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A pastry stall and other stories

cake in the making

Sometimes, it all gets down the simplest things. A few words exchanged with a new friend, an idea that as has been kept asleep for too long, a birthday cake assembled and eaten.

And suddenly, it makes sense.

I have decided to launch my own business. Possibly a small pastry stall. Possibly at Borough Market. Possibly selling some fine French patisseries and English favourites with a twist.


But I can make it happen. With some endless research and business plan writing, delicious recipe development, adorable moments, and perhaps, if you feel like it, with your support.

la pomme d'amour

As a matter of fact, I am now accepting donations that will go straight into the opening of la pomme d’amour. There is a small cupcake on the side bar right here which allow you to give me as little or as much coins as you wish. In return, I promise you thousands chocolate kisses and tons of sugar, flour, and eggs to be used.

Now I just can’t wait for this to happen. I’ve already started working on the carte and it’s looking sweet. The classics will include my hands-down favourites. Tarts, loaf cakes, sables, viennoiseries, meringues and many many more.

To finish this, just three words: peach melba tart.

It sounds perfect. It tastes even better!

And since we’re on the subject, I thought I would share some dessert ideas that have been haunting me lately (I can’t be trusted around a punnet of strawberries, but who can – in all honesty?).


One one them even made it to the menu: sour cherry clafoutis with almond sorbet and cherry-stone jelly.


Une souris verte qui courait dans l’herbe – Sablés escargots à la vanille et au thé vert

[A green mouse, running through the grass – Snail-like vanilla and green tea sablés]

matcha green tea cookies

I assume you guessed from the lack of content around here that I’ve been somewhat busy. And well, you’re just damn right. I haven’t been cooking – or more accurately baking – much lately.

I sure have been making myself lovely meals: from pink-hello-kitty-bento-packed lunches to warm and comforting dinners. But baking, ahem, not really. Aside from delicious fudgy brownies of which only the scraps were photographed, that is.

But yesterday, as I was redesigning fanny (previously known as je suis une cacahuète), I definitely felt the urge to nibble on something sweet yet delicate. Lindt milk chocolate being anything but delicate, I put my laptop down for the first time in the past couple of hours and headed to the kitchen.

Butter had been let at room temperature all day (I must have subconsciously known I was about to use later in the day). Icing sugar quietly sat on the shelf, along with flour. A dozen of day-fresh eggs were waiting for me in the fridge; next to my preciously kept jar filled with fat vanilla beans. And, almost unnoticed, matcha green tea was at the far end of my beautiful antique wood counter.
It only took me a second before I knew what I was going to make. Kelli’s green tea shortbreads.

I might have only made them once – for the second birthday of foodbeam – but damn, I got hooked. And so did many bloggers. It’s funny because it took me quite some time to get around and make Kelli’s recipe, which got posted on lovescool back in May, last year. But soon after I made them, it reminded all the people who had bookmarked the recipe to actually make it. And well, you know the rest of the story.

matcha green tea cookies

Since then, I made appoint to cook more from other blogs. Quite evidently, this didn’t happen, but well, I am bookmarking like crazy. Just check my tumblr blog and you’ll grasp the full scale of my craziness. Anyway, this time around I didn’t make them plain – oh you had guessed that already? from the pictures? damn, I’m bad at creating the surprise. So well I did experiment, with Sarah’s peppermint cookies well in mind.

Now two things. 1/ Don’t they look super pretty? 2/ French nonpareils don’t taste good.
The sables themselves were absolutely perfect – but that’s totally what you would expect from one of Kelli’s recipe. As for the nonpareils. Well, pretty, but not delicious.

matcha green tea cookies

Sablés escargots à la vanille et au thé vert
Adapted from Kelli’s green tea sweets.

As said above those sablés are really delicious. But if you’re planning on making them, I would suggest leaving out the nonpareils, which – at least in France – don’t taste good. Unless you’re making them for children, but I doubt they would appreciate the green tea flavour; or maybe I’m just wrong and they’d love it – I mean green cookies. Green. Cookies. Yeah!
You could also make the sables plain, by increasing the tea to one and a half tablespoon, instead of the one tablespoon the recipe calls for.

