Suivre une étoile….following a star….

DSC_0013 (2)A very happy new year to you! I have two resolutions for this year. The first is to face my fear of making viennoiseries – pastries – and I am on the right track. I mean, isn’t it difficult to tear yourself away from the above photo? Hmm? Did you cast your eye over the exquisite multitude of paper thin layers, all rising up in a victory celebration for little old me?  I wish you could see my facial expression right now. Try to imagine me standing at a podium, palm to chest, humbled and disbelieving, as I accept my gilded, pastry layer statuette for ‘flakiest bake and baker’. Then recounting to an enraptured audience,  my deepest, darkest fears that home made pâte feuilletée would always elude me and thus I would forever be chained to the refrigerator section of ready-rolled. I thank my husband and my dogs, for eating all my failed recipes without complaint, but the same can’t be said for my children. But most importantly I wish to thank my supermarket, for never succeeding to have the product supply to meet the demand.

Continue reading “Suivre une étoile….following a star….”

Financiers

DSC_0031Financiers are little gold almond ingots of sweetness that in my eyes are as valuable as any bullion. These small, dense bars of cake evolved from the clever idea of a patissier called Mr Lasne in the 1890s to revive and repackage an old cake recipe, visitandine, invented by an order of nuns of the same name and baked since the 17th century. Continue reading “Financiers”

Valrhona: The ‘black gold’ of the Drome

DSC_0482Situated slightly north of the southern french city of Valence, in the department of the Drome is the commune of Tain l’Hermitage. This small township is home to one of this country’s most revered food products  –  the factory for Valrhona chocolate. DSC_0547 (3) Continue reading “Valrhona: The ‘black gold’ of the Drome”

Clafoutis pas comme ma belle-mere

 

DSC_0573 (2)When my husband was very small and their family still lived in an apartment, his mother extended an invitation to an elderly gentleman neighbour to get to know him over a cherry clafoutis. A rich egg, crepe-like batter poured over fresh cherries and baked in the oven until golden; the man was dead the next day. Continue reading “Clafoutis pas comme ma belle-mere”

Gateau de Savoie, a cake and a journey cut in two halves: Part Two

DSC_0141Retracing our route away from Yenne that late winter afternoon the car hugged close again to the river Rhone. Only one day earlier, having admired this spectacular river amidst the man-made beauty of Geneva, Switzerland, that Saturday we saw instead a breathtaking natural tableau. Continue reading “Gateau de Savoie, a cake and a journey cut in two halves: Part Two”

Le Gateau de Savoie, a cake and a journey cut in two halves: Part One

DSC_0083I have always encouraged my husband to drive for miles, for hours if necessary, on quests for a certain speciality or the place of origin of a recipe. My 15 year old son says I am obsessed but I prefer to think of myself as passionate. He sits beside me laughing now, ‘oh mum’s trying to put a spin on our crazy trips’.  I hope one day when he is finally spat out at the other end of adolescence that he will understand – either that or as an adult he will run in horror from the glimpse of any similar outing. I prefer to take the risk of scarring the kids for life against sorties gourmande*  if there is even a slight possibility that they will one day have a precious declique themselves.  I can concede that my excursions can be fairly  batty sorts of affairs and that plenty of people may not understand. But they have come to represent the richest experiences in my french life. Continue reading “Le Gateau de Savoie, a cake and a journey cut in two halves: Part One”

‘Macaron’ pour president!!!

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Little girls  giggling and running from the school gates at home time singing out Macaron pour president!..again and again, laughing at their play on words.  Hearing ten year olds talking of their parents wanting to move abroad if the opponent to Macron should win. Fear has blown in gusts about us for two weeks now, and disbelief  at the close proximity of the alternate party. Today my husband spent the day in the garage, anxious, needing to occupy himself rather than think about the election.

Now the country has spoken and we can celebrate and support a man who speaks with positivity and reason. Keeping europe together, rather than ripping people apart.

Emmanuel Macron gives us hope and here in our home we are truly joyful at his election.