Gougères - French Cheese Puffs

Gougères – French Cheese Puffs

Gougères are classic French cheese puffs made with choux pastry and grated cheese (Gruyère / Comté). French they may be but it was in Russia that I really took a liking to them.

I blame it on the French bakery Volkonsky‘s, which was in dangerous proximity to Katya’s Moscow appt. A small bakery / café selling delicious pastries, sandwiches, breads and coffee not to mention gougères.

It was a lesson in how something so innocent can be so addictive … I could have eaten them by the handful.

In memory of  Volkonsky’s gougères, here is  my recipe (see link Gougères below):

Gougères Cheese Puffs

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rotterdam

My NEW Dutch FOOD ADDICTION….  

ROAD TRIP – ok that’s not 100% true as I took a plane, so it’s PLANE trip…  and that just doesn’t have the same ring now does it. Oh well.  

Point being, I went to visit my brother in Holland this past weekend. Didn’t really know what to expect – outside the lovely architecture, Dutch paintings & Amsterdam’s claims to fame (wacky tabcky & the dancing shows…) But I was really there to see him so the rest was just details.  

Despite being warned that Holland was not one of the top 10 ten gastronomic heavens of this world,  (there was mention of much frying, mayonnaise & starchy carbs ), I still managed to followed my stomach around like a blood hound on the scent…

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 sp-olive-basket

***NEWS: OLIVE PICKING IN PROVENCE***

We escaped the city this past weekend for a little sun & olive picking. Despite a very trying train journey… apparently booking a ticket does not automatically include a seat…. and the fact that it poured rain all of Saturday (hail was an added bonus!), we still managed to get in some quality olive picking.

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sp-roasted-chestnuts

***NEWS : ROASTED CHESTNUTS (MARRONI)***

The appearance of roasted chestnuts, or marroni as they are called here, is the sign that Autumn has arrived in Switzerland. Dotted around the city of Geneva, are little wooden huts with steaming cauldrons of roasting chestnuts, wafting their sweet nutty scent into the cold air.

This is a popular snack, which draws passersby into the lines of anxiously waiting people, for a paper cone of these toasty warm nuggets.

When I enquired about how they were made, the lady told me it was simple:

  • Ingredients = chestnuts!
  • They are normally from the chestnut-growing region of Ticino in the Italian part of Switzerland
  • Directions :cut a small slit in the shell for the steam pressure to be released & pile them into a cauldron. Cook at 100°C for 25 mins
  • Eat while warm

NOTE : The slit in the shell is particularly important, otherwise imagine popcorn, but on a larger scale!! When I was a little girl, I found this out the hard way, after placing a tray of perfectly plum chestnuts into the oven, only to have them exploding half an hour later. Needless to say I learned my lesson.

The taste of roasted chestnuts is tender and rather sweet. It gives you a warm and comforting feeling like being curled up in a thick blanket. So the next time you are strolling around Geneva or another Swiss city, from September through to December, I highly recommend treating yourself to few.

 

EL OLIVIO Restaurant, Deia

24 September 2008

LA RESIDENCIA HOTEL – El Olivio

***Restaurant Recommendation***

I am physically back from my honeymoon, but I fear my heart & soul are still sitting on the sunny balcony of our room at La Residencia, a lovely hotel in Mallorca’s hillside village – Deia.

The trip from start to finish was perfect, lovely accommodation, impeccable service, breath taking views, the sea, lush hills and a little stone village. Then there was relaxing by the pool, a day at the spa, yoga classes, various day trips to local towns & cities including Palma – a general return to earth after the bussling busy weeks leading up to the wedding.

However as this is a food blog, and for those of you who have been reading along – there may be the occasional story, a trip down memory lane or a brief wander off the beaten track…. however I always find my way back to the essential – my stomach. And I tell you nothing was to prepare me for the pièce de résistance of culinary delights that was awaiting us on this island at the El Olivio RESTAURANT….

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El Olivio continued

Pierre Hermé

12 June 2008

PIERRE HERMEP is for perfect and H is for heavenly : sweet delights, from cakes to pastries, chocolates, sweets, tarts, deserts, petits fours, sorbets and macarons!

Pierre Hermé is an artist – an artist of pastry making. Born in Colmar, Alsace, to a family of three generations of baking & pastry making, he began his apprenticeship at Gaston Lenôtre at the age of 14. It was here that he discovered his passion for pastry making. After many years of experience, he opened his 1st boutique in 1998 at the Otani Hotel in Tokyo. It was only in 2002 that he came back to his roots and opened his Parisian store, which I had the pleasure of visiting.

But I am getting ahead of myself, and a story is told best from the beginning!! This past weekend my fiancé whisked me off to Paris for a romantic trip for two….. Knowing my passion for the culinary arts, & the need for inspiration for our forthcoming wedding cake, he had sweetly included a few surprise visits along the way.

As we strolled through the streets, there was no shortage of eye candy…. So when we arrived in the 6ème arrondissement, at Pierre Hermé’s small patisserie on rue Bonaparte, I was intrigued but not overwhelmed. Perhaps the fact that you had to wait outside to then squeeze into the shop, should have been an indication…. but as they say the proof is in the pudding, we had yet to taste.

STORY CONTINUED

SPRING IN PROVENCE

15 May 2008

Provence cherries

{LE PRINTEMS EN PROVENCE} Spring is finally here, and with that my 1st visit of the season to Provence. You can really see the difference in climate as you drive further south – the first thing I noticed was how many leaves were already out on the grapevines. And how the cherries on our cherry trees blossomed literally overnight, turning lovely shades of rosy pink, red and yellow !!! 

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Yogurt La Chaumière Verbier

I was in Verbier skiing this past weekend – and as a foodies and bonne vivante, my trip would not have been complete without the ever wonderful, and not to be rushed delicatessen, bakery, and fromagerie tour. In my travels I came across a crèmerie located at the centre of town in a little chalet style shop called La Chaumière. It is here that they sell traditional regional delicacies including breads, caramels, jams / preserves, a wide selection of cheeses and a variety of national & international wines to accompany them.

DETAILS