The Musette: Bosh mezze cake

A crowd coming round on a Monday night? I raided the cupboards and fridge and had all the ingredients for this recipe to hand which I followed to the letter. It was very tasty – nothing left over – but I thought it could be improved upon. So the second time I made it I did improve it, but also learnt a few important lessons!

Ingredients (feeds 8 hungry cyclists)

  • 2 large aubergines (eggplants) cut into round discs
  • 2 fat courgettes (zucchini) cut into round slices
  • 1 small jar grilled artichokes, drained
  • portion Hummus (recipe here)
  • portion Moutabal (recipe here)
  • portion Tapenade (recipe below)
  • 1 flat bread (cut to the size of the cake tin)
  • handful finely chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • portion 100g (1/2 cup) basmati rice (cooked & cooled) or portion mujadara (recipe here)
  • tomato chilli jam (recipe here)
  • portion falafel mix (recipe here)

Tapenade

  • 200g (4 cups) whole black olives, preferably niçoise or kalamata
  • 3 tbsp capers, well rinsed if packed in salt
  • 2 anchovies, well rinsed if packed in salt, roughly chopped
  • 1 fat clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp organic lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Method (for tapenade)

1. Remove the stones from the olives with a pitter or a sharp knife. Put in a food processor with the capers, anchovies, garlic and thyme, and whizz to a rough puree. Squeeze in the lemon juice and, with the motor still running, add the oil.

2. Alternatively, pound the garlic, anchovies, capers and thyme together in a pestle and mortar until smooth, followed by the olives, leaving these slightly more chunky, then gradually add the oil and lemon juice, pounding between pours.

3. Taste, and add pepper and more lemon juice if necessary.

Method for Mezze Cake

1. Put all the falafel ingredients into a food processor, blend to a thick paste and put to one side.

2. Cook the rice or mujadara and leave to cool.

3. With a sharp knife, cut the flat bread to the shape of your cake tin.

4. Cut the aubergine (egg plant) and courgette (zucchini) into to 1cm thick slices and griddle on both sides of each slice until they’re cooked through. I just brush them with olive oil on both sides.

5. Place the flatbread in the base of the cake tin.

6. Carefully and creatively layer each ingredient to build the cake (it’s your cake, add what you want, when you want or see video in link below for guidance! Make sure the top layer is the falafel mixture). I started as per the video with hummus dribbled with chilli jam as per photo above, then added layers of vegetables covered with tapenade and moutabal with my mudjara rice layer in-between.

7. Bake the cake at 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 (350ºF/320ºF fan) for 30 minutes until golden on top. Take the cake out of the oven and leave for 10 minutes or so before decorating with a further layer of hummus and some more griddled vegetables (I found that this step isn’t strictly necessary) before slicing and serving.

8. Serve with chopped coriander (cilantro) more chilli jam or whatever else you’d like.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. Feel free to replace any of the home-made components with shop bought ones or indeed replace anything you don’t like with something you do.

2. The first time I made this in a square rather than round tin and it kept its shape so much better.

3. Remember to press all the layers together tightly before adding the falafel layer. The second time I made it I left the mixture as falafel balls. It loooked smarter, didn’t require topping with further hummus but it was a big mistake as the falafel top layer helps the cake keep its shape and makes it easier to cut.

4. As it’s a mezze cake, I generally serve it with some refreshing tabouleh which is heavy on the parsley and mint.

5. The following day, the cold left overs make a delicious wrap.

The Musette: Italian style soft almond biscuits

I love almonds and am always looking for recipes which include these lovely nuts. I love biscuits but too many include forbidden dairy ingredients. I always have a couple of egg whites knocking around in the fridge so I love it when I find a recipe that solves this three-way issue.

The recipe starts with blanched almonds, rich in moisture and essential oils which I reduce to a fine flour in my food processor. However, I’d be just as happy to use unpeeled ones. It’s important to use good quality nuts otherwise the end product won’t taste good.

I make the biscuits  all the same shape and size by using a very small ice cream scoop but you could roll the balls of dough in pine nuts or crushed pistachios, stud them with glace or fresh cherries, or a curl of candied peel, or a thumb print of jam. I like them best plain, I don’t even dust them afterwards with icing sugar as I find they’re sweet enough.

