We recently returned from our annual family retreat to Grindelwald, a small but popular ski resort in the Swiss alps. We have been going there since our son was a mere 1 month old baby, so it was somewhat awakening to accept that, this year, he attended ski school for the first time. Not only did he exceed all of our expectations at being able to focus and participate willingly during his morning lessons, it
Christmas is often a time for indulgence, whether it be treating yourself or loved ones to a special gift (or three), or enjoying the festivities with an abundance of good food and maybe too much champagne. After feasting on Duck Confit Parmentier and multiple serves of our favourite Chestnut Cream Pavlova for Christmas lunch, my husband asked for a simple vegetable soup for dinner later that night.
Merry Christmas everyone!! I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas celebration with your friends, family and loved ones. Christmas in our home today started with a leisurely breakfast … until the children realised that they could open their Christmas stockings once they had finished their meal. I had never seen them chomp down their toast and scull their milk so quickly! Santa had been very generous with his delivery of little
A lovely Aussie friend was recently telling me about her menu plans for Thanksgiving, and my interest was piqued when she mentioned that she would be making a cheese ball for the appetiser. Her cheese ball, if she was still in Australia, would have been comprised of cream cheese with cheddar and good ol’ Coon, sprinkled with curry powder and decorated with fried onions. I was instantly transported back to the 1980s in Australia and my heart
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 Samiclaus (the Swiss version of Santa Claus) on St. Nicholas Day on 6 December. Unlike the Santa Claus in most other parts of the world, Samiclaus does not have the same breadth of resources nor financial liquidity, so his gift to children is usually a small hessian sack containing clementines,
If you are looking for a show-stopping recipe which will wow your family and friends at your next dinner party, look no further than this Beef Wellington with Green Peppercorn Sauce. These photos are my latest contribution to the food column in Discovery, the inflight magazine for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon.
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
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
Most Australians will have some memory of soggy lunchtime sandwiches. When I think of the sandwiches of my childhood, they were most often sliced multigrain bread filled with lettuce, grated carrots, tinned beetroot and a slice of plastic cheese. The beetroot always left a red stain on the bread, on my hands, on my school uniforms. And they almost always made the sandwiches soggy, something which made me vow never to eat sandwiches again the moment
Today was a grey and gloomy day in Zurich, which meant the only reasonable thing to do was to stay indoors and make waffles with salted caramel sauce for lunch. That’s right – lunch. With the rain drizzling outside and temperatures nearing frosty, neither my husband and I were willing to venture outside for provisions. A quick inventory of the fridge and pantry revealed lots of food which would require lots of preparation, so I
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.
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
Confit de Canard is a classic dish found in many Parisian bistros, and it is a dish which my mother-in-law likes to serve whenever we visit. After one of our trips to France late last year, I felt compelled to recreate this dish at home, primarily because I didn’t want to wait so long before eating it again.
My mother is someone who can effortlessly create a delicious three-course meal from a simple fridge raid, with an uncanny ability to never let anything go to waste. Sadly, I didn’t inherit this talent, nor did I inherit the palate to eat leftovers. There have been periods of frugality where I would re-serve and reinvent leftovers, but these moments have often been brief, especially once I would inevitably arrive at a point where
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.
I ought to rephrase the title of this post because there is no such thing as a quick trip to Brittany. Set in the far north western corner of France, there is never a quick route to visit our family and a train journey from Zurich typically takes 12 hours door to door. And making this trip with an 11-month old baby somehow feels twice as long. But the trip is always worthwhile
As someone who squirms at the thought of eating livers or offal of any kind, I happen to love pâté. Perhaps because it is a crucial component of a Vietnamese Banh Mi, a staple in my childhood diet, that I have long-acquired a taste for this velvety spread. A Vietnamese pâté is one of many culinary inheritances from the French colonial occupation, and the Vietnamese like theirs with a bit of texture and
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.
