Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Mandarins - Still Life
- Tangerine Dreams -

This picture was submitted to
"Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". This week it is hosted by Lynne at "Cafe Lynnylu" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


- Läckerli, A Taste Of Childhood -

If you are interested in getting the recipe for those delicious Swiss cookie bars, then head over there!

This picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". This week it is hosted by Deepali Jain at "Lemon in Ginger" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Me (many years ago)
- Me And My Cute Apron -

This picture was taken by my late grandfather (Roy Robinson aka Pop) in 1982 or 1983 and was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook" and which is graciously hosted by her this week (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).
This & That...
. Food Writer Friday is talking about me (link here).
. One of my recipes (Tapioca Pudding) has been featured in Yummy Magazine (browse through the magazine/feuilleter la magazine: here/ici - please note that the contents are entirely in French)!

Friday, March 7, 2014


I for one, completely believe in the notion of creativity being a thing that ebbs and flows, a tank that can fill up and run empty. If you are tapped out, putting your butt in the chair is a waste of time.Yep, I said it. Sometimes writing every day, no matter what, is not the best thing to do. In fact, I think it can be counterproductive. Attempting to force yourself, just putting down words for the sake of putting down words, even if it’s crap and will be edited later, can not only be a waste of time, but have a negative impact. When the mindset isn’t there, you’re better off doing things that will help refill that well of creativity.
- J.N. Duncan
Sometimes when your genius has been hijacked by artist’s block, your brain is drained, your passion for creating has deserted you and you are desperately struggling to find inspiration, taking a break and letting things go is highly recommended. In such circumstances, forcing your burned-out self to be productive leads to a dead end and will only worsen your case as proficiency is volatile like fire and as imprevisible as a wild horse. It cannot be tamed, controlled or commanded.

Creativity is not a bottomless pit and our resources are not endless. Hence, from time to time, we have to step away from it all in order to get our juices back and replenish our batteries; trying to start a car that has run out of gas is senseless and your efforts will be to no avail as long as you haven’t refuelled your vehicle. This is the reason why doing something completely unrelated areates our minds, offers us a different perspective, stimulates our imagination and helps us refill our creative tank.

One reason that people have artist’s block is that they do not respect the law of dormancy in nature. Trees don’t produce fruit all year long, constantly. They have a point where they go dormant. And when you are in a dormant period creatively, if you can arrange your life to do the technical tasks that don’t take creativity, you are essentially preparing for the spring when it will all blossom again.
- Marshall Vandruff
You are NOT a failure, so there’s no need to panic, beat yourself up over your lack of brilliantness, let your current state depress you and feel guilty about procrastinating. Each of us has been there more than once and it’s perfectly normal to go though periods of fruitlessness now and again.

Chalet Facade
Brain overload?

In nature, there is a seasonality to everything and the same applies to you; one day, your enthusiasm is at its peak and the next it is dead. Consequently, it is primordial to banish stress as well as negative thought patterns since they are extremely nocive and destructive. Instead of ruminating and focusing on your inability to accomplish your tasks, you’d better relax, breath in and out, savour each moment of your time-out, treat yourself lovingly and accept that you are functioning at a slower pace. Letting your creativity go dormant for a while can only have a positive effect on your intellect and ameliorate your morose mood.

Of course, aside from unwinding and escaping your stiffly studio/workroom, caring for your health is important too as emotional, spiritual and physical unwellness can be a hindrance to fecund ingenuity. Thus never neglect your heart, soul and body and don’t forget that all three also need to be nurtured and “fed”, otherwise they’ll continue cramping your creativity.

So, eat wholesome food and prepare energy boosting meals, exercise daily (work-out at the gym or go out for walks) and try to regain your interior balance/peace by sleeping enough, meditating, being optimistic, elevating your self-esteem, eleminating your crippling fears, steering clear from toxic people, surrounding yourself only with individuals who respect and appreciate/love you and solving your existential crisis(es). 

Autumn In Veyrier
Coming out of the tunnel...

