Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sneak preview: Newly renovated apartment in Paris!

After 8 months of smashing, breaking walls, cementing, carrying, rebuilding, painting, hammering, sleeping in sleeping bags, eating pizza (Can’t look at pizza for a while), spending 6 hours per Sunday in Ikea and Leroy Merlin, trucking rubbish to the tip, and oh-so-much more, we are nearly there! Wonderful J is such a handyman! Here are a few pictures before I do a full post with before and after shots.

I am so excited! Our new home is finally finished!

xxx

Kuala Lumpur: Poco Homemade

Poco Homemade in Kuala Lumpur is just precious. It’s a cosy hangout where attention to detail is taken seriously… and delicious food to boot!

The café offers Japenese food and a surprisingly big Western-inspired cake selection.


Poco Homemade focuses on serving healthy and simple Japanese meals which are the perfect kinds of meals to share.

This is a family-run business, and the food is all homemade, hence the name of the café.

Some of the crafts and knitted items are for sale which certainly adds to the intrigue and charm of this café.

If I didn’t know about this place and walked by, I would certainly want to go in!

Next time you are in Kuala Lumpur, stop by and say hello to the lovely people at Poco Homemade.

1, Lorong Kurau
59100 Bangsar
Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2287 5688
E: poco.homemade@gmail.com

xx

Health Benefits of Matcha – the magic powder that got me through my degree

Never heard of it? It is ground green tea.  Yet to be discovered as it deserves, matcha is not only amazing for your health, but its also so delicious! Buddhist monks once consumed Matcha in preparation for enduring 12-hour straight meditation sessions

A cancer-fighter, a fat-burner, and much more, matcha leaves other green teas far behind.Let me sum up why this powdered green tea is such a miracle food:

- The health benefits of matcha tea exceed those of green tea because when you drink matcha you ingest the whole leaf, not just the brewed water. This really does set green tea and matcha apart.. who would have known! If you ingest the whole leaf you are taking advantage of so many goodies: chlorophyl,  antioxidants including the powerful EGCg, vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium and many more!

- One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of its nutritional value and antioxidant content. I can promise you, it gives you this incredible pep after drinking it and it isn’t even comparable to coffee!

-Matcha contains over 70 times the anti-oxidants of fresh orange juice, and over 9 times the beta carotene of spinach.


(Image sourced here)

So what does matcha do for you?

-Boosts metabolism and burns calories
-Detoxifies effectively and naturally
- Calms and relaxes
- Enhances mood and aids in concentration
- Fights against viruses and bacteria
- Is rich in fiber
- Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
- Does not raise insulin levels

The best news is that you can make wonderful recipes with matcha. Matcha lattés, matcha madeleines, matcha cupcakes, matcha marble cake.

I didn’t want to drain you with figures and facts, but inspire you to try this wonderful superfood!

xx

Elodie Garbé: Crolette Blog

Cette fille ne cesse pas de m’impressionner avec ses dessins. Comme vous pouvez le voir, son style a une telle polyvalence, elle peut simplement tout faire! Ses dessins sont pleins d’énergie et créativité.

Je lui ai posé quelques questions pour vous donner une idée de ce qui se passe dans cette tête créative!

Tu a fais ton premier dessin à quel age?
Je ne sais pas… mais quand je regarde mes premiers dessins style bonhomme têtard je me dis que je n’étais pas très avancée pour mon âge. Sauf une peinture de dernière section de maternelle qui envoie du lourd tellement elle est belle!


Quand tu étais petite, qu’est-ce que tu avais tendance à dessiner?
J’avais tendance à copier sur mon grand frère. Donc je dessinais des maisons avec des portes de garage que j’interprétais comme étant des ballons attachés à la maison. C’est difficile pour moi d’en parler car ça a été une grande source de conflit entre lui et moi à l’époque. Sinon je dessinais l’unique animal de compagnie que nous avons eu: un poisson rouge représenté avec sa gigantesque crotte multicolore de 3km.

Quelles ont été tes inspirations?
Mes premières inspirations sont rattachées aux univers de l’enfance avec Zep, Claude Pontil et Tim Burton. Puis quand je me suis lancée dans les études d’illustration ça a été la découverte. Les illustrateurs jeunesse reste toujours dans le top 10, mais au fil des années je me suis ouverte autant à la nouvelle bande dessiné qu’au graphisme ou qu’aux illustrateurs moderne.Sinon mes coups de cœurs de ces derniers mois sont l’acquisition de “pinocchio”de Winshluss, les illustratrices Peppermints, Anne Brunet, et Dass Kopf une jeune graphiste-illustratrice.

