Friday, October 30, 2009


As Lyon is very famous for it's unique gastronomy and is labeled the French capital of eating, I could not imagine going there without tasting to what makes it's reputation so strong: bouchons bistros and Lyon's local specialities. For any foodie, going to Lyon is a little like doing a pilgrimage to the Mekka of good taste.

Bouchons are authentic old restaurants (the tradition came from small inns visited by silk workers passing through Lyon in the 17th and 18th century) that can only be found in Lyon and that serve traditional regional dishes such as sausages, duck pa, pork products, soft cheese with herbs ("Cervelle de Canut"), Saint-Marcellin and Saint-Félicien cheeses, tripe products, fried pork fat, beignets ("Bugnes"), offals, cardoon, quenelles dumplings, lemon tart, parline tart and many more.

The Lyonnaise cuisine dating back to the intuitive cooking of those famous robust cooks the "mères lyonnaises (Lyon mothers)" who gave Lyon's cuisine its very special character is simple, rich, homey and tasty.

So, after doing a lot of research on the net and reading many blog or magazine articles on the subject, I decided to try the "Café des Fédérations" which is certified "authentic" by the organisation Les Authentiques Bouchons Lyonnaiss and is one of the oldest bouchons in Lyon and still one of the best.

Having read about this bouchon's convivial atmosphere and the owner's gift of the gab which are so common in this kind of restaurant, we both felt slightly uneasy at the thought of entering it. Anyway, we finally were able to gather enough courage in order to push the door of "Café des Féderations". Upon entering, we immediately got transported into the magical world of bouchons and we were greeted by a very chatty Yves Rivoiron who already made a joke after we had said "Bonjour. Nous avons réservé une table." (Hello. We have booked table) to which he answered in his own teasing way "Are you sure? I am not! Mmmmhhh, let's see if there's a table for you.". Very folkloric and kind of cliché, but so "exotic" and entertaining.

We just had time to install ourselves that we were already served (lentil salad, veal's head in vinaigrette, an assortiment of dried meats with gherkins, bread and a pitcher red Morgon wine and one of water). Then we had to choose our main dish among tête de veau (veal's head), pork cheeks stew, tablier de sapeur (the flat cut of tripe which has been cut into a rectangle and fried), andouillette (chitterling sausage), chicken in vinegar, quenelle, boudin noir (blood sausage), gâteau de foies de volaille (poultry liver cake, prepared with the white livers from the poulet de Bresse).

As I din't want to take the same dish as my boyfriend as I wanted to sample their food, I ordered "Andouillette" which was served in a delicious mustard sauce and accompanied by one of the best creamy "Gratin Dauphinois" I have ever come across out of home. Mr. P. took the gargantuesque "Boudin Noir" dish which was served with an immense pile of cooked apples.

Then, for dessert, we had the choice to take either a sweet speciality (lemon tart, homemade pear ice cream, chocolate mousse or praline tart) or a platter of regional cheeses. As we both were already full, we opted fot the dessert (lemon tart) which was scrumptious.

Needless to say that this meal was fantastic, comforting and scrumptious. We really enjoyed every dish as everything was perfect, tasty and so pleasing. Lunch for 2 was dirt cheap. We paid 50 Euros for a three course menu (appetizer, main dish & dessert) that included wine and coffees. And at the end of the meal, we were litterally exploding as the platings were very generous (We had to roll ourselves through the town for the rest of the day!!!).

If ever you are in Lyon, I strongly recommend you to go there and experience the unique and kitschy atmosphere of that place! It is so popular that t
he "Café des Fédérations" is full all the time and it is very difficult to find a free table if you haven't booked it in advance (which you'd better do at least 2 days before via phone or fax)...

An experience I am ready to renew anytime we go back to Lyon!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The end of the month is once again on our doorstep and time has come for all of us lovers of flour, eggs and sugar to post our Daring Bakers latest creations to date...

