a large cake, you can half the amount of the ingredients for a smaller one.

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For the cake
1- Melt 200 gr of high quality chocolate with 125 gr of butter in bain-marie.
2- In the meantime, beat eight egg whites stiff.
3- In another bowl, mix eight egg yolks with 100 gr of brown sugar. Mix until the colour gets lighter and there are bubbles.
4- Then mix in gently 150 gr of sifted flour. Do it a little at the time and by hand until the mixture has an even consistency.
5- Pre-heat the oven to 160º C. and prepare the baking pan (lines with butter and flour).
6- Mix the chocolate and butter mixture with the egg yolk and flour one. When it has an even consistency, add the egg white very gently.
7- Place the mixture in the baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.
8- Let it cool thoroughly for at least 30 minutes, leaving it in the pan.

For the ganache 
[There are many recipes and this is the easiest and lighter one.]
1- Melt 200 gr of high quality chocolate in bain-marie.
2- Take it out of the water and rapidly mix in two tablespoon of olive oil.

Preparing the Sachertorte 
1- Take the cake out of the pan and slice it in two through the middle.
2- Spread a generous amount of homemade apricot jam (there are several recipes on Fig & Lemon, here is one with brown sugar).
3- Spread the ganache evenly on top of the cake.

To serve, let it cool thoroughly. I like to place it in the fridge for at least an hour so that the ganache is nice and hard.  

Apricot and rose jam

It tastes like a garden filled with blooming roses in Spring!

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For one kilogram of fresh apricots 
1- Wash and cut the apricots in half or in quarters, depending on their size. Discard the pits.
2- Place in a large pot with 500 gr of white sugar and 250 gr of brown sugar.
3- Stir and cook over a low to medium fire for 25 minutes.

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4- Five minutes before the jam is done, add one tablespoon of dried rose petals. I used some I bought in Iran last year and the aroma is simply divine!
5- Place in sterilise glass jars (simply rinse them in boiling water). Put in the fridge once it has cooled down.

Enjoy the next day for breakfast or any treat you like! 

Note: You know the jam is done when if you put on drop on a plate and tilt it, the jam does not run. 

Gaufres à la crème

A new waffle recipe I tried today with cream. They came out fluffy as a cloud!

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For 18 waffle sticks (or 10 square ones):
1- Melt 60 gr. of high quality butter and set aside.
2- Mix the dry ingredients: 200 gr of sifted flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, a bit of salt and two tablespoons of brown sugar.
3- Then add one by one: three organic eggs, 200 ml of heavy cream and 300 ml of milk.
4- Mix well then add the melted butter.
5- Let the dough rest for 20 minutes and bake as usual.

Enjoy with jam, honey or melted chocolate, and fresh fruits!

Moelleux fraise, framboise & chocolat

A marvellous cake to bake on a cold January afternoon. It is wonderful to eat it while still warm. Don’t worry, it remains delicious when cold.

The “moelleux” or “soft” in French, is a variation of the “fondant” in that the center of the cake remains moist and almost melting. In this recipe, I used a mix of fresh strawberries and raspberries, and you can use any berries you want.

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1- First, cook on low fire 250 gr of fresh berries (here strawberries and raspberries) with two tablespoons of brown sugar. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the mixture has released some liquid. Set aside and let it cool. It will smell delicious in the kitchen!
2- Melt 150 gr of high quality dark chocolate (70% cacao content or more) with 80 gr of butter in bain-marie.
3- Meanwhile, whisk with an electric beater four organic eggs with 70 of brown sugar. Whisk for at least 10 minutes. You want to make a “sabayon” which is simply whole eggs beaten at high speed. The consistency should be bubbly and thick, with double the volume and a light colour.
4- Add two tablespoons of flour and mix again.
5- Add the chocolate and butter mixture and mix until obtaining an even consistency.
6- Finally, in a buttered and floured baking dish, place the berry mixture then the chocolate one on top.
7- Bake for 15 minutes in a 180º c oven.

Enjoy warm and the next day at room temperature. Pure delight! 

Pancake à la crème

I always make something special for breakfast and this morning I decided to try something new, my interpretation of a recipe for pancakes with cream I saw in a French magazine. The pancakes came out amazingly light and fluffy. “It is like eating a cloud,” my eight year old son said. I took it as a compliment. Wouldn’t you?

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For about 12 to 15 pancakes
1- Melt 30 gr of butter and set aside.
2- In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients: 225 gr of sifted flour, one tablespoon of baking powder, one generous tablespoon of brown sugar and a sprinkle of salt.
3- On the side seperate three eggs. Keep one whole egg plus one egg yolk for the pancake mix and discard the remaining yolk. Whisk the two remaining egg whites until stiff.
4- Now go back to your dry ingredients mixture and add the whole egg plus one yolk, and mix. Add 200 ml of heavy cream along with just about a cup of milk. I like to pour the milk slowly until I get the right consistency.
5- Finally add the butter and at the very end the white eggs stiff.
6- Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes. It will have bubbles on top.
7- Cook gently in a non stick pan without adding any butter.

Enjoy with jam or honey! 

Gâteau pomme & citron vert

A lovely cake for the season. The taste is wonderful blending the sweetness of the apple and brown sugar with the slight tanginess of the lime. If you do not have a small lime at hand, you can try it with a regular lemon; I am certain it will be as good.

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1- Melt 40 gr of butter.
2- Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix two organic eggs with 60 gr of brown sugar. Make sure the sugar is all diluted.
3- Add 120 gr of sifted flour in small batches and mix.
4- Add 80 mil of milk and mix thoroughly.
5- Finally mix in the zest of a small lime (or lemon) and four apples cut in very thin slices. Make sure you wash the lime thoroughly, then either peel it and cut the peel in very small strips or simply grate it.
6- In a prepared baking pan (buttered and floured), place half of the apple mixture. Sprinkle about half a tablespoon of brown sugar on top. Then add the other half of the mixture and again sprinkle with about half a tablespoon of brown sugar.
7- Place in an oven at 180ºc and bake for 45 minutes. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Strawberry jam

I made strawberry jam yesterday, and today on the breakfast table it tasted as enchanting as it looked!

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1- One kilo of fresh strawberries plus 800 gr of sugar – cook for 25 minutes stirring from time to time on medium fire.
2- Place in sterilised jars and enjoy the next morning after a night in the fridge.

It’s so easy! 

Gâteau chocolat fondant à la framboise

A chocolate delight with raspberries.

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1- Cook 150 gr of fresh raspberries (you can use any kind of berries actually and mix them if you choose) with 100 gr of brown sugar. Mix on low fire making sure it does not burn. When the mixture is a little liquid remove from the fire and place in a bowl for it to cool.
2- Melt in bain-marie 100 gr of high quality butter with 140 gr of dark chocolate (70% cacao content or more).

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3- Meanwhile mix the dry ingredients: 60 gr of brown sugar, 20 gr of Maïzena, 40 gr of flour and 20 gr of high quality 100% cacao powder. Set aside.
4- In a large bowl, whisk four organic eggs thoroughly. There should be a little bit of foam.
5- Add the dry mixture little by little and continue whisking. When it is very well blended, add the chocolate mixture.
6- In a prepared baking dish (buttered and floured) place the raspberry mixture at the bottom and cover with the chocolate one.
7- Place the baking dish in a pie baking dish –this is to avoid any of the raspberry mixture to splash on the oven and burn. Bake for 15 minutes in a 200º c. oven.

Let it cool thoroughly before serving. It is exquisite as well. after a few hours in the fridge.