Aujourd’hui quel est ton rêvé en tant qu’artiste?
Mon rêve en tant qu’artiste a longtemps été de pouvoir rester dans ma chambre en peignoir à dessiner du matin au soir. Mais pour l’avoir déjà expérimenté je peux vous assurer que je n’ai pas tenu plus d’un mois. L’homme ne peut rester enfermer à se nourrir de pépito et de thé. Mais mise à part le rêve de chaque artiste qui est de pouvoir vivre de son art, mon rêve serait de pouvoir éditer mes livres pour enfant, de bosser sur un projet qui demanderait de concevoir et de fabriquer des décors pour le cinéma, le théâtre ou la télévision. Et avec le temps et l’expérience se serait de monter un collectif ou une agence constituée uniquement d’amis talentueux.

Où est-ce que tu aimes aller passer ton temps libre?
Dans la cuisine de mes amis,sur les quais, au fond de mon lit entouré de BD ou à écouter de la musique, au bar avec des amis et des bonnes bière.

Quelles sont les artistes qui te font rêver?
Pénélope Bagieu me fait rêver par sa simplicité. Korali et Supakitch parce qu’ils travaillent en couple. Pepperminte parce qu’elle vie en Australie et qu’elle fait toute seule ses robes.

Quel est ton dream job?
Mon dream job dans un futur pas si lointain serait de travailler dans un studio qui fait des dessins animés.

Quel est ton idée d’une journée parfaite?
La journée parfaite se serait d’avoir une musique qui me suivrait partout et qui  s’adapterait à mon humeur.

Pour toi, c’est quoi l’homme parfait?
C’est un homme sur lequel on n’a rien envie de changer, et qui n’essayera pas de nous changer.

Que fais-tu quand tu ne sais plus quoi dessiner?
Je dessine n’importe quoi.

Ton repas préféré?
Le petit déjeuner compte comme un repas?

Tu peux nous expliquer l’histoire de ce dessin?
Ma petite sœur ne supporte pas les petits noms affectueux et niais, comme “ma petite princesse” ça l’a fait se transformer en crapaud garou.

Tu t’imagines comment dans 20 ans?
Je partirai en tourné mondial pour la dédicace de l’ultime volume du karma sutra illustré.

Elodie peut faire vos petits dessins pour vos sites,des fresques murales pour chambre, des dessins pour vos blogs, des dessins de couple, invitations de mariage, d’anniversaire, entre autres, il suffit d’envoyer un email: garbe.elodie@gmail.com

In Amsterdam the water is the mistress and the land the vassal

Amsterdam, one of my true loves. I just adore this precious little city.

J and I have been 3 times now, and each time fallen more in love with this place. It feels a lot more friendly than Paris and still has a small town feeling despite being a capital city. Amsterdam is a sassy mix of charm and crass. No other city does it like Amsterdam. Children pedal to school as if in a small town and pairs of police add no stress to the laid-back scene. Tourists crawl out of the station, keen to explore.

We spent a night in Den Haag and Leiden because we have friends there. The photo below is of J in Den Haag.

We enjoyed a leisurely walk in the forest in Den Haag. It’s easy to forget how good this makes you feel.

I came across this little guy in the forest, hand-carved and everything.

Back to our roots in the forest!

Another creature

The King!

Shabby chic bike, the best colour!

Going to Amsterdam has made me really interested in the history of this place. Did you know that in the 16th century, the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam was a fortified marina of 30,000 people, mostly merchants, who welcomed ships loaded with material delights from every corner of the trading world? I know that Dutch trading was big, but not to that extent. They’d enter the town from where the train station stands today, parading like pirates with plunder to the commercial altar of the town — the customs and weigh house next to the City Hall on Dam Square, where they docked and unloaded.

The little houses are just divine! Even this shop, which sells an incredible range of condoms in all shapes and sizes, is cute and somewhat classy.

Dutch cheese, the French would argue that it tastes like cheese, but I think it’s nice. I particularly like the presentation. This shop in the main shopping street really caught my eye. It was like the Apple shop of cheese. So organised!

