The time of the jams
We are well into summer as I write this, and this is the time when most of the fruit is giving or about to give in full.
And for many of us, it will also be the time for jams and jellies, one of the best ways to preserve fruit for the next [...] Read more...
Markers in cooking
When it comes to cooking, there is only one real rule, and that is that there are no rules!
By that I mean that everything is possible, everything can be combined, everything or almost everything can go with everything, but you have to like it, you [...] Read more...
Egg whites management
Quite often, in cooking or pastry-making, we have recipes that use only egg yolks: gâteau breton (brittany butter cake), confectioner's custard, spaghetti carbonara, etc. And so, inevitably, we end up with unused egg whites that will have to be used [...] Read more...
How to break eggs properly?
It is a very common gesture in pastry, bakery and of course cooking: breaking eggs to incorporate them into a recipe.
You have eggs (which professionals call "shell eggs" to differentiate them from liquid eggs in cartons or cans), and you must [...] Read more...
Incise some meats before cooking
Have you ever had this rather unpleasant phenomenon: you grill a meat, a pork chop or a veal cutlet for example, and during cooking it becomes completely deformed?
It takes a very strange shape, a bit difficult to describe, a sort of cone around [...] Read more...
In praise of the whetstone
Have you ever seen a butcher or a chef sharpen his knife before using it?
Usually he uses a special tool, a long thin cylinder made of very hard metal.
And in a smooth and elegant gesture, he very quickly passes the edge of the knife against the [...] Read more...
What happens to the bread when you make it?
This bread that we eat every day, and that our baker makes for us, what happens during its manufacture so that it becomes bread?
I will try to answer this question, and to summarize the complex alchemy that takes place.What's in bread?Let's start [...] Read more...
Coarsely chopped herbs
Although we are in the middle of winter as I write these lines, you should not hesitate to make salads at this time, it is actually quite simple, rather fast, and so pleasant.
A while ago, I already told you that a salad is a salad, but a salad [...] Read more...
Circles vs. moulds tins
If you like to bake or make quiches, pies etc. you must surely have one or more pie pans at home, in different diameters and perhaps materials.
They are indispensable, without them there is no way to make beautiful pies, and they work very well, [...] Read more...
You certainly have one in your kitchen, an oven, the essential tool for all kinds of cooking, whether in the kitchen of course, but also in pastry, bakery, pizza, and many others.
Here is some information on its structure and operation.What is an [...] Read more...
Herbs and temperature
I have already talked to you about herbs in cooking, and about their great power of "seduction". The example of a salad is a great classic: on its own, it's a salad, which is normal, but the same salad in which you have added finely chopped fresh [...] Read more...
Baking a cake at the right time
When you make a cake, which most likely contains butter, a cake for example, chances are that as soon as the batter is finished, you put it in the pan and bake it immediately.
Classic, everyone does it like that, and then if, on top of that, you [...] Read more...
The magic of local wines
It's never easy to find the right wine to serve with the dish you've just cooked for your guests, because we're not all amateur sommeliers, and then there are so many possible choices in wines that "the perfect match" seems like a distant utopia, [...] Read more...
The green of leeks
We are all, consciously or not, very sensitive to the colour of our food. That's why a red strawberry will always seem more appetizing than a pale one, even if it's not necessarily true.
This is true for red, but it is also true for the green of [...] Read more...
If you buy your endives elsewhere than in supermarkets, and in this case the best is of course from a market gardener, he or she is the one who planted and harvested them, in this case you will have endives full of earth or sand, depending on where [...] Read more...
The right way to cook potatoes
If you simply boil them (not steam them), or bake them in the oven, at some point you will have to ask yourself the question "are they well cooked?".Your mum or dad may have taught you this when you were a child: You take a small sharp knife and try [...] Read more...
The right weight of pastry for a pie
Let's try to solve a thorny problem: How much dough will I need when I make my next pie?
You're planning to make a pie, you're going to use your favourite mould or circle, but how much pastry will you need to fill it completely with a well spread [...] Read more...
The French baguette and UNESCO
As you may have already read here or there, France has initiated for some time the procedure to try to have the French baguette classified as an intangible world heritage by UNESCO.
When you put it like that, it sounds a bit namby-pamby, and it [...] Read more...
The skin of the almonds
If you like almonds, in their dried fruit version, you must use them quite often in cooking or baking, whether powdered or whole. It is not obvious, but in fact there is 2 kinds of almonds in the market, wholesale with or without the skin. For whole [...] Read more...
