Sunny Orange, Honey and Saffron to Bring in the New Year

It always amazes me how much work goes into the holidays only for it to go by faster than a blink of an eye.  It seemed this year it went by even faster.  But we had a lovely time with the kids and enjoyed a week of just hanging out with them.  I look forward to the week between Christmas and New Year’s as it’s just family time.  No where to be, perfect.

Of course, now that the holidays are over we faced with bitter, bitter cold.  So what better time to bake?  Helps keep the kitchen toasty warm.  Anything to help keep the heating costs down!  One of the gifts my husband bought me was a baking book called Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh.  He had heard an interview on the radio with Yotam Ottolenghi and found him very interesting.  Particularly the flavour combinations he likes to work with.  There are several recipes I want to try.  A while back I bought a madeleine pan so the recipe I chose to try first is his saffron, orange and honey madeleines.

Saffron Honey Orange Madeleines 1 2018

This isn’t a hard recipe but it does take a little time.  It’s also not completely traditional which allows the cookie to last more than a day because let’s face it, my hips won’t appreciate me trying to eat them all before they get stale.  My taste buds will but they aren’t the ones wearing the clothes.

Saffron Honey Orange Madeleines 2 2018

In a small saucepan melt 90g of butter (6 tbsp + 1 tsp) of unsalted butter, 2 tsp of honey and 1/4 tsp of saffron threads.  The book says the saffron is optional, say what?  I’m not leaving that out!  Keep the heat low while you are doing this.  Once melted remove from the heat and bring to room temperature.

Saffron Honey Orange Madeleines 3 2018

While the butter is melting prep the next ingredients in a food processor.  Add 2 large eggs, 75g (1/3 cup + 1tsp) granulated sugar, scraped seeds of about a 1/4 of a vanilla pod and the zest of a small orange. I used a clementine for this. Pulse until it is well blended.  Sift together  90g ( 1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tsp) of flour, 1 tsp of baking powder and 1/8 tsp of salt.  Add this to the food processor and pulse again until blended.  Next add the butter mixture and blend.  Scrape into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Saffron Honey Orange Madeleines 4 2018

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C and prep the baking pan by brushing the molds with melted butter and dust with flour.  I only have one pan so the book recommends washing, drying and reprepping between batches.

Saffron Honey Orange Madeleines 5 2018

Spoon batter in to fill about 2/3s of the mold.  This was actually harder than it sounds as the flour sticks to the bottom which makes it slippery and hard to position.  Bake 9-10 minutes until golden and sponge like.

Saffron Honey Orange Madeleines 6 2018

While they are baking chop up the pistachio nuts.  You only need a couple of tablespoons of the nuts.  Melt 3 tablespoons of honey in the microwave.  Keep an eye on this as it won’t take long to melt.

Saffron Honey Orange Madeleines 7 2018

Brush the madeleine with honey and dip it in the nuts.  This was a classic case of chasing the natural light and losing. I was hoping to get it done before it got too dark.  I didn’t win the race!  But the days are getting longer so it won’t be long.  🙂

I love how these came out, the flavours were nice and bright.  Perfect for a winter’s day.

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No Two Tastebuds Alike

How things taste to different people fascinates me.  For this recipe of cherries and pork my husband and I had two different reactions to it.  It makes me wonder how various foods made it on our list of ok to eat.  If I had been the first person ever to try Brussels sprouts then it would have never made it on the list.  I would have deemed it poison and moved on.  Way too bitter to me.  I’m not convinced it can have a nutty sweet flavour.  And unless an onion fell into the fire before I tasted it I would have said the same about raw onions.  Then again I love Marmite and my husband would be pleased to never have it in the house.

I was puttering about my pinterest boards and came across this recipe for pork chops with a cherry balsamic sauce.  It sounded interesting but I made some changes to it as I felt solely using balsamic to reduce would be overpowering with the cherries.  It took some tweaking to get the sauce right because the cherries were quite tart as well.  This is a quick meal that is perfect for a busy school night or you just don’t feel like cooking too much.

In a skillet with olive oil brown both sides of some pork chops that have been seasoned with salt and pepper.

Cherry and pork 1 2014

Remove and keep warm.  In the same skillet put about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan and add in about a cup of chopped cherries.  Add some fresh thyme along with a cup of turkey or chicken stock and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Cherry and pork 2 2014

The cherries were very tart and the balsamic was adding a similar note so I added a bit of honey then half an onion to counter the sweetness.  It was very much an experiment to get the right balance!  Once you have the right balance add the pork back into the sauce and simmer to cook the pork and reduce the sauce.

Cherry and pork 3 2014

We served the pork with some corn and rice pilaf for a simple meal.

Cherry and pork 4 2014

Now for the two different reactions we had.  I felt the sauce was ok but not very exciting by itself but when I had it with the pork it really came alive.  For my husband he enjoyed the sauce but felt the pork was gamey and fought with the sauce.  I know he and I taste things differently as it’s proved out time and again when I’m trying to make something spicy enough for him.  I’ll be on fire and he’ll be enjoying the mild flavour.  🙂  So I think at the end of the day this was a fun experiment but I may have to revisit it so both of us enjoy it.