Sablés escargots à la vanille et au thé vert

for approximately thirty sables

60g icing sugar
140g butter, at room temperature
240g flour
3 egg yolks
seeds from one vanilla pod
one tbsp matcha green tea
nonpareils (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170°C, and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Put the icing sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth and light in colour. Mix in the vanilla seeds and egg yolks, one at a time until smooth. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Return one of the pieces to the mixer and add the green tea, until the dough has a uniform shade of green.
Roll the two pieces of dough out to half a centimetre thickness, layer the two rectangles and roll into a 5cm-wide log, just like you would with a jelly roll cake. Chill for an hour. Cut the log into 1cm-thick slices and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes.

pour une trentaine de sablés

60g sucre glace
140g beurre, à temperature ambiante
240g farine
3 jaunes d’oeufs
graine d’une gousse de vanille
une tbsp thé vert matcha
nonpareils (optionels)

Préchauffer le four à 170°C, et recouvrir une plaque à pâtisserie de papier cuisson.
Mettre le sucre glace et le beurre dans un bol et mélanger jusqu’à ce que le mélange soit crémeux. Ajouter les graines de vanille puis les jaunes d’œufs. Enfin, incorporer rapidement la farine.
Diviser la pâte en deux pâtons de même poids. Et mélanger le thé vert dans l’un d’eux.
Etaler les deux pâtons en rectangle de un demi centimètre d’épaisseur et rouler pour former un boudin de 5cm de diamètre.
Mettre au froid pendant une heure puis couper en tranches de 1cm d’épaisseur. Placer sur la plque et cuire pendant 12 minutes.

Les sablés viennois au chocolat d’Aïda (et aussi un peu de Pierre Hermé)

[Aïda’s (but also, Pierre Hermé’s) chocolate sablés viennois]

I would have preferred a guinea pig.
Those were my first words when my mother told me she was pregnant. As an eight year-old single child, the anticipation of having a sister – or even worse, a brother – was a rather dreadful thought.
However, as years went by, I got used to the idea. And today there is hardly anything or anyone I love more than Aïda, the sweetest sister ever. Not even my awesome boyfriend – or more accurately lack of boyfriend-awesomeness (blond guy who works a Kusmi, find me and my number, and call me); not even my Kitchen Aid stand-mixer. Yes, she totally rocks this much.
So basically, when she asked if she could have her own column on foodbeam, we both got somewhat excited. She chose a recipe. From Pierre Hermé – just another evidence of her innate terrific-ness.
Sure, at the exact moment I write this, she’s being plain annoying and makes me wish I would actually have had a guinea pig instead; hopefully, she’ll soon turn back into the great sister she is most of the time :)

Anyway, let’s move on to the sablés. Rich little pieces of butter and chocolate (and quite obviously, flour, sugar and egg white as well). The recipe, which comes from Pierre Hermé’s Mes desserts au chocolat, should make 65 sablés. What we didn’t know is how small they’re supposed to be; clearly we ended with around 30 chunky biscuits.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Line two baking sheets with baking paper. And get all the ingredients ready:
– 260g flour
– 30g cocoa powder
– 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
-100g icing sugar
– 3tbsp whipped egg whites (use 2 eggs and spoon out 3tbsp)

You can prepare your piping bag at the same time.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and cocoa powder, until no white or brown streaks remain.

Cream the butter using an electric whisk, until fluffy. It must be very soft, almost cloud like.

Fold in the sugar and a pinch of salt.

Separate two eggs, keeping the white only (save the yolks for another use – pastry cream, yum!).

Whisk the egg whites until frothy. And fold three tablespoons of them into the butter mixture.

Mix in the flour and cocoa powder and stir with a spoon until just incorporated. The dough should be sort of lumpy.

Not too lumpy though. Keep in mind that it’ll be piped.

Fill the prepared piping bag with the dough, pushing down to get rid of the air.

Pipe small Ss (however, Ws would be prettier). And bake in the preheated oven fo 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. When cool, keep in an airtight box for up to one week.

