Wonderful Weinreich wines (and a free taster at the ShopUp)

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My friend Nina (who I’ve only met quite recently but feel I’ve known forever) is not only one of the coolest and sweetest people I know, she also has an amazing occupation: together with the family of her husband Marc (whose last name, very suitable, is ‘Weinreich’ — ‘rich with wine’) she runs a vineyard in the Bechtheim region in Germany.

The Weinreich vineyards are located in the Wonnegau district of the Rheinhessen wine region, the largest German wine region located on the left bank of the river Rhine. Using the traditional methods already used by Marc’s grandfather, and respecting the natural conditions of the local soil and vineyard, the Weinreich family creates powerful Rieslings, Silvaner and Burgunder wines (without additives).

The Weinreich wines are really very very beautiful in their character, strong, individual, and full in their taste. I’m not at all an expert, but I love a good glass of wine and the Weinreich wines truly are amongst my favourites.

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Nina and Marc have two little boys, Henri and Toni, and they live a fairytale life surrounded by beautiful nature, the vineyards, and with super cool tractors to play with all day long. We visited our friends earlier this year and our kids loved it there so very much. We hope to be able to go back soon!

Sooo… If you would like to have a taster of these beautiful wines and fall in love with them like I did, then do come to the ShopUp tomorrow evening where we’ll be serving a complimentary glass of Weinreich Riesling Brut (festive bubbly bubbles!) to each visitor. Oh, and to compliment that glass of bubbles… we will also serve yummy macarons from La Dinette and cool crunchy cookies from Bee’s Bakery. Another fantastic reason to come to the King’s Road tomorrow, isn’t it? Hope to see you there!

xxx Esther

 

In løv with this tea!

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When I was in Paris a while back I noticed this supercool shop in Le Marais, filled with beautiful candy-coloured tins filled with… tea! Løv Organic is a French tea brand, and offers beautiful tins filled with amazing tea blends, all certified organic.

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I’ve gotten so into this tea lately — the flavours are so exquisite and it’s just such a pleasure to go through the tea making ritual with such a beautiful product.

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We love the Apple Cinnamon Fruit Tea, the Vanilla Rooibos, the Løvely Night, and the Wild Berry Fruit Tea. The great thing about these teas is that they are tannin-free, so my kids can enjoy them safely — they really love drinking tea! Plus — these teas make wonderful iced tea too. Perfect for this time of year, when some days are cold and some days are hot!

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So, now back to work with a nice cup of Spicy Citrus Fruit Tea… : )

xxx Esther

This post was kindly sponsored by Løv Tea, a brand we have always loved and respected.

Apple Eve Pudding

Eve Pud

Now I know the French are known for their fancy pastries and cakes, but the English are hard to beat at simple, wholesome, easy-to-make desserts. One of my favourites is Apple Eve Pudding, a variation on Apple Crumble. Instead of crumble you add a sponge batter on top of the apples. I love the way the sponge slightly soaks up some of the juice from the apples. It makes it wonderfully moist.
The funny thing is, Apple Crumble is still being served all around the country, and I think Eve Pudding has almost been forgotten in England (correct me if I am wrong)! Here’s the recipe:

6 apples
200 g of butter
150 g of sugar
4 eggs
200 g of flour
1 teaspoon baking power
1 slug of milk

Peel the apples and cut them into chunks and put them in a oven proof dish. Heat the oven to 180°C.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour with the baking powder to make a batter that can just about be dropped over the apples (it you think it is a bit too stiff and a slug of milk to get the right consistency). Drop over the apples making sure they are all covered and bake in the oven until the top of the pudding is golden. Serve warm – we usually add a good spoonful of vanilla ice cream.

P.S. different recipes call for raisins and cinnamon to be added to the apples, others for vanilla to be added to the batter. We like the simple version of the recipe but I think the variations are endless (blackberries mixed in with the apples? Could be delicious, no?)

– Emilie

P.S. Oh, I forgot to mention: best served with custard, ice cream or a good dose of single cream.

