Monday, December 31, 2007

NEW YEAR 2008 - NOUVEL AN 2008

I wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR 2008!
Je vous souhaite à tous et à toutes une BONNE ANNÉE 2008!

May happiness, prosperity, joy and love be by your side!

J'espère que le bonheur, la prospérité, la joie et l'amour soit à vos côtés!

Thanks for your faithful following, precious words and much cherished visits!
Merci pour votre fidel suivi, vos gentils mots et vos
visites tant chéries!


Happy New Year To You

Happy New Year to you!
May every great new day
Bring you sweet surprises--
A happiness buffet.

Happy New Year to you,
And when the new year’s done,
May the next year be even better,
Full of pleasure, joy and fun.

~ Johanna Fuchs ~

1st & 2nd painting by Martin Ridley

Sunday, December 30, 2007


This week Samantha and Tigger at "The Tuxedo Gang Hideout" (USA) are happy to announce that they are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #134...

To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in their blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact them via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed informations.

We are poor little "babies".
You see, we were left all ALONE for five long days during the Christmas period.
Can you imagine our desperation?!
Those nasty humans found nothing better to do than to desert the apartment and give their keys to our usual kitty sitter.
She sure took good care of us, filled our stomachs and cleaned our toilet, but nothing can replace the love and attention that our masters give us...
We missed them very much.
Anyway, now they are at home with us and we are extremely happy!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

BEST OF 2007

Zorra at "Kochtopf" (Spain) and Sandra at "Un Tocco Di Zenzero" (Italy) had the great idea to create an outstanding recipe collection of foodbloggers' best recipe of 2007.

To participate, each of you has to choose his/her best and most impressive recipe of year 2007, write a little something about it and send the informations needed to either Sand
ra or Zorra (see rules)...

I must say that it was an extremely difficult task for me to make my choice and pick only one recipe within all the gorgeous ones I have posted this year. I cherish all of the recipes on my blog, because I generally only talk about the dishes I find particularly scrumptious. A real dilemma!!!

I went through this year's posts and saw so many stunning dishes that I could potentially elect for this game. My year was very much marked by various wonderful foods such as "Panettone", "Wholewheat & Rye Sourdough Bread", "Tender potato Bread", "Lahmacuns", "Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagels", "Chicken In Vanilla Sauce", "Pork Chile Verde", "Chocolate Intensity Cake", "Luscious Lemon Bars", "Deadly Blondies", "Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse" or "Tiramisù Mousse & Lemon Curd Tart" (to name only a few)...

Finally, after a lot of thinking, I decided that my recipe of the year 2007 would be that excellent "Vietnamese Chicken And Grapefruit Salad" which I made for one of the "Dinner Parties" I attended.

I love the foods of Southeast Asia and especially of Vietnam. Along with the cuisines of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, anything that is Vietnamese ravishes my palate. I love it's matchless freshness, subtility and mindblowing variety of flavors as well as textures!
This "Vietnamese Chicken & Grapefruit Salad" is a culinary experience in itself, a real treasure of the Vietnamese cuisine (see infos) as it tastes incredible and is really, really wonderful! It is a delicate and exquisite dish that has fantastic aromas and is a mindblowing assemblage of holiday-like flavors. With it's crunchiness, gorgeous and incomparable freshness, it's delicate fragrances, sweet and savoriness, you'll be conquered! This exceptional dish will leave it's mark on you and you'll see that you'll come back asking for more!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


I have already made a few Daring Bakers recipes (5 all in all and 3 as a member), but until now, I had never got as challenged and scared as with this "Yule Log". Through all the stages of the recipe, I kept my fingers crossed and hoped (prayed, better said) that everything would turn out right...

I must say that I was quite proud of my prowess as it was not an easy task at all. There were a few finicky and tricky aspects which required precision and extreme self-control (buttercream & meringue mushrooms). But at least, I was capable of preventing any kind of disaster andfind ways out of the impasses.

Although I followed the concise recommendations (which I had read over and over again) by the letter, that damned buttercream, which happened to be nearly everybody's nightmare, curdled on me! Yeesh!!! You can imagine how desperate I felt. Thankfully, Tartelette from "Tartelette" (USA) had compiled a few tips for us, so I tried my best to save it. I filled up the sink with a little hot water and placed the bowl in it. When the sides of of the buttercream began to melt a bit, I energically whisked the mixture and all of a sudden, like by magic and to my delight, it became satiny, homogenous and smooth. Phew, I was so relieved!!!...