Stand mixer tools
Whether we call it a stand mixer, food processor, or simply refer to it by brand (Kenwood, KitchenAid, etc.), this machine is a valuable tool for amateur cooks, bakers or pastry chefs like ourselves.
All these machines come supplied with 3 [...] Read more...
When should you salt?
In the kitchen, we salt very frequently, almost all the time, and we must be careful because this salt can influence the texture of what you are cooking.
I'm not going to talk about the amount of salt here, that's for another time, but rather about [...] Read more...
The proper use of a dusting machine
Let's take a look at a simple gesture, the sprinkling, that is to say to distribute a fine powder (icing sugar, sugar, flour,...) on a surface. If you have to sprinkle something, you may use a sprinkler or "poudrette" (in french) it is a very simple [...] Read more...
Fruits and their syrup
As I write these lines, we are finally in the summer, the holidays are approaching, and above all, the fruits are pouring onto the market stalls, if they are ripe, it's time to enjoy them to the full! You may be about to start making compotes, jams, [...] Read more...
Cooking time for pasta
What is as good and simple as pasta? Not much, I think, and it's so easy to prepare: boiling water, salted (or not, depending on your taste), a few minutes of boiling and it's ready. The only "difficulty", so to speak, is the respect of the cooking [...] Read more...
Double cooking of vegetables
When you cook vegetables, it's not easy to capture and preserve the flavours.
It is easy to undercook, but you can make up for it, or overcook, and then it is unfortunately a bit cooked (in the sense of "ruined").
But above all, how to get the [...] Read more...
Brioche for a savoury recipe
When we make brioche, it is generally sweet, that is to say that in the dough there is sugar or honey or dried or candied fruits, or even sometimes the 3 together. It's normal, it's very good, it's a pastry.
But you may also need brioche for a [...] Read more...
Where we see that to put a cake in the oven, once the dough is finished and in its mould, there is no hurry and that the cold is your friend.When you are making a cake, which most likely contains butter (sweet of course...), a pound cake or a moist [...] Read more...
The baker always gild twice
I've already told you about gilding, the beaten whole egg that is spread with a brush on anything that needs to brown in the oven: puff pastry, pastries, etc. and that professionals use a lot, I'm going to come back to this to clarify a bit how to do [...] Read more...
The cake and the raisins
When you bake a cake, like a cake or pound cake, you may have already encountered this thorny problem: How to make sure that the raisins, or the candied fruits, or any other small filling, do not fall to the bottom of the pan during the baking [...] Read more...
Did you know that? Chive flowers are not only a beautiful purple color, but they are also edible and delicious.If you have a chive plant in your garden or on your balcony (which is a very good idea, by the way) you should be seeing beautiful purple [...] Read more...
Drawing a pattern in pastry
Often in the kitchen, in pastry-making, or in baking, we need to trace a pattern on a pastry.
It's just a question of aesthetics but it has its effect after baking on a galette, pithiviers, pâté en croute (terrine in a pie crust), etc.It is not [...] Read more...
Salt and yeast
Let's take a look at an old baker's legend: You may have already read that somewhere in a recipe that uses baker's yeast(bread, pastries, leavened doughs in general) it is often specified "Don't put salt in contact with the yeast, you'll kill it (the [...] Read more...
The first breads of humanity?
I have already told you in a previous article the beautiful story of the croissants, but do you know what it is about the bread, who "invented" it, where and when?
Well, you can imagine that recent discoveries, in 2018, have profoundly changed the [...] Read more...
The bitterness of endives
As I write these lines, we are entering the endive season, and if you like it, it's time to enjoy it, if possible with your local producers.
Endive is good, but the reproach that is often made of it, and children in particular, is: "It's [...] Read more...
For well opened (puffed) cakes
It's always nice to have a well puffed up cake after baking, not only will it taste good but it looks great too.
Let's see how to get this beautiful shape almost every time.
You have noticed, when you buy bread, a baguette for example, there are [...] Read more...
The march forward
When professionals get to work in their kitchen, lab or bakery, they are (if they are conscientious) very sensitive to hygiene and cleanliness.
It is impossible for a good baker for example to do a day's work without regularly cleaning the table [...] Read more...
85 grams of eggs?
Some time ago, I already spoke to you about the difference between baking and pastry-making, I emphasized, among other things, the precision of pastry-making which requires grams, cm, degrees and minutes.
That's why, on the one hand, you have [...] Read more...
The beautiful story of the croissants
As you may have already noticed, cooking, baking and pastry-making are full of stories or legends, usually very romantic, about this or that product or recipe. This is often the case for named recipes, for example tarte tatin, peach melba, [...] Read more...
