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Une escapade en Nouvelle Zélande – Mt Cook et délicieux muffins aux myrtilles

[A Kiwi adventure – Mt Cook and delicious blueberry muffins]

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There are many advantages about studying in New Zealand: you’ve got less classes, you improve your English skills, and you get to meet sweet people… But the main advantage of studying in New Zealand is actually to be in New Zealand; especially when you have a two-week Easter break.During that break I spent a couple of days in Aoraki – the small village just a few miles down from the Mt Cook. Au pied des montagnes.

It was simply beautiful – a great reward after the 5 and a half hour drive needed to go from Christchurch to Aoraki (when there are only 378km)!
On the way there we stopped at lake Tekapo – gorgeous; it reminded me of the lake in the last Harry Potter movie.
There we had some lovely blueberry muffins I had made the morning before we left – I couldn’t image a best place to have lunch, really!

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As soon as we arrived to Aoraki – and despite winds so strong you could barely stand up without shivering – we went for a short hike that took just to a beautiful spot from which we could see both Mt Cook and the stunning Hooker Valley.

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Sadly the next day we were stuck in our hotel because of a storm.

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But the next day, the weather was beautiful so we went for a 4 hour hike. It was pretty steep but the view was really worth it.

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On the way to the top we (well I) stopped on a rock to have a look at the breathtaking landscape and take some macro pictures.

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Blueberry muffins
This recipe gives delicious muffins with a nice, sophisticated crumb and it only takes a minute to make!
You can replace the blueberries with raspberries or a mixture of both blueberries and raspberries.

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When I go for the raspberry option I usually add a crumbly topping made of rolled oats and sugar. It is a great twist on the original recipe.

Blueberry muffins

makes 12

230g flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
230g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence
100g butter, melted and cooled
3 eggs
200ml buttermilk

250g blueberries, washed and patted dry

Preaheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12-muffin tin with paper cups.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar.
In another bowl mix the vanilla essence, butter, eggs and buttermilk and beat until smooth.
Pour the liquid micture over the dry ingredients and combine well.
Fold in the blueberries and divide the batter between the 12 muffin paper cases.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
Allow to cool 10 minutes in the tin and unmould.

“cerise”, an elegant and high-quality vegetarian food magazine

I’m taking a product development class for which I had to come up with two new products.
I created a new vegetarian magazine and a gluten-free brioche mix.

Now I’ve got to focus on only one of these two products – the vegetarian magazine, however here is the drawing I had made for the brioche mix.

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Let’s now move on to the magazine – I do need your help.
Could you answer the following questions in the comment section – it’ll be quick and might help me to get a good grade!

Who are you? Age, sex, interests… Just about anything that’d help me to know you.

What do you expect from a food magazine? Give the five attributes that are the most important to you? (from the following list, please give the most important benefit a rank of 10 – rank benefits of lesser importance with a lesser number)

Would you be interested in buying a vegetarian food magazine even if you’re not a vegetarian?
What would make you buy it then? Specify by giving attributes, features or benefits.

Are you vegetarian?
If so, what do you think of the current vegetarian food magazine market?
Are you looking for a new magazine?
What would make you buy this magazine?
What do you expect from a vegetarian food magazine?

After these general concerns, it’s time to get more specific about “cerise” – the new vegetarian food magazine.
The idea being to create a new high-quality vegetarian magazine that will appeal first to the inner food lover in you, and eventually to the vegetarian you are.

The magazine will be approximately 150-page long, which seems to be an ideal length if we look at different inspirational food magazines.

It will have a monthly theme based on the season, holidays, produce… which will be covered in the regular columns:
– editor’s letter
– courier: letters from the readers
– local farming spotlight: this feature will be about a regional grower/breeder (crops, fruit trees, cheese, honey…)
– in-season: recipes and tips for using seasonal food
– week days: this part of the magazine, composed of several articles, will be focused on cooking during the week. Think straightforward and yummy.
– week end: there you will everything to make week end days special; from full menus to baking, from preserving to ice cream making.
– the veggie twist: inspiring vegetarian cooking from renowned chefs around the world

The layouts should be fresh and elegant, just as the photography, which will support the recipes offering eye-catching pages.

The title, “cerise” (French word for cherry) conveys the idea of freshness. The absence of a capital letter implies that the magazine is not fancy or fussy; just about simple good food. And the subtitle “vegetarian & luscious” reinforces that concept but also introduces the main subject of the magazine – vegetarian food – in a subtle way.
As for the font combination, it suggests elegance and quality.

For the production of the magazine, paper and ink will be needed: matte high-density paper for the cover and glossy paper for the content.
Using recycled paper would be interesting for the local farming spotlight feature.

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Globally, what do you think of it?

Do you like the title and subtitle? the cover?

What do you reckon about the features? Would you think of anything else or is the content well rounded-up?

And what about the photography? (size, quality…)

What caught your eye? What is your favourite part?

What do you think about the layout? The fonts? The graphic design?

Would you buy it?
If yes: for 6US$? 7US$? 8US$?
Or UK consumers: for 4£? 5£?