This "Yule Log" was truely wonderful! The "Genoise Cake" had a marvelous yellow color and was light, fluffy, smooth, pliable and most importantly, it wasn't chockingly dry like it is generally the case with most cheap "Bûches De Noël". On the contrary, it was moist.The "Buttercream", although it was determined to curdle (of course!), ended up being perfect and incredibly airy. I had never made meringue-type buttercream before and was pleasantly surprised by the final product. It was exactly the same as the foamy icing which always subdued me when I ate professionally made cakes. Stunning! I decided upon making "Meringue Mushrooms". As I'm not a too good cake decorator and can be quite impatient when making delicate things, I thought to myself: "Never am I gonna make them look like bloody mushrooms! How on earth will I be able to create such dainty little decorations?!? Ack!". Well, let me tell you that I DID IT!!! To my surprise, my mushrooms looked dazzlingly real and were even very cute...

All that, resulted in an impressively good looking "Yule Log" which was luxurious, yet delicate flavor-wise. It wasn't too sweet at all and had a delightful mocha taste that sent you to the heavens above. An exquisite creation which would make all "Yule Log" haters change mind... To test it is to adopt it!!!

Thanks to Ivonne at "Cream Puffs In Venice" (Canada) and Lisa at "La Mia Cucina" (USA) for having chosen this festive challenge which has made me learn not to listen to that nasty little demon called "fear", helped me become a better baker, thus being able to surpass my capacities!

~ Yule Log ~
Recipe taken from the cookbook "
Perfect Cakes" by Nick Malgieri and "The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert".

Makes one big log, serves about 12.

Ingredients for the plain genoise:
3 Large eggs (~53g)
3 Large egg yolks
A pinch of salt
1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
3/4 Cup Castor sugar
1/2 Cup Cake flour
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
Ingredients for the coffee buttercream:
4 Large egg whites
1 Cup Castor sugar
24 Tbs (360g/3 sticks/1-1/2 cups) Unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbs Quality instant espresso powder
2 Tbs Rum
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 Cup Bittersweet chocolate, melted and at room temperature (optional)

Ingredients for the meringue mushrooms:
3 Large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 Tsp Cream of tartar
1/2 Cup (3-1/2 ounces/105 g) Castor sugar
1/3 Cup (1-1/3 ounces/40 g) Icing sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

Method for the plain genoise:
1. Butter one 26cm x 38cm (10 x 15 inch) jelly-roll pan, then line it with parchment paper and butter it again.
2. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 200° C (40 F).
3. Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.
4. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt, sugar and vanilla extract together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 50° C (100° F).
4. Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume.
5. While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornstarch.

6. Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.
7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
8. Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes.
9. Once the cake is done (a tester will come out clean and if you press the cake lightly it will spring back), remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack.

Method for the buttercream:
10. While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.
11. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
12. Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled.
13. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and
continue beating until the buttercream is smooth.
14. Dissolve the instant coffee in the liquor and beat into the buttercream.
15. Add the vanilla extract and cooled melted chocolate.

Method for the meringue mushrooms:
16. Preheat the oven to 100° C (225° F).
17. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
18. Have ready a pastry bag fitted with a small (no. 6) plain tip.
19. In a bowl, using a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until very foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar while beating. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Continue until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks. Sift the icing sugar over the whites and, using a rubber spatula, fold in until well blended.
20. Scoop the mixture into the bag. On one baking sheet, pipe 48 stems, each 12mm (1/2 inch) wide at the base and tapering off to a point at the top, 2cm (3/4 inch) tall, and spaced about 12mm (1/2 inch) apart.
21. On the other sheet, pipe 48 mounds for the tops, each about 3cm (1-1/4 inches) wide and 2cm (3/4 inch) high, also spaced 12mm (1/2 inch) apart. With a damp
fingertip, gently smooth any pointy tips.
22. Dust with cocoa. Reserve the remaining meringue.
23. Bake until dry and firm enough to lift off the paper, 50-60 minutes.
24. Set the pans on the counter and turn the mounds flat side up. With the tip of a knife, carefully make a small hole in the flat side of each mou
nd. Pipe small dabs of the remaining meringue into the holes and insert the stems tip first.
25. Return to the oven until completely dry, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool completely on the sheets.

