To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.
- George Santayana
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.Being someone who tends to feel easily stressed out about nothing and overwhelmed by upsetting situations, I guess it will not come as a revelation if I told you that, very much like cats, I am a creature of habit with little taste for radical or excessive change. Hence, I need stability and don't mind repetitiveness as it gives me a sense of comfort, security and it lets me achieve a certain control over life and helps me focus on what is important.
- Anne Bradstreet
Of course, adding small amounts of variation to our routine isn't all that bad as it forces us to explore different horizons, take risks and open up to new experiences. Those unforseen events add some contrasting spice to our existence and are a welcome wake-up call when things are getting far too cozy and dangerously monotonous. At the end, it's all a question of finding the right balance between solacing permanence and refreshing novelty - too much of one or the other can be harmful to us.
Well, the same can be said about seasons. Imagine how insipid, boring and sad our days would be without weather fluctations, the perpetual transition of cycles and earth's ever-permutating rhythms. Although, each of us always finds a reason to moan about spring, summer, autumn or winter, I'm pretty sure we'd all go ballistic and suffer from severe depression if it would be Disney-like sunny and warm all the time or if our table was graced week after week with the same vegetables and fruits. Time would seem endless and we'd miss out on the best nature has to offer: the constant and spellbinding metamorphosis of our environment. Simply inconceivable for a lover of climate and agricultural variety like me.
This year, October, November, December, January and Febraury have been wonderfully wintry and extremely generous in snow. I've had a blast walking through the frosty, white and surreal looking countryside surrounding Geneva and I've thouroughly enjoyed staying at home doing some cocooning, but lately, I have grown tired of Jack Frost's icy embrace and now dream of admiring the verdant green scenery during my weekly strolls and fantasize about sitting on the balcony, sipping on a cup of coffee while listening to the mad chirp of sparrows. Besides, I can hardly wait to eat ramsons/ramps, fresh garlic, asparagus, baby carrots, fava beans, rhubarb and strawberries again.
Now that February is behind us and the vernal equinox is approaching, excitement is in the air and people as well as animals are starting to become fidgety. After a long period of cold and dullness, everybody is ready to welcome spring - our savior - with open arms and there's not one living soul who isn't relieved to finally be able to soon turn the page on all the gloom and inclemency of the last months.
Aaahhh, there's nothing quite like getting caressed by the soft rays of the Easter sun, squinting against the bold late March light, relishing the warm April breeze, experiencing a slight gust of grassy air, being deafened by the enthusiastic carol of the birds and blinded by the flowers in bloom!
So while impatiently waiting for the magical transition to take place and heavy rain replaces snow as Switzerland's landscapes turn brown, I keep myself busy and sane with cooking activities. Within the walls of my humble, yet snug kitchen numerous heartwarming delicacies are created and nothing can affect me - not even the gloom outside; a little corner of paradise and epicurean lair where I can forget about the greyness of the skies above, the ugliness of certain people and leave my fears, worries as well as troubles behind...
Last Saturday, after visiting my favorite Asian supermarkets (Asia Store & Thu Hang in Pâquis, Geneva - for addresses check out this link) and buying a shipload of food (noodles, condiments, sauces, spices, tofu, pastries, etc...), I decided to revisit a childhood classic and prepare a healthy dessert with the tapioca pearls I purchased there and some leftover Tarocco oranges I had in my fruit basket. The result was incredibly pleasing and even P. loved my "Tapioca And Orange Curd Puddings" despite his aversion to this cassava speciality and its weirdly chewy texture.
Those elegant Maroccan flavored verrines are delightfully refreshing, voluptuously creamy, exquisitely fragrant, zestfully citrusy and magnificently balanced with the slight sharpness of the orange curd. An exceptionally good, refined and gluten-free treat which will rejoice tapiocaphiles and tapiocaphobics alike!
Honeyed Tapioca And Orange Curd Puddings
Recipe by Rosa Mayland, March 2013.
Makes 6 verrines.
Ingredients For The "Orange Curd":
220ml Freshly squeezed orange juice (Tarocco)
1 Tbs Lemon juice
110g Castor sugar
1 Tbs Cornflour
2 Tbs Unsalted butter
Ingredients For The "Tapioca Pudding":
3/4 Cup (120g) Small pearl tapioca
1 3/4 Cups (420ml) Milk
1/2 Cup (120ml) Water
1/3 Cup (115g) Light runny honey
1 Tsp Orange blossom water (optional) or pure vanilla extract
Method For The "Orange Curd":
1. In a medium pan, combine all the ingredients together.
2. Put over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens (custard-like consistency).
3. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.
4. Pour equal quantities of the curd into the verrines and let cool while you prepare the tapioca.
5. In a large saucepan, combine the tapioca, milk, honey and orange blossom water (or vanilla extract) over medium high heat.
6. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
7. Let the mixture cook until the tapioca looks translucent and the pearls are chewy in texture, about 20-30 minutes.
8. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally and divide in between the verrines with the orange curd. Refrigerate the puddings.
9. Just before serving, top with chopped nuts or decorative sugar.
You can also make orange curd with Moro or Navel oranges or just replace the orange curd by any other curd of your choice (lemon, rhubarb, strawberry, raspberry, etc...).
If you want your tapioca puddings to be a little richer, then replace the water by single or double cream.
Serve as dessert or as afternoon treat with some jasmine tea.
Puddings De Tapioca Au Miel Et À l'Orange Curd
Recette par Rosa Mayland, Mars 2013.
Pour 6 verrines.
Ingrédients Pour "l'Orange Curd":
220ml de Jus d'orange (Tarocco) fraîchement pressé
1 CS de Jus de citron
110g Sucre cristallisé
1 CS de Maïzena
2 CS de Beurre non-salé
Ingrédients Pour Le "Pudding De Tapioca":
120g (3/4 tasse) de Tapioca (perles du Japon)
420ml de Lait
115g de Miel clair liquide
1 CC d'Eau de fleur d'oranger (facultatif) ou d'extrait de vanille pure
Méthode Pour "l'Orange Curd":
1. Dans une casserole moyenne, mélanger tous les ingrédients ensemble.
2. Faire chauffer à feu moyen et remuer constamment jusqu'à ce que le mélange épaississe (il doit avoir la consistance d'un custard).
3. Retirer du feu et incorporer le beurre.
4. Verser le curd (en quantités égales) dans le fond des verrines et laisser refroidir pendant que vous préparez le pudding.
5. Dans une grande casserole, mélanger ensemble le tapioca, le lait, le miel et l'eau de fleur d'oranger (ou la vanille), puis faire chauffer à feu moyennement élevé.
6. Porter à ébullition et réduire la température.
7. Faire cuire à feu doux jusqu'à ce que le tapioca soit translucide et que les perles soient tendre, pendant environ 20-30 minutes.
8. Laisser refroidir à la température ambiante, en remuant de temps en temps et verser dans les verrines (sur l'orange curd et en quantités égales). Réfrigérer les puddings.
9. Juste avant de servir, garnir de noix hachées ou de sucre décoratif.
Vous pouvez également fabriquer votre orange curd avec des oranges Moro ou Navel, ou bien tout simplement remplacer l'orange curd par le curd de votre choix (citron, rhubarbe, fraise, framboise, etc ..).
Si vous voulez que votre pudding au tapioca soit un peu plus riche, remplacez l'eau par de la crème légère ou double.
Idée de présentation:
Servir pour le dessert ou à l'heure du goûter avec du thé au jasmin.