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Showing posts from December, 2011

Glacier Tuiles

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It all started with French sweeties.

Bêtises de Cambrai are one of the best-known French sweets and, let’s face it, they’re essentially boiled sweets. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but when I was wandering around in the vicinity of Cambrai I was slightly surprised (and not in a particularly good way) to see them being used in various forms of patisserie and dessert. A while later, I read Jean-Christophe Novelli suggesting that British glacier mints were simply the equivalent of the famous bêtises and could be used in the same way. Well, for some unimaginable reason, I couldn’t resist. So with sincere thanks to M Novelli, here’s how to add an ice queen and possibly slightly silly effect to your desserts and ice creams at this festive time.

Buy some glacier mints (the ones with the polar bear on them are ideal, but pretty much any boiled sweet will do). Unwrap some of them (it’s probably not worth trying to use less than 15 or so) and drop them into a sturdy blender. Pulverise the…

Nonnettes with White Chocolate Chips

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You might think that this recipe is just another stop on my interminable journey around the cakes of France. Well, I suppose it is but, in this case, Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog is largely to blame. For the December We Should Cocoa challenge Choclette has specified the combination of chocolate and orange. That made me think immediately of nonnettes.

Nonnettes are deliciously moist, sticky cakes originally made by nuns and are often associated with this time of year, although you can buy them anytime. The ingredients and method are very similar to pain d'épices but they’re normally flavoured more strongly with orange. Marmalade is placed on top of the mixture before baking and sinks into the cakes as they cook. Nonnettes don’t normally contain chocolate, but I saw some with chocolate on sale the last time I was in France and I’ve been intending to make a batch ever since.

This version is pretty close to the traditional recipes that I’ve come across but I’ve simplified the spic…

Microwave Chocolate Fudge – A Random Recipe

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Recently, I cleared out some of my old cookery books and took them down to the charity shop. Then Dom of Belleau Kitchen set the Random Recipe challenge for December as follows: choose a book that you never use, cook something from it and then take it down to the charity shop. Since I’d just given away all my ignored and rarely used books, I had to make a desperate search. Eventually I found half a dozen books that aren’t exactly in the rarely used category, they’re actually in the category of “I really can’t believe that I still have these”. They’re the kinds of books that supermarkets used to sell in the 1980s for 99p and some other very odd books that I think must have arrived from a parallel universe.

It wasn’t a pleasant prospect but in the spirit of the challenge I chose one of these books at random - the “Microwave Cookbook”. This is a collection of Good Housekeeping recipes published in 1985 and I have a feeling that it came free with my first ever microwave. As I picked it up…