Wednesday, June 30, 2010


My trip to Zweisimmen continued...

Well, as I had taken tons of pictures in Zweisimmen (post 1, post 2, post 3 & post 4) I still have lots of photographs to process and share. When I go somewhere it is impossible for me not to use my camera every 2 minutes!

Going on a trip with me can be very tiring as I will stop and look through the lense of my camera most of the time. I am conscient that it can be a very annoying habit, but I really can't help it. I cannot miss an opportunity to take a great shot or capture an interesting atmosphere. It has nearly become my second nature...

During my end of year high-school trip to Greece I remember being and mocked by the other kids because I could not stay neutral or be blasé in front of the scenes I saw through the window. With much passion, I marveled at every landscape that unfolded in front of me. I didn't sleep like everybody else as I wanted to see everything and not miss anything. That is how I am and who I am. I can't help it!

I am always in search of beauty and need to feed on it. That is the reason why I see things in such a poetic way, feel the energies that a place carries and the aura that a site emits. I have a natural sensitivity for that kind of stuff and it shows (I hope) in my photographic creations.

To be continued next week....

Sunday, June 27, 2010


The summer solstice has just passed and July is close. I can't believe that half of the year has already flyed by... And once again, the end of the month is the time when we are asked to share our Daring Bakers' creations with the rest of the world. It is just insane to see how time goes by and how many challenges I have already completed (33) since I started in October 2007.

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was ho
sted by Dawn of "Doable and Delicious" who challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make "Chocolate Pavlovas" and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book "Chocolate Epiphany" by Francois Payard.

Although I am generally prone to be a little stressed and psyched out by the things we have to bake, this challenge didn't make me panicky. On the contrary, I felt comfortable with it and totally confident when it came to executing the recipe given. The reason for my unusual confidence is that I have made meringue, chocolate mousse, crème anglaise and mascarpone more than once and I felt totally at ease with the process of making all the components of the "Chocolate Pavlovas". No big deal!

As a matter of fact, my "Chocolate Pavlovas" were made in a very relaxed atmosphere. The meringue shells were baked in whiz a few days before I prepared the rest of the elements composing this dessert. Then, on Friday, while listening to my favorite music I very cooly got the challenge finished...

I didn't change much to the original recipe. Instead of flavoring the chocolate mousse with lemon zest and nutmeg, I decided to add some ground tonka (bean) instead and as I had no Sambucca for the crème anglaise, I replaced it with good ol' Whisky.

Those "Chocolate Pavlovas" looked very cute and tasted just
exquisite. Contrarily to what I believed at first they were really not too sweet and absolutely not cloying. In fact, this dessert is really refined. The meringue shells have a exhaliratingly deep taste of cocoa, the chocolate mousse is not sugary at all, light, smooth, delicate lusciously chocolaty, and the crème anglaise gives just the right flavor contrast with it's voluptuous aromas of vanilla and whisky. Just splendid.

I wish to thanks Dawn for having chosen that divine. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

~ Chocolate Pavlovas ~
Recipe from Francois Payard's "Chocolate Epiphany".

Preparation time:

The recipe can be made in one day althoug
h there are several steps involved.
While the pavlovas are baking, the crème anglaise should be mad
e which will take about 15 minutes.
While it is cooling, the chocolate mascarpone mousse can be made which will take about 15 minutes.
There will be a bit of a wait time for the mascarpone cream because of
the cooling time for the Crème Anglaise.
If you make the Crème Anglaise the day before, the dessert should take about 2 hours including cooking time for the pavlovas.

Equipment required:

• Baking sheet(s) with parchment or silpat

• Several bowls
• Piping bag with pastry tip

• Hand or stand mixer



3 Large egg whites
1/2 Cup plus 1 Tbs (110g) White granulated sugar

1/4 Cup (30g) Confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 Cup (30g) Cocoa powder

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees.
2. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.

3. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
4. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a
time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)
5. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.)

6. Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon. (Class made rounds, hearts, diamonds and an attempt at a clover was made!)
7. Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp.
8. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.