These are as much marzipan sweets as they are biscuits, with the egg white keeping them sticky and light, so they need careful cooking. When cooked, the biscuits turn opaque with just a gilding of gold on top. Keep a close eye on them, so they don’t catch on the bottom. These are not biscuits to walk away from – they require you to loiter close by. When they come out of the oven, they will still be soft, so let them cool on a wire rack before lifting on to a plate and (if you must) dusting with more icing sugar.

Soft almond biscuits (makes 25 – 30 small biscuits)

  • 250g (2 1/2 cups) blanched almonds, ground in a food processor
  • 250g (2 cups) sifted icing (confectioners’) sugar, plus extra to dust
  • Zest of an unwaxed organic lemon, approx. 1 tbsp
  • 2 organic egg whites (approx. 60g or 2oz)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C (150C fan)/(325F/300F) gas 3½. In a food processor, grind the almonds to a flour, tip into a large bowl, then add the sifted icing sugar, salt and lemon zest. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients.

2. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, add to the almond mix and bring everything together into a dough initially using a spatula and then your (clean) hands.

3. Use a small ice-cream scoop to form balls or dust your hands with icing sugar and make balls by rolling walnut-sized lumps of dough between your palms.

4. If you want to decorate them, either press something into the centre of each biscuit, or make a deep indent with your finger and fill with a blob of jam.

5. Put the dough shapes, slightly flattened, nicely spaced out, on a baking tray lined with greaseproof (parchment) baking paper or silpat, and bake on the middle shelf for 10-12 minutes, or until they are lightly golden.

6. They will still be soft when pulled from the oven, so leave them to cool completely on a wire rack, then lift on to a plate and (if you must) dust with more icing sugar. Heaven with tea or coffee!

The Musette: mujadara

Lentils, rice, olive oil, spices and onions – this Middle Eastern standard is the ultimate pantry recipe. It’s also the classic example of a dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts. There are literally dozens of recipes for mujadara out there – each country, possibly even each family, seems to have its own version. The one I like best is that served at our local Lebanese restaurant, who kindly gave me their recipe – result! It’s also quick and easy to make. A bit of stirring on the stove and then pop it into the oven and it’s ready in next to no time.

Ingredients (serves 4 hungry cyclists)

  • 2 medium-sized onions finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 150g (3/4 cup) Puy lentils
  • 1ltr (4 cups) boiling filtered water
  • 325g (1 1/2 cups) long grain brown rice (soaked for an hour in 500 ml (2 cups) filtered water)
  • bunch finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves or coriander (cilantro) leaves

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 3 (375°F/350°F fan).

2. Toss the onions with the olive oil, cumin and thyme in a frying pan (skillet) and cook over a high heat until they turn golden brown, about 15 minutes.

3.Add the rinsed lentils, chopped garlic, salt and pepper and cook for a further couple of minutes.

3. Add the drained rice to the mix and turn into a casserole dish (dutch oven) before carefully adding the boiling water. Stir, pop on the lid and put it into the oven for around 25-30 minutes. It’s done when the lentils and rice are tender and there’s no liquid left.

4. Remove the dish from the oven. Taste and, if necessary, adjust the seasoning. Fluff with a fork, sprinkle with the parsley or coriander (cilantro), and serve warm or at room temperature.

5. If you’re so inclined, you can dress it with greek-style yogurt, Aleppo-style pepper, crispy shallots and additional olive oil.

The Musette: vegan quinoa pancakes

My beloved was heading off on an insane four-day trip to Bangkok and I wanted to give him (and me) a breakfast treat before he left. I had a few frozen blueberries in the freezer which I turned into blueberry compote with the addition of the juice and zest of an organic lemon and two tablespoons of my home-made strawberry jam, though any red/black jam will do.

I also had a spot of quinoa flour lurking in the bottom of one of my storage jars which I toasted in the oven and then cooled before using in the recipe instead of the oat flour I typically use. I also added some coconut flour which I’ve found greatly adds to their texture making them ultra fluffy, but also moist and tender. Consequently they soak up the compote and maple syrup, but don’t fall apart when you cut into them.

