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8 things to do to feel like it’s summer in Provence

By on September 7, 2015

Last day before back to school? Let’s talk about vacations…. I am all emotional that my baby is going to SK so let’s change the conversation, right?

As the summer is wrapping up, I want to enjoy the last bit of sun on my skin, a few more outdoor meals but most of all, keep that warmth in my heart that I brought back from France.

We went to the South, in Provence, for 2 weeks and it was hot, relaxing and full of love. The children enjoyed every little bit of their trip. French vacations for the win!
Summer in Provence 1 – Eat like every day is your last day: To a certain extend… Stay healthy and moderate. BUT do not think that certain things are to be eaten or drunk on special occasion. TODAY is special! We were in France with our family, it was amazing. Needless to say that (cough) our pants shrank under the sun!  But we ENJOYED!

2 – Eat local, fresh and seasonal: Fresh strawberries from the garden for breakfast? YES! Biting in a juicy tomato in the garden? YES! It is tastier and kids snaked on beautiful crops. Enough said.

3 –  Have an apéritif: See #1, today is special, have a nice glass of wine with your loved one, a fresh beer. Stay safe, don’t drive. Cheering to awesome vacations! Santé! Special recommendation: Pineau des Charentes, Pastis. Ma favs.

Summer in Provence

4 – Sit back and relax: Watch the kids playing, feel the breeze and do nothing. Don’t think about chores, bills and work. Gone! Chill, you need it! I know it’s hard to apply, I do try my best though to just unplug.

5 – Break the kid’s routine: It’s okay to put your kids to bed later than usual. Hopefully, they’ll sleep later the next morning. Mine do.  Routine is important but letting things go feels good sometimes.

Summer in Provence

6 – Sit together at the table: it is a family moment that French are serious about!  Eat together, talk and share about your day, your friends.  I’m very particular about that one, we do have picnic dinner in front of the television once in a while, but it is rare.

7 – Drive around, get lost and admire:  Although I spent 22 years in Provence, I surprise myself taking so many pictures of places I would hang out on a daily basis when I was a student.  We are so blind.  Take a minute and enjoy that beautiful sunset in your neighbourhood. Nature’s beauty is all around.

Provence

8 – KISS and French KISS! Of course, kiss your loved ones, French kiss your better half. “La bise” (a kiss on each cheek to say bonjour) is a cultural feature I brought with me.

Each time I leave my family, it’s hard… and sad.  I wish my babies would see their French Mamie and Papy more often.  I am so proud of those kiddos that keep talking about France on a daily basis without me mentioning it.  They also have 2 uncles and an aunt that they created souvenir with.

LOVE is powerful, love is stronger than the kilometers that separate us.

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Desserts and cookies | Meatless

Chestnut cake

By on March 30, 2015

Chestnut cake or Ardéchois is An amazing recipe that will surprise your guests.  It is easy and will hit the spot at craving-o-clock, what do you think?

I say YES!  I take my coffee black to go with it.

I have been making this recipe for about at least 20  years.  And I am sharing it just now.  I know, I am sorry, you’ll be even more mad at me after you tried it.  Mélanie, why are you giving it just now?  I am sorry.

Oh, I started baking young… Just in case you started crushing numbers to guess my age.

Chestnut cake

This cake is offering moisture, sweetness but not too much, just from the spread.  There is also that buttery nutty taste….

Guys, just try it.   I am torturing myself describing it and I don’t have any to bite into.  Tor-ture. Sight.

If you are not big on chestnut spread, no worries.   Give it a try regardless, chances are you will like it.  Hubby, El Cubano, did.  And other persons have too.  I love chestnut spread, they used to sell it in a tube, like a toothpaste tube but smaller.  I would eat it just like that. J. might remember our recess breaks and my snacks?  This and condensed milk.  Hi Sugar-rush!

Chestnut spread

This recipe makes me nostagic of those years, those people I  baked it for.  The taste brings me back in my parent’s kitchen in France.  I sound very sentimental but living far from your family  does that to you.  Thankfully, I found a marvellous hubby, El Cubano, and our mini-superman and mini-princess are perfect.

