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recipe

Basquaise style chicken

Basquaise style chicken

Basquaise style chicken, is so easy to make and so comforting too. "Poulet Basquaise" is a classic of the Basque region. The key ingredient is "Espelette chilli", but as it's not always easy to find in the UK, I have replaced it with paprika, which is very similar. This dish is also perfect for entertaining, its velvety sauce at the end is always a hit.

Basquaise style chicken

Ingredients:

3 chicken thighs (chicken legs work well too)

Two peppers (green and red for contrast)

A glass of white wine

One onion (thinly sliced)

5 cloves of garlic (crushed and sliced)

Fresh thyme

A table spoon of tomato paste

Method:

I use a cast iron pan, but any heavy base pan will do. Season your thighs with salt and pepper first. Then, brown the chicken on both sides,  in a little bit of olive oil. Take the meat out of the pan. Then add the thyme and the onion. Once the onion has reached that translucent colour, add the garlic and stir. Slice the peppers into strips and add them to the pan, give them a good stir again. Add the tomato puree, a glass of wine and a sprinkle of paprika. Put the chicken thighs back on top, cover, reduce the heat and let it simmer for a good 45 minutes, giving it a stir now and then. The dish is ready once the peppers are soft and the sauce velvety. I serve my poulet basquaise with rice.   

Bon appétit!

Corinne

You can watch the step by step method of this recipe on YouTube

If you enjoy peppers you may want to give my padrón peppers recipe a go.

Categories
recipe

Duck confit

Duck confit

Duck confit or confit de canard is something I really miss from France. It's so versatile and can be used in so many ways all year round, in a super comforting cassoulet or to accompany a simple salade verte in the summer. So I thought I would show you how to make it. It's not really difficult, you just need a little bit of patience as it will take you a good two days to get together. But the result is so worth it. So I do hope you give it a go.

Duck confit

Ingredients:

4 duck legs 

Sea salt

Bay leaves

Thyme

Garlic

Black pepper corns

750 g of duck fat

A glass of water

Method:

This recipe happens over two days.

On day one, place your duck legs on a tray and add your garlic, pepper corns and your herbs, as much or as little depending on your taste. Rub your duck legs generously with salt. Cover the tray with cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for 24 hours.

On day two. Slowly melt your duck fat in a pan, be careful not to bring it to the boil. Rinse your duck legs thoroughly under a cold tap to get rid of the salt. Put them in a pan with the herbs, pepper corns and garlic and pour the melted duck fat over them, don’t forget to add a glass of water also (the water prevents the legs from sticking and burning at the bottom of the pan). Cook them on a very low heat for a good 3 hours, until the meat is nice and tender, almost falling off the bone. At that stage, I transfer the legs in a smaller container, like a terrine and cover them with the duck fat. The confit will keep in the fridge, for a good month or more if totally covered with fat. You can use them in a cassoulet, or lightly fry them in a pan and eat them with sautéed potatoes or even a green salad. 

Bon appétit!

Corinne

You can watch the step by step method of this recipe on YouTube, part one and part two.

This is the season for comfort food, here’s another recipe you might like to try, chicken parcels.

Categories
recipe

Marmelade d’oranges amères 

Marmelade d'oranges amères 

As always, there is nothing quite like home made! I love marmalade, especially on a good chunk of freshly baked brioche with salted butter. Although it is a bit of a process to make, I urge you to give it a go. You won't regret it! It's actually not difficult to achieve, you just need to arm yourself with a bit of patience. It's like liquid gold in a jar!

Marmelade d'oranges amères 

Ingredients:

 

1 kg of Seville oranges 

2.5 litres of water

The juice of one lemon

1 kg of sugar

A bit of muslin

Steralized jars

Method:

Cut your oranges in half and squeeze out all of the juices. You will end up with quite a lot of pip and flesh from the oranges, place them in the muslin bag and tie it with a string.  

Cut the orange peels in half and using a sharp knife cut them into shreds, I like quite chunky shreds, but you may choose to cut finer ones, it’s up to you. In a large pan, add the water, orange juice, the peel and the muslin bag. Bring the pan to a boil, reduce the heat and let everything simmer for a good two hours or more. Your peel needs to be soft when squeezed between your fingers.  

