Friday, May 8, 2009

Bun in the oven!

Ok so I have to apologise for my lack of posts on here in recent months…. but I found out I'm pregnant on our 1st wedding anniversay back in February! So I've been busy "baking" the past couple of months, just not the usual kind!

It has definitely slowed me down a lot, with being quite sick in the first few months as well as super tired. I’m 14 weeks pregnant now and starting to feel less like hibernating, so I’m becoming a lot more active on the web and catching up with family and friends again.

I've hardly done any cooking lately, aside from very simple foods that are easy to prepare and don't smell too strong. A favourite is chicken nuggets, and the trusty cheese sandwich with ginger beer for breakfast definitely helped keep the morning sickness away once I discovered the winning combination!

I'm hoping to get back into the kitchen more regularly soon, we'll be looking for a new home over coming weeks, so once we've settled in I am sure I'll be stocking up the pantry and putting the oven to work. Just don't blame me if some of the recipes sound weird - I'm sure cravings will influence my cooking choices over coming months!

xxx Fi

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Event: "Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris" book signing

Last month I had the incredible fortune to attend the booksigning event for "Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris" on Tuesday 18th November at WH Smith on Rue de Rivoli in Paris. The book is written by Clotilde Dusoulier who is the author of the foodie blog Chocolate and Zucchini. I had been browsing her blog when I was back in Sydney, catching up on new posts when I noticed the upcoming event. To my delight, it was happening just a few days after I arrived in Paris so I sent off an RSVP to the bookstore and awaited the evening with much excitement.

I caught the metro into the city with plenty of time in advance, so I could buy a copy of the book in advance and scope out the store, filled with many great books. There were quite a few Australian authors I was proud to spot on the shelves. I still had about an hour to wait at this stage before the event started, so popped out into the street and up Rue Cambon on which I had heard a new Pierre Herme store had just opened up.

At Pierre Herme

I ended up chatting with the lovely sales assistant (I think his name was Jerome), and found out he had just returned from a year living in Sydney, so we chatted about the lovely weather over there, and how beautiful Paris is this time of year. I purchased a couple of macaroons to takeaway, and tucked them in my handbag for safe keeping (Passionfruit & Milk Chocolate, Chocolate & Foie Gras, and Milk Chocolate).

A not so great photo taken outside the store

After strolling around Rue Saint-Honore and window shopping at Jimmy Choo, I returned to the bookstore to await the start of the event. Clotilde began by introducing herself and talked a little about her background, growing up in Paris and moving out of home to live in San Fransisco for a year before returning back to Paris with a renewed interest in cooking. She explained that since her blog has become so popular she has had many people contacting her for recommendations of where to dine in Paris, which led her to the idea of writing the book "Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris". She wrapped up by reading an amusing excerpt from the book and answering questions from the crowd, then sat down to start the booksigning.

As I had already purchased the book I was one of the first in the line, so did not have to wait long to meet her and have my book signed. I was a little shy when I introduced myself, but she was very friendly and allowed me to have my photo taken with her which was exciting!

Getting my book signed by Clotilde

Afterwards I left the store to head up to dinner with my husband and friends at L'Etoile 1903 (av de Wagram). The metro was very crowded and as I stepped on, I was pressed from all sides only to realise with dismay that my handbag was also squished! Too late to do anything about it, I got off the metro a few stops later and sadly pulled my precious macaroons out in a very crushed and mangled arrangement. I figured they would still taste the same (they were fantastic, the passionfruit and milk chocolate was my favourite). Hopefully I will go back and get some more later on to take photos of "unsquished".

At dinner I passed around Clotilde's book and everyone was very interested to have a look and were impressed with the range and quality of restaurants that had been presented, so I am sure it will be a useful guide in the coming weeks in Paris!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Paris - the city of love and chocolate!

Enjoying a crepe with Nutella in Saint Michel

I have spent the last 10 days roaming around Paris, being delighted by the sights and sounds, and most especially by the smells and tastes of the city. I am officially obsessed with the food in this city, especially the delicious sweet treats and hot chocolate on offer in almost every street I walk down. I never expected there to be so many lovely little stores offering up beautiful little cakes, pastries, biscuits, macaroons - all ready to be wrapped up in pretty paper, and taken down the street to be devoured as I take in the atmostphere of the city.

