Back in October, when there were still gorgeous looking homegrown apples around us, we could leave the kitchen windows open and walk outside bare legged, I met Margaret and Max for the first time. Together, we shot the video trailer for my cookbook.
Margaret and Max are the talented photographer duo behind Unusually Fine. Working with them was simply delightful.
I will keep wonderful memories of us all, working in my kitchen.
Of them making me feel so comfortable because of course!, I felt nervous–especially about the speaking part of the shoot.
Of us sitting around the table for an impromptu lunch between two video sessions.
Then, spending an afternoon apple picking close to where
Scene inside a café in the Blue Mountains
I should have known that when visiting Jamaica, I would love the island. I knew it when, for the first time, I saw Jamaicans’ faces. When I caught sight of their welcoming smiles. When I heard the way they spoke. I loved the melody of their accent, and the way the intonation marking their words made their voice go up at the end of each sentence. It sounded like a happy melody.
“I like how you pronounce the word “questions”“, I said one day to our local guide at Prospect Plantation in Ocho Rios. Thin and not looking his age, he liked to share deadpan jokes which were irresistibly funny.
Before October, I had never visited
Mashed Celeriac and Potato Recipe
I wish I could be here more often these days but it’s just not happening right now. We have renovation going on upstairs in our house, side projects, my parents arriving next week, and simply the business of every day life–we are all on the same boat, aren’t we? I cannot wait to be back with stories and pictures, though, so much thanks for your patience. For those of you I will meet this coming Saturday for the book signing, I am really super happy. It will be such a special moment for me.
In any case, today, I am still saying hello, with a recipe I wrote a while ago for the Boston Globe. You know how much I love celeriac.
Sample from La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life
If you have been a regular reader of this blog, you know that, about one month and a half ago, I launched the presale of my cookbook, La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life.
I recently reflected on the making of the book, realizing that I didn’t talk a lot about the process involved to complete the project. In view of this, I thought that it’d be nice to share tidbits with you today.
Such as tell you that, unlike perhaps what you might have thought, there weren’t roses all the way. Like with every life process, there were bumps and uncertainties. Delays. A lot of going back and forth. Redoing. Rewriting.
Apple galette with Chia seeds and flax
A few months ago, I met Mika, a Japanese cookbook author who had flown from Paris to work with me. Together, we were going to create the photographs for her upcoming cookbook.
I quickly understood why I had liked Mika even before meeting her. She was an energetic young woman with creative ideas and style, and for an entire week, she and I had a lot of fun in my kitchen.
And I learned.
I learned about Japanese food. I learned about new ingredients. Amongst them, Mika introduced me to Chia seeds.
“They are so good for you, and so easy to use in pretty anything you are already used to cooking,” Mika said one day while adding some to a noddle
Celeriac, red cabbage and apple tabbouleh with grapes and hazelnuts
I know that I am lucky to live in New England. I am lucky because we have gorgeous distinct seasons, and most particularly, we have pretty colors during the fall.
“Regarde maman, cet arbre est tout rouge ! ” (Look maman, this tree is all red!) Lulu exclaimed one day as she and I were driving back from school. It was impossible not to notice. She noticed. I noticed. We were feeling excited and warm inside from just looking at the display of the cheerful colors lining up the road. It looked so happy! Secretly, I wanted for this everyday scene to last for weeks. Until Thanksgiving at least, I thought.
We are actually
Snapshots of Block Island in October
It’s the story of a soup that connected us to a place and a moment. Between earth and sea.
About a month ago, Lulu, P. and his parents and I traveled to Block Island. We’d decided of the trip quickly, choosing the small island off the coast of Rhode Island as the place to meet. Together, we wanted to spend a short week to celebrate the end of summer.
We rented a lovely house on the west side of the island. On top of a hill. Overlooking the ocean. Which, as it may read, sounds like we’d found the perfect getaway.
We had. It was perfect in every meaning of the word. It was délicieusement doux et sucré.
Our days were slow in the manner
Linguini with Romanesco and scampi recipe
The snow melted within two days, leaving room to fall again. A gorgeously sunny one on top.
We were glad that we’d only had a tease of winter. We were not ready. I was not ready to leave some of my favorite vegetables and salads behind. In fact, despite the fact that we are between seasons and soon enough homegrown vegetables will become scarce, these days, I am really inspired to cook.
See? I’ve been really busy making things in the kitchen. Trying new things. Revisiting old ones. And loving every piece of it. Here are a few snapshots from what happened.
Today I even found Romanesco.