Frozen watermelon lollies

I saw an image of iced watermelon lollies on Pinterest last week and thought that was about the best idea ever! How simple and perfect for summer. Since we’re having a ‘mini’ heat wave here in London this week, I decided to make them for the kids as an after-school snack.  The kids agree — best idea ever!

x Courtney

p.s. I love how 22° qualifies as a heat wave in England : )
p.p.s. Come join us on Pinterest! We’re addicted — so much inspiration all in one place!

Bread dough, fresh from Paris bakeries

I have been in France six years now and I feel that I’m now getting to grips with the country. I have figured out the school system, the tax system and the obsession with dossiers. So now, I am always thrilled when I discover something new! This weekend, it was the fact that you can walk into almost any French bakery (and there are many) and ask for baguette dough, already bashed around and risen to perfection. It costs the same as a loaf of bread and the possibilities are endless.

I made a couple of trays full of fresh pizza and some foccacia with the leftovers as we had friends over for dinner. I think it would be lovely to pick up the dough one night and then bake some little rolls for breakfast. Someone told me that you can even buy brioche dough, which you can then roll out, fill and experiment with. Voila, you learn something new every day!

I am wondering, can you  do the same in other countries?

– Emilie

Vietnamese style Rice Paper rolls

My kids and I are really  into making rice paper rolls these days — a very fun and healthy cooking activity, which they love! Dried rice paper is available from the Japanese store (you get about one hundred sheets for a few euros). The fillings can vary — we’ve tried cucumber, carrot, avocado, celery and crab sticks. Other good filling are: red pepper, prawns, tofu, bean sprouts, spring onion, Chinese cabbage, egg omelette, fresh herbs (coriander, mint) and chicken strips. They can be completely veggie or kosher, depending on the fillings you choose, and are gluten free!

Place the fillings in little bowls on the table, together with a bit of (Japanese) mayonnaise. My kids love cutting veggies (and are pretty good at it!) so I slice them in fairly big chunks and let them do the rest. Soak a sheet of rice paper into a bowl of lukewarm water until it’s soft, about 15 seconds, and place on the table. Spread a little bit of mayonnaise onto the paper, and choose the topping you like to use. Fold over sides of paper and roll up to close. Done!

You can make a quick dip sauce (combine rice vinegar, lime juice, sping onion and a bit of fish sauce, minced red chilli, mint and coriander) or serve with sweet chili sauce.

Enjoy!!

xxx Esther

Got to love eggs!

Do your kids love eggs so much too? Ava, our 2 year old, is especially a total egg addict — she could eat 5 eggs a day if I let her! My mum used to say that eating more than 3 eggs a week was bad for your health, it would be bad for your cholesterol level (and thus blamed for an increased risk of heart disease). Nowadays, thoughts about eggs are quite different — apparently they are great sources of protein and vitamins, and eating one egg a day has positive effects on health and cholesterol levels rather than negative ones. Good for Ava (and good for the Easter bunny)!

xxx Esther

PS The cute heart-shaped egg cup is by Ginger from Family Nation.

Mini candy bars

Today I am so happy to write about Terron de Azucar, a lovely spanish brand, run by Rebeca, which makes the most beautiful mini candy bars!!! All in them are so full of details, and all of that in a mini size.

Aren’t they lovely? All made by hand by her and personalized with the theme you want. It makes a wonderful present for the kids. I have tried them myself and I can say they are just wonderful.

Great job Terron de Azucar!

-Maria

Cake Pops


Some gadgets are essential in life, like a can opener and, for me, an espresso maker. Others are not essential at all, but really fun to have.

Take the cake pops maker, which my girls were given for Christmas. It will definitely not be used daily, but it is great to have for rainy afternoons and birthday parties. It’s actually a great alternative to cupcakes.

I know cake pops have been around a while now in the US and the UK, but they have not arrived in Paris yet, so I am looking forward to introducing them to Paris, one cake pops at a time!