I have seen several markets - all with wonderfully fresh produce - including artisan breads made with love, seafood sipped from the coast overnight, and fruit and vegetables laid out on the stalls with such artful designs and loving care by their vendors. The markets are held in various little squares around the city each day and make the city feel like a true community of inter-connected villages. Everyone seems to shop local at the markets for their fresh groceries, and also have their favourite little bakeries for fresh bread each morning. There is a massive array of cheeses to choose from, and one of our favourite snacks is to eat fresh bread with soft cheese and a glass of red wine. :D

I have taken loads of photos during the week and here are some of them for you to enjoy:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

GFM Noodle Markets

I went along to the last night of the Noodle Markets last Friday (part of Good Food Month in Sydney) with a couple of friends and we had a great evening. We arrived just after 6pm and it was already very busy, I guess a lot of people working in the city were going there straight after work, but we found the queues were not too long and there was plenty of food to choose from.

We started ut with Singapore noodles, pad thai and satay chicken sticks and I forgot to take photos because it was so yummy and we were excited to grab a spare table to sit and eat. It got our tastebuds warmed up and we strolled around the park, taking in the sights of the dragons and drummers, a demonstration on how to make noodles and generally just people watching. There was just so many people there!

Next we lined up for prawn dumplings, barbeque pork buns and roast duck buns - they were all so hot and fresh and tasty that we ate them standing up before they had a chance to cool off. Delish!

After wandering the gardens as it got dark and taking photos of the funky lights in the trees, we settled down with a bottle of white wine and some beers to soak up the atmosphere. The final treat from the night was some yummy mango and wildberry sorbets from Serendipity before we headed out of the city and off to our current local pub to end the night with some more wine and dancing til late!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yummy treats

Some yummy treats that my friend brought home from work to share with us this afternoon. They were delicious with a hot cup of tea! My favourite was the lemon tart!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Easy yummy roast dinner

Just a quick post to share some pics that I took of a yummy quick and easy roast dinner I cooked early in October. I had bought a new 500mm lens for my SLR the day before so couldn't resist testing it out on a yummy roast and I'm very happy with how the photos turned out.

The roast was a 2kg marintated roast beef from Coles and I cut some pockets into one side and filled them with fresh rosemary and garlic cloves and then drizzled olive oil over the top. I cooked it for about 2 hours at 180 degrees then added the vegetables. When the beef was cooked I took it out and covered it in foil on a plate while the vegetables crisped up. Served with gravy and it was delicious!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Decadence to the Max!

Yesterday my hubby and I had to run some errands in the city, mainly changing my name over to my married name (finally! we got married in Feb this year) as well as a dental checkup. I can happily report that my teeth are all in great condition so all that was required was a clean and I was done! Craig had to have a filling for a sore tooth, and you would think that this would be cause for us to avoid chocolate for the day, but alas when we were walking up George St I discovered that Max Brenner now has a store in the Met Centre near Wynyard!

Thank goodness Max was not there a couple of years ago when I worked at this end of town, or else I would have had to buy shares in the company to justify my excuse for (likely) daily visitations! Of course it did not take much convincing to get Craig to agree to have an early lunch in the cafe, only a couple of little eyelash flutters and we were on our way up the stairs. :o)

Inside it was warm and cosy, with the familiar dark brown and burnt orange decor of their stores and branding, and pleasantly quiet as it was just before the midday rush hour. I was glad that it was a cold windy day outside as it mdae it easy for me to order my favourite American Marshmallow Hot Chocolate while we decided to share a Babka and chocolate dipping pot, and hubby chose his favourite Iced Cookieshake to drink.

I grabbed us a cosy corner table by the windows so we had a good vantage spot to scope out the cafe's other diners and their treats, and also to have some nice lighting for the obligatory photos I just "had" to take! Craig patiently waited while I snapped away, then we dug in with great gusto to devour the babka. As we got near to finshing it we started to slow down to savour the light fresh dough and lick up as much chocolate from the dipping pot as possible, then we relaxed back into our bench seat to enjoy our drinks. It was a nice contrast to sip my hot chocolate from it's "hug mug", then swap over to his icy cold cookie shake for a sip, then finish off with the marshmallowy goo at the bottom of my mug. Ah bliss!