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Randomly: Food

Eat in, eat out, does it matter which? Sure, I haven’t been cooking nor baking as much at home lately, and the next couple of months will unlikely to see an increase in kitchen-y activities for me as we have a good few trips coming around. And when I do, things are kept easy and simple, leaving the fancier stuff to the professionals and all I need to do is order them. ;)



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Chocolate chips and sweet wine cake

We opened a bottle of Banyuls a few weeks ago and somehow still haven’t got round to finishing it up. Well, it can’t – and shouldn’t – sit in the fridge forever, so after rooting around the kitchen, I decided to whip up a batch of chocolate chips and sweet wine cake. It didn’t came out quite right though, so a second batch was prepared along with some ingredient adjustments. Edible, getting there. Third time was a charm, and hey, no sweet wine left! (And not enough self-raising flour either so I improvised with plain flour and baking powder mix.)

Chocolate and wine cake

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Banana and chocolate chip cake

Right, if you want to eat these bananas, you can. However, if they are left alone for a few days, I’ll whip up some banana cake for you.

Bananas don’t last long in our apartment. The few times I half-heartedly trying to get some ripen, they inevitably got gobbled up quickly. This time though, a simple request with an offer of a reward does the trick. The initial intention was to make a simple banana cake but since F asked so nicely to incorporate chocolate chips in it, he got it!

Banana cake

This good size loaf didn’t last very long either. I baked it late in the morning, so clearly we must have some as dessert during lunch. Two hours or so later, oh look – it’s tea time! With cake, of course. Always with cake. When dinner came round, there was just enough for another round of dessert. F also quipped that it would be unfair to the cake if some were kept overnight since it was best when truly fresh, therefore same day consumption made the most sense. What a logic ;)

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Guinness is better in a cake

Blasphemous as it sounds, I do not like the taste of Guinness. All the years living in Ireland didn’t help me personally in terms of taste acquirement. I admit to a twinge of jealousy when observing Erasmus students and other visitors – F included! – taking to it quickly and could declare the pint in Ireland as the best they’ve had.

Guinness cake

A clever idea came not so long ago. Like mothers who slyly hide peas and brussel sprouts so the kids would eat them, I thought using Guinness as a cake ingredient could be a neat trick in improving how I perceive the taste of Guinness. With St Patrick’s round the corner, I even have the perfect excuse to whip the cake up without the guilt (or the worry) of eating it all by myself.

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Coconut and lime cake

F grumbles that I don’t often bake for him. Sadly, that is quite true. Can I blame it on the equipment I have in our very little Parisian kitchen? Or actually, to be more accurate, the lack of equipment. Back in Dublin, I had a wonderful and spacious kitchen, with all kinds of tools and ingredients at my disposal; I kid you not when I say I used to stock 7-8 different types of sugar! Now, we have two: white or brown…

Coconut and lime cake

But the mood does strike from time to time, and my recent kitchen experiment had been met with reasonable success. F adores the moist yet zingy-fresh slices of cake (“perfect for afternoon tea”), and my friends who have tried it have been asking for the recipe too. Last I heard, even their friends are asking for the recipe. I guess that means it merits a blog post, in particular because it’ll make my life easier in event of future recipe sharing.

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Project 365 – Week 5

As I’ve promised previously, back to normal transmission. I’m glad that the days are getting longer, but I’m a tad frustrated too that I’m rather busy at work so by the time I’m out of the office, it’s dark outside. There’s a limit to how far I can go without being home too late for dinner either. I must try harder to get more variations!

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Musée Curie

28 Jan: The first woman to ever receive a Nobel Prize, Marie Curie was an extraordinary scientist. She won not only one, but a second Nobel, and both in different disciplines (Physics and Chemistry). Her former lab has now been transformed into a small museum and it was also here where her daughter and son-in-law made new discovery that went on to win another Nobel Prize for themselves. The museum is open Wednesday to Saturday in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm. The admission is free. (I must come back when it’s open one of these days!)

