Baity kitchen

to eatA story about , , , Written on le Saturday 16 February 2013.
172 walton street, SW32JL
http://www.baitykitchen.com/

baity-2

I’ve told you about Baity before. Well, mostly about that absolutely adorable guy with the glasses and his Greek iced coffee.

But, really, this place is the dimestore diamond of Chelsea. It’s understated, in the best way possible; especially when all you get around are 12£ lattes (remind me to tell you the story of that Russian café we retreated to, defeated by the winter rain).

There is the back-garden, and the teal chairs and aluminium tables, there are the oreo-filled brownies, and cookies too. There is a counter that will make you hungry even when you’re not. And, yes, there is the Greek iced coffee, one of the many-good-reasons to spend lazy summer afternoons at the terrace.

baity-5

baity-7

baity 4

baity3

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How to become a pastry chef? – The dark side of stainless steel

in the kitchenA story about , Written on le Sunday 10 February 2013.

croissant

I received an email. Of a young pastry chef – L. – who was feeling like she didn’t belong to kitchens. We emailed back and forth. To me, there is nothing more magical than getting to do what I blindly love, and couldn’t even dream of a better place to be than in a too-hot, too-fast, too-stressful kitchen.

But it’s only fair to also talk about the other side.

When a daily job relies on boundary-less passion this much, the fine thread that keeps us going, that stretches far beyond strength we didn’t even know we had, can break.

Yes, we’ve all – one day – lost focus. And this is what I told L.: it’s ok. Because deep-inside, you can’t help but have this unreal lovestruck feeling hitting you every morning as you enter the kitchen.

I didn’t write this with the intention to discourage anyone or to bash any restaurant I’ve been lucky enough to work at (in fact, it’s all been just a dream; and if you don’t feel like it is, then maybe, your restaurant is not the one for you, it won’t mean you don’t belong to kitchens, not just to this one); but more as an encouragement. From me to you: shit happens, more often than not. And yet, I can still see you smile when you think you’re not.

Also, please excuse my French – ahem – naughty words. Just consider it a warm-up to the world you’ll soon be breathing.


beetroot

At times, you’ll wonder why the fuck you’re doing this.

It will be a morning.

You’re setting up your section. Just like any other day. You slept for three hours. Just like any other day. You go in the veg/dairy/you-name-it-fridge and it’s world war seven in there. Just like any other day. You can’t overlook anything. Call it perfectionism, OCD, or care. And really, you don’t have the time. You never have the time, but you make it. Fridge is spotless again. Your never-ending mise-en-place list gets longer. Just like any other day. You have to call every supplier for second deliveries, as a d*ck put through the orders the night before. Just like any other day. Your chef casually rolls in. Just like any other day.

Except it’s not any other day.

Somehow you can’t take it anymore. You will cry. You will swear. You will become bitter.

And you will hate it.
For a second.

Because then, when the check machine starts its merry-go-round, you’re trapped. Willingly or not, desserts are gonna have to leave this pass.

And yes, some merry-go-rounds are scarier, harder, faster than others, but close your eyes and hold tight.

Sometimes, you will feel like it’s unfair. How you’re the first one in and the last out. And no-one seems to give a damn. How you’re the only one to clean the oven or the dry stores. Or worst, doing the stocktake or HACCP.
And really, you can take anything. The fights, the bollockings, the one-too-many joke.

But injustice? No.
And really, you have no choice but keep it quiet. Some things will never be different.

All the time, you will be tired. In fact, you don’t even want to do the maths. But I’ll do it for you.

You wake up at five thirty. Or at least, the first of your many alarms will go off.
You’re at the restaurant by seven. Get changed. Ironed jacket, ironed apron. Need I mention the trousers? One torchon hanging from your hips and another one neatly folded behind your back.

At ten past seven, you’re in the kitchen. A quick look at your mise-en-place list. First delivery comes in and disappears in an army of plastic crates hidden in the fridge. Coffee gets made. And also seems to disappear in a storm.

There is the prep. And the problems. Freezer stopped working. Or perhaps it’s the fridge, or the mixer. Five trays of bread-rolls got burnt. The dairy hasn’t arrived yet and it’s ten. Shit happens. More often than not.