J and I then strolled through Amsterdam, miraculously the sun had come out, to find our rumbling tummies something to eat.

What I find incredible, is that all the houses are different. If you look at a block of houses, they are all varied.

J and mini door.

We found food! Herengracht gave us just what we were after. Herengracht is actually one of the names of the three main canals.

We were seated right next to the canal so we watched the boats glide by.

Orange? It’s the national colour, and the whole city would transform into an orange sea in the next 24 hours for Queen’s Day, their biggest party of the year.

Rocking my Karen Walker’s, love those sunnies!

J too happy to be tucking into his meal.

Eggs Benedict, my fav!

Does anybody know the name of these trees? They are so delightful to look at. Twisted and old looking like an old lady’s hand.

Orange for Queen’s Day.

The beginning of the party.

Visiting the apartment that we celebrated the day in changed my life. It was one of the most incredible apartments that I have ever seen. It looked right over the canal but in a quiet area and everything in this apartment appealed to me.

This is what this magic apartment looks out over, not bad huh?

So what is Queen’s Day all about?It is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Celebrated on 30 April (the 29th if the 30th falls on a Sunday), Koninginnedag (name in Dutch) is Queen’s Beatrix’s official celebration day. Though Queen Beatrix was born on 31 January, the holiday is observed on 30 April as it was the birthday of her mother and predecessor, Juliana. Many of the traditional activities are held outside, and observing the holiday in April makes suitable weather more likely. We were so lucky!!

Feeling the spirit!

Our good friend with crazy glasses, J and I looking somewhat silly!

Amsterdam’s charm — a fun mix of modern and faded elegance — is best enjoyed on foot (ideally with French fries). Take it all in and then pause to watch the sunset, as the Golden Age is reflected in a quiet canal. Just brilliant!

xx

Special visitors in France

In October of last year my wonderful parents visited me in Paris. After an emotional reunion at the airport we had a few fun-filled weeks in Paris and Bourgogne (the wine region) to explore together.

It had been a big transition for me moving to Paris from Melbourne so it was great to see my folks to make me feel a bit of home.

It’s always interesting to hear the “outsider” perspective on Paris, because I seem to adopt the opinions of the Parisians and when friends and family visit me in Paris I realise how immersed I have become.

This florist is just wonderful, it is just near to my old uni Sciences Po, in Rue Bernard Palissy at Saint Germain Des Pres. My favourite things in this florist are the little flower pots covered in moss.

(Sorry for the photo overload I got a bit excited!)

After admiring the rose, I told this rather cheesy couple shot of my parents.

And another..

Cluny is a remarkable city, it is so old! Cluny is situated in the Saone et Loire departement in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France. It is 20 km northwest of Macon. The town grew up around the Benedictine Cluny Abbey, founded by the Duke Wiliam I of Aquitaine in 910. The height of Cluniac influence was from the second half of the 10th century through the early 12th.

This medieval city contains so much history, we were astonished!

The abbey in Cluney was sacked by the Huguenots in 1562 and many of the valuable manuscripts were destroyed or removed.

Looking pretty good for it’s age I say!

This place was just so romantic and the burnt colours of Autumn made me head-over-heels.

Dad couldn’t believe his eyes, he loves history!

Next stop was Puligny Montrachet.
In the middle of the Cote de Beaune, it is a well-known appellation of Burgundy wine, containing one of the most famous vineyards in the world, Montrachet.

Even though it was cold (should I say freezing?), we were lucky enough to have an array of pretty colours that are associated with Winter and it was worth battling the brisk Winter air to see it all!

Love the cobble stones!

Who wouldn’t love to have this outside their little window?

Fairy floss

Adorable little girl with her cigar smoking father

We went to a few local markets and the maternal instinct in me made me feel like buying a country home and cooking for 10 hungry children.

At our B&B

Cheese!

We stayed in a wonderful place in Puligny Montrachet called Domaine des Anges. It is run by an English couple and the service was just perfect. Lady Celine and Sir John are as close as it can get to the incarnation of perfect hosts on earth. They work together extremly well and organisation is certainly their strong point! The place is a typical Bourgogne countryside house, totally renovated with an amazingly well kept garden and courtyard. The beds are comfortable, and I even had a bath each night before bed which was such a luxury. The warm colors and choice of furniture inside make it irresistibly cozy and comfy.

So many pumpkins!

