Monday, 30 October 2017

Lemon Curd Biscuits

In May, when I saw this recipe on Monica’s blog “Playing with Flour” I bookmarked it immediately. At the end of the day when I got home, I made it. My kitchen smelled incredibly good. That same evening, I took these photos. If you are fond of slightly crunchy biscuits with a strong flavour of lemon, I recommend these beauties. They are very easy to make and are a wonderful lemon curd biscuit to eat or, why not, to offer. They were a huge success, that is why I am planning to make some as a Christmas gift.

For the lemon curd:
1 large egg
30g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon (40g)

Place egg, butter, sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl set above a pan of simmering water. Stir and cook, allowing butter to melt, continuing until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes, the consistency should be like soft jelly. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a separate bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the curd and let cool (you can do this a day ahead). You will use a portion for the biscuits and save the rest for another use.

For biscuits (I made 16 biscuits each weighing 24 g):
100g salted butter, softened
40g granulated sugar
40g light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
40g lemon curd
175g flour

Preheat oven to 190C.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon zest together (using a handheld mixer) until soft and creamy.  Stir in 40g of the homemade lemon curd.  
Work in the flour to make dough.  Use a teaspoon to place small scoops of the dough onto the baking sheet.  Flatten each slightly.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until biscuits are golden.  Transfer biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: The biscuits taste best the day they’re made. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Volume mascara for a dramatic eye look!!

I do not know how to put on makeup and to be honest I have never really liked putting it on. But, for special occasions, I use a red lipstick and Lancôme Beauty Balm (BB cream), I brush a finishing powder on top and then I apply mascara.

In early June, I tried this mascara and loved it; it was a really good surprise. The result is spectacular - long and voluminous eyelashes and it did not provoke any allergies, so I went back to the store and bought it.

For girls like me looking for a super effective mascara, I recommend “The Colossal Go Extreme - Volume Express” by Maybelline. It leaves the eyelashes blacker, with more volume up to the tips and without lumps and it makes an intense and dark look.

Ophthalmologist tested. Suitable for contact lens wearers.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Caribbean Pineapple Cake

The pineapple cake was my favourite when I was a child. Mum used to make this cake very often; it didn’t last the day…

At the end of May, during a bank holiday, I decided to make pineapple cake. But this time, I wanted to try a Caribbean recipe. It is identical to Mum’s recipe, but you add spices, rum and lime.

Believe me, we enjoyed this Caribbean pineapple cake - very light, not too sweet, and delicately flavoured with lime, vanilla cinnamon and nutmeg. If you are attracted by exotic flavours, you will adore it.

Recipe from « Le livre de recettes de Tatie Maryse »

200g half-salted butter, softened
250 g cane sugar (I used 200g)
100 g cane sugar for the caramel
200 g flour
6 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 can of pineapple (with 10 slices, and keep 200 ml of the pineapple syrup)
1 lime
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Nutmeg (freshly grated)
1 vanilla bean
2 tbsp of old rum
20 ml of old rum (for the syrup)
* 23 cm mould

Make the caramel with 100g of sugar and 40 ml of water added to 5 ml of lime juice.

Cover the mould with caramel in a uniform manner.

Drain the pineapple slices and keep the syrup.

Place the previously drained pineapple slices on the caramelised mould.

Now, start to prepare the dough. Mix the butter and sugar until you get a whitish frothy mixture.
Stir in the flour with the baking powder. Mix.

Stir in the egg yolks and mix again.

Add cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, vanilla bean seeds and the freshly grated zest of half a lime and 2 tbsp of old rum. Mix well.

In a bowl, whisk the whites.

Then, gently add the whites to the dough.

Pour the dough into the cooled pre-caramelised mould to bake in an oven preheated to 180ºC for 45 minutes.

Pineapple syrup and old rum preparation
In a saucepan pour 200 ml of pineapple syrup (from draining the pineapple slices) with 20 ml of old rum and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.

Unmould the cake while it is still warm - as soon as it is removed from the oven. Sprinkle it immediately with the syrup and rum mixture then let it soak quietly.

Note: eat at room temperature.
If you make this cake for children do not put rum in the syrup.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Homemade Manicure

Today, I will share with you very simple and effective tricks for homemade manicure. I’ve never been to a manicure or a pedicure salon. Honestly, I prefer to take care of myself, it is such a pleasure... I settle down comfortably, put on good music and turn off my cell phone. Then I start my manicure like this:

1) Gather all the necessary equipment to avoid having to search your beauty kit during the process.

2) Start by filing your nails, to harmonise their size.

3) Soften the cuticles by soaking your fingers in a small finger bowl filled with soapy water (I use a few drops of Marseille liquid soap which is very mild).

4) Dry your hand by holding a small towel and placing your hand on the towel.

5) Massage the cuticles with a cream to moisturise them. Then, gently push the cuticle and skin on each fingernail back with a stick or cuticle pusher. Do not cut them off. Be very gentle.