Service happens too. It wakes you up. Makes you feel alive. Makes you connect as a team. As a family. Kitchen is cleaned down. Ready for another service.

You send the last desserts. It’s already half-past midnight.

Hot soapy water, more paper roll than you should use. Sanitiser. Then the floor. You scrub, you squeegee, you mop, you dry. Your turn the lights off. Together.

You get changed. Except this time, forget the iron. Jeans need washing and that t-shirt is more than just wrinkled.
You’re home by late one if you’re lucky. More two.
You stick whites in the machine. Laundry powder. Softener. 60°C. You shower and fall asleep with wet hair. It’s two thirty and your alarm goes off in three hours.

Have a good night.

At least, you have days off to look forward to. Except, you can forget about those too. Someone calls in sick. Someone walks out. Someone is on holidays. Someone, you, need to wake up.

Once a month, you’ll get paid. Don’t make a mistake. No, don’t. Never calculate your hourly wage. Under legal. Not that you care really. Because sooner or later you’ll find the answer to the question that’s been haunting you all day.

Why the fuck are you doing this? You can’t stay away. You learn. You grow up. Perhaps too fast. You love what you do.

I tend to sugar-coat almonds. Not words. You will feel broken. Once in a while. Kitchens are raw. Concentrates of life lessons.
Of course, there is this side. There will always be this side.

But just like there is a hidden world behind puddles, there is also one behind stainless steel. And it’s wonderful, and addictive, and you’ll never get enough of it.

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Goodbye, hello

memoriesA story about , , , Written on le Thursday 07 February 2013.

jan

feb

mar

april

may

june

july

aug

sept

oct

nov

dec

I didn’t take enough pictures. At least not with my favourite camera. In fact, I think I had forgotten how to see the beauty in the unexpected. Some things can’t be forgotten, they say.
I rode my bike through a rainbow of sunsets. Most often than not, with a baguette and a bottle of wine cosily snuggled into the wicker basket. We cooked and ate and drank and laughed. Nothing could ever make me change my mind about her – my grand-mère. I love her. So. So. Much.
I walked in the desert streets of London. At night. Possibly crying. It seems to be a classic. I walked through the very same streets, same early hours of the morning, except there was snow. And people. A lot of them. Getting home that night was on the fun side. If only it weren’t for the following one hour of sleep.
I didn’t sleep a lot. For the record. Perhaps a broken one.
I ate out a lot. For the record. Perhaps a broken one. In fact, definitely a broken one. There was a rhubarb Eton mess, and a demerara sugar soda bread. And figs and basil combined.
I fell in love.
And witnessed the April snow. Two things I can never get enough of.
I left London under a sky made on Union Jacks and the pre-requisite Pimms and lemonade. We had mint tea too. And dim sum. Oh and a rhubarb tart from Yauatcha. I guess, I could add rhubarb to the list of things I can never get enough of.
And then came the south of France. And really, there is no better season down there than late spring. We slept on a canal boat, and drank wine until fireflies stopped their dance. We watched the sun se from that rock we love. And ate sushi, because that’s what we do. We sat at a café terrace and ordered tomato juice. All day long. I wrote a book. And I still do. Because I’m scared as I’ve never been before.
We sat on pebbles. Many times. With a picnic. And the sea. Or the river.
I held Lukie into my arms. And when I saw her again, months later, nothing had changed.
I came back to London and had my desserts on a menu. It was grand.
It took me eight month to realise that – indeed – some things are best left unsaid.
I learnt how to make Greek coffee. And mornings turned magical.
I watched Ben cook at a market stall. And later, I was lucky enough to watch him do his thing on a daily basis. It was magical-er.
I made bread. For what felt like the first time. Yes, because this time, it wasn’t at home. One of them had red wine inside, and I think people liked it. Thank you Ben. For everything.
I drank eggnog lattes. Enough to make it a proper December.
I’ve kissed him. Under mistletoe, under a bridge, under a wool blanket. He tied a golden ribbon in my hair. And his hat had a fluffy pom-pom. We made quite a pair. We walked onto clouds made of dead leaves. And pretended it wasn’t cold. No, not at all.
He made me hot chocolates. With a dash of bourbon. And I made cakes. With mulled wine.
I made mince pies too. And I packed them into a box and sent them away. It felt scary. I had named them: wild turkey in a pear tree.
We opened our eyes to a bigger-than-life snow globe. It’s London by night. And it’s wonderful.
I arrived in France just in time for Christmas. There was a tree. And my parents. And my sister. And foie-gras. And no electricity. But, we had champagne.