Ingredients (enough for two hungry cyclists)

  • 50g (1/2 cup) almond flour
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot starch or cornflour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2  tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups plant-based milk, I used unsweetened almond
  • 2 chia or flax seed eggs (2 tbsp chia seeds or flaxseed meal plus 6 tbsp filtered water)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, I used grape-seed

Method

1. Preheat a non-stick griddle or flying pan over a medium heat.

2. Whisk together the chia seeds or flax meal with the water and set aside to gel.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

4. Whisk together the milk, oil and syrup then add the “eggs” whisking again to incorporate. Then pour wet into the dry ingredients until a smooth, thick batter forms.

5. Pour ¼ cup of batter onto the pan and flatten slightly. Cook the pancake until small bubbles begin to form around the edges, about 2 – 3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes longer until the other side is golden brown. Repeat until no batter remains – typically makes six pancakes.

6. Serve warm with compote or fresh berries and pure maple syrup – enjoy!

The Musette: frozen Eton mess

I like to keep a few desserts in my freezer which I can bring out when required, particularly when friends call round at the last moment. This has got to be one of the world’s easiest but most delicious desserts and, better still, is a no-churn affair. You mix everything together, fold it into a loaf tin, freeze and, voilà you’re done until you whip it out to impress. Being dairy, I can’t eat it but everyone assures me it’s divine and it’s so easy to customise.

Ingredients (serves 6 hungry cyclists)

For the ice cream cake

  • 300ml (1 1/4 cups) double (heavy) cream
  • 1 tbsp finely grated organic orange zest
  • 1 tbsp orange flavoured liqueur, I used Cointreau
  • 100g (4oz) good quality, shop-bought meringue nests

For the strawberry sauce

  • 10-15 ripest strawberries from the punnet
  • 1 tbsp finely grated organic orange zest
  • 2 tbsp orange flavoured liqueur, I used Cointreau

To serve

500g (1lb) fresh strawberries, hulled and macerated in another  – why not? – tbsp Cointreau

Method

1. Line a 450g (1lb) loaf tin with clingfilm, making sure you have enough overhang to cover the top later.

2. Whip the cream until thick but still soft. Gently fold the liqueur and orange zest into the cream.

3. Crumble the meringue nests – you want a mix of sand and rubble – and fold these in, too.

4. Pack this mixture into the prepared loaf tin, pressing it down with a spatula as you go, and bring the clingfilm up and over to seal the top, then get out more clingfilm to wrap around the whole tin. Freeze until solid, which should take around 8 hours, or overnight. It’ll happily sit in the freezer for a month.

5. To serve, unwrap the outer layer of plastic wrap, then unpeel the top and use these bits of long overhanging wrap to lift out the ice-cream brick. Unwrap and unmould it onto a board and cut the frozen meringue cake into slabs to serve.

6. Just whiz up the sauce ingredients in your liquidiser or food processor.

7. I like to zig-zag a little strawberry sauce over each slice, and sprinkle the strawberries alongside on each plate.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. Swap out the orange zest for lemon, the strawberries for raspberries and the Cointreau for Limoncello and you’ve a completely different dessert. Don’t forget to sieve the raspberry sauce to eliminate the pips and you may also need 1-2 tsp sugar to sweeten it.

2. Exchange the orange zest for 30g (1oz) dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped into splinters and the Cointreau for coffee liqueur or dark rum and serve with a chocolate sauce made from:-

  • 250ml (1 cup) double (heavy)cream
  • 125g (4 oz) dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coffee liqueur or dark rum

Heat the cream and chocolate over a gently heat, whisking as the chocolate melts, taking the pan off the heat once the chocolate is almost all melted. If the mixture gets too hot, the chocolate will seize, whereas it will happily continue melting in the warm cream off the heat. Add the liqueur, still off the heat, and whisk again to amalgamate the sauce completely. Pour into a jug, whisking every now and again until it cools to just subtly warm.

