eat in my kitchen

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Tag: crepes

Crêpe love Part II: Green Shakshuka Crêpes and fantastic news

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

Sometimes life does funny things, these unexpected surprises that hit you with such impact that you can’t even say a word anymore. Short circuit in the mind. A few days ago, I experienced one of these moments and I’m still recovering from this mental hangover. If I had written this post back then when it hit me, I would have shouted out the news hysterically, but I calmed down, so today, it’s a civilised announcement:

The James Beard Foundation has nominated the Eat In My Kitchen book for the prestigious James Beard Award 2017 in the General Cooking category, alongside Ina Garten’s Cooking for Jeffrey and Cook’s Science’s How to Unlock Flavor in 50 of Our Favorite Ingredients

This is crazy, I thought I was going to faint! Thanks to my man I didn’t loose it completely. So what can you do, when life does these funny things that make you speechless? You just sit there, quietly, silently, wait until it sinks in – and you book a flight to New York where the award ceremony is going to take place in April. I’ll keep you posted.

Once my adventurous trip was booked and I felt my stomach again, I made crêpes. You remember that, last week, I shared my new favourite pancake passion with you: crêpe au citron. When I went to Normandy and I found that wonderful Crêperie in the village of Le Touquet, I new there would be lots of thin crêpes on my own kitchen table in the near future. After the citrusy dessert, we can move on to the main course: green shakshuka crêpes. I didn’t find this particular recipe on the menu of my little French village restaurant, but another hearty treat that was also a pure pleasure. It was a galette (buckwheat crêpe) filled with ham, cheese, and a soft egg. It was the best comfort food you can think of, especially when you can smell a salty breeze in the air and you have an endless long beach right in front of you.

Personally, I prefer a normal crêpe over a galette, it works just as well in combination with a savoury filling (however, in my recipe below you find both options). First I just wanted to share the classic with you – ham and cheese – but then I saw a green shakshuka somewhere and I could already see it in my mind, wrapped in a crêpe. As the pancake filling shouldn’t be too soggy, I only went for peas, spring onion, and parsley stirred in cumin-garlic oil. Arugula leaves and Gruyère cheese sprinkled over the cracked egg cooking slowly on top of the crêpe, and it was done. It’s aromatic and fresh, slightly eggy with a soft hint of cumin, and the greens taste like spring. I seasoned it with another souvenir that I brought home from France: peppery Piment d’Espelette (Gorria chilli pepper powder).

We enjoyed this green beauty for lunch and dinner, but I can also see it on a Sunday breakfast table!

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

If you prefer to make galettes (buckwheat crêpes), replace half the plain flour with buckwheat flour.

Makes about 4 large crêpes

For the crêpes

plain flour, sifted, 130g / 1 cup
granulated sugar 1/2 tablespoon
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
organic eggs 2
milk 250ml / 1 cup and 1 tablespoon
butter, to cook the crêpes

For the filling

olive oil 2 tablespoons
large garlic clove, cut in half, 1
ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon
fresh or frozen green peas, blanched for 1/2 minute, rinsed, and drained, 200g / 7 ounces
spring onions, thinly sliced, 2
fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped, a small handful
fine sea salt
ground pepper
organic eggs 4
aromatic hard cheese (like Gruyère), finely grated 80g / 3 ounces
arugula (rucola), a small handful

Piment d’Espelette (optional)

For the crêpes, in a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, mix the flour, sugar, salt, eggs, and milk until smooth; let the batter sit for about 10 minutes (at room temperature) to 1 hour (in the fridge).

For the filling, in a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil, garlic, and cumin over high heat and cook until it starts sizzling. Take the pan off the heat immediately and stir in the peas, 3/4 of the spring onions, and the parsley. Season with salt, pepper, and additional cumin to taste and set aside.

In a large, heavy or non-stick pan, melt half a teaspoon of butter on medium-high heat. Pour in a large ladle of the batter, holding the pan in your hand and turning it so that the batter spreads evenly and thinly. Cook the crêpe for 30-60 seconds or until golden, flip around, and take the pan off the heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Carefully crack an egg in the middle of the crêpe, gently swirl the egg white a little so that it spreads a bit, don’t break the egg yolk. Spread 1/4 of the cheese and 1/4 of the shakshuka filling, and 1/4 of the arugula around the egg yolk (see 1st picture) and fold up 4 sides of the crêpe so that your end up with a square shape. Leave the egg yolk uncovered. Put the pan back on the heat and let the egg white set, the yolk should stay runny. If the bottom of the crêpe gets too dark, turn down the heat. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the remaining spring onions and season with Piment d’Espelette or ground pepper to taste; serve immediately.

Continue cooking and filling 3 more crêpes, you should always melt 1/2 -1 teaspoon of butter in the pan before you cook the next crêpe. You can use any remaining batter (made of plain flour) to make crêpe au citron.

Bon appétit!

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

 

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

 

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

 

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

 

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

 

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

French Breakfast: Crêpes Caramel au Beurre Salé

Crêpes Caramel au Beurre Salé

An unexpected change of plans led to the most delicious French breakfast: thin crêpes with salted butter caramel! And the only reason why we could enjoy this treat was because I failed miserably at another recipe, a complete kitchen failure.

