We always have a basket full of apples at home, ready to be turned into an apple compote which we eat religiously at breakfast each morning. It used to be my job to make the week’s apple compote, which I would vary every few weeks by adding some over-ripened fruit from the fruit bowl. Oddly enough, when our children were born, my husband took over the role of making the weekly compote, something which he
It is that time of the year again in Switzerland when the Advent is approaching and the children are becoming excited about meeting Sämiclaus (the Swiss version of Santa Claus) on St. Nicholas Day on 6 December. Unlike the Santa Claus in most other parts of the world, Sämiclaus does not have the same breadth of resources nor financial liquidity, so his gift to children is usually a small hessian sack containing clementines,
Summer holidays usually mean catching up with my husband’s family in Brittany, France, and this year was no exception. We opted to take the train this summer, a long 12 hour journey but which gives us an excuse to stopover in Paris for a bit of family fun (and shopping for moi). This time around, we got to visit some new cafés and restaurants (see my updated list of where to eat and
There is a stand at the farmers’ market which I love and which often only sells two or three different fruits. It occupies a table which is barely more than a metre wide, yet there are always long queues of people waiting eagerly to get their hands on – what I think are – the best cherries and apricots in town.
About three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, we head to the farmers’ market near our home to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. I avoid, as much as possible, going to the supermarket with two tiny tots in tow, but the farmers’ market makes grocery shopping a pure pleasure. There are no crowded and narrow aisles to navigate, which means the children can run around from stand to stand, inspecting the
I first came across the Meyer lemon when we were living in the US. I had frequently seen mention of them in American cookbooks and magazines, but I never really paid much attention until I saw them one day at the grocers. I bought them to use in place of normal lemons for a dish later that night, and upon slicing into the first lemon, I realised that I had made a crucial
Happy New Year everyone!! I hope you have all had a wonderful start to 2016. We love celebrating New Year’s Day with our Greek friends – a somewhat cosy affair which doubles as a belated Christmas celebration for the little ones but without the stress of Christmas Day itself. In the spirit of Greek family gatherings, there is always an abundance of deliciously-prepared food on offer, and always a Vasilopita – a Greek New
As soon as the weather in Switzerland starts to take a dip, the roasted chestnut carts magically appear and I know that my favourite dessert will soon be in all of the pâtisserie shops. Roasted chestnuts alone are a gorgeous treat, especially since they also perform a double function as lovely hand warmers, but one of my favourite ways of enjoying chestnuts is in a simple Mont Blanc dessert.
This year was the first time my son was really excited about his birthday. And the moment I announced that we would be having a little birthday party for him, he immediately asked for a green dinosaur cake as an hommage to his favourite character, George, from Peppa Pig. But I knew my healthy-living, clean-eating husband was going to baulk at anything with artificial food colouring, so I showed my son lots of pictures
My son’s birthday is coming up and, within the space of a year, he has suddenly acquired the ability to compose his own birthday wish list, probably a necessary skill in the evolution of a toddler to prevent their well-meaning parents from buying the “wrong” gifts and thus forcing them to play with the more interesting packaging instead.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that we were recently in Stockholm. It’s a city which I always enjoy visiting for both the local food scene, as well as to indulge in Scandinavian-designed home decor and kitchenware. I hope to publish my city guide on Stockholm soon! When in Stockholm, a visit to one of the many charming cafés is a must, and these chocolate cookies, called Chokladsnittar, are a
I used to wonder if my disinclination to play Lego with my son for more than 5 minutes made me a bad mother. I’m sure it must be fun as a child to build tall Lego towers, knock them down, and start over again. And again. And again. But any feelings of guilt dissipate when I am doing something together with my son which we both enjoy, which gives weight to the argument
“Why another recipe for chocolate cake?”, you might ask. For nearly a decade now, I thought I had found THE chocolate cake recipe, namely Nigella Lawson’s Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake, which has been my faithful go-to chocolate cake recipe for every occasion from birthday parties to moments where I simply felt that chocolate cake was the answer (like on Friday nights when I like to be slumped on the sofa watching back-to-back episodes of