Should a sausage be pricked before cooking?
If you are using sausages in a recipe, you may have already asked yourself the question: Should you prick it before cooking it, or not?
You will certainly find as many opinions "you should prick" as "you should not".
Let's try to untangle all [...] Read more...
The taste of raw tomatoes
Let's take a look at tomatoes, which are still in full bloom at the end of summer (as I write these lines), and which make for delicious salads.
I had already talked to you about the interest of peeling tomatoes, which gives them an extraordinary [...] Read more...
The 3 essential knives
You must have heard a chef or cook say: "There’s no good cooking without good ingredients". This is very true, of course, but for any amateur or beginner it is equipment that really counts to start with.
What I mean is that you should not skimp [...] Read more...
Using stretch food film effectively
Maybe you use food film in your own kitchen. You know, the very thin, clear plastic stuff that you can stretch, often used to cover food and protect it from the air.
It’s become so widely used that it’s now an essential item for pros. They [...] Read more...
The mock CAP baker's certificate exam
The next instalment in my life as an apprentice baker at the French INBP professional school. I’m now halfway through training and it’s still as exciting as ever, and exhausting – but maybe I’m just getting old, or both… Anyway, a few days [...] Read more...
Rosemary in recipes
Rosemary, as I’m sure you know, is a culinary herb, one of the famous French "herbes de Provence", and is very effective in bringing a real taste of the Mediterranean to any dish.
The classic way to use it in a recipe is to add a sprig or two [...] Read more...
Is it really necessary to cream egg yolks?
Let’s try and answer a question that crops up in cookery and patisserie, even if it verges on the existential: do the egg yolks in a custard recipe really need to be beaten until pale, or not?You might already have noticed in many recipes combining [...] Read more...
Egg yolks and caster sugar
We often come across recipes where we need to mix egg yolks with caster sugar.
This would appear to be a very ordinary and simple thing to do but, be warned, these two ingredients can behave oddly together.Let’s take confectioner's custard [...] Read more...
The golden-brown finish on puff pastry
Let's take a look at the tricky matter of producing puff pastry with an attractive, golden-brown finish. French pastry chefs call this "dorure" (literally, "gilding").
Behind this quirky term there lurks a real problem (and the solution): when [...] Read more...
Fats for cooking
If you need to fry or sear anything a frying pan or saucepan, the temperature is likely to be high.
In particular, I have cooking red meat in mind. In this case, what should fat should we use? And at what temperature? For our red meat, let's [...] Read more...
Foie gras service
For the upcoming christmas meals you too may be sacrificing to the tradition of foie gras?
If so, I suggest you take a look at everything that revolves around serving foie gras: how to serve it, and what to eat and drink with it.1) TemperatureThis [...] Read more...
There is vanilla and vanilla
The vanilla is a delicious taste that can be found in many many dessert recipes, creams (the cream and the cream for example), ice creams, but also cakes and entremets.
Whenever you need to add this vanilla note, you have several possible choices [...] Read more...
As I write this post, we are slowly slipping into winter, and this late autumn is the perfect time for soups, especially vegetable ones. Soups, that somewhat "soft" dish, often associated with our childhood, infallible remedy against a cold evening [...] Read more...
When should I change my knife?
I already spoke to you in a previous post about knives, those without which nothing is possible (or almost) in the kitchen, so I'm going to come back to them a bit and try to answer the question "When should I change my knife?You may remember how [...] Read more...
Lemon in recipes
Let's take a look at the lemon, yellow or green, which is used in a whole host of recipes, both sweet and savoury. It brings both its taste, and the small acidity that makes its charm. Mind you, I'm not talking about lemon used as an anti-oxidant [...] Read more...
A few tips for effective kneading at home
When you have to knead dough for bread or some other recipe, you may well use a food processor or the type of machine known as a stand mixer. The best-known brands are Kenwood and KitchenAid. They are useful tools, but here are a few tips to help you [...] Read more...
Candied fruits: don't get ripped off
Do you like candied fruit? You might like to nibble a handful or add it to a recipe, like a classic fruit cake or delicious Italian specialities like panettone or sicilian epiphany pie.So, if you enjoy them and you want to make a recipe that asks for [...] Read more...
The right way to use a blender
You may well have a blender in your own kitchen. You know, that useful gadget that allows you to liquidize stuff at high speed into a smooth liquid. Of course, the most obvious use that comes to mind is for soups: if you have boiled some vegetables [...] Read more...
What can I use for blind baking a pastry case?