Assembling the Yule Log:
26. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the genoise to loosen it from the pan.
27. Turn the genoise layer over (unmolding it from the sheet pan onto a flat surface) and peel away the paper.
28. Carefully invert your genoise onto a fresh piece of parchment paper.
29. Spread with half the coffee buttercream (~1/3 of the quantity).
30. Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder.
Transfer back to the baking sheet, wrap well and refrigerate for several hours.
32. Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 5cm (2 inches) away from each end.
33. Position the cut pieces on the log.
34. Cover the log with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around the protruding stump.
35. Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark.
36. Transfer the log to a platter and decorate with your mushrooms and whatever other decorations you’ve chosen.

Remarks regarding the genoise:
Your genoise can be flavoured however you wish. Make it chocolate, add nuts, douse it in liquor, throw in some citrus or just leave it plain. It’s entirely up to you how you flavour it.
The egg foam (for the genoise) will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted.
Make sure the genoise cake doesn’t overbake and become too dry or it will not roll properly. In case it breaks, use buttercream to sticke the broken pieces together...
Remarks regarding the buttercream:

If you don't have any rum, you can use brandy, sherry, kirsch, amaretto or any other alcohol of your choice. In case you don't want to use any alcohol, you can leave it out completely without replacing by another liquid or use up 1 tablespoon of your favorite flavor extract.
Make sure that the meringue is cooled enough after you whip t
o handle the butter and not melt it which can cause the protein and fat particles to coagulate and make the buttercream look curdled.
Your butter should be at room temp, not even remotely cold. Think about “moosh” if you were to press you finger down in it.
Whip the egg whites and sugar to no more than 60° C -70° C (140° F - 160° F). Less and your buttercream will be flat, more and the eggs and butter won’t combine and curdle on you.

In case your buttercream separates and curdles here are some useful tips (source baking911):
Buttercream is cold and broken. Separately melt about 25% of the mixture, return it to the remainder and then rewhip -- it should come right together. OR, if the mixture is warm and broken, simply chill the buttercream in the refrigerator until the mixture is cool and then rewhip.
Buttercream that has become too runny. It can become soupy and runny if too warm. Place mixing bowl into an ice bath and whisk briskly until the icing becomes cohesive and silky Or, you can refrigerate it until well-chilled. Then, re-whip, if necessary. It can become too runny from not enough confectioner's sugar, meringue or egg white powder. (depending on which recipe as you use) Add more, a little at a time, to stiffen it.
Buttercream that has become too stiff. It can become too cold, so wrap a steaming hot dishtowel, turban like, around the mixing bowl. When the sides of buttercream begin to melt a bit, whisk or stir with a wooden spoon until it becomes satiny and shiny. It can become too stiff and difficult too spread if too thick. Thin with light corn syrup or heat it slightly.
You can make the buttercream a couple of days ahead, refrigerate it, and when ready to use let it go back to room temperature. Stir it gently before using it.

Remark regarding the meringue mushrooms:
If you can’t find cream of tartar where you live, then suitable substitutes can be white vinegar, lemon juice or a pinch of salt.
The mushrooms can be made in advance (
no more than 3 days in advance though) and stored in airtight a cool dry place if they are meringue.
Remarkings regarding the assembling:
You have complete freedom to make your logs in whatever shape you like (mini logs, one huge log, an upright log, etc...).
The outside of your Yule Log must be frosted with the coffee buttercream using the recipe provided here, you are free to fill the log however you choose. Fill it with fruit, jam, melted chocolate, pudding, whipped cream, or another frosting of your choice.
General remarks:
You can make the entire thing and store it up to 4 days (I kept it 5-6 days and it was ok), well covered in your fridge. The buttercream will stay fine and the cake won’t dry out because it is encased with the buttercream.

Serving suggestion:
Serve the "Yule Log" for dessert or for afternoon tea.
Accompany it by either sweet/dessert wine (Sauterne, Muscat, etc...) or by a warm cup of tea (orange flavored or jasmine for example).
If you wish, you can even sprinkle your slice of cake with the liquor of your choice (kirsch, plum, etc...).


Je m'excuse d'avance auprès des francophones de ne pas avoir traduit cette recette. Malheureusement, le temps me manquait et la recette était un peu longue... Par contre, j'ai un traducteur dans la partie droite de mon blog. J'espère qu'il vous sera utile!


