Le Choux A La Creme

MayaOryan-IMG_9842-RLast week I came back home to find a beautiful gift from POLYGEL HOME BAKER waiting for me on my desk office.

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A jam-packed goody bag has always an enjoyable impact on me, especially when it’s from a brand that I love. I rummaged through the bags to find many baking accessories, party items, 65% dark INAYA chocolate from Cocoa Barry ideal for my ganache, Spanish almond flakes and a lovely cake mould that I will try soon. But the one item I was thrilled about the most was the star cream, which is a ready mix to make crème pâtissière. I’ve been craving for a choux a la crème for a while and this came handy at the right time.

I love choux because the dough on its own is not too sweet so it really goes with any flavor you fill in. It can be catered to your liking. The most popular is to have a custard cream inside, but some recipes include caramel, coffee, strawberries, banana,… so the options are really unlimited.

The choux a la crème and éclair dough are the same, they are just piped in a different way. I prefer the choux pastries because it’s a bite size treat picked up and devoured in a single mouthful. These little sweets dole out an irresistible dose of rich flavor and will soon become your next favorite treat.

As per the rest of the items found in my goody bag, I know now I have few weeks worth of testing and evaluation. Checkout Polygel Home Baker website, many of their fabulous products can be ordered online.

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The recipe for: Choux a la creme

Makes around 50

Ingredients:

  • 100g / 1 cup butter, diced
  • 300ml water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3-4 eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling:

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. In a medium size pan, melt the butter with water and bring to simmer.
  2. Add the flour and the sugar, whisking constantly and remove from the heat and continue beating until the mixture forms a paste that doesn’t stick to the pan. Let the paste cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs a little at a time and beat until you have a glossy smooth dough.
  4. Using two teaspoons (I prefer piping), place blobs of the dough onto the lined baking sheet, leaving space between them as they will puff up. If you use a piping bag, dip your finger in water and flatten down the little tips on the top.
  5. Bake the buns in the middle rack of your oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Leave to completely cool on a rack.
  6. To make the filling, mix 350g of Laped Starcream Vanilla (crème pâtissière) with 1 liter of cold milk and whip for 3 minutes until glossy and fluffy or use the whole pack (400g) with 1 liter of water and whip vigorously.
  7. Fill the choux pastries with the chilled mixture of crème pâtissière and dust with Laped Powdered Sugar, ideal for usage in pastries and decorations.

 

Note: Alternatively, you can fill these choux with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or any other filling of your choice.

Fried Caulifower and Tahini Dip

Fried Cauliflower

Nothing can beat this amazing vegetarian appetizer! Served as a snack or as a side dish, it’s crisp, tasty and easy to make. The homemade tahini dip a.k.a tarator is the perfect accompaniment to this straight forward recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 kg cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

For the Dip

  • ½ cup tahini (tahina or sesame paste)
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp water
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil, and blanch the cauliflower for 8-10 minutes. Remove from water. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the cauliflower in and fry for 5-6 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with wax paper or paper towel to drain.
  3. To make the dip, combine tahini, lemon juice, water and salt. Stir until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning to liking.
  4. Serve cauliflower and dip as an appetizer.

P.S. Can also be served in pita bread as a sandwich.

A Month to Celebrate

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April is for me a month to celebrate; Kaia turns 11 and Axel turns 6 and my youngest baby Maya’s Ingredients turns 5!

Yes, Five years ago, my baby blog was born!!

Like any child, he needs attention, warmth and care. He kept me awake at night reading him stories. He made me wake up early answering his inquiries. He tested my photography skills and made me follow him with a camera. He became so popular that he made me famous:)

My baby blog has followers and friends from all around the world. He is established on the blogosphere and has a fine reputation.

To celebrate I prepared a giant bowl of fruit salad soaking in orange juice, just by adding a drizzle of honey and a handful of pine nuts, I made it taste like the best fruit salad ever.

No recipe directions to follow! Combine at least 4 to 5 varieties of your favorite fruits chopped. Add fresh orange juice. Drizzle some honey and decorate with raw pine nuts.

Enjoy it fresh and Happy anniversary to Maya’s Ingredients!

About Last Night

“I promised Wael to join him at the spinning class this evening, but I think I’m going to take a rain check, as I really don’t regret any of the calories that made their way –amusingly- to my hips through my sophisticated palate, over dinner last night. It will be like cheating on your husband with Jason Statham, will you really regret it? Naa!”.

1 day earlier

My husband and I left the car with the valet and entered RARE, a charming restaurant, nestled in Ashrafieh.

For its 10th anniversary the menu has been re-invented by The Chef Cynthia Bitar, daughter of Nazira Bitar, and graduated from Chef Paul Bocuse school in Lyon. The new menu features an indulgent selection of starters and main courses accompanied by a rich wine list and an exemplary service.

Our host Wael Haddad recommended I try the oven-baked tomato and goat cheese tart as a starter. It was impossible to resist this flavorsome piece of heaven, lay on a crispy golden pastry and served with a delicious side salad. A star dish!

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As for the main course, he suggested I have the oven-baked sea-bass with black rice calamari and chorizo. OMG! I it was so delicious I could lick the plate clean. What a creative combination of ingredients, a delectable choice worth every bite.

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While clinking glasses with Cedric and Rania, -our friends- who joined us over this beautiful occasion, I stared with eyes wide open at Wael coming our way showing off with a banoffee pie, guaranteed to impress. Thumbs up!

I always wanted to eat at Rare restaurant, but was always postponing it, well in case there are other procrastinators out there looking for a one-of-a kind-meal, stop searching and book your table at Rare.

Below recipe was among my first posts and I proudly share it back!

Banoffee Pie Verrine Style

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Ingredients

  • For the base: 60g butter, melted
  • 250g digestive bicuits
  • For the caramel: 100g butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 can of Condensed Milk
  • For the topping: 4 bananas, sliced
  • Cocoa Powder, to dust
  • Chocolate curls, to decorate
  • Whipping Cream (optional)

Preparation

  • Place the biscuits in a plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin. Transfer to a bowl and add the melted butter and stir. Divide the mixture into 12 small glasses and press into an even layer. Chill the base while you make the filling.
  • In a non-stick saucepan place the butter and sugar. When the butter melts and the sugar dissolves add the condensed milk and stir continuously. Bring gently to the boil. As soon as it thickens, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Spread the caramel on the biscuit base evenly and chill for about 1 hour or until firm.
  • Slice the bananas, dust liberally with cocoa powder and layer over the caramel.
  • Finish with whipping cream and some grated chocolate. Serve.

Lebanese Lentil Soup – Aadass bi Hamod

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Lebanese lentil soup is a meal in itself, packed with lentils and potatoes and often enjoyed with the addition of toasted bread. A hearty, healthy and warm bowl of this soup is the perfect solution on a rainy and cold day.

Lebanese Lentil Soup

Serves 4 • Preparation Time 20 minutes • Cooking Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups lentils, washed and rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 450g / 1 bunch of fresh Swiss chard, washed and chopped coarsely
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • Olive oil, to taste

Preparation

  1. Bring a medium size pot, of 1L, of salted water to a boil and add lentils to half cook.
  2. Add potatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add chards and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
  4. Heat oil and sauté coriander and onions in a separate skillet until wilt. Add to lentils.
  5. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add lemon juice off heat and while soup is still hot. Serve.
  6. This is a healthy and tasty vegetarian soup that can be served with toasted Lebanese bread (pita), if desired.