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Mmm, c’est trop bon – Muffins aux pépites de chocolat

[Yum, it’s so delicious – Chocolate chip muffins]

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From Lisa Yockelson’s Chocolate Chocolate (page 156)

Today I have a confession to make.
I did say that ChocolateChocolate doesn’t appeal to me because
I did think that there were too many similar recipes; making the reading a bit confusing but
I did buy it and
I did like the cover, design, writing and pictures but
I did/do still think there are far too many junk chocolates added to the cakes and bars but then
I did make one recipe and another
And now I do love this book (well at least for the recipes that don’t call for sugar saturated chocolate bars).

The recipes are trustful. You can’t go wrong: well explained, accurate measurements (even if it’s in cups and spoons).
This book is now a favourite although I won’t try all the recipes (especially the ones with chopped chocolate bars added or the ones loaded with shredded coconut).

To tell the truth, I was still unsure about my book choice when I received the book from amazon, but when I made the flourless bittersweet chocolate cake I slightly changed my mind. Maybe it wasn’t as bad.
Though the true révélation was when I made the chocolate chip muffins. A pure killer recipe.

Chocolate chip muffins are the type of food I wouldn’t eat as a child. I would always go for madeleines and sablés, but certainly not for muffins – not enough fashionable at that time to be sold in France.
Now I crave muffins – not as big as a piece of cake but equally delicious (to say the least).
Though I’m always scared when buying a muffin – it is going to be too dry or too cakey?
With Lisa’s muffins, you really don’t have to worry. They’re perfect.

Giant chocolate chip muffins
These muffins are just delicious. The crumb is fine and light and you have chocolate chips at each bite.
They keep well for 3 days – though I love them still warm from the oven, but the big bonus is that you can freeze them baked for up to a month!

Chocolate chip muffins

makes 14

2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chip (or a mixture of dark chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips)
160g butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
250ml milk

Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, toss the chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture.
Cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the granulate sugar and beat for 2 minutes; add the light brown sugar and beat for a further 2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract and beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Still beating – on low speed – alternately add the flour mixture (in 3 times) and the milk (in 2 times).
Stir in the chocolate chip and divide the batter between 14 muffin cups.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
Place the muffin pan onto a wire rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Then remove the muffins from the pan and serve.

PS. Congrats to Sam that got oven 2000$ of pledges!
‘Now Sam you can relax and have bite’ says Lapinou…

Lapinou fait des muffins aux pépites de chocolat pour Sam

[Lapinou makes chocolate chips muffins to support Sam]

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In a little more than 16 hours, Sam will be blogging NON STOP for 24 hours!Why?
By participating actively to the Blogathon, Sam will help a San Francisco charity: Food Runners.

What about Food Runners?
“The mission of Food Runners is to help alleviate hunger in San Francisco to help prevent waste and to help create community.”
And what a mission!

How I can help?
You can donate here (you could even win a box of SF food goodies!) or show your support on your own blog.

Sam I wanted you to know Lapinou is fully supporting you by making delicious chocolate chip muffins to keep you awake for your audacious challenge.

Recipe to be posted tomorrow, because I am Lapinou is not as brave as Sam!

Il y a un an..

[One year ago…]

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…just back from Paris where I had exams, I decided to start a foodblog. After 48h spent on both nordljus and the traveler’s lunchbox, I was ready (I’d really like to thank Keiko and Melissa for being such an inspiration).
I wasn’t very confident with blogs nor I was with photography, but I though ‘never mind, you love food, that should make it!’.One year later, I realize how many things I’ve learnt: from making wine to macaroner; from whipping up the best chocolate chip cookie ever to taking care of goats… It’s been a year full of experiences and I think I won’t be wrong by saying that lots of these experiences have been motivated by foodbeam.

Foodbeam’s been acting like someone who pushes you to make things. Everyday I would think of subjects on which I could write.
Before creating foodbeam, I would have never enjoyed visiting an ice-cream factory as much I did; because this year, I knew I’d be able to share my experience with you.
I do think sharing is the key-word of foodblogging.
So I’d like to thank all of you who stopped by to share their own experience, making my food life a little more interesting everyday. I’d also like to thank all the great foodbloggers who have been and remain a daily inspiration, turning life into something yummy and blog-y-licious.