It’s been a long while since I’ve done a spot of baking. Oddly enough, this period of kitchen absenteeism has seen me eating more cakes and sweets than ever before, thanks to the local pâtisserie shop down the road. I’m pretty sure I have become their best customer since the birth of our baby girl; once a place where I would shop mainly for our daily bread, I now also add croissants, brioches
I have a soft spot for jellies and make them more often than my husband would like. In fact, he only recently confessed that he was not so fond of this wibbly wobbly dessert. In his family, they often make fun of British desserts and I recall someone once receiving a packet of jelly crystals at Christmas as a joke. I didn’t get the joke, of course, and the jelly crystals looked far
My husband and I recently welcomed our baby daughter into the world, a beautiful bundle of joy who loves to sleep but who is still mastering the art of how to do it well. Some days are better than others, and some nights are better than others. Despite the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn, and not to mention the pre-existing sleep deprivation that comes with a sleep-walking toddler, my heart feels
On a recent girls’ night out, perhaps my first in over 2 years, I had the misfortune of ordering fish and chips for dinner at a joint more well-known for its hamburgers. My fish looked unrecognisable in its thick and over-cooked batter; a pierce with a knife revealed mostly air pockets inside and an unappetising oil leak. The French fries were cooked well beyond golden and limping with oil, not to mention smelling
I have always wanted to make a Galette des Rois for the Epiphany and finally plucked up the courage today. In France, it is a cake which is traditionally eaten on 6 January, although some shops and bakeries make the most of this event by selling them up to a few months before the big date. But like any seasonal treat, such as the Yule Log or Hot Cross Buns, the window for
I am rather surprised that it has taken me this long to try this popular recipe from Rachel Khoo. In my defence, I already had a madeleine recipe to which I have been faithful to for many years, plus I felt that Rachel’s recipe was a bit fiddly for me. And with a tiny tot distracting me whenever I am in the kitchen, I didn’t think I was safe around multi-step recipes.
You may have noticed my sporadic presence online over this summer and I think I must, unfortunately, now call an end to what was nicknamed a “summer break” but was more a sofa-slumped summer due to the soggy weather which prevailed. I kept waiting for the hot summer sun to beckon me into one of my new summer dresses but, much to my husband’s dismay when he saw the credit card bill, they
I love a simple cinnamon tea cake at afternoon tea but, the truth is, I love it even more at breakfast. The combination of vanilla cake topped with a generous sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon reminds me of eating a donut, especially when the cake is still warm from the oven. While eating cake (or donuts) for breakfast, is not something the doctor would recommend, there’s something about this cake’s simplicity and plainness
The constant deluge of rain this summer has led to flooding in many parts of Switzerland, including our own balcony. The window boxes which comprise my little kitchen garden have been flooded from the non-stop rain and most of my plants look somewhat miserable from having their feet wet for far too long. Perhaps the only solace in having a wet summer is being able to use the oven like I would in winter.
I think Rachel Khoo has a thing for prunes, and I’m not complaining. As someone who has a general aversion to dried fruit in baking, I make an exception for prunes. Some recipes which I have recently attempted with much success from her latest cookbook, My Little French Kitchen, include the Kugelhopf with Prunes & Armagnac and Prune & Custard Tartlets. And now I have these Semolina Burnt Creams with Prunes to add
You may or may not have noticed from my photos on Facebook and Instagram that I have a weakness for éclairs. Being able to indulge in éclairs from the wonderful pâtisseries in Zurich, it never occurred to me that I should make my own éclairs at home. But when I was recently asked to have a look at Ruth Clemens’ new book, Creative Éclairs, I was instantly inspired to create a batch of
A big, big thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway to win a copy of Rachel Khoo’s latest cookbook, My Little French Kitchen. The response was fantastic and I loved reading everyone’s entries on their favourite French food. The entries made me realise how far-reaching and popular French food really is; from the simple baguette loaf and famous croissant to the more exotic Duck à l’Orange, the entries highlighted how wonderful and
I have previously professed my love for Kugelhopf in this post. And a quick browse through this website will reveal my admiration for Rachel Khoo and her delightful cookbook, The Little Paris Kitchen. So it is no coincidence that I have been just as smitten with Rachel Khoo’s new book, My Little French Kitchen, and particularly with her recipe for Kugelhopf with prunes.
