Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pierre Herme's Tarte Grenobloise

My friend Dees loves pecans. And he had been bugging me to make pecan pie for a long time.  After a delay of a few months, I finally dusted off my copy of Pierre Herme's Chocolate Desserts and made the fancifully named Tarte Grenobloise. I can't pronounce that either. But all you need to know is that this is a more elegant version of an all-American pecan pie. As a base, there's the beautifully sandy chocolate almond pate sablee, followed by rich dark chocolate ganache, and to finish it off, caramelled pecans. A pure decadent hit that should satisfy any sweet cravings.

If you don't want to rush around the kitchen, you should allow 2 days to make this. With so many components to complete, the entire tart isn't so daunting when you spread it out. Making this is a lesson in patience, but all the time in the kitchen is worth it. There's nothing quite like seeing the chocolate ganache gradually get shiny with the addition of butter, or to stand patiently and see sugar caramelise into an amber liquid. Just one bite of your tart makes it all worth it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

In which I entered a Masterchef-style food competition

An award-winning main dish...ok maybe not

Generally speaking, my Sundays are sacred. They’re the days for me to relax, mooch at home and do absolutely nothing. It would take something pretty special to drag me and keep me out for an entire day. Something special like NomNomNom.

I’d never heard of it until a friend's friend tweeted me a few weeks ago to let me know about the Masterchef-style competition for bloggers. 2.5 hours to make a 3-course meal for 4 with a budget of £40. Oh, and you have to use seasonal produce and one course can’t be cooked or baked. And did they mention there are judges – proper foodies who actually knew what they were talking about? If I’d stopped to think about it, that would have scared me off. But in a moment of weakness, I agreed to join.

The competition was lots of fun, and I got to eat some really tasty food and carry home two really nice goodie bags stuffed with pressies. The icing on the cake was having our team getting a special shout-out for coming in third.

I've done a longer post about the experience on the main site, so if you want to see lots more pics and also get the recipes, hop over to the NomNomNom site. Also, if you could vote for us to win the Viewers' Choice award, that would be really nice too. :) Thank you!

Having one of those days

I don't normally get a case of the Mondays, but it's really hit me hard today. My friend gave me this beautiful bouquet last Friday after attending flower arranging classes. While the original isn't in front of me right now, the picture is balm to the eyes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yet another perfect summer weekend

I've learnt to appreciate the good days when we can get them. Pictures from last weekend:


Taking Toby, our Jack Russell-Corgi mix to visit Zazou, my uncle's dog...

...followed by a walk along Chelsea Harbour and Imperial Wharf.


Early morning breakfast at Baker & Spice before church service. Beautiful deli, tasty food, great presentation, but sour waitresses.

Lunch with visiting friends at Daphne's. Love the food, if a bit pricey. I had the sea bass special, and my friends had the truffle tagliatelle.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fashion from Top Hat

As movies go, Top Hat definitely has its flaws. The plot is not exactly very believable, has a rather too satisfactory ending, the humour sometimes rather out-of-date and slapstick, but the dancing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers is as ever, sublime. What I also love is the old school glamour depicted in the movie. Oh to be able to jet into Italy for a little break, to live in a time when ladies still wore hats and everyone dressed for dinner. Sorry, the screengrabs are a little fuzzy.

A sartorial discussion about the kind of tie to wear

Racing upstairs in her dressing gown to see who's tap-dancing and disturbing her sleep

In her nightgown

A smart riding outfit with the hat perched just so

Close-up of the outfit

Bows and glitz

What's not to like?

Even her friend Marge is a very spiffy dresser

Lounging about. I really love Marge's outfit on the left

Marge has on a very lovely evening gown

The gentlemen also look very smart. Natty is the only word to describe them.

Moving from bows to feathers.

They move about really nicely


An elegant cloak to guard from the cold

In 'casual' wear


Back to the sparkle - this is my favourite gown in the movie

It's got such a lovely skirt for dancing in


A clearer look at the whole gown

How to layer your eveningwear. Fred's greatcoat is very smart too.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What I ate today

Breakfast at home: Greek yogurt with Waitrose Oat Crunchy (dried banana chips, papaya and honey) and fresh raspberries and blueberries

Lunch at Atari-ya, James St: Spicy tuna roll, salmon avocado roll, mackerel nigiri, toro sashimi. Yes, I over-ordered and yes, I ate it all.

Teatime at home: I made digestives, and of course I had to taste-test a couple.

Dinner at home: I've joined a cooking competition, so tonight was the practice run.
Starter - king prawn salad with fennel and fresh herbs
Mains - summer roast lamb with watercress, baby potatoes, carrots, peaches & mint

Oof I've eaten a lot today.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Summer Sunday

Lunch for one at Tombo - iced sencha, tofu bento box,  mooli & carrot salad.

Some Sundays, I like to spend alone. Today, I walked to church, attended service, had lunch at my favourite cafe in South Kensington, did a little unnecessary shopping (summer sales!) and stocked up on groceries at Whole Foods.