Raspberry Yogurt Cake

Yogurt Cake is a staple of French home baking: it is very easy to make and I have yet to […]

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My Best Picnic Tips

If you’re anything like me, you love the idea of ​​a picnic, but in practice, when someone throws the idea […]

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Raspberry Yogurt Cake

Raspberry Yogurt Cake

Yogurt Cake is a staple of French home baking: it is very easy to make and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it.

What’s notable about the method is that it calls for two (half-cup) tubs of yogurt, and you then use the empty tubs to measure out the rest of the ingredients. This no-scale recipe is a rare exception to the French usage, in which quantities are measured by weight rather than volume.

Raspberry Yogurt Cake

It is very popular with kids, who love a simple, moist and fluffy cake. But what they particularly enjoy is that they can make it almost entirely on their own, perched on a kitchen stool. There is no complicated step, no scale to fiddle with, and with the intensive sandbox training they have, they are usually experts at the emptying and filling of small-sized containers.

Mini Cookbook of French Tarts

The basic gâteau au yaourt recipe lends itself to a lot of great variations. You can add citrus juice, zest, or peel for a delicious lemon or orange cake, you can add chocolate chips or nuts to the batter, you can slice the baked cake in two and spread a layer of jam in the middle, you can frost the cake with a chocolate frosting… Whatever strikes your fancy.

Raspberry Yogurt Cake

I especially like this variation, in which I fold raspberries (fresh or frozen) into the batter, and substitute almond flour for part of the flour. The berries bring delightful tart notes, and the almond flour make the cake even moister.

We typically have this as an afternoon treat, but it is such a subtly sweet cake, it would be perfect for breakfast or brunch as well.

Raspberry Yogurt Cake

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Sparkling Honey Ginger Lemonade

Sparkling Honey Ginger Lemonade

I am coming to you today with the beverage that will keep you cool and hydrated and energized throughout the summer.

It is a sparkling honey ginger lemonade that I make with fresh ginger — infused in hot water for a few minutes — and fresh lemon juice, sweetened lightly with artisanal honey, and top up with sparkling water.

It is immensely refreshing on sweltering days, such as we’ve had in Paris lately. It is also a heathy summer drink, bringing you the immunity-boosting benefits of ginger, lemon juice, and honey to ward off those weird summer colds one catches sometimes.

Sparkling Honey Ginger Lemonade

This honey ginger lemonade is, naturally, very easy to prepare — if making lemonade becomes a project, you’re doing it wrong. I am only offering a recipe because I fiddled with the details of the preparation before I landed on the just-right ratio of ingredients, and how long to infuse the ginger for, so I’m saving you a little bit of experimentation. That said, you may prefer your lemonade a little sweeter — I like it pretty tart — so feel free to adjust accordingly.

If you like sparkling water as much as I do, but don’t like to lug home and then have to recycle all those plastic bottles, consider getting a sodastream machine, which carbonates regular water with the push of a button. We’ve have ours for years now — a fabulous gift from my sister and brother-in-law — and it still brings me the same joy and delight every time I use it. (Actually, I don’t get to use it much these days as my sons fight over the privilege.)

And if you or one of your friends don’t drink alcohol, this is a wonderful cocktail hour option, too.

Sparkling Honey Ginger Lemonade

More refreshing beverages for you:

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My Best Picnic Tips

My Best Picnic Tips

If you’re anything like me, you love the idea of ​​a picnic, but in practice, when someone throws the idea up in the air on a Friday night, in this beautifully spontaneous way people do, your Inner Grump awakens (“ugh, so much to organize, I have zero ideas, who’s going to do the shopping, we always end up eating the same thing, the kids will just stuff themselves with potato chips, and it is so uncomfortable sitting on the ground anyway”).

So for you, for me, for us, here are a few ideas I hold at the ready to alleviate my Inner Grump’s fears and turn the corners of his mouth upward: yes, we can have easy and colorful picnics this summer!

Of course, we all dream of lazing around in bed all Sunday morning, then get up to attend a picnic straight out of Pinterest. But the hard truth is this: without a minimum of forethought, it will just end up being soggy sandwiches, canned corn, a squashed roll of paper towels, and lukewarm soda.

No. What we want is ideas that feel fresh, cheerful, and a little bit unusual.

My Best Picnic Tips: Recipe Ideas

French picnics are all about the jambon-beurre sandwich — a split baguette spread with butter and filled with cooked ham — but for a nice change of pace, I like to make a banh mi of sorts, the Vietnamese sandwich I love so much. Get a slim baguette without too much crumb, fill it with meat or tofu (marinated and grilled), grated carrots and cucumber dressed in magic sauce, sliced chilli peppers, a little mayonnaise and a lot of coriander: it’s a close enough approximation and a delight.

And if we think that sandwiches are good, but still a lot of bread to eat, we can make rice or nori rolls by rolling up raw vegetables in rice paper wrappers or grilled nori sheets, maki-style, as for these cucumber and avocado nori rolls (which are one of my most popular recipes on Pinterest! See how nicely this gets tied back in).

