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!
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…)
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…)
Now that I’m in my second trimester of pregnancy, I find myself all of a sudden ravenously hungry. My blood sugar drops and if I don’t have a healthy snack nearby I get really dizzy and disoriented. No fun! I’ve been aiming to make one healthful salad at the beginning of the week that I can load up with veggies and feel good about eating throughout my day.
This week I made a Sesame Kale Chilled Soba Noodle Salad that my whole family loves (I’ve had to make a few batches of it!). It’s crunchy and refreshing and, best of all, easy to make!
- 8 oz. soba noodles (or rice noodles if gluten free) 1 bunch of lacinato kale, deribbed and chopped
- 3 large carrots 1 cup edamame (cooked and shelled) 1 bunch scallion (about 6) , chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds A squeeze of lime
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or shoyu)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar 1.5 tablespoons sesame oil 1 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon minced ginger
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook noodles. Drain and toss with a drizzle of cooking oil so that they don’t stick together. Chill in refrigerator. Peel the carrots. Shave with a peeler or mandolin and set aside. Whisk together sauce ingredients. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chopped kale, cook for about 1-2 minutes (tossing it as you go – bringing wilted leaves from the bottom to the top). Add edamame and scallions. Cook, stirring, for about 30 more seconds.
Pour in the dressing, noodles, shaved carrots, and sesame seeds. Toss together. (If your skillet isn’t large enough for this, transfer to a large bowl). Squeeze lime on top. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Marika is a friend of mine who lives in London. She lives in a gorgeous home with the most beautiful and well-planned kitchen (I totally copied her kitchen when doing ours up a couple years ago!). She is also one of the best and most devoted mama chefs I know. Every night she serves her family a home-cooked, well-rounded, delicious meal. Majorly impressive! I’m excited to share her dinner story with you…
Sometimes it seems like my whole life is centred around food. Between blogging about my cooking endeavours, feeding family and friends and going out to eat, all I seem to do is cook and eat! It is no surprise therefore that I take my kids and their eating very seriously too! Although my husband and the girls love to bake I am completely in charge of the cooking in my house which makes my life much easier to organise!
I tend to do a lot of the cooking for the week on a Monday. I always spend the day with my mum so she helps me out with the food shopping, the prep and also the clean-up which is amazing and having a day put aside once a week to be with her is a real treat for both of us! We usually make a soup, roast some vegetables, I will have something marinating and I would have usually baked something too. I seem to have a bit of an open door policy at my house and there is a contestant stream of people needing to be fed and knowing that would I like to live that way I built a big kitchen and bought a huge cooker! Often I have all six burners going at once! (more…)
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
- 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!)
Lindsey is our very cute friend from London and the brilliant mind behind the stylish Urban Mums blog, where she shares her favourite finds in the city. She lives in St John’s Wood with her kids Isobel (6), Oliver (4) and her husband Alan. And she’s currently pregnant with baby number 3 due this summer! Here is her dinnertime story.
Oh, dinnertime. Sometimes it goes surprisingly well and other times I am at my wit’s end. I do enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, but I really dread the evenings when I’m coaxing my children to stay in their seats and finish their food!
We eat around 6 during the week, so the kids and I usually eat dinner before my husband returns from work. This means I cook during the week, and my husband cooks more on the weekend. We don’t do separate meals, so whatever we’re eating, the kids are eating, even if it means making a few modifications (i.e. taming spices, swapping an ingredient, etc). I try to make them at least try something before I give up and make them a sandwich!
When it’s sunny outside, we go to the park or zoo straight after school and play with friends until 5 or so. Then it’s a rush home to prepare a quick dinner. My go-to meal on those days is usually homemade macaroni and cheese (simplest cheese sauce ever — it’s usually done before the pasta is finished boiling), and some steamed veggies (sometimes a salad for me, too). If I’m really on top of my game during the week (and 90% of the time this is NOT the case!), I prep before the last school pick-up, so the final stages of dinner will take little time to throw together. (more…)
Today is my first post here at Babyccino. I am so excited about being part of this amazing blog which I have followed for as long as I can remember. I want to thank Esther, Courtney and Emilie for thinking of me, and also to say hello to the other contributors! This is going to be so much fun!!!! So, for my first post I would like to share the project we had going on in our house a while ago. We decided to do some muffins, perfect for a picnic and for this time of the year.
My son and I love doing the weekend cooking together but this time, I prepared some crafts for him, so while I was cooking, he was crafting. I got inspired by Ratatouille, the lovely movie full of mice, and I found this perfect template here.
Here are the ingredients for both cooking and crafting:
For the muffins:
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup corn flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
7 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, divided
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
For the mice:
Felt, wiggly eyes, yarn or similar for the moustaches, Pipe cleaner
First peel the leeks and cut them into small pieces. Grate the cheddar cheese.
Preheat the oven to 190º C.
Sift all the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a small bowl mix the wet ingredients: the eggs lightly beaten, the melted butter, the honey and the buttermilk. Beat together, make a well in the dry ingredients and incorporate the wet ingredients. Stir until smooth. Stir in the cheese and 1 cup leeks.. Top each muffin with a few of the remaining leek rings and a spoonful of the remaining melted butter.