Here are some of my favourite articles among the tons of well-written blogs:
Melissa’s sweet story. Jocelyn’s brilliant write-up on macarons. Nicky and Oliver’s pink pasta – creative, beautiful and tasty. Matt’s funny articles. All of Keiko‘s pictures – she’s so talented.

I’ve literally been overwhelmed by this food world and I’m not trying to escape yet. My love for food has been growing constantly from my childhood and even faster from last July.
I do love food in every single way. I love to shop for it, to prepare it, to grow/breed it…

To round up this 90th post, below is my top-ten:

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Chocolate espresso cake with caffe-latte cream
August 12
This cake is one of the best chocolate-coffee cake I’ve ever had. As I admitted on the article, I’m not so much into coffee (drink), but I love it in sweets.
The cake itself is light. So the combo with the caffe-latte cream is a real winner: you end up with a fluffy as heaven cake.

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Aubergine, yogurt and mint dip
October 15
I am fond of dips, salsas… And especially of a caviar d’aubergine my mother is used to make.
But this dip is quite special: creamy yet very fresh. I love the combinaison of aubergines and mint.
And the pinenuts really set the final touch, adding a nutty taste to make a perfectly balanced dip.

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La pissaladiera
October 19
I was born in the Mediterranean and Mediterranean dishes hold a special place in my heart. I don’t know about you, but when eating un pan bagna, une salade niçoise or du poisson délicieux péché en Méditerranée, I can feel the sun in my mouth. That may sound a bit odd, but that’s the way it is.
This pissaladiera is a onion confit tart and is so full of sun.

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Chocolate puff pastry
December 29
This is definitely one of my greatest discoveries of the year. Mostly because it was the first time I made puff pastry but also because of the chocolate-twist that really magnifies the feathery nature of puff-pastry.

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Honey semifreddo
January 22
I love semifreddos because of their texture: between an ice-cream and a soufflé, in one word, dreamy!
This honey semifreddo is luscious and has a real melt-in-your-mouth consistency, which makes it the perfect treat to end a light summer lunch.

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Macarons Plénitude
March 7
These are so special to me because this is the first recipe I made from one of my favourite cookbooks: PH10.
In this book, Pierre Hermé reveals the recipes for all his dazling creations.
The macaron plenitude is a caramel/chocolate macaron with a chocolate-caramel à la fleur de sel ganache. Really, what’s not to love?

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Choux et éclairs à la vanille
March 28
In France, you find vanilla éclairs in every single bakery. They’re just part of French cuisine. When I was a child, I used to love them and I still do.
So making them at home is a good way to feed your cravings.
The choux pastry is from Pierre Hermé and the crème pâtissière is from Christophe Felder, a favourite pastry chef of mine.

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Fanny and the Ice Cream Factory
April 7
Are you an ice-cream lover? Then you should read this post.
I’m lucky enough to be an engineering student and hence I can visit food factories.
This article sums up my visit of one of the leading ice-cream factories in France. Lots of behind-the-scene pictures!

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Charlotte aux framboises et au fromage blanc
April 25
A charlotte is a pudding made of a savoiardi crust filled with a fruit mousse. It’s fresh and frutty: the ultimate spring treat.
Everyone loves it, from 1-year-old to grow-ups.
PS. The picture was voted ‘grand winner’ for May DMBLGIT.

And because i can’t resolve myself to choose only ten things, the last one:

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Pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup
April 13
Using pistachios results in a highly fragrant and moist cake that will send you straight on the Moroccan coast. So delicious!

I am a ‘mango chick’ or should I say ‘cheek’

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From Bill Granger’s Sydney Food

I’ve always been in love with mangoes. But when I spotted this mango on the farmer’s stall I couldn’t help but imagine myself walking through a mango orchard in India.
In my dream, the trees were beautiful. The air smelled like orange and lime tree flowers with just a hint of vanilla.
The mangoes were so red they looked like rubies suspended in a mass of green feathers. I picked one of these plump jewels. My fingers closed around something as smooth as a silk ribbon.
The farmer, who was looking at me with sympathy, gave me his small knife so I could peel off the divine skin of the fruit. He knew I couldn’t resist for another minute.
I carefully skinned the mango, revealing its golden flesh.
I closed my eyes and took it to my mouth. It was firm and juicy and tasted just like I had imagined.
Then I woke up. It was anything but India. But I still had that mango in my hand.