I tried to remake the popular galettes caramel au beurre salé from the Mont Staint Michel region in Normandy which I indulge in with the greatest pleasure whenever I can get hold of them. It’s a simple shortcrust cookie with a buttery hint of salted caramel. I didn’t expect it to be such a big deal, I had a clear idea of the texture, I did some research of course and then I got started. My kitchen activities began with the preparation of the crème caramel au beurre salé, a thick and luscious salted caramel cream which turned out really nice. At that point, I was still absolutely happy with the result and I continued mixing the dough for the cookies with great confidence but it went downhill from there! When I took the galettes out of the oven I had to face the disappointing truth, my adaptation of the delicate French caramel cookie was too thick and not crunchy and crisp at all. Although the butter caramel was only supposed to be mixed into the dough, I tried to save my creation by topping the baked cookies with a generous dollop of my tasty crème caramel but it was hopeless. I gave up, which doesn’t happen very often.

To overcome my culinary disappointment, I took the caramel filled jar out of the fridge and enjoyed a spoonful of it to make amends for the complete disaster. It helped right away, my inspiration came back and reminded me of another French classic, thin breakfast crêpes would be perfect with my delicious caramel. It was so good that I almost forgot about my unpleasant incident, we savoured and emptied the plates down to the last crêpe.

I haven’t completely given up on my French caramel cookies but I think I could do with some help: if you are experienced in the cuisine de la Normandie and familiar with galettes caramel au beurre salé and if you know about a satisfying recipe, I’d be more than thankful if you got in touch to bring this kitchen story to a successful ending!

And some more news at the end: I was interviewed by Yahoo Food, they asked me to take over their Instagram this weekend to share a little forecast of the delicious food I’ll be eating in Malta next month. For the interview, click here, and here you can follow me on Yahoo Food’s Instagram.

Crêpes Caramel au Beurre Salé

 

Crêpes Caramel au Beurre Salé

Crêpes Caramel au Beurre Salé

For about 20 crêpes (for 4-6 people) you need

For the salted butter caramel – crème caramel au beurre salé

You won’t need all the caramel for the crêpes, you can keep the leftovers in a jar in the fridge and use it for ice cream and cakes.

heavy cream 200ml / 3/4 cups and 3 tablespoons
icing sugar, sieved, 175g / 1 3/4cups
butter (unsalted) 90g / 3 1/4oz /1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon
(if you use salted butter you can leave out the fleur de sel)
fleur de sel 1/3 teaspoon, to taste

In a sauce pan, warm up the cream, take it off the heat before it starts boiling.

In a medium sized pot, melt the sugar on medium heat until golden brown and liquid, it will take a few minutes. Mind that it doesn’t burn. Slowly pour the warm cream into the caramel, be careful as it will bubble up and rise. Keep the heat on medium, add the butter and salt and and whisk gently until the caramel and butter melt and the mixture is even, it will take a few minutes again. Take the pan off the heat, season with salt to taste and set aside.

 

For the crêpes

plain flour, sieved, 260g / 9 1/4oz / 2 cups
sugar 50g / 1 3/4oz / 1/4 cup
a pinch of salt
organic eggs 4
milk 1/2l / 2 cups and 1 tablespoon
butter, to fry the crêpes

Mix the ingredients for the crêpes to a smooth dough (with an electric mixer) and let the batter sit for 10 minutes.

In a heavy (or non-stick) pan, heat half a teaspoon of butter. Pour in a ladle of the dough, holding the pan in your hand and turning it so that the dough spreads evenly and very thinly. The temperature should be on medium-high, the crêpes won’t need more than 1 minute on each side once the heat is set right. When the crêpe is slightly golden on both sides, take the pan off the heat (or spread the crêpe on a large plate) and sprinkle with a little of the caramel. The taste is quite strong, so start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more to taste. Fold it twice and continue with the next batch. You should always melt 1/2 -1 teaspoon of butter in the pan before you fry the next crêpe. Enjoy warm and sprinkle with more caramel and a pinch of fleur de sel on the plates. Strawberries go very well with it!

Crêpes Caramel au Beurre Salé

 

Crêpes Caramel au Beurre Salé

 

Crêpes Caramel au Beurre Salé

 

Crêpes Caramel au Beurre Salé

Breakfast Crêpes with sweet Sour Cream

Crêpes

This is one of the best things you can do with a golden crêpes, fill it with sweet whipped sour cream! The cream is so simple that whenever I make it for my friends, no one manages to guess what’s in it. It’s definitely not much, just sour cream whipped with icing sugar but for whatever reason, it creates a unique taste between sweet and sour which is far more fine than you would imagine.

