A simple, elegant figgy pudding with the added French touch of mini raspberry macarons
Lighten routine with these healthy, reduced sugar flapjacks for breakfast or after-school
Have a healthy start to the day with these breakfast waffles inspired by Brazilian cheese puffs!
A deliciously zingy, creamy topping for crepes or pancakes this February.
The first Autumn chill hit the Paris air last week. Suddenly the kitchen now feels a cosy haven again for the family to wander in and see what’s cooking as they gravitate towards the warming oven or stove, happy to see their favourite comfort food recipes return.
Curling up on the sofa this weekend with a special pot of fragranced green tea, my mind drifted to one of our most comforting classics: warm rice pudding. Normally, I either make my rice pudding using egg yolks for a rich treat or simply bake it as my Mum and Granny did – but I discovered this simple yet intriguing twist on the traditional recipe from Theodor Paris.
For a start it uses a lot more milk than I would normally use and the process is simply stirring it now and again over a warm stove. The magic ingredient, however, is the finest quality fragranced tea. As the rice gradually thickens and the milk reduces, the tea’s scent beautifully permeates the pudding with all its delicate flavours shining through.
The tea I used is called PETITE OURSE, or Little Bear, a special edition recently released by Theodor and created by its talented founder, Guillaume Leleu (aka The Insolent Parisian), for the annual Paris Revelations Fair. It’s a Chinese green tea very delicately perfumed with notes of mandarin, a subtle warm hint of ginger and finished off with mallow flowers and both sunflower and safflower petals.
Petite Ourse is one of three new special edition blends beautifully named “Some amongst us are contemplating the stars”. As I discovered in this previous macaron tea tasting, I can’t believe how tea like this can evoke so many smiles through a few sips. It moves away from the ordinary, our normal tea comfort zone.
Just tasting the other two teas tickles the palate with their surprising finishes: PERSEUS black tea has notes of comforting bergamot, yuzu and plum plus tickles us further with bits of orange and carrot (yes, carrot!); but just tasting the complex but brilliant PHŒNIX, with its exotic blend of Brazilian maté, chocolate, marzipan, liquorice root and pink peppercorns has you head for the stars with its final delicate kick of chilli – I bet that would make an adventurous rice pudding!
But it wasn’t just the three new teas as stars of the show; two designers hailing from the Camondo School were inspired to design this “Totem” structure for Guillaume Leleu, representing the artistic element of tea for the Revelations Fair.
Inspired by witnessing the creative behind-the-scenes artistic precision at Theodor’s laboratory on the Seine, both Nicolas Jandrot and Florence Tajan (also pictured above) used 3 materials – wood, metal and glass – to create a metaphor for the successive states of the finest tea, from tree to teacup.
The Totem structure will be taking off around the world to be shown in destinations such as Mexico, Japan and Korea – all where Theodor are represented. With its three antennae looking to the north, I have this fascination for “Petite Ourse”, or Ursa minor, whose brightest star stamps the North Pole and whose cove points the way to the light.
Petite Ourse is an occasion to dive in to the delicacies of a green tea perfumed with major notes of mandarine and ginger, whose North Star points the way to the light. A blend that immerses us back into childhood and our dear Teddy Bears, so reassuring and protective, to whom we dearly hold on for comfort.
Slowly stirring the senses as the delicate mandarin rice pudding thickened on the stove, I realised I had come out of some kind of childhood comfort zone just by trying something a bit more adventurous yet still enveloped in a comforting world with the most fragrant rice pudding I’ve known.
Rice Pudding Recipe Infused with Tea
Recipe courtesy of Theodor Paris. While they use their Rooibos tea from the “Weeds” collection named “Une autre idée?“, I replaced the tea with 18g Petite Ourse, a Chinese green tea predominately fragranced with mandarine and ginger. I find the amount of stirring is needed more at the beginning but as the rice starts to thicken towards the end and the milk gradually evaporates with a more concentrated tea flavour, less is needed so you can go about making the rest of dinner!