Once your peel is soft, take the pan off the heat, add the lemon juice as well as the sugar, squeeze out all the goodness from the muslin bag into the pan too. Give it a good stir to mix the sugar. At this point, I actually leave it overnight, so the sugar properly dissolve and flavours develop. The next day, bring the pan to the boil stirring now and then to make sure that nothing sticks to the bottom. There will be a point when your marmalade will start boiling fiercely. Place a small plate in the freezer, and let everything boil fiercely for an extra 10 minutes or so. At that point, take the pan off the heat, take your plate out of the freezer, and put a little bit of your marmalade on it. Place the plate back in the freezer for a minute, take it out and roll your finger against the jam, if it crinkles, your jam is ready, if not let it boil for another five minutes and test again.

Pour your jam into steralized jars straight away.

Bon appétit!

Corinne

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For more recipes like this, take a look at my other blog posts here.

Categories
Christmas baking recipe

Elevate your Christmas desserts with sponge fingers

Elevate your Christmas desserts with sponge fingers

These moreish French biscuits called "Biscuits à la cuillère" are perfect if you are making a trifle, a tiramisu or those fancy French verrine desserts this Christmas. Whichever you choose to make, you have to give this recipe a go. You can buy sponge fingers in any supermarkets, but there is nothing quite like the home made ones. They are so easy to make too, so let's "Elevate your Christmas desserts with sponge fingers" this year.

Elevate your Christmas desserts with sponge fingers

Ingredients:

 

3 eggs 

100 g of sugar (granulated or caster)

100 g of plain flour

Icing sugar

Three baking tray covered with baking paper 

Pre-heat your oven at 180º C

Method:

Separate egg whites and yolks. In a bowl,  mix the sugar and the egg whites to a stiff meringue consistency. Quickly whip your egg yolks and fold them into the meringue. Then add the flour and gently fold in too. Add this mixture to a piping bag and start piping strips on your baking tray, not too close to each over as they will expand once in the oven. Then, sprinkle your sponge fingers generously with icing sugar before they hit the oven. Bake for 10 minutes in a pre-heated 180° C oven. Use them in your triffle, tiramisu and verrines. Or just place them in beautiful cellophane bags with a ribbon and gift them to your friends.

 

Bon appétit!

Corinne

If you’re looking for a more savoury festive recipe, take a look at my “Lobster tail in a rich tomato and turmeric sauce”

Categories
recipe

Braised cabbage with turmeric, ginger and belly pork

Braised cabbage with turmeric, ginger and belly pork

This is a family favourite at this time of year and a little different from the traditional recipes using cabbage. The recipe itself is from Reunion Island, and one that my mum used to cook a lot in winter. The fat from the belly pork mixed with the ginger and turmeric, turns the simple, humble cabbage into a culinary delight. It's not too difficult to make either, so I do hope you give it a go.

Braised cabbage with turmeric, ginger and belly pork

Ingredients:

 

500 g of pork belly cut into cubes 

One cabbage, best to use savoy/green leaves cabbage

Half tsp of turmeric

8 to 10 cloves of garlic

Ginger (the size of a TBSP)

3 fresh tomatoes 

You will need either a heavy base saucepan or a non stick pan to cook this

 

Method:

Cut your cabbage into small quarters, it doesn’t have to be finely chopped. Crush your garlic and ginger into a paste. In a pan, add one tbsp of vegetable oil (you don’t want to use olive oil here at all), once the oil is hot add your diced belly pork salt and pepper to season and fry until golden brown. You’re looking for those brownie bits at the bottom of the pan, they will give flavour to the dish. Then add your turmeric, garlic and ginger paste and stir for a minute or so. Add your cabbage, stir and then add your tomatoes. Pour a small glass of hot water  over the top, stir, bring the heat down and let it simmer for 40/45 minutes, until you have a lovely velvety sauce at the bottom. In Reunion we serve it with rice or polenta, mash potatoes would work great too. 

Bon appétit!

Corinne

You can watch the step by step video on YouTube.

If you enjoy flavoursome autumnal dishes you might want to have a go at my “baked cauliflower with turmeric”

Categories
recipe

Chicken curry with courgettes

Chicken curry with courgettes

Courgettes, no matter the weather are a great crop to have in a kitchen garden. But they always produce so much. The good thing is, they can be added to just about any dish, a curry is always a good option. So here is mine "chicken curry with courgettes" and a good dollop of creme fraiche at the end, yep never too far from my French roots!

