Friday, December 17, 2010

Walnut Coffee Christmas Log

STEP 1  - Coffee Cream
450g/8oz whole milk
120/4oz sugar
60/2oz corn starch
60/2oz unsalted butter, cold, cube
1 egg + 4 yolks
1 tbsp vanilla extract or dark rhum
1 tbsp instant expresso powder
Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 of the milk,
combine rest of the milk with sugar and bring to boil,
while waiting whisk eggs in the cornstarch mixture,
pour 1/3 of the boiling milk over the eggs, then return milk and milk+egg mixture to the heat. Boil for about 1 minute whisking.
remove from the heat and whisk in butter, vanilla and coffee.
transfer to a cold container, press some plastic film directly on the cream and chill immediately.
STEP 2  - Chocolate Ganache
prepare this while the log is chilling
180g/6oz heavy cream
180g/6oz 70% chocolate (bittersweet),
grated or cut into small pieces
Bring cream to a boil, pour onto cut chocolate,
let sit for about one minute, then whisk to incorporate
the cream into the chocolate. 

STEP 3  - Walnut Sponge Cake (biscuit au chocolat)
6 large eggs, separated
4oz (120g) light brown sugar
8oz (320g) walnuts
2oz (60g) all purpose/plain flour
4oz (120g) sugar

Preheat your oven at 350F (390F). Butter and line a cookie sheet
with parchment paper.
Ground nuts and flour until powder but not oily.
Whip yolks with brown sugar until very light (about 5 minutes).
Whip whites with sugar until firm peak.
Fold whites into yolks and then the nuts/flour mix in three additions.
Spread on the cookie sheet and bake immediately for about 12 minutes.
Release from the pan as soon as possible. Remove carefully parchment paper.


If the cream is set and hard to spread whisk it before starting this step. Spread (or pipe) all the coffee cream onto the sponge cake. Roll the sponge cake into a log shape, use the parchment paper to keep it closed and refrigerate until the log is completely set and cold. At least 1hr. 

Unwrap the log over a cooling rack and cover with the warm ganache. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, then use a fork to draw grooves in the chocolate to imitate a tree bark. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gâteau Basque au Fraise

A Basque specialty that has pastry cream encased in a light shortdough pastry
(will make a 20cm square tart)

Ingredients for dough
260g/9oz butter
185g/6.5oz sugar
zest of a lemon (better if organic or not treated)
1 pinch of salt
125g (1/4lb) almond meal
1 egg + 1 yolk, cold
325g/11.5oz all purpose flour (T45 in France)

Ingredients for strawberry cream
150g/5oz of strawberry puree
75g/2.5oz whole milk
35g/1.5oz sugar
25g/1oz corn starch (Maizena in France)
25g/1oz butter

Ingredients for quick strawberry jam
150g/5oz fresh or frozen strawberries
40g/1.5oz sugar

1 egg yolk

Prepare the dough: in a standup mixer, cream butter, sugar, zest and salt until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until well incorporated. Stop and scrape at least once while incorporating the eggs. Add the almond meal and mix until well incorporated. Stop the machine, add the flour and mix by hand until just incorporated and homogenous. Do not overmix!
Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Prepare the strawberry cream: dissolve well the corn starch in the milk and bring strawberry puree and sugar to a boil in a small pan, add the corn starch mix while whisking vigorously until the mixture is thick and smooth, take off the heat, add the butter, mix well then spread the cream over a cold plate. Put plastic on top and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.

Prepare the quick jam: mix strawberries and sugar in a small pan, bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes. Strain the berries, keep aside and boil down the cooking juices until very dense. Mix with the cooked strawberries and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven at 180C/350F.
Butter and flour a tart pan about 4cm deep. Roll about 250g of dough to fit the bottom of the tart pan. It should be about 1cm thick. Make a border all around the bottom by making small "ropes" with pieces of dough. The edge should also be about 1cm deep. Spread the cream inside leaving a "well" in the middle for the jam. Add the cooled jam in the middle, then top with another 1cm thick layer of dough. Brush the top with a beaten egg yolk and draw decorating patterns with the tip of a sharp knife, without cutting through the dough.
Bake for about 35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let cool completely before serving.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Healthiest Choice: Top 10 Alkaline Foods for Your Diet

Acids are mostly used for home cleaning and certainly your stomach is not your kitchen sink. The modern diet, which is greatly influenced by today’s hyped up media and enslaving consumerism, is very acidic. Has there been any ad on TV, in magazines or on the internet that encourages buying vegetables and fruits? No, because they all push-sell packed or bottled products that do not match the natural processes in our body. Enterprising and consumerism has gone overboard in destroying our health.
Everything, living or non-living, is either acidic or alkaline. However, humans are creatures made to consume alkaline foods and stand as an alkaline organism in the food chain. Our blood’s pH level is pretty much determined by the food we eat. And with our blood being non-alkaline, or simply, acidic, our body will poorly perform and will have difficulty in resisting the harsh effects of oxidation and disease-inflicting viruses.

Here are the Top 10 Alkaline Foods that will give your mind and body more health and energy:

Top 10: Avocados, Bananas (ripe), Berries, Carrots, Celery, Currants, Dates, Garlic.
These foods are very high in antioxidants. They have a pH value of 8.0. They chemically react to acidic foods of pH 5.0 and elevate them near the alkaline levels. Berries, dates and especially garlic have special properties that regulate blood pressure as well.

Top 9: Apples (sweet), Apricots, Alfalfa sprouts.
These ones are super digestible foods, which are high in fiber and have a pH value of 8.0. They are also rich in enzymes that are helpful in maintaining the body’s hormonal balance. Surely, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Don’t forget to include apricots though. For those who do not know, Alfalfa sprouts are those sprouting seeds of beans that are commonly mixed in salads and sandwiches.

Top 8: Grapes (sweet), Passion fruit, Pears (sweet), Pineapple, Raisins, Umeboshi plum, Vegetable juices.
At a pH of 8.5, this group is also high in antioxidant and vitamins A, B and C. Grapes, raisins and plums are blood-regulating, which lowers blood pressure and risks of getting heart disease. Pineapple, on one hand, is rich in L-Carnitine, which uses body fat as an energy source and is good for trimming that growing waistline. Vegetable juices, on the other hand, are high in iron and good for cellular detoxification.