Can you believe that this is the 25th consecutive challenge that I complete as A Daring Baker (2 years and one month as a member)? Incredible! Sometimes, I amaze myself with my voluntarism and capacity to never call it a day even if I'd love to do so. It is a real miracle that such a pessimistic fraidy-cat like me like me is able to gather enough strenghth in order not to throw the towel when my baking skills are being put to the test. I am able to prove that I can surpass myself, jump over my shadow and confront my fears with much perseverance and determination...

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. who chose "Macarons" from Claudia Fleming’s "The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern" as the challenge recipe.

Some of you might remember that in December 2008, I had made my very first "Macarons" with my friend Jessica from Maryland (USA) and wrote about how that French speciality always filled me with apprehension and how scared I was at the idea of trying to compare with people who mastered the art of making "Macarons" to the perfection, yet how, at the end, we found them not as daunting as we imagined...

Well, to tell you the truth, this time around, I wasn't as relaxed as I wished to be considering the fact that it would not be my very first time with that speciality. Unfortunately I was as scared of getting started as if it had been when I made my inaugural batch of "Macarons" batch. What made me uncomfortable was the fact that "Macarons" are notoriously tricky to make and testing an unknown recipe made me even feel more edgier. Silly girl! Sometimes I can be really stupid, but nevermind.

Anyway, no matter how uneasy I felt about going through the whole process of making "Macarons" again, I promised myself that they were going to look better than the first time around and that I would forever put an end to my "Macarons" angst. The result was surprinsingly very exciting and with my fears put aside, I instantly understood why people can't stop carrying on about those cute little sugar gems-

As we were free to use the flavorings of our choice for our "Macarons", I decided to add some vanilla sugar to the delightfully almond-tasting macaron shells and make an "Orange, Cinnamon & Cubeb Pepper Buttercream" as filling. Heavenly!

Apart from having the most luscious aroma, my "Macarons" also had the most perfect texture I had ever come across. They weren't shallow, were crisp on t
he outside and chewy on the inside. A macaron-lover's dream!

I wish to thank Amy S. at "Baking Without Fear" (USA) for choosing this awesome recipe! I really enjoyed making "Macarons" and was so happy to get a little training in order to perfect my skills.

~ Vanilla Macarons With Orange, Cinnamon & Cubeb Pepper Buttercream ~ Recipe taken from Claudia Fleming’s "The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern".

Macaron Shells

Yields 10 dozen macarons

Preparation time:
Not taking into account the amount of time it takes for you to bring your egg whites to room temperature, the whole baking process, including making the batter, piping and baking will probably take you about an hour to an hour and a half.

Actual baking time:
17-20 minutes in total.

Equipment required:
• Electric mixer, preferably a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
• Rubber spatula
• Baking sheets
• Parchment paper or nonstick liners
• Pastry bag (can be disposable)
• Plain half-inch pastry bag tip
• Sifter or sieve
• If you don’t have a pastry bag and/or tips, you can use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off
• Oven
• Cooling rack
• Thin-bladed spatula for removing the macaroons from the baking sheets
• Food processor or nut grinder, if grinding your own nuts (ouch!)

225g (2 1/4 Cups) Confectioners’/Icing sugar

190g (2 Cups) Almond flour
25g (2Tbs) Granulated sugar
5 Egg whites, at room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Let the macaron rest for 30-60 minutes.
7. Bake the macaron for 17-20 minutes at 150° C (302° F)

8. Cool on a rack before filling.


Orange, Cinnamon & Cubeb Pepper Buttercream Filling

Makes about 1 cup buttercream.


120g (1 stick) Unsalted butter, at room temperature

(1 Cup) Confectioners'/icing sugar
1/2 Tsp Orange essence
1/2 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Freshly ground cubeb pepper

1. Cream the butter until pale and smooth.
2. Add the sugar and spices. Incorporate.
3. Beat the mixture until light and fluffy.
4. Fill the macarons.


This buttercream melts, so keep your macarons in the fridge.

The macarons will be better the next day, so don't eat them straight away!

Additional information:

David Lebovitz breaks it down.