1 1/2 Cups (355ml) Heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 %)
9 Ounces (255g) 72% Chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 Cups (390ml) Mascarpone (homemade version here)
1/3 Tsp Ground tonka bean

1. Put 1/2 cup (120 mls) of the heavy cream an
d the ground tonka bean in a saucepan over medium high heat.
2. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth.
3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.
4. Place the mascarpone and the remaining cup of cream in a bowl.
5. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose, then
whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)
6. Mix about 1/4 of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten.
7. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated.
8. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. ( Again,
you could just free form mousse on top of the pavlova.)



1 Recipe Crème anglaise
(see recipe below)
1/2 Cup (120ml) Mascarpone (homemade version here)
2 Tbs (30ml) Whisky
1/2 Cup (120ml) Heavy cream

1. Prepare the crème anglaise.
2. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Whisky a
nd let the mixture cool.
3. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are
4. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.



1 Cup (235ml) Whole milk
1 Cup (235ml) Heavy cream
1 Vanilla bean, split or 1 Tsp Pure vanilla extract

6 Large egg yolks
6 Tbs (75 g) Sugar

1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mix
ture turns pale yellow.
2. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high hea
t, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.
3. Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs.

4. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium.
5. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. (DO NOT OVERCOOK.)
6. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.
7. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thor
oughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.



Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top.
Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh
fruit if desired.


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 lecteurs et blogueurs francophones!

C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur le blog mentionné ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française.

Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)
Chez Vibi de "La Casserole Carrée" (Canada)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


My trip to Zweisimmen continued...

When I am on trips, I usually like to have a global appreciation of the place I am visiting, but I also like to look into the details. I always search for the little or hidden things that might not be visible at first glimpse...

I like to say that my camera is an eye-opener. Taking
pictures forces you to be more attentive and not lazy. In order to take interesting pictures you have to continuously be on the search for a good subject to photograph. In that way, your eyes tend to scan everything as if you were an eagle and not miss anything.

Being the happy owner of a camera, I am constently developing my flair and have now a very photographic vision. When I go out I always appreciate landscapes and views depending on their photogeny. I have a lense in my brain.

Well, while walking through Zweisimmen (post 1, post 2 & post 3) that's exactly what I did. I dissecated piece of land, corner, building, etc... and found a few jewels that are very representative of Berner Oberland. So, enjoy!

To be continued next week....

Monday, June 21, 2010


It is with much pride and happiness that I inform you that I have been interviewed by BIZYMOMS.COM who recognized me as a "Top Blogger"! This is my first interview ever, so I am overwhlmed with joy to see my words and thoughts featured on that site...

I would never have thought that I'd be awarded with that wonderful title along other much more talented and popular bloggers than me (Helen of "Tartelette", Kalyn Denny of "Kalyn's Kitchen", Meeta of "What's For Lunch Honey?", Rose Levy Berenbaum of "Real Baking With Rose Levy Berenbaum" and Amy Sherman of "Cooking With Amy" - just to name a few).

Work at home
Top Blogger
Interview on

Thanks to Naren at BIZYMOMS.COM!

Friday, June 18, 2010


In order to continue promoting England (the land of my ancestors - I'm 1/2 English) and it's British culinary patrimony that is so dear to me, I made the decision to talk about a little cookie that occupies a special place in my heart...

My aim is to make you discover the traditional English cuisine through my childhood memories and make the skeptic folks who think that English food is horrid see this country's specialities under a different light - free from received ideas or preconceived negative misconceptions influenced by a global misunderstanding (sometimes close to propaganda) of the British gastronomy that have been blurring the vision of too many people until now. At least not everybody thinks that England has the worst food ever and thanks to many talented cooks such as Gordon Ramsay, Nigel Slater, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Rick Stein, Heston Blumenthal - to name a few - the British culinary tradition is being seen in a better way. That makes me happy.

Since a very early age, I have been very lucky to have been exposed to ver y good English homemade food thanks to my grandparents and my mother. Every year when I visited my grandparents, I was fortunate to eat extremely well. The meals were a festival of wonderful dishes that delighted me to the highest point.

