I got this recipe from a friend from university a long time ago and I made it loads when I was a student. The beauty of the recipe is that you need nothing else but a bowl, a cup, and a (wooden) spoon — plus a bread pan and the ingredients, of course. Last week, for some strange reason, I woke up in the middle of the night and suddenly remembered the recipe. So I tried it again, and it was super delicious, and the kids loved it! It is seriously so simple to make:
In a bowl, stir together:
- 2 cups of plain flour
- 1 cup of rye flour (or use plain flour instead)
- 1 cup of muscovado sugar
- 1 bag of baking powder (16 grams)
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup of raisins (soak in hot water for a few minutes)
- 1 cup of hazelnuts
- 2 tbl sp of treacle (like golden syrup, or molasses)
Transfer to buttered bread pan and bake in the middle of a medium hot oven (150C / 300F) for about 45 minutes. Wonderful to eat warm with butter, or excellent cooled down as well. Great for picnics, lunch boxes, or a healthy afternoon snack! Enjoy!
It actually makes sense to wear an apron when cooking, cleaning and crafting. In fact, an apron is a great idea! The amount of tops and sweaters I have ruined by splattering sauce and oil on, is too depressing to think about. So this weekend I wandered into Muji and picked up a great big apron that will hopefully protect me for years to come. I like this one a lot, it is completely without frills and gives great coverage. There is a also similar one at Merci made out of linen, in case you ever are in Paris.
Above a photo of Violette and me making brownies to celebrate my new purchase! The photo was taken by Coco, who loved being the on set photographer.
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!!
One of the many advantages of living in a relatively small flat in Paris is that my storage space is limited, which in turn means that I don’t accumulate a lot of useless stuff. (BTW, this actually goes completely against my nature, so it has been an ‘interesting’ learning curve — to learn to think hard before buying!). Basically I have been trying to stick to quality rather than quantity.
I love, love, love this French website I discovered recently as it sells simple household items that have been around for generations and have one thing in common: quality. Most of the items are French-made or from neighbouring countries. Every single thing on the website has a story and is guaranteed to be useful for a very long time. Here are some of my favourites: the great Duralex glasses I wrote about a while ago, the cast iron “cocotte“, the swipping pan that actually looks nice just hanging in the kitchen.
My other favourite is the chestnut chair which is made in my region, the Limousin, so I have a little sentimental attachement to it! Unfortunately the website is only in French at the moment, but it is pretty easy to navigate, especially with google translator.
Sometimes we have just had enough of soft and flakey croissants and buttery brioche for breakfast on weekends. Don’t get me wrong, I will never tire of the fact that I just need to walk 50 metres to pick up some of the best patisseries mankind has to offer, but it is nice to take a break. So I decided to mix it up a little this weekend, and make my very first batch of cinnamon rolls. The last time I had a cinnamon roll, I must have been 16 and in a strip mall in Wisconsin, so my memories are a bit vague. All I really remember is: a cinnamon roll tastes great!
After a bit of internet research I settled on the Cinnamon Swirl Buns from Smitten Kitchen (a fabulous blog I recently have become addicted to), with a couple of adjustments. The main one was that I just could not bring myself to use all that sugar for the filling, so I used about half the quantity. I don’t think a real American would have approved, but the non-connaisseurs here in Paris had no idea that they were being short changed, and still loved my rolls.
The other thing I did was to prepare the rolls the night before and stick the baking tray with the unbaked rolls into the fridge. That way, I just needed to chuck them into the oven the next morning and 20 minutes later I had fresh rolls. Finally, I baked some of the rolls in little ramekins as I did not have enough baking trays and I actually think they looked really sweet, hence the photo above!
This summer, Emilie and her girls came to see us in our family house in France — such fun! While the kids were enjoying themselves endlessly, Emilie and I spent hours discussing, purchasing and preparing food — a passion we both share! One recipe we made a few times and which was a huge, huge success, was this perfect gazpacho by Felicity Cloake (Emilie reviewed her cookbook before here). Ms. Cloake spent quite some time cooking up different versions of gazpacho, and came up with one gazpacho that is, well, perfect. And we even omitted step 3, passing the soup through a sieve! There’s no better time to make this yummy soup than now — when the tomatoes are ripe and tasteful, and the weather still so agreeable. It’s super easy to prepare in the morning for a delicious, healthy and fresh lunch (or dinner). Do you love gazpacho too?