It’s probably to late for that. But I’ll close my eyes and make a wish. For 2013. And perhaps, more realistically, for February.

year iphone

The not-so-official February wish-list.

1. See more of this.
2. Carry my camera in my so-not-Mary-Poppins bag. And get on with the shoulder pain.
3. The watercolours we paint together.
4. Make a foie-gras brioche feuilletée. With duck fat instead of butter, it goes without saying.
5. Feeling so exhausted I can’t stand. Falling asleep in seconds. Dreading the five am alarm.
6. The cosiness of a freshly-made bed. And the hot water-bottle that goes along.
7. Never-ending dinner parties turned late-morning chats.
8. Reading more of this.
9. And this too.
10. Make a rhubarb something – anything really.

I know wishes shouldn’t be said outloud, but well, what are your let’s-not-call-them-wishes-then for the month ahead?

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Western sous la neige

memoriesA story about , Written on le Monday 21 January 2013.

[Western under the snow]

under the snow tree

There was the noise our feet made on the ground. There was the darkness. And yet, our world felt like millions of shooting stars were falling around us. On us too. There was a make-believe hanami. Who said trees don’t blossom in winter?

But mostly, there was us.

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Not just a Sunday afternoon

la pâtisserie, memoriesA story about , Written on le Sunday 13 January 2013.

sunday morning

I could have turned this into a follow-up of a favourite feature: how to become a pastry chef? – the days off. But I guess you somehow get it. As a chef, days off are unusual enough. And when they happen, so does a concentrate of life. Sleep, eat, drink, be merry. Fall in love or not. Kiss or more. And at times, recipe organising needs to happen too.

That’s what I’ve been doing today. I cooked some leftover rice with a little milk, a little honey and a lot of vanilla. Breakfast. At twelve pm. I watched the boats go by as I was gazing through the windows. Now, this miniature world has turned black and dotted with lights that I like to imagine as millions of fireflies.

And yet, I’m only on letter B. Of the second notebook. I have thirteen. Yes, I have a French-press-ful of coffee brewing as I’m writing this. And yes, I’m kind of procrastinating right now.

Chef or not, how do you organise your recipes? A favourite software, app, notebook?

On my side, I usually have two moleskines for every job I take.
A plain squared one for mise-en-place lists, notes, ideas, recipe development.
And a repertoire one for finalised recipes.

They’re all a bit messy, with doodles and more traces of chocolate than I’d like to admit. They weigh a ton. But really they’re a treasure.
To make it more workflow-friendly, I’ve started transferring the recipes into an excel spreadsheet. It takes forever but I know I will love it when it’s done.

Aaaah, the life of a pastry chef.

PS. would you be interested in a “How to become a pastry chef? – Organising recipes” article? Please say yes as I need a serious incentive to go through the thousands of scribbles I have in my notebooks?

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But we had us – Un gâteau aux pommes et au cidre, un peu comme une tarte tatin

la pâtisserieA story about , , , , , , Written on le Monday 07 January 2013.

[A cider and apple cake, not unlike a tatin tart]

apple cake

There was that night made of champagne, flickering candles, crisps and smoked salmon sandwiches, the last of the foie gras smothered onto big fat chunky pieces of baguette, an endless game of trivial pursuit where – as it turned out – the one person who refused to play (my father, apparently stuck to his mots croisés) became the one who knew all the answers, our joker as we called him whenever we got clueless about a question.

Yes, there was no electricity in the house. But we had us. And a dark Christmas tree. And some apple cake.

Something I’d thrown together with things we had.

Too-much-butter, as my mum always buys when she knows I’m coming.
A lot of sugar.
A touch of honey from this beekeeper my grand-mother became very fond of.
And winter apples from M. Riouet’s orchard. And really, I say orchard when it’s more of a tree, but I can’t help it, his potager is the enchanted forest I grew up in.