I learned about this recipe from my stepfather who lived in Paris for a few years. Uli adores this country, the food and lifestyle and he praises its cuisine almost as much as the one he grew up with, the traditional Swabian cooking. He’s a true gourmet, one of the most joyful and critical I know who loves his food and wine with such passion that he celebrates every meal. A dinner with him is a feast and even the smallest nibble for lunch turns into a special treat. It’s the way he talks about it, how he appreciates every bite, that it becomes more than just food, it’s a celebration of life. Uli brought a huge French influence into my family’s cooking, yesterday’s Coq au Vin, my Daube de Boef Provençale, the creamy Vichyssoise or my mother’s Tarte Tatin, I’m sure I would have cooked these recipes at one point in my life anyway, but his notes and comments to the recipes, his authentic knowledge and the stories about his life in France which he has told us since we were children turn these dishes into something very special (and delicious!). I still call him when my cooking turns French for some tips and advice.

I remember that we often used to make these crêpes as a spontaneous dessert after a long dinner when we all didn’t feel like finishing our gathering at table but rather listening to more stories while eating these wonderfully luscious crêpe rolls. Uli always used to remind us in the kitchen that we have to make them thinner, like in France! Today, I love to make them for a late breakfast on the weekend, with a Café au Lait at hand and some Jacques Brel in the background. Although he was Belgian he’s still one of my favourite singers when it comes to French chansons! He makes me feel like I’m in Paris!

Crêpes

 

Crêpes

 Crêpes with sweet Sour Cream 

For about 20 crêpes (for 4-6 people) you need

plain flour, sieved, 250g / 9 ounces
sugar 50g / 2 ounces
a pinch of salt
organic eggs 4
milk 1/2l / 2 cups
butter, to fry the crêpes

For the sweet cream
sour cream 400g / 14 ounces
icing sugar 6 tablespoons plus more to taste

Whisk the sour cream and icing sugar to a light and fluffy cream and sweeten to taste.

Mix the ingredients for the crêpes to a smooth dough (with an electric mixer) and let it sit for 15 minutes.

In a non-stick pan, heat a teaspoon of butter. Pour in a ladle of the dough, holding the pan in your hand and turning it so that the dough spreads evenly and very thinly. The temperature should be on medium-high as the crêpes won’t need more than 1 minute on each side once the heat is set right. I always use the first two crêpes to find the right setting. When the crêpe is golden on both sides, fold it twice and keep it warm in the oven at 80°C / 175°F. Always heat a teaspoon of butter before you add new dough to the pan. When the last batch is done serve with the sweet sour cream.

Crêpes

 

Crêpes

 

Crêpes

Baked Crespelle with Spinach, Béchamel and Parmesan

Spinach Crespelle

Spinach combined with a creamy sauce, be it Béchamel, ricotta or a blue cheese sauce is a delicious filling for any kind of pasta. This combination doesn’t need a lot of additional spices besides salt, pepper and nutmeg. It’s one of those things that’s best kept simple. I love it in cannelloni or lasagna but I’m extremely fond of it in crespelle, thin Italian pancakes, wrapped around a tasty filling. You could also use a sauce Bolognese but that wouldn’t give the crespelle much space. Keep it pure and you can enjoy the eggy wrap complemented with a mild filling.

When I’m in Italy I have this meal with tomato sauce poured on top, it looks like the Italian flag, green, white and red. The man of the house asked for the green and white version, just some parmesan grated on top of the rolled crespelle before they bake in the oven for 15 minutes. They turn golden, partially crisp but the spinach and Béchamel mixture keeps it moist and juicy inside. You could also replace the spinach with chard, I do that sometimes, it’s similar to my Chard and Ricotta Lasagna.

Spinach Crespelle

Baked Crespelle with Spinach, Béchamel and Parmesan

For 4 filled crespelle you need

spinach, rinsed, without stems, 350g / 12.5 ounces
fresh parmesan, grated, 80g / 3 ounces

Cook the spinach in salted water for 1-2 minutes (the thick leaved spinach needs 2 minutes), rinse with cold water for a couple seconds and drain. Chopped roughly, season it with salt, pepper and nutmeg and set aside.

 

For the Sauce Béchamel

milk 600ml
butter, melted, 30g / 1 ounce
plain flour 30g / 1 ounce
bay leaf 1
a pinch of nutmeg, grated
salt and pepper

Mix the milk with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Whisk the flour into the hot butter. Bring the milk to the boil and whisk into the roux. Continue mixing until smooth. Add the bay leaf and cook for around 5 minutes on low heat until the texture is thick and smooth. Take the bay leaf out and season with salt and pepper.

 

For the crespelle

milk 160ml
organic eggs 2
plain flour 130g / 4.5 ounces
salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter for frying

Mix the ingredients well and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Heat some butter in a large pan and fry 4 thin crespelle one at a time, golden on both sides.

 

The filled crespelle

Set the oven to 200°C.

Lay a crespelle flat on a plate, spread with 1/4 of the spinach and 3 tablespoons of the Béchamel on top, roll into a wrap. Continue with the rest and put them next to each other in a baking dish. Pour the rest of the sauce on top and sprinkle with parmesan (keep some cheese for the baked crespelle, I like to put some fresh cheese on when they come out of the oven). Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. You can also switch on the grill for 1-2 minutes, that makes it partially crisp.

Spinach Crespelle

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