French

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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 baker’s oven. Any croissants leftover at the end of the day were often re-fashioned into sandwiches to be sold the next day, filled with ham, cheese and salad. My other favourite was the apple turnover; when they weren’t sold warm from the oven, my mother would split them open and pipe freshly whipped cream inside for a more luxurious treat. I doubt this is how the French would eat their croissants or chaussons aux pommes, but that’s how we did it in Australia and I loved it.

As a child, I always felt spoilt by the endless selection of delightful sweet treats in our family bakery. Now, as an adult, I feel equally spoilt by the cakes and pastries on offer in Europe, especially whenever we find ourselves in Paris. With Paris only a 4 hour train journey from Zurich, we find ourselves in the City of Light quite frequently, often as a stopover on the way to visit our families on the far-flung coastlines of France. Such stopovers are often necessary for me to mentally prepare myself for the family gathering ahead. At other times, our Parisian stopover takes place on the way back to Zurich, something which my husband describes as a reward (for me) for having survived another bout with my in-laws. Perhaps because Paris has always been a treat of some sort that each and every visit has always been savoured and enjoyed to the fullest.

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Semolina Burnt Creams with Prunes

1 April 2014 16 comments
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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 & […]

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Chocolate Éclairs

12 March 2014 24 comments
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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 […]

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Prune & Custard Tartlets

5 March 2014 14 comments
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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 […]

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Cannelés

18 February 2014 29 comments
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If you have ever travelled to France, you may have come across these little specialty cakes called cannelés. Unlike their more successfully exported cousins, the madeleines and macarons, cannelés are not so well known outside of France. Yet within France, they are a delicacy.

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Duck Confit

29 January 2014 13 comments
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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 […]

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Ham & Vegetable Pastry Puffs

22 January 2014 19 comments
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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 […]

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Kugelhopf with Prunes & Armagnac

14 December 2013 18 comments
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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 […]

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Chicken Liver Pâté with Green Peppercorns

29 September 2013 13 comments
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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 […]

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Lemon Curd Tartelettes

18 September 2013 20 comments
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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 […]

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