Easy French seasonal recipes including many traditional dishes from my travels. Includes a database of egg yolk recipes and many gluten-free dishes, cakes and desserts.

To Orange Blossom & Paris Lovers

It has been chilly in Paris this week. On a damp, drizzly Monday morning a brisk walk through the Tuileries Gardens was therapy to banish the winter blues instead of taking an extra metro stop. It was spookily desserted except for wrapped-up, serious joggers on the run. I say serious: have you ever seen a happy jogger?  Perhaps everyone was inside the Orangerie Museum, marvelling at Monet’s Water Lilies. The cold clinging humidity certainly didn’t stop these two from having a good neck in the corner, though.

Orangery Museum Paris Tuileries Gardens

The Orangerie at the Palace of the Louvre was quite the trend in the 17th & 18th Centuries. Royal and aristocratic residences all needed an orangery with citrus trees in tubs or under glass in winter to impress.

I just wanted to impress hubby with something different for dessert. So, realising there were no egg whites ageing (wonder what for?), orange blossom ice cream seemed fitting after a couscous – and more importantly, since they use 8 yolks. How to make it? I simply replaced 100ml of the cream from the ice cream recipe in the book with orange flower water and added a touch of orange colouring to the cream. Simple and pure heaven.

Orange Flower Water Ice-cream

 

I adore the heavy perfume of orange blossom and I know I’m not alone. I use it in the form of room scents, shower gels and body lotions but when it comes to food, it adds a whole new dimension.

Adding a touch of orange blossom water (or orange flower water) can take desserts or pastries to another level. In France l’eau de fleur d’oranger is normally added to madeleine cakes and marshallows (guimauve). But it’s almost like a secret ingredient that you want to keep for yourself so that nobody can make quite the same brioches, crêpes, gaufres (waffles), cookies, rice puddings or fig tarts (these are coming on le blog.)

Adding it to a simple orange salad or couscous can whisk you on a magic carpet for a few moments to Marrakesh. I sometimes even put a dash of it in pumpkin soup for that touch of je ne sais quoi. I’ve added my recipe take on a creamy panna cotta: a cinnamon, orange blossom & pistachio panna cotta.

Moroccan-style panna cotta

And it goes without saying (ça va sans dire) that orange blossom macarons are one of our favourites. This time I infused an Earl Grey teabag into the cream to add an extra powerful fragrant punch to accompany a pot of Lady Grey tea at goûter time. I can’t believe we polished off 40 of them already…

Orange Blossom & Earl Grey Tea Macarons

Orange Blossom & Earl Grey Tea Parisian Macarons

This post was published long before even Mum knew I had a blog. If you would like to leave a comment now, it’s not too late. You’ll make my day! Jill xo

Crab, Ginger & Coriander Gluten-free Quiches

 

This is such an easy starter. You’re basically replacing the pastry with cornflour, so they are gluten free. Prepare the mix earlier in the day and chill until needed. Pour into 6 briochette silicone moulds just before your guests arrive and bake during the aperitif. Serve with a herb salad with lemon olive oil or with Thai Green Curry Macarons (see p.105) for something different.

They are also ideal served as minis for party finger-food or as an apéritif: just use smaller moulds and bake for only 10 minutes. It’s amazing how my French guests love these in particular – especially the slim French ladies; I think it’s because they’re so light and there’s no pastry. 😉

Serves 6 as a starter

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time:
40 minutes

3 large eggs
400g crab
300ml crème fraîche
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp fresh coriander
2cm grated ginger
1 red chili, finely sliced
50g freshly grated parmesan
seasoning

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C

2 Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour mixture into silicone briochette moulds.

3 Bake for 20 minutes.

Ideal partners: chilled South African chenin blanc or pinot blanc from Alsace. My own preference is my Frenchman with the wine too.