3. If chocolatesauce isn’t your thing, serve with a good quality caramel one!

The Musette: apple pie spiced porridge

I’m trying to wean my beloved away from his usual breakfast (yoghurt on granola, followed by marmalade on toast) and getting him to eat more oats and eggs, though not necessarily together! Aside from preparing for him the usual array of eggs poached, fried, boiled, scrambled or in an omelette, frittata or tortilla, I’ve been trying to jazz up porridge, preparing something we can both eat.

He generally prefers porridge made with milk topped with sliced bananas, a dollop of cream and maple syrup. This is a much healthier iteration and doesn’t require me to stand at the stove stirring. I can prepare it all the night before and then just pop it into the oven in the morning. Better still, this scales up nicely if I’m feeding a crowd and, if I’ve made too much, will happily re-heat the following day.

Ingredients (enough for 3 hungry cyclists for breakfast)

  • 120g (1 cup)  jumbo rolled oats
  • 250ml (1 cup) boiling filtered water
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • 2 eating apples, cored, cut into chunks and cooked with a little honey
  • 1 ripe mashed banana
  • 80g (1/2 cup) raisins
  • 65ml (1/4 cup) unsweetened almond milk
  • 2tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • handful of toasted nuts such as walnuts, almond or hazelnuts (optional)
  • 1/2tsp sea salt

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 (350ºF/320ºF fan).

2. Put the oats into a bowl and pour over the hot water which should cover the oats. Let it stand for at least 10 minutes.

3. Now add all of the remaining ingredients, mix well and pour into a baking dish. Level the top.

4. Bake for approx. 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

5. To serve, spoon into warmed bowls and, if you like top with further cooked apple chunks or banana and (more) maple syrup.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. This tastes better than it looks. Mine’s brown because I used apples I’d cooked earlier in vanilla and chestnut honey. Obviously, cook the apples in maple syrup or with a little raw cane sugar to “keep” it vegan.

2. Of course, you can add any fruit you like to this baked porridge dish. I’ve previously made this with apricots and with plums though again, I prefer to poach the fruit beforehand. Consequently, I keep the 2 tbsp maple syrup to pour on afterwards. But then I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth. Like lots of dishes, it’s all according to taste.

The Musette: store cupboard vegan chilli

To be honest it was too hot to cook during the recent heatwave in June but we both needed feeding. I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed and go shopping although sitting in the air conditioned car was great. So, I had a ferret in my cupboard and came up with this “chilli.”

Purists will argue that it’s not a chilli however my beloved said that this deep and smoky, dark and dirty vegan chilli recipe was best and the richest he’d ever tasted – praise indeed. The depth of flavour comes from the mushroom powder, but is boosted by untraditional ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, star anise and coffee. You should absolutely leave it gently bubbling away if you have the time. It’s so, so good – you’ll be bowled over by the end result. Feel free to substitute!

Ingredients (serves 6, will stretch to 8 if you serve it with rice)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium carrot chopped
  • ½ tsp red chilli paste
  • bunch fresh coriander or parsley (finely chopped including stalks)
  • 1 large red pepper skinned and sliced into strips
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp dried mushroom powder (reduce dried mushrooms to powder in grinder)
  • 2 medium tins chopped tomatoes or large jar passata
  • 1 medium jar chick peas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 medium jar black beans or two husks of fresh corn
  • 2 tbsp strong black coffee

Spice Mix

  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli powder
  • 1 tsp acho chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked hot paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf

Method

1. Put the dried mushrooms in the grinder and pulse until reduced to a fine powder.

2. Peel and chop the onions and chop the carrot. Peel and mince the garlic. Remove the leaves from the coriander and set aside. Finely chop the stalks. Cut the pepper in half and cut out the stem and seeds and cut into thin slices.

3. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large saucepan. Once it is hot, add the chopped onions and garlic and cook gently for 5-10 minutes. Add the chopped carrot, finely chopped coriander (or parsley) stalks and the spice mix, and cook gently for 5-10 minutes, making sure you stir constantly so that the spices are well mixed and coat all the vegetables.