While this is happening, Nico is doing the mouse, very concentrated in his task.
The muffins are ready to bake. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin with baking papers, I used colour ones. Then fill each about three quarters full. Heat in the oven for around 25 minutes or until tops begin to brown.
I can say we had a lovely morning. The muffins are delicious, even cold, and they make great food for going out. And the mice make great gifts. Nico gave all of them away in the same moment!
Sarah Adams is an American artist living in London who focuses her work on family portrait paintings. I recently had the pleasure of seeing her amazing work last month at her exhibition on ‘Family Dinners’ in Covent Garden. I was intrigued by her interest in family dinnertime (which quite perfectly matches our recent dinnertime series) and really liked the honesty of her paintings — she captures what dinnertime is really like for most families (see painting below — don’t you completely empathise with the emotions of that mother?!). Sarah is happy to commission her work if you’re interested in having your dinnertime captured. She also paints other scenarios (I’m hoping to commission a painting of my children on the beach! More about that later!) Visit her website for more details on commissioning a painting of your own. And here is her dinnertime story:
During the normal working week, dinnertime in our house signals the beginning to the bedtime routine – first dinner, then bath, then stories, then bed. It has never been that whimsical moment where everyone sits down together to enjoy each other’s company at the end of the day, smiling and passing bread.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve attempted to document our dinnertime experiences because I was confused to why it was not the idyllic episode my mum friends were claiming to have – ‘oh my daughter eats everything.’ ‘I make it fresh every night.’ I find it discouraging when you spend a lot of time preparing food that is not going to be eaten by a child who is going through a ‘beige phase’ – pasta, cereal, hummus, bread. In the recent past, dinnertime has been a chore. (more…)
Lara Soetekouw is Italian and lives in Fulham (London, UK) together with her three kids Giacomo (8), Livia (6) and Giulia (4), and her Dutch husband Arjen. She’s the owner of the brilliant online boutique Big Blue Cuddle, where at least 15% of the profits is directly donated to a charity — that’s shopping for a good cause! Here is her dinnertime story.
My husband and I both love food. We love shopping for it, we love cooking it and we love eating it. So naturally we try to instil the same love in our children. Consequently, our son (8) and 2 daughters (6 and almost 4), are dragged to markets and shops, are often happy to help out in the kitchen and are encouraged to at least taste everything we put in front of them.
I try to be adventurous in what I cook for them and give them a lot of variety. I dream of making them stir fry noodles, meet stews with fruit (e.g. pork with prunes), fish cakes, risotti and minestrone, and I do, but the reality is that last night’s leftovers, pasta al pesto and just-about-anything-with-hummus are big favourites! Especially during our hectic week.The kids take turns setting the table and every single meal ends with a piece of fruit and often a yogurt. The biggest challenge is to make them stay at the table until everybody has finished, particularly as we have both the quickest and the slowest eaters in the universe in the same family.
We have adopted the English schedule of feeding the kids around 5:30 (ridiculously early for Italian standards. “That’s snack time!” my friends tease me) and of having a quiet and civilised grown-up dinner for the 2 of us around 8pm when the kids are tucked in bed. My husband gets home from work only in time to read them a short story and kiss the children good night, if he’s lucky, but we take turns cooking our dinner (lucky me!).
On Sunday evenings, we all have an early dinner together and I have no doubt that soon we’ll start doing that more often. Though I must say that I really enjoy our quiet and civilised tête-à-tête, even if sometimes it means I have cooked 2 meals in one evening! On week-ends, I finally have the opportunity to experiment and involve the children in the cooking. I have now trained the 3 of them so well they can make simple fresh homemade pasta, such as tagliatelle or dinosaurs (using cookie cutters), almost without my help! I try to cook big portions so that there will be leftovers to serve during the week. During the Easter holidays, for example, we made falafels. I rejoiced at the idea of the children eating more pulses, and they had fun shaping them and rolling them in sesame seeds. I also made a leg of lamb, some couscous (full of raisins, which they adore) and okra beans, then the whole gorgeous meal was greeted at the table by a chorus of “I don’t liiiiiiike it!”.
Pasta con le zucchine (Pasta with courgettes):
A super simple recipe for don’t-have-time-to-cook evenings
- Cut 1 or 2 zucchini/courgette into cubes
- Add to a large pan of boiling salted water
- Boil for about 5 minutes than add the pasta to the same water
- When the pasta is cooked, drain everything and dress it with plenty of butter and parmesan cheese (and pepper for grown ups)
- Serve immediately
The zucchini/courgette will fall apart and become like a cream. How long you need to cook them before adding the pasta depends on how big you’ve cut them. Even with the courgettes way overcooked it is nice, so don’t worry too much about it. This has been a big favourite in our family, for both children and grown-ups, for generations.
