Something terribly exciting happened on Wednesday – the Bookshelf Saga which has been ongoing since I moved into my flat at the beginning of March came to its conclusion. To cut a long
rant story short, my landlord didn’t consider a bookshelf to be a fairly standard piece of furniture and decided that it would “overcrowd the flat” (which is total nonsense by the way – somebody is clearly just being stingy). However, since I really do need a bookshelf, I had to buy one myself, and it (finally) arrived on Wednesday. Definitely the highlight of my week (I need to get out more) and now all my books, folders and DVDs are neatly arranged on shelves instead of being unceremoniously piled up in a corner. And guess what? The bookshelf doesn’t overcrowd the flat. Not even remotely. In fact, it has uncrowded the flat by freeing up all that space that the piles of books, etc. were taking up. Just as well I don’t have my landlord’s email address or I would seriously consider emailing him a photo saying “I told you so.” Not that I’m petty like that or anything. Obviously.
My new bookshelf means that all my cookbooks are now neatly lined up – much more practical for choosing my Random Recipe entry than trying to count books scattered about in various piles. This month’s theme is “first and last” which means randomly picking a cookbook and then making either the first or last recipe (or both, if you’re feeling keen). The random number button on my trusty calculator directed me to book number 5, which turned out to be Cusine Express, a French book full of quickly-prepared recipes. I wasn’t too enthralled by anything on the first page of recipes, so I flipped to the very last page, where there were eight recipes to choose from (spoilt by choice, I know). I opted for the mint and ginger mini palmiers, partly because I was intrigued by the combination of mint and ginger together, and partly because I’ve been a big fan of palmiers since I was a little girl, but never actually tried making them myself.
These aren’t quite like the slightly sticky palmiers you get in French pâtisseries, so I was a tiny little bit disappointed initially, but once you get past that, they are rather tasty in their own right, and I can’t wait to have a couple for my afternoon snack later. The mint and ginger go together remarkably well – the freshness of the mint counterbalances the slight hotness of the ginger. They’re missing that slightly caramelised covering that I loved when I was little (and still love) – next time I might try sprinkling some brown sugar over the top before baking, or lightly brushing a sugar syrup over the top as they come out of the oven. I’ll definitely be trying these again – they’re so straightforward and hardly take any effort. Except grating the ginger, which does take effort if you do it by hand, but it’s worth it.
Mint & ginger mini palmiers
Makes about 30
Adapted from Cuisine Express
You can, of course, make your own puff pastry, but I don’t really have the time for that, so I nearly always use shop-bought puff pastry, and I find that it works just as well, though make sure that when buying it, you choose puff pastry that has been made with all butter. These make a wonderful afternoon snack, accompanied by a cup of tea. These are best eaten on the day that they are made, but will keep overnight in an air-tight box (although they may lose a little bit of their crunchiness).
6 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves (about 18-20 g)
4 tbsp finely grated ginger (about a 5-6 cm piece)
5 tbsp organic rapeseed oil
350g all-butter puff pastry
1. Mix the mint leaves, ginger and oil in a small bowl to make a paste.
2. Roll the puff pastry out on a surface sprinkled with icing sugar into a rectangle of about 30 x 40 cm.
3. Spread the mint and ginger paste over the surface of the pastry. Fold or roll the pastry along a long edge to the middle, and do the same from the other side so that the two rolled/folded bits meet in the middle. Press the whole “log” of pastry into a roll, wrap in cling film and chill in the freezer for 25 mins.
4. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 210°C.
5. Remove the puff pastry log from the freezer and cut into 10-12mm thick slices (don’t worry if there are little gaps between the pastry rolls – they pastry will expand in the oven). Place on the baking trays and bake for 15 mins until golden. Transfer the palmiers to cooling racks and dust with icing sugar. Allow to cool fully.