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.
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.
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.
So my blog has been a little quiet recently, but there’s a really good reason for it. After about five years of having it as a goal (twenty years of daydreaming about it), and getting lost in Germany, Canada, Italy and Prague on the way – I moved to Paris.
I arrived for New Years Eve with a friend of mine under the guise of translator (turns out he greatly overestimated his knowledge of French, but did know the metro), it was grey and wintery and cold as hell, but it was Paris and I am so damn lucky. We’re just heading into Spring now (and Frank Sinatra is singing my theme tune), I’m studying French, I’ve made some friends who are amazing and managed to go to some writing groups at Shakespear and Co (bucket list), and am now dreaming about enrolling in pastry school for the New Year. I’m so grateful to everyone who helped (hello Parents, and all my friends who let me live on their couches). Croissants for Everyone!
I’ve got a new instagram for all my life and travel pictures @KateDownTheRabbitHole, come say hi!
So after Canada I was lucky enough to go on holiday with my parents in Italy. A place which has now become my absolute favourite country (so far). I can’t decide if it’s the weather, the food or the people but Italy was just the kindest, warmest and most beautiful place and I hope to go back and improve my scruffy Italian soon.
There was so much I loved about it: art, architecture, food, wine and good company (that’s you, Momma and Padre). Rome is filled with fresh water fountains built by the Roman Empire that you could just wander up to and fill your bottle. Which is astounding (and delicious) when you think you’re using the same aqueduct systems built in 500 AD. Wine and food is beyond incredible, and the people are so lovely I was nearly married off to a charming family running a beautiful trattoria. (Sorry Francesco). And the amount of sass in the Vatican is ridiculous and hilarious.
The amount I learnt about food in those two weeks is incredible. Italian food seems to have the philosophy that quality, simplicity and flavour are the foundation on which a good meal is built. And there wasn’t a corn dog in sight. I was completely spoiled for seafood (we were on the seaside in the South) and Amalfi Gamberoni might be just the best damn thing I’ve ever damn eaten. I’m now obsessed with putting what I learnt into practice – so look forward to a bunch of homemade Italian recipes.
Here’s some photos from the fun, but there’s more on my instagram: @KateDowntheRabbitHole xxxx
After a brief summer hiatus and learning more than I’d ever want to about canoeing, I’m back.
Canada was amazing, baffling and a huge learning curve when it comes to all things bears. Most notable was the lesson “How much can you hate a Corndog?” (lots.) and “Best Tactics for winning a mexican-standoff with a Racoon” (loudly.)
I met some wonderful people and had some great times, but I’ll admit to being happy to be back in bullshit-cold Germany. Can’t wait to get back in the kitchen and try our all the things I learnt on my Italian holiday.
Somewhat by surprise, I have moved to Canada for the summer. I’m running the dining hall of a summer camp way out in the Canadian woods, as you do. It could not be more different than how I was living in Germany, but Momma always said experience is the best education – so wish me luck. I’m learning to be outdoorsy, which is a huge feat for someone who quite likes wine, blankets and netflicks but I’ve bought a plaid shirt so that’s a start.
I’ll be spending a lot of time doing things like kayaking, trying to understand Canadian and avoiding bears, and I’ve already made friends with the awesome baker from Quebec, who has some really lovely recipes for me to learn. Look forward to some Canadian meals and something called a “s’more” which really sounds like a dessert smashed together by a mad man in a sugar factory. Also, chipmunks and little fluffy rabbits just hang out here, so I feel like a disney princess.