Not only did I discover awesome dishes at my grandparents' place, but I was also spoilt by their friends who were members of the
Women's Institute and baked like cr azy for the market which took place every Friday in the Belper Masonic Hall. Not to forget that we went out every week to eat some of the finest foods in the region: Fish & Chips from one of England's best chippy (George's Tradition); real Bakewell Puddings from Bakewell in Derbyshire (Bakewell Pudding Parlour & Bakewell Pudding Shop); Pork Pies, Black Puddings, ham and sausages from Jerry Howarth on King street; healthy and natural potato chips from organic foodstores; gorgeous chocolates from Thorntons; Iced Buns, Chelsea Buns, Beef Pasties from the local bakeries; dreamlike cakes, scones, cookie bars in tearooms; B aked Potatoes, Mixed Grill, Steak & Kidney Pie in pubs etc...

I always loved sitting at the kitchen table and watching my grandmother cook or bake. She took cooking very seriously and didn't want people messing around the kitchen. Although my grandmother didn't like me to touch her pans, I nonetheless found a way to get close to the workplace and stove. Looking wasn't enough and having a kid that wanted to touch everything made her mad!

Sometimes though, after insisting repeatedly that she bake with me, my grandmother graced me with her presence while I baked treats. It is to be said that she isn't a big fan of giving baking or cooking lessons, but she nonetheless accepted to show me a few tricks. Standing next to her and making goodies together felt so good. It was the only time that I could bond with her and feel some kind of closeness (until now my grandmother hasn't told me that she loves me, hugged me or made any compliment). It is for that reason I c herish those rare moments that I shared with her and which made me feel important to her eyes...

A book my grandmother used all the time (my mother has it and I am also the happy owner of that book which was offered to me by my grandparents) was the Bo-Ro best-selling booklet. It was first published in 1923 and it is still available. This little jewel is chock-a-block-full of traditional English recipes that even the novice baker can f ollow. A real goldmine. As a matterof fact, the recipe I am presenting today is highly inspired by it.

The cookies I clearly remember making with my grandmother are oldies but goodies known under the promising name of "Melting Moments". Those easy to make (a great cookie to make with kids), simple, yet delicious vanilla shortbread-like cookies carry their name very well as they literally melt in the mouth and are absolutely heavenly. The dessicated coconut (or fine oats) used to roll the cookies in give them an extra layer of flavor and yumminess. Pure bliss in the old-fashoioned way!

~ Melting Moments ~
Recipe by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010 and inspired by Be-Ro.

105g (3 1/2 oz) Unsalted butter
75g (2 1/2 oz) Castor sugar
1/2 Medium egg
1 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
1 Pinch Sea salt
150g (5 oz) All-purpose flour, sieved
1 Tsp Baking powder
Dessicated coconut
Dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven at 180° C (350° F).
2. Cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy and light in texture.
3. Beat the egg together with the vanilla extract and salt.
4. Add to butter mixture and beat until well incorporated.
5. Mix together the flour and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and mix well until totally incorporated.
6. Shape the pastry into walnut-sized balls and toss in the dessicated coconut.
7. Place the cookies on the baking tray (covered with baking paper) and flatten slightly.
8. Press slightly a piece of cranberry into on each cookie.
9. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden in color.
10. Cool on a rack.

You can also roll the cookies in fine oats and place a piece of glacé cheery on the cookies (the original recipe uses no cranberries).
The original recipe contains 65g (2 1/2 oz) margarine and 40g (1 1/2 oz) lard. I chose to replace both with butter.
Keep the cookies for up to 5 days in an airtight cookie box.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with coffee and tea at any time of the day.


~ Melting Moments ~
Recette par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010 et inspirée par Be-Ro.