Personally, I find that introspective and frivolous activities (contemplation, outdoor sports, reading, listening to music, visiting museums, travelling, socializing, partying, etc…) are the perfect remedy for my blockage as they stabilize me and break my routine, but there is no doubt that researching on the subject of your project, enrolling in workshops or finding a muse can also improve your situation drastically…

This is my two cents worth of advice, and you can take it or leave it. The thoughts and tips I have shared here with you are based on my latest experience with artist’s block, a crippling “illness” from which it is often difficult to recover as speedily as one desires.

Anyway, be reassured, I haven’t thrown the towel yet. The healing process has been activated and I’m fighting my demons with force and determination!

Meanwhile, here’s a recipe for the absolute best “Cinnamon Rolls” I have ever eaten. I hope you’ll enjoy these extremely soft, exquisitely lush and divinely boozy doughy treats as much as I did.

Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls With Baileys Icing
Recipe taken from Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art Of Extraordinary Bread" and adapted by myself.

Yields 8 to 12 servings.

Ingredients For The Dough:
6 1/2 Tbs (98g) Granulated/castor sugar
1 Tsp Fine sea salt
5 1/2 Tbs (83g) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Large egg, slightly beaten
1 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 Cups (480g) All-purpose flour
2 Tsp Instant yeast
1 1/8-1 1/4 Cups (270-300g) Whole milk, at room temperature

Ingredients For The Filling: 
1/2 Cup Cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tbs/98g light brown sugar plus 2 tsp ground cinnamon)

Ingredients For The Icing:
2 Cups (240g) Confectioner's sugar, sifted
4 Tbs (60g) Unsalted or salted butter, at room temperature
3-6 Tbs Baileys
1 Tsp Vanilla extract


1. In an electric mixer (paddle attachment) and on medium-high speed, cream together the sugar, salt and butter. Whip in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast and milk. Mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes, until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky (you may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture).

2. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

3. Mist your working surface with spray oil and transfer the dough to the working surface.

Cinnamon Rolls
4. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 1.6cm (2/3 inch) thick and 35cm (14 inches) wide by 30cm (12 inches) long (don´t roll out the dough too thin, otherwise the finished rolls will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump).

5. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and beginning at the 35cm (14 inches) end, roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces, each about 3.8cm (3/4 inches) thick.

6. Line one sheet pan with baking parchment and place the rolls approximately 1.5cm (1/2 inch) apart so that they aren´t touching, but are close enough to one another.

7. Let the rolls proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size (you may also retard the proofing by putting the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pan out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking, thus allowing the dough to proof).

8. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F) and
position a baking rack in the middle of the oven.

9. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

10. Cool the rolls in the pan for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile mix the butter, confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract together, then add the Baileys 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches the desired consistency. Streak the icing across the tops, while the rolls are warm but not too hot. Remove the rolls from the pans and place them on a cooling rack (wait for at least 20 minutes before serving).

If Baileys is not your cup of tea, you can substitute it with any other alcohol and if you dislike vanilla extract, you can also replace it with the flavoring of your choice (lemon extract, orange extract, coffee powder, etc...). And in case you prefer plain icing, then
make the glaze without any flavorings (use milk instead of Baileys).

Serving suggestions:
Serve with milk, tea or coffee.

Cinnamon Rolls Glacés Au Baileys
Recette tirée de "The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art Of Extraordinary Bread" par Peter Reinhart et adaptée par moi-même.

Pour 8 à 12 portions.

