Saturday, 31 October 2009

Home baked croissants

I needed something to cheer me up on a cold october day. The thought of French Provence and lovely boulangeries always warms my mind, that's why I decided to bake croissants and bring even a little piece of France into my home and into cold Finland. I found an proportionally quick recipe, because as you might know baking croissants isn't the quickiest thing to do. I know these weren't the same than in France, but really delicious in spite of that. It was wonderful when the fresh and warm croissant almost melted in the mouth, I can't even describe how good it was! My family loved these too. I really recommend baking these, and it really doesn't take that much time and it's fun. 

makes 16

2 dl cold milk
50 g fresh yeast
1 egg
1 tsp salt or little less (if you use salted butter you need to add less salt)
6 dl plain wheat flour
200 g butter

and one egg for buttering

1. Steep the yeast into the cold milk. Add the egg, salt and the flour. Put the dough into the fridge for 20 minutes. 
2. Roll the dough into a square plate. Spread the butter in thin pieces on the other side of the plate, fold the other side on the other and roll into a squarevplate. Fold the dough three times and put to the fridge for 30 minutes. 
3. Roll the dough again into a square plate and fold three times. Do the same thing about three or for times, to make a smooth, even dough. Put the dough into the fridge for 15 minutes.
4. Deal the dough into two. Roll the pieces into round plates. Deal the round plate into eight triangle shaped pieces. Roll the triangles from the wider side into a croissant and bend into the shape of an horn.
5. Let the horns rise in the room temperature under a kitchen towel. Whisk the egg in a cup and butter the croissants with the egg. Put the croissants into a 250 °C oven and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. 

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Greetings from Côte d´Azur

I spent seven days in French Provence on my autumn holidays. We stayed in a hotel in Cannes and drove around with the car we rented. It was a perfect week with perfect food, every morning we walked to the nearby boulangerie and bought some fresh baked croissants and a baguette, ate them with french cheese and peach confiture, what could be better? And of course we ate in restaurants every day, and I drank my favourite water Evian all the time (I was living a dream) and everything was so good! From the little street cafes, crêperies we bought crêpes and they were absolutely delicious too. On this journey I ate my frist crème brûlée, which from I was very proud. So I have to say that I was in a French food heaven for a week, and now I'm trying to get used to the idea of being back here in Finland, far from the fresh quality ingredients and far from the French cuisine...It's tough. But I'll cope with it. 

Now I'm going to show you some pictures from my journey.  Above the text you can see orangetree or somehing like that, it's from a small orangetree garden.  The next pictures with fish and the salads and fruits are from Forville market from Cannes. It was amazing how you could buy fresh ingredients and enjoy them, myself I bought kaki fruits and apples and they tasted so real and clean. From the market you could also buy honey, cheese, meat, sausages, different kinds of mushrooms, fresh herbs, flowers etc. I wish we had that kind of markets in Finland too. 

These two pictures with the candies and sweets are from a small mountain village called Gourdon. You could buy local specialities, like caramel du beaurre and different kinds of nougat from small shops. There was also a little bakery, which selled pain d´epices and other pastry. Of course they were delicious. 

These two pictures are from an Italian restaurant in Nice. My friend recommended this restaurant called Geppetto, and I have to say that it was one of the best restaurants on my journey. The atmosphere was so warm and cosy and it felt like we were guests there, and the food was excellent. I ate spinach and ricotta filled raviolis with cremy truffel sauce. It's the second picture. The other one is gnocchi with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.  It's not even necessary to tell you, if it was good. Because it was SO GOOD. And as you can see the plates were wonderful and big, and the idea to bring the gnocchi in a pan to the table was very funny and I think different in a good way. If you go to Nice, I advice you to go to Geppetto, it's eally worth visiting. It's not far from the rue Massena and the beach, and it's near the Museum of Modern Art in Nice. The address is rue Gioffredo 5. 

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Falafel Burgers with Pitta Bread

For a while I've been dreaming about making these falafel burgers. I found the recipe in a GoodFood magazine, and was delighted that there were so many vegetarian recipes in the same magazine. I changed the recipe a bit, added more garlic etc. I love chickpeas and I love pitta bread, so making these burgers was really a joy (and easy)! And think that self-made pitta bread is absolutely better than the one you can buy, so I really recommend for you to try making them! I have to say that the burgers succeeded very well, ant that I was fully satisfied, they had a nice spicy kick and the salsa gave a wonderful flavour to the whole thing. Soooo gooood!

Falafel Burgers
(serves 4)

about 500g chickpeas (two cans)
1 red onion, roughly chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
handful of curly parsley
1 tsp each ground cumin and coriander
1/2 tsp chilipowder
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp olive oil
fresh pitta bread, tomato salsa, green salad, rucola, red pepper in slices, tomato in slices and cucumber in slices to serve (I think you could also add some guacamole and creme fraiche)

1. Pat the chickpeas dry with kithen paper. Tip into a food processor along with the onion, garlic, parsley, spices, flour and a little bit of salt.
2. Blend until fairly smooth, the shape into four patties with your hands.
3. Heat the oil i a non-stick frying pan. add the burgers then quickly fry for 3-5 minutes each side until lightly golden.

4. Serve with pittas, green salad, fres vegetables, tomato salsa (guacamole and creme fraiche)

Pitta bread
(8 breads)

2,5 dl water
25 g fresh yeast
0,5 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
about 5,5-6,5 dl white flour
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Warm the oven into 250 °C. Warm the water so that it's the temperature of your hand. Steep the yeast into the warmed water and add salt and sugar. Add the flour and beat the dough at the same time. The last, add the oil.
2. Let the dough rise so it doubles.
3. Share the dough into 8 balls and roll them into thin round breads. Let them rise on a baking sheet and then bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes until ready (the breads rise in the oven and become like balls, and they should get a light color, but you have to be careful and not to burn them)