!!!Merry Christmas &Joyeux Noël!!!

I hope that you will have a wonderful time, that you'll eat well and that your dreams will come true! J'espère que vous vous amuserez bien, que vous mangerez beaucoup de bonnes choses et que le Père Noël vous gâtera!

PLEASE NOTE that I will be away from the 22nd to the 26th of December, so until then this blog is on holiday... ATTENTION: Je serai absente du samedi 22 au mercredi 26 décembre, alors ce blog sera momentanément en vacance...

See you soon! A bientôt!

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."
~ W.T. Ellis ~

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Chritsmas day (and my birthday) is now less than a week away (New Year is also approaching very fast) and if you haven't already thought about your festive menu yet, then it's more than time to get moving and planning!!!

Some of you might already
have spent hours thinking about the gorgeous food that is going to grace their table and have surely spent days in the kitchen preparing the feast to come. On the contrary, certain of you might be procrastinators who do things at the very last minute, so this is why I have decided to ease your task and make things a little easier for you...

To help you a little, I have compiled a few of my favorite savory recipes in order to give you ideas and help you choose the dishes which will be served
during the end of year festivities.

Have fun while browsing through my blog and happy cooking!

~ Parmesan And Gorgonzola Cheesecake ~
Apperitive Food & Starters:
Brazilian Toasts (see recipe)
Caribbean Banana Soup (see recipe)
Chopped Liver (see recipe)
Ham And Parmesan Cake (see recipe)
Hawaiian Salmon Poke (see recipe)

Ostrich Steak Tartar (see recipe)
Parmesan And Gorgonzola Cheesecake (see recipe)

~ Chicken In Vanilla Sauce ~
Potato Chips/Crisps (see recipe)
Smoked Salmon And Cream Cheese Bagels (see recipe)
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas (see recipe)
Sweet And Savory Italian Meatballs (see recipe)
Tiny Curry Scones (see recipe)

Vietnamese Chicken And Grapefruit Salad (see recipe)

~ Vietnamese Chicken And Grapefruit salad ~
Main Courses:
Blueberry Pork Chops (see recipe)
Chicken And Mushrooms In Saint Marcellin Sauce (see recipe)
Chicken In Vanilla Sauce (see recipe)
Chinese Lemon Chicken (see recipe)
Cheese Fondue (see recipe)
Greek Pork Stew With Quinces (see recipe)
Lump Egg Pasta With Saffron Sauce (see recipe)
Meatballs Brazilian Style (see recipe)
Raclette (see recipe)

~Warm Bettroot With Sour Cream ~
Side Dishes:
Greek Lemon Roasted Potatoes (see recipe)
Homemade Orecchiette Pasta (see recipe)
Hot Italian-Style Tagliatelle (see recipe)
Maluns (see recipe)
Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts And Potatoes (see recipe)
Parsnip Puree (see recipe)
Potato Kugel (see recipe)
Pumpkin Latkes (see recipe)
Spätzlis (see recipe)
Warm Beetroot With Sour Cream (see recipe)

To see my "Sweet Treats For Xmas" list, clicke here.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Some of you might already be aware that Susan at "Food Blogga" (USA) is organizing a worldwide event called "Eat Christmas Cookies" and which might enable you to win a gorgeous cookbook (see infos). You just have to bake a batch of cookies/biscuits, blog about them and send Susan an e-mail with all the needed informations until the 17th of December 2007!

As it will soon be Christmas, today, I have decided to write about a holiday cookie recipe that I very much love and which you will surely enjoy if you are a fan of spices.It is the second consecutive year that I bake them and I am still very much impressed by their enticing flavor...

A "Pfeffernuss" (singular of "Pfeffernüsse", pronounce "feh-fer-noose") is small, round, slightly crumbly, dense and "hard" (but not dry) traditional Christmas "gingerbread" biscuit that can be found in Germany and Denmark ("Pebernødder"). In Holland "Peppernoten" are baked generally for Saint Nicholas Day. It's name translates to "Pepper Nut(s)", because it is subtly aromatized with spices such as ground white pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Many variations exist (spice combinations) and certain recipes call for nutmeg or anise while others call for a totally different spice mix. Generally, "Pfeffernüsse" also contain honey which gives them a delightful and rich tinge of sweetness.

