BF Bites August Roundup

 

The Modern House Journal

It was quite a thrill to have our home featured in the Modern House Journal this month. Over coffee and cookies we spent the morning talking about how I moved from building homes to Building Feasts and discussed everything from modern design and architecture to furniture and of course food. Just click on the title to read the article and have a little peek into our home and  my last major design project.

Crane Cookware

Ever stumble across something that you have no idea how you ever lived without? Happens a little too often for me, but these glasses from Crane Cookware (known mainly for their outstanding collection of pots and pans,) are an absolute must have. Not only do they stack perfectly (useful when space is at a premium), but they elevate every drinking experience. Perfect for anything from water to smoothies to cocktails, these durable yet delicate beauties are my favourite kitchen purchase of the season. The next item on my Crane wishlist is their limited edition Inge Sempe designed griddle pan (but you need to email them directly.  It is that coveted). Swoon.

New Seasonal Fruit

While we are about to wave goodbye to summer and all its soft peach glory, rest assured we can console ourselves in the knowledge that every day will bring a new best comfort fruit. Figs, plums, and finally some tasty apples and pears are available in abundance for  gorging ourselves and baking endless cakes, breads, galettes, baked treats and pots of jam with abandon. Weep no more for the end of summer. Eat cake.

The New Mediterranean Jewish Table by Joyce Goldstein

BF Bites 8.17

It is rare to find a Jewish Cookbook that rivals Claudia Roden’s. But Joyce Goldstein’s The New Mediterranean Jewish Table has landed in my lap just in time for the month of Jewish Holidays starting in a few weeks. This wonderful collection of recipes is collected from the Sephardi community from North Africa, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and the Middle East. Seasonal dishes illustrate how each community embraces their local ingredients and the recipes are reminiscent more of the food currently found at the hippest Middle Eastern restaurants of the moment than the traditional Ashkenazi Chicken and Matzo Ball Soup. Inspiring for anyone interested in the food of the region. And if you are at our next Supper Club, or my Rosh Hashanah table this year, you may find a recipe or two from this book.

Fruit Galette Three Ways

 

fruit galette three ways

It took years to overcome my anxiety about pastry. Everyone always claimed it was easy.  But the prospect of fiddly, leaky, time consuming dough with a soggy base or a shrunken overcooked edge made me shy away from what I considered to be a too-many-steps-recipe-doomed-to-fail.  After years of battling these irrational fears, I have finally landed on a foolproof, all leaks welcome, quick and easy solution – the galette.

fruit galette three ways

 

Requiring no special tart tin or extra resting time and an endless variety of options to pile into the imperfectly rolled out disc where larger pieces of butter in the dough are a welcome treat, the fruit galette is a crowd pleaser every time. A particularly popular dessert at this time of year, as I make them with reckless abandon stuffed with the glorious end of summer and early autumn fruits varieties available everywhere you look.

fruit galette three ways

 

So, like many of the recipes here I hope that you will make this your own, piling it with your seasonal fruit of choice. I have given you the dough recipe for two discs. If you are taking the time to mix the dough, you can make double and freeze one for a rainy day or for some last minute dessert ease (it will keep for up to three months) . Or if you are like me, just make two flavours for a greedy crowd and have the leftovers for breakfast with a dollop of plain yoghurt on top.

 

Summer Fruit Galette

I have given you three different filling options here, depending on the season and what is available.  I have written the pastry method first, followed by each filling separately, so while it looks long, there are actually three recipes here all together.  Once you have mixed together the dough ingredients it will need to rest for about 30 minutes in the fridge, but will happily sit there wrapped in cling film for up to two days.  Otherwise freeze the second disc for later use.

Pastry recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Pastry (makes 2 discs):

320g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour

2 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp salt

220g (8oz) cold unsalted butter cut into 1cm dice

zest of 1 lemon

125g (1/2 cup) soured cream

4 tbsp ice cold water

To glaze:

1 egg

2 tbsp demerara sugar

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and cold butter.  Either rub together with your fingertips, or pulse in the processor until slightly crumbly and there are still some butter pieces the size of small peas.  Add the lemon zest, soured cream and half of the cold water and mix with your fingertips of pulse a few times again until it just comes together into a rough craggy ball.  If needed add more water.

Divide dough into two pieces and wrap into clingfilm, flattening them into discs.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 200C.

Remove one disc of dough from the fridge and dust each side lightly with flour.  Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper until about 30-35 cm in diameter.  Remove the top piece of parchment.

Pile (or neatly arrange depending on your personality type) the filling of choice into the centre of the disc leaving a good 5-7cm or so free around the edge to fold over.

Gently fold the overhanging pastry, tucking and overlapping where needed to keep a roundish shape.

Beat the egg and brush the edges of the pastry.  Sprinkle with demerara sugar and slide the piece of baking parchment onto a baking sheet.