I could not help but let a few words of excitement
Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe
I took these pictures right before it snowed.
Not only a little touch of snow.
But enough to cover hills and gardens and roofs and roads and make us imagine we were in the depth of winter. Enough to damage trees and deprive a lot of households from power. It came quickly. Unexpected.
When we woke up on Sunday night and opened the curtains of our bedroom, Lulu took a peek outside and exclaimed:
“Wow, maman, regarde la neige !”
Everything outside was painted white: trees, garden, roof of neighboring houses, Lulu’s bike and sandbox. It felt quiet and peaceful. Without a sound. Without a soul outside beside the adventurous squirrel
Millet with steamed spring greens and its lemon vinaigrette recipe
Often, things in life seem to happen in a series. Don’t you agree? Good or bad. It’s part of the cycle of life, and it’s funny to observe how it works.
For me these days, it’s all about books. Great ones.
Like this beautiful crafts book, called Handmade Zakka and Craft by Tuesday. All in Japanese. In its looks. In its language.
It happened quickly and spontaneously.
In the same way Jo approached and asked me to contribute to her book, Tomo Togawa in Japan asked whether I’d be willing to contribute to the book that he and his wife Chiyo, a graphic designer, were going to write. They are known
Feature of La Tartine Gourmande inside Where Women Cook Celebrate!
Back in summer last year, Jo Packham emailed me to ask whether I’d be willing to be featured inside a book she wanted to design. I liked her right away. I loved her book idea just in the same way.
Her book was going to celebrate a selection of women artists who like to cook. I loved that she asked me. I said Yes without a second of hesitation.
A year later, Jo’s book is available. It’s called Where Women Cook: Celebrate!: Extraordinary Women & Their Signature Recipes
It’s a beautiful hard-cover book with over 175 pages. With recipes and stories about these women who cook and celebrate. With amongst
La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life
I have been waiting for this moment for quite a while, and today is a big day for me. I am now holding a cookbook in my hands. My own cookbook. In fact, right now, I have boxes filled with it, ready to be shared.
And do you know what?
It feels overwhelming good.
It’s moving for me to think about the many hours I spent cooking, styling and photographing dishes, from breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts, that we ate at home. Many times! Then writing stories that go along with the recipes, bringing wonderful memories for each one of them.
So what’s happening now?
You can decide.
Sample inside La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for
Portland’s Farmer’s Market
On the third and last day of our stay in Portland, we are promised a visit to the Saturday farmer’s market. I am glowing with excitement. I’ve heard a great deal about the markets of the West Coast, and after seeing Seattle’s and San Francisco’s, I’m impatient to see a new one for myself that morning.
When I wake up, the sunlight cracking past my bedroom blinds assures that the day will be gorgeous. I can’t believe how lucky we are with the weather. It’s Oregon, people!
Holly who works for Travel Oregon is meeting us in the breakfast room. Her smile is warm, and the tone of her voice full of energy. I like her
When I get up on Friday morning, I know the day will be busy. I am excited because that morning, we are meant to go foraging, have lunch at Timberline lodge near Mt Hood National Forest, after which a visit of a distillery with its fruit orchard is planned. I feel impatient about every piece because it means that we’ll spend our time discovering the natural scenery and outdoors near Portland.
I always wanted to come to Oregon just for that.
I don’t think for too long about what to wear, and eventually decide to go for a light summer dress layered over a t-shirt that goes with my pair of gray sneakers. But minutes later, when a dark-skinned man with a shovel and a spray bottle
Mt Hood, Oregon
I wanted to love Oregon. And Portland too. I came back with more than expected. I now have new friends to visit–always lovely. Hikes to take. Road trips through the countryside to organize. And many more food experiences to have.
So I need to tell you how my latest trip to Portland in Oregon happened.
About three weeks ago, Travel Oregon invited me and a group of food and travel writers to come to Portland to experience the Oregonian food scene. They paid for everything. And although I was a guest during the entire trip, writing about Oregon and my trip was really left for me to decide.
It would have been difficult not to. I didn’t tell them with words–but
Why can I have neglected to visit Cape Cod more often? I wondered.
I didn’t expect that Cape Cod, the Cape as we Bostonians call it, would look so beautiful with its near-to empty beaches and warm September sunlight.
But it did.
I found out this last week when P., his father, Lulu and I drove to Truro near Cape Cod National Seashore where we spent five days to celebrate the end of summer. P.’s mother was supposed to come too, but an event kept her in Ireland, so eventually she could not come. For a while, we were hesitant as to whether we’d go. But in the end, we decided that the four of us would make the trip anyhow.