Announcing Menu for Hope winners


This year, Menu for Hope raised a whooping $91,188; how fantastic is that? Thank you so much everyone. You who offered prizes, you who promoted Menu for Hope and you who bid on the prizes.

If you are one of the lucky winners
, click on the prize code to go to the blog hosting your prize and contact the blogger, either via email or leave a comment on their blog. You should also receive an email by tomorrow with the email address to contact for your prize. If you have any problem at all, please feel free to contact me, or email Pim.

EU01 – Edible Paris food tour (worth 200€)

From Rosa.
Contact: Rosa Jackson.
= Charlotte Smelik

EU02 – Gorgeous Italian hamper

From Sara & San Lorenzo.
Contact: Kitchen Pantry.
= Nina Mc Collum

EU03 – Fun gourmet bag

From Tertia.
Contact: Koken and Co.
= Rolf HH Groenwold

EU04 – Paris market tour and lunch for two

From See.
Contact: Umami.
= Chee Wah Teo

EU05 – A box of Belgian homemade sweets by il cavoletto di Bruxelles

From Sigrid.
Contact: il cavoletto di Bruxelles .
= Paola Porfiri

EU06 – A signed copy of Mercotte latest book Desserts créatifs, plus Trish Deseine’s Fêtes Maison and Quiche, cakes et compagnie

From Mercotte.
Contact: La cuisine de Mercotte.
= Evelyn A Merrin

EU07 – A signed copy of Clotilde’s upcoming book on Paris: Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris

From Clotilde.
Contact: Chocolate and Zucchini.
= Susan Hurst

EU08 – Teatime at la Cocotte

From Rachel.
Contact: Rkhooks.
= Hsien Y Tan

EU09 – La Cocotte’s speciality dulce de leche Coquettines

From Rachel.
Contact: Rkhooks.
= Samantha Breach

EU10 – Homemade sablés aux olives noires and sablés au chocolat et à la fleur de sel, just like Pierre Hermé’s

From Fanny.
Contact: foodbeam.
= Jana Zunbaum

EU11 – Foodie week end with French girl Fanny

From Fanny.
Contact: foodbeam.
= Elizabeth Cheslock

EU12 – Two homemade loafs cakes (green tea and chestnut, and yuzu) plus Swiss specialty gruyère bricelets

From Marcia.
Contact: Sooishi.
= Céline Tissot

EU13 – A big box of Swiss chocolates

From Makiko.
Contact: Just Hungry.
= Sonja Habernig

EU14 – Bento Maker’s Starter Box

From Makiko.
Contact: Just Bento.
= Jennifer RK Iriye

EU15 – A special irresistible baking collection for all Moomin lovers

From Dagmar.
Contact: a Cat in the kitchen.
= K. Santos

EU16 – A jar of homemade chocolate and banana jam, and tea with Marion at Jean-Paul Hévin

From Marion.
Contact: Il en faut peu pour être heureux.
= Rachanawan Swusdipanee

EU17 – A shining new KitchenAid stand mixer with ice cream attachment, plus David’s lastest book: The perfect scoop (US only)

From David.
Contact: David Lebovitz.
= M Guia Palma

EU18 – A signed copy of Pascale’s Cadeaux gourmands, and a microplane grater (Europe only)

From Pascale.
Contact: C’est moi qui l’ai fait.
= Paul Reiss

EU19 – Cooking lesson in northern Umbria for two (worth 175€)

From Judith.
Contact: Think on it.
= Paul Reiss

EU20 – Name a sweet baby girl goat (names start with a D this year) that will make one of the finest organic goat’s cheese of the French Riviera

From Fanny.
Contact: foodbeam.
= Céline AM Rouquet

EU21 – A pretty vintage print advertising Beurre de Normandie.

From Lucy.
Contact: Lucy’s kitchen notebook.
= Margaret Pilgrim

EU22 – Seminar walk around Paris (worth 110€).

