Chez Luce

Kitchen adventures on Wandsworth Common

Daring Bakers Challenge October 2010 (part 2): Churro Madness! October 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 1:00 pm

Recipe: Churros



So I decided to make a second attempt at this month’s DB challenge. I have had cravings for crispy, sugary churros dunked in hot chocolate sauce since having them for breakfast at this year’s Glastonbury Festival (what?! of course churros are a legitimate breakfast food!).


I wasn’t sure if it was a dish I could recreate at home, but the recipe for these sticks of cholesterol-building goodness was actually really easy, just flour, salt, butter and water. Thinking about it, this is dangerously easy because pretty much everyone keeps these ingredients on hand at all times!


It turned out I also already had the perfect piping equipment to make the distinctive churro shape, it seemed the star (nozzles) had aligned in my favour and there was no way I was getting out of making them now…


A bit of mixing, resting, piping, frying and dusting later and ta-dah! DELICIOUS churros.



Of course I had to make a chocolate sauce to go with, and as luck would have it Mr Ramsay helpfully provided a recipe alongside the churro instructions. The sauce (which was really a warm ganache) was spiced with orange, vanilla, chilli and cinnamon and was really beautiful (not to mention rich, eek!)



I much preferred my second attempt at the DB challenge to the regular doughnuts, perhaps it was the memories of muddy fields, searing sunshine and loud music that came flooding back, but I suspect it was the simplicity of this amazing recipe. I think everyone should try making their own churros, but be careful, you might get hooked too!



Adapted from Gordon Ramsay @ Channel 4

250g plain flour
Pinch of salt
50g unsalted butter
200ml water

For the hot chocolate:

150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) plus extra for grating
300ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, split
2” stick cinnamon
¼ red chilli, unchopped
1 orange, 3-4 pieces of peel only

For the sugar and cinnamon:

Approx 50g caster sugar for dusting
Approx 3 tsp ground cinnamon

300ml vegetable oil for deep frying
Sturdy piping bag with a star nozzle

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the water and bring to the boil. Straight away pour this into the flour and mix using an electric whisk to make a smooth paste. The finished paste should slowly drop from the whisk; if the mixture is too dry, add up to 3 tablespoons of warm water to loosen the mixture slightly. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
To make the spiced chocolate break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl; heat the double cream in a saucepan with the vanilla pod, cinnamon stick, orange peel and chilli and bring to the boil. Strain the peel and spices from the cream onto the broken pieces of chocolate. Stir until the heat from the hot cream has melted the chocolate completely.
Mix caster sugar and some ground cinnamon on a plate to roll the churros through once cooked.
Spoon the churros paste into a sturdy piping bag fitted with star nozzle and chill until ready to use. Heat vegetable oil in a deep fat fryer or heavy bottomed pan to 180°C. Deep fry the churros a few at a time: pipe out 3-4 inch lengths directly into the hot oil and deep fry for approximately 4 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
Remove the crispy churros with a slotted spoon and drain any excess oil. Place the drained churros directly onto the plate of sugar and cinnamon and coat generously while they are still warm.


Daring Bakers Challenge October 2010 (part 1): Let’s Go Nuts for Doughnuts!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 12:01 am

Recipe: Apple Custard Doughnuts



The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.


Ohmygosh doughnuts are amazing! Everything we aren’t supposed to eat, deep fried and covered in sugar… mmmmmm… Needless to say I was pretty pleased with this month’s challenge. So pleased, in fact, that I decided to try it twice! See here for my other attempt.


I decided to follow the yeast doughnut recipe from Alton Brown, but I added some cinnamon to the dough (which already included nutmeg). I found the dough to be really sticky, perhaps I added too much liquid, so it was really difficult to work with. After rising, however, I rolled it out with plenty of flour and the doughnut shapes came out okay.


After a second rest, my doughnuts were ready to fry.



After cooling (as much as Miss Impatient here could stand), it was time to fill. For the filling, which I piped in (with MUCH difficulty), I decided to make an apple filling (kind of like the stuff in Mr Kipling apple pies) and add to it some rich vanilla custard – store bought, please don’t tell!! The apple filling was made with dessert apples, calvados, sugar, more cinamon and a cornflour-water mix. It tasted awesome, and had a great texture, but there is literally no way to make it look good in a photo! Here goes:



After filling I rolled the doughnuts in caster sugar and they were done. My next challenge was to hold off scoffing them all while we took a few photos…



Thank you Lori for this awesome challenge!


Yeast Doughnuts

Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.


Apple Filling

1 dessert apple, finely diced
2 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
small knob of butter
1 tbsp calvados
1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with 3 tbsp water

Fry the apples gently with the butter, sugar and cinnamon until soft. Add the calvados and boil off the alcohol. Mix in the cornflour mix and stir until thick. Add more water as needed to reach the desired consistency.