We didn’t regret once. As to Lulu, she was
Peach Orchard in Camargue
The memories I keep from Camargue are faint, I kept thinking as P., Lulu and I were silently driving on the highway that connects Marseilles to Arles. I found the air blowing through the window hot when it eventually landed on my skin. After getting up before the crack of dawn that morning for our cross-Channel flight from London, we were feeling tired too.
“Et en plus, c’est dimanche!” (furthermore, it’s Sunday!) I suddenly exclaimed, thinking about food. “Et demain c’est aussi férié !” (And tomorrow is a holiday too!) Which meant that every supermarket would be closed and we wouldn’t find much to buy for groceries.
“Cet endroit est tout simplement incroyable !” (This is just an incredible spot!) I tell my brother Benoit as we put our picnic basket on the black iron table near the pond.
We are standing next to a pond with willow trees, colorful wild flowers, apple and quetsches trees, raspberries and summer vegetables, and many other plants of which I don’t know the name–but I know my brother does–all looking healthy and gorgeous. There are cute chairs, benches and tables in different corners of the garden. Lots of comfortable and cozy spots for us to rest and take the time to breathe.
The gardens of the abbaye d’Autrey are enchanting.
And maybe I should
Les premiers radis du jardin
These were the first radishes I grew in my garden this year.
I loved how small and delicate they looked. How peppery they felt in the mouth. Crunchy and light.
I kept them for Lulu, knowing how much she’d enjoy les premiers radis du jardin.
It’s a small thing, and it might sound silly, but these radishes made me feel very excited. And happy. Because Lulu loved them. Because I grew them myself.
Once the crop started, they came in numbers. Every day. Most of the time, I used them in salads. But at other times, we preferred to eat them nature, or finely sliced and arranged on top of a piece of toasted bread. With butter and Fleur de sel.
I had meant to
Chilled corn soup, recipe adapted from Everyday Food
A few weeks ago, Esther who works for Martha Stewart magazines sent me an email, asking whether I’d like to receive a complementary copy of the special Everyday Food summer issue.
I’d be happy to, I said.
I love summer.
It almost went without asking. Especially since, I later found out, recipes from fellow bloggers Heidi, Aran, and Ree, were featured inside the magazine. With more goodies from New York food writer Mindy Fox.
I promised to give my feedback.
Apple and raspberry popsicles–Mango and peach popsicles
Don’t be surprised when I tell you that I wasn’t actually familiar with the magazine at all. I
Berry crumble is a serious dessert at home. I have to tell why. I sense that it will even make you feel happy.
A few weeks ago, my next door neighbor A. asked if we’d like to go blueberry picking with her.
You don’t need to twist my arm, I answered spontaneously.
She most likely didn’t know that fruit picking was one of my favorite summer things to do.
Not because I’ve gone blue berry picking often. I actually haven’t.
In Lorraine, the French region I come from, we grow myrtilles instead.
The berries–also called brimbelles–look like their American blue berry cousins but they are much smaller in size. Perhaps darker in color too. In
If you are anything like me, you are going to feel sorry to see the last strawberries of the season at the market. Every year, I wait for the first ones to arrive. I always feel sad to see them go too.
This strawberry verrine recipe is one of the desserts I served when friends came over to celebrate July 4th with us. We love it, they tell me. I had baked my own ladyfingers (gluten free too), which was undeniably a plus. It’s something I encourage you to do as well.
I thought you’d be happy that I share this verrine recipe with you. I wrote it for this week’s food column in the Boston Globe.
Enjoy preparing the dessert with sweet strawberries from your
Green peas and purple beans
“On ira chez Louisa,” (We’ll go to Louisa’s house) I told Lulu as I was trying to get her ready.
Remove her pajamas. Brush her teeth. Dress.
Such straightforward activities in the day, I’ve quickly learned, even if simple, can take a long time. Oh yes they do…
I knew I shouldn’t make an issue of it. I didn’t want to focus my attention on it, reminding myself, as to help, that many of my mum friends also say that It always takes for ever to leave the house in the morning. Our little ones are persons with strong opinions.
But hints like Garden. Louisa. Outside. Soquette the cat. I knew these would work like magic.
On Sunday morning, I woke up knowing that I had a lot inside me that I wanted to share with you.
But I also knew I wouldn’t have the time.
Truth being said, it was just too sunny and pretty outside, and right at 6 AM, I had made the plan in my head that we were going to pack a quick picnic, go for a swim somewhere not too far, nap and then play in the garden.
