Chez Luce

Kitchen adventures on Wandsworth Common

Daring Bakers Challenge February 2010: Heaven on a Dessert Plate! February 27, 2010

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Recipe: Tiramisu







The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.


Yes, as you can see this month’s daring bakers challenge was the italian layered dessert, tiramisu. I can’t say I had tried it before and this recipe was a huge undertaking as we not only had to make the sponge fingers, but there was also homemade mascarpone cheese, zabaglione and pastry cream to contend with!
I am so glad I got to try out all these different component parts. The zabaglione originally called for marsala wine but I used kahlua to intensify the coffee taste. I had previously thought that zabaglione wouldn’t really be my ‘thing’, but my god it is so thick and gorgeous, I can’t wait to try it with different flavours.


The first thing that had to be done was bake the savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers). I did some in an onblong shape and some small circular biscuits to ultimately help fill in any gaps in my tiramisu layers. These are incredibly light and take on other flavours well, although I thought they were a bit ‘nothingy’ on their own.




Burger Night February 25, 2010

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Here in the Chez Luce household we take our burgers very seriously. There are no half-measures when it comes to burger night.


I would like to share with you today our painstakingly tested formula for American-style beef burgers, with all the trimmings including home made barbecue sauce and banana milkshakes!


So these are the super-duper additions that really make a Chez Luce burger. I would say they are optional, but I really can’t imagine our burgers without every one of these beauties:


Roasted to the point of being charred, red or yellow peppers
Cheese (Gouda is my personal favourite, but have used cheddar and emmental and all have turned out melty and gorgeous)
Round lettuce leaves
Sliced beef tomato
Barbecue sauce (recipe below)
and Mayonnaise, copious amounts of mayonnaise.


Serve with the TV show of your choice (we chose series 7 of ’24’ but I would also recommend Chuck or 30 Rock…)

p.s. if you are a grown up and you fancy a beer with your burger rather than a milkshake, why not pay a visit to this awesome blog?





A ‘delicious’ salad February 22, 2010

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Recipe: Hot crumbed baby mozzarella, roasted beetroot and potato salad







I may not have mentioned (although it is quite easy to guess) that in addition to being a cookery book addict, I am also a loyal subscriber to a few monthly food magazines. I have recently started getting a bit disappointed when each month I open my new issue and seem to see the same old things come up time and time again, and I have been left feeling a bit uninspired by articles that a couple of years ago would have had me brimming with new ideas.


Well, not so this month! The March 2010 Delicious magazine is in danger of becoming so caked in flour, grease, and vegetable peelings that it in itself will start to look like an appetising meal… I may have to buy a backup copy…


Anywho, we decided to make a whole week’s worth of recipes from the magazine and they didn’t disappoint. By far our favourite new meal is a (yes another…) wintery salad, we are so into these right now. I do use the term ‘salad’ loosely, as although there is some greenery there, there is also a deep-fried element to this dish. Ladies and gentlemen, I am referring to breaded mozzarella, my new best friend (Well actually we have a bit of a love-hate relationship but that’s a story for another day…).


Without further ado, I present to you the Hot crumbed baby mozzarella, roasted beetroot and potato salad.




Tinned Tomatoes on Toast February 21, 2010

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There has been a lot of talk about tinned tomatoes on toast on twitter recently. I must admit I had never heard of this snack, much to the disappointment of my live-in photographer Dan.


I thought I would give it a try and it was delicious! I’m pretty sure the original British comfort food is just the tomatoes on white bread, nothing added, but I thought I would give them a little kick with some dried chilli, herbs and confit garlic.


They were so good, on some toasted, buttered olive bread, that they gave me a bit of a hankering for other tinned-goods-on-toast. Anyone for spaghetti hoops?




Pretty in Pink – a sorbet for v-day February 14, 2010

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Recipe: Rhubarb and Ginger sorbet







I think I forgot to mention that I was given the BEST PRESENT EVER this Christmas, a Cuisinart Professional Ice Cream Maker. As we don’t have a proper freezer (it’s big enough for 2 containers of ice cream and a bag of frozen peas) I just *had* to have one of the ones with the integral freezer, and it’s amazing! It has often been referred to an investment rather than a gift for me, due to the sheer amount of desserts I have been churning out (hah!).


Apparently, I have now been made into something of an ice cream snob. Homemade ice cream is in a different league to store bought, we had some Haagen Dazs the other day and were commenting on how thin it was. And I used to think that was some of the best ice cream you could get.


In addition to making thick, rich ice creams, we have also tried a couple of sorbets. All of the recipes I have tried so far are from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, a book I would recommend to anyone interested in making their own frozen desserts.


I saw some lovely pink (cheap) rhubarb in the market and knew it would make a flavoursome sorbet. After cooking down with some sugar, water and chopped root ginger, I pureéd the rhubarb with the juice of a lime. I churned it in the trusty machine and after 40 minutes I had a lovely, rose-coloured smooth sorbet. The ginger really peps it up and the sorbet isn’t too sweet. I think it would go really well with a creamy dessert such as a panna cotta or a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream.

p.s. Happy Valentine’s day everyone x




Go-to meal for a weeknight – Mediterranean Aubergine and Couscous Salad February 9, 2010

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Recipe: Mediterranean Aubergine and Couscous Salad


More often than not, one of our weeknight meals will consist of some roasted vegetables, a soft grain (pearl barley, short grain brown rice, couscous…) and some houmous or grilled halloumi. It’s a quick dish that can be thrown together quickly; the veg just need chucking in the oven for 40 minutes, if you use couscous it’s ready in 10 minutes’ soaking, and a few little extras make for a delicious meal that’s great for lunch the next day too.


I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen the other day when I was food-gawking (ok I spend a lot of time doing this…) and it is slightly different to what I normally do so I thought i’d give it a go.  And I was very impressed! I served it with Halloumi first, and added a spoonful of houmous (pictured) the next day for lunch.


It really is worth letting the veg get caremelised around the edges to intensify the savoury flavour, so leave them in for a bit longer than you would normally. Also, I do find raw sliced onions very harsh, so I soaked the slices in lemon juice for 15 minutes while the vegetables cooked to mellow them a little. It just seems to take some of the ‘onionyness’ away.


Now if only the weather in Britain matched the summery flavours of this dish!




Elevenses February 4, 2010

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Recipe: Coffee and Walnut Cake


Nigel slater said he would have this coffee and walnut cake for his last meal on earth, and I would be inclined to agree. But I can’t have it with a cup of coffee, oh no. It has to be tea. Proper, English, tea and cake.




Give it a try, I swear it is one of the best stress relievers… And don’t give me any of that green tea nonsense. English breakfast only.