Crunchy Bottoms

Striking the caloric balance. Barely.

Category Archives: Recipes: French

Olive and Rosemary Fougasse

Olive and Rosemary Fougasse

I don’t make fancy breads often, because bread in my home is mostly consumed for breakfast in manageable slices that fit into the toaster to crisp up.

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to fit this into the toaster, and just the mere thought of hacking up this fiery leaf- I mean loaf, of bread into misshapen pieces, slicing it open thinly just so I can spread or lay something over it would almost kill me. I’m not fond of making things that are too pretty to eat. Hence my lack of interest in cupcakes, food paint, fondant for cakes and food colouring.

But then this isn’t your typical breakfast bread, although please, feel free to do as you will with what you made fresh from your oven and with your two bare hands.

Yet when I saw how simple these were to make, and how they promised deliciously edible Ego Boost in the form of the heady fragrance of olives and perfume-y rosemary embedded in one of the most rustic and beautiful patterns one could carve out of dough, I just had to. And guess what? Everything – from the mixing to the heart-stoppingly frightening moment when it’s time to slide the fragile-looking doughs into the oven and to when they emerge crackly and golden – took less than 2 hours. I think I came out of the kitchen, a little dusted with flour and bearing what Richard Bertinet calls the Fougasse Grin, which essentially reads as ‘Look what I’ve made!’.

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Lamb Shank Cassoulet

Lamb Shank Cassoulet

Say hello to my first night-time photos. 

If I could keep the sun up all the time, or better yet, summon it whenever I need it present for a proper shot, I’d be happy. Which is why I only ever bother with photos during the day (which all happen to be desserts D:). Shots of otherwise vibrant hues of Chicken Paprikash under sickly, stark, hospital-flourescent lighting? I’d rather eat my food while it’s still warm than bother ransacking drawers for daylight-balanced bulbs or a pocket-sized sun. 

But Mother’s Day dinner couldn’t simply be left uncaptured at all. Especially since I want to look back half a decade later and laugh and cry and remember how I bound myself to the kitchen for 4 concrete hours and how I burned a toe (Yes, a toe. The big toe on my left foot to be exact) when a splotch of molten white chocolate decided my foot to be a more desirable destination than the frickin’ bowl. 

Such are the joys of the kitchen. 

I planned a Main, a Side and Dessert. 

Nowhere did I bother to insert Taking Photos as part of the menu, short of risking dropping the Nikon into the pressure cooker while accidently getting spattered with scalding, popping bacon fat and impaling my palm with the jagged edge of the opened can of beans as I blindly reach for a towel amidst the spray of blood. I was this close to turning the night into something out of an episode of Happy Tree Friends, so if I only cared long enough to drag my room lamp downstairs and grab that black vanguard board for a picture, I’m glad the end product even looked like food. Although perhaps if you looked closely you’d be able to spot a severed fingertip among the chorizo sausages and beans… 

I’m known for my morbid sense of humour. Excuse me.  

Rest assured that I’m completely intact to type out a blog post.  Read more of this post

Oh yeasty goodness

Now look what I’ve done.

I started this on Saturday, and popped it in the oven today. Richard Bertinet wasn’t kidding when he said that longer fermentations and rising times produce a gorgeous rusty-red crust, full-bodied flavour and the slightest nutty sweetness. Oh my lordie. I could have an entire loaf as a snack, or perhaps all three. I hadn’t planned on taking a span of 3 days to bake this, but I’m glad I did. Now I only wished I had doubled the batch. Half of it’s gone already.

And of course my shaping leaves much to be desired. They’re suppose to look like baguettes but ended up mangled. Tsk.

That wasn’t all that I made with the dough though (say that ten times fast!). I could jump around the house in joy, bouncing off the walls like a chimpanzee on crack and red bull both at once because I thought three baguettes would satisfy the family enough, so I took the last ball of dough and made this: Read more of this post

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