- Emilie

Homemade yoghurt

Have you ever thought about making your own yoghurt? We’ve been doing it since we visited friends in France a few years ago and they served cute little jars for dessert filled with their own homemade yoghurt. And it was the best yoghurt we ever had! We purchased a ‘yoghurt maker’ (similar to these, UK /US ), and have been making our own yoghurt regularly ever since. It’s so easy — just mix milk with some left-over natural yoghurt (or use a bag of yoghurt culture), pour in jars, leave in the machine for about 10 hours (the machine makes sure the temperature is even at about 27 degrees C), and presto! Your own yoghurt. You can vary by adding vanilla, a bit of compote, etc. We love to eat our yoghurt with homemade granola for breakfast!!

xxx Esther

Rhubarb compote

Molly from My Favorite Things asked me to write a guest post on her blog, suggesting I write about one of my summer essentials. I know it’s slightly cheating to call a recipe an essential… but I have literally been making a jar of this rhubarb compote each week and we eat it on everything! So yummy.

I’ve been staying on my dad’s farm this summer and his enormous rhubarb plant is in full swing. It’s so fun to pick a big handful of rhubarb before breakfast and then enjoy it on our oatmeal 20 minutes later. Oh the joys of summer! You can see my guest post (plus recipe) here.

x Courtney

Kids Birthday Cake book

I think it’s safe to say most kids in New Zealand grew up with a copy of the Australian Woman’s Weekly Kids Birthday Cakes recipe book.  My sister and I would read it over and over deciding on what cake we would have at our next birthday party, and now my kids love reading it.  My friend told me recently that her kids take it to bed to read!

Kees chose the pirate cake for his birthday.  It was super easy to make although I had an icing disaster when I emptied a whole bottle of black food colouring into the mix!!!  The kids ended up with black mouths and tongues which kind of added to the pirate theme I guess!

You can buy it on Amazon.

Stephxo

Tiny Teddy Racing Cars

It was my son’s birthday last week so we had a little party for him on Saturday.  The best thing about kid’s parties is the food!  I saw these cute teddy racing cars in a recipe book a few weeks ago and had a go at making them.  They were a huge hit and are so easy to make.

To make them take a milkyway bar and push a tiny teddy into the top.  Use icing to stick smarties to the side for the wheels and the teddies are all ready for racing!

Stephxo

Kaffee Klatsch


I recently hosted a baby shower for a great friend of mine over here in Paris, and as she is German I decided it was a perfect opportunity to celebrate a time-honoured German tradition: the Kaffee Klatsch. Literally translated this means a coffee gossip (as usual the Germans tell it like it is).

You see, growing up in Germany, there would be at least one of these events every week. The hostess would bake a cake, whip up some cream, boil up a pot of coffee and the neighbourhood ladies would perch themselves on the sofa for a slice of cake and a good gossip. Not so different from what my girlfriends and I do now! There is a lot less baking which might be better for our waistlines, but it is a shame as nothing beats a good Käsekuchen, a Streuselkuchen or a Gugelhupf.

I dusted down my old German cookbook for a good Käsekuchen recipe and it was delicious. A Käsekuchen is a cheese cake, but as it is made out of a type of fromage frais called quark, it is lighter and more tangy than the American cheese cake.

Here is the receipe — I would love to hear what you think:

For the shortcrust pastry:

  • 250 gr of flour
  • 60 gr sugar
  • 125 gr cold butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

Filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 200 gr of sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 500 gr of fromage frais (or quark if you can get it)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 500 ml of single cream

First mix together the ingredients for the crust. Crumble up the flour, sugar and baking power with the butter. Then add in the egg and knead until it turns into a ball. Wrap up in cellophane and put into the fridge for 1 hour.
While the pastry is cooling down heat the oven to 160° C and make the filling.
Beat together the eggs and the sugar for a few minutes until you have a thick cream. Add in the fromage frais, the lemon juice and the oil. Then add in the cream. Mix it together until you have a nice, thick cream.

Roll out the pastry and line a 28 cm baking tin. Fill the pastry with the cake filling and bake for about 60 minutes.

Let it cool down and serve with a good cup of coffee.

(I am also posting this photo of some lovely old ladies enjoying their Kaffee Klatsch that I found online.  I simply could not resist this photo!)

