Tag Archives: vanilla

In my Kitchen-May 2014

vanilla bean paste on a spoon and vanilla beanSomething a little different this week. This post is inspired by Celia’s blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and she runs a monthly themeIn My Kitchen“, where bloggers showcase some of their kitchen treasures. If you are a blogger why not join in and let us have a peek at what’s in your kitchen.

In my kitchen you will always find vanilla and lots of little spoons. Filled with vanilla paste, this heart-shaped spoon with an infinity knot on the handle symbolizes how much we love the flavor of vanilla in our family. It’s easy to make your own vanilla bean paste, especially if you bulk buy vanilla beans. Continue reading

Edamame Beans with Vanilla Sea Salt

DSC_0022 copyNew years resolutions are not something I make but I like to think that over the next twelve months I will build on past experiences (good and bad) of each year and keep moving forward! These past few weeks have been busy, with lots of cooking, eating and entertaining, so I am quite happy (at times) when the easiest meal of all (not necessarily the quickest) is only a phone call away!

In fact, living in Bahrain with so many eateries offering a variety of cuisines (dine in or take-out) you would never have to set foot inside the kitchen again… perish the thought! I would miss putting all my pots, appliances and kitchen jewellery to good use, cooking, entertaining, food photograph and styling… the kitchen is the hub of our home!twig bean copy

There are always a few essentials in the freezer and although it is looking rather empty at the moment, I still have a few bags of edamame beans stashed inside! In Japanese “eda” means “twig” and “mame” means “bean,”  also known as twig beans or hairy beans… but I think edamame sound better! The bean inside is actually a un-ripened soya bean, which is highly nutritious, rich in protein and has all the essential amino acids. High in fiber the edamame bean makes a healthy filling snack and only takes minutes to prepare! Take edamame beans to work when hunger strikes, put them into kids lunch boxes (minus the salt), serve them as an easy pre dinner appetizer or just sit and enjoy a bowlful yourself!DSC_0016_edamane bean copy

Natural sea salt (no table salt here) is usually the typical condiment for serving with edamame beans and I like to posh that up a little by using some of the home-made vanilla salt from the store cupboard! The vanilla salt adds a subtle sweetness but of course you can just use plain sea salt or no salt if watching your salt intake! The only problem with the edamame bean… they are so moorish!

Actually I was wonder how easy edamame beans are to grow and it seems that we might have the perfect climate, sunny and humid… now maybe I might   order a few packets of edamame seeds! If I do then I will surely let you know how I get on! Maybe some enthusiastic farmer could start growing some edamame beans and sell them at the farmers market here in Bahrain!

How to cook edamame beans: Steam the required amount of edamame beans for about three minutes. Place into serving bowls or bowl and sprinkle over some vanilla sea salt or plain sea salt, if desired. To eat hold the pod and simple pop the beans into your mouth, you will also taste the salt, the pods are not edible so discard them into an empty dish!

Up-date: Since writing this post I have received my packets of edamame beans and hope to plant them after the summer months, Bahrain is so hot during this time. Will keep you posted when I do plant them and hopefully have some Edamame success!

Salted Caramel Focaccia with Rosemary and Vanilla

This is my second time to take part in the Fresh from the Oven Challenge and with such a delicious looking Salted Caramel Focaccia …… and not having made a sweet focaccia before, how could I resist. Euan suggested using fresh candied citrus peel (apple and other fruits could also be used) and luckily I had some candied orange peel that I had made some months back. No candied lemon peel and oo type flour though… but no worries, one can always try to improvise! 

I always try to keep a few pots of fresh herbs growing in the garden throughout the year and rosemary being one of them manages to survive our searing hot summers! A combination of fresh  rosemary, home-candied orange peel, fresh lemon zest (use a microplane grater for best results) and a few vanilla products from my store cupboard, I thought would work nicely with this recipe!

The original recipe and method of making the Salted Caramel Focaccia is found over at Euan’s blog Signor Biscotti who is hosting this months Fresh from the Oven Challenge. Some changes were made to the original recipe and are as follows:

  • Not having type 00 flour, replaced with all-purpose flour
  • Used vanilla infused sugar instead of castor sugar throughout the recipe
  • Used vanilla infused olive oil instead of olive oil
  • Used 75g of home-candied orange peel instead of the 100g of mixed peel
  • Omitted the raisins
  • Added the zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • Used ordinary salted butter
  • Used 3 teaspoons of freshly chopped rosemary, 2 for mixing in with the dough and 1 for sprinkling over the top before baking

After mixing the dough I found it was not as sticky as Euan described (possibly the flours used), but tossed it on a work surface and gave the dough a good work-out by hand, a very therapeutic process! I hope to try the french technique for kneading dough another time… interesting video to watch (link on Euan’s blog), my dough was definitely not as sticky as the one chef Paul worked on or should I say slapped around his work surface!

Incorporated the candied orange peel, lemon zest and rosemary into the dough, which was then placed into an oiled bowl and covered with some cling film. The dough took about one hour and forty minutes to double in size.

 Used a baking stone with its own tray (lightly oiled) to shape the dough on. A swivel peeler enabled me to shave thin slices of cold salted butter directly over the dough, before sprinkling over the vanilla infused sugar and remaining fresh rosemary. Loosely covered with cling film, the tray with the dough was left for almost an hour to rise before dimpling and baking on top of the baking stone (pre-heated in the oven) for almost 20 minutes. The results… Fantastico… Delizioso pane appena sfornato... loved this recipe, it was so delicious with its crunchy sweet crust, using fresh candied orange peel made a big difference to the flavour and the touch of fresh rosemary was not overpowering.  Will definitely make this focaccia again and will try using some candied lemon peel also, which I need to stock up on! Although most of the focaccia was eaten (some restraint was greatly needed) the same day… polished it off the next morning (I did share some) for breakfast and although the crunchy crust had dissolved, it was still enjoyed!

%d bloggers like this: