Paris

Here are some personal favourites and some new discoveries from our recent trip to Paris! We had a long list of recommendations however only 4 days. Some places we wanted to try were closed for their Summer break or weren’t suitable for kids aged 6 & 8. The kids discovered a love for duck and pigeon which was a delightful surprise! In planning our stay we used a few sources, mainly friends in the industry who had been in the past 12 months, David Lebovitz blog and wine suppliers in France. As with any recommendations though, they are just that, and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so a bit of reading beforehand is a great idea to make your list if you are planning a trip, or just wing it! We left our hire car in Valence and took the TGV to Paris which was super convenient and stress free. We walked a lot, used the metro on the weekend and a few taxis at night when everyone was too tired to walk anymore! The restaurants we visited are not Michelin starred however not inexpensive. If you don’t want to over do it, I suggest do some research beforehand and perhaps choose one to experience the menu, the tasting menu is always our pick. Small traditional bistrot’s are a great choice if you prefer to eat light and stay on a budget and have a typical Parisian experience - when I visit Paris on my own that is usually what I am looking for – however as this was Matteo’s first experience he was quite keen to fit in all he could! READ OUR RECOMMENDATIONS BELOW .....     STAY HOTEL COSMOS 35 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011 Paris Tel +33 [...]

Paris2018-10-23T17:38:52+00:00

Baking with Kids: Madeleines…

One of the things I love baking with Sofia and Filippo the most is Madeleines. Partly because they are easy and quick to make but also because we all have such fond food memories of our family travels around France in the camper en route to see wine suppliers each year. I have tried many other recipes and to be honest I wish I could remember where I found this anonymous print out from the world wide web about 2 years ago, but it is the best. I have found that putting the mixture in the fridge for about 10 minutes before filling the moulds makes them even better. I always make double the quantity which would result in just under 2 trays of regular sized ones. I also bought a beautiful mini Madeleine tin in France in April and it makes the cutest little bite sized cakes with a pot of tea!! Ingredients plain flour, to dust 1 egg 1/4 cup caster sugar 1 tsp vanilla essence 1/2 cup plain flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 90 g butter, melted and cooled zest of a lemon or orange is optional but so delicious! icing sugar to dust Method Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (if using fan forced 160). Lightly grease a 12 hole Madeleine tin (I use a non stick pan) and lightly dust with flour, then shake out the excess. Using electric beaters (I personally whisk by hand as the kids love this part), beat the egg, caster sugar and vanilla together for 2 minutes, until pale, frothy and increased in volume. Sift the flour and baking powder together and gently fold into the egg mixture. Add the melted butter and zest (if using) fold to combine. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared tin. Bake for 8 minutes of until [...]

Baking with Kids: Madeleines…2017-10-11T20:34:00+00:00

Emilia Romagna Part I – Cervia, Milano Marittima & Cesenatico

Our food journey begins in Matteo’s home region of Emilia Romagna! Famous for it’s food & hospitality! Matteo’s home is a 20 minute drive from the Adriatic Coastal towns of Milano Marittima, Cervia and Cesenatico or well over an hour in peak summer season. Italians and foreigners flock to these seaside destinations for the sun and to be seen, Milano Maritima being the most famous for VIPs and people watching. Personally I prefer the beaches on the Mediterranean coast in Liguria however it is well known the hospitality you will discover in Emilia Romagna is far superior. August is the peak summer season, I would try to avoid it as it’s the most expensive and sometimes the beaches have to be closed because of the water quality…ahem yes which can be quite uninviting. Italians, as I discovered, don’t necessarily go to the beach to swim and for crystal clear waters, more for the right “Bagno” with a good bar/restaurant to meet up with friends. Milano Marittima comes alive at night time with bars, restaurants and shops staying open till late in the summer season. Cervia is possibly more beautiful in winter especially when the sun is shining, I have great memories of long walks along the canal after a long lazy lunch… Matteo’s first kitchen job was in Milano Marittima at a bar/restaurant called “Loco Squad”, we still love going there in summer time with it’s casual yet romantic setting, delicious food and a great wine selection. It is always first on our list! Perhaps the most historic produce from the region is the Sale di Cervia from La Salina Camillone, sea salt has been harvested here since Etruscan times (pre-Roman). In summer from June to early September you can take a guided [...]

Emilia Romagna Part I – Cervia, Milano Marittima & Cesenatico2017-10-10T10:42:37+00:00

Emilia Romagna Part I – Recipe

Tagliolini al Nero di Seppia con Vongole e Fiori di Zucca Squid Ink Tagliolini with Pippies & Zucchini Flowers Great fish markets are like lolly shops for Matteo, and we always buy more than we planned! The day he made this pasta dish he bought enough produce to make: - Scampi, prepared similar to sashimi, butterflied and served with lemon zest, EVOO & Sale di Cervia - Anchovies, crumbed & fried - Squid Ink Tagliolini with Pippies - Poached sting ray wing salad with steamed potato, cherry tomatoes, celery & parsley - Calamari with fresh figs & rocket - Sea Bass risotto with wild herbs Needless to say it was a big day spent in the kitchen and a wonderful afternoon of eating! Ingredients for 4 serves: 400g Squid Ink Tagliolini 1Kg Pippies Garlic 2 cloves Fresh Thyme or Marjoram 2 sprigs 8 Zucchini Flowers (clean and cut in thin strips) Extra Virgin Olive Oil Salt Black Pepper Parsley, finely chopped Preparation: First step is “blanching” the pippies. In a large saucepan pour water (just to cover the bottom); add garlic, herbs, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and the pippies. Turn the burner on and cover with the lid; as soon as the pippies start opening, remove them from the pot into a tray to cool down. If your saucepan/pot is not big enough for a whole kg of pippies, you can do this in smaller batches (using the same liquid). As soon as you can handle them, start removing the pippies from the shell. Pour the cooking liquid through a sieve to remove any sand from the pippies and reserve on the side. Bring 5 litres of water to the boil (with 40 to 45g of salt in it); in another [...]

Emilia Romagna Part I – Recipe2017-10-10T10:48:48+00:00
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