I recently discovered Smitten Kitchen’s famous brownie recipe… and it has literally become a family obsession. I’ve made them four times in the past couple weeks… enough that I think my daughter could probably make them on her own now. I even made them once for my husband to take to work with him, and apparently they were a huge hit in the office. The recipe is dead simple, and they are the best brownies I’ve ever tried. Rich and chocolatey, super moist and just the right consistency. Simple and perfect!
Find the recipe here… and chocolate lovers be warned of potential addiction.
Every year we spend a few weeks in the countryside in our family house in France, and there’s always one major task at hand: blackberry picking! This year was a particularly good blackberry year, so we all got to work (kids included) and I was able to make a few batches of jam and compote. Especially the compote has proven to be a grand success — we love to eat it with thick yoghurt (quark) as a dessert or spooned over oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast. Here’s the recipe — it’s really easy!
- 1 kg fresh blackberries
- 300 g cane sugar
- 1 t.sp. cinnamon or to taste
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 4 to 6 jars and lids, depending on size (I use old jam jars)
Make sure your jars and lids are clean (a hot program in the dishwasher will do), and keep them in the sink in hot water until you use them. Combine the blackberries and the sugar and leave to stand for 20 minutes or so until the juices start to come free. Add cinnamon and lemon juice, and put on a low fire and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, and let boil for about 5 minutes. Put the compote in clean jars and seal. Put jars upside down for about 10 minutes. Turn right side up again and leave to cool down. Done! Makes about 4 to 5 jars, that you can keep for a long time outside the fridge (but once open keep in the fridge). Enjoy!
PS If you’re wondering what Pim has on his head — it’s a helmet my dad wears to protect his eyes when he’s using his sawing machine. Pim found it in the workshop and wore it the entire vacation!
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Win! 100 CAN dollar gift certificate to Clara de Paris
As a follow up to the post about my beloved slowcooker here is my current favourite recipe. Unfortunately, my kids don’t like it but its perfect for a late Friday night dinner with a glass of wine when the kids are tucked up in bed.
- 2Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, in 1cm squares
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 Tbsp grated root ginger
- 2-4 tsp curry powder
- 2-3 tsp ground cumin
- 400g golden kumara (sweet potato)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 x 400g can tomatoes
- 1/2 cup cooking liquid from chickpeas, or water
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
- about 200g baby spinach
- chopped fresh corianer, for garnish
Turn the slow cooker on to HIGH and coat with non-stick spray. Mix the first six ingredients together in a non-stick frypan and heat until the onion is transparent, then tip everything into the slow cooker bowl. Peel and slice small kumara or cut large ones lenthwise before slicing them. Add to the slow cooker with the next four ingredients.
Put the lid on and cook on HIGH for about 4 hours, or on LOW for 6-8 hours, or until the kumara is soft. At this stage, stir in the garam masala, and add enough salt to bring out the flavour, About 5 minutes before serving, stir the baby spinach leaves into the hot mixture, since they wilt and soften almost immediately.
Serve in bowls, sprinkled with chopped coriander and with crusty bread alongside or serve on brown or white rice if you want the mixture to go further.
I love the way everyone who visits Paris regularly has a favourite café, bar or restaurant. Kind of makes you feel a little bit local, doesn’t it? (I do the same when I visit London or New York).
In Courtney’s case, it is the Rose Bakery. And for a very good reason: the breakfast. In Paris it is actually very hard to find a good breakfast: Croissant and café are still the staple diet. Porridge, muesli or yogurt and fruit salad have not taken off over here… and that is were the Rose Bakery comes in. It is owned by an English Lady (called Rose, of course) and offers all the lovely alternatives to the French breakfasts. Turns out sometimes the English do do some food better than then the French.
Last Sunday I was having a lovely brunch there with a girlfriend and discovered the Rose Bakery has a cook book called Breakfast, Lunch and Tea, with all the best recipes from the café. It has been travelling with me on our little road trip around France and I have been cooking up a storm!
I had never given Hello Kitty a second thought… until one day, shortly before my daughter’s third birthday, she announced at the dinner table that her favourite colour was pink and she loved Hello Kitty! I nearly did a double take! Could she really be announcing a new obsession with pink?!! And Hello Kitty? Yes and yes.
Anyway, five months later and we’re still deep in the Hello Kitty phase. So I was pretty excited when I found these cute Hello Kitty SIGG water bottles. My daughter needs a water bottle for her lunchbox, and this could not be more perfect. I found them at AlexandAlexa, who have a great selection of fun back-to-school supplies. Have you seen their Lego lunch boxes and water bottles? Fun!
