Monthly Archives: July 2014

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Choux d’Enfer: Review

Choux d’Enfer, intersection de la rue Jean Rey et du quai Branly, 75015 Paris

In post-macaron France, where the crispy mouthfuls of delight are served even in MacDonalds, it’s no surprise that pâtissiers are searching round for something to become the next big thing. They seem to have found it in choux pastry. Like macarons, choux is simple, but hard enough to master and can be filled with literally any flavour you can imagine. In the hands of a master, it can also be made to look really impressive.

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Zuccotto: Recipe





















I was supposed to be back in France today, but thanks to a national rail strike, which made it impossible for me to reach the airport in Pisa, I’ve had to extend my stay in Italy by a couple of days. So to celebrate, today I’ve made a zuccotto.

Zuccotto, which also means the skull cap worn by the Pope, cardinals, and bishops in the Roman Catholic church, is a dome of sponge filled with a ricotta and cream semifreddo (a forerunner of ice-cream) flavoured with candied peel and chocolate chips.

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Not just France: Melanzane parmigiana

As I am in Italy this week, I am posting the first of Oh la vache!’s ‘Not just France’ posts with a recipe for an old favourite, melanzane parmigiana, or aubergine baked in parmesan cheese. One of the major differences between French and Italian cuisine is the complexity: France uses tried and tested techniques to produce stunning combinations of flavours, while Italy relies on fresh, quality ingredients, simply prepared.

Melanzane Parmigiana

















Melanzane parmigiana, is about as complicated as it gets here. I made mine with huge, market-fresh aubergines and quality buffalo mozarella. The dried oregano had its origins in my garden, and the olive oil was from a friend’s grove. Although I am in Tuscany, the original recipe comes from just over the border in the region of Emilia Romagna, which you can see from my house. So the ingredients were as local as the recipe. Read More →

Macarons: Guest post

I am spending this week in Tuscany researching and writing some posts for the ‘Not just France’ section of Oh la vache!. In the meantime, I have asked my friend Lynne from Medici Macarons to do a guest post. Now, macarons have a justly deserved reputation for being hard and lord knows it took me long enough to get them right. Lynne’s macarons are amongst the best I have ever seen in or outside France, and she really deserves a very loud ‘oh la vache!’

There will be some more macaron posts on Oh la vache! in the coming weeks, including one of my very own summer specials. But until then, prepare to be stunned by Lynne’s!


Do you know that I had never eaten a macaron until I made my own? Although I had travelled through France when I was a mere 19 year old I was just an impoverished student and I didn’t linger at any patisserie window and wonder at the delights within. I’d never seen macarons in any cake shop in the UK either.

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Apricot clafoutis: recipe

Clafoutis is as close to my heart, as it is to my waist line, since it was the first pȃtisserie I ever tried in Paris. It was my first trip to the city—more than fifteen years ago now— and we had spent a crisp, luminous afternoon in the Jardin de Luxembourg. By four o’clock were looking for something for the traditional French goûter, or afternoon snack.

Apricot clafoutis





















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