Since I started this adventure, bed has been a profoundly important place for me. In Germany, when I got a bedroom in a flat share, I bought sheets so that even if everything else was chaotic I could creep between them and forget about it. I did it like the Germans do, buying two single sized blankets for a double bed.
In Canada I found the only white sheets in camp so I could cover up my sleeping bag, which always felt of sand no matter how many times I washed it.
Last year I bought a big winter blanket, and felt very grown up about it. It’s a full size too big for my bed, and heaven to sink into. I bought a cover in white and cream to hide the red doona cover I was given as an au pair – I can’t bare having colours in my bed while I sleep, I always figured I had too many colours in my head as it was.
And then now, after nearly four years down the rabbit hole, I moved my sheets and big blanket into my new apartment, in the heart of the city I’d always dreamt of and already feel entirely at home. I can’t believe my luck.
Over the last few months I have been pouring my heart into an application for a scholarship for the Cordon Bleu London. I spent weeks baking and icing and taste-testing and photographing, and by some magical stroke of luck I made it to the semi-finals.
This little French tart is a staple at boulangeries throughout Paris, and though undeniably faffy to make, it really is easier than it seems and so, so worth the trouble. It’s perfect for a goûter, the afternoon snack that’s so critical to French culture. One of many reasons I love this country.
This recipe comes from the, frankly bloody amazing ‘Grand Manuel du Patisserie’, which is the best book I have ever seen on the subject. But bear in mind the book is in French.
I used their recipe for the Tarte aux Fraises – but I made a tarte aux framboises, because raspberries are everywhere at the moment and I love them. The quantities below are for my little tart tin on account of my teeny-tiny oven, which happily serves six people. I basically halved the recipe from the book for my six-inch tart tin, so it’s simple to just double it.
My darling housemate (AKA Wifey-Pooh), helped me out with some photography this Saturday morning. I rearranged our little apartment and took it as a great excuse to buy far too many flowers, because we know I love them, and hardly need an excuse.
The recipe for the Tarte aux Framboise shown in the pictures will be up on the blog soon. For now I’m off to buy Wifey-Pooh a great big glass of liquid thank you.
I was introduced to making poached pears for my girlfriend’s birthday. Turns out she’s partial to a poached pear and chocolate tart, and I’m partial to demanding I be the one to make all my friends’ birthday desserts. I sent some photos through to my Nan as well, she said it’s something she’s loved for a long time so it will have to be on the menu next time I see her. This recipe is absurdly easy, it’s basically cooking pears in mulled wine. If you’re interested, it’s rather low fat; unless, like me, you want to enjoy it properly with lots of cream of ice cream. Delicious. I used Concorde Pears, but as long as they’re firm, and not bruised, they’ll work.
Here’s a throwback to a mulled wine recipe I did for Pepper Passport a while ago. Because mulled wine is a classic, spring has not yet fully sprung here in Paris yes, and because it’s the basis of this week’s simple Poached Pear recipe. Check it out here!
Madeleine Kamman’s France, as she describes in the dog-eared book I’ve carried with me from Australia through Canada, Germany and finally to my own French home, in her words, has disappeared. Kamman retells golden cornfields and wild hares – a world apart from my own, adopted Paris. But this book, When French Women Cook is somewhat of a bible to me. Recipes sandwiched between anecdotes, I dream of one day writing something like this from my own travels. And though it’s not the French countryside of sprawling olive trees and cows in fields that I live in, I savour just as much the city here. I spent what felt like my whole life dreaming of coming to Paris. And now at (nearly) 27, spending my days taking the metro, and walking through old streets I believe, as she says, that you really can smell the essence of a place that you call home.
I grew up in countryside Australia. Not quite red dirt outback, but rolling hills of yellow canola, enormous horizons and cicadas singing in blazing-blue summers. Thinking of childhood there reminds me of my mother’s Damper, a rustic bread that we’d eat slathered in melted butter, or collecting eggs from our traditionally named, but very grumpy chickens (hello, Sally Henny Penny).
Here the bread is just as memorable, and (stereotypes be damned) a genuinely intrinsic element of the food culture. Boulangeries here, like in Germany, are more common and easier to find than banks – and far more fun. And for me, the windows of sparkling patisseries have become a new dream of mine. Certainly not an easy one, but one day I hope to be a true Parisienne Pâtissière myself.
However there are quite a few steps between here and there, and in the meanwhile, Kamman’s book – as well as my new favourite, “Le Grand Manuel du Pâtisserie” are helping me learn a few tricks. Wish me luck, I’ll keep you posted.