Ingrédients Pour La Pâte: 
98g de Sucre cristal 
1 CC de Sel de mer fin 
83g de Beurre non-salé, à température ambiante
1 Gros œuf, légèrement battu 
1 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure
480g de Farine blanche 
2 CC de Levure en sèche instantanée
270-300g ml de Lait entier, à la température ambiante
Ingrédients Pour La Garniture: 
1/2 Tasse de Sucre à la cannelle (98g de sucre brun clair/cassonnade + 2 CC de cannelle en poudre) 
Ingrédients Pour Le Glaçage:
240g de Sucre en poudre, tamisé
4 CS de Beurre non-salé ou salé, à température ambiante
3-6 CS de Baileys 
1 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure

Dans un robot de cusine (batteur plat) et à vitesse moyennement élevée, battre le sucre, le sel et le beurre
en crème. Ajouter l'oeuf ainsi que l'extrait de vanille et battre jusqu'à consistance lisse. Puis ajouter la farine, la levure et le lait. Mélanger le tout à vitesse basse, jusqu'à ce que la pâte forme une boule. Remplacer le batteur plat par un crochet pétrisseur et pétrir la pâte à vitesse moyenne, pendant environ 10 minutes, ou jusqu'à ce que la pâte soit souple, soyeuse, humide, mais pas collante (afin d'obtenir cette texture, ajouter un peu de farine - si trop sèche - ou d'eau - si trop mouillée). 

2. Huiler légèrement un grand bol et y transférer la pâte (bien l'enduire d'huile en la faisant tourner dans le bol). Couvrir le bol d'un film plastique et laisser lever à température ambiante pendant environ 2 heures, ou jusqu'à ce que la pâte ait doublé de volume. 

3 . Brumiser votre surface de travail avec de l'huile et y déposer la pâte.

4. Etaler la pâte en un rectangle d'environ 1,6 cm d'épaisseur et de 35cm x 30cm, tout en saupoudrant légèrement le dessus de celle-ci avec de la farine pour l'empêcher de coller au rouleau (ne pas étaler la pâte trop finement autrement les petits pains seront durs et secs au lieu d'être moelleux et humides). 

5. Saupoudrer le sucre à la cannelle sur la surface de la pâte et enrouler la pâte en commençant par replier le bord le plus long pour obtenir un long rouleau. Couper la pâte en 8 à 12 morceaux chacun d'environ 3,8 cm d'épaisseur. 

6. Tapisser une plaque à pâtisserie avec du papier sulfurisé et placer les petits pains sur la plaque en laissant un espace d'environ 1,5 cm entre eux, de sorte à ce qu'ils ne se touchent pas mais qu'ils soient tout de même assez proches les uns des autres. 

7. Laisser vos cinnamon rolls lever à température ambiante pendant 75 à 90 minutes, ou jusqu'à ce qu'ils aient presque doublé de volume (vous pouvez également retarder le processus en les mettant au réfrigérateur - pendant 2 jours au maximum/retirer la plaque du réfrigérateur 3 à 4 heures avant la cuisson afin de permettre aux cinnamon rolls de lever). 

8. Placer une grille au milieu du four et préchauffer le four à 180° C (350 ° F). 

9. Faire cuire les cinnamon rolls pendant 20 à 30 minutes, ou jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient légèrement dorés.

10. Les laisser refroidir dans la plaque pendant environ 10 minutes. pendant ce temps, mélanger ensemble le sucre en poudre, le beurre et l'extrait de vanille, puis ajouter le Baileys une CS à la fois, jusqu'à obtention de la consistance désirée. Etaler le glaçage sur les petits pains encore chauds (mais pas trop). Retirer les cinnamon rolls de la plaque et les mettre sur une grille de refroidissement (attendre au moins 20 minutes avant de les manger).

Si le Baileys n'est pas votre tasse de thé, vous pouvez le remplacer par tout autre alcool de votre choix (liqueur de café, whisky, liqueur d'orange, etc...). Il en va de même avec l'extrait de vanille (extrait de citron, extrait d'orange, café en poudre, etc .. ). Et au cas où vous préféreriez les glaçages simples, utiliser du lait à la place du Baileys et de la vanille.

Idées de présentation:
Servir avec un verre de lait, du thé ou du café.

Cinnamon Rolls

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Rustic Charm - Petit-Veyrier (Geneva, Switzerland)
- A Rural Scene -

Picture taken in Petit-Veyrier (Geneva, Switzerland) - November 2013.

This picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". It will be hosted on the 5th of March by Cinzia at "Cindystarblog" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).