eat in my kitchen

To cook, to bake, to eat and to treat.

Tag: oranges

New Year’s Eve dessert testing and a heavenly favourite: Crêpes Suzette

Crêpes Suzette

After three days of cooking, feasting and chilling I could easily continue this life: just sitting under our Christmas tree, listening to Christmas carols, baking more cookies once in a while and pulling a roast duck or wild boar stew out of my oven. I know some people are happy when the craziness is over but I’m not one of them. I indulge in this tradition and I never want to let go of it again. Luckily, the next event is right ahead and with it, a few choices to be made. Apart from the main course, which we haven’t really decided yet but it looks like it’s going to be seafood, there’s another important dish waiting to be put on the menu: our dessert.

One of my all time favourites is Tiramisu, I simply love it! It offers sponge soaked with coffee and brandy, creamy mascarpone and a hint of chocolate – it’s perfect. Lemon Meringue Pie is another promising candidate, packed with citrus juices on a buttery short crust base – delicious! Affogato would be the quickest and easiest solution, a spoonful of vanilla ice cream dropped into hot espresso. A Tarte Tatin, made with pear and star anise instead of apples, is quite a stunner. Although we already have a lemon dessert in this list, I can’t stop myself from adding another one, Maltese Ricotta Pie with Lemon Syrup and Pistachios, a recipe by my friend Essa. It’s so unbelievably scrumptious that I dreamt of it after I tried it the first time. I made it twice this summer while I was in Malta, it’s just too good. I could also make my bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Whipped Cardamom Cream – just leave the cherries out or add a few orange slices instead. Before I include all the cakes and desserts I ever shared on eat in my kitchen, I’ll stop for now and tell you what we will have: Crêpes Suzette! A bottle of Grand Marnier caught my attention and sparked the idea to stick to this sweet French classic to end this exciting year. I tested my recipe to avoid disappointment on this special night but it wasn’t even necessary: The thin crêpes were golden and soft, the syrupy sauce full of orange flavour enhanced by a tasty amount of butter. And it’s also quite spectacular as you can flambée it. We ate it straight out of the pan and wondered why we don’t make this sweet dish more often. (That will change from now on!)

Crêpes Suzette

 

Crêpes Suzette

Crêpes Suzette

For 4 people (makes 8-10 crêpes)

For the crêpes

plain flour, sifted, 130g / 1 cup
granulated sugar 25g / 2 tablespoons
salt 1/8 teaspoon
organic eggs 2
milk 240ml / 1 cup
butter, to bake the crêpes

For the orange sauce

organic orange, rinsed, 1
granulated sugar 60g / 1/3 cup
freshly squeezed orange juice 120ml / 1/2 cup
Grand Marnier 60ml  / 1/4 cup
butter 60g / 1/4 cup
vodka or brandy, to flambée the crêpes (optional)

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk together the ingredients for the crêpes and mix until smooth. Let the batter sit for about 10 minutes.

In a large, heavy or non-stick pan, melt half a teaspoon of butter on medium-high heat. 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 crêpes won’t need more than 30-60 seconds on each side once the heat is set right. When the crêpe is slightly golden on both sides, transfer to a plate, fold it in half twice so that it forms a triangle and set aside. Continue with the remaining batter until you have 8-10 crêpes. You should always melt 1/2 -1 teaspoon of butter in the pan before you bake the next crêpe.

Grate the orange and set the zest aside. To cut the orange into segments, cut off the white pith. Hold the orange in 1 hand and use a small, sharp knife to cut between the membranes and release the segments, set them aside.

For the orange sauce, melt the sugar in a large, deep, heavy pan over high heat. When the sugar is golden brown and caramelized, slowly add the orange juice, Grand Marnier, and 3/4 of the orange zest and turn down the heat to medium-low. Stir and let the caramel melt completely, this will take a couple minutes, then add the butter and let it melt. When the butter is melted, bring to the boil then take off the heat immediately. Add one crêpe after the other to the pan, turning it in the juices and stack them on one side of the pan. Once all the crêpes are in the pan, spread them evenly, garnish with the orange slices and sprinkle with the remaining orange zest.

Optional: Add a generous splash of vodka or brandy to a small saucepan, light it up in the pan and pour it slowly over the hot crêpes, serve immediately.