As you can see, these local markets are really doing what all big cities aren’t: eating local, fresh, seasonal food. It would be enough to make me move here (don’t tell J)

Snails on pizza… who would have thought?!

The view from my room at Domaine des Anges. Just perfect.
The best part: sharing breakfast with other guests with fine homemade marmalades, fresh generous croissants, eggs, cheese from the region, fresh baguette, plate of ham, and … a surprise delicacy every morning (first day was cooked apple and cinnamon, second day freshly cut pineapple, third day freshly cut pink grapefruit). Details were taken care of like fresh flowers every morning set on the dining table. I loved the way they set the table!

(Sorry for the photo overload I got a bit excited!)

Looking at these photos made me want to go back and do it all again!

Have you been to Bourgogne in France? What is your most loved wine? (French or other?)

xx

France 2 “C’est au programme”- Mon grand début!

Comment est-ce arrivé? Je ne sais pas, mais j’en suis ravie. Une journaliste m’a contacté et puis voilà, le tournage aura lieu cette semaine!

C’est au programme  est une emission de television francaise matinale diffusée depuis 1998 sur France 2 et présentée par Sophie Davant. L’émission aborde chaque matin de nombreux sujets (culture, santé, voyages et cuisine) présentés par des chroniqueurs, pour un public plutôt féminin.

Je suis enchantée de présenter 2 recettes dont une salée, une sucrée! L’émission passera le 20 juin.

Je vais vous montrer en avant première ce que je vais présenter!

J’ai reçu donc le robot KRUPS que je vais utiliser pour l’émission cet après-midi.

Le plat sucré- Mousse Choco-Meringue! J’adore, et J adore

Le plat salé- Tarte Tatin de Tomates aux Échalotes.

Installé chez moi!

J’ai qu’à m’entraîner et je serai prête!

Ginger- the universal medicine.

The magic food. What does it do you ask? What doesn’t it do!

For the botanists, a bit of background: The ginger plant is a perennial creeper which requires a tropical climate with heavy rainfall and a hot dry season for cultivation.

For my whole life, thanks to my Modern-Hippy Parents, it has been a part of my diet and I can promise you that it has made a difference. What’s more, it adds a zesty and pungent flavour to our dishes. Here are some of the top health benefits of this wondrous root:

-Ginger is a wonderful “carminative”(promoter of the elimination of internal gases) and “intestinal spasmolytic” (soothes the intestinal tract).

-The intake of ginger helps stimulate the secretion of mucus, quieting your cough and soothing any scratchiness in your throat. I drink about a thermos of it daily while I work.

- It contains vitamins such as B6, C and E, and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, manganese and zinc.

-Ginger has been proven (in multiple studies) to treat  nausea, particularly in the form of seasickness, morning sickness, motion sickness, period pain and as a side effect of chemotherapy. I often feel neausea when I am stressed and ginger really does help me.

-Ginger contains anti viral, anti toxic, and anti fungal properties, and is used for the prevention of and treatment against the common cold. When I have a cold I do two things: grate about a thumb-size piece of ginger and mix it with a spoon of honey and eat it. This is pretty intense if you aren’t used to ginger but it makes you feel alive! Otherwise, grate it and boil it in water and serve with a drop of tea tree oil and honey. It will soothe your throat instantly.

-Ginger displays anti inflammatory properties and can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and various other muscular disorders.

-Ginger contains special enzymes responsible for catalyzing the proteins in your food, thus aiding in digestion and the prevention of cramps. The ancient Greeks used to eat ginger after a large meal in order to ease the digestion process. In Ayurvedic tradition, candied ginger can be eaten after a meal to promote digestion. I have this after my evening meal, and it’s delish!

-Due to its promotion of mucus secretion, ginger protects against the development of ulcers (in your mouth and stomach) unwanted holes in the lining of your stomach. (Sounds gross huh?)

-Ginger has proven to help lower your cholesterol levels and prevent the formation of blood clots.

-Ginger is often used to settle an upset stomach or treat severe stomach ailments such as dyspepsia or colic. It is frequently used today in developing countries to treat diarrhea.

Need a big detox? Check out this crazy post from one of my favourite blogs around!

For some wise words from the beautiful Miranda Kerr click here.

Last week I bought a huge piece of ginger and I’m going strong!

Get on it, folks!

xxx

The last few weeks summed up in photos.

These last couple of weeks were full of catch ups, reunions, and lovely evenings.