This is the ultimate “minimum effort, maximum effect” dessert. Served in little pretty glasses, these deconstructed cheesecakes will fool your guests into thinking that you have been labouring away in the kitchen Top Chef-style when, actually, they require no more than 15 minutes to create from scratch.
When I think of lemon tarts, I think of the French classic, tarte au citron. However, the following recipe happens to be inspired by the lemon curd of the English kitchen. A lemon tart is traditionally made with a shortcrust pastry base and filled with a tart lemon custard, and which is then baked in the oven until the filling is just set but still tender.
With summer in full swing in Europe at the moment, a chilled dessert is the ideal way to end a nice meal. That or a big bowl of ice-cream. And one can hardly go past the quintessential French classic, a mousse au chocolat. My husband’s grandmother is well-known for her chocolate mousse, a treat which she often served up when my husband was a wee little boy and well into his adulthood. Alas,
I’m conscious that I have quite a few recipes for chocolate cake on this blog, but I suppose one more can’t hurt … This recipe was given to me by my French mother-in-law after some pleading on my part. One afternoon, after she had served a procession of five courses at lunch, she brought out this beauty for dessert, a plain chocolate cake which tasted anything but.
I ought to be more organised. In the final months of my pregnancy last year, I had busied myself photographing for many future blog posts in anticipation of the little one keeping me away from the camera. In truth, the camera hardly leaves my side these days as there seems to always be some cute baby moment to capture. And, in fact, he seems quite content to share the limelight with my kitchen
It has been roughly seven years since I made the bold decision to quit my job in Australia, electing to become unemployed and to take a chance at life on the other side of the world. At the time, it was one of the toughest decisions I had to make, not least because I couldn’t imagine how I could move for all of the personal possessions my twenty-something self had acquired. I have
As an Australian married to a Frenchman, could there be a more perfect cake to represent the union of our two cultures than the madelamington, a French madeleine dressed up as an Australian lamington? No, I didn’t come up with this name, but I am rather disappointed that I didn’t coin this term myself. In fact, as a frequent baker and consumer of madeleines and lamingtons, I wonder how the idea of marrying
With Australia Day approaching, my thoughts have been turning to traditional Aussie cakes and pastries, and these Chocolate Coconut Bars are hard to go past. Perhaps these slices are not what one would think of eating on Australia Day (lamingtons are more common), but this classic recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly is one which I have grown up with and I was only too happy to be reminded of it recently when
My husband and I are delighted to announce the arrival of our first child, a healthy and bouncing little boy, in late November. He has inherited his mother’s love for sleep and eating, except, of course, his mother has been doing little of either in recent weeks 😉 In preparation for his arrival, I had lined up several posts in readiness for publishing on this blog in the coming months, but pregnancy is
Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Irish cook, Rachel Allen. So when her new cookbook, Cake, was recently released, I promptly ordered it online and eagerly awaited its arrival in my mailbox. I did secretly wonder how it would compare to her other baking handbook, simply called Bake, which I have used quite frequently in recent years. But as it is not unusual for one of her books
On a recent trip to London, I was reminded of my fond affection for Devonshire Tea, essentially a scone served with jam and cream. In fact, my desire for a daily scone fix made me brave enough to venture into a café on my lonesome most afternoons, just so I could sit down to a proper cup of tea with a plate of warm scones. There is nothing more restorative if you have
In my last post, I was complaining about the bout of hot weather which we have had recently in Zurich. It seems that the weather has now turned too soon and summer has somehow disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. For all of my complaining, I miss those breezeless afternoons spent on the balcony, lazing about with a good book or magazine. But the return of cooler weather has meant a return
I recently offered to help out at a kid’s birthday party and somehow ended up with the task of making the actual birthday cake. My first thought was to make Nigella Lawson’s Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake, a simple two-tiered chocolate cake covered in a thick, chocolate frosting with maybe some (shop-bought) sugar flowers for decoration. Simple. I had made this cake many times before and knew it to be a very reliable recipe. But