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Day 239: Gérard Mulot

I’ve had a fairly active day, which started with a jogging session, followed by another non-drowning session. There were some improvements but something weird/amusing were also observed – (1) my legs are “heavy” (they don’t like staying afloat) and (2) I somehow managed to do a full circle while kicking when I was meant to go in a straight line. Hmmm…

Then, what did I do after I work those calories away? I gobbled down some tasty calorific treats. Cakes and macarons from Gérard Mulot to be precise. I didn’t eat by myself though. Instead, Chloé and I made our selections and after lunch, made our way to the Luxembourg Garden to enjoy our bounty together. Don’t be fooled by the sunny appearance above. We’ve just barely finished cake tasting when the sky opened up and we had to leg it so we didn’t get drowned out there!

Day 203: La Marguerite

You know I’m always on the look out for nice pastries. However, it is also prudent that I don’t overdo it. As of present, I seem to be stepping in a pâtisserie about once every fortnight and for the intermittent weeks, perhaps a chocolaterie every second fortnight?

Arnaud Delmontel is a bit out of the way and quite a chance discovery. I had trodded my way to Montmartre in search of a small shop where I’ve previously bought some lovely matcha madeleine but unfortunately the shop is currently closed for its congé annuel. However, right across the street is Delmontel and its cakes on display just called out to me. Like moth to a light, I fluttered my way over and bought les petits gateaux for myself and Anne. The verdict? Mine was rich an creamy but Anne’s was a tad dry on the outside. A place to revisit when I’m in the area again next but perhaps not one to deliberately journey out for.

Day 147: Gyokuro

So I was meeting Anne in the Marais yesterday. However, as I arrived early in the area, I decided to walk about randomly (like I always do). Somewhere along the route, I came across Patisserie Pain de Sucre and like a siren calling out to me, I automatically walked in to the shop and cue Pavlovian conditioning – droolfest! If I could have, I would have bought one of every cake and verrine in there. But I stayed sensible, and I came out about €16 poorer in exchange for 2 verrines and a slice of Gyokuro.

The verrines have been eaten up after dinner last night, but there’s still this slice of cake left for today. Its full description reads: Biscuit madeleine à la pistache et zestes d’agrumes, crème au thé vert matcha, mousse coco, crémeux léger au thé gyokuro, feuille de chocolat au thé vert (madeleine cake of pistachio and citrus zest, cream of matcha green tea, coconut mousse, light cream of gyokuro tea, green tea chocolate leaf). I was quite sure I spotted rosemary inside one of the layers, not just decorative at the top, but I could have also mistaken something else for it. Perhaps it was green citrus peel?

Gyokuro is amazingly light to eat and it tastes fresh too, perfect as a summer day treat. It is definitely the best buy of the lot, as the verrines were just too “busy” with all the complex layers contained in teeny tiny glasses. I liked them, but not enough to want a repeat. The cake, however, I could eat a lot more of it. I should try other varieties next time I pass by.

Day 30: Chocolate biscuit cupcake

There is a sweet little stand of delicious goodness in the form of cupcakes at the Powerscourt Centre. They look pretty and well-iced, although I don’t normally buy them, given the rather extravagant price tag (for me) and I could bake them myself at home (although I admit to not being very good at icing the cupcakes). Still, today, I gave in to the temptation of a chocolate biscuit cupcake.

This is the most delectable marriage between chocolate and biscuit, and possibly a very Irish thing too since I’ve not seen this elsewhere abroad. Maybe I have not paid enough attention? In any case, it is actually quite easy to make some at home too, except it takes time for the cake to set. Not ideal, however, if one is looking for instant gratification.

My favourite places for immediate chocolate biscuit cake in Dublin:
– chocolate biscuit cupcake (€2.25) at Cupcakes
– chocolate biscuit slice (€2.60) at Café Sol
– chocolate biscuit slice (€2.00) at Pichet

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