Ginger Infused Carrot Cake

Carrot cake

Yet another food magazine hit the newsstands in France last year, this one being dedicated entirely to baking and sweets. Fou de Pâtisserie is different in that top pastry chefs as well as up-and-comers in France and from around the world generously share some of their recipes. This is a fantastic magazine for those who would like to know any and all things about the world of French pastries. Not only does it showcase the artistry of French pastries and their historical origins, but each issue also offers readers a glimpse into the careers of the masterminds behind the gorgeous creations through interviews that reveal how they got their start, what motivates them, their style, etc. The magazine also comes chock full of tutorials of basic techniques.  Though recipes of the hautes pâtisseries featured can be daunting, simpler recipes for classics, such as eclairs and muffins, are also included for amateurs with limited skills like myself.
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Ginger Infused Carrot Cake

ms Janstch-inspired scones

sconesThough I got rid of most of my belongings before moving here, I made sure to make some room in my suitcases for a few keepsakes that would remind me of home and my family and friends back in the US. One of the goodies that I brought with me was Ms. Janstch’s scone recipe. My good friend, Mrs. Moline, whose social reach is more expansive than I could ever imagine, introduced me to a whole host of lovely ladies back in Austin, TX. Ms. Janstch was among these lady friends. She graced us with dozens of scones at a lady’s potluck brunch one Sunday. Her scones without a doubt were the star of the brunch and I just had to have the recipe before leaving. Luckily, Ms. Janstch was gracious enough to share her recipe with me. I have since adapted her recipe to my own kitchen and tastes. Ah, the nostalgia invoked each time I make these lovely scones!
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ms Janstch-inspired scones

Fleur de sel chocolate chocolate cookies

chocolate cookies

Though it’s been three and half years since I’ve made France my home, I’m still very attached to my American roots. France has introduced me to a whole new world of pâtisseries and has brought out the sweet tooth in me, yet I still have a fondness for making American baked goods, such as cookies, muffins, cupcakes, etc. Cookies are probably one of the easiest things to make, but the Frenchies haven’t quite mastered this goodie of ours. I find that their interpretation of our cookies is a bit too dry and crunchy for my liking. I myself prefer soft and chewy cookies. Ahhh, nothing like the nostalgia of my days back in the states brought on by biting into a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie!

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Fleur de sel chocolate chocolate cookies

Riz au lait à la vanille

Riz au lait à la vanille

Since moving to France, I’ve developed quite an ardent appreciation for French desserts, both for the exquisitely refined pieces of art by pastry chefs such as Claire Heitzler of Lasserre as well as for the more mundane and quotidian desserts like chocolate mousse. Not too long ago, I discovered riz au lait, or rice pudding. Several of my old co-workers who occassionally grabbed lunch at the hospital café would often have it for dessert. I’m not sure which brand it was that they ate, but it came packed in a jar very much like this. When I saw that very jar sold in the dairy aisle at the market, it reminded me of my old co-workers and how much I miss seeing them (that is, those who didn’t my work life miserable) everyday. So, compelled by nostalgia and curiosity, I grabbed a couple of jars. I couldn’t wait to dig in and taste the creamy goodness.

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Riz au lait à la vanille

Bûche de Noël à la crème moka

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I hope that y’all had a happy and festive holiday full of warmth and delicious food! The holidays crept up on me so quickly this year that I hardly had any time to get into the holiday spirit. The mister and I have been so consumed by renovating our home that planning our réveillon de Noël, or Christmas eve dinner, completely escaped us this year. Instead of putting together an elaborate dinner, we opted to spend a low-key evening at my in-laws. Though it was a quiet evening, our réveillon included traditional holiday goodies, such as foie gras and lobster. Though not so acceptable to eat in the US, I still look forward to indulging in the rich, creaminess of foie gras each and every holiday season. Here in France, a holiday meal just would not be complete without it.

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Bûche de Noël à la crème moka

Chouquettes

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I’m so sorry to have left y’all hanging for so long! In the midst of our kitchen renovations (our apartment is still a disaster zone, by the way, because my husband decided to embark on another renovation project in my absence-the whole apartment this time!), it was pretty difficult to prepare anything worth salivating over. And, immediately after finishing our kitchen, I took a much needed two week trip back to California to visit my friends and family after not seeing them for over 2 years!! I can’t even begin to tell y’all how thrilled I was to be back on US soil again where everything is familiar to me and to finally get to celebrate Thanksgiving again with everyone back home. Obviously, the French don’t celebrate this hedonistic food fest and my husband isn’t the biggest fan of turkey, so it’s been a good three years since I’ve had a real Thanksgiving meal! Though, after going home this time, I feel a bit inspired to start my own Thanksgiving tradition for when I can’t make it back to the US so I can have a little piece of home here in France.

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Chouquettes

muffins à la banane et aux noix

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I’d like to change things up a bit and try something different. Remember in my last post how I mentioned that I’m extremely frustrated with the slow progress that I’ve made in learning to speak French? Well, what better way to improve it than to write more. Much of my frustration comes from my lack of vocabulary, so writing more will hopefully increase my arsenal of words! So if you don’t mind, I’m going to attempt to write part of my blog in French. Each post will be in English, followed by the French translation.

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muffins à la banane et aux noix

vendredi vietnamien ~ smoothie à l’avocat

smoothie à l'avocat

Winter has definitely arrived. We woke up to a couple centimeters of snow this morning. I know, that’s not much, but it’s not very characteristic of the weather that we normally experience here during this time of year. Usually, the real cold doesn’t come until January or February. This weather is actually very reminiscent of what it was like when I arrived in France exactly two years ago this week. It was a bit of a shock to my system, since we only have two seasons in Austin, extremely hot and mildly hot. So you can imagine, I was less than thrilled to be greeted by wintry weather that year. Despite my affinity for warmer temperatures and sunshine, I think the cold is actually starting to grow on me now. It doesn’t seem to bother me as much anymore, or perhaps, I’ve just learned how to bundle up more appropriately these days. Nonetheless, I was rather surprised to find myself feeling happy to see the snow this morning.

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vendredi vietnamien ~ smoothie à l’avocat

chocolate chip cookies

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A couple of weeks ago, we returned from the south of France, tan, refreshed and a little bit more knowledgeable about this country’s incredibly rich and long history. During our trip, I was always on the lookout for something delectable to bring back and share with my office mates. While passing through Ollioules, which is a small town in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France, we stumbled upon the annual Olive Tree festival there. Vendors were selling local and regional specialties, including an endless array of tapenades, charcuterie and sweets. It was there that I discovered le macaron de Provence.

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chocolate chip cookies