Mangoes are the sort of fruit I can never have enough of. Even though I buy almost a dozen of mangoes per week, they seem to disappear faster than it takes to say ‘good bye’.
Before I even realize how good they are I’ve already devoured at least three of them! Can you believe this?
Finally, only one –out of twelve- was left. I had to keep it in a safe place by making this extraordinary tart.

Mango tart
This tart is an elegant way to use mangoes. The custard – bursting with vanilla flavours – is balanced by adding whipped crème fraiche and nicely enhances the vanilla hint of the mango.
The pastry is quite difficult to work with but patches beautifully, so don’t be scared.

Mango tart

serves 8

1 quantity of sweet shortcrust pastry (see below)
250ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
25g butter
125ml cream, lightly whipped
1 big mango, peeled and sliced

On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry. Lightly press the pastry into a 23cm tart tin and freeze for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Remove pastry shell from the freezer and line with baking paper. Fill with baking weights or rice and bake the shell for 10 minutes. Remove paper and weights. Bake for a further 10 minutes, until dry, golden and crisp. Leave to cool.
Place milk in a saucepan over medium heat and heat until just before boiling point. Add vanilla. Remove from heat.
Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until thick. Add the cornstarch and hot milk and stir until smooth.
Return mixture to a clean saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until thickened.
Bring the custard to the boil, turn the heat down and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring to combine. Strain mixture into a bowl, lay plastic wrap on the surface and refrigerate until cold. Fold through cream.
Remove tart shell from the tin and place on a serving platter. Pour in custard and arrange mango slices decoratively on top.

for the sweet shortcrust pastry
260g plain flour
35g icing sugar
a pinch of salt
180g unsalted butter

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and rub trough with fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add 30ml of ice cold water and cut in with a knife until the dough comes together in a ball.
Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Willy Wonka’s ever lasting chocolate gelato

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A little more than a year ago, the movie Charlie and the Chocolate factory was finally released on screen.
As a foodie and chocolate-addict I had to see it. I was sure I would enjoy and I did.
The story is great. But my favourite part of the movie is the behind-the-scene stuff: the luscious chocolate river, the whipped cream, the back-shop… A pure delight for both the eyes and mind.Ever since I’ve been obsessed with chocolate (ok I have to admit that I am just trying to find a reason to my ever-chocolate-obsession); but how one can’t be obsessed with chocolate once one discovers the creativity and yumminess of Willy Wonka’s chocolates.

Sometimes I like to think that the WW chocolate factory does exist and that I am able to buy its delicious treats.
Sadly I can’t.
But by making this gelato I found the true essence of Willy Wonka’s ever lasting chocolate gelato: creamy, intense, delicious.

To tell the truth I came across gelato quite late in life. All I knew was crème glacée [ice cream] and sorbet.
I’ve always find ice cream a bit too creamy and sorbets a bit too icy; so the discovery of gelatos (or gelati) has changed my whole perception of iced delights.
I don’t really know how gelato should be defined, but in my approach a gelato (which is by the way the Italian name for ice cream) is an ice cream made without cream, but still containing eggs and dairy products.

I love gelato for many reasons:
it is creamy but not heavy
it is soft and not icy
in one word: THE ice cream luxury

As Willy Wonka could have said!

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From Gourmet magazine July 99

Intense chocolate gelato
This gelato is very intense. I love its deep chocolate-flavour, its creamy texture and the fact that it holds its shape well even by hot summer weather.

Intense chocolate gelato

makes 1L

60g high-quality dark chocolate
375ml whole milk (fanny: I used semi-skimmed milk)
250ml condensed milk
160g white caster granulated sugar
100g Van Houten cocoa powder, sifted
4 large egg yolks
pinch salt

Coarsely chop the chocolate.
In a heavy saucepan bring the milk, condensed milk, and about half of sugar just to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the cocoa powder and chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
In a bowl beat the egg yolks, remaining sugar and salt until thick and pale. Add the hot chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking, and pour into saucepan. Cook the custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Pour the custard through a sieve into a metal bowl set in ice and cold water and cool. Chill the custard, covered, until cold. Churn the custard in an ice-cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden for several hours.