Top 7: Chicory, Kiwifruit, Fruit juices.
They have natural sugar that doesn’t form acidic compounds during digestion. Rather, these foods have alkaline-forming properties that give more energy to the body. Still at a pH level of 8.5, this group is rich in flavonoids, a chemical compound in natural foods that have antioxidant properties. Kiwi fruit even has higher Vitamin C content than oranges. Chicory, a bitter-tasting close relative of the lettuce, also has insulin that supports the pancreas and aids the body in preventing diabetes.

Top 6: Watercress, Seaweeds, Asparagus.
With a pH level of 8.5, this group is unique as a powerful acid reducer. Watercress, for example, is called the natural super food. It is the first leaf vegetable consumed by human beings and is commonly prepared as part of a healthy salad. It is best eaten raw and it contains lots of iron and calcium like seaweeds. Asparagus is even more special for its highest content of asparagines, an amino acid important to the nervous system.

Top 5: Limes, Mango, Melons, Papaya, Parsley.
This food group has a pH of 8.5 and is best at cleansing the kidneys. Papaya is even the healthiest laxative that promotes defecation and colon cleansing. Parsley, the most popular herb, is the best dirt sweeper of the intestines when taken raw. It is also a diuretic, which is necessary in cleaning the kidneys. Limes, mangoes and melons are vitamin-rich fruits that are alkaline-forming during digestion.

Top 4: Cantaloupe, Cayenne (Capsicum).
The group with the most alkaline reactive properties among the foods with the pH of 8.5, they are high in enzymes needed by the endocrine system. Cayenne has antibacterial properties and is also high in Vitamin A, which is essential in fighting free radicals that causes stress and illnesses. Cantaloupes, a relative of melons, is very low in sugar but high in fiber.

Top 3: Agar Agar (Organic Gelatin)
Still with a pH of 8.5, Agar Agar is a gelatin substitute made from seaweeds that is high in iron and calcium as well. It is very digestible and has the highest fiber content among all foods.

Top 2: Watermelon.
At a pH level of 9.0, Watermelon are very alkaline. Because of its high fiber and water content at 92% of its entire weight, watermelon is a mild diuretic and a great source of beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamin C. This thirst-quenching fruit is the most life and energy supporting food when used in a week-long fasting and colon cleansing.

Top 1: Lemons.
At the top of the list is the Amazing Lemon. With its electrolytic properties and a pH level of 9.0, lemons are considered the most alkalizing food. It is the most potent and most immediate relief for colds, cough, flu, heartburns, hyperacidity and other virus-related ailments. Lemons are natural antiseptic that disinfects and heals wounds. It is also the best liver tonic that detoxifies and energizes the liver.

Friday, August 6, 2010

French Fries….are they really French??

Ah the French Fry, who doesn’t like them? Delicious and tasty (and slightly unhealthy yes I know), but whether they are drenched in salt, vinegar or tomato sauce and mayo, they are a very very popular fast food!

We all know the Dutch love their fries, it is like a national treasure to them. Known as "patat," Dutch fries are prepared fresh and not frozen at a number of stalls. The fries you order there will be the thick, steak fry variety, and they'll be served to you in a paper cone and topped with a dollop of creamy mayonnaise. Fries are so commonly served this way that to order them one simply asks for patat "met", or "with."

The Dutch, however, cannot take responsibility for inventing the fry. Neither can the French. That honour goes to the Belgians where fries are cherished even more than they are in Holland. The fry culture in Belgium is similar to that of Holland—fries are everywhere, the thick slabs of potatoes are freshly fried and served in paper cones, and they are offered with a variety of toppings, the most popular being mayonnaise—but the Belgians have also developed a wide variety of specialized fries shops, called, in Belgium "frietkots" or "fritures". These range from small stands, to sheds, busses and caravans, to shacks or quaint chalets.

The story goes that fries date back to 1680: the inhabitants of Namur, Andenne and Dinant in Belgium used to fish in the Meuse River and fry the little fish they caught to improve their diet. However, when rivers and streams froze over and it was dangerous to fish, people used to cut potatoes into the shape of little fish and fry them.

As for the name "French fries", it is alleged to come from either the Irish "to french", meaning "to cut", or from the American allies who, when they landed in the Belgian Ardennes, tasted the incomparable fried potatoes and called them "French fries", French for the language spoken by the inhabitants and fries because of the way they were cooked. Whenever the case may be, fries are definitely Belgian!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Pavlova Debate

According to the Australians, the chef of the Hotel Esplanade in Perth, Western Australia, Herbert Sachse, created the pavlova to celebrate the visit of the great Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. According to the New Zealanders, a recipe was recorded in 1919, long before the ballerina came to dance.
"A symphony of silence! So Pavlova has been described," began the report in the West Australian on Tuesday, July 9, 1929. "But who, seeing the famous ballerina for the first time as she stood on the deck... at Fremantle yesterday, could apply the description? It was Babel itself!" The reporter managed to share her cab into Perth... "They are funny, these Australians," she pronounced in the cab... The next night she gave the first of 11 evening... performances... "Exquisite Pavlova!..." began the West Australian. It was her only Perth season, on her second Australian tour. She died two years later. Yet her memory survived at her hotel, the Esplanade, because there six years later the chef whipped up the meringue and cream cake which perpetuates her name....
One person who had been researching the NZ claims had the librarians of the National Library of New Zealand consult their collection of cookery books. “In fact, they found a recipe for "Pavlova cakes" ... published in 1929. The ingredients were roughly those of a pavlova, but it was not the pavlova as we know it, because the mixture was baked into three dozen little meringues. It seems a coincidence that the NZ cook was impressed by the ballerina's lightness and whiteness.
But there is more to the NZ claim than this. Even earlier, in "Terrace Tested Recipes", collected by the ladies of Terrace Congregational Church, the second edition published in Wellington in 1927, there was a recipe submitted by a Mrs. McRae for Meringue Cake [He then describes the recipe]. From similar recipes published in 1933 and 1934, I think it is fair to say that the Meringue Cake was common in NZ in the early 1930s. Its form varied, but it was to all intents and purposes what we know as a "Pavlova", sometimes even complete with passionfruit on top.
"Bert Sachse said in a magazine interview in 1973 that he sought to improve the Meringue Cake. There was a prize-winning recipe for Meringue Cake in the "Women's Mirror" on April 2, 1935. It contained vinegar, but no cornflour and was of two parts filled with whipped cream. The recipe was contributed by "Rewa", who happened to be of Rongotai, NZ. If Sachse read the "Women's Mirror" and other magazines for ideas, as his widow told me, he might have seen this recipe. We can concede that New Zealanders discovered the secret delights of the large meringue with the "marshmallow centre", the heart of the pavlova. But it seems reasonable to assume that someone in Perth attached the name of the ballerina...
"In the "Good Food Guide" to British Isles restaurants in 1977, a glossary of food terms referred to the pavlova as a NZ offering, which changed the next year to Australian. Hilary Fawcett, who compiled the glossary, wrote to me about the change: "There does seem to be some controversy as to whether the wretched thing originated in NZ or Australia and I was reduced to doing a straw-vote count."
"It is possible, if ungenerous, to deride the pavlova for culinary innocence. It was adopted from New Zealand. Yet Herbert Sachse made a genuine, crystallising contribution. The pavlova served its original purpose admirably. It then caught the popular imagination. Distilling the Australian concept of sweet living, it is the single great discovery thus far of our cooking."
Extract taken from

Whether you are from Australia, New Zealand or elsewhere, this is truly a delightful dessert to eat at any time of year.