More macaroon 411.
Get inspired by our own Tartlette!
Go behind the scenes of Paulette.
Watch a pro pipe macaroons.
Beating egg whites.


Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteur s et blogueurs francophones!

C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur les blogs mentionnés ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française.

Chez Jasmine de "Jasmine Cuisine" (Canada)
Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


This week, Samantha & The Tuxedo Gang at "The Tuxedo Gang Hideout" (USA) are happy to announce that they are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #229...

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 information.

Maruschka. Sweet, as usual...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


When I received my issue of Bon Appétit back in September, I immediately saw the Bundt Cake recipe which was featured in their "Fast Easy Fresh" pages and thought "Oh boy, I'll have to try that out!"...

Since the very first day I lay my eyes on a picture of a Bundt cake I was mesmerized. The beautiful and perfect shape of that baked good has always fascinated me and I can't tell you how many times I wished to be the lucky owner of a Bundt pan.

Here, in Europe, that kind of cake doesn't really exist and the only pans that are similar in shape are the Kugelhopf ones. So, when one of my American friend proposed to bring one back from here trip to the States, I could not refuse her offer and felt overwhelmed with joy!

Now, my only obssession is to find as many recipes as possible in order to make that yummy speciality which is very much appreciated at my place.

Coming back to Bon Appétit's recipe, what attracted me to it was the wonderful combination of chocolate, cinnamon and coffee. I cannot resist anything that contains either of them. It seemed so promising that I could not resist the urge to bake it.

This recipe is very simple and takes no time at all to make. I whipped up this cake in a matter of minutes on a Saturday afternoon after lunch and we already could work our way through it during the course of the afternoon.

Flavor-wise, I wasn't disappointed at all. The cake has a distinct aroma of chocolate with warm notes of coffee as well as fragrant and spicy hints of cinnamon. Magical! Texture-wise, it is very moist and soft. The chocolate chips add a pleasant crunch and the icing brings extra delight.

Not to forget that this "Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake" ages very well (can be kept up to 5 days if well-wrapped in plastic wrapper and placed in the refrigerator) and tastes even better the following days.

That recipe is definitely a keeper!!!

~ Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake ~
From Bon Appetit, September 2009.

Makes 1 Bundt cake.

1 Cup (240ml) Boiling water

1/2 Cup (105g) Natural unsweetened cocoa powder

4 Tsps Instant espresso powder, divided
2 Cups (255g) Unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tsps Baking powder
2 Tsps Ground cinnamon
1 Tsp Sea salt

2 1/2 Cups (600g) Golden brown sugar (packed), divided

1 Cup (210g) Vegetable oil

1 Tbs Pure vanilla extract
2 Large eggs
1 1/4 Cups (225g) Mini semisweet chocolate chips (60%), divided
1/4 Cup (1/2 stick/60g) Unsalted butter, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F).

2. Generously brush 12- to 15-cup nonstick Bundt pan with oil.
3. Whisk the boiling water, cocoa powder, and 2 teaspoons espresso powder in 2-cup glass measure.
4. Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl.
5. Using electric mixer, beat 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla in a large bowl to blend.
6. Add eggs and beat to blend.
7. Beat mixture until smooth, about 30 seconds longer.
8. Beat in half of flour mixture, then cocoa mixture.
9. Add remaining flour mixture; beat to blend.
10. Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips and transfer batter to prepared Bundt pan.
11. Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

12. Cool the cake for 10 minutes and then invert cake onto rack to cool for another 15 minutes.
13. Meanwhile, stir remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons espresso powder, and 2 tablespoons water in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar melts.
14. Remove from heat. Add butter and remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips; stir until butter and chocolate melt.
15. Cool slightly. Using spoon, drizzle icing over cake.
16. Cool cake completely, slice, and serve.

I used peanut oil.
You'd better use neutral tasting oil for that recipe.

Serving suggestions:
Serve this cake with whipped cream, vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream.


~ Bundt Cake Au Chocolat, A La Cannelle ~
Recette tirée du magazine Bon Appetit, Septembre 2009.