This cake was meant to be nothing but rustic. A mere snack after a day spent with Bruno and his goats in the mountains.
And yet, that night, this very cake turned into dessert. Of the fancy, champagne-glass matching, kind.

apple cake sliced

Gâteau aux pommes et au cidre, un peu comme une tarte tatin

While I wouldn’t necessarily force you to have this cake as a dessert, I must say it makes a pretty decent contender. Especially with a scoop of yoghurt ice-cream or a big fat dollop of crème fraiche.

But the way I see it is much more homely. The kind of cakes that’s eaten still warm from the oven, with fingers – but I guess it’s sort of useless for me to remind you how I like to eat my cake – and a side made of tea in a pot. I think a light infusion of tilleul would do wonders here.

It’s really quite simple to make. Slice three apples thinly, a knife and your hand are enough, but you can go with the mandolin too, although I didn’t. Layer them at the bottom of your tin and drizzle with honey. Top with the batter and bake. Oh, and eat too!

Gâteau aux pommes et au cidre

serves 8-10

6 apples, peeled and cored
100g runny honey
180g butter
300g demerara sugar
2 eggs
245g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp maldon sea salt
180g apple cider
(or juice)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Butter a 24cm cake tin, line with baking paper and set aside.

Thinly slice 3 apples and layer at the bottom of the prepared tin. Drizzle with honey and pack tightly with your hands.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar.

In the meantime, chop the remaining apples into 2cm chunks.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Then, alternatively add the dry ingredients and cider to the butter mixture in three times, starting with the flour.
Finish the batter by gently folding in the apple chunks.

Pour onto the sliced apples and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then invert onto a plate and peel off the baking paper if necessary.

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And all the trimmings

memoriesA story about , , Written on le Saturday 05 January 2013.

I’ve been trapped into a world made of stainless-steel and ovens going off. A happy – and at times, not so – merry-go-round of services, and gin and tonics. Of course there was an occasional bloody mary too.

And really, I hadn’t realised how long I’d gone for. Not unlike when Sookie spends a day in the land of fairies, only to realise years have gone by in her world.

Yes it’s been too long. So long in fact, that I don’t know where to start. But before I tell you about that apple cake we ate in one day, and that kiss he gave me by a home-alone Christmas tree, and all the trimmings that made 2012 pretty exciting, I’m going to show you a picture.

bonnes fetes

It was the day before Christmas. And really if it wasn’t for the ice made of lightbulbs that rimmed the houses, I’d have thought we were in early autumn.

No crisp winds. No snow under our feets.

But there was a fireplace and the stories we were told. And a capon bigger than our cat (a rare occurrence I must admit). And most importantly, the people I’m madly in love with.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas. I’ll talk to you very very very soon. x

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Note #2 – On heart-shaped dreams

inspirationA story about , , , Written on le Saturday 27 October 2012.

“I am just a dreamer, and but you are such just a dream.”
— Neil Young

That moment when I’m going all tumblr-ish on you. Yes, it’s time for it.

PS. And the worst part is: it’s not over.
PS bis. You can thank the amazing type-writer.

PS (the last one). What’s your all-time favourite love/dream quote/poems/line?

Le premier jour du reste de ta vie

memoriesA story about , Written on le Friday 26 October 2012.

[The first day of the rest of your life]

Today, I tied my hair into a ponytail. And slipped my bare feet into furry boots.

Up there I could barely see. I guess London has been called the smoke for a reason.
But down here – yes – down here it was windy, you know that kind of wind that turn your cheeks into cherry lollipops and make the glorious autumn trees sound like summer waves breaking onto pebble beaches.

I sat on my favourite bench, the one under the smallest platane.

Tonight, I turned on the heater. Just for ten minutes; just enough for the smell of an old garage to blend with that burning mulled wine candle in the most perfect way.

I’d like to say I had a chimerical dinner, one made of butternut squash, brown butter and sage. But nope. Two slices of pizza, a little salad, a lot of cider vinegar. Oh and a persimmon!

Tonight, but later – at dawn, perhaps – when fog will be everything we see, I’ll write.

About peaches baked in mead. About iced yoghurts pretending to be nougats glacés. About kisses and how they felt. About vanilla sponges with goat cheese curd. The working title goes along the lines of bonfire stories. And really, it could not be more right.

