I live in the Sunset Park area of Santa Monica. The neighborhood is what I would call middle class families. Until late last year, we didn’t have a restaurant or cafe in our area that served fresh, organic produce. That has changed with the arrival of Thyme Cafe and Market place. The decor is similar to ‘Jones on Third’ and the atmosphere is mostly the ladies doing lunch crowd, except for at lunchtimes when all the offices in the area descend on our jewel. Also on a Saturday, Thyme is packed with families enjoying the wholesome food.
Maire Byrne is Thyme’s chef. She trained at CIA, which is the top culinary training ground in America. She went on to work at Chez Panisse under the fabulous Alice Waters. Obviously this explains her fresh produce. Maire grew up locally in the Brentwood area and we are very excited that she decided to settle on our side of town.Yesterday I went to a baby shower tea. There were cakes. This inspired me to write about my favorite cake in Los Angeles. Triple Berry Shortcake from ‘Sweet Lady Jane’. It is absolutely divine and and must for any Angeleno. The frosting and inside are filled with fresh cream. It is an explosion from paradise. I would love to include the recipe, but it isn’t available online. I will include Gordon Ramsay’s Crepe Suzette recipe, a 1970’s british desert favorite
For the crêpes:
125g plain flour
¼ tsp fine sea salt
2 medium eggs, beaten
1 tbsp melted butter
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges (see below)
For the sauce:
3 large oranges – for zest, segmenting and juice
50g caster sugar
100ml Grand Marnier or Cointreau
To cook the crêpes:
Few knobs of unsalted butter
Method: How to make crêpes suzette
1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Tip in the beaten eggs, butter, milk and orange zest. Whisk the ingredients just enough to combine into a smooth batter but try not to overwork the batter. Leave to rest while you prepare the oranges.
2. To segment the oranges use a small sharp knife to slice off the top and bottom of the fruit. Stand the orange firmly on the chopping board, cut along the curved sides of the fruit to remove the remaining peel and pith. Holding the orange with one hand over a sieve set on top of a bowl, cut along each side of the membranes to release the segments. Let each segment fall into the sieve as you continue segmenting. Remove any membrane or pips left on the segments. Reserve the orange juice.
Gordon video: The perfect caramel
3. Slowly heat the sugar in a heavy-based pan, stirring a little to help the sugar dissolve. Simmer until the syrup forms a light caramel. Carefully add the Grand Marnier and stand back as it will spit. Tip the pan slightly to flambé the alcohol, if you wish. Pour in the orange juice and boil until reduced by half. Remove from heat, tip in the orange segments and keep warm.
4. Heat a non-stick crêpe pan with a knob of butter over medium heat. Swirl the butter to evenly coat the pan, then add a small ladleful of batter and swirl again to evenly coat the base of the pan with a thin layer of batter. Cook for about 1½ minutes until the batter is set and golden brown underneath. Flip over to cook the other side for a minute. Transfer to a warm plate, keep wrapped in a tea towel and repeat with the rest of the batter.
5. For each individual serving, fold two crêpes into quarters. Spoon over a little of the orange sauce making sure to include some segments. Serve immediately.