Thanks for your help.
love
– fanny

Un petit lapin s’est caché dans le jardin – Groseillier

[A small rabbit is hidden in the garden – Groseillier]

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Let me tell you something that happened almost fifteen years ago.
At this time my favourite comptine had to be:
Un petit lapin s’est cache dans le jardin
Cherchez moi
Coucou coucou
Je suis caché sous un chou

Lissant sa moustache
Le chasseur passe et repasse
Mais il ne voit rien du tout
Le lapin mange le chou

I used to sing it all day long. And when I say all day long, I really mean it.
As you can imagine, this had the worst effect on my parents. Sure they would praise my singing talents for the first few turns, but after an hour of un petit lapin, they would undeniably get slightly irritated.
However, as nice parents they wouldn’t stop my creativity by sending me to my room with the interdiction d’ouvrir la bouche [literally: open the mouth; meaning talking/singing].
No, they wouldn’t do that. Instead they would nicely escort me to the garden and tell me to sing as loud as I could.
I usually did that for a couple of minutes and then, exhausted by so much ingenuity ;), I’d go play with the dog.

One Sunday morning, you know the very special one: the one you’ve been waiting for all year long – Easter; anyway, this Sunday morning I woke up unusually early.
I was too excited to sleep.
I obviously ran into my parents’ room, wanting to wake them up. But nobody was there.
I started shouting. Maman, Papa…
After an instant, my mum answered back: Fanny, on est dans le jardin [Fanny we’re in the garden].
It took me less than a second to join them.
I was all bouncy, just by the thought of chocolate eggs and bunnies. I couldn’t understand why we were staying there so still while tons of chocolate treats were waiting for us – sages comme des images – in the garden.
But then, when my dad hand me a little furry ball it all made sense. It was a rabbit. Yes, an actual rabbit – no chocolate involved.
Voila ton petit lapin Fanny.
Fais attention à ce qu’il ne se cache pas dans le jardin!

[Here is your little rabbit. You should make sure he won’t hide in the garden].

You should have seen my face – the real meaning of happiness.
Happy Easter everyone!

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That Easter we didn’t eat any chocolate, my mum made a delicious entremet au fruits rouge [berry entremet] instead.
And so I did this year.

Groseillier
This entremet – composed of a light génoise, a redcurrant compote, a vanilla chiboust and an Italian meringue -, has been named after the tree that gives redcurrants.
Indeed, in French, a redcurrant is a groseille.

This is very light and fragrant. I love the way the berry compote balances the sweeteness of the meringue.
Perfect for any occasion, plus it adds a new dessert to your Easter recipe collection – a great change from the traditionnal fraisier pascal (after fraise – strawberry) that comes after every Easter lunch in France.

Althought the recipe is kept secret, it won’t be difficult for you to combine your favourite recipes for a genoise, a redcurrant compote, a vanilla chiboust and an Italian meringue to get a luscious groseillier!

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“Standard deviation”, ça marche aussi en pâtisserie? – Gâteau au yaourt et au pamplemousse

[Then standard deviation can also be applied to pâtisserie? – Yogurt and grapefruit cake]

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Ask anyone from France what their favourite cake is and you’ll undeniably hear le gâteau au yaourt [yogurt cake].
It seems there is a common statement about this cake.
It might be the fact that we all learnt how to make it à l’école maternelle when we were 4 year old.
Gosh! That’s why French are good at cooking then!
Well, I’ll have to stop you right now. We, French people, are not that good at cooking – only people that love food are good at that and you don’t need to be French to love food, do you?
Totally unrelated, but after all, I might qualify as a good cook if that’s the *true* definition of a good cook :)

Ok, let’s go back to the cherished yogurt cake.
So, yes, it might be the fact that it’s the first cake we all learnt how to bake or it might also be that this cake has the best commitment to pleasure ratio.
A 5 year old (because when you’re 4, drawings can look pretty perplexing no matter how many kind things your parents said about it) drawing illustrates that in a nice way.

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Anyway, after all these years, the gâteau au yaourt still is the number one choice for an instant fix.

Indeed as I was studying for one of my mid-term exams – you know, standard deviation, sample mean, UCL; just the random thing basically – I suddenly craved for something sweet.
No need to think twice, I was about to make a gâteau au yaourt.
But then, in a mood for procrastination, I decided to go for the most difficult twist: the citrus one, which mainly consist in juicing an orange, two lemons or whatever golden-coloured, juicy and tangy fruit (beautiful description of a citrus fruit by the way, hope you noticed) you’ve got on hands.

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Gâteau au yaourt et au pamplemousse
This cake take less time to make that it takes to say “j’aime le gâteau au yaourt”.
It is the cake I always make whenever I don’t have much time – quick yet utterly delicious.
And the big bonus is that you can flavour it with anything: from vanilla to cinnamon, from banana to grapefruit.

Here I went for the grapefruit option simply because… that was the only citrus I had at home. It gives a subtle and pleasurable tanginess. Hum, yum!

Yogurt and grapefruit cake

serves 8

1/2 cup of yogurt
1 1/2 cups of plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 1/8 cups of caster sugar
3/8 cups of vegetable oil
3 eggs
zest and juice from one grapefruit

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Line a 20cm springform tin with baking parchement.
Put the yogurt, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Mix in the oil and the eggs and add the grapefruit zest.
Put the mixture in the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out just clean.
Drench with the reserved grapefruit juice.