Serves 6

Preparation and cooking times

Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
Plus time to cool


• 4 egg whites
• 225g  caster sugar
• 1 tsp cornflour
• 1 tsp white wine vinegar
• ½ vanilla pod
• 284ml carton double cream
• 1 lemon , zested
• 450g berries , raspberries, strawberries, or
  blackberries or a mixture
• 1 tbsp icing sugar


1.      Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment. Whisk the egg whites with electric beaters until they just form stiff and shiny peaks. Gradually add the sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time and whisk really well between each addition. When all of the sugar is used up continue whisking for 3-4 minutes or until the meringue is stiff and glossy and stands up in peaks, then whisk in the cornflour and vinegar. Spoon the mixture onto the baking parchment and use a palette knife to make a circle about 20cm in diameter. Put in the oven, turn the temperature down to 120C/fan 100C/gas ½ and cook for 1½ hours. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue inside until completely cold (you can make this the day before and leave to cool overnight). 
2.      Carefully peel off the baking parchment and put the pavlova on a serving dish. Don't worry if it cracks. Scrape the vanilla seeds into a mixing bowl, add the cream and lemon zest and softly whip, then spoon onto the pavlova. Mix the berries, spoon the fruit on top of the cream, dust with a little icing sugar and serve.


* Make the pavlova the day before and then whip the cream and prepare the fruit at the last minute.

* You can use whatever fruits you want…get creative!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wine Tutorial

For the new wine lover, few things about fine wine are more daunting than the wine-bottle label. All that small print! All those foreign words and terms! But bear in mind that information brings knowledge, and lots of print conveys lots of information. Learn to decode the label, and you've armed yourself with the tools you need to be a savvy consumer.

Take a look at the half-dozen label images below, and follow the blue numbers from each label to the related numbers in the text for a quick explanation of every label line. Even though these labels represent five countries with five different sets of labeling regulations, you'll soon see that they all provide the same general information, with only relatively minor differences in format and content.

                                  FRANCE                                 ITALY                                    USA

1. Wine maker or winery: The company or firm that made the wine or, in some cases, the wine's trademark name.

2. Appellation: The country or region where the grapes for this wine were grown. This may be as broad as "California" or as narrow as a specific vineyard like "Trittenheimer Altärchen." Note, however, that the California wine pictured here lists a more narrow appellation ("El Dorado County") and takes advantage of the option to denote its specific vineyard source ("Wylie-Fenaughty") as well. The German wine also mentions its region ("Mosel-Saar-Ruwer"). In most countries, wine-growing regions ("appellations") are defined by law, and wines made in these regions will carry legal language on the label such as "Appellation Controlée" in France or "Denominazione della Origine Contrallata (DOC)" in Italy. Most regulations allow up to 15 percent of the wine to be made from grapes grown outside the area.

3. Vintage: This is the year in which the grapes were harvested, not the year in which the wine was bottled, which for some wines may be years later. Note that some countries add the local word for "vintage" to the label: "Cosecha" in Spain, "Vendemmia" in Italian. (Most national wine laws require that at least 85 percent of the wine be harvested in the year of vintage; up to 15 percent may be blended in from other years.)

4. Variety: The specific kind of grapes from which the wine was made. Not all wines disclose varietal content. Most French and Italian wines do not do so, for example, because the wine laws require the wines of each region be made from traditional varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec in Bordeaux, for example; Sangiovese and others in the case of Chianti, and the indigenous grapes Obidiah and Merwah in the offbeat Lebanese white wine from Chateau Musar pictured under "Other." Most countries allow the use of some non-varietal grapes in the blend. In most states of the U.S., for example, only 75 percent of the wine's content must be of the named varietal. In Europe and Australia, the rule is usually 85 percent.

5. Ripeness: In a tradition known primarily in Germany and, in somewhat different form, Austria, some wines use special terminology to reflect the ripeness of the grapes and the quality of the finished wine. The German wine pictured, for instance, is a "Kabinett," the lowest ripeness level in "Qualitätswein mit Prädikat," the highest quality level. For more information on the German system, read John Trombley's excellent article, Knowing the German Quality System for Wines. Some German wine labels will also show "Trocken" ("Dry") or "Halbtrocken" ("Half Dry") to denote wines vinified to less natural sweetness.

6. Estate bottling and winery information: If the wine is "estate bottled" (made from grapes grown and harvested in the winery's own vineyards), this will be disclosed with language on the label such as the French "Mise en bouteille(s) au Chateau;" the German "Gutsabfüllung"; or the English "estate bottled" or "grown, produced and bottled."

7. Other required information: This may vary widely depending on national regulations. German wines, for example, carry an "Amptliche Prüfungs Nummer (AP Number)," the serial number it received during official testing (barely visible on the right in the pictured label). French wines may carry their ranking from traditional classifications (such as "Grand Cru" or "Premier Cru" on qualifying Burgundies). The back labels of wines sold in the U.S. are typically decked out with required consumer warnings such as the notorious "Surgeon General's Warning" and notices that the wines contain sulfites. Wine labels also carry small print disclosing the wine's approximate alcoholic content and the size of the bottle, as highlighted on several of the labels photos. Imported wines in the U.S. normally bear the name and other information about the company that imported the wine.

8. Optional information: Additional information that may range from winemaker's notes or detailed analytical and tasting information to advertising hype are often featured on labels, especially the back label. Not to mention the ubiquitous UPC bar code!

                                 BACK LABEL                            OTHER                               GERMANY

See? That wasn't so bad, was it? I hope this brief tutorial has made you more comfortable with your wine shopping.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ice cream, our favourite experience!

