Coconut bites (“Congolais”)

congolais_coconut cake

Coconut bites (“Congolais”) The coconut bites were one of my favorite treat as a child. And I still think it’s really enjoyable. The recipe is extremely simple and quick. A homemade 4 o’clock in just a minute. I tried to use a pastry bag to shape the bites but the texture is really thick. It might work if you have a big tip. Otherwise, just have fun – with or without kids – shaping them with hands.

Ingredients (for 18 coconut bites):

  • 150g/5,3oz grated coconut
  • 100g/3,5oz sugar
  • 3 egg whites

Directions: Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F Mix all the ingredients together. – Optional: Christophe Felder, French pastry chef, recommends to cook the ingredients for 10 minutes in a bain-marie before cooking in the oven. It reduces the oven cooking time and help keeping the cake’s heart more tender. – Make some small pyramids and shape the bites as you like. Place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cook for 15 minutes.

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Cheese & garlic stuffed mushrooms

cheese stuffed mushrooms_001

White mushrooms, also called champignons de Paris in France, have an important place in French gastronomy. Very few of them are now grown in Paris and I’ve met one of the last mushroom grower in Paris, Angel Moioli. He’s surely distributing some of the best mushrooms around here, including healthy Shiitake. If you have the opportunity to pass by someday, here is the address where you can buy directly the mushrooms from the farm : at the crossing of avenue Général de Gaulle avenue and rue Jean Macé, 78360 Montesson.

My top three for eating this white mushrooms are raw, in a hot creamy soup and stuffed with cheese and garlic. That last is super easy to make and make a delicious appetizer or starter. If you want it even more simple and can find classic ©Boursin in your supermarket, you can stuff directly the mushrooms with it, cook and serve.

Cheese and garlic stuffed mushrooms

Ingredients (4 serving) :

  • 12-16 white mushrooms
  • 150g/5,3oz ricotta
  • 1 garlic clove
  • chives and/or parsley
  • salt & Pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Wash, peel if necessary and cut the edge of the stems. Remove the stems from the mushrooms, chope and set aside.

Peel and chope the garlic finely as well as the chives. Mix the ricotta, chopped garlic, chives and mushroom stems. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste.

Fill the mushrooms caps with the ricotta mixture.

Place in an oven dish and cook for 20 minutes.

Champignonniere-Les-Carierres

Potatoes, peas and artichokes spring salad

Potatoes, peas and artichokes spring salad_002

Oh spring, your sunny raining days! I love when it becomes so delicious to go 5 fruits and vegetables per day. I love when spring is green in my plate. The color is so important to make an attractive dish . For green vegetables, there is only one thing to do : cook the vegetables and plunge them directly afterward into iced water to fix the chlorophyll. I also heard that cooking them into sparkling water worked too but never tried.

Potatoes, peas and artichokes spring salad (about 30 minutes)

Ingredients (4 servings) : 

  • 300g/7oz young potatoes
  • 2 artichokes
  • 200g/10,5oz peas
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 salad
  • 15-20 leaves of basil
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 lemon

Directions:

  1. Rinse and brush the young potatoes. Steam for 25 minutes.
  2. Turn the artichokes. Steam for 15 minutes.
  3. Steam the peas for 10 minutes. Plunge directly into iced water to fix the chlorophyll.
  4. Peel and slice the onion. Cook for 1-2 minutes in a pan.
  5. Rinse the salad. Cut the potatoes and artichokes in small pieces.
  6. In a bowl (or arrange directly in the plate for a better presentation), mix the salad, potatoes, peas, artichokes, onions and finely cut basil. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper (+ garlic if you like it too).

Potatoes, peas and artichokes spring salad_001 Potatoes, peas and artichokes spring salad_003

Easy caramel syrup

Caramel syrup_003

The first time I tried to make caramel, it was just a disaster. I met a chef once who shared a recipe that required making a caramel. He told me to start by heating sugar in a pan without anything else: no water, no lemon juice, nothing. First step went fine and the caramel was just turning the right color. This is when I had to add the fruit juice. And I did. The caramel just went solid as a rock. I was lucky not being burned by the splashes. So I concluded this was not the right way. In fact I just didn’t pour enough liquid and was not patient enough to see the solid dissolve in the liquid. I learned afterwards that sugar start to caramelize only when water is missing so the chemical reaction makes the magic. So the more water you add, the longer you wait. Although, I find it easier to use some water at start. Since this first bad experience with caramel, I made it right all the time from salted butter caramel to syrup. I take this easy caramel syrup recipe from my mother in law. She gets so many treasures in her cookbooks… This one is great because it’s simple and you can keep it for two months stored in a dry place.

Easy caramel syrup recipe

Caramel syrup

 Ingredients

  • 500g/17,6oz sugar
  • 12cl + 25cl/4fl.oz.+8fl.oz water
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar

Directions

In a pan, heat the sugar, 12cl of water and vinegar over low heat. The sugar dissolves, the syrup makes bubbles and then turns brown after approx. 30 minutes. The color is important because if its two dark, the caramel will taste bitter and if not brown enough it won’t be tasty. When the caramel hits the right color, pour by far 25cl of boiling water with caution. The syrup spits. Just wait for one more minute for the caramel to dissolve in the water. Remove from heat and let it cool before pouring it in a waterproof container.

Store in a dry place and keep it for two months. Use to flavor yogurt, milky rice, caramel cream or coat ice cream.

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The most Parisian sandwich : grilled salmon club sandwich

Parisian grilled salmon sandwich_002Most of the time, I just like to make quick and simple dish for dinner. And what is easier than a sandwich ? According to TNS Sofres, the most popular dish in Paris is grilled salmon coming first before the fillet of duck breast, the most popular dish in France. Also for the most Parisian sandwich, I imagined a salmon club sandwich revisited. I used a low carb yogurt sauce for a healthy and diet-friendly recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 once piece of salmon, preferably wild, bones removed
  • 2 tablespoons of yogurt/fromage blanc
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 pinch of 4 spices mix (nutmeg, peppercorn, ginger, cloves)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Sliced rye bread
  • Chives
  • Red mustard leaves (or salad)
  • Olive oïl

Parisian grilled salmon sandwich_004

Directions :

Place the salmon in a hot frying pan and cook it in olive oil for 10 minutes (5 minutes each side).

In a bowl, mix the yogurt and the lemon juice. Peel and finely chop 1 inch piece of fresh ginger. Chop chives. Stir in the chopped ginger and chives, 1 pinch of 4 spices mix, salt and pepper to the sauce.

Toast the bread in the toaster or in the oven.

Remove the skin from the salmon, then flake into small pieces.

Spread rye bread with a bit of lemon yogurt sauce. Layer on the salmon, more sauce, and red mustard leaves. Sprinkle on chopped chives.