The August break #2 – Pattern

memoriesA story about , , Written on le Sunday 03 August 2014.

soft pastels

bubble tea

A list of patterns from today.
K’s eggs and bacon for breakfast.  The evening sun through the blinds, projecting shadows on our wall. The fact that no matter how many times I’ve done it, I’ll forever be the worst at packing. Anxiety attack included. Tickles down my neck. Matcha bubble tea for le goûter. The soft pastels we bought yesterday.  The midnight lattes.  The crystals I drew last night. Maybe I’ll show you a picture later. A night at the airport. Not unlike last year.

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Press pause

memories, wordsA story about , , , , Written on le Friday 01 August 2014.

Exactly three months ago, I told you this:

And that too:

But you see, today, I’m only here to tell you about the August break. Literally and metaphorically.

Today, we didn’t pack our bags. Instead, we walked through a sunny London under the rain. Hoping for rainbows. And thunderstorms too.
We went to an art shop and got way too many pencils and pens and brushes and paper. Although, I might argue that these are the kind of things you can never have too many of.

scribbles

Tomorrow, we’ll – most likely – spend the night at the airport. But I’ve learnt my lesson – airports get really cold at night – and instead of a summer dress, I’ll sure be wearing some sort of soft hoodie and thick wool socks.

#theaugustbreak2014. Day one: lunch.

Lunch. Or so they say. We had ours on some stairs made of stone by Charing Cross. A gluten-free avocado wrap for me and a little baguette with things inside for K. I didn’t take a picture. Of course. But I’ll remember those stairs. And most importantly, browsing through the alleys of the art shop. It’d been too long. More to come on that later hopefully. Cross your fingers for me. You see, dreams are – at times – not as daft as they seem.

And while we’re on the lunch subject, I’ve been super inspired by that book (which I haven’t bought, but I can’t help but love the idea). I’m thinking of starting a feed the chefs feature for those of you who are curious of the things I make whenever I’m on staff food duty!

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The gluten-free pastry chef – A story and a vanilla and raspberry baked Alaska

la pâtisserie, wordsA story about , , , , , , , , , , Written on le Tuesday 10 June 2014.

gluten free baked alaska

We started our day with a breakfast made of baguette and butter – or was it butter and baguette? – and coffee, of course.
We drove to Antibes and sat on the clear plastic chairs facing the doctor.

And there, she said it: gluten-free.

I had read books on how gluten affects hypothyroidism. And I sort of knew that I shouldn’t eat wheat. But well, more than anything, I live for my work. And I shouldn’t say – let alone, think – it, but being a pastry chef defines who I am.

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We left and went for a coffee. Somehow puzzled by the news. Fear in the future but also happy to know it will make me feel better.

Such a strange feeling, really. Somehow having to give up what makes you happy in order to be happier.

We walked to the beach. The port on our right. Boats bigger than life and the sun glistening on every wavelet, like stars behind clouds.

gluten free baked alaska

I removed my white dress. And barely sat in the sand before I ran to the water. It was colder than it’d ever been; but I couldn’t care less.

Two hours later, I went back to the shore.
And lay down on the hot towel.

We waited until we were dry and set off to the market.

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You see I’d become a gluten-free pastry chef. An oxymoron of some sort.

But my only way to deal with it was to make something. Anything really. We’d picked up some raspberries at that little stand. The one that’s almost at the end of the alley. Lined with green wax-fabric. And we had vanilla ice-cream and strawberry ice-cream in the freezer.

One hour later, we also had a vanila and strawberry baked Alaska in there.

It wasn’t the prettiest by any mean, but we all had a slice for dinner. Some with an extra spoonful of Italian meringue, some with a fat scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

And I thought that no matter how little gluten there is, food will always be food. In every possible way.
And while we’re at it, I’ve created a new instagram account to document the things I eat. Get ready!

Vanilla and raspberry gluten-free baked Alaska

This baked Alaska or as we call it in French omelette norvégienne [literally, Norwegian omelette] is damn easy to make, and to eat too.
Of course, you could make the ice-cream and sorbet, and if you wish to do so, just drop me an email and I’ll send the recipes over.

The sponge I choose is a no-brainer almond and raspberry cake that my friend Eliot is obsessed with. And I guess that now I’m gluten-free, I will be too.

Vanilla and raspberry gluten-free baked Alaska

for the sponge
225g ground almonds
200g caster sugar
40g honey
20g cornflour
200g (around 4) eggs
60g (around 3) egg yolks
250g raspberries

for the ice-cream layers
500mL vanilla ice-cream
500mL raspberry sorbet

Both placed in the fridge for 30 minutes, before you’re ready to assemble the cake.

for the meringue
150g (around 5) egg whites
300g caster sugar
100g water

Line a 1L loaf tin with baking paper, slightly larger than the tin so you have some ‘handles’.
Place the tin in the freezer while you get on with the sponge.

Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a 30x40cm baking tray with baking paper.
Mix all the ingredients – aside from the raspberries – together until smooth. Pour into the prepared baking tray and spread into a rectangle, roughly 8mm thick. Sprinkle the raspberries on top of the batter.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden-brown and springy to the touch. Allow to cool down completely, then cut into 3 rectangles the size of your loaf tin.

Place a rectangle of sponge at the bottom of your frozen loaf tin and top with the vanilla ice-cream, smoothing it down using a maryse. Top with another piece of sponge and the raspberry sorbet. Finally, close the cake with the last piece of sponge and return to the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.

When the ice-creams are set, run the loaf tin under hot water to unmould the cake and place on a large serving plate. Return to the freezer while you make the meringue.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and start whisking at medium speed to soft-peaks.
Place the sugar and water into a small pan and cook to 118°C. Once the syrup reaches the correct temperature, reduce the speed of your mixer and pour the syrup down the side of the bowl. When all the syrup has been added, go back to medium speed, and keep on whisking until the meringue feels tepid to the touch.
Spread the cold meringue onto the ice-cream cake and burn using a blow-torch. You can keep the Alaska in the freezer for a few hours before serving, or slice right away using a hot knife (simply run the blade under hot water and wipe dry).

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