Crêpes Suzette

 

crepessuzette8

Salmon with a Coriander, White Pepper and Orange Crust

Salmon with Spice and Orange Crust

After a week of daily feasting I need a change in my cooking, some fresh aromas to shake my taste buds a little. Together with my Maltese sister Emma and her boyfriend Mariano we savoured like the Romans, the table was practically piled with paté and cheese, roasts, pies and cookies every day. I need a culinary turnaround to bring back some hot spiciness and light fruitiness to my kitchen. I loved the opulence of December and enjoyed each bite but every feast has its end and I’m definitely ready for that!

I went shopping (the best way to get some inspiration) and seafood was first on my list. I wanted to get a big bag of mussels to steam with fresh fennel, ginger and lots of garlic but a large fillet of salmon changed my plans. It just looked too good so the mussels have to wait. Back home, I took out the mortar, the white peppercorns which I have neglected for months, coriander seeds and an orange. There are tons of oranges in my kitchen at the moment, it looks quite Mediterranean and brings in some brightness to contrast Berlin’s monotonous winter grey. I like to squeeze a couple fruits for our morning juices, grate their skin for almost everything I put into the oven and enjoy their fillets as a snack from morning until midnight. For my salmon, I just used the grated skin mixed with crushed peppercorns and coriander for an aromatic crust. It was strong but the the fish’s pink meat can take it. I find it easiest to brush the salmon with an egg wash before I dip it into the spices, they stick to it and turn into a crunchy topping. I cooked my salmon in a pan but you could also fry it for just a minute and finish it in the oven. For the crust, I used a bit of orange zest to cook with the fish and sprinkled it with half a teaspoon when it was done. Next time I would put the zest on in the end as the little citrus bits can easily turn dark in the pan and most of the flavour came from the fresh zest anyway. The result was spicy and fresh, exactly what I needed on the table!

Salmon with Spice and Orange Crust

 

Salmon with Spice and Orange Crust

 Salmon with Spice and Orange Crust

For 2 hungry people you need

salmon fillet, with skin, 400g / 14 ounces
organic egg, beaten, 1
coriander, crushed in a mortar, 1 tablespoon
white peppercorns, crushed in a mortar, 1/2 tablespoon
orange zest 1/2  – 1 teaspoon
salt
olive oil

Dip the salmon in the egg wash (just the side without skin). Mix the coriander and pepper, spread the spices on the pink side and push them gently into the egg wash.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and cook the salmon on medium heat skin side first. Add a little more oil if necessary and quickly turn the fillet around. Turn the temperature down to a medium-low and cook for just 2 minutes. Turn it around again and finish on the skin side for another 2 minutes or until it’s cooked through. Season with salt and sprinkle the warm crust immediately (in the pan) with orange zest.

If you prefer to cook the salmon in the oven, fry it for a minute on each side before you sprinkle it with orange zest and cook it in the 200°C / 390°F hot oven for about 6-8 minutes depending on the fillet’s thickness.

Salmon with Spice and Orange Crust

 

Salmon with Spice and Orange Crust

A Sicilian Salad with Oranges, Oregano and Olive Oil

Oranges, Oregano + Olive Oil

My friends and family live all over the world. On the big festive days of the year, we spend quite a bit of time on Skype to share the special moments. We talk and laugh and – very often – show each other what we cook for our festive meals. Yesterday, my boyfriend’s mother Jenny, presented a beautiful piece of ham that she had just pulled out of her oven. It looked so tempting! She also told me about the orange tree in her garden in Malta which is sagging with oranges and held a huge box of oranges for me to see. I knew what I would have for lunch today: my Sicilian salad with oranges, oregano and very good olive oil!

I know this combination sounds a bit extraordinary. It is another one of my Sicilian discoveries which I had for breakfast at a little farm in Noto two years ago. They used the oregano which grew on their farm and it was the best oregano I ever had in my life. It was unbelievably good! I never thought there could be such big differences in the taste of oregano.

This salad makes a perfect snack after the last Christmas days of culinary richness – refreshing, light and comfortable. All you need to do is to peel two oranges (including the softer inner skin) and cut them in thick slices. Drizzle some good olive oil on top and sprinkle with dried or fresh oregano and a bit of salt.

Oranges, Oregano + Olive Oil

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