The summer has arrived. Kids are playing in the sand and adults are eating ice cream. Ten Parisian ice creameries cool us down with their latest creations.


Sun or no sun, no matter what time of the day, the faithful ones converge like hordes of zombies to this very simple Italian shop. A blue shop front that one can see from afar, a cool display cabinet where the shop assistant turns the ice creams with spatulas, a couple of tables to enjoy. And that’s all.
Popular flavours: Even if the sorbets (fresh fruits of the season, no dyes or preservatives) flatter the palate, it is the ultra creamy ones that win us over. We adore the skilful recipes like the Cassata Sicilian (ricotta and citrus fruit peel) or that of the more basic flavours like the impressive Madagascan Vanilla or the powerful rich chocolate.

Positive: A legendary product with an ecological ethic.
Negative: Few tables to enjoy on the spot.
Price of Pleasure: cones and cups from 3,50 € (2 flavours).
Grom 81, rue de Seine, VIe. Tél. : 01 40 46 92 60. Tlj.


The star ice creamery of Daumesnil. 

Renovated two years ago, this institution founded in 1947 by the Raimondo family is one of the oldest ice creameries in Paris. At the counter, ice creams and sorbets are served in cones (not in the small cups) or in one litre tubs (30 €). A vast room that serves breakfast, lunch, to afternoon tea and dinner, in addition to its ice creams.
Popular flavours: Voted in winter for its remarkable “chestnut ice cream”, Raimo convinces us also with some rare flavours: Vermont maple, four spices, cane honey, almond milk or Muscat sorbet. Our favorites at the moment: verbena and grapefruit sorbets.
Positive: Variety of the flavours (up to forty depending on the seasons), they offer frozen desserts (bombes, vacherins) to take away or eat on the large terrace (which includes about 40 places) in the calm, shade of the Sycamore trees.
Negative: The prices, and the wait can be very long for take away ice cream (there isn’t one dedicated counter serving just ice cream, the counter serves all desserts).
Price of Pleasure: a cone is 5 € (2 scoops) and served on the terrasse it is 6,50 €.
Raimo 59-61, bd de Reuilly, XIIe. Tél. : 01 43 43 70 17. Tlj.

Martine Lambert

From Deauville to Trouville, playing remakes of Holidays on Ice, sweetened version for more than twenty years! Success has encouraged this Normandy lady to conquer Paris, by opening a very simple shop for take away ice creams.
Popular Flavours: We are far from about the fifty flavours offered in Deauville but the choice of ice creams without colourants or conservatives remain honourable. To taste the very good “Quiberon” (caramel salted butter), “Martinique” (vanilla with crystallised orange and rum) or yoghurt, a little bit different.
Positive: The quality of the products, the service is friendly.
Negative: The chilling prices, and the ice cream scoop is too quickly rinsed (two flavours for the price of one!)
Price of Pleasure: a cone with two scoops is 4,70 €.
Martine Lambert , 192, rue de Grenelle, VIIe. Tél. 01 45 51 25 30. Tlj. sf lun.

Le Bac à glaces

Open since 1982 in Sèvres-Babylone and immediate neighbor of Conran Shop, Bac presents itself as a semi-crêperie semi-ice cream shop. Interior is a little somber and it has a very small terrasse, and a large space dedicated to take aways.
Popular Flavours: It is in cups not cones that we find here the most astonishing flavours like lemon-basil, peach-rosemary or pear-verbena. But on the day the raspberry-rose flavour was presented to our great joy and was an excellent accompaniment with vanilla.
Positive: The ice creams containing little sugar and quality ingredients. Charming public garden of the Foreign Missions, with two blocks of houses to taste them on a bench in the sun.
Negative: The limited range of flavours in cones.
Price of Pleasure: cone with two scoops 4 €.
Le Bac à glaces 109, rue du Bac, VIIe. Tél. : 01 45 48 87 65. Tlj. sf dim.

It Mylk

Aire glaciaire. At the beginning of spring this new address opened. A small temple of the god of milk, transformed into yoghurt to satisfy the desires of the good, fresh and healthy. It is decorated with tones of white and turquoise, and girly atmosphere and small tables where to read your women's magazines…
Popular Flavours: Yoghurt, and nothing but yoghurt, in its frozen version. Always a base of frozen yoghurt, it is with the toppings that you can have fun. With the choice of some fresh fruits cut in mini pieces, or small pieces of cake.
Positive: The concept is cool and the non-frozen version is also well liked.
Negative: A slight bitter taste in your mouth.
Price of Pleasure: ice cream from 3,50 to 6,90 €.
It Mylk 15, rue de l'Ancienne-Comédie, VIe . Tél. : 01 43 26 84 13. Tlj.

La Tropicale

Aire glaciaire. For more than thirty years, this ice creamery awaits wisely the arrival of summer near the place d' Italie. It has a small tasting area, very simple and minimal where they also serve from Mariage Frères and delicious almond biscuits.
Popular flavours: This historical ice creamery offers a permanent selection of about fifteen amusing flavours such as molossol, honey with pine nuts and even sometimes blood orange sorbet and lemon, sharp and fresh, with a little peel to bring a little crunchiness.
Positive: Very reasonable prices, the almond biscuits, the choice and originality of the sorbets and ice creams.
Negative: The décor is a little bit lacking and the consistency of the sorbets because of ice crystals.
Price of Pleasure : cone with 2 scoops is 3,80 €.
La Tropicale, 180 boulevard Vincent Auriol, XIIIe. Tél. : 01 42 16 87 27. Tlj. sf dim.

À la Mère de Famille

Aire glaciaire. Spontaneously, one would not think of it for ice cream. But the oldest and prettiest sweet shop of Paris also makes their ice cream right there on the premises.
Popular flavours: On the whole, 14 flavours of which some rarities like the cream cheese morello cherry, the pink praline, and the pistachio nougat. And other more simpler flavours like mango, are very successful along with the traditional caramel with salted butter.
Positive: The price, the place and the gourmet choices.
Negative: Less choice than a traditional ice creamery.
Price of Pleasure: cones with 2 scoops at 3 €.
À la Mère de Famille , 35, rue du Faubourg-Montmartre, IXe. Tél. : 01 47 70 83 69. Tlj. sf dim. après-midi.


