Friday, 29 December 2017

Norbert Tarayre’s Chocolate Fondant

And here we are... for the last post of 2017. I would like to share with you an easy, quick and scandalously yummy recipe from Norbert Tarayre. Norbert is a young and renowned French chef who presents a weekly TV cooking show that we love, called “Norbert, commis d’office”.

For 2018, I wish you a Happy Hygge Year because happiness lies in the simple things that life offers us every day. Take care of yourself and never forget to spread kindness and solidarity around you.

Now, prepare the chocolate fondant, put a bottle of bubbles in the fridge and light the candles because the countdown to the New Year has started...tick, tock, tick, tock.....

Lots of love

200g 70 % cocoa dark chocolate
200g sugar
200g butter, room temperature
30g flour
5 eggs
Icing sugar for decoration

Preheat the oven to 190ºC.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie.

Whisk eggs and sugar to a frothy mixture. Add the flour while mixing.

Add the melted butter-chocolate mixture while stirring.

Butter and flour a mould.

Pour the mixture into the mould. Bake for 22 minutes at 190ºC.

Remove the fondant from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the mould before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle the fondant with icing sugar.

Tip: can be made one day advance - it is even better.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

You Can’t Jack Black (1926)

This is a fabulous read, a very entertaining and exciting memoir of an outlaw. I loved it enormously and I offered it to Sweetheart as a birthday gift. Any man will love this memoir. Jack Black has a storytelling talent that keeps us going all the way through the book’s 470 pages.

Thomas Callaghan, aka Jack Black, born in 1871, lost his mother young and was entrusted by his father to nuns to take care of his education. When he leaves the convent, he becomes fascinated by the criminal underworld about which he devours newspaper articles and stories. This young man of 14 years of age falls in love with this life on the margins of society that provides intense freedom.

In this magnificent memoir, Jack takes us with him on an exciting journey into the underground life where we get to know hobos, men who cross North America on freight trains. Petty larceny and arrests for vagrancy end up making him meet the brotherhood of the Johnsons, thieves with a strict code of honour based on mutual aid and join the ranks of the yeggs (safe crackers) and other burglars.

A reformed Jack Black became archivist for a San Francisco newspaper and wrote his memoir of thirty years of sometimes successful, but far more often aborted crimes, unwavering, unbreakable friendships and betrayals, addiction to opium, and, of course, fifteen years in prisons, from Canada to Folsom.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a tip-top-tastic Christmas! Sadly, it all ended so fast didn’t it?

Going back to a little before Christmas, it snowed in Geneva and I couldn’t miss a lovely stroll around town.

You know what, snow always makes my heart swell...This was the first day I saw snow this year in Geneva and my little city could not have looked more beautiful and chilly!

A magic and quiet Parc des Bastions - funny how the snow seems to muffle sound

A beautiful fountain in the Jardin Anglais

The Jet d’Eau in Eaux-Vives

At the end of the day, the snow stopped and gave way to the beautiful lights, spreading magic in the narrow alleys and squares of Carouge.

Such a sweet Santa Claus at the Epsetera craft shop

I loved how Betjeman and Barton tea shop decorated their window

Les Fleurs de Minamoune florist - gorgeous Christmas decorations

I hope you enjoyed this chilly tour!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Exquisite Swiss Chocolate Shops in Geneva

Hello everyone!!

I want to wish each one of you a wonderful Christmas!

The last post before Christmas is a precious list that I have put together. It’s with great enthusiasm that I share this list. These places are mostly known by locals.

These confiseurs-chocolatiers sell premium handmade chocolates. They offer a large and exquisite assortment of chocolates: rochers noirs, truffes, carrés amers, écorces d’oranges confites, pralinés, pavés and much more…

Don’t feel shy about tasting all the chocolates in these shops before you choose what to buy! Of course they’re expensive, but remember you’re buying quality and Swiss savoir-faire.

For one person I advise a 250g-350g box of chocolates. This is a perfect gift for a very special person; fiancée, parents, best friends, or a chocolate loving gourmet. You will put a smile on their face.

*Enjoy tasting the chocolate, starting from the lightest to the darkest.
*Store in a cool place away from heat, but do not refrigerate.
*After they have been made, chocolates should be eaten within 10 days (one can better taste all their aromas).