From Jeremy & Context Travel.
Contact: Context Travel.
= Hsien Y Tan

EU23 – A signed copy of Dorie’s beautiful cookbook: Baking from my home to yours (can be delivered by Dorie herself if you’re lucky enough to live in Paris)

From Dorie.
Contact: Dorie Greenspan.
= Jesper T Moll

EU24 – A lovely food tour of Lyon and a basket full of homemade chocolaty goodies

From Guillemette.
Contact: Chocolat et caetera.
= Kalen Delaney

EU25 – One of Kate’s much loved and precious hand-thrown Cassoulet pots from Camp Cassoulet

From Kate.
Contact: Kate Hill: A French kitchen adventure.
= Suzanne Heinrichs

EU26 – Pierre Hermé’s latestbook: Confidences sucrées

From Jessica.
Contact: La cilliegina sulla torta.
= Joseph J Fenush III

EU27 – “Artigianale basket” of Italian artisan goodies

From Sara.
Contact: Ms Adventures in Italy.
= Lauren K Kawakami

EU28 – Lunch with Elisabeth at Lenôtre in Cannes (France)

From Elisabeth.
Contact: La vie en English.
= Marty McCarty

EU29 – A signed copy of Sophie’s stunning book: La table du thé

From Sophie.
Contact: Chez Ptipois.
= Jeff Trockman

EU30 – A five-day cooking with fire workshop in the heart of Chianti for one lucky person (worth 2000€)

From Judy and Kate.
Contact: Over a Tuscan stove.
= Lucy Vanel

EU31 – A personal tour of elBulli kitchen laboratory with Ferran Adria

From Pim.
Contact: Chez Pim.
= Françoise E Galleto

EU32 – Two tickets to Madrid Fusion, worth 1,200 euros!

From Pim.
Contact: Chez Pim.
= Itir Karaesmen

EU33 – A signed copy of Cléa’s latest book: Quinoa

From Cléa.
Contact: Cléa cuisine.
= Florence Luisier

EU34 – Very Swedish: a parcel containing a great cookbook, Swedish bread, spices, candy and a hand-made heart-shaped potholder

From Anne.
Contact: Anne’s food.
= Caitlin R Myers

EU35 – Duchy original cookbook, and a print of one of Meeta’s pictures

From Meeta.
Contact: What’s for lunch honey?.
= Don Vienne Sebathit

EU36 – Vintage Gourmet vegetarian food for carnivores cookbook, and a gorgeous Christmas box with one of Sandra’s homemade jam

From Sandra.
Contact: Un tocco di zenzero.
= L Chu

EU37 – Gastronomic tour of Barcelona with Silly Disciple

From Mariano.
Contact: Silly Disciple.
= Abby S Dyson

EU40 – Lunch for two at Alain Passard’s Arpège

From Pim.
Contact: Chez Pim.
= Jeff Trockman

Constructing your perfect cake


You should know me by now. I can’t not bake. It gets me physically-and-emotionally-damaged. Yes, it’s that bad. I need to bake. Really, I need it.
However, I do understand that some people consider baking and pastry as difficult and time-consuming.

Here is the thing: I’m addicted to baking and you desperately need some help/step-by-step guidance.
Is there a cake/tart/entremet you’re too scared or lazy to make? Just tell me one word and I’ll make your dreams come true. May it be St Honoré, Tarte Tatin, macarons, éclairs au chocolat, doughnuts. I will make anything. Just for you.

Everyone* that bids on one of my prizes – or actually any prize from Europe – to raise money for Menu for Hope will get the chance to be one of the three lucky people that will receive a customised envelop, containing:
– the hand written recipe of their choice
– beautifully printed step-by-step pictures
– my phone number/aim so you can call me if having troubles with the recipe

I’ll be your own private pastry chef. So bid on my prizes before tonight and send me an email before the 31st of December. Three lucky winners will be randomly picked on the 1st of January.
So think about it. Whether you would like to name a sweet-looking baby goat (EU20), or win some delicious cookies that just tastes like Pierre Hermé’s (EU10), or even be lucky enough to spend a day or more with me (EU11).

Buy a raffle ticket now.

* Please pick either EU10, EU11 or EU20 by the end of the day and email me by the 31st of December. This offer applies to everyone who has already bid on one of my prizes too, just email me.