Aire glaciaire. Of the 15 Parisian shops, we tested the one in Bastille. Not the most attractive store but they do their best to serve quickly and efficiently their abundance of ice cream choices. Forget about eating it inside the shop, there are only three tables at the back.
Popular flavours: Curiously, the French fans of these Italian ice creams vote for a traditional flavour like the caramel with salted butter. Choose more refreshing flavours such as organic yoghurt, organic milk chocolate soya, limoncello or the quality hazelnut. If you come in July, their new flavour will be Ivory Coast pineapple.
Positive: Quality ingredients such as Sicilian pistachio from Bronte, vanilla from Madagascar, and sometimes organic eggs, yoghurt and soya milk). A great choice for hot chocolate, in case summer never arrives.
Negative: Our impression is that it is a little too sweet and the cones too thin. Choose the pot if you don’t want it melting in your hands.
Price of Pleasure: cones from 3 € to 5,50 € (3 sizes) and from 3 € to 8,50 € for a cup (up to 5 sizes).
Amorino , 4, rue de la Roquette, XIe. Tél : 01 43 55 31 99. Tlj.


Aire glaciaire. Another Italian ice creamery who does not fail when it comes to quality. The ice cream is served with a spatula and not with a scoop. Apparent stones, pink wall, black and white floor, large counter… the punchy décor deserves a visit even if you get your ice cream to take away.
Popular flavours: The star flavour is Giandiua, a chocolate hazelnut ice cream, that you can combine with milk flavour, or for more balance, with a refreshing pear sorbet which gives the impression you are biting into fruit. The limited choice ensures the quality of the products.
Positive: Very generous servings and unlimited flavours, excellent coffees, and boutique.
Negative: To sit and eat the ice cream there will cost at least 7,50 €.
Price of Pleasure: eating there starting from 7,50 €; to take away from 3,50 €.
Pozzetto 39, rue du Roi-de-Sicile, IVe. Tél. : 01 42 77 08 64. Tlj.

Gelati d'Alberto

Aire glaciaire. Alberto, poet of the cold, the man who perpetuates the family tradition and carves his Italian ice creams with the spatula, giving them the shapes of rose petals. Definitely more rustic than the flashy decor of its shop located in Les Halles.
Popular flavours: A lot of exuberant flavours which go from fruits of the forest to Nutella, to cinnamon-date, then the tiramisu coffee, lemon meringue pie or the Danao (passionfruit-yoghourt-pineapple)! If these strange flavours are respected, we can reassure you, that the coffee and the strawberry are also very pleasant.
Positive: Open from midday to midnight, the prices are rather cool prices, and there is no added preservatives or colouring.
Negative: The presentations of the ice creams.
Price of Pleasure: cones with two flavours from 3 €, three flavours from 4 €, and four flavours from 5 €.
Gelati d'Alberto , 45, rue Mouffetard, Ve. Tél. : 01 77 11 44 55. Et Gelati d'Alberto, 11, rue des Lombards, Ier. Tlj.

Glaces très classe au restaurant

Good news, manufactured ice cream with odd colors are losing people’s interest and in the process are getting rare. Even the great restaurants have their own suppliers.
Thus it goes from Pascal the Glacier (Café de Flore, Lutetia) to Pedone in the Grande Épicerie, who supplies the bistros and Mister Ice (sales outlet at 6, rue Descombes, XVIIe), who keeps secret the name of its prestigious customers. As for Battistelli, he remains the favourite of the Corsicans for creations such as broccio and sweet chestnut.

Article taken from Le Figaro.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Feeling Crabby??

Try an easy quiche recipe!

Quiche au crabe

* 1 round puff pastry or other pie dough
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 2 cups sliced leeks (approximately 2 medium sized leeks)
* 2 x 225g cans canned crab meat, drained
* 85g shredded cheese - Gruyère, Emmental, or Swiss
* 4 large eggs
* 1 1/2 cups crème fraiche (or substitute whipping cream, half and half, or
   part milk)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper

1.     Begin by blind baking the crust. Line a 10 inch tart pan with the pastry dough, pushing it firmly to
        the bottom and sides. Prick in several dozen places with the tines of a fork. Place the crust in the
        freezer for at least 20 minutes. When it is well chilled, place the crust in a preheated oven
        (200°C/400°F) to bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before adding other

2.     Melt the butter and oil in a medium sized skillet on low-medium heat. Add the leeks and cook
        until the leeks are soft (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently. Don't brown the leeks. Stir in the
        drained crab meat and remove skillet from heat.

3.     Whisk together the eggs, crème fraîche (or substitute), and salt and pepper until combined.

4.     Spread the cooked leeks and crab in the bottom of the baked tart shell. Sprinkle with cheese, then
        pour in the egg mixture.

        Bake in 200°C/400°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Serves 6

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tamara's Chocolate Challenge!!

Design your own chocolate bar with chocri

chocri is a German company, founded in September 2008, but launched in the US in January 2010. What they do is allow you to customise your own chocolate bar on their website. You get to choose a base chocolate of either white, dark, milk, or a milk and white combination, and then choose your favourite toppings from the five categories – fruit, nuts, spices, confections, grains and decorations. There are more than 100 toppings to choose from. For example banana chips, blueberries, papaya cubes, nougat pieces, gummy bears, but they can also be real gold flakes, bourbon vanilla, orange pepper, pretzel, chive rolls, jalapenos... you name it! They hand-make the bars in Germany, and ship them to you.

So now my challenge, set by Chef Eric here at Cook’n with Class is to design the most delectable sweet chocolate bar and the craziest savoury chocolate bar there ever was that is still also extremely delicious and has you craving for more more more!!!

I have decided to take on a Thai theme for my savoury chocolate. Flavours of the world, who can go wrong with that?

For this chocolate I have chosen to go with the dark variety. Dark chocolate and savoury flavours normally complement each other quite well. So my first ingredient is basil. Sounds strange I know but hopefully it will bring a nice zest to the chocolate. I have added orange pepper which will bring a mix of black pepper and citrus flavours. Lastly to complete this oriental themed chocolate, I have added coconut shavings and cashews to add some different textures.

Now for my sweet chocolate bar my theme will be one my favourite movies (and jewellery brand) Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I have chosen to use the traditional milk chocolate. Being a girl, I decided to head straight for the decorations and chose the silver pearls. Afterall who wouldn’t want to be at breakfast without their finest jewellery on? Secondly I have chosen ground coffee beans. No breakfast would be complete without that cup of coffee in the morning! My third ingredient is organic muesli flakes but who can forget that glass of healthy OJ, so I have added some orange pieces to the mix. Lastly breakfast wouldn’t be complete without that lovely bunch of flowers on the table. So I have chosen to add pink sweet candied lilacs.

