Meal Plan Mondays & Hazelnut Sandies with Barberries

Lots of yummies on this weeks list!  But first, how about a cookie recipe?

I know you’ve been waiting for the English translation of the last Francophone Fridays post, the sablés aux noisettes aux baies de bérberies (dans la langue de Molière) or Hazelnut Sandies with barberries (in the language of Shakespeare).

When the adorable Mihl and P. finally came visit us last year, they came with loads of goodies for us to eat.  One of the special treats they lugged with them across Europe (well, from Germany to south-western France anyway) was a bag of beautiful dried barberries!  Mihl uses them in some of the many recipes she has on her blog Seitan Is My Motor, and I couldn’t wait to try them for myself!  If you’re unfamiliar with these tart Persian berries, you can read a little  over at Wiki if you’d like.

Once I had the coveted berries in my possession, I found myself  wondering what to do with the little gems.  I had too many ideas, but a limited supply of berries, and I didn’t want to squander them on just any-old recipe where dried cranberries or currents could be used.  Then, it hit me (gently, I wasn’t harmed).

We have lots of things in common, my dear Mihl and I, among which dear memories of our sweet grandmothers.  I decided to honor their memories with these cookies, heavily-inspired by one of my great-grandmother’s recipes.  These sablés (sugar cookies) or “sandies” as my great-grandmother Mary  called them, are subtle and sophisticated with a lovely duo of textures : crumbly, buttery sugar cookie and sweet and tart dried barberries.  The ground hazelnuts  add just a hint of bitterness which plays wonderfully with the brown sugar-encrusted cookies.   If you don’t have barberries, dried unsweetened cranberries would work well, though I would probably dice them up, or try dried currents.

Hazelnut Sandies with Barberries

For about 40 cookies – advance preparation required!

2 tsp Ener-g Egg Replacer

2 tbsp water

175 g non-dairy butter, room temperature

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

180 g sifted powdered sugar

300 g AP flour

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp baking powder (11 g)

120 g ground hazelnuts

110 g dried barberries (or cranberries)

4 tbsp brown sugar

1) In a large bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, baking powder and ground hazelnuts. Set aside.

2) In a small mixing bowl or in a food processor, whip the water and Ener-G until it’s frothy, at least 3 minutes.

3) With an electric mixer, cream the powdered sugar and butter until it’s light and fluffy, then add the Ener-G, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Continue mixing until well combined.

4) Now add the flour, a little at a time, then fold in the barberries.  Divide the dough in two.

5) Spread half of the brown sugar on a piece of tinfoil about 30 cm long.  Lightly flour your hands, and roll one half of the dough into a log about 20 cm long.  If you’re having a difficult time working with your dough, try dusting it with some flour, a little at a time, and it will be easier to work with.  Go with your gut, and if the dough is very sticky, just knead a little flour in until it’s “workable”.

6) Gently roll the log through the brown sugar, covering the exterior.  Add a little sugar to the foil if there are some sugar-free spots.  Roll up the log with the foil, twisting the ends shut.  Do the same with the other half of the dough, and refrigerate for at least two hours.

7) Pre-heat the oven to 175°c and prepare two cookie sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.  Gently unroll the dough and slice cookies 15mm thick, wiping the knife clean each time.  If you’re having a difficult time slicing the cookies, don’t fret!  Just cover it back up and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes, then try again.

VIII) Bake for about 13 minutes, until they are just firm and lightly browned on the bottom.  Let them cool slightly for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack.

Now for this week’s Meal Plan :

Monday : crêpes sucrées et salées (savory and sweet crêpes) with sautéed mushrooms and onions for the savory, and powdered sugar and lemon juice for the sweet.  So. good.

Tuesday : Risotto with mushrooms and peas, served with braised dandelion greens.

Wednesday : Polenta with garlic gravy.

Thursday : Hot & Sour Carrots and Lentils, a tester recipe for The Urban Vegan.

Friday : Pizza Night!  How I love you so…

Do you blog your weekly meal plans?  Super-cool world-traveler Vegan Snorkler  has one up today.  Let me know, I’d love to link to your plan to share the planning mojo with everyone.  And don’t forget, if you’re looking for meal plan inspiration you can visit the MPM archives.

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The doudou disguised as a napkin : W.I.P. Wednesday

After being a bit over-zealous in the furniture-lifting department I hurt my traps last week, which meant not much blogging, knitting or much of any activity.  They are feeling better now, though, which is good, because as you’ve noticed I’m out of pre-written posts – I’m blogging by the seat of my pants!

Some of you might be wondering what a doudou is.  In French, a doudou is an object of substitution children use to feel secure when apart from their parents : a blankie, stuffed animal, dolly, etc.  I’m pretty sure you’ve worked out “napkin” for yourselves.

The French school day is a bit longer than in many other countries :  5-year-old Guppy’s classes begin at 9 a.m., she has a two-hour lunch break from noon to 2 p.m., then classes until 5 p.m.  (Some children stay at the after-school programme /day care, making it an even-longer affair).  Though it hasn’t always been the case, I’ve been able to fetch Guppy and she’s had lunch at home with us since September, which she loves.  It’s much calmer, and she gets to read or play in her room (or snuggle her mamafish).

This is going to change, however, and she’s going to be eating once a week at la canteen or school cafeteria, much to her chagrin.  Her response to the announcement was, “but Mumma, I love you too much – that’s too many hours!”.   There’s no way around it, however, even if it’s hard to see your kiddo in distress.

So what do you do?

You make a doudou!

But shhhh!  It’s a secret doudou, don’t tell anyone!

The children bring a cloth napkin on the days they eat at the cafeteria, so I’m getting all Jamie Bond and making her what appears to be a napkin, but in reality, it is a secret, soft and reassuring doudou.

I’ve embroidered her name, and she picked out a few designs she wanted to  use to embellish it.  The above poodle is from the Stitch-it-Kit which has lots of cute retro designs I never use, but because I wanted to empower the Gup I handed her the box of transfers and let her pick out what she wanted (so glad she didn’t go with the hula girl).

The napkin will be made of two layers of fabric : a cotton twill, functional but cute (it has flowers on it, she picked it out) and the other side (the doudou side) is soft pink flannel I cut from one of her receiving blankets.  I assured her I would put lots of extra love between the two layers so that if she starts to have a gros chagrin (wave of sadness) she can give it a squeeze and she’ll feel better (I strongly suggest adding extra love if you’re trying this at home.  A little love is good, but not potent enough).

I just started it last night, so I haven’t finished yet, but I’ll show you next week…if you promise to keep this under wraps!  We don’t want any unnecessary teasing at school now, do we?

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.