Pour 1 Bundt cake.

240ml/g d'Eau bouillante
105g de Cacao non-sucré
4 CC de Poudre d'expresso, divisées
255g de Farine Blanche
2 CC de Poudre à lever
2 CC de Cannelle en poudre
1 CC de Sel de mer
600g (480g+120g) de Sucre brun clair, divisés
210g d'huile végétale
1 CS d'Extrait de vanille pure
2 Gros oeufs
225g (180g+45g) de Pépites de chocolat (60%), divisés
60g de Beurre non-salé à température ambiante

1. Préchauffer le four à 180° C.
2. Généreusement enduire le moule avec de l'huile.
3. Bien mélanger l'eau chaude avec le cacao et 2 CC de poudre d'expresso.
4. Dans un bol moyen, mélanger la farine avec le poudre à lever, la cannelle et le sel.
5. Battre (au mixer) 480g de sucre avec l'huile et la vanille afin d'obtenir un mélange homogène.

6. Ajouter les oeufs et battre afin de bien les incorporer.
7. Battre pendant environ 30 secondes.
8. Incorporer la moité de la farine et le mélange au cacao, puit battre.
9. Ajouter le restant de la farine et battre.
10. Incorporer 1 cup de chocolat et verser la pâte dans le moule.
11. Cuire pendant 50 minutes, jusqu'à ce qu'un couteau inséré à l'intérieur du cake en resorte propre.
12. Faire refroidir le cake pendant 10 minutes puis le démouler et le faire refroidir pendant encore 15 minutes supplémentaires.
13. Pendant ce temps, mélanger les 120g de sucre brun restants, 2 CC de poudre d'espresso et 2 CS d'eau dans une casserole moyenne et faire fondre à feu doux.
14. Retirer du feu. Ajouter le beurre et les g restants de chocolat, puis bien mélanger jusqu'à ce que le beurre et le chocolat aient fondu.
15. Laisser refroidir quelques instants et verser sur le cake.
16. Laisser le cake refroidir complètement et servir.

J'ai utilisé de l'huile d'arachide.
C'est préférable de choisir une huile au goût neutre.
J'ai utilisé un moule à Bundt Cake, mais vous pouvez aussi utiliser une moule à kougelhopf.

Idées de présentation:
Servir avec de la crème chantilly, de la sauce vanille ou une boule de glace vanille.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


This week, Kashim at "Paulchens FoodBlog?!" (Austria) is happy to announce that he is hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #228...

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

Friday, October 16, 2009


Two weeks ago, during our holidays, we decided to do a day trip to Lyon, the third biggest town in France after Paris and Marseilles. As we are lucky to have the TGV train stopping right here at the Geneva train station, it was the opportunity to discover that fantastic town which has the reputation of being the French capital of gastronomy...

There, we ate at a famous Bouchon (article soon to come) and played tourists in the old parts of Lyon. It is such a magnificent and peaceful city (the center that is, not the suburbs, unfortunately...) that we didn't see time fly. We loved it and will go there again very soon!

Lyon is a city of central France and is situated in the Rhônes-Alpes region, 160km away from Geneva. It has a rich history and is very interesting culturally-, architecture- as well as culinary-wise.

The romans named it Lugdunum (meaning "the hill of light" or "the hill of crows"). At that time (1st century B.C.) it was proclaimed capital of the three Gauls. During the 11th century, the church declared Lyon the seat of the Primate of Gaul in the 11th century, and then by the end of the 15th century, it became an important center of trade because of it's fairs and a well-developed banking system which attracted commercial interests from all over Europe. All that richness and commotion attracted the social, intellectual and artistic elite which settled there. Development continued through the 17th and 18th centuries with the Lyon silk industry. The city continued to gain in size and equipped itself with hospitals, public squares and impressive edifices. The French Revolution in 1789 brought a brutal halt to that expansion, but development was re-vitalized under the Napoleonic empire. Lyon became an industrial city, pursued its urban development and never stopped growing until today...