Now time to place that order! You are asked to name your creation and they will print it on the packaging for you. So appropriately named, my masterpieces are called Tamara’s Thai Delight and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The big day…

A squeal of delight was heard throughout the school when the chocri box finally arrived this morning. Only 11 days I must say since I ordered it, so I was quite impressed we didn’t have to wait too long for my creations.

The Verdict:

A little worried at first how the basil would taste in Tamara’s Thai Delight, but the flavour worked perfectly. The dark chocolate they used contains 72% cocoa so it tastes a little rich but very good. I don’t think they used enough of the orange pepper, we were waiting for that spicy kick. Otherwise my favourite ingredient in it was the coconut shavings. Highly recommended.

Overall this creation has been given a 7/10 by Chef Eric.

Now for my very girly creation, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The appearance looks so good I don’t want to open it! But I am very eager to try it. On first taste it was very crunchy because of the pearls, they were there obviously more for decoration than taste but added that touch of class to my creation. The flavours of the coffee lightly scattered throughout the chocolate and the big helping of the orange pieces worked so well together. Coffee and chocolate…a great combination. The muesli you couldn’t taste so much, but the small lilacs added that little bit of sweet candy flavour.

This creation is voted a 10/10 by all at Cook’n with Class.

I am very proud of my chocolate delights however they were not cheap to create. They would definitely be great as presents for people. Don’t be afraid to add any unusual toppings. They are not very strong in the chocolate and not scary at all. So get wild and crazy!

To make your own creations, visit their site at:

Tamara Ratnayake

Friday, May 21, 2010

Homemade Tomato Ketchup


3 kilos of ripe tomatoes,
3 large red onions,
4 large cloves of garlic,
1 red pepper,
25 cl of apple cider vinegar,
150 g of light brown sugar,
3 teaspoons salt,
freshly ground black pepper,
3 cloves and other spices to add to your taste: cinnamon, coriander and fenugreek (powdered), Espelette pepper ...


First chop the onions and the garlic, wash and chop the peppers, wash, wipe and cut the tomatoes into quarters. 
Place in a heavy bottomed pot, cover and cook for half an hour on a medium heat.
Pass the tomatoes through a blender or use a food mill (fine grid), then put it back on the stove, add vinegar, salt and spices.
Don’t hesitate to taste the sauce as you cook it.
Simmer uncovered for one more hour or a little more, the ketchup needs to reduce by half and thicken. 

Then add sugar and cook for another twenty minutes. Purists will be careful to keep the glass Heinz bottles to fill them with their own ketchup☺
Others use jam jars or other containers hermetically sealed. Be sure to boil all the containers before filling them with your cold ketchup.

This ketchup is to keep cool and eat within three months.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pistachio Financiers

Pistachio Financiers
(makes about 30 small financiers)

180g/6oz ground almonds
180g/6oz all purpose flour
360g/12oz sugar
1 pinch of salt
180g/6oz room temperature unsalted butter
2 tablespoons pistachio paste
30g/1oz dark rum
2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds of 1 vanilla pod
180g/6oz of egg whites (about 6 eggs)
fruit or dried fruits or nuts (ex. cherries, dried figs, pistachios, pine nuts etc)

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Prepare some small moulds (financier moulds or small muffin tins) by brushing with butter first and then coating lightly with flour.

In a standup mixer add ground almonds, flour, sugar and salt. Mix with the paddle attachment to combine, then add the butter, cut into small chunks. Keep mixing at low speed until mixture resembles wet sand. In the meantime, in a separate bowl add rum and vanilla to the egg whites and beat with a whisk until a bit frothy. Set aside.
Add pistachio paste to the standup mixer bowl, let disperse evenly then add the flavoured egg whites and keep mixing at medium speed until batter is nice and smooth.

Transfer batter into a piping bag and fill the moulds. Top with fruit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Top should be golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the financier should come out clean.

Let cool before unmoulding.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Figaroscope Gourmet Award Winners

Each month the Figaroscope, a supplement of the French newspaper Figaro, anonymously surveys bakeries, pâtisseries, pizzerias, crêperies, brasseries, restaurants and bars to test, rate and class the best of Parisian gastronomy. If you've missed it, here in chronological order, are all the winners recently announced by Figaroscope!

The best burgers
What are these burgers really worth with so many price differences? For our test, we took into account three elements: the bread (artisanal and mass-produced), the meat (cooking, texture and flavour) and trimmings (salad, homemade fries or not ...). Of course, the price plays a role. The winner of the test is Scoop (1st arrondissement) beating PDG (6th arrondissement).

The best pain au chocolat
We tested one of children’s favourite pastries in twenty-five addresses in the capital. Pretty to the eye, pleasing to the nose, pleasant in the mouth, trust your first impression when you buy! It was an artisan bakery who won. Winner: the bakery Julien (1st arrondissement).

The best egg mayo
Fans of this bistro appetiser, this survey is for you! Twenty-three excellent addresses were tested on this classic bistro dish, even graduates of Asom - Association for the Protection of the Egg Mayonnaise. The winner is Voltaire (7th arrondissement).

The best baguette
At a time when the trend in baguettes is the "Tradition", we chose to test the ordinary baguette in twenty famous bakeries in Paris, with the help of baker Gontran Cherrier. We are proud to test this ordinary baguette because it is one of the most sold products. The winner is found in Jacques Bazin (12th arrondissement).

The best pizza Margherita
The Margherita pizza is one of the most popular pizzas in France. We tested the twenty best pizzerias in Paris: rive gauche institutions, trattorias in West Paris, and tiny pizzerias in the Martyrs Trudaine-Abbesses area and few extra ones recommended by "pizzavores". Two winners tied for the Napolitan speciality: the Bistrot Napolitan (8th arrondissement) and Pizza Chic (6th arrondissement).

The best wholemeal crepe
Twenty creperies were tested on a best-seller: the wholemeal savoury crepe filled with ham, egg and cheese. The winning creperie the Breizh Café (4th arrondissement), where you can taste "the alternative crepe" is a reflection of a new generation of crêperies, the opposite of rustic Brittany type.

The best flan
Finding a good flan is a challenge. We tested twenty from artisan bakers and patissieries under the supervision of the patissier Christophe Felder. Like a homemade dessert, the flan should be rustic and straightforward. A simple pleasure is to buy it at the right time because bakers are often sold out by the middle of the day. The winner was found at L'Autre Boulange (11th arrondissement).