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She fell in love with… #6

memoriesA story about , , , , Written on le Friday 19 October 2012.

London, September 2012

You should see the skyline today. Nothing like it and yet, I haven’t found anything better than clouds blanketing everything around us.

Not unlike closing your eyes to the mountain sun.
Not unlike that moment when a plane crosses herds of clouds.
Not unlike a sea of cotton around a desert island made of pillows and wool blankets.

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Bonjour octobre

memoriesA story about , , , , Written on le Thursday 18 October 2012.

[Hello October]

Some may wonder what the point is really, to say hello when it’s almost time for goodbyes.

Well, let me tell you a story. Or more accurately the end of it. At times, beginnings don’t matter.

We’ll start with the very last kiss that made our lips burn and the cab-meter go well past a fiver. It was cold and well into the morning, but for us, it was still the day before. Somehow, in between the glitters that once were on my eyes and the Hendricks gin we called supper, we got stuck sometime between two and three am. For hours.

The cab door opened. We kissed. I saw things spin around us, it was not the booze and certainly not a merry-go-round either. And I rushed in, hoping to find comfort in the shape of a cheap electric heater, when I’d have rather been frozen to the bone with his lips on mine.
His flight was a few hours away, mine would never come. The dreams we had would stay as such, dreams. And just like this, I very well knew I’d never see him again.

One kiss, hello and goodbye.

I cried. But one thing that kiss didn’t allow was what-ifs and their flock of hazy feelings that things could have been different.
It was what it was. Wonderful, not unlike magic in many ways. Only I could have told him I liked him when we still had time. But these are things we learn with time.

And this is why no matter how close the farewell is, you should always say hello. Even if you think it’s too late, even when you know it’s too late.

I might be eighteen days behind, but BONJOUR OCTOBRE.

The not-so official October happy-list.

1. And for it I must warn you: broken-record alert! I’m only one chapter away to finishing my dream-book. So looking forward to the photoshoot and design now.
2. Plating beautiful desserts at John Salt, one week to go. I just can’t wait.
3. Walks by the Thames. Misty and all.
4. Two birthdays that make me wish I was in France this week: Bon anniversaire Aïda et maman! Je vous aime fort fort.
5. I fell in love with a tale of two. And this is coming in my kitchen very very soon.
6. Baking at home soon. One day! It’s just that doing not one – but two – restaurant openings is fairly time consuming. Of the 7am-till-1am time consuming.
7. But bubble teas make it all ok.
8. Coming up with a ribambelle of petits fours for John Salt. Brace yourself!
9. Blue-sky days with icy winds.
10. Pumpkin lattes – not of the Starbucks kind (I ordered one, had one sip, turned my back on it; fact). That’s it.

PS. No iPhone pictures this month, because I sort of broke the camera on my phone. Well it broke itself in my bag. I guess I have to thank its Mary Poppins factor. Yeah, right.

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Pure morning – Burnt honey, vanilla, and parsnip ice-cream

la pâtisserieA story about , , , , , , , Written on le Thursday 27 September 2012.

It’s the light, a cold blue grey. It’s the window, adorned with pearls. It’s the wind, carrying the scent of moss and ocean.

And just like you don’t even have to think to know you’ve fallen deep-hard in love, I didn’t have to look through the open window to know we’d been surrounded by cotton overnight.

Yes, that morning – or perhaps more accurately, early afternoon – I could feel autumn. And tea was brewed. And porridge got made, with freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of fleur de sel. Don’t ask, it’s a favourite.

I got the ice-cream machine started too.

You see, the night before, I had chopped parsnips and cooked them in burnt honey and loads of vanilla, until shiny. I had then added milk and blitzed the whole thing.

Because that’s what we do. We chop and cook and bake and blitz and pass and chill and whisk and scrape and fold.

That morning, I also got some really exciting news. Yes, the ones I told you about. And rather literally, it’s gonna be one hell of a rainbow.
Not unlike porn for pastry chefs. Not unlike closing your eyes / making a wish / opening your eyes / making it happen.

I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

Burnt honey, vanilla, and parsnip ice-cream

This ice-cream is inspired by a Christmas lunch I had years ago, where parsnips got roasted with honey and vanilla until the edges were crunchy, and the flesh sweet and fluffy.
That day, we ate them with the biggest turkey I had even seen, stuffed with chestnuts and apples.

The process couldn’t be easier. The honey and vanilla get cooked until foamy, then the parsnips are tossed around. And really, I can’t insist enough: use young, small parsnips. They’re sweeter and firmer.

The ice-cream tastes sweet and earthy, just like the parsnips I had years ago. You should try it with a slice of brownies or a rich chocolate cake. Please do.

Burnt honey, vanilla, and parsnip ice-cream

makes 1L-ish of ice-cream

50 g chestnut honey
500 g peeled and diced parsnips
one vanilla pod
100 g caster sugar
350 g whole milk
400 g double cream

Place the honey, vanilla seeds and pod in a large pan set over high heat and cook until foamy and fragrant. Add the parsnip dices and stir well to coat.
Deglaze with the milk and bring to the boil. Simmer with a lid on for 15-20 minutes, or until the parsnip is cooked through.
Handblend for 6 minutes or until smooth. Add the cream and blend a bit more. Pass through a fine sieve. Clingfilm to the touch and chill for at least 4 hours or better, overnight.
Churn according to your ice-cream machine instructions, and keep in the freezer for an hour or so before serving. It’s pretty delicious with anything chocolate.

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Things that #2… make me long for autumn

memoriesA story about , , , , , , Written on le Monday 24 September 2012.

The sound of wind through the trees. And of leaves under our boots too.
The hidden world behind puddles.
Knowing that Christmas is just around. Because, really, the best thing about Christmas is the perfect mix of anticipation and excitement.
The rain. And when it stops pouring, the one that comes from trees.
Lingering in gold, every cloud is ours.
Walks through empty alleys in museums. And the too-hot-to-drink coffees we have there too.
The endless road-trips; where windscreen-wipers beat faster than our hearts.
Pumpkins and pine cones and apples and chestnuts.
The figs we eat from the branches. And the oysters we gather from rocks made of mud. The blackberry bushes we spike our fingers with.
The smell of earth on foggy mornings.
Wearing leg-warmers and wool leggings and earmuffs.

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Note #1 – On cooking and perfection

in the kitchenA story about , , , Written on le Saturday 22 September 2012.

“Cooking is an endless quest for perfection; it is at the same time never reached and always there.”
Julien Vaché

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Bonjour septembre

memoriesA story about , , , , , Written on le Friday 21 September 2012.

[Hello September]

I’ve been falling asleep to bigger-than-life fairy-lights; of the skyscraper kind. I’ve been talking too loud. And I’ve French-kissed, at times with a reason, most of the time without. I’ve been waiting for autumn, and wool leggings, and earmuffs; and somehow, I’m sort of day-dreaming about the past few months and how the sun would feel on my skin and how the beer made my tongue tingle and how pieds-nus [barefeet] was the only way to go, just by reading Nikole’s words. I’ve been waiting for something else too, someone else really. I’m still waiting, but shhh… that’s a secret.
I’ve been working days and nights. Or perhaps, it is nights and days. I’ve forgotten how to count weeks. Hours. Minutes. And seconds too.

I’ve felt the wind from the top of that bridge, late at night. Or very early in the morning, your call. I’ve tied my hair into a ponytail and walked through the meat-market. I’ve made plans to visit the fish market after that, but really, the comfort of my bed was all we needed.

I didn’t take no for an answer. And for the first time this year, I’ve said no out-loud. Many times. It might be a back-to-school illusion, but I’ve sort of grown up. And yet, I’ve been eating ice-cream straight from the tub, bath or not. I’ve employed magical thinking when making bread. I’ve made wishes at every shooting star I saw. I’ve dreamt. And really, no matter how old I ever get, I never want to stop dreaming.

Right now, I dream of things you’ll know about soon enough. The obvious and the less obvious.

The not-so-official September dream/happy-list.

