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Boozy raspberry brownies

Boozy raspberry brownies

A classic recipe for sure, and truly a comforting one, on those beautiful autumn days, my "boozy raspberry brownies". The raspberries makes them super moist in the middle and the booze, well, as we are getting close to the festive season, dare I say it's just perfect. These brownies would make the perfect little treat for Christmas, nicely packaged in a cellophane bag with a beautiful ribbon. And they are so easy to make.

Boozy raspberry brownies

Ingredients:

 

3 eggs 

175 g unsalted butter

175 g of dark chocolate

125 g of granulated sugar

100 g of soft muscovado sugar

25 g cocoa powder

5 g of instant coffee 

100 g of plain flour

A punnet of raspberries

30 g of white chocolate to decorate

Not essential but highly recommended, 2 tbsp of rum

8″ square baking tin (lined with baking paper) 

Pre-heat your oven at 180º C

Method:

Place your chocolate and coffee in a bowl. Melt your butter and pour over your chocolate. Whisk your eggs and sugars to a white consistency (little tip, to make your brownies super chewy, whisk for a good 5 minutes), then add your melted butter and chocolate and whisk again. Sieve your flour and cocoa powder and slowly fold them in. Pour this mixture into your baking tray and add your raspberries on top. Pop your tin in the oven for 20-25 minutes max. Let your brownies cool in the tin. Once cooled, drizzle with melted white chocolate. 

Bon appétit!

Corinne

If you’re after a similar chocolaty recipe, check out my gluten free chocolate cake

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Vanilla, the magic bean

Vanilla, the magic bean

I first visited a vanilla plantation when I was 10 years old, a very boring thing to do with a 10 year old one might think. Actually not, it's a visit that has stayed with me until today. The smell of the vanilla as you step inside the plantation has remained in my memory to this day! That's why I really wanted my two daughters Alice and Juliette to experience this wonderful place as well: La "Coopérative Provanille de Bras-Panon", a cooperative that processes the vanilla of the island, where a 120 local producers come to sell their crop. This is such a special place, that every time I go back to Reunion, I just have to visit it. And, as soon as you arrive you are hit with the powerful aroma of vanilla. I just had to share this wonderful tradition with you.

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vanilla, the magic bean

Son histoire:

From Mexico to Reunion Island…

Vanilla came to Reunion Island in the 17th century from Mexico. At the time, It was used as a decorative plant in the gardens of the rich and powerful until a 12 year old boy called Edmond Albius discovered how to pollenate the plant and what we now called “La Vanille Bourbon” was born.

Edmond was a slave, and one day he got so cross with his master that he crushed all the flowers of the vanilla vine. A few weeks later, he discovered that some of the flowers that he had crushed had turned into vanilla pods. This is how manual pollination started. Edmond was made free in 1847 but was never recognised for his discovery during his lifetime, he actually died in poverty. A very ironic and unfortunate ending when a kilo of vanilla today can cost up to 3000 euros!

From a vine to a vanilla bean…

Vanilla starts as a vine that climbs on the “vacoa” and “chandelle” trees. After fours years, the vine starts flowering and produces a beautiful orchid (the only orchid in the world that produces a fruit). In Mexico, the flowers are naturally pollenated by the Mexican bee, but in Reunion this bee can’t survive, so pollination has to be done manually.

When the flowers come out, farmers have to go very quickly to pollenate them as the flower lasts only one morning. One farmer can apparently pollenate 2000 flowers a day, the person in charge of this very skilful job is called “la marieuse” (the matchmaker). It is a very important process, if pollination is not done properly the fruit will not grow. After pollination it takes a month for the vanilla to come out. It looks like a fat runner bean. It will take another nine months for the bean to be ready to be harvested. At this point, farmers take their crops to the cooperative where the lovely, scented vanilla that we find in our shops will be processed.

From a bean to a vanilla pod… 

When the vanilla arrives at the cooperative, each pod is carefully checked for quality and maturity. A good pod has to have a yellow tip or the pods will not be processed. The pods are soaked into a 65°C water for three minutes. They are then put into wooden containers and covered with blankets and will remain in those containers overnight. It is at this point that the pod takes the brown colour that we know. The vanilla is then stored onto wooden racks. The pods are dried outside 3 hours a day for a week. After that, the pods remain onto their wooden racks inside for another month. They are then individually checked by hand to see if they’re dry. Skilled workers can feel which pods are properly dried by rolling the pods between their fingers. Once dried, they are stored into wooden boxes for two years before being sold. Special paper is used to ensure that the pods do not enter into contact with the wood or enzymes in the wood will destroy the vanilla. One point to bear in mind is also that during these two years, the wooden boxes will be emptied and checked monthly by hand, to make sure that the vanilla is not mouldy.  One mouldy vanilla pod is enough to contaminate an entire container.