Still, if I had taken the time, I would ideally have told you about the pea recipes I’ve been cooking in numbers this season; the tomato and zucchini tarts I’ve baked to take on picnics; the baked apricots we keep craving and never get enough of.
I would have shown you the mulberry tart I cooked
Tian de courgettes
I have a special relationship with zucchini. Les courgettes, as we call them in French and in England. Yellow, green, round, long or oval; diced, shaved, julienned, grated or whole–I love them all under any form.
My mother always kept two or three large zucchini plants different in shape and color every summer. While she liked to comment that they took over the space in her garden, I remember mainly how excited we all felt when came July, and we could eat the first homegrown zucchini of the season.
Their taste and texture were incomparable.
We preferred to collect the zucchini young so that the vegetables would stay extremely tender. During the peak season, there
“We’ll go early,” I told my mother-in-law Patricia while she and I were tidying the kitchen after dinner.
It was a nice moment of our day, I thought, as the cool evening breathe was gently filtering in through the open window above the sink. It was perhaps eight and Lulu was fast asleep upstairs.
We’d enjoyed a dinner of curried shrimp served with spring greens and coconut rice, and a shaved fennel salad on the side.
Patricia and I were chit chatting about this and that, happy to reflect on the day.
“On va cueillir des fraises, d’accord ?” I said, laughing. I was referring to my craving to drive to a strawberry field the next day where
“I cannot believe it’s s been already four years since the first Food styling and photography event,” I told Lara who was sitting next to me. We agreed. It seems like yesterday. Although we know a lot has happened between now and then. She and I were lucky to attend all three conferences organized at Boston University so far.
Last year, I was petrified to speak at the conference.
This year, Lara is presenting a session entitled “The secret behind effective photos for food blogs “. Diane and Todd are going to speak about Video and multimedia for blogging and clients. It was lovely to meet them and Penny even if it was brief.
Meeting old and new
Cherry soup with ginger, lime and vanilla
Un…deux…trois…Whenever I start eating cherries, I cannot stop.
I am really fond of the fruit.
I love to keep a few cherry pits in my mouth while I go on with my daily activities, and I even forget about them until I decide I need to eat or drink more.
For my entire French family, cherries are really special too.
My grandparents and parents have always owned cherry trees at the back of their houses. Each spring, we enjoyed conversations to guess how good the season would turn, awaiting when the fruit would become ripe.
“Ton père est dans l’arbre entrain de cueillir des cerises,” (Your father is picking cherries
Les radis multicolores
When we woke up early on Friday with Lulu cuddled between us, the sun was already filtering through the bedroom blinds. A few robins were chirruping in the trees near our window and instantly, we knew that the day would be gorgeous. P. had the day off so we decided to go to the beach. And have a picnic.
Since our plan was rather spontaneous, I was thankful for my visit to the first farmer’s market the afternoon before.
I had come home with pretty colorful radishes, strawberries, purple spring onions and beautiful mesclun salad in my market basket. Enough to imagine a radish salad that would accompany a dish of warm black quinoa with asparagus sauce that takes
Compotée de framboises
I’ve been baking a lot of savory tarts over the last few days. Tomato. Zucchini. With lots of mixed fresh herbs from the garden. It’s the kind of food I’ve grown up eating at this time of year. It’s amongst the every-day foods I enjoy preparing the most.
So I’ve had leftovers of crust, Lulu’s favorite.
Lulu is amazingly skilled at noticing where I leave my tarts to cool. If I don’t pay attention, I find my tart standing where I’ve Ieft it a few minutes before, but minus la croûte–the edge.
I am not blaming her. I love the crunchy part of a crust. Especially when it tastes rustic and not too sweet. Like these
The rhubarb and muffin connection
The rhododendrons in front of the house are cheerful and beautiful. The sun is out and the sky is immensely blue. We waited for it and we now have it. In all of its glory.
I feel so much better!
Thank you for your kind words. The past month was quite a challenging ride! But I am back smiling in the kitchen. Thankfully.
Busy tossing flours, whipping eggs and stewing fruit. A bit of this and that. Making nutritious summery salads and vegetable tarts. Clafoutis and fruit muffins. Feeling very French in my cooking. Somehow even more.
So tell me, are you hungry too? Because I have recipes for you. Waiting.
Share and Enjoy:
At first, I didn’t know whether it would be making sense that I tell you about the last few weeks.
But then, the more I thought about it, the more I knew it would be a good idea.