105g Beurre non-salé
75g Sucre cristallisé
1/2 Oeuf (moyen)
1 CC d'Extrait naturel de vanille
1 Pincée de Sel de mer
150g de Farine blanche, tamisée
1 CC de Poudre à lever
Noix de coco rapée
Cranberries séchées

1. Préchauffer le four à 180° C (350° F).
2. Battre le beurre en pommade avec le sucre.
3. Battre l'oeuf avec la vanille et le sel.
4. Ajouter ce mélange au beurre en pommade et bien battre afin d'obtenir un mélange homogène.
5. Mélanger la farine avec la poudre à lever et ajouter au mélange beurre/sucre/oeuf/vanille. Bien incorporer.
6. Former des petites boules de la taille d'une noix avec la pâte et les rouler dans la noix de coco afin de les recouvrir entièrement.
7. Mettre les boules sur une plaque recouverte de papier sulfurisé et applatir légèrement.
8. Poser (en pressant légèrement) un morceau de cranberry sur chaque cookie.
9. Cuire pendant 10 à 15 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que les cookies soient dorés.
10. Laisser refroidir sur une grille.

Vous pouvez aussi rouler ces cookies dans du son d'avoine et les décorer avec un petit morceau de cerise glacée (la recette originale ne contient pas de cranberries).
La recette originale contient 65g de margarine et 40g de saindoux. J'ai choisi de les remplacer par du beurre.
Conserver les cookies pas plus de 5 jours dans une boîte à biscuits.

Idées de présentation:
Servir les Melting Moments à n'importe quelle heure de la journée avec une bonne tasse de café ou de thé.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


My trip to Zweisimmen continued...

After having crossed the quaint village of Zweisimmen, we thought that it would be great if we walked along the Little Simme and the (big) Simme rivers (both rivers meet in Zweisimmen).

This health trail is very easy and so pleasurable. It invites the walkers and mountainbikers to marvel at the magnificent Simmental farmhouses and spectacular landscapes worthy of a Bollywood film (did you know that they are filmed in the Swiss Alps?). It is impossible to be insensible in front of so much beauty!

We enjoyed every minute of our little walk (2km), let the pure air of the mountain clean our lungs, drank gallons ice-cold water from the farm fountains that we found on our path and got sunburnt (ouch!). The scenery was so stunning and we were so blessed by the weather that I could not stop taking pictures.

To be continued next week....

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Wow, time passes at the speed of light! This week Weekend Cat Blogging is celebrating it's 5 years of existence and Breadchick and LB at "The Sour Dough" (USA) are happy to announce that they are hosting this special edition of WCB...

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.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Since 2007 I have been reading so many positive comments regarding former Chez Panisse pastry chef and author David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments" that it was impossible for me to resist the temptation of trying one of his wonderful recipes before adding this book to my shopping list...

As we are getting juicy, perfectly ripe, exh
aliratingly fragrant and candy-like strawberries from Switzerland and as the temperatures have risen a little (29° C/84° F) lately, I thought that it would be a great opportunity to test David's mouthwatering "Strawberry Sorbet". I mean, there isn't a better way of using strawberries without altering their natural taste and adding any overpowering flavor - it is important to be able to taste the delicate and original fragrance of the fruits used, especially if the fruits are really good).

This "Strawberry Sorbet" is very easy to make and so delicious. It is delightfully fruity, fresh, sweet and has just the right amount of tartness. The addition of Kirsch is imperceptible. This cherry spirit is totally undetectable, yet it seems to add a layer of flavor to the sorbet, a little "je ne sais quoi" and, of course, it lowers the the freezing temperature, resulting in a softer, smoothier (not icy) and fluffier texture.

I was really satisfied with this "Strawberry Sorbet" recipe. The sorbet was so heavenly that I had to make some more the next day. I am really looking forward to being the happy owner of David Lebovitz's very promising book!

~ Strawberry Sorbet ~
Recipe adapted from "The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments" by David Lebovitz, published by Ten Speed Press.

Makes about 3 cups or 750ml.