This is the basic process. Subtle changes allow different flavours and aromas to be produced. The highest quality vanilla will have needle like crystallised “suc” on its surface. These pods are sorted by the top quality restaurants in the world.

Bear it in mind next time you buy a vanilla pod it’s pricy for a reason. It takes two to three years from the vine to the pod for the vanilla to release its unique aroma………….  

Corinne

Here’s the link to the plantation I visited in Reunion

Here’s a classic dessert using vanilla, “crême brulée”

 

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Stuffed chillies deep fried in a rich turmeric batter

Stuffed chillies deep fried in a rich turmeric batter

These stuffed chillies deep fried in a rich turmeric batter were a real hit at my last Bistrot Clandestin. They are a classic street food in Reunion Island. They are delicious and not too difficult to make, so I do hope you give it a go. They are also perfect for an aperitif.

Stuffed chillies deep fried in a rich turmeric batter

Ingredients:

This recipe is for 4 people

4 chillies ( I’m using jalapenos, because they are quite chunky, but if you don’t want the heat, you can use a small sweet pepper, something like padron peppers or Greek peppers works well).

4 plain good quality sausages

Fresh thyme

Two spring onions

A piece of fresh ginger, about the size of a tsp, grated

250 g of plain four

2 tsp of baking powder

2 eggs

1 tsp of turmeric

A glass of water

Salt and pepper to season

Vegetable oil

 

Method:

Step1, the chillies

Start by taking off the sausage cases. In a bowl, add your chopped spring onions, ginger, thyme, sausage and mix well. Make an incision in your chilli peppers, be careful not to cut them in half, you want the chilli to stay whole, take off all the seeds inside. Add a bit of your sausage mix inside the chilli and set aside.

Step 2, the batter

In a bowl, add your flour, turmeric, baking powder, salt and pepper to season and mix. Then slowly add your water a little bit at a time and mix until you get a nice thick batter (similar to a pancake batter).

Step 3, the frying

Prepare a plate with kitchen paper on which your chillies will rest once fried. A deep fryer is perfect for this. I don’t have one, so I use a very deep pan or you can also use a wok. I pour enough oil to be able to deep fry my chillies. Bring your oil to a high temperature, it takes about 3 minutes. One way to find out if your oil is ready is to add a little bit of batter, if the batter floats quickly to the top, it’s ready. At that point dip your chilli into the batter, slowly add it to your hot oil (be very careful not to burn yourself), reduce the heat immediately, as you want your chilli to slowly cook and not burn, it will take a good 3 minutes to do so, until the batter is golden brown. In Reunion, we tend to serve them immediately, but you can also have them cold with a salad. And that’s it, as easy as that!

Bon appétit!⠀

Corinne

Also check out this other recipe from Reunion Island here

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Workshops under Covid-19

Workshops under Covid-19

All workshops are run from the comfort of my own kitchen. We are a family of four, my husband and I are now fully vaccinated as well as my eldest daughter Alice, my youngest daughter Juliette has had her first jab.

Here is how I intend to run each class.

Lateral flow test:

To make sure that all classes are run in the safest way as possible, I am asking each participant to take a lateral flow test the morning prior to the class they have chosen to attend. Should your test be positive, don’t you worry I will arrange a new date for you, so no need to panic if the test happens to be positive, you will still be able to attend another class.

Masks:

They are no longer compulsory and I won’t ask you to wear one. But should you wish to wear a visor, I have some spare ones for you to use.

Social distancing:

Following the new government guideline of 21st July 2021, there will be no social distancing anymore. Classes will be run in their full capacity of 4 or 6 depending on the class. You will still have access to your own equipment and ingredients (all ingredients are weighed and separated for each participant anyway).

The set-up of the cookery school is airy and spacious, so ventilation is not an issue. I have 2 sets of by folding doors that will be kept opened when weather permits.

Sanitisation

Hand sanitising stations will be available at entry and where food is handled. The toilets facilities will be sanitised after each use during the course of the class. Paper towels will be available as well.

Self isolation

Students attending the workshop should not  have had or have any covid-19 symptoms or been in contact with someone displaying them. Any student attending the workshops has to abide by these rules. Should you not be able to attend the workshop because of illness let us know and we will allow you to attend another workshop. Re-arranging another date is not a problem at all. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for your safety and the one of my family that you abide by these rules.

Bon appétit!⠀

Corrine x