Eton Mess must be the most perfect English summer dessert! Especially as it is soo easy to throw together and almost impossible to get wrong.
All you need are meringues, whipped cream, sugar and some fruit (I have been using berries just because they are delicious right now). I have even been very lazy and have been using shop-bought meringues (Meringues seem to be quite hard work to make yourself, especially if you then end up crumbling them up into a big bowl of whipped cream, I think… but I am very happy to be corrected)!
All you need to do is whip up the cream (Esther and I made this recently for a party and I would say you should count for about 250 ml for around 6 people). After the cream is whipped, crumble in the meringues, and stir in the fruit. I would be a bit careful about not stirring too much, as it looks prettier if it has a slight marble effect, though it would taste just as good. Serve immediately before the meringue crumbles lose their crunch!
(The photo above is of Esther’s daughter, Sara, serving up a big dish of Eton mess).
My friend Sally sent me this recipe last year, and it has become a staple in our weekly dinner routine. It’s such an easy way to fill up on a plate of healthy kale, and it’s as delicious as it is easy. It’s a bit like a ceasar salad (it has that lemony, garlic dressing and crispy bread crumbs), but much healthier because of the kale.
I had forgotten about this salad for the past month while on holiday, but then I discovered a whole patch of kale in my dad’s garden last week and since then we’ve been making good use of his garden’s supply. You can find the recipe here. Let me know what you think!
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.
Our friend Vanessa Boz from the wonderful and inspirational travel blog BozAround lives in London with her husband and their two children Marcelo (6) and Amalya (3). And she’s due to have her third baby in less than two weeks!! We’re super excited to share her dinner time post with you.
I love to eat good food, but I’ve never been what you’d call a good cook. I think I’ve been too spoiled by my French-Italian mother who is such an excellent one and would put the best meals on the table in no time. Only now that I have become a mother myself do I realise the importance of mastering a few quick recipes to make the family happy. By the way, last time I asked my husband if he could cook some pasta for the children, he asked me ‘how do I do that’ (does this answer your question on whether cooking is a shared responsibility in the Boz family?!!) When my son Marcelo was born 6 years ago, I started a cookbook of my personal favourite recipes, cutting from magazines whatever seems easy and appetising, ringing my mom to walk me through some of her staples (I’ve noticed that she always omits one or two little but key-to-deliciousness ingredients. She swears she does not do it deliberately but I think it’s a typical good cook trick!!). (more…)
Josephine Murray lives in Malvern (UK) with her husband Ken and their 2-year-old daughter Kirstie. Josephine has just launched the charming kids’ webshop, rain starts play, which sells British and European clothes, toys and nursery furnishings all made as locally and ethically as possible. Here is her dinnertime story:
During the week Kirstie and I eat by ourselves because my husband gets home from work too late to eat with us. We try to eat about 6pm, any later and Ken might arrive home when we’re still there at 7pm, so he can bring new energy to what can sometimes be a bit of a battle of wills! Kirstie will not touch some foods, like rice and carrots, others she will eat one day – but not another. Our staple dinners are cauliflower cheese or fishfingers with potatoes and vegetables, sphagetti bolognaise and tomato and red lentil dhal with naan breads – which Kirstie loves even though it’s really spicy. We don’t eat puddings very often –if we do it’s icecream – but if she’s still hungry (or won’t eat her dinner) she has blueberries or a banana. (more…)
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.
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!
Melanie is a British stay-at-home mum to 2-year-old son Noah. She lives in Berlin, having relocated from Copenhagen at the end of 2011, and she shares her experiences about Berlin on her blog, Expat Mummy in Berlin. She’s also the Berlin ambassador of Luvaville.com. Here is her dinnertime story!
Noah loves food and is willing to try almost anything at least once. His favourite food is anything Italian or with good strong flavours. Noah eats his dinner around 5pm during the week. I am a stay-at-home mum so dinner is a pretty relaxed affair and I usually make something from scratch or defrost something we batch made like vegetable pasta sauce or homemade chicken fingers. Sometimes if I am feeling lazy, he will have gnocchi with pesto, olives and little cocktail sausages! We are moving towards eating less meat so Noah will have a vegetarian meal every few days with something like organic chicken or teriyaki salmon on the other days. I will join him for a snack at this time and, as my husband gets in after 6pm, we have dinner together later in the evening once Noah is asleep. As Noah gets older we will all eat together a bit later for him and a bit earlier for us. (more…)