Chicken curry with courgettes

Ingredients:

This recipe is for 4 people

3 courgettes cut into small pieces

1 chopped onion

4 cloves of garlic

Ginger (the size of a table spoon) 

1 TBSP of tomato puree

2 TBSP of hot chicken curry powder (mild, if you don’t like the heat)

4 chicken thighs, cut into pieces, with the bone and skin

200 ml of water

A dollop of creme fraiche

Fresh coriander to sprinkle on before serving

Vegetable oil

Method:

I use chicken thighs because they have much more flavour than the breast, with the skin on please! But if you must, use breast.  

I know this is not the way they do it in India, but I like to brown my meat for extra flavour. So, in a pan, add two to 3 TBSP of vegetable oil and fry your pieces of chicken until golden brown. Then, add your chopped onion and stir for a minute or two. Crush your garlic and ginger into a paste and add to the mix. Add your curry powder and courgettes and stir. Finally add your tomato puree. Pour your water, stir, turn the heat down and let your curry seemer for half an hour. 10 minutes before the end, add a good dollop of creme fraiche.  Springle with fresh coriander before serving. Serve with basmati rice or a gorgeous bit of naan bread. 

Bon appétit!

Corinne

As it is courgettes season, you might also want to check out my Malaysian inspired pickeld courgettes.

Categories
Team building

How do you motivate your team?

How do you motivate your team?

A big question at this moment in time, when employers are struggling to find the right match. So, yes when you have a team, how do you reward them? And how do you make sure that your employees know that they have done a good job? And nowadays salary is only half the story!

How do you motivate your team?

So how do you reward your team?

It’s a real challenge in the corporate world at the moment. When I look back at my own corporate career, the companies that come back to mind are strangely enough the ones where I felt my work was valued and appreciated. The CEO of one of those companies for example, would give us a bottle of Veuve Cliquot every Christmas, and he delivered them himself. That same CEO, came to our office one afternoon and treated my colleague and I to a concert of Madonna, yep VIP tickets! (Yes I was a bit of a fan at the time, not anymore!). I have very fond memories of that time. 
 

I was watching a program recently featuring the Head chef at the Elysée Palace. A very stressful position, he remembers president Chirac very fondly because he would take the time at the end of his busy day to personally ring him to say thank you for the his hard work. And that was something he apparently did on a regular basis, whereas president Mitterand, in his 14 years in power only came down the kitchen once! A thank you can go a long way!

In my time, I’m talking the nineties here, employees satisfaction was not as big as today on a company’s agenda.

In a very competitive job market, a good salary is just not enough in terms of recruitment or to maintain employees satisfaction. 

From corporate gifts, team building activities, spa, gift vouchers the list goes on, today, there is an array of possibilities when it comes to rewarding a team. 

Activities around well being, enjoyment and relaxation often get a big thumbs up.

Here at the Académie we have an array of activities for your team to enjoy.

 

We recently had the HR team from Blancco UK. Their team works remotely and comes from around the world. The team gathered in Cambridge. They wrapped up their day of meetings with a baking class at the Académie before heading off to Newmarket for a meal. Employees included locals but some came from India and Sweden. Baking was a great way to relax, bond and have a bit of fun. Everyone went back with a big smile on their face and a box of their own creations to enjoy later. 

Get in touch if you’re looking to reward your team.

Corinne

You can also have a look at our corporate workshops for ideas.

Categories
recipe

Pao de coco, coconut buns

Pao de coco, coconut buns

This is a little delicacy that I discovered in a recent trip to Cape Verde. It's a little sweet bun filled with sugared coconut butter. It's fluffy inside and extremely moreish. I had it with a coffee in the little village of Picos on the Island of Santiago in Cape Verde. It was so good that I had to give it a try when I got back home. It's now a family favourite, so here you have it my version of "Pao de coco, coconut buns"

Pao de coco, coconut buns

Ingredients:

2 eggs 

40 g unsalted butter (cut into cubes)

50 g of caster sugar

50 g ground almonds 

500 g of bread flour

140 ml of lukewarm milk

140 ml of warm water

8 g of salt

10 g of fast action yeast 

A large bowl greased

A large baking tray, greased

For the filling:

80 g of desiccated coconut

150 g of unsalted butter, softened

3 TBSP of caster sugar

Method:

I make the dough in  my KitchenAid, if you are kneading by hand, follow the same method. I start by putting my yeast at the bottom of my bowl. Then I add my flour on top, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, water and milk. Then mix for 5 minutes at low speed 1, then at speed 4 until you get a soft dough. If you’re kneading by hand, knead until the dough is shiny and soft.