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
Regular readers of my blog will know that I had a love affair with The Little Paris Kitchen in 2012. I loved the TV show, the recipes, Rachel Khoo. Despite having been a consumer of French food since I was a child, I was never as inspired to cook it until Rachel Khoo hit our screens with her fresh take on the old French classics. Though, that’s not to say that every recipe
A little while back, I had posted quite a few reviews on recipes from Rachel Khoo’s delightful French cookbook, The Little Paris Kitchen. For a short time, it looked like I was cooking my way through the book, and indeed I was – just a lot of the recipes haven’t made it to my blog for various reasons. Having been distracted by some events in recent months, I’m hoping to do a little
While working in the outer suburbs of Chicago in the last few years, I often found myself at a Barnes & Noble or Borders bookstore during lunch, not only because I have a fondness for bookshops but mostly because I discovered that living and working in Switzerland had had a big influence on my lunch-time eating habits. Unlike the Australians and Americans who often grab a quick sandwich or heat up leftovers to
It was never really my intention to cook my way through Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen, but so rarely has a cookbook resonated with me so much that I have found myself trying a new recipe from this book every few days since I first purchased it. If only I had this level of enthusiasm for all of my cookbooks! With the weather warming up recently in Zurich, I was curious to
In case you were wondering what the soup is which is photographed with the Rustic Bacon & Cheddar Bread, it is the Cream of Tomato & Potato Soup from French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David. Long before cooking became a passionate hobby and was more of a matter of survival for me, I heavily relied on cookbooks to put together really basic and simple meals like … vegetable soups. Yes, for something which
If you love beef stews, you will love this French classic, boeuf bourguignon. With the weather in Zurich being its typical and formidable grey in April, beef stew has been on the menu a few times in recent weeks, but having cooked my way partly through Rachel Khoo’s wonderful new cookbook, The Little Paris Kitchen, I was drawn to her recipe for boeuf bourguignon because of her pairing with baguette dumplings. I instantly loved the
Here is another fabulous recipe from Rachel Khoo with her take on the French classic, a Croque Madame. Most people would be familiar with a Croque Monsieur which is a toasted cheese and ham sandwich, commonly served in most French bistros for lunch or as a light snack. For a more decadent treat, the Croque Monsieur is also sometimes coated with a béchamel sauce and baked in the oven until the sauce is golden
I have been cooking quite a bit lately from Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen and am loving everything I have tried so far. This is a bit of a revelation for me considering that I am quite familiar with French food, having grown up eating this cuisine as a child and now married to a French husband. Sure, I have always enjoyed eating French food but, for so long, everything I had
Pot-au-feu literally translates into English as “pot on the fire”. It is a classic French beef stew, a peasant dish at heart. Traditionally made from beef bones and stewing beef, the broth is typically served as a clear soup, preceding the main dish of sliced beef with vegetables which have been cooked in the broth. It is honest and hearty French fare. Although the dish may take several hours to cook, you are
I adore artichokes. As a child, my mother would boil a whole artichoke for my dinner on those nights when she was preoccupied with other things or, more likely, fed up with cooking and needed to give me a no-fuss dinner. Hard task given that I was a fussy eater for most of my life. But I always enjoyed my solitary meal of boiled artichokes which I would ceremoniously sit down to in
I have a real soft spot for madeleines. It could be because I have very early memories of eating these dainty little cakes, their light sponginess making them the perfect snack for little hands. The madeleines of my childhood were always plain or lemon flavoured. These days, recipes abound with countless variations of flavours for these little cakes, both sweet and savoury. And I love them all! One particular variation which I make
A Kugelhopf is an iconic cake of the Alsace. If you ever travel to this part of France, especially for the famous Christmas markets in the picturesque village of Strasbourg, you will find stores overflowing with the traditional and colourfully decorated Kugelhopf moulds. It’s tempting to purchase a few, either as a decorative souvenir or indeed as intended for use in the kitchen, but they are rather heavy and make juggling cups of Glühwein (mulled
If I had to name one dessert as my “desert island dessert”, it would probably have to be profiteroles. It seems most people are abuzz with French macaroons these days (which I also adore) but, to me, the profiterole is what encapsulates a typically French dessert. There is something about the sweet custard encased in a soft choux pastry and then covered with a decadent chocolate sauce. Whenever I see it on a
When hubby is on his own, he tends to cook really simple food like pasta. Just pasta. Oh and maybe a grating of parmesan cheese if there happens to be some in the fridge. Or he might just boil potatoes. Or he goes all out and raids my cookbook collection to produce something really elaborate and exquisite, and will then cheekily send me a photo to show me what I’m missing out on.