paris: for the sweet tooth

31 May 2014

Continuing on a sugar high from that clafouti, Paris is famous for its beautiful and high quality patisseries. We had time for two pit-stops (on two separate days, thank goodness) at our favourite places for sweet treats - Angelina and Pierre Hermé.

Although we've gone on a previous trip to the actual café of Angelina, this time we happened to pass by a little shop branch, so we popped in to grab one of their iconic Mont Blanc cakes for E, and a couple of macarons (pistachio and vanilla) for me. The shop itself has that luxurious, Parisian feel, and of course their creations are always incredible.

E is currently immersed in mastering the art of macaron making at home, so getting some macarons at Pierre Hermé was a must, for his "research". I agreed to come along out of duty, of course. Definitely not because I will take any excuse for more macarons...

There was a small queue outside the boutique that we went to, not surprisingly as his cakes and chocolates and pretty much everything else are hailed as the best of the best. We didn't have to wait too long, and once inside the (small and a bit cramped) shop, we just stood gaping at the beautiful desserts on display.

We took away with us his infamous vanilla tart (absolutely incredible), and 6 of his macarons (a mixed bag of salted caramel, passionfruit and milk chocolate, pistachio, rhubarb strawberries & passionfruit), all of which were outstanding.

The tart and 6 macarons set us back just under 20 euros, which is definitely not cheap, but if you're a real foodie and a lover of artisan desserts, it's worth it as a special treat. We didn't regret a simple cent or crumb, that's for sure.

I'm sure that I'm yet to experience so many other incredible places in Paris for food like this - next time, I think I'll try and find some off-the-beaten-path places that might not be as well known but be great discoveries.

strawberry clafoutis

29 May 2014

In search for a quick, easy and portable dessert to take to our friends' house for dinner, I hopped online to a Japanese recipe site (that has fairly recently launched an English version!) for inspiration.

I wanted to make something fruity, so when I found an incredibly simple sounding recipe for Strawberry Clafouti, it was pretty much perfect.

In case you don't know what a clafoutis is, it's basically a kind of cake/flan/baked custard hybrid. It uses very little flour, but just enough so that it isn't like a full on flan/crème brûlée type of consistency.

I made a little more batter than the original recipe calls for (mainly to fill up the pan I was using, but it worked out perfectly for 2 girls and 2 hungry boys), so here's how it was done:

1 pack strawberries
5 large eggs
300ml whipping cream
150g sugar
65g whole milk
45g flour

To make:
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius.
2. Chop off the green bits of the strawberries, slice them in half.
3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, pour into a pan (any shape, mine was a 8 x 11 one), place the strawberries on top (I tried to do this in an orderly and pretty way, but the batter is very liquid-y so don't bother!).
4. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

That's it!

The most traditional version is made with cherries - which E is begging me to make next time - but I think any fruit, especially berries, works great with the recipe. It's the easiest thing to whip up for upcoming summer barbecues, so really, you have no excuse.

What's the easiest recipe you have in your arsenal that never fails you? This has definitely become one of mine.

paris: st. germain, l'avant comptoir crêpes, jardin du luxemburg

28 May 2014

One of the main reasons I love reading other blogs, and why I started my own, is that you can discover new places, experiences, books, restaurants, food, and endless other things that you may not have otherwise.

The lovely Margo writes a wonderful travel blog, and when she wrote a post about Paris and suggested the little takeaway crêperie in St. Germain, it was a no brainer. We made a beeline for this tiny little place (next to the proper L'Avant Comptoir restaurant) and grabbed two huge crêpes to go. I went for the day's special - chicken, artichoke, egg, cheese and rocket, and it was so good! For only 6 euros, it was a bargain too.

We enjoyed them in the beautiful Jardin du Luxemburg a short walk away, where there was a live band playing popular tunes and the sun shone (for most of the time!).

I highly recommend this little lunch break idea - budget friendly, very pretty and quite romantic!

streets of paris

26 May 2014

Our few days in Paris have come to an end, and it was quite a jam-packed trip with E's work and time with family and friends - nevertheless, there was still some time to do a bit of exploring and I'm excited to share some snapshots with you in the coming few posts!

I don't look at Paris through rose-coloured glasses. It's undisputedly a very special city seeped in history and romance and culture, but E (who was born there and lived there when he was young) and I both agree that we would not choose to live there. Of course it's a very personal thing, the "chemistry" you can have with a city or country, but for us it's not somewhere we could imagine making our home.

Having said that, you absolutely cannot deny that there is a stunningly unique beauty to Paris, and I can't help but fall under its spell while being its guest. And while the famous landmarks and iconic places of interest are wonderful, it's the little street corners, the chic and tasteful shop window displays, the cobblestone streets lined with glass café windows, the balconies with hanging flowerbeds, and the general stunning architecture everywhere you look - those are the things that captivate me.

p.s. I loved those beautiful photographs on display, celebrating same sex marriage made legal in France.

yauatcha lunch menu

24 May 2014

I have been eating out a little too often this month, but sometimes it happens - I'll just have to be extra good next month!

Anyway, this time was a pre-arranged one that I had promised C I would take her out for, as part her birthday present back in April. She loves Yauatcha, so I decided that trying their Taste Of Yauatcha menu might be a good gift.

It's not the most affordable restaurant a la carte, so for the amount of food you get with this menu, 29 pounds for 2 is a very good deal.

There were two each of everything, and it was all very delicious - and beautiful too!

We also shared dessert and digested with some coffee, which isn't included in the menu. I actually like this though, as it gives you an option to stay or go elsewhere for something sweet.

This gorgeous rose shaped raspberry delice with chocolate mousse and lychee something-or-other inside was deceivingly rich - but we managed to finish every crumb, obviously.

The only downside about the menu is that it's restricted to Mon-Thurs from 2-6pm, which is not a time you can be gallivanting around town if you work a 9-5 job (both C and I have non-office irregular schedule jobs so we're lucky that way). If you have a day off or are visiting London, I would highly recommend trying this out - it's a good way to see what Yauatcha is about, and feels very luxurious!