Another option is to go for smørrebrød, the Danish sandwich. Instead of making sandwiches for everyone, provide sliced ​​black bread and a variety of simple ingredients: butter, cucumber slices, sliced ​​boiled eggs, thin slices of ​​gouda cheese, pickled herring, thin slices of roast beef, sliced spring ​​onions, fresh herbs… Arrange everything on the picnic table or in the middle of a tablecloth spread out in a pretty meadow, and have everyone compose their own open-face sandwich.

As for salads, which are always a bit awkward to eat on your lap, with the vinaigrette dripping from the side when the discussion becomes animated, I like to assemble them in jars (I use the glass containers from my yogurt maker as I have an extra set), in good-looking alternating layers. Cooked grains and/or legumes at the bottom, cooked vegetables, raw vegetables, something soft (tofu, cheese), something crunchy (toasted nuts, sprouted seeds), and dressing simply poured on top. Shake before eating.

My Best Picnic Tips

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Best of June

Paris Courtyard Fountain

The pretty fountain that greeted me in the coolness of a Parisian courtyard at the height of our June heatwave.

• In June, we celebrated Father’s Day with lunch at brasserie La Mascotte, one of our neighborhood favorites, where Maxence shared mussels and fried smelt with his two adoring boys.

• If you’re curious to know what I eat in a day, you can find out over at MindBodyGreen! I am starting a collaboration with this site, which I love, and they’re asking me to cover all kinds of things people want to know about French women’s approach to health, beauty, and lifestyle. If there’s a question you’ve been dying to ask, please let me know and I’ll add it to my list!

• German newspaper Die Zeit also did me the honors this month and featured a few of my recipes around the theme of French picnics. If you want to practice your German, it’s right here.

Related: My Best Picnic Recipes.

• I developed a serious restaurant crush on Pink Mamma, the new restaurant from the trailblazing Big Mamma Group, which just opened in my hood, mere steps from Place Pigalle. Like all restaurants of the group, they serve pizzas and pasta and antipasti, but the star of the show is the meat, which is French and raised by them directly.

I shared a photo of Maxence’s rib steak below, but I confess I didn’t feel like eating meat, so I got the gorgeous caprese salad instead. The place is a total knock-out, especially the top floor under the glass roof, and every detail is carefully chosen, every square inch thoughtfully decorated. Reasonable prices, and not yet as crazy-crowded as the others, so now’s a good time to go!

Pink Mamma

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Vegetarian Batch Cooking for Summer: 1-Hour Prep, 6 Meals!

Vegetarian Batch Cooking for Summer

In addition to planning my menus, I have been doing more and more batch cooking these past few months.

The idea of batch cooking is to block out time one day of the week to prep or cook a bunch of ingredients in advance, which you can draw from and combine for low-effort homemade meals the rest of the week.

It is the shortest path to feeling like a kitchen superhero, saving you brain juice and money along the way.

And today, I am offering you the vegetarian batch cooking plan for summer I’ve created and test-driven with great success: 1 hour of prep work for easy 6 meals on subsequent days.

  • Meal #1: Ratatouille and Rice Bowl — the beauty and simplicity of an in-season roasted ratatouille, served over rice to mop up the juices.
  • Meal #2: Bell Pepper and Chickpea Green Salad — a simple stir-fry of bell peppers, onions, and chickpeas over simply dressed greens drizzled with tahini sauce.
  • Meal #3: Ratatouille Wraps with Eggs and Tahini — inspired by a delicious sandwich from Miznon in Paris!
  • Meal #4: Zucchini Pasta with Olive and Almonds — super easy pasta dish ready in the time it takes to cook the zucchini.
  • Meal #5: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Olives and Almonds — the same topping brings zest to roasted sweet potatoes.
  • Meal #6: Everything Salad with Avocado and Eggs — turning bits and bobs from the previous meals into a lovely salad so the process is entirely waste-free!

Below you will find:
– A shopping list (of which you can get a free printable) — everything is available from the organic store or supermarket (they cost around 30€ ($34) in my store; your mileage may vary),
– Your instructions for the prep work — allow for about 1 hour of active time, and 1 1/2 hour in total,
– Your instructions for each of the six meals — active time ranges from 5 to 15 minutes, time to table from 10 to 30 minutes,
– Suggestions of variations to adapt the plan to various dietary constraints.

If you’re new to batch cooking, this plan is an easy and lovely way to dip your toes in and see how deliciously freeing it is. If you’re an experienced batch-cook, I hope it provides some ideas to enrich your current practice. And please share your best tips with us!

And if you find this first plan helpful and useful, I will offer you a new one at the start of each new season; let me know how that sounds.

In passing I recommend these French-made glass containers for storing your preparations (I have two sets; they nest perfectly and take up very little room) and this dual kitchen timer to keep track of two preparations at the same time!

Without further ado, here’s your vegetarian batch cooking plan for summer!

Vegetarian Batch Cooking for Summer

This is what you’ll make during the 1-hour prep time.

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