The past weeks have been hard. I’ve been very ill. Like I’ve never been before.
A nasty virus that confused everyone suddenly hit me. It was a virus that made everyone believe it was something else; it was one that gave me such high fevers–I rarely have fever, on top–that one night, I ended up in the emergency room. And again the week that followed.
I lost weight. I lost my appetite. And while I was lying in bed, what was happening had me thinking. And realize even
Plum and buttermilk cake*
*I made a gluten free version of the cake
I don’t often do book reviews. It’s not that I don’t like it. Quite the contrary. I love cookbooks. As you’ll probably have guessed….
Whenever I walk inside a bookstore, the travel and food sections are the ones where I spend long stretches of time. Typically, I find a spot in a corner where I sit on the floor and make myself comfortable. In front of me, there’s a pile of cookbooks. With travel books. I flip through the pages in search of beautiful photographs of food and places to visit. I wish for inspiration. Most of the time, I find it. And I leave refreshed and energized with new ideas.
I was about to let you know about Heidi’s new beautiful cookbook–I know you all know of it already–and then I received two emails this morning from a Saveur‘s editor, notifying me that La Tartine Gourmande was nominated in two categories in their 2011 Best Food Blog Awards:
Best Food Photo (Follow the link here)
April 1st 2011
Best Original Baking and Desserts Recipe (Follow the link here)
Spiced pumpkin pots de crème with sautéed apples and pistachios
November 2nd 2010
I am so honored!
The selection of blogs nominated is just delicious. I was so pleased to hear about new names, and rediscover old ones.
You can cast your votes
Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Watercress
Easter is around the corner. Oui ?
I have chocolate cravings.
Cravings of eggs too.
I wrote this Baked Eggs recipe for the Boston Globe, which was featured this past Wednesday, in preparation for Easter.
Enjoy, if you happen to make it.
I also wanted to let you know about the Second Food Blog Awards that Saveur Magazine is organizing.
When I bought my May 2011 print issue, I was excited to find my blog name (and a picture of one my desserts) in it–along Cez from Café Fernando, Deb from Smitten Kitchen and Lisa from Homesick Texan–as the four of us won an award in the 2010 Food Blog Awards last year.
The page announces the 2011 Food Blog
Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales
“How did you end up deciding to go to that island?” my friend R. asks. She is casually sitting on the bed next to me while I am packing our suitcases. Clothes are lying everywhere on the floor.
I must pause as I don’t actually know how to answer.
“I am not sure,” I eventually mutter. “We just need a break, you know. P.’s heard about the island from friends who went. We wanted something simple and low key. Then, I found a house with a pool. Not too expensive. And it was not too far either. So I made it happen. Voilà ! You know me, that’s how it goes.”
We wanted to see turquoise blue waters. Feel the warmth
Coucou everyone, I am back! It’s amazing how quickly things pile up when one is away. Do you find this too?
While I am catching up–also going through pictures and memories of our trip–I thought to quickly stop by and share with you exciting news for La Tartine Gourmande. I could not wait!
Saveur magazine has just featured an interview of La Tartine Gourmande on their Sites we Love 2011 page.
The full interview can be read here.
Un grand merci ! To the editor. For your readership. It’s a real honor!
In the meantime, this is a sneak peek of one of the fabulous places we visited.
Je reviens très vite…
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Healthy Nut Snack
In a few days, I am going to do one of my favorite things.
Travel. Embrace a new culture. Discovery new places. And taste local foods.
Whenever that happens, I never leave without bringing food with me. Just a little something. I know! It’s a habit. I cannot help it.
No one complains, mind you.
Last March, it’s the lovely island of Tortola that Lulu, my parents-in-law, P. and I visited. We enjoyed a week filled with rest, play and wondrous foods. One that included discovering colorful local fish. I am still thinking about these parrot fish…
It’s exactly what we need at this time of the year too. It’s what we look forward to.
For our trip,
“I am so inspired by my visits to the farm,” I told my father on the phone.
Without seeing his face, I could feel he was finding my words amusing.
My father grew up on a farm with tractors, cows and horses. And I grew up following my grandmother in the large garden she kept at the back of the house, to see the chicken and rabbits, and fetch salad, saucissons and pâtés whenever we stayed over for dinner. The best I’ve ever eaten to this day.
“Comment cela ?” (How so?) he asked. “Tu n’as qu’à venir nous voir!” (Come and visit us!)
“Bientôt,” (soon) I responded. I’d just uttered the words that already I felt