When it comes to home-made desserts, tarts are always popular. They can be divided into two basic types: those cooked with their filling, such as an apricot and almond cream tart, and those where the filling is added after baking the pastry case, [...] Read more...
Children and vegetables
This is an attempt to address the question that all parents and grandparents, maybe you included, face so often: how can we get children to like vegetables? And at the same time, we might get away from the familiar, day-in, day-out round of pasta, [...] Read more...
What is the difference between bakery and patisserie?
This is a question that you may well have asked yourself and which I will attempt to answer. In France the two trades of "boulangerie" (bakery) and "pâtisserie" (patisserie and confectionery) have always been quite distinct, but where exactly do the [...] Read more...
It's something you have probably have done yourself: cooked or pre-cooked vegetables before adding them to a recipe. This is almost always done the same way: peel the chosen vegetables (carrots, for example), cut them up, boil them in salted water [...] Read more...
When preparing artichokes for cooking, you may well already know that we often need to remove the first round of leaves, if they are tatty or dirty, as well as the inedible stalk. The operative word here is “remove” , rather than “cut off”.To [...] Read more...
5 really useful cooking tips
Cooking is about recipes, of course, but it is also an impressive collection of small gestures, ways of doing things, knowing what to do and what not to do.
All these little tips and tricks can be very important: they can affect the way a recipe [...] Read more...
Steam for baking bread
What does steam have to do with bread-making? This is not only a bakers' secret, it is something you might not think of at all: if you make bread and bake it like a cake, you will end up with bread, but pale and with a thick, hard crust – a long [...] Read more...
One should cover a pan while heating?
Cooking abounds with old sayings and proverbs, which are sometimes useful tips and sometimes myths. We learn or hear them somewhere, and often trust them completely, even when they're wrong.
I propose simply to verify them, to see whether they are [...] Read more...
Making the most of seeds: Dry roasting
In cooking, and particularly in baking, there are a lot of seeds we can use, such as linseed, sesame, poppy, etc. Usually, recipes simply say to add them just as they are to the mixture or dough.
To make a seeded loaf, for example, prepare a plain [...] Read more...
Foie gras without force-feeding: it can be done
I adore foie gras...
I willingly admit it, I adore foie gras: the texture, the taste, the festive aspect – I enjoy all of it. I really love eating it, preparing it and, most of all, sharing what I have made with my family over Christmas and [...] Read more...
The window-pane test in bread-making
The home bread-makers often ask themselves “Have I kneaded my dough long enough?” . A good question, as dough that is insufficiently kneaded will not rise properly or will fall flat when the top is slashed, which is very frustrating.
To know [...] Read more...
Raising (or leavening) agents
When we want to make a dough or batter rise when baking, either in patisserie or bread-making, we need to use a raising agent or leavening agent, one of which is called leaven.
In the context of baking, a raising agent is simply what "makes [...] Read more...
How to zest a fruit?
You will have no doubt noticed that many recipes call for the zest of citrus fruit. The zest is that outer layer of the skin which adds so much flavour to a dish.
There are many different ways to peel off the zest and various tools are [...] Read more...
The 3 kinds of meringue
Meringue – what could be simpler? Just beaten egg whites with sugar added. This makes a fairly stiff mixture which can then be cooked in a cool oven to create those lovely, light confections.
But in the world of professional patisserie, meringue [...] Read more...
20 measures to protect your privacy
As we use more and more new technology, we leave ourselves increasingly vulnerable to companies who make money out of collecting our personal data.
For instance, when we use the internet, we need to be wary of what is collected about what we do, [...] Read more...
How to choose a good password
These days more and more websites ask you to create a user account, so that you can be identified before being allowed to access some service or other.
To create an account you need to choose a user identity. This is simple, as your email address [...] Read more...
Fruits which can ruin your jelly
There are many ways of making a fruit mousse, but one of the simplest is to prepare a fruit jelly (basically a fresh fruit coulis with gelatine) and then mix this jelly before it sets completely with whipped cream.
The result is perfect for [...] Read more...
The art of the charlotte
In cooking, a charlotte is a delicious moulded dessert, with biscuits around the outside that have been soaked in a flavoured syrup, filled with a light cream or mousse. The charlotte is left to set in the fridge before being turned out and served in [...] Read more...
The secret of cooking until "done"
This is a real chef's skill: being able to look at a fish fillet cooking and say, "Stop – that's enough, it's cooked". I always admire this ability to see at a glance if something is done. It is what sets the professionals apart from us mere [...] Read more...