1. Three rolls of film. To be developed. To be continued really.
2. Closing my eyes at every street corner and wishing to see his face.
3. Taping that last full stop in the manuscript I’ve been meaning to finish for months. Yes, I’m still not over.
4. Watercolour and brushes. Illustrations for that book of mine that still feels too pinch-me-I’m-dreaming good to be true.
5. That secret thing I will know more about tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me. And your toes too!
6. Sitting by the Thames. And looking at the clouds go by.
7. The coffee missions my friend Francesca has been enrolling me in, not unlike a treasure hunt. So far, it’s been amazing.
8. Hearing the sound of raindrops against my window. Such a classic cliché, such a broken record; and yet, I’ll never ever ever get tired of it. Figs too, by the way.
9. Sleeping with no other alarm than the sun shining through the curtains.
10. The giant fabric baobab I see very early in the morning. The one that makes me feel like I’m in Le Petit Prince.
11. Yes, eleventh, just because it feels right: the most gorgeous dinner I’m ever going to eat. Yes, it’s on the way. And more.

I’d like to talk more. But you see, there is a consommé with halibut and some fennel – of the baby, caramelised kind – being cooked in my house, and there is white wine in tall mismatched glasses, and it rained tonight! And most importantly, escargots would go in the wild. Adorable and all.

What are you dreaming about these days anyway?

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Le vent

memoriesA story about , , Written on le Sunday 26 August 2012.

This is the gif I told you about.

Wind as a token of my love for colder days.

Days made of rain pouring down the windows. And a roaring sky. Oh and the occasional lightning too, welcomed with more vowels than our alphabet offers.

Yes, autumn is on its way, and really, I could not wish for more.

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On days, like a merry-go-round – Butter pan-fried gnocchi with ketchup

la cuisine, memoriesA story about , , Written on le Monday 20 August 2012.

Some days are ok. Others are grand. I remember that day when we felt like we owned the world. Kissing at every street corner and not even noticing the happy dance snowflakes made around us.

Yes, that was an august day. And a august-er night, in the winter.

And some days are not so grand. But that’s part of the game. A game we don’t choose to play. And yet we’re here, one step forward, at times two, and three steps backward.

Pulled up and down.
Not unlike a roller coaster.
Not unlike surfing on the waves I thought we’d be in by now.

Yes, today was not the best day. But I put on my favourite red lips. And that dress that floats when I spin. And I spinned, and cried a little too, in the tube. And I made a gif. And had gnocchi, pan-fried with butter until crisp with gold on the out-kind-of-side and yet, soft as a pillow on the in-side. With a side of ketchup, for only excuse that it felt right.

And slowly, like a merry-go-round that never ends, the cacophony turned into music. And really, there was no better place to be than safely nested against that wooden horse. In fact, there is a better place to be, but of this, I will tell you later.

Some stories only belong to grand days.

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She fell in love with… #5

la pâtisserieA story about , , , , , , , Written on le Sunday 19 August 2012.

Guys, it’s eight pm. And I’m sitting in my bed. Looking at the sun playing hide-and-seek through the City. Perhaps, I took a picture with my phone. And one with my minolta instant pro too. And perhaps, even with my forgotten love who goes by the name of sx70.

It’s been great around here these days.
Even if I’m the only person in London to have a cold. Even if I haven’t had a days off in ages. Even if it’s so hot in the kitchen, I’ve had to give up tempering chocolate.

Because you see, I have my desserts on a menu. Printed in a pretty font. With fancy words.
There is something with strawberries and a rhubarb sorbet. And olive oil too, because that’s how I roll. There is a milk chocolate and salted butter caramel tart, sort of. There is a summer pudding, the French way; with the same brioche my grand-mother always makes: tons of butter and a touch more, and an elderflower berry compote-ish. There is a caramelised pineapple with bits of coconut dacquois, and the pinkiest hibiscus and lemongrass sorbet. There is a chocolate and honey lava cake with roasted apricots. And honeycomb too. Because it’s crunchy and I kinda love it.

Because you see, the berries are pretty amazing this year and my freezer has now turned into a trendy pink ombré.

Because you see, my friend Rachel thinks this little blog is khool.

Because you see, I make crazy experiments. The lastest was a basil pâte de fruit(s). It went with fresh strawberries, and a Pimm’s and lemonade sorbet. I will tell you about it soon.
And just so you get ready, James and I are planning on making a Pimms’s and lemonade pâte de fruits roly-poly. It should be grand. So brace yourself!

And I know I missed the farewell to July and the bonjour to August, but really, does it matter when you have basil pâte de fruits instead?

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