Cover your dough with a cloth, leave it in a warm place and let it proof until it doubles in size.

Once your dough has doubled in size, stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up, it’s easier to divide that way. In the meantime, prepare your filling. In a bowl, mix your sugar, coconut and butter to a fluffy paste. Then divide your dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a square and spread a bit of coconut butter in the middle (use a knife to spread evenly). Then fold each square and roll into a sausage. Shape each sausage into a knot shape and place on your greased baking tray. Cover your tray with cling film that you have greased first and live the knots to double in size. Once doubled, stick your tray in a 180º C oven  and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until your buns are golden brown on top. The coconut butter will be oozing out when they come out of the oven, I brush this lovely scented oil back on top of the buns. Heaven! 

They are delicious eaten warm. You can also freeze them to enjoy later. If you do freeze them, let them out the night before to defrost, and warm them up in the oven for 5 minutes and enjoy for breakfast.

If you are a sourdough baker, you can also add a bit of starter dough to your mix, so instead of using 10 g of fast action yeast, only use 5 g and add 120 g of starter. Your buns will be even fluffier.

 

 

Bon appétit!

 Corinne

You can find the step by step video of the recipe on YouTube

For more delicious recipes, click here

Categories
recipe

Baked cauliflower with turmeric

Baked cauliflower with turmeric

Baked cauliflower with turmeric, not your standard cauliflower cheese, but a really good match for your roast lamb this Easter weekend. It will also complement any vegetarian option beautifully. So what's not to like!

Baked cauliflower with turmeric

Ingredients:

 

To serve 4 people  

Two cauliflowers

Salt and pepper to season

5 TBSP of vegetable oil 

4 TBSP of creme fraiche

150 g grated cheddar (gruyere, or a good Italian cheese works well too). 

2 TBSP of turmeric

A baking tray 

Pre-heat your oven at 180º C

Method:

Cut your cauliflower into florets and place them in your baking tray. Drizzle your florets with vegetable oil and add your turmeric. Season with salt and pepper, mix well, I suggest wearing surgical gloves for this, as it is best to mix everything by hand, but you’ll end-up with yellow hands if you don’t wear gloves. Once your cauliflower is coated with turmeric and oil, place your tray in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes then mix again with a spoon and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Then add your creme fraiche and mix and add your cheese on top. Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes. And that is it! So a very easy recipe indeed. Serve hot with your roast lamb or whatever vegetarian option you are serving.

Note: don’t use frozen cauliflower for this dish as it would release too much moisture. Also don’t throw away the green leaves, chop them up and place them in a tupperware box in your fridge. They will keep for a week and can be used in stir fries, curries or cooked like any other greens. 

 

Bon appétit!

Corinne

You might also want to try my passion fruit crême brulée for dessert

 

Categories
recipe

Passion fruit crême brulée: my Easter dessert

Passion fruit crême brulée: my Easter dessert

I know, why passion fruit for Easter and not chocolate? Well, because why not? Life is too short I say, plus trust me it's a delicious dessert, indulgent and sophisticated at the same time. So here you have it "Passion fruit crême brulée: my Easter dessert" And it's super easy to make, so what's not to like?

Passion fruit crême brulée: my Easter dessert

Ingredients:

3 passion fruits

400 ml double cream

100 ml milk

1 vanilla pod

100 g granulated sugar

6 eggs yolks

2 to 3 tbs light brown sugar for the topping.

You will need 4 to six ramekins for this dessert and an oven proof tray for your bain marie

Pre-heat your oven at 150º C

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 150°C static. Whisk the sugar and egg  yolks until light and creamy.  Split your vanilla pod in half, with a knife take out the black seeds and mix them with the sugar and egg mixture and put the pod in the milk. Bring your milk and double cream to  boiling point. Then slowly pour onto your egg mix whisking all the time (you can use a strainer at this point, I personnally don’t, the choice is yours).

Add the passion fruit at the bottom of your ramekins and pour the cream over the top. This mix is enough for 4 to 6 pots.

Cook in a hot bain-marie in a 150°C oven for 40 minutes to an hour. (it’s cooked when you have a slight wobble).

Once cooked, leave to cool and put in the fridge for at least three hours. Once completely cold sprinkle some light brown sugar on the top of your ramekins. You can either use a blow torch or the grill to caramelise the top.

Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

Corinne

 

If you’re looking for a more chocolaty dessert for Easter you my like to try my boozy raspberry brownies