4. Add the red pepper slices and tomato purée to give a rich colour and depth of flavour. Pour in the coffee and balsamic vinegar and turn up the heat to high. Stir constantly until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds and the pan is deglazed. Now add the chopped tomatoes (or passata) and the mushroom powder and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sauce is noticeably thicker.

5. Drain the chick peas/beans – don’t forget to save the aquafaba – and take the corn off the husk and add them to the pan. Stir everything together really well and then reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer. Leave this bubbling away with the lid off, stirring occasionally until it’s reduced to the right thickness (at least 45 minutes). You can leave it bubbling for longer to deepen the flavours, adding more water if needed to keep the right consistency.

6. Taste to check the seasoning adding more salt and pepper or a squeeze or lemon or lime juice as needed. When it’s ready, remove the bay leaf and star anise. Stir the coriander leaves into the chilli and serve with guacamole, sour cream, rice, coleslaw, corn chips, whatever……………………………….you fancy!

7. If there’s any left. Refrigerate once cool, it’ll keep for a couple of days in the fridge or in the freezer for a month.

 

The Musette: kale, bread and lemon vegan salad

I do like to try new recipes, particularly when my beloved is home. I’m encouraging him to eat more of a plant-based diet so when I spotted this recipe in The Guardian newspaper from Meera Sodha, I resolved to give it a go, largely because it’s made from ingredients I always have hanging around in the cupboards and fridge. I first made it during the heatwave in late June and served it at room temperature. It was delicious and with all that kale had to be doing us lots of good.

Ingredients (serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side)

  • 150g (3 cups) kale, big ribs removed, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp black olive tapenade (home-made or from a jar)
  • 200g (2 cups) stale focaccia or sourdough, cut into 15mm (1/2″) chunks
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 large organic lemon, quartered
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp sultanas or currants
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 3 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Throw the kale and tapenade into a food processor and pulse to smithereens. Taste, add a little more tapenade, if you like, then pulse again to mix.

2. Put the bread chunks in a big bowl with the garlic, lemon wedges, pine nuts and dried fruit. Drizzle over three tbsp olive oil and toss with your hands to coat. Tip out on to a baking tray so it sits in a single layer and roast for 10 minutes, or until the bread and pine nuts are golden – check after five minutes to make sure they’re not burning.

3. While the bread is roasting, finely slice the celery and put it in the bowl with the kale and tapenade mixture.

4. Once the bread is golden, take the tray out of the oven and add everything except the lemon wedges to the bowl – unless, like me, you have asbestos fingers. When they’re cool enough to handle, squeeze the juice from the wedges over the salad, drizzle over three more tablespoons of oil and season to taste.

5. Mix, mix, mix until the bread soaks up all the surrounding flavours. Transfer to plates and drizzle over some more oil and add another wedge of lemon to serve.

 

 

The Musette: spiced apple bread & butter pudding

My beloved believes every meal should end with something sweet. I try to oblige, often crafting puddings out of odds and ends. One of my regular standbys is that Victorian favourite, Bread & Butter Pudding. I’ll generally use brioche or panettone that is past its best. You cannot make a decent bread and butter pudding with fresh bread.

It’s not a quick dessert as the stale bread has to be fully immersed in the rich custard before it’s baked otherwise it’s not unctuous enough. I like to heat the milk and any flavourings beforehand, leaving them to infuse the milk (or cream) with their heady perfume before pouring it over the beaten eggs and sugar.

At this stage, I’ll often add some dried fruit, such as raisins soaked in rum, if I’m using a plain brioche. Or, as in this case, some chopped apple and raisins gently poached this time in a mixture of rum, cinnamon and honey.

However, I always bake the pudding in a bain marie to ensure  a smoother texured custard, plus it keeps the temperature more uniform and gives a softer, silkier set to the finished dish.