Now, those pumpkins are the ones I share my nostalgic recipes and create new ones.  They love it and ask for more.  It is the best reward after spending time in my apron!

Chestnut spread cake

About the Chestnust spread: I might not have seen it in every single supermarket but it is quite common in the aisle of jams and chocolate spread.  Or, you can go to France to pick some up and do your Ardéchois.

Chestnut cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 1 cake of 8 x 8

Ingredients

  • - 2 large eggs
  • - 1/2 a cup of butter
  • - 1 cup of chestnut spread
  • - 20 cl of milk
  • - 1 cup of flour
  • - 1 teaspoon of baking powder

Instructions

  1. - In a bowl, put the wet ingredients: eggs, butter previously melted, the chestnut spread and milk. Mix well.
  2. - Add progressively the flour and the baking powder, mix until smooth.
  3. - Pour the mixture in an oven dish,previously buttered if necessary.
  4. - Bake in the oven at 385F for 30-35 minutes or when the tip of your knife comes out dry when you pick your cake.
http://bonappeteat.ca/2015/03/30/chestnut-cake/

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Desserts and cookies

French Galette des rois

By on January 6, 2015

Because we don’t eat and indulge enough during the holidays, here’s an excuse for you to eat some more today, on January 6.  It’s a French tradition, la Galette des rois, or Kings’ cake, is eaten on Epiphany Day.

Galette des rois

No need to twist your arm to eat it, I promise.  It’s just amazingly good stuff.  A nicely golden puff pastry filled up with a frangipane.   Frangipane is a filling made with almond, it also has butter and sugar.  Admit it, you can’t go wrong.

La galette des rois is the reason you need to push your new year resolution to later.  How can you resist that buttery pie?

Galette des rois

Speaking of which, I am not a big believer in New Year resolutions, why do people feel like a resolution should be taken on a new year, new month or a new week? I know that there is this sense of clean slate but I kinda of think I can be on a Tuesday, 14 of the month, in March? or July? Why not?

Regardless, El Cubano decide to get healthier since he tends to be the picky eater of the house and started exercising.  So to encourage him, while he exercises downstairs, I do cardio upstairs.  The kids love it, they jump for 30 minutes.  Let’s see how long we last!

Galette des rois

Back to this Kings’s cake, I took a few pictures along the preparation.  I don’t do it ofter but I’ll try to do this more.  I do like to see it on other blogs so…

First, some little hands helped me rolling down the dough.  My Princess was too cute!  If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll recognize those little colored fingernails, just like Maman.

Galette des rois the making

Galette des rois, the making

I don’t mean to put the fault on my daughter (kinda :)), I meant to make nice decoration, French bakery like but she kept call me and grabing my arm.  Doesn’t matter, this did not alter the taste!

She’s been my little assistant lately and quality controller!

galette des rois the making

Please do join this French tradition!   Normally, in France, a mini charm would be hidden in the filling and the person getting it (without breaking a tooth) would be king or queen for the day.

How wonderful are we, French people? 🙂

 

French Galette des rois

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8 small pies

Serving Size: 5 inches diameter

Ingredients

  • - 400g of puff pastry
  • - 1 cup of butter
  • - 1/4 of a cup of brown sugar
  • - 1/4 of a cup of white sugar
  • - 1 and 1/4 cup of ground of almond
  • - 2 eggs
  • - 1 egg yolk for the dough.
  • -

Instructions

  1. - Roll down the puff pastries and make 5'' circles (I used a bowl), You should be to make 16 circles for 8 small pies.
  2. - In a pot, melt the butter.
  3. - In a bowl, put the sugars, the ground almond and mix. Pour the melted butter on it and whisk.
  4. - Add the eggs one by one. You now have your frangipane.
  5. - On 8 dough-circle, pour some frangipane, equally on all the dough.
  6. - Cover the 8 pies with the other 8 circles you had left. Using a fork, press the borders to seal the pies.
  7. - Take your egg yolk and with a brush, spread some of all the tops of the pies.
  8. - Place in the oven at 380F for 20 minutes.