This very recipe is divine. The spices are well-balanced and not too
overwhelming, but nontheless very present, thus making those cute little cookies taste delightful!

~ Pfeffernüsse Cookies ~
Recipe by and adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums

Makes about 50 cookies.


90g (6Tbs/3/4 stick/3 oz) Unsalted butter
30g (2 Tbs/1 oz) Castor sugar
80g (3 1/2 Tbs/2.6 oz) Liquid honey

200g (1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbs/6.6 oz) Plain white flour
1/3 Tsp Baking powder
A pinch salt

1/2 Tsp Ground cardamom
1 1/2 Tsps Ground cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Ground cloves

Ingredients for the icing:
120g (1 cup/4 oz) Powder sugar
1 Tbs Lemon juice
1 Tbs Water

1. Preheat the oven to 150° C (300° F).

2. Mix all the ingredients for the icing and set aside.
3. In a pan, melt the butter together with the sugar and honey.
4. Transfer that mixture to a bowl and let cool for a few minutes.

5. Add the spices, the flour, baking powder and salt. Incorporate them in order to get a smooth dough.
6. Shape little balls (1 ½ cm/0.6 inches) with the dough and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
8. Remove them from the oven. With the help of a brush, c
oat each warm cookie with the icing.
9. Transfer them to a rack and let cool.

If you wish you can add
an extra pinch of ground white pepper to the mixture.
The butter/sugar/honey mixture should still be warm (lukewarm) when you add the flour.

Serving suggestions:
As with all cookies/biscuits, there is no rule regarding the way you eat them! Nontheless, i woul recommend you to serve those "Pfeffernüsse" with a good and refreshing "cuppa cha (cup of tea)" or a glass of cold milk...


~ Pfeffernüsse (Biscuits Aux Epices) ~
Recette par et adaptée par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums

Pour environ 50 biscuits.

90g de Beurre non-salé

30g de Sucre cristallisé
80g de Miel liquide
200g de Farine fleur
1/3 CC de Poudre à lever
Une pincée de sel
1/2 CC de Cardamome en poudre

1 1/2 CC de Cannelle en poudre
1/4 CC de Clous de girofle en poudre

Ingrédients pour le glaçage:
100g de Sucre glace
1 CS de Jus de citron

1 CS d'Eau

1. Préchauffer le four à 150° C (300° F).

2. Mélanger tous les ingrédients pour le glaçage et mettre de côté.

3. Dans une casserole, faire fondre le beurre, le sucre et le miel.
4. Verser ce mélange dans un bol et laisser refroidir un peu.
5. Ajouter les épices, la farine, la poudre à lever et le sel. Incorporer afin d'obtenir une pâte souple.
6. Former des boules d’un diamètre de 1 ½ cm, les poser sur une plaque garnie avec du papier sulfurisé

7. Cuire au four pendant 20 minutes dans le four préchauffé à 150°C (300° F).

8. A l'aide d'un pinceau à pâtisserie, appliquer le glaçage sur les biscuits chauds.
9. Transférer les biscuits sur une grille et les laisser refroidir.

Si vous le désirez, vous pouvez ajouter une pincée
de poivre blanc en poudre.
Le mélange beurre/sucre/miel doit en core être tiède quand vous ajoutez la farine.

Idées de présentation:
Comme pour tous cookies/biscuits, il n'y a pas de règle concernant la consommation de ces petites merveilles! Néanmoins, je vous conseille vivement d'accompagner vos "Peffernüsse" d'un bon thé ou d'un verre de lait froid

Sunday, December 16, 2007


This week, Samantha, Black & Tigger at "Life From a Cat’s Perspective" (USA) are happy to announce that they are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #132...

To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in their blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact them via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed informations.

Although Maruschka always/still wakes me up on weekends, I must say that her behaviour has been exemplary lately. I guess she wants Santa Claws to bring her many presents...
Bless you little darling and may your dreams come true!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007


For the last 2 weeks, the weather has been quite dull and mostly grey. We rarely got to see the sun and if it was not pouring with rain, then it was blowing like hell (or both at the same time)...

After having had a few warm days, it has been quite cold lately. The Salève top is frostbitten and the Jura mountains have a thick coat of snow. Now that Christmas is approaching, it really feels like winter!

Enjoy the following pictures (click on the photos to enlarge)! I took them when the first snow had fallen on the mountains and the last leaves had fallen.