6) Wash your hands well with soap, to clear any grease on the nails, because grease prevents the nail polish from adhering well.

7) Once your nails are dry, apply a base coat and wait for about ten minutes. Adapt your base to your type of nails: soft, brittle, striated, etc. This step is essential: it prevents the pigments contained in the nail polish from penetrating into the nail and leaving yellow stains (Once a week I apply Ecrinal Nail Strengthener/Hardener or Mavala).

8) Then apply the nail polish in three brush strokes: one in the centre of the nail and then one on each side. Allow to dry for 10 minutes.

My favourite brand is Mavala - its products are excellent. Recently, I had a crush on their mini 5ml nail polish colour palettes with very sexy names such as Night Fever, Happy Cherry, Velvet, ​​Roma… These mini bottles cost around 5.75 euros.  The other brand which I'm fond of is Andreia.

9) Apply the second coat of nail polish in the same way and allow to dry for 40 minutes. This step is essential to let the nail polish gain a good “hold”.

10) The final step is to apply a hand cream (I am fond of Lavander by Aromas Artesanales De Antigua).

Tips: do not hesitate to take a manicure break. Leave your nails natural (without any nail polish) at least two weeks before the applying a new nail polish.

Et voilà. I hope you liked it and I wish you a good weekend of home pampering.

Monday, 16 October 2017

The cases that haunt us by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker (2000)

Of the many horrendous crimes that have been committed over the years, certain criminal cases seem to have lives of their own. Despite the passage of time, they continue their hold on our collective imagination, and our collective fears. For some reason, each of these cases and the stories surrounding them touches something deep in the human condition, whether it be the personalities involved, the senseless depravity of the crime, the nagging and persistent doubts about whether justice was actually done, or the tantalising fact that no none was caught…

 “Each of these cases we’ll be examining in this book has been extremely controversial, and in each case that controversy has continued. And each of these cases contains some universal truth at its base to which we can all relate. Taken together, they present a panorama of human behaviour under extreme stress and an inevitable commentary on good and evil, innocence and guilt, expectation and surprise.”

Author: John Douglas is known throughout the worldwide law enforcement community for his unsurpassed expertise in the realm of criminal personality profiling and modern investigative analysis. Mark Olshaker is an acclaimed novelist specialised in thrillers. Both men live in the Washington, D.C. area.

My thoughts: This is a very good book and an exhaustive look into some of the most notorious criminal cases. This book has a scientific approach (based on both psychological analysis and investigative work). The storyteller is engaging.
I was very young when I first heard of Jack the Ripper and I thought it was a tale akin to stories of monsters and witches. It possessed all the classic elements: a man emerging from the shadows wearing a cape, attacking woman and then vanishing without a trace, spreading fear in the city, a hunt put in place to catch him without success…It was much later, though, in my late teens, that I learnt, sadly, that it was a story about real crimes. While I was a student in London, I never went to the Whitechapel area (I cannot explain why…).  Brick Lane, a historic street in this district, is now a popular place for great Indian food. I recently went for some excellent Indian/Pakistani food there and strolled the infamous streets…
There has been much speculation, with somebody claiming to have discovered Ripper’s true identity on a regular basis. A multitude of books have been written about him, groups of Ripper amateur investigators have been created, films based on the case have been made, and so on. 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

September Monthly Round Up

LIFE LATELY: In early September, I went for a long stroll around Lake Geneva. I can’t express enough how much nature enriches my life. I adore writing posts about landscapes and strolls and I will continue to write about /photograph such things.

Villa Bartholoni at the Mon Repos Park overlooking Lake Geneva

Promenade du Lac by Lake Geneva

Fountain in the Jardin Anglais

Lake Geneva public beach in Eaux-Vives (Baby Plage). During the summer I loved taking a dip in the lake and sunbathing here. Swimming in this vivid water where the surrounding mountains are reflected is magical. This beach, composed of small pebbles, is an invitation to relax in the heart of Geneva.

That bank holiday weekend, the beach was empty, except for this courageous baby who came to wet his feet and this young man who came to sunbathe.

The Statue of La Bise by the sculptor Alfred Henri König, located on the Quai Gustave-Ador in Eaux-Vives.

BEAUTY PRODUCTS: I have renewed my stock of lipsticks; I picked up these two shades at The Body Shop “Matte Lip Liquid Lipstick Mauritius Dahlia 017” and “Matte Lip Liquid Lipstick Hahiti Hibiscus”.
I am fond of this season’s hottest lip colour trend. The creamy Matte Lip Liquid provides intense colour and a soft matte finish. The liquid lipstick is long-lasting, lightweight and lusciously soft.