Notes

I used a whole box of puff pastry of Tenderflake for this recipe (http://www.tenderflake.ca/en/Products/Tenderflake/Pages/PuffPastry.aspx)

http://bonappeteat.ca/2015/01/06/french-galette-des-rois/

Galette des rois

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Desserts and cookies | Finger food

French Madeleines

By on December 30, 2014

French Madeleines? Say no more.  It’s French so it’s good, right?  Well, I’m might be biased. But I made it so it’s good!  How about that? And I’m French! Hehe, and quite modest, I may add.

French Madeleines

Although I have been living in Canada for 8 years, I still ask my parents to bring me several French products.  The very first years, the list was long and their suitcases heavy, it was anything from food to my favorite product to remove my make up or a deodorant.  Now, the list is way shorter and revolves mostly around food.

Don’t you love having something that comes from home?  I know that there are things I can find here, but it’s just not the same.  When you are an expat, products from your home country are always ”better”, just because.

French Madeleines

As you might have understood, madeleines were a good that used to be personally imported.  Special request for my breakfast.  In France, it’s also sold in a ”finger” shape, oh-my-god, the perfect shape for dunking!  That’s a little pleasure of life that warms up my heart and makes me feel like I am having a coffee in my Dad’s house with him and my not-so-little-anymore brother.  Yeah, because he is like taller than me and quite stronger too.  Still has been somehow, even though he is 13 years younger than me!

French Madeleines

About those madeleines…  Where shall I start from?  The perfect buttery taste that warms up your mouth?  Or the simplicity of the recipe?  Really, have some butter out of the fridge for an hour or so, so it’s easy to work with.

I got this recipe from my mom, she did it at school (she works in a school) and I have to give the credit to Bénédicte for the recipe that I have adapted.  I reduced the butter and the sugar a little.  Also, I choose to flavor it with some vanilla extract.

Easy and quick?  Yes m’dame!  Just a bowl and elbow grease, although you can use your electric hand mixer but don’t be lazy, it’s fast enough that you won’t need it.  Make sure your oven is preheated while your prepare the madeleines mix and there you have it.  Perfect French Madeleines!

French Madeleines

See, Little Princess had enough of my talking to convince you there are super tasty, she just grabbed it while I was taking a picture.  She is a 2-year-old-opportunist like that! 🙂

What is your little weakness that reminds you of home? Even if home is around the corner.

French Madeleines

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Serving Size: 18 madeleines

Ingredients

  • - 1 cup of soft butter
  • - 3/4 of a cup of sugar
  • - 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • - 2 eggs, medium size
  • - 1 cup of flour

Instructions

  1. - Preheat the oven at 405F.
  2. - In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar until it looks like a creamy spread. Add the vanilla, mix some more.
  3. - Incorporate one egg and then the other. Mix well.
  4. - Sift the flour and mix until there are no lumps.
  5. - Put one tablespoon of the mixture in each madeleine mold and place in the oven at 405F for 9 minutes or until slightly golden.
http://bonappeteat.ca/2014/12/30/french-madeleines/


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Finger food | Meat and fish | Meatless

French savory spinach Crêpes

By on October 15, 2014

Hellooo!  Today, I’m talking about a recipe inspired by my French culture and it’s awesome!  What’s so great about that recipe?  So many things!
– Kids and adults love it.
– Meat lovers and vegetarian eat it.
– You get to eat your green.
– It’s perfect for dinner and makes a great lunch for school or work.

french savory spinach crepe

 Saying it’s inspired by my French culture is not totally right nor fair… to my son!  My little superhero loves to watch Popeye and  asks me regularly to buy spinach at the grocery store. I know, I am a super lucky mom as not all the kids asks for spinach, broccoli and green beans at the store.

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