Provençal cabbage gratin


Every Friday morning my doorbell rings and a box is brought in to my kitchen filled with seasonal, organic and local vegetables, bread, cheese and meat and/or fish. It’s always a great surprise to find out what’s in the box each week! I find it important to try to eat seasonally and locally — I believe it to be more healthy and sustainable in the long run, and I love the challenge of being creative with the contents. Downside in wintertime is an insane about of cabbage! Every winter I’m slightly overwhelmed by the amount and variety of cabbage in my crate: green cabbage, red cabbage, Savoy cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, etc. etc. So my kitchen creativity has been challenged to the top and I’ve been stir frying, making soups and quiche — all contaning some sort of cabbage. One of my favourite recipes (found while desperately searching the web for cabbage recipes), is the ‘Gratin of white cabbage & lentils in a Provençal sauce‘ by Sophie Grigson from the BBC Good Food website. It’s a very unexpected mix of ingredients, but it’s really yummy, super healthy, and it can easily be made in advance and just put in the oven just before dinner time. My kids love it too!

xxx Esther

PS The company delivering the organic box in Amsterdam is ‘De Krat‘, and in London I liked Abel&Cole.
PPS Cabbage recipe suggestions are very welcome!

Apple Cars, a fun little snack



My kids don’t need any prodding when it comes to eating fruit. They LOVE it! But when I made up these little apple cars after school yesterday, they went absolutely crazy for them. After gobbling them up, they insisted they make their own… so it ended up being a fun activity which took up a large portion of the afternoon. My kids were so impressed when they realised the cars actually go — the wheels (grapes) actually turn! Fun!

(This was another idea I spotted on Pinterest. I’m telling you — that site is soooo great!)

x Courtney

Back to the Bib!


Baby Ava obviously wears a bib when she’s eating and she can’t say too much about that yet, but the other two kids have been feeling WAY too old for a bib for years now … which is kind of annoying, because dinner never seems to escape their clothes, no matter how hard they try. But since I brought home Deuz Napkids for them they have been requesting their bib! I didn’t introduce them as bibs of course, I said that these were ‘clever napkins’ — they are in fact packaged as napkins (very cool) so that was totally plausible. The design, size and colours of the Napkids are aimed at bigger children, so they don’t feel like babies at all when they’re wearing them. And they have seriously helped me cut on the amount of laundry so far!
Napkids by Deuz are ethically made in India from 100% certified organic cotton and printed with non toxic inks. Check here for points of sale.

xxx Esther

Nasturtiums — a gardeners dream!


In Dutch we call them ‘East Indian Cress’ — my favourite plant in our garden! I love the pretty round leaves of the nasturtiums, I love how wild and crazy (and easy!) they grow, and I love the beautiful, tissue-paper-like flowers, with their bright, happy colours. Both the leaves and the flowers of the nasturtium are edible, which only adds to their appeal. They have a delightful, peppery sweet taste (a bit like radishes), and look so beautiful in a fresh, green salad. My kids love picking them before dinner, and they love to eat them too (high in vitamin C, I’ve read)!

xxx Esther

Delicious Cake Toppers by Goodie Girl

Shira is a mom who owns and operates a small cafe in my neighborhood.  Not only does she make delicious and healthy things like quinoa chocolate chip cookies, lentil and feta salads and hearty organic ten vegetable soups…but she also has a dark side.  Shira is a self proclaimed candy-addict and master chocolatier (and it’s true – I have seen her sneak a twizzler or two when her kids weren’t looking!).  Recently she rolled out these solid chocolate birthday candles that I thought were fabulous.  Such a simple idea to jazz up a plain frosted cake or a cupcake and she can customize the candle to whatever shape you need.  We all love to lick the frosting off our birthday cakes right?…so how much does it rock that we can now eat the candle!  New Yorkers should check out her website Goodie Girl for cute and easy ideas to jazz up a party.

Pomegranates

The other day I cut open a pomegranate for a salad I was making, and my six-year-old gasped.  Apparently he’s never seen a pomegranate before and he was so intrigued! Before long there was a feeding frenzy of three children ripping apart the pomegranate trying to pick the seeds — all three kids loved them. We then pressed the seeds in a sieve and made juice… which they also loved. Who knew? Apparently pomegranates are really good for you, filled with vitamin C and loads of antioxidant properties. I think I’ll be buying more pomegranates from now on.  Does anyone have a great recipe which includes them? I was thinking of making ice lollies from the juice! I’ll let you know how that goes…

-Courtney

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