Switzerland.

Our time in Switzerland was shorter and more rushed than Paris, with limited days spent in multiple places. So firstly we spent a few days in Lucerne, and took a train to Engelberg to see Mt Titlis. We also went across the border back to France to visit Strasbourg for a day, and stopped in St Moritz on the way to Milan. One of my favourite parts was riding the scenic, Bernina Express train to Italy (photos below), where we saw panoramic views of the Swiss mountains and snow-covered towns. I hope you enjoy these photographs!

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More travel blog posts will be coming soon, as my family and I are currently in Milan and are going to Florence in a few days. There won’t be any food or recipe blogposts until next year unfortunately, and I apologise for the lack of Christmas recipes this year. However, I am always extremely grateful for your support and patience, and thank you so much for reading.

 

 


Paris.

As you can probably tell from the title, this is not a usual recipe post but rather a travel blogpost. So my family and I have travelled to Europe for the holidays, and are currently in Paris leaving soon for Switzerland. During our time here, we’ve gone up the Eiffel Tower (via elevator), took a tour of the Louvre Museum, walked the Champs Elysees, went to the Palace of Versailles (but didn’t go inside because the line was too long), did a macaron cooking class, saw the Notre Dame and Arc de Triomphe. Apart from these mandatory touristy things, we walked a lot, took a lot of trains, ate a tonne of food and got lost a time or two.

It has been an absolutely amazing experience, and I really hope you enjoy these photographs. Every street and alley way is so beautiful, featuring stunning and unique architecture, it was hard not to take a photo of everything. At the end of this blogpost, I have included a list of our favourite bakeries and restaurants.

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There are so many bakeries in Paris, probably at least one on every street, it was impossible to try them all. However, below are some of my family and I’s favourites.

Bakeries/Restaurants:
  • Chambelland – this bakery is 100% gluten-free, but everything is so delicious you won’t be able to tell the difference. It has sweet pastries such as lemon meringue tart and Paris brests, savoury focaccias and sandwiches and even soups. My personal favourites are the chouquettes (choux pastry coated in sugar), herb focaccia, cookie classique (a chocolate chip cookie with pecans) and pain de sucree (sugar bread).
  • Angelina – this patisserie was established in 1903, and is well known for their hot chocolate and Mont Blanc. My brother really enjoyed their mille feuille (aka vanilla slice).
  • Bistrot Richelieu – if you’re looking for a hearty meal, such as steak and fries, then this is the place to go. I really liked their escargot (snails) cooked with herb butter and duck confit. They have a wide variety of food and gluten-free options, and even delicious desserts including profiteroles and creme brulee.
  • Bears and Racoons – this is another gluten-free bakery selling mostly sandwiches and other small pastries. It is good for a simple, light lunch, and I enjoyed their smoked salmon sandwich.
  • Aux 2 Anges – this bakery has delicious chicken and salami baguettes, ham and cheese croissants, chouquettes and an amazing apple-caramel tarte tatin.
  • Il Quadrifoglio – this is a beautiful Italian restaurant by the river, featuring both pizza and pasta. The gluten-free options include pizza, linguini pasta and even lasagne which is my personal favourite.
  • Pierre Hemre – Pierre is the pastry king. He has numerous patisseries around Paris, all featuring a wide selection of intricate desserts and macarons of course (I like the vanilla macarons).
  • Helmut Newcake – this is another 100% gluten-free bakery. Before going on a gluten-free diet, my favourite food was croissants and I haven’t had one in a very long time. However, this has now changed because Helmut Newcake has amazing croissants (you won’t even tell they’re gluten-free!). They also have delicious eclairs, and this absolutely divine pastry called boule de noel (a combination of vanilla cream, crunchy chocolate-praline base and mouse, and caramel).

 


Summer Fruit Pavlova

This is another updated blog post for a recipe I’ve done a couple times before. The first time was in July 2016, and the second time was in the form of a pavlova wreath from Christmas last year. I am sorry for the lack of new recipes; I’ve been struggling to find inspiration lately. IMG_2514-5So today we’ll be discussing how to achieve the perfect pavlova, crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. I accidentally cracked the shell when I was decorating it, as a strawberry slid off the top and simply broke the pavlova.IMG_2426-17.jpgHere are some tips and tricks I hope you’ll find useful:

1) The bowl and utensils should be grease free and extremely clean, as fat will prevent the egg whites from whipping to their full volume. If you are concerned about this, simply wipe your bowl and the beaters with lemon juice/vinegar.

2) The egg whites should not contain any egg yolks, as this will also prevent the egg whites from whipping. I find that they are easier to seperate when cold, but then should be bought to room temperature to ensure the meringue reaches full volume.

3) The sugar should be added gradually, a teaspoon at a time, mixing well in between each addition in order for it to properly dissolve. Once all the sugar is added, I like to beat the meringue on high speed for a further 5-7 minutes for it to reach stiff peaks. This results in a meringue that is easier to shape, and results in a pavlova that is soft in the centre.IMG_2491-104) The cornstarch and vinegar creates a soft pavlova, and is folded after the meringue is beat to stiff peaks. This should be done gently to retain the air that was just created from whipping the egg whites.

5) The pavlova is shaped through upward swipes and an indent/nest in the centre to ensure even cracking.

5) The oven is first preheated at a high temperature first, then reduced to a lower temperature in order to ensure the pavlova bakes long and slow. This ensures a crisp outside and marshmallowy centre. After baking, it is cooled with the door ajar so that the cracking is more controlled.IMG_2511-3

7) Finally, when decorating, I prefer to add no sugar in the cream since the pavlova is already quite sweet. Also, the combination of fruits should have some tartness – in this case the passionfruit.

I hope you’re having a great week, and please enjoy the recipe!

 

Pavlova

Ingrdients
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup (300g) caster sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cornflour, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp vinegar

To decorate:

  • 300mL thickened cream, whipped
  • Summer fruit of your choice (blueberries, strawberries, passionfruit etc.)
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and draw a 20cm (8 inch) circle. Flip the paper over.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed. Gradually increase the speed until soft peaks form.
  3. Very gradually add the sugar, a teaspoon at a time, whilst beating on medium-high speed.
  4. Once all the sugar is added, beat on high speed for 5-7 minutes until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add sifted cornflour, vinegar and vanilla seeds (or vanilla extract). Gently fold until completely combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture onto the baking paper. Using the circle as a guide, shape into a tall circular shape. Then, using an off set spatula, swipe the side of the meringue upwards and create an indent/nest in the centre.
  7. Place into preheated oven (on bottom rack) and reduce temperature to 120°C. Bake for 70 minutes.
  8. Turn oven off. Leave pavlova in the oven with door ajar to cool completely.
  9. When cool, take it out of the oven and transfer onto a plate.
  10. Decorate with whipped cream and summer fruit of your choice.
  11. Refrigerate until cool and ready serve!