PASTRY SHOP: Boulangerie des Bains (65, Rue des Bains). I am ashamed to say it, but I went past this bakery several times without ever stopping... it is while reading the newspaper that I learnt that Pierre and Jean (the pastry chefs) had twice won the prestigious Swiss Bakery Trophy which is the largest and most important contest of the bakery/confectionery industry in Switzerland.

I went there to pick up some cakes, I chose Blue (cherry almond mousse) and Red (fruit of the woods mousse) for our dessert at home. What a beautiful discovery!!!

BOOKS: When I need to unwind after a stressful day, I love to go to my local library to check their new book acquisitions and book releases. That day, I borrowed two books “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” by Mordecai Richler and “The Swans of Fifth Avenue” by Melanie Hausser (I will review this book soon).

WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: I re-read a fantastic book on the Tsar’s Family and Grigori Rasputi “Rasputin’s Daughter” by Robert Alexander. I really liked this book (first read in 2006) which I find has extraordinary depth and suspense. If you are a big fan of historical fiction and historical novels, you will love this book. This novel takes us into those turbulent days in the wake of the Russian Revolution, the strong relationship of the Romanovs with Rasputin, Rasputin’s family life and his final days. This is a captivating narrative about intrigue and conspiracy that reveals the shocking truth of Maria’s father’s end and the identity of those who participated in it.

RESTAURANTS: With lots of “escapades”, restaurant reviews have been a little forgotten these past months. But I had a few yummy meals in some lovely restaurants. I especially liked “Wine & Beef Fusterie”, a trendy restaurant in the heart of Geneva. As someone who is incredibly passionate about brasserie food, this was a perfect choice for an end of summer night out.

Before dinner at “Wine & Beef”, while waiting for Sweetheart, I went for an aperitif at “Thimothy Oulton & Lounge” which has an “oh so British” style and feel. Valter, the manager, spoiled me with lots of attention (a great welcome) and, while sipping a Cosmopolitan long drink I read a few pages of The Swans of Fifth Avenue! “Thimothy Oulton & Lounge” (42, rue du Rhône) is the perfect place to end a wonderful evening date with live music…

GENEVA BY NIGHT: That day the Jet d’Eau was dressed in pink in solidarity with breast cancer sufferers.

So what’s next? It is Sweetheart’s birthday soon and I’m looking forward to it. Apart from that, I actually don’t have anything else planned... at least at the time I am writing this post!!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Carac (Swiss chocolate cake)

Today, I want to share with you a typical Swiss cake - the Carac. It is a delicious shortbread pastry tart filled with chocolate ganache, enjoyed by young and old alike.

Its fascinating name is written as either “carac”, “karak”. It is unclear why it is so called, perhaps it could come from a “superior quality cocoa” produced in the vicinity of Caracas...

I made these at the end of May. This recipe is very easy - anyone can make it. I hope it will seduce you too:

Ingredients (serves 8, each tart weighs 50g):
16 mini tart shells of shortbread pastry (size 6-7 cm)
400 g of 70% cacao dark chocolate.
100 g butter
100ml cream

For glaze:
120 g icing sugar
3 tbsp water
Green food colouring

Heat the butter and the cream slowly in a saucepan, until the butter melts.

Add the dark chocolate in pieces, and let it melt until you get a cream.

Pour the mixture into the tartlets leaving 5 mm for the glazing.

Keep a small amount of the chocolate cream for the small chocolate pellet in the middle of the carac.

Allow to harden in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Prepare the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and 3 tbsp of water. Add a few drops of the food colouring (the colour should be light green).

Then cover the carac with a thin layer of the glaze.

Add a small drop of chocolate cream in the middle of the carac.

Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Note: You can make your tart shells with homemade shortbread pastry (380g flour, 250g softened butter, 125g sugar, 1 tsp vanilla sugar all mixed together. Leave the dough to rest, then bake at 180ºC for 20 minutes).

* Shortbread pastry: this pastry is used for sweet tarts and pies only. It’s very crumbly and buttery.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Another birthday celebration

Towards the end of August, I celebrated my birthday for the second time. As written in previous posts, I adore birthdays - they are like small, magical vacations....

That Saturday, we spent the morning, having a lovely breakfast and then went to the thermal baths – Les Bains de Lavey, before driving back to our secluded location in Heidi’s Country.

In the evening it was time to celebrate my birthday. I decided to have a barbecue. I had made a marvellous Nordic Potato Salad and Mint Lamb (recipes from a cookbook). The lamb was cooked to perfection by Sweetheart - juicy and tender with amazing flavours…

For birthday cake, I picked the regional speciality Galette Valaisanne from our local  bakery.  This is a typically Valaisan tart, made of shortbread pastry, extremely rich and tasty, stuffed with apricot or raspberry jam.

I wore a maxi floral pattern dress, sandals and simple jewellery, like this diamond cross with white gold chain.

It was a great night, a relaxing evening. All in all, I just enjoyed being surrounded by everything I cherish the most.

I wish you all a lovely week.