It’s wonderful to catch up with new and old friends.

There are lots more to come too!

x

Tomber dans les pommes: Tarte Tatin

Need something to cook this weekend? This is just such a classic, is not at all heavy, and is really easy to make. The perfect desert for both Summer and Winter. Really good in Winter served warm with a bit of cream or ice cream.

A bit of history, for those history fans…
The Tarte Tatin was first created by accident at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, about 100 miles (160 km) South of Paris, in the 1880s. The hotel was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin . There are conflicting stories concerning the tart’s origin, but the most common is that Stéphanie Tatin, who did most of the cooking, was overworked one day. She started to make a traditional apple pie but left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. Smelling the burning, she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples, quickly finishing the cooking by putting the whole pan in the oven. After turning out the upside down tart, she was surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert. In an alternative version of the tart’s origin, Stéphanie baked a caramelized apple tart upside-down by mistake. Regardless she served her guests the unusual dish hot from the oven and a classic was born.

Now, for that recipe!

I highly reccoment making the pastry the day before. The pastry I am taking about here is a “pâte brisée” which is a rich and buttery flavor and is crisp and crumbly in texture. It works for both sweet (sucré) and savory (salé) tarts, pies and quiches. I usually make it in advance so that the pastry can rest overnight, and if you freeze it, it can be stored for about 3-4 weeks. You can defrost the pastry overnight (remember to put it in a bowl because it will leave a puddle in your fridge!)

J‘s Dad and I made this Tarte Tatin a while back and it’s just so delish!

For the pastry you will need: (for 950g of pastry- 3 large tartes for 8 people or 30 mini tartes)

500 g flour
20g caster sugar
15g salt
350-400g salt
2 eggs
2-3 teaspoons of milk

It is possible to use around 150g of salted butter if you like your pastry salty but not more or else it won’t be edible.

In an electric mixer, mix the salt and the sugar with the butter. Add the eggs and milk, mix for a few seconds then add the flour all at once (not bit by bit or else it will get over-mixed and hard)

Mix the pastry for the shortest time possible, just making sure everything is mixed in and there are no flour lumps. It shouldn’t be “elastic” and if there are small bits of butter in the pastry this is not a problem.

Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and divide into 3 pieces. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the freezer to chill for at least an hour.

Now, preheat the oven to 250C/500F.

You can use any apples you like, depending on where you are from, but try and use ones that don’t totally lose their shape because otherwise it will turn into apple compote!

For the filling:

  • Around 7-8 apples, cored and cut into 8-12 wedges
  • ¼ lemon
  • 110g/4oz caster sugar
  • 110g/4oz butter

Get the apples prepared, peel them and cut them into chunky pieces.

Sprinkle 85g/3oz of the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan and place on the hob over a medium heat, turning the pan frequently and making sure the sugar doesn’t burn.

Allow the sugar to caramelise a little and become a pale golden brown, then arrange the drained apple pieces in one layer over the bottom of the pan.

Before adding the apples we put in a bit of lemon juice for zest!

Unlike some recipes, we put the apples over the heat on a very low heat to caramalise them with the sugar for a while before putting in the oven. This takes around 10 minutes.

Cinnamon is always a must!

And a bit of butter so that it doesn’t stick.

When the apples start to steam like this, it’s a good sign, and you can now get the pastry ready.

Sprinkle the remaining sugar on the apples. Roll out one of the 1/3′s of pastry that you put in the freezer or fridge earlier and put it of the top of the semi-cooked apples. Pat it down.

Bake until the pastry is golden brown – about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for a minute or two.

YUMM!

Tap the pan sharply a few times all round with a wooden spoon, then lift off. The tart should be left on the serving dish with the apple on top.

Zozo loves it!

Not much left… :)

For those who are very keen and would like to find the perfect apple for their Tarte Tatin:

Originally, the Tarte Tatin was made with two regional apple varieties: Reine des Reinettes (King of the Pippins), and Calville.Over the years, other varieties have tended to displace them, including Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Gala. When choosing apples for a Tarte Tatin, as I mentioned above, it is important to pick some that will hold their shape while cooking, and not melt into apple sauce. In North America, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith or Jonathan or Jonathan are excellent choices.

Tarte Tatin can also be made with pears,peaches, pineapple, tomatoes or vegetables, such as onion.

Bon appétit!

xxxx