Different kinds of pastry and dough
When cooking in general, and particularly in baking, we can make and use many different kinds of pastry and dough. All built on the same "base": flour - a powder to which we add fat, liquid or both to produce the dough which is then cooked.
Here is [...] Read more...
The painter, the restaurant owners and the opera singer
You might well have noticed that there are recipes involving names that have been so overused (often for any old thing) that they have almost become common nouns. Here are three examples that are commonly found on restaurant menus.
CarpaccioThis [...] Read more...
Choosing a chopping board
It's a no-brainer, surely? If you want a chopping board, just find a piece of wood, and Bob's your uncle! You can happily chop away with a knife and not damage the table or worktop. But in reality, it's a bit more complicated than that. You need to [...] Read more...
Butter doesn't make you fat, unless you eat too much of it.
Whenever I'm discussing cooking and recipes, there is one idea which comes up frequently, like this: "Oh no! But that's got butter in it" (I should add, for the sake of accuracy, that this is something I hear more frequently from women, who are [...] Read more...
Too much sweet and savoury
There is a food trend which is creeping in everywhere in France right now: mixing sweet with savoury. In some restaurants, it is becoming difficult to order a classic dish, like “roast veal” for instance, without being served fruits in the [...] Read more...
Should I believe my oven?
Can you really trust your oven? This is an important question as we are always tempted to take the temperature indicated as gospel truth and, unfortunately, this is rarely very precise. When I set my oven to 200°C, is it really at that temperature? [...] Read more...
Have you ever noticed that if you like your meat well done, it invites strange looks? For instance, in a restaurant, when asked “How would you like that cooked?” If you reply, “Well done,” it is almost as if you are swearing…Yes, it's [...] Read more...
Good fridge management
We all have a fridge at home – it's an indispensible part of the kitchen and so much a part of the furniture that we tend not to pay it much attention. But often, out of habit, we don't use it properly. Here are a few tips to help you get more from [...] Read more...
A memo of utensil weights
You will no doubt have come across this problem while cooking: after starting a recipe, when you already have some ingredients in a pan and have maybe cooked them, you need to know the weight of the pan's contents so that you can take half out, or [...] Read more...
How to choose a centrifugal juicer
A centrifugal juicer is an appliance designed to extract juice from all kinds of fruit and vegetables. It will produce juice from tomatoes, carrots, apples, pineapple, blackcurrants, etc.
The idea is simple: the chosen fruit are fed into the top of [...] Read more...
The ideal restaurant
Like all passionate cooks (I suppose), from time to time I dream of opening my own restaurant.
I imagine loads of things: it will be like this or like that, we'll do this, I'll cook that, the room will have this or that – in short, I [...] Read more...
Cream and sauces
Have you ever wondered why making beautiful tasty sauces is so easy when you use cream?
First of all, we need to be aware that some flavours only dissolve in water, while others only dissolve in fats.
This phenomenon leads to this kind of [...] Read more...
Devising a recipe
A question I'm often asked is: how do you come up with your recipes? How do you perfect them? This is something I've already mentioned on this page, but I'll take this opportunity to go into a bit more detail.So, how do I devise my recipes? Just like [...] Read more...
In praise of slow cooking
You will no doubt have noticed that in cookery, it's often the actual cooking process that gets neglected. This is understandable; it comes at the end of the recipe and getting the dish in the oven is something of a relief (ah, that's done!), which [...] Read more...
This subject cropped up recently in a discussion with my three charming nieces; do you know what Maillard reactions are?
With a name like that, they could well be some principle in mechanics, but in fact the term applies to something much closer [...] Read more...
Properly cooked! (the taste)
Going out to a restaurant is getting harder at the moment. In France, at least, you have to try and find one that has agreed to pass on the new lower rate of VAT at anything other than a symbolic level, and there aren't many.
And then, most [...] Read more...
Fried potatoes or fried mash?
In cooking there are a lot of dishes that appear to be extremely simple but which can actually prove to be very tricky. Amongst those that I'm aware of having this reputation are omelette and fried potatoes.
Take fried potatoes; it's very simple [...] Read more...
The power of sayings and beliefs in the kitchen
One day, in the comments on the recipe for beaten egg whites, a young woman asked if you could beat egg whites stiff while having a period, as a friend had told her it wasn't possible.
Sometime later another person commented that for mayonnaise it [...] Read more...
From website to blog
Today I'm inaugurating the cooking-ez.com "blog". The idea is to have a space for discussion open to everone, but not necessarily linked to a particular recipe or page.
I hope the posts will be sufficiently interesting that [...] Read more...
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