Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lavender fields

by Karolina, 30th September 2012

I love the smell of lavender. I use lavender soap and air freshener. I have lavender on the balcony to remind me of Provence.

unfortunately this is not my garden...
But can you imagine -  I have never tried lavender in the kitchen!
I had to change it quickly...especially seeing some mouth-watering recipes online.
I managed to get dried lavender at the local farmers' market and went back home to experiment :)

So far, so good :) I made lovely lavender creme brulee using this recipe from No onions please.
Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to make any pictures...sorry...

Then I tried it again and again and again in different combinations, using different ingredients...

Today, I wanted to show you my super quick lavender peach tart.
This was my variation on the subject, as I needed some dessert and needed it now!
And that's how this tarte came to life...

Quick peach-lavender tarte

2 peaches (pitted and cut into wedges)
1 pack of puff pastry
1 cup of custard
1 teaspoon of dried lavender

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
Roll out the pastry and fill the tarte (quiche) tin with it. Make little holes with fork or fill the pan with baking beans. Bake the pastry for about 15 minutes until starting to brown.
Fill the pastry with custard and arrange the peaches. Sprinkle the top with lavender.
Put back into the oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Done :)

Final effect was simple, rustic tarte with lovely sweet, peachy interior with delicate flavour of lavender.

Do you cook with lavender? I'll be happy to hear what you've tried to do with lavender.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Keeping the sunshine...

by Karolina, 20th September 2012

I can already feel the autumn's breath on my back. It's close, veeeeeery close.
Evenings are shorter and morning a little chilly. Yes my dears...we have to say goodbye to summer and brace for long cold months.
But i decided to keep a little bit of sunshine with me, to steal tiny sweet ray of summer...

I made apricot jam. With these lovely sunny like gems.
I was inspired by lovely Bea from Bea in the kitchen and her incredible canning skills. She has dozens of amazingly good jam, confiture and marmalade recipes. I'm making her plum-chocolate jam pretty much every year.
This time I decided to combine couple of ideas from her apricot recipes and created my own apricot jam

To usual suspects: apricots and sugar, I added as well cardamon and fresh thyme.
And they cooked...What a smell!!! Amazing!

At the very end I added some almond flakes.
The end effect is really nice.
Sweet and a little tangy at the same time with lovely smell of cardamon and just a tiny hint of thyme.

Are you planning to keep some summer? Tell me how!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Caramelized tomatoes

by Karolina, 10th September 2012

I love tomatoes!
For their sweetness, amazing colour and versatility. I'm great fan of it from caprese to gazpacho.

So it was just natural that I had to try this:

Caramelized tomatoes!!!

Yes, I thought it was a bit of a crazy idea at the beginning. But longer I thought of it more logical (after all it's fruit) and more tempting it was. 

The original recipe and idea comes from Ronelle from My French Kitchen. She makes lovely tomatoes lollipops.

And really it couldn't be easier - simply make caramel and dip your tomatoes :)

Melt 100g of sugar with couple of spoons of water. Do not stir! Just move your pan so the sugar melts evenly. Once caramel is nice and golden (be careful not to burn it!) carefully dip your tomatoes and turn around to cover all of it. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Important - you have to work quickly , otherwise the caramel will harden (if it happens gently reheat the caramel).
Caramel will create lovely, crunchy texture on top of your tomatoes.

My tomatoes were part of the dinner appetizer. I presented it together with basil olive oil, goat cheese covered in almonds & good baguette.

I loved it. Really! Sweetness, different textures, quirky look. For me perfect!

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Charming Chanterelles

by Karolina, 4th September 2012

And it's here- September.
I can't believe how quickly the summer came and went again.
No, I'm not complaining, I don't mind September at all actually. (If the weather is good that is)
It's quite nice when temperatures drop little bit but there's still nice warmth in the air.I love the autumn colours and lovely taste of plums, apples and pears.
But I'm missing already cherries and raspberries and hot weather which gives excuse for another ice-cream :) Can't help it...

Anyway, one of autumn staples recently visited my kitchen :)

And oh boy, what a wonderful guest it was :)
Chanterelles are not the most popular here and finding some with approachable price tag is not easy chore.
But I found them...gorgeous chanterelles!

Yes, I did a lot of mushroom pictures :)
OK, maybe it's strange but I really, really enjoy their shape and beautiful colour (yes, you can call me weirdo :))

These particular batch of chanterelles ended up in simple but nice dinner of polenta with creamy chanterelle sauce. Unfortunately I don't have picture of the ready dish (we were too hungry for making pictures - sorry).

However below picture will give you an idea:
- chanterelles
- bacon
- onion
- sage
- thyme

All this fried quickly on butter added good splash of white wine. Boiled little more and finished with a blob of cream.
Lovely sauce ended up on the bed of polenta with herbs and fresh pepper.

Seriously good stuff, really!
This sauce will be perfect with pasta as well - so give it a try.

Shall we have a one more look at the beautiful mushrooms?
Come on, I know you like it as well :)

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