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….”


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”