Month: January 2012

Those three words – Gelée d’huile d’olives

[Olive oil jelly]

In autumn, with figs, a young brillat-savarin curd, and a warm sponge so full of vanilla seeds it’s almost grey. Perhaps, a few toasted and salted almonds for crunch.

In winter, with caramelised apples, a white chocolate granita – not unlike snow, crystallised rosemary, and fresh apple bubbles. And maybe, a few baby quenelles of croissant ice-cream. But that’s just a thought.

In spring, with strawberries and a hibiscus sorbet. Or flapjack ice-cream. Oh yes, flapjack ice-cream sounds good.

In summer, with candied tomatoes. And a simple vanilla ice-cream. Or with an apricot roasted in basil syrup, honeyed kataifi, pistachios, and honey ice-cream.

It all started one night, when J. mentioned those three words. Olive. Oil. Jelly.

It was last week. Ever since, I haven’t stopped thinking about all the desserts I could make with it.
I mean, my favourite summer snack is vanilla ice-cream with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fleur de sel after all.

So we’ve been working, trying to find out how to turn pungent oil into a clear jelly.

And somehow, I think we’ve gotten there. After many failed experiments.

Gelée d’huile d’olive
It is not perfect, by any means. In fact, I wish it would be slightly clearer. Perhaps, using isomalt instead of sugar for the syrup.
But this will be for another experiment. In the meantime, a wobbly olive oil jelly. A bit too sweet. A bit too cloudy. And yet, terribly good.

Gelée d’huile d’olive

2 1/2 leaves (5g) gelatine
50g water
80g caster sugar
one tsp (10g) glucose syrup
100g extra virgin olive oil

Soak the gelatine leaves into ice-cold water.
In a pan, bring the water, sugar and glucose syrup to the boil. Squeeze the gelatine leaves and whisk in. Then, slowly pour the olive oil, emulsifying with a whisk or an immersion blender as you do so.
Pour into a container or spread onto acetate for a jelly sheet. Chill for a couple of hours. Cut into dice or other…


Goodbye, hello

I walked along the Thames. On the very firt morning of 2011. And saw a balloon floating along. And a French bakery.
I drank lattes. Waiting for them to cool down, with the wind and cold.
I turned the lights off to a kitchen I still miss every now and then.
I walked him home.
We drove to Cornwall. And saw the most beautiful lighthouse. Both wearing our hats against the mist and the fog. I think I left my heart there. Or at least a piece of me.
I crossed London by night. Possibly crying.
I walked through a forest made of white blossoms and mud at my feet.
I started working in another restaurant. And whether I realise or not, it shaped me.
We spent the most perfect day ever. Summer in April. It was almost wordless, but words don’t always matter. I left my pink ballet shoes in the grass and he left his flip-flops. And there we had tickle fights.
I went home. Or at least, that’s what they call it. We had a lunch made of sun sparkling on the sea. A pistachio sponge was served with smoked chocolate and green tea ice cream.
I swam with jellyfish.
I swam even when they were not in the sea.
We ate at Northroad. It was a roller-coaster. But mostly inspiring.
I wrote on stones.
I kissed him goodbye. In the rain. It doesn’t get anymore cliché than this.
I woke up to the most beautiful view of the London skyline line. It felt like walking on a cloud. Right above.
I introduced myself, with a possibly already stained apron and a hat ever too small or large. Why do I always have hat issues?
I woke up to a sunny and quiet Knightsbridge during the riots.
I flew to the smallest airport.
I cooked with my grand-mother. I listened to her stories. I rode my bike through a land I know by heart.
We ate at a restaurant in China Town. He burned my sequined top with his cigarette. And then we sang, mostly off key. He walked me home. We laughed all the way. I said good night over a garbage bin. It can’t get any less cliché than this.
I swam in the sea. Again. I slept a lot too.
I looked up. And wondered what Peterkin custard was.
We kissed. And went for a night-time exploration of London. I took a cab. Then came back.
I wore my leopard leggings. And cat’s eyes. He wore a wool hat. And we stood by a red door. Until the lamp poles went off. He kissed me goodbye in the cab.
I got ill. And lived in a world of hallucinations and dreams and nightmares. I didn’t hear or see when 2011 turned into 2012. But I know for sure it’s going to be fine.

Happy new year! x


You’re my favourite flavour

One day I will tell you why I’ve been so quiet this past month. Right now, it all gets down to my bed, a virus, a bottle of water, and way too many pills for one girl to take.

In fact, I should probably start with the usual Happy New Year and all the trimmings that come along. I had planned to. Selecting one picture for every month of 2011. It looks pretty.
But I’ve never been good at doing things the right way.

Instead, I’m here to share what’s been keeping me going through my hibernation. A hibernation made of pillows and fever-nightmares. Of wool blankets and dreams that felt so real I didn’t want to wake up.

Yes, I’ve been sleeping. Through Wednesday and Thursday. Friday and Saturday. I missed a night of drunken fireworks. But it’s ok, because a week before, as I was walking home after work, I had my very own.

In a street so quiet, except for the rain. But really, who consider raindrops a noise? Under the light.

I’ve told you before, I’m sure there is a hidden world behind puddles.

My last touch with the outer world.

Yes, after Into the wild, let me introduce Off the wild. Where more hours are spent asleep than awake* and the only food worth eating is a cherry compote that might not taste like my grand-mère’s, but is decent enough.

Without the occasional cherry stone, of course.

I’ve been reading too. Dan’s latest book. And a few online favourites, both old and new. Gelato al limon, Poppies in October, À boire et à manger, Je veux être bonne

* An upside-down, inside-out version of my usual everyday. Perhaps, I have fallen in a puddle…
** A totally random post. But I thought the compote jar looked pretty. And I started drawing, for the first time in days. And then, somehow, I had to write. Maybe I shouldn’t have. Oh well, this is what temperature does to you.
At least, tell me what’s your very favourite compote flavour?