Laura Marsden lives in Hatfield (UK) together with her husband Nick and her 3-year-old daughter Scarlett. Laura designs unique lifestyle accessories, all handmade and gorgeous (for kids’ rooms as much as for adult interiors), which she sells in her sweet boutique Lettie Belle. Here is her dinnertime story!
Food plays a big part in our family life, but having a 3-year -old means we don’t always experience meal times together. During the week, my husband usually gets home from work between 7-8pm. This is too late for dinner as a family, but he usually does story time. I sit with Scarlett at the table in the kitchen/diner while she eats dinner at around 5pm. She has a very healthy appetite, and snacks on fruit, nuts and raisins during the day (as well as odd treats). By dinner time she can be quite tired, so although she will sit down, it can take a long time for her to finish!
Luckily Scarlett will try anything and loves strong flavours. She prefers a choice of foods on her plate, rather than a one-pot dish. So, typically she will have pasta or chicken/fish/omelette with two types of vegetables such as home-made potato/butternut squash wedges, peas and she has cucumber batons with every meal! Some fruit, yoghurt or a lolly finish off her dinner with something sweet. We have recently gone through a phase of lolly-obsession, which made dinner rather prolonged! Scarlett loves to pick herbs from the garden to put on her dinner, and her Grandparents have a big vegetable/fruit patch so she has a good understanding of where some food comes from. (more…)
This recipe comes from an interior magazine I had a peek at in the dressing room of my Pilates class. I snatched a photo of the recipe with my phone, and tried it for breakfast this past weekend. It was yummy, and so easy to make! In the magazine they were called drop scones, but they reminded me more of blinis. Maxi blinis, that is.
Here’s the recipe:
- 125 self-raising flour
- salt, freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs, separated
- 150 ml milk
Put flour and a little seasoning in a bowl, and drop in the egg yolks. Add a little milk and whisk, gradually pouring in the remaining milk to make a paste. Whisk egg whites until peaking, and gently fold in paste to form a batter. Heat a thin foil of oil in a frying pan. Take a spoonful of batter and drop in the pan so it spreads to about 8cm in diameter. I could fry 3 scones at the same time in my frying pan, of course it depends on the size of your pan how many you can fit in at the same time. When golden flip over and cook for another minute or so. Keep warm while you prepare the rest (this recipe made me 10 scones).
For the topping, mix crème fraîche with fresh parsley and chives (chopped), and a bit of black pepper. Serve the scones with the crème fraîche, smoked salmon, and a squeeze of lemon.
Jordan Ferney from Oh Happy Day is one of the most creative people we know. Her blog is super inspiring, and we love her adventurous nature — she recently spent a year living in Paris with her husband, Paul (an artist), and their two cute boys Moses and Roman. Here is her dinnertime story!
My husband Paul and I both work and we both share the childcare responsibilities. I do the menu planning and a big grocery trip once a week while he does the small trips through out the week. Our dinnertime happens about 7pm. Paul cooks dinner most of the time. But I do the prep work for dinner in the morning after breakfast. I hate that feeling late in the day of having to prepare dinner but you don’t have any food or ideas. So I eliminate it by preparing food in the morning. Then Paul just has to throw it together.
My kids are still small (2 and 4) but we try to all sit down for dinner together in the dining room. We don’t have any real rules but the kids have to at least try the main course to be polite. There are certain vegetables my kids love like fresh peas and haricot verts so we usually have a side of those and then make sure there is some sort of protein. One of the best things about France is the bread and cheese so we have a baguette and cheese with our dinner most nights. About once a week we do green smoothies. Our kids love them and it’s our last resort for getting vitamins in our kids when they are feeling picky. (Basic recipe is: 2 bananas, 1 cup of orange juice, ice, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, and two giant handfulls of baby green spinach and water as needed to blend.) Since we moved to France we don’t do take out very often but we do have regular easy meals like one night a week where we buy a rotisserie from our local butcher. And when the weather is nice we grab a pizza on Fridays and go to the park across the street from our house for a picnic. Besides that we eat lots of soups and bean and vegetable salads. I’m really inspired by 101 Cookbooks and Ottolenghi Cookbooks. I usually prepare a salad in the morning then we eat it for lunch or as a side dish for dinner. My favorite salad is this lentil salad. I make it 2-3 times a week. It’s so good, simple and fresh.
Zoe Grant studied Creative Arts at Birmingham University, and loves creating and designing and has a passion for prints and patterns. She, her husband Drew and their five (!) children (Connor (13), Jack (12), Lucy (11), Amber (9) and Kitty(5)) all live in a little village in Suffolk, UK. We’re so impressed that Zoe still finds time to write her blog Zoe & Drew! Here is her dinnertime story.
Dinnertimes for me, in our house are the most important time of the day. It is the time when we all catch up on each others days and also helps my children to take turns in conversations. With five children life can be incredibly chaotic, especially during the week with Brownies, Guides, orchestra practices and sports matches. However apart from Tuesdays we manage to eat as a family everyday, with the occasional exception. We eat between 6 and 6.30pm everyday, which may seem a little late as our youngest is only five but with a healthy snack after school to stop the tummy rumbles, Kitty is more than happy to wait to eat all together. (more…)