From the lake to our table

MemoriesA story about , , , , , , Written on le Friday 17 April 2015.

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Some stories don’t need words. But let me tell you a little about this one.

It’s a story of the recent past; of a wonderful day. One by the lake and the forest. One when Kalle caught a rainbow trout. And we took it hot, carefully placed on top of his waders in the boot of our car. We cleaned it with water from the well. And covered it in a moutain of coarse salt.

A few days later, Svante heated the smoker over a fire. With wood chips and branches.
Perhaps, I’ve forgotten their name. It might have been Äl, if that’s even a tree. But I remember the heat; the perfumes.

Yes, some things can only be felt.

“I can count on one hand the things that make me as happy as seeing the man I love doing what he loves.”

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Oh, and I turned this story into a steller tale too. It’s called HOT SMOKED. I don’t post very often over there. No matter how much I love it. Maybe I should do more. Maybe.

Pastry chef tips – Flatten the dough with the palm of your hand

PâtisserieA story about , , , , Written on le Tuesday 14 April 2015.

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More often than not, I always share tips and techniques in my posts. Why clingfilm to the touch, how to fold cream when making a mousse, how to get a neat crack on top of a loaf, how to blindbake tarts, and so on.

But since so many of you requested, I thought I’d start a new feature* where I give you not-so-secret tips from a pastry chef. I’ve found over the years, that it – almost always – gets down to these little things. Yes, they usually make all the difference.

Today, as I was rolling some craquelin (a thick dough made of butter, demerara sugar and flour; and used to top choux before baking – but more on that soon!) I realised there is one thing I always do when rolling dough; and yet, I haven’t told you about it before. Read more…

Les élastiques

KitchenwareA story about , , Written on le Sunday 12 April 2015.

[Rubber bands]

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I’ve been having a bit of a rubber band moment. You see I’ve always used them in the kitchen, in one way or another, but these past few weeks, I’ve found myself reaching for the bundle we keep in – what used to be – an ice-cream tub more and more often.

So I thought I’d share how I use rubber bands in my kitchen. And as always, please do add your own little tips in the comments!

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– to keep flour bags closed; I simply roll the top of the bag, then tie the band around.

– to avoid using clingfilm; I’ve been cutting the edges of a freezer bag to form a large square which I place on top of the bowl I want to cover and secure it with a rubber band. Voilà, reusable clingfilm! This is perfect when proofing bread dough as it provides an airtight environment.
I also love this to secure a kitchen towel or a piece of mousseline to “close” my starter jar or my kombucha.

– to drain off the excess chocolate when making dipped bonbons; I place a rubber band across the bowl into which I have my tempered chocolate, and after dipping my intérieur (be it a ganache or some candied fruit or marzipan), I first drain them by doing up and down movements to create some suction which will get rid of most the excess, and then I scrape my bonbon on the elastic which removes the last bit of chocolate; finally, I place my coated bonbon onto a sheet of feuille guitare or acetate, and leave it to crystallise.

– to assess of how much my starter proofs. After its feed, I simply place the rubber band around my jar – at the same level my starter lies at. A few hours later, it’s super easy to notice how much it’s proofed.

– to keep my silpats and baking paper scraps neatly rolled. You know, most pastry shops reuse their baking paper; something I wish we did more often at home!

– to have my notebook open at all time during baking; no more butter finger-prints (no matter how romantic we make it seem). I just slide two elastics on my notebook, one of each side of the page I want to keep open. This way, I can easily jot down notes as I work on recipes.

PS. Thank you to all of you who’ve commented on my Paris Pastry Club & Fannys Pâtisserie giveavay. It’s still open until this Tuesday, so head over here to win a copy of my book; in English or German! xx