La Bonbonnière Genève
Rue de Rive 11
1204 Geneva

Auer Chocolatier
Rue de Rive 4
1204 Genève

La Chocolaterie du Rhône
Rue de la Confédération 3
1204 Genève

Henri Rohr
Place du Molard 3
1204 Geneva

Rue du Marché 5
1204 Geneva

Confisserie Sprügli
Bongénie Grieder
Rue du Marché 34
1204 Genève

Teuscher Chocolates
Rue de la Corraterie 16
1204 Geneva

Philippe Pascoët
Passage des Lions
1204 Genève

These photos were taken at the Teuscher Chocolates shop

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

My Christmas Table

Okay, Christmas Day is not today, but those who have been following me know that each year I share my Christmas table decor. I am fond of beautiful tables, they are a promise of a great moment to come.

In my eyes a table must be elegant and yet practical. My motto “always plan smart so you don’t break the bank”.

Having said that, this year I have been using things I had in my trunk, notably an Indian burgundy table runner embroidered with a gold pattern and a large golden plate with Indian reliefs. I can say that my Christmas table decoration inspiration stemmed from these two things.

I used white table linen and white napkins which are a great way to keep a table feeling airy and clear. They make the other colours seem to jump right off the table. This is the case with the burgundy Indian table runner gives a twist of fantasy without overwhelming the table.

Burgundy and pink candles

Bag of chocolate

To this, I added red and fuchsia candles. I find the combination of burgundy and fuchsia to be gorgeous. The fuchsia brings light and softness to the dark and intense burgundy. I continued the decoration with some trinkets, DIY napkin ring, green branches from my local market and, of course, bags of chocolate provided the final touch...

Christmas Poinsettia or Christams star plant 

I hope you enjoyed this decor and my tips to make a dream decoration for this Christmas.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Portuguese Christmas Pumpkin Fritters from Alentejo (Brinhóis)

For this season’s festivities, I want to share with you one of my favourite Christmas treats. It is a Portuguese speciality that has its origins in the beautiful rural area of ​​Alentejo. These fritters are generally cooked for Christmas in Portugal (Filhoses de Abóbora or Brinhóis). They are a TREMENDOUS success with all those who tasted them! They have an incomparable taste, not too sweet and not too greasy, quite airy and ever so yummy!
I made these in November. While shopping at the market I saw a gorgeous pumpkin and I got a craving for pumpkin fritters. This is the second time I publish this recipe, the first time was for Halloween two years ago. Next week I will make it again for Christmas.

Ingredients for 30 fritters
750g pumpkin
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
The zest of 1 ½ oranges
40g sugar
5g baker’s yeast
300g flour
1 dl orange juice
25 ml Aguardente (Portuguese eau-de-vie - I used Kirsch as a substitute)
Pinch of salt
Cinnamon powder (for dusting)
Superfine sugar (for dusting)
Frying oil (I used sunflower oil)

1. Cut the pumpkin into medium cubes and place it in a saucepan of salted water. Cook for 30 minutes until it is tender. Place the pumpkin in a colander with a cloth and leave it to drain overnight.

2. The next day, dissolve the yeast in the orange juice. Place the pumpkin in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer with spiral wands.
As you mix, add the orange zest, orange juice with baker’s yeast, aguardente (kirsch), a pinch of salt, sugar, egg and egg yolk and flour. Stir well.

3. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it to stand in a warm place for 2 hours.
If the dough is too soft, add more flour and mix well. The dough should be supple – neither too runny nor too thick.

4. Fry spoonfuls of dough into hot oil. Place the fritters on a plate with absorbent paper.

5. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon in a bowl. Sprinkle the fritters with the mixture and place on a serving plate.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

My visits to the Marché de Plainpalais

Lots of people love to visit the Plainpalais Market on the Plaine de Plainpalais. That is why I knew I had to put together a post.

I finally went there on the first Wednesday and Friday of November and I’m so glad I did. It’s on from 6.30am, so I ate breakfast hurriedly and headed to the market. 

I strolled through the market, stopping to check out goodies and try to find a treasure… There was an impressive assortment of manufactured items as well as regional gourmet food products and a few food trucks for those who want to enjoy a quick treat at this open-air market.

I left the market with a big smile on my face. I see why the locals and expats love this place so much. It’s a happy and relaxed get-together centred on the simple pleasures in life. 

The flea market is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Every first Sunday of the month from 6.30 am to 5.15 pm
*Products on offer: Antique objects; furniture, paintings, crockery, knick-knacks, vinyls, CDs, cassettes, second-hand clothes.

The retail and manufactured goods market is held on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6.30 am to 2.15 pm. Sunday from 8:30am to 18:15pm
*Products on offer: fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, cheese, wine, fish, sausages, meat, roast chicken, Valais specialties, jams, bread, olives, dried fruits, flowers and manufactured products.

In case you are a mushroom lover, there is a stall that sells a rich variety of mushrooms...

Marché de Plainpalais
Plaine de Plainpalais 
1205 Genève