Makes 4 little bear bowls of rice pudding
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
1 Litre of milk
100 grams of round grain rice
72 grams of powdered sugar
15 to 20 grams of (Theodor’s recipe uses rooïbos)
1. Pour the litre of milk in a saucepan. Add the 72 grams of powdered sugar and bring the whole to a boil. Remove from the heat and brew the tea (Petite Ourse) for 10 minutes in the sweet milk. Once the brewing time is up, it will be time to filter your milk. The nice smell of the brew will already be perfuming your kitchen.
2. Put the milk to a boil a second time, then lower the heat to a minimum and rain in the 100 grams of round grain rice. Let the whole cook for 55 minutes at a very low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the formation of a too thick film on the surface. If a film forms itself anyhow, do not worry, a good stirring may very well make it disappear. You can also remove it directly off of the saucepan. With a little more patience, let the rice cool down in order to dispatch it in your cups.
You can place your rice pudding in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours…but we prefer to taste it just finished, accompanied with an aromatic and elegant chai based on an Indian black tea called ” Travel to india ” or what about a tea that reminds us of mulled wine and spices with Theodor’s “OH-LA-LA!”.
So let me introduce you to Little Bear’s warm rice pudding, a real tea-infused treat that will simply have you heading for the stars. If you follow the GPS, it should be 90°N/10°S.
You’ll be bowled over!
This post is not sponsored. I was invited simply for a tasting of the new teas by Theodor in Paris.
That’s the first full-on week back at school conquered. Hearing the groans to early clockwork mornings is waning so I guess that means we’re gradually adjusting to routine. I put it down to bananas and this Banana Chestnut Coffee Cake.
Brought up calling bananas “brain food”, I stocked up on them last weekend for a quick, healthy energy boost to slice on our favourite breakfast maple granola. Except Julie refused the bananas. Lucie explained that Julie loves this banana cake so much for breakfast that she deliberately leaves them to ripen so there’s an urgent excuse to make this!
Baking with Chestnut Flour
I discovered this recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima and loved her ingenious addition of coffee powder to banana bread, to give it an Italian touch. I don’t normally have sweet cake for breakfast but in Corsica, my mother-in-law often makes a chestnut cake using chestnut flour. As farine de chataigne is a pretty strong-flavoured flour, we normally mix it with plain flour. And so this recipe has gradually adapted to our tastes, as we cut down the sugar by half to accommodate the rustic chestnut flavour and give it our Corsican touch.
Banana Chestnut Coffee Cake
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Italian Breakfast Banana Bread, from Nigellissima. I have more than halved the sugar content (replaced caster sugar with soft dark brown), used chestnut flour, plus reduced the oil to compensate for these ingredients. If you prefer to make this gluten-free, then omit the plain flour and use 170g chestnut flour. To make muffins, pour the mixture into a greased 1×12 muffin tin (or silicone brochette moulds, so no greasing necessary) and bake for 20 minutes at 200°C (gas mark 6).
3 medium bananas, very ripe
100ml /3.5 fl oz neutral-tasting oil (grape seed/sunflower) oil
2 medium eggs
50g / 1.75oz soft dark brown sugar
100g / 3.5oz plain flour
75g / 2.5oz chestnut flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
30g / 1oz chopped walnuts (optional)
4 tsps instant espresso powder
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/340°F (gas mark 3). Lightly oil a 450g/1LB loaf tin or no need to oil if using a silicone loaf mould.
2. Mash the bananas to a purée, add the salt and beat in the oil. Beat in the eggs, one by one, followed by the soft brown sugar.
3. Sift the chestnut flour and gradually beat it into the mixture, adding the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, coffee powder and walnuts (if using).
4. Pour the batter into the loaf tin, place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until slightly coming away at the sides and bunglingly risen. A cake tester should come out clean.
5. Leave the cake in the tin for about 20 minutes, then turn out on to a wire tray to cool.
Leave the cake or muffins overnight as they’ll taste even better in the morning.
Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. The muffins/cake also freeze well for up to 3 months; just defrost the night before.