The best lemon tart
A classic dessert is a favourite of the French. A good enough reason to try out these delicious creations. Twenty addresses and reputed pâtisserie offering lemon tarts all year round were tested with the help of pastry chef Christophe Felder. The winner is Carl Marletti (5th arrondissement).

The best mojito
A cocktail for young people? Not only. This is one of the most requested cocktails in all the bars in the capital no matter what age. All Mojitos are born from the same recipe (rum, sugar, fresh mint, lime, ice and soda water), the mojitos somewhat resemble identical twins: same genetic traits but can be different! Our favourite is from Hotel Costes (1st arrondissement).

The best millefeuille
The millefeuille is one of the classic French pastries. We have made a careful selection to keep only twenty addresses, some of the most famous of the capital. The two winners come from local pâtisseries owned by excellent artisans: Vandermeersch (12th arrondissement) and Pâtisserie de l’Eglise (20th arrondissement).

The best plate of seafood
We tested a standard plate for two, as commonly proposed (with oysters, shrimp, prawns, crab and shellfish ). We've selected a good fifteen seafood oriented establishments, including some iconic brasseries of Paris. The winner is the brasserie Jarrassé in Neuilly.

The best Paris-Brest
If the Paris-Brest is a classic French pastry, which celebrates its hundreth year, it is not so easy to find in the supermarkets! This test has covered ten addresses among the most famous of the capital who make them daily. Result: the winner is sophisticated and tasty (La Pâtisserie des Rêves) and a simple but delicious boulangerie (Boulangerie Bazin).

This article is from Figaro.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chocolate Viennese Cookies


260g/9oz all purpose flour (T45 in France)
30g/1oz unsweetened cocoa powder, better if alkalized
250g/8.5oz soft butter
100g/3.5oz icing sugar
1 pinch of salt
2 egg whites at room temperature


Preheat the oven at 180C/350F.

Whisk flour and cocoa together (sift if necessary), set aside.

Mix together salt and icing sugar, set aside.

In the bowl of a standup mixer fitted with the paddle attachment put in the soft butter and start at medium speed until fluffy. Add salt and sugar mixture and keep mixing until it is a smooth consistency. Whisk egg whites lightly and add to the mixer. Keep mixing until well incorporated, stop and scrape a few times to make sure there's no chunks of unmixed butter at the bottom of the bowl. Stop and gradually start incorporating the flour and cocoa mix by hand, with a spatula. Mix until well incorporated but avoid overworking the dough.

Prepare a pastry bag fitted with a star tip; fill it with the mixture (not all at once or it'll be hard to squeeze) and pipe on a tray lined with baking paper. Classic shape is a "W". To pipe rosettes keep the tip above the paper at about 1 cm and turn your hand as you pipe. When the desired amount of dough has been piped stop squeezing the bag and keep twisting until dough naturally detaches from the piped cookie.

Bake immediately for 10 minutes then transfer baked cookies on a cooling rack.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Candlemas (La Fête de la Chandeleur)

The French holiday, La Fête de la Chandeleur, or Candlemas, is celebrated on February 2nd, 40 days after the birth of Jesus. Originally a Pagan festival honoring the Roman god named Pan, revelers paraded with torches through the streets. In 472, the Pope decided to Christianize the holiday; it would mark the date that it is thought that Jesus would have been presented at the Temple for consecration. It is said at this occasion there was a meeting of Jesus, his parents Mary and Joseph, and those he would be presented to. For this reason, the festival is also called "Hypapante", in Greek ("The Meeting"). Since the festival was celebrated with a candlelit procession at mass, the holiday was also called "Candlemas."
Since the holiday commemorates Mary having offered a sacrifice as part of her purification ritual after the birth of her son, it is dedicated to her and some people refer to the holiday as "The Purification."

This holiday is called la Chandeleur, Fête de la Lumière, or crêpe day.

Not only do the French eat a lot of crêpes on Chandeleur, but they also do a bit of fortune telling while making them. It is traditional to hold a coin in your writing hand and a crêpe pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air. If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year.

There are all kinds of French proverbs and sayings for Chandeleur; here are just a few. Note the similarities to the Groundhog Day predictions made in the US and Canada:

À la Chandeleur, l'hiver cesse ou reprend vigueur
On Candlemas, winter ends or strengthens

À la Chandeleur, le jour croît de deux heures
On Candlemas, the day grows by two hours

Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte
Candlemas covered (in snow), forty days lost

Rosée à la Chandeleur, hiver à sa dernière heure
Dew on Candlemas, winter at its final hour

Crepes Recipe

This sublime French crepe recipe is guaranteed to please all!
Served with Nutella, or sweet fresh fruits… ice-cream, whipped cream… chocolate sauce.
We 'll all scream for more!

You can make these crepes in any basic frying pan. 7 or 8 inches works best. Or, better yet, with a handy crepe maker.
The basic batter recipe is just below, but if you want to skip right to the fillings, go ahead!

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: about 30 minutes

Ingredients (for about 15 crepes):
2 cups Flour
2 1/2 cups Whole Milk
4 Eggs
2 tbsp. Butter (melted)
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Vanilla Stalk or Few Drops Vanilla Extract (optional)
Vegetable Oil (for pan)

How to Prepare Batter:

1. Sift flour and mix with salt in a bowl.
2. Make a well and pour in eggs. Stir well.
3. Slowly pour in milk while stirring. Keep stirring batter until small bubbles form on the surface.
4. Stir in Butter.

NB: The batter does not need to stand before using it. However, if you do let it stand, you will most likely want to add 1 tbsp. of water before cooking with it. General rule of thumb: if it seems thicker than cream, add a little more water, and/or a little more milk.

How to Prepare the Crepes:

1. Pour a little vegetable oil on a folded paper towel, and wipe the pan evenly. Keep paper towel at hand while preparing crepes, in case you want to give it another wipe.
2. Pour in 2 - 3 tbsp. of batter and quickly move the pan around, so that batter spreads evenly, covering the whole surface with a thin layer.
3. Let it cook for about 1 minute. Then, flip with a metal spatula, and cook other side for about 30 seconds.

Repeat these steps until you are out of batter, stacking cooked crepes on a plate. Yum!

