Best Eats in Lille, From a Local

Lille

Travel season is upon us, and I want to make sure you see and taste the best France has to offer! When it comes to Paris I’ve got you covered, but there are many other cities with exciting and delicious things for you to experience. So I’ve asked a team of French bloggers from different cities to share their favorite spots, and I am offering them to you in this new series.

In Lille, Izabela recommends…

Izabela Lille ConfidentialTo walk us through Lille, I’m happy to introduce Izabela Jeanneau, author of the blog Lille Confidential. She has dilligently tested all of her recommendations, and lives by the motto “Only the best!” It’s the only trilingual (!) blog in the region, available in French, English, and Dutch. Though Izabela is Parisian by birth, she considers herself an adopted Lilloise since moving there in 2009 by way of Singapour, Abu Dhabi, Jakarta and Luanda. Izabela prides herself on her unique perspective on Lille as a cultural and food capital between Paris, London, and Brussels.

In addition to her blog, I recommend you follow Izabela on Twitter and Instagram. (The photos in this post are hers.)

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Doenjang Glazed Eggplant

Easy Doenjang Glazed Eggplant

This easy recipe for doenjang glazed eggplant is a wonderful first foray into Korean cooking.

For years now I’ve been contemplating Korean cuisine with equal parts excitement and trepidation. I’ve been going out to Korean restaurants, noting how vibrant the flavors and how nuanced the preparations, but I haven’t done very much at home.

Korean Food Made SimpleRegular batches of homemade kimchi, yes, and kimchi fried rice, but that’s about it — until I received a review copy of Judy Joo’s Korean Food Made Simple.

Judy Joo is a Korean-American chef with a few restaurants and television shows to her name, and this is her first book, in which she shares 100+ recipes for Korean classics, plus a few East-meets-West creations.

It is the most un-intimidating book of Korean cooking I’ve seen in a while. The section on Korean staples alone is worth memorizing, and the recipes all feel very approachable. I look forward to tackling the noodles with black bean sauce (jjajangmyun), the roasted pork belly lettuce wraps (bossam), and the caramel doenjang ice cream, to name just a few.

But as a lover of all things eggplant, the first recipe I did try was for doenjang glazed aubergines, a Korean take on the Japanese classic nasu dengaku.

Instead of using miso paste, this recipe calls for the Korean equivalent, doenjang, a fermented soybean paste that is dark brown, richly flavored, and coarser than your average miso. (You should be able to find it at your local Asian market, and you can substitute red miso if that’s easier to find.)

Mini Cookbook of Vegan Staples

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My Very First Cookbook, Newly Released in French!

Chocolate & Zucchini : Le Livre

Do you read French? Are you a student of the language? If so, I have an important update for you!

I have just released Chocolate & Zucchini : Le Livre, a new e-book edition of my very first cookbook, translated into French by yours truly.

The French edition was first published by Hachette, but it’s been out of print for a while. That always made my heart sink: it’s a book into which I’ve poured all of my soul, and many of my cult recipes, the kind you make again and again, and pass on to your sister and your friends, who later tell you, “You know, that mustard chicken of yours? I make it ALL THE TIME!”

This is why I decided to bring it back to life as an e-book — after a thorough re-reading and re-formatting effort — and I am now offering it for 8€ ($9), for immediate download on Amazon or the secure platform e-junkie.

I want it!

Don’t read French? Get the original English-language edition of the book, complete with my soul and cult recipes! It’s called Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen.

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Spicy Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Spicy Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

These roasted chickpeas play an important role in my weekday lunches.

Most days, when I’m working from home, my midday meal consists of a vegan bowl that features the produce I get delivered to my doorstep every Monday.

These need to be super satisfying, otherwise I’ll be snacking on chocolate all afternoon and then I can’t sleep at night from all the caffeine — true story. So over time I’ve developed an intuitive sense of what I need in a lunch bowl, and it is a combination of the below:

  • Something starchy, such as a grain (typically gluten-free) or a roasted root vegetable (pictured above: roasted sweet potatoes),
  • Something green, such as fresh salad leaves or leafy greens, either cooked, or raw and massaged (pictured above: thinly sliced and sautéed pointed cabbage),
  • Something raw, such as cucumber moons, spiralized and snipped zucchini, grated carrots, diced kohlrabi, radish confetti, halved cherry tomatoes — the list goes on,
  • Something fat-rich, such as an avocado when I can get them from not too far away, or a nut-butter-based dressing such as this simple tahini sauce or this equally easy peanut sauce,
  • Something protein-rich, such as legumes, lacto-fermented tofu, or, a recent discovery and current obsession, marinated and roasted tempeh,
  • Some fresh herbs, my favorite being cilantro, chives, and chervil (pictured above: I forgot to add them for the shot; keepin’ it real here),
  • Something acidic or tangy, such as a squeeze of citrus juice, a splash of vinegar, chopped olives, some pickles, or a thinly diced wedge of preserved lemon (pictured above: a squeeze of lime juice, though you’ll have to take my word for it),
  • And last but not least, what makes or breaks the bowl: SOMETHING CRUNCHY.

Mini Cookbook of Vegan Staples

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Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse

Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse

You know how, when you buy chickpeas in a can, they come in this thickish, off-yellow juice, not entirely appetizing to be honest, that you pour down the sink without even thinking about it?

Well, as it turns out, this chickpea brine has properties remarkably similar to those of egg whites: it’s a snot-like (graphic! sorry!) liquid that’s full of protein, and can be whisked to form a beautifully flowy mousse, peaks and all.

This was first revealed in 2014 by a Frenchman named Joël Roessel, author of the blog Révolution Végétale, though the “discovery” results from the incremental efforts of different vegan experimenters.

Since then, aquafaba — as the name was later coined — has taken the vegan world by storm, conveniently solving all baking problems that stem from not being able to use egg whites, without resorting to icky, super-processed egg replacers.

Aquafaba makes it possible to make vegan meringues (!), but the minute I heard about it, my brain went straight to vegan chocolate mousse (need I remind you what my blog is called?).

Mini Cookbook of Vegan Staples

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