Chez Luce

Kitchen adventures on Wandsworth Common

Afternoon Tea June 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 7:59 am
Tags: , , , ,

Recipe: Madeleines



Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m a hoarder.


I go to cookware shops. A Lot. I obsessively browse the internet for deals on cake tins, cookery gadgets and things that would look pretty in photos.


This is what led me to purchase a mini madeleine pan, despite never having tasted a madeleine in my life and so not knowing if I actually liked them. That was, until, we visited Texture. Texture is a beautiful restaurant in London where Agnar Sverrisson serves amazing flavours in an exciting way. If you go there, make sure you try the crispy fish skin, it’s yummy! Anyway… where was I… Oh yeah the madeleines! When we received our petits fours at the end of the mammoth tasting menu, the star of the show was undoutably a pistachio madeleine, buttery and still warm from the oven. I remembered that I had the pan gathering dust on a precariously stacked shelf at home, and immediately planned to make some of my own.


I decided to go with a more traditional recipe, and I was certainly not disappointed. I followed the recipe to the letter and could not have been more pleased with the results!




Green is Good! April 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 7:22 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Recipe: Green Pancakes with lime butter


Waiting for post to be delivered is so infuriating, don’t you think?


After scraping together the funds to treat myself to a new cookbook, this time the much-awaited Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, I happily placed my order online. It was only then I realised that I don’t want to wait 3-5 business days! I want to start cooking now!


In the meantime, I am being placated by the extract of the book published in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago, which includes some beautiful looking recipes. The one that caught my eye the most was a brunch recipe (yes, i’m a sucker for anything remotely brunch-y…) of light tender pancakes flavoured with fresh spinach, spring onion, chilli and a zingy and aromatic lime butter. What’s not to like?


Served with grilled halloumi and wild rocket, this dish really surpassed my (high) expectations and I am even more hungry for my parcel to come!




Daring Bakers Challenge April 2010: Traditional British Pudding April 27, 2010

Recipe: Sussex Pond Pudding






The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.


My previous forays into the world of suet have been entirely casserole-and-dumpling-based, so it was interesting to try something new and use suet in a dessert. It was a shame though, as we have been having unseasonable warm and sunny weather in England, that the challenge wasn’t to make something a little lighter!


I decided to go for a Sussex Pond Pudding, as I do like citrus desserts, and got the recipe from good old Delia. Can’t really go wrong with that…


The little brown bits, which you can see in the suet crust, are pieces of grain from the only bread I had left!


The pudding tasted good, if a little heavy for the beautiful sunny day we were having. Thanks for the challenge, Esther!




Rhubarb and Custard reunited April 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 12:11 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Recipe: Melting Moments


You may remember some time ago I made some rhubarb sorbet to celebrate valentine’s day. Well, the poor sorbet has been dwindling away since then, and although it has been served with a few desserts, including one of it’s very best friends panna cotta, it refused to give up the ghost. Until now, that is.

Rhubarb has been reunited with it’s oldest friend, custard, in these beautiful buttery melting moments.

The custard gives the biscuits a lovely sunny yellow colour, and they literally melt in the mouth. Rather unfortunately for our arteries, the two of us managed to finish the batch of melting moments, together with all the remaining rhubarb sorbet, within one day. And if that isn’t recommendation enough, I don’t know what is.




Feeling nostalgic for your childhood in France? April 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 5:52 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Recipe: Apple Tart ‘Maman Blanc’




…no, me either. But this tart sure looked lovely when I saw Raymond Blanc making it on his most recent series, ‘Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets.’

What I enjoy most about this programme, yeah, maybe even more than the presence of desserts served in their own edible chocolate or praline bowls, is the top-notch glowering of Raymond’s world-weary assistant, Adam. He seriously looks like every time he is asked to plug something in, or to get a bigger whisk, he is quietly plotting Monsieur Blanc’s demise. I just hopes he reaches breaking point when the cameras are still rolling.

Anyway, schadenfreude aside, this tart is delicious! As made by the famous Maman Blanc, the pastry is beautifully crisp and the apples soft and buttery. A welcome departure from our usual tarte tatin. Give it a try!




Daring Bakers Challenge March 2010: Orange Tian March 27, 2010

Recipe: Orange Tian






The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.


Once again, this was not a dessert I had come across before, but had so much fun coming up with possible flavour combinations! For the uninitiated, here is Jennifer’s description of a Tian…


“The dessert is made of different layers: a pate sablée with orange marmalade, a flavoured whipped cream topped with fresh orange segments and served with a caramel and orange sauce.”


…which pretty much sums it up. The dessert is a beautifully light and refreshing with all its orangeyness, however the buttery pastry disc and whipped cream mean it’s an indulgent pud as well. I loved the tian, and would definitely make them for a smart dinner party. I didn’t make marmalade from scratch, as I still have loads left from when I made a batch earlier this year (you can see how I did it here).




Brunch time March 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saigon-Bites @ 2:56 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Recipe: Chilli Cheese Scones


I was going to make Joy the Baker’s carrot cake pancakes for this sunday brunch, but for once I felt like I couldnt handle what was essentially a dessert before lunch time. A rarity, I know.  Instead, I had the ingredients kicking around for some simple scones, which when eaten fresh from the oven (just cool enough to handle) are so comforting and were just what I fancied.


It’s kind of a sunny day today, like spring is finally on its way, and the radishes and beets have just started sprouting in our little window-box garden. It’s making me long for summer, when we can crank up the Paul Simon’s Graceland (best. summer cd. ever.) and go strawberry picking at the crack of dawn…


But, in the meantime, the sunny flavours of chilli, spring onion and cayenne pepper will keep me smiling.