Make your own Nutella it’s that simple and so good…

Try something new…Make your Own Nutella...
Nutella is a Chocolate-hazelnut spread. The kind of thing to me, which is like peanut butter or macaroni cheese to an American. I grew up on Nutella - spread on tartines, on crepes, with a spoon in front of the TV.

Here is my very personal recipe…

Yields about 1 1/2 cups - that is if you refrain from eating it while making it.

1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and peeled
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 ounces good milk chocolate, chopped and melted - I used milk chocolate chips

To toast and peel the hazelnuts, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toast the hazelnuts in one layer on a baking sheet for 15 minutes, until they are golden. Wrap them in a clean dish towel and rub continuously for a few minutes to remove the skin. You won't be able to remove everything but that's ok. Let the hazelnuts cool down before you grind them. Grind the hazelnuts well in a food processor to make a paste - my tiny food processor made me a paste with very tiny morsels (like big sand particles) and it's the best I could do, but it was fine. Add the oil, the sugar, the cocoa powder, and vanilla and continue processing. I microwave the chocolate chips on low power in small increments of 30 seconds, stirring before I would put it back in the microwave.
I transfer the hazelnut paste to the bowl of my processor, and then pour the chocolate, and pulse for a minute to blend it. I recommend straining the mix if you can still see large nut pieces; I did not because it was fine enough. Pour into a jar and let cool and thicken.
The spread will keep for about a month at room temperature (be sure the jar lid closes tightly there).
I recommend using whenever by itself, on crepes, on tartines, on muffins... You name it!

Monday, January 25, 2010

FOOD TRENDS IN 2010 – The Hot and the Cold List

The New Year begins and a decade ends. Looking back at the last 12 months we saw cooking change and redefine itself, the 2010 gourmet is wild, ecological and filled with treasures of modest means. Good-bye, red tuna. Hello, wild herbs. Get your gloves and your hiking boots on and bring your Corn Flakes, we going to the forest.

HOT: Herbs, berries, mushrooms, game.

All that is wild. The Scandinavian Chefs are walking in the footsteps of the French Marc Veyrat, who brought to the table, scented shoots from the forest and hills. In Quebec, hunting and fishing is making a comeback in the last few years. We not only want to eat "regional" but we want to eat altogether natural, no fertilizers, no energy-intensive work.

COLD: Stuffed deer heads in restaurants.

The game we want on the plate, not in the decor.

HOT: The animals we eat nose to tail.

Chicken feet, oxtail or pork tail, tongue, ears ... Forget veganism. If you want to eat in an environmentally sensible way, and not encourage the monoculture of soybeans, it’s by eating meat intelligently. So natural products, regional and no waste. When we kill a beast, we eat everything! Pork belly & shoulder are already popular in New York. Lamb’s neck is arriving on our plates. Veal or beef cheek is already everywhere. It goes on. A little pig stomach with that?

COLD: Our fish are overfished.

Even if some are delicious, such as yellowfin tuna, it is really bad taste to serve and eat. Moreover, the restaurants of Relais & Chateaux have totally removed yellowfin from their menus. Several other endangered species should follow.

HOT: Tap water.

We forget the water imported from halfway around the world in exotic bottles, often very pretty, but that cost a fortune to transport. We have very good water here. Why not drink it?

COLD: The restaurants that simply do not allow us to drink tap water, cold, filtered, without ice.

HOT: Momofuku Noodles.

It comes from northern China, with large plump noodles and dumplings filled with broth, reinvented by David Chang, New York chef of the moment. Mixing influences of Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese cuisine, Chang is both Asian and American. It feels solid but fragrant, tasty but refined. After sushi and dim sum that marked the last 10 years, leave room for the roast pork buns, pickled fish, salted seaweed used as a condiment, and home-made Kimchi.

COLD: Badly prepared Sushi now in every supermarket.

It is on the verge of indigestion.

HOT: Small fish and seafood whose survival is not threatened and that we too often snub: sardines, herring, mackerel, squid, shrimp from the Gulf ...

Fortunately, we just discovered environmentally correct sablefish, which is increasingly taking the place left by the Chilean sea bass (to avoid). But there are other fish to discover, such as brook trout...

COLD: Fish and seafood from non-organic farms.

Shrimp imported from Asia, for example, or farmed salmon grown in highly polluted environments.

HOT: Beer.

In northern regions like ours, vines don’t grow easily. Hops, though. Why not enjoy leaving more room for beer in our dining arrangements? The Scandinavian Chefs are moving away from olive oils, citrus and other Mediterranean products and turning increasingly to beer.

COLD: Restaurants and bars that do only commercial traditional lagers on the menu.

In 2010, we expect to find red beer everywhere. And why not golden & brown?

HOT: Vegetarian or vegan.

No need to refrain entirely from meat or cheese. But no need to eat it all the time either. In a world where the quality of meat is often dubious, we choose the best products, what about paying the high price and eating vegetables, grains and legumes at other times. Well? It's delicious, too.

COLD: Vegan and vegetarian products that are processed like junk food.

What is the idea of eating veggy products which we know neither the origin nor the recipe? And then eating tons of soy, ultra-processed, colored, flavored, is it ecologic when you know that this food, often grown in monoculture, is one of the first products on the list of GM?

HOT: Non-traditional grains, other than wheat, corn, soybeans.

We are rediscovering kamut, spelt, quinoa ... Not only because they taste good and are easy to cook, but also because it is a good idea to encourage biodiversity and revive the forgotten cereals. Like ancestral vegetables from far-off.

COLD: Organic or local at any price.

Do we really want to eat organic strawberries imported from California in the winter? Or local tomatoes grown in greenhouses when it’s snowing outside?

HOT: Bitter and Sour.

In a world that loves very sweet and fatty tastes, where flavors run together almost too easily, we rediscover the joy of angles and punctuation that provide bitter and tart tastes. Good, because they are abundant in these wild fruits and ancestral vegetables that we are looking for.

COLD: Stickers that decorate plates.

They are often very elegant, but do they really add to the fruit tart? We are ready to move on.

HOT: Modest ingredients.

In 2010, we no longer want to place the biodiversity of the planet at risk by eating it.
So we choose products, cheap & accessible: rice, beets, squash, pork feet, and make little miracles, delicous and not too expensive, like David Chang at Momofuku, who puts crunch on desserts with Corn Flakes or Inaki Aizpitarte at Chateaubriand in Paris, who reinvents radishes.

COLD: Expensive ingredients, which are often rare ingredients like caviar or yellowfin tuna. For who says rare often means threatened. In 2010, we prefer to pay for good simple food and good ideas.