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
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.
Like quite some many Vietnamese immigrants in Australia, my parents ran a busy bakery which sold everything from the likes of crusty Vietnamese baguettes to sourdough breads, meat pies and sausage rolls, and a wide selection of cakes and pastries from the humble Australian lamington to French classics such as the éclair and tarte au citron. If I wasn’t eating toast with Vegemite for breakfast, I was eating a hot croissant, straight from the
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.
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
Faced with some bits and pieces of cheese in the fridge, I thought I would try my hand at a savoury waffle for lunch today, and these waffles with Gruyère and fresh thyme were absolutely scrumptious! The cheese adds lovely savouriness to the waffles and pairs wonderfully with a simple green salad on the side, dressed lightly with a mustard vinaigrette.
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you have all had a good start to 2012 with lots of fine celebrations, good food and good company. Christmas for us is usually spent with our family in Brittany, a cold and windy region in the north-west of France. Except, this year, it was thankfully not so cold and windy, which meant that my Ugg boots which I had lugged with me on the 9 hour
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.
I am proud to present to you a specialty of my husband, made by my husband. Dear hubby happens to like cooking but unfortunately has few opportunities in the kitchen, mainly because I’m always hogging the kitchen space. But on those occasions when I’m absolutely exhausted from work or just sheer lazy, hubby will venture into the kitchen, probably secretly excited at the prospect of (finally) cooking and being able to choose the