Chez Luce

Kitchen adventures on Wandsworth Common

Up, up and away! November 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 8:25 am
Tags: , , , , ,


I recently found myself with a little time on my hands, and decided to attempt something a little more adventurous than usual, a cheese soufflé. Well, actually, as this recipe is baked twice it takes all the panic factor out of soufflé-making so it was perfect for a beginner like me!

The basic principle of a cheese souffé is to make a roux sauce, enrich it with egg yolks, and then fold in stiffly whipped egg whites to make the soufflé rise.

Making the roux and folding in the egg whites

The mixture is placed in buttered ramekins and baked until pale gold and risen. Mine rose a little bit unevenly, but with this recipe the soufflés are turned on their heads therefore crushing down most of the first rise.



Rainy Sunday November 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 6:05 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Recipe: Plum crumble shortbread

It’s a nasty day today.  You know, the kind of day when it rains so much you can hear car alarms being set off. The kind of day when the last thing on your mind is venturing into the gloomy, grey outside world. Luckily, I don’t have to because it’s Sunday, so what better thing to do than bake something warm and golden to bring a bit of cheer into what is otherwise a dismal day!

I bought a punnet of plums last week with the intention of using them just to snack on, but as we are at the end of plum season they were a bit mealy, sour and generally a bit tasteless. So I decided to cook them down to a thick compote and use this for a fruity filling in some shortbread biscuits.

I used a basic shortbread recipe with some cornflour to enhance the crispness of the base.

Butter and sugar for shortbread

As the shortbread and topping are quite sweet, I added some lemon juice and zest to the plums to make the sourness more pronounced, together with a pinch of cinnamon to give the compote a warm autumnal taste. (more…)


Slowly does it November 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 9:10 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Recipe: Beef Rendang







A few months ago, I bought a new cookbook to add to my (admittedly already huge) collection: Curries: Over 200 of the Best Recipes. This is designed as a student cookery book, and is laid out very simply with one recipe per page and no photographs. (Hardly detrimental to a book about curries, as they don’t really look particularly appetising!)


We went through a phase of picking out a different curry to try each week, with some brilliant results. The Malaysian Fish Curry was delicious, as well as some of the vegetarian dishes. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone wishing to learn about making curry pastes from scratch, although maybe not purists as I suspect the authenticity of some well known dishes may be lacking.


By far the best dish we have sampled from this book, however, is the slowly simmered Beef Rendang. We have made this both on the hob and in the slow cooker, and it has turned out great both times. This is a lovely dinner to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon, when we made it last we shoved it in the slow cooker and went to the cinema. When we returned home our little flat smelled amazing!




Lazy breakfast November 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 11:53 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Recipe: Smoked Haddock Kedgeree









One thing I love about having a week off work, aside from the obvious, is the chance to make proper breakfasts. Well, rather, brunches by the time I have woken up.

One of my favourite things to have at any time of the day is a kedgeree made with smoked haddock and soft boiled eggs. I first tried kedgeree on a beautiful early morning at Glastonbury Festival, made with hot smoked slamon from the Goan Seafood Company. I was a total convert to fish breakfasts from the first bite.


Pls ignore dirty hob!



Birthday treats part 2 November 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 9:41 am
Tags: , , ,

Recipe: Classic Cupcakes

cupcakes 1







The other thing I decided to make for my work birthday treats was a tray of pastel coloured cupcakes. OK so I am jumping on the bandwagon A LOT by making these, but I guess I just wanted to see if I could make cupcakes as lovely looking as the ones for sale all over London.

I just made a simple vanilla sponge in the processor, I find that when I make cakes this way they tend to rise very little, which is ideal really for applying copious amounts of buttercream!

I made an icing with butter and icing sugar, again in the processor (I was doing this really late at night, ok?!). I didn’t use a recipe as such, I just added about 2 spoonfuls of sugar to every spoonful of butter until I had what looked like enough for 12 cakes. The butter was fridge-cold to start with, and made an excellent textured icing to pipe straight away.



I like the ones in the brown cases, what do you think?



Birthday treats part 1 November 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 11:04 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Recipe: Fruit and nut flapjacks Fruit and nut flapjacks 2

Having earned my title as ‘the office Nigella’ over the last year and a half, I thought i’d better live up to my name and bring in something home-baked for my birthday rather than just going to M&S like everyone else.

The first thing I decided to make was flapjacks. After a root around in the cupboard I found some blanched almonds, hazelnuts, dried cranberries and sultanas to add to the basic flapjack mix.

I toasted the nuts in the oven to bring out the flavour . Well, they were on the well-done side of toasted, because I shoved them in the oven and promptly forgot they were in there. It was only when I went to put something else in that i discovered them just about to burn! Anyway, I melted the butter with the golden syrup and poured the mixture into a bowl with the oats, sugar, fruit and nuts. After a quick mix they were ready to bake.

When the pan came out the oven I was convinced I hadn’t added enough of the wet mixture to bind the oats as it seemed far too crumbly, but after cooling it had gained a bit more integrity and could be sliced up into sticky, delicious squares.

All in all, I had great reviews from my work colleagues and would purposefully use this mixture of fruit and nuts next time.

Oh yeah… and because I had to provide snacks for the whole office floor, I had to go to M&S anyway.

Fruit and nut flapjacks 1 (more…)


Autumn Supper November 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 8:56 pm
Tags: , , , ,

A colourful meal with lots of earthy seasonal components, This dish from Maria Elia’s ‘The Modern Vegetarian: Food Adventures for the Contemporary Palate: Over 120 Recipes to Wake Up Your Palate‘ is super delicious and healthy, too!

The mushrooms are hidden under green lentils with onions and garlic in an aromatic vinaigrette containing sesame oil, soy and rice vinegar. Tied up into an individual portion in paper and baked in the oven with some beetroot, it smells amazing when the parcel is unwrapped!  Add coriander and fresh mozzerella once it’s out of the oven and there you have it. Lovely.

Mushroom, Beetroot, Mozzarella with a Lentil Cartouche

From Maria Elia's 'Modern Vegetarian'