Cook for 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of your pieces of fruit) until golden and bubbling.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Filling options (each quantity is for one disc):

Peach and Blueberry Filling:

fruit galette three ways

 

4 ripe glorious peaches (or nectarines)

3 tbsp caster sugar (or less if your peaches are super sweet)

1 1/2 tbsp cornflour (cornsrtarch)

100g blubeberries, blackberries or raspberries (optional)

juice of half a lemon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Score the bottom of each peach with an X and blanch them in a bowl of boiling water for one minute.  Remove from the water and peel (the X on the bottom will help the skin to come away easily).

Slice each peach into 12-16 slices depending on the size, and place in a medium sized bowl.

Add the sugar, cornflour, blueberries, lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt and mix together delicately with your hands.

Pile or arrange neatly into the centre of your prepared disc and bake as per instructions above.

 

Red Fruit Filling:

Summer Fruit Galette

Feel free to use any combination of cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or sliced early autumn plums.  In the winter I use bags of frozen berries to remind me of summer, but whatever the time of year I don’t use strawberries.  They just don’t bake as well. If you are using frozen berries, bake them straight from frozen and don’t be tempted to defrost first.

approximately 500g (about 2 cups) mixed red fruit / berries (or single variety, it works all ways)

3 tbsp caster sugar (I err on the side of caution, you may want more if the fruit is frozen or not that sweet)

1 1/2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

In a medium sized bowl, combine the fruit of your choice with the sugar, cornflour, lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt.

Delicately mix together with your hands.

Pile and spread the filling into the centre of your prepared disc and bake as per instructions above.

 

Apple Filling:

(an autumnal classic)

fruit galette three ways

 

approximately 200g (1/2lb) or 3-4 tart apples such as Pink Lady, skinned cored and sliced thinly

3 tbsp muscavado or dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

juice of half a lemon

50g softened unsalted butter

In a medium sized bowl combine the slices apples, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon juice and mix delicately with your hands.

Arange the spices apple slices in the centre of the dough disc and dot pea sized pieces of butter over the top of the apple pieces.

Bake as per the instructions above.

Enjoy!

Summer Fruit Galette

BF Bites July Roundup

A Vida Portuguesa

BF Bites 7.17

Warm welcome at A Vida Portuguesa

To say that I was blown away by my weekend in Lisbon might be an understatement.  Having only spent one particularly unmemorable holiday in the Algarve many years ago, my expectations of Lisbon were reserved.  But from the moment I stepped of the plane and was greeted with the most incredible light, followed by three days of walking through a sensory overload of colours and beauty both old an new, it was clear that Lisbon was the design destinations of my dreams.  The highlight, outside of lunch at A Cevicheria (thank you Joanna Brennan for the recommendation) and consuming a years supply of Pasteis di Nata from Manteigaria was A Vida Portuguesa. A shop specialising in all thing Portuguese from speciality foods and their aspirational packaging to stationary, games, homewares and of course tiles.  With three destinations all offering slightly different collections it is a must visit on your Lisbon getaway.

 

The 5cm (2 inch) Squeeze and Release Ice Cream Scoop

This inexpensive, indispensable piece of kitchen equipment is the secret weapon of cookie success. With swift scooping of each batter it allows for perfectly even sized cookies time after time. No more batter covered fingers or the need to be particularly adept at the 2 spoon scoop method.  And it allows the cute balls of raw dough to sit in the freezer ready to bake for any emergency cookie needs.

 

Pics peanut butter

BF Bites 7.17

photo Pic’s Peanut Butter

I am aware of the frequency with which I wax lyrical about local, seasonal food, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and revel in the imports.  Its the 80/20 rule right?  I do buy this incredible New Zealand peanut butter locally so I hope it at least counts that I walk to to the shops to buy it (and anyway peanuts are hardly indigenous to the UK).  I first discovered Pics at Maltby Street Market, but luckily it is now stocked at my local speciality delicatessen, Panzers where you can buy just about anything you never thought you needed and now cannot live without.  We do keep a regular stock of what seems like an endless variety of nut butters in this house, but this one wins the peanut category hands down.

 

Kaffeine

BF Bites 7.17

Signage greetings at Kaffeine

The 17 year old Pavoni coffee machine has pride of place on my kitchen counter.  It is the first thing you see as you walk in, and has its own designated space far away from the rest of the crowded collection of kitchen machinery that lives at the other end of the worktop.  And while it still consistently produces multiple excellent coffees a day for me with perfect foam (not the milk kind), I still go quite far out of my way at least once a week for what I consider to be London’s best cup.  Greeted by the best of all chalk boards, always with something tempting from the in house kitchen at the counter for breakfast, lunch or just a little pick me up, and consistently good coffee with just the perfect milk foam, Kaffeine is the place to go.  There are only 2 venues (funnily enough around the corner from each other) and they are worth travelling across town for.  And of course while I am there I can pick up my favourite beans to enjoy at home.