Ingredients (serves 4 hungry cyclists)

  • 50g (1/3 cup) raisins or sultanas
  • 3 tbsp dark rum
  • 400ml (1 2/3 cups) whole milk, single cream or plant-based milk
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 crushed cardamon pods
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 fat slices of stale brioche, fruit bread or panettone, cut into small chunks
  • 3 large organic eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp raw cane sugar or honey
  • 2 medium sized eating apples
  • 1 tbsp raw cane sugar
  • nutmeg to grate

Method

1. If you’re using panettone or fruit bread, you can skip this step if you like. Put the dried fruit into a small cup, pour over the rum, cover tightly and leave to soak overnight.

2. Peel, core, slice and chop the apple and cook with the raw sugar/honey, adding the rehydrated dried fruit and any of the remaining rum, plus the powdered cinnamon. Cook until still al dente.

3. When you’re ready to make the pudding, put the milk into a small pan with the spices (except ground cinnamon). Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat, and allow to cool and infuse.

4. Meanwhile, chop up your bread of choice. Beat the eggs together until well mixed, and then remove the spices from the milk and discard before beating it into the egg mixture. (Usually, you’d beat the eggs and sugar together but I’ve not done this as there’s enough sweetness with the honey cooked apples). Put the chopped bread and fruit into the eggy mixture and leave to soak at least 20 minutes, ideally a couple of hours.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 (350ºF/320ºF fan). Pour the bread mixture into a 1 litre (4-cup) baking dish, scatter with 1 tbsp raw cane sugar and grate some fresh nutmeg over the top.

6. Place the baking dish in a roasting tin and and fill halfway with hot water to make a bain marie. Cook for 35 – 45 minutes until golden brown on top but the custard should still have a slight wobble. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving as is or with cream.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. Conventionally, the bread in bread & butter pudding is sliced and buttered. By using a bread which includes butter, I eliminate this step. Plus cubing the bread makes it easier to arrange in the baking dish, but that’s just my preference.

2. Typically, I’ll make bread & butter pudding with an enriched fruit bread so there’s no need to add butter or further fruit.

3. You can, of course, make a more traditional bread & butter pudding flavoured with the seeds from a vanilla pod.

4. I’ve also made the pudding with apricot jam filled brioche, substituting dried apricots for the sultanas.

5. You can also make a decious dessert with left over pain au chocolat (or croissants), even melting some dark chocolate into the custard before baking.

6. The finished dessert is not overly sweet, you may need to add more sweetner of choice for your taste.

 

The Musette: kaiserschmarr’n with rhubarb

A kaiserschmarr’n is a rich, thick Austrian pancake that is traditionally served for dessert. We’ve typically eaten it after a hard day’s cross country skiing. However, I also think it makes a fabulous and quick brunch dish. It is thick, eggy and torn to bits during the cooking process, which is great for those of us who are not adept at flipping pancakes – yes, that’s me! It easily doubles up if you’re cooking for a crowd. It may look a bit messy, but it tastes fabulous! It’s usually served with a fruit compote and I just happened to have some home-made rhubarb compote hanging around in the fridge.

Ingredients (serves 2 hungry cyclists or cross-country skiers)

  • 60g (1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 4 large organic eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 240ml (1 cup) whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp organic lemon zest
  • 60g (1/2 cup) plain (all-purpose flour)
  • Icing (powdered) sugar to serve

Method

1. In one bowl whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, milk, vanilla, salt and lemon zest until fully combined. Whisk in the flour a bit at a time, whisking out any lumps.

2. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture. I find it easiest to mix in 1/4 of the batter first and then the rest, taking care not to deflate the batter.

3. Then pour the batter into a warm non-stick pan (medium-heat) and cook as if you were cooking scrambled eggs turning the batter over gently to ensure all of it is cooked, around 10-15 minutes. Do not allow the batter to colour.

4. Serve warm, topped with powdered sugar and with the compote on the side – enjoy!

 

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. Traditionally, rum-soaked raisins are added to the batter and the kaiserschmarr’n is served with either an apple or plum compote.

2. You can also incorporate the fruit in the kaiserschmarr’n by gently cooking it in the pan first, adding flavourings of choice, before pouring in the batter.

3. For example, I cook apples in a little butter and honey with either vanilla or cinnamon while I cook the plums with mixed spice. The possibilities are endless!

4. If, heaven forbid, you’ve made too much, you can easily reheat it on another day.