500g (17 oz) Strawberries, rinsed and hull removed
3/4 Cup (150g) Castor sugar
1 Tsp Kirsch (optional/see remarks)
1 Tsp Fresh lemon juice
A pinch of sea salt

1. Cut the strawberries in small slices. Combine them with the sugar and kirsch in a medium bowl. Stir so that the sugar starts to dissolve.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic cling wrap. Refrigerate for one hour without forgetting to stir once or twice during the cooling process.
3. Put the contents of the bowl in a blender and purée the strawberries and their liquid together with the lemon juice and sea salt until it is homegenous in texture.
4. Sieve the mixture in order to remove the seeds (I didn't do that/optional).
5. Put the mixture in your ice cream maker and start churning until it is no more runny and a gelato-like dense texture.

You can replace the kirsch with another alcohol ou just leave it out.
It is possible to replace the alcohol by the same quantity balsamic vinegar (it enhances the flavor of strawberries).
You can also spice your sorbet with mint, basil, pepper, etc...

Serving suggestions:
Serve this sorbet with fresh berries or any fruit of your choice.
You can also accompany it with cookies (Almond Biscotti, Italian Ricotta Cookies, Tuiles, etc...) or a slice of cake (Almond Cake From Reims, Lemon Chestnut Cake, Orange Cornmeal Cake, etc...).


~ Sorbet A La Fraise ~
Recette adaptée du livre "The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments" par David Lebovitz.

Donne 750 ml de glace.

500g Fraises, rinsées et équeutées
150g de Sucre cristallisé
1 CC de Kirsch (en option/voir remarques)
1 CC de Jus de citron frais
Une pincée de sel de mer

1. Couper les fraises en petits morceaux. Les mettre dans un bol et ajouter le sucre ainsi que le kirsch et bien mélanger.
2. Mettre les fraises au frigo pendant 1 heure et remuer de temps en temps afin que le sucre se dissolve.
3. Dans un mixer, réduire les fraises en une purée fine avec le citron et le sel.
4. Passer le mélange au chinois afin d'enlever les graines (je ne l'ai pas fait).
5. Mettre le mélange au frigo. Le transférer dans la sorbetière eafin d'obtenir un mélange dense et ayant la texture d'une glace.

Vous pouvez remplacer le kirsch par l'alcool de votre choix ou ne pas ajouter d'alcool du tout.
Il est possible de remplacer l'acool par la même quantité de vinaigre balsamique (réhausse la saveur).
A vous de voir si vous désirez épicer votre sorbet avec de la menthe, basilic, du poivre, etc...

Idées de présentation:
Servez ce sorbet avec des baies ou le(s) fruit(s) de votre choix.
Vous pouvez aussi manger ce sorbet avec des cookies (Biscotti Aux Amandes, Cookies Italiens A La Ricotta, Tuiles, etc...) ou du cake (Gâteau De Reims, Cake Au Citron Et A La Farine De Châtaigne, Cake A l'Orange Et A La Farine De Maïs, etc...).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


My trip to Zweisimmen continued...

After our wonderful picnic in the cemetery, we thought that it would be a good idea to go for a walk around the place. So, we went back down into the village and headed toward the two Simme (Little Simme & Simme) rivers (hence the name Zweisimmen = two Simme).

Walking through Zweisimmen, one discovers many beautiful old (sometimes 150 years old or more) traditional Bernese Oberland chalets. With their imposing size, harmonious lines, dark weatherworn timber wood, pretty paintings (not all of them have paintings) and gorgeous carvings, they are real eye-catchers. Such awesome houses situated in a dreamlike environment offer an even more picture perfect vision!

Zweisimmen is an wonderful place for a family or couple holiday anytime of the year. It is the ideal location to explore the countryside, to go for long walks all around the region and to relax. This place is so quiet, the air is pure, the people are very charming and the landscapes are simply mindblowing. You can't ask for more.

As a child, I have spent many many summers and autums in Zweisimmen. We always stayed in an rustic chalet owned by two cattle farmers. We lived in the very minimalist yet cosy 3 room appartment on the second floor (see third picture/the chalet on the side of the hill). I really loved the veranda with the unobstucted view on the Rinderberg mountain, the atmospheric dimlit rooms, the creaking floors, the soothing sound of cowbells and of the fountain as well as the exhalirating smell of the fresh mountain air. Great memories.

To be continued next week....