Autumn Soup – Jerusalem Artichoke and Roasted Garlic October 6, 2010

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I made this soup quite some time ago, but then left it a few weeks before posting… then another few weeks… and before I knew it, Jerusalem Artichokes were out of season. But their time has come again, I spied some on a market stall lat week so I think that warrants finally posting the recipe!



I found this recipe on the excellent website The British Larder. The photography on the site is so beautiful that it made me want to make pretty much everything on there (which would prove difficult in the absence of extensive sous-vide equpiment!). However, I came across this Artichoke and Garlic soup which was actually really easy to make.


The deeply caremelised and savoury artichokes and onions, combined with the smoky sweetness of the roasted garlic, made for amazing depth of flavour for something so beige! I urge you to try it, you will not be disappointed…



Jerusalem Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Soup
Adapted from The British Larder

For the Garlic

1 bulb of garlic
1tbs light brown sugar
1tbs water
Maldon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut the garlic bulb in half, place the salt and sugar in a small bowl and then dip the cut side of the garlic in the sugar salt mixture.

Place the remaining salt and sugar mix in two heaps on a lined baking tray and divide the water between the two heaps, place the garlic cut side down onto the tray, cover with foil and roast for 25 minutes, if the sugar caramel looks like burning add a drop of water and continue the cooking until the garlic is tender.

Let the roasted garlic cool.


For the Soup

500g Jerusalem Artichokes, peeled and sliced
1/2 of roasted garlic bulb, soft pulp only
1 banana shallot, sliced
1tbs unsalted butter
50ml Brandy, Madeira or white wine
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1L vegetable stock
Cream, thyme and olive oil, to serve.

Pop the soft cooled roasted garlic cloves out of the skins, discard the skins. Prepare the Jerusalem artichokes by peeling and slicing them, slice the peeled banana shallot.

Heat a large saucepan with the butter, once the butter starts to foam add the sliced banana shallot, garlic pulp and the sliced Jerusalem artichokes with a little bit of seasoning. Saute until golden brown, the darker the artichokes and onions the deeper and more intense the flavour will be. Season the soup a little at a time to prevent over seasoning.

Once the artichokes and onions are golden to dark brown deglaze the pan with the brandy, cook until the caramelised parts dissolve and the brandy is reduced to a syrup, coating the chokes.

Add the vegetable stock and bring the soup to a gentle simmer with a lid covering the pan. Gently simmer the soup for 25 – 30 minutes.

Blend the soup until very smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. I used my thermomix and blended the soup for two minutes at speed 10, the powerful machine made my soup velvety and creamy, the finer the soup is blended the better the flavour, any blender will be equally as good.

Serve piping hot garnished with thyme leaves bashed together with olive oil and salt, and a swirl of cream.

Serves 4/6


I <3 Anchovies October 1, 2010

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Today I want to share with you a gorgeous, oniony, sweet-salty creation called Pissaladière. It is a french version of pizza, using soft caremelised onions as the sauce, and topped with anchovies and (usually) olives.


A couple of years ago, I would have turned my nose up at the thought of olives and anchovies, but it just goes to show how tastes can change (or perhaps palates can be educated?) because now I cant get enough of either of them!


I like to serve this as a weeknight supper or saturday lunch, although it takes a couple of hours in total including proving the bread dough and caremelising the onions, there is actually very little work that goes into the dish for such amazing results.


To serve, I made a quick salad of lettuce, grated beetroot, sliced radishes and mixed sprouted seeds; dresed with a mustard vinaigrette.


If you think you don’t like anchovies, or don’t like the idea of putting little fish fillets on a pizza, I urge you to try this recipe – it may well change your mind, too 🙂



Adapted from BBC Good Food

200g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp easy blend dried yeast
150ml warm water
5 tbsp olive oil , plus extra for drizzling
1kg onions , thinly sliced
a few sprigs of thyme
2 tomatoes , skinned and chopped
1 can anchovy fillets, drained, fat ones halved lengthways
a handful of black olives (optional)

Tip the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl. Pour in the water, spoon in the oil and mix to a soft dough. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave it to rise for 45 minutes to 1¼ hours or until the dough springs back when pressed. Don’t worry too much is it takes more or less time.
While the dough is rising, heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan or sauté pan, throw in the onions and fry gently for about 10 minutes until softened but not browned, stirring from time to time.
Sprinkle in the thyme and some salt and pepper, then tip in the tomatoes and stir well. Cover and cook gently for 45 minutes until the onions are meltingly soft, stirring occasionally and removing the lid for the last 10 minutes to reduce any liquid. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C. Lightly oil a shallow 23x33cm baking tin or tray. Knead the dough again briefly, then roll it out and press it into the tin. Don’t leave it to rise again.
Spread the onion mixture over the dough, then arrange the anchovies on top, making a criss-cross pattern. Stud each window between the anchovies with an olive (if using), then bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Serve warm, cold or reheated, cut into squares.