Friday 1 December 2023

In My Kitchen: December 2023

This November was the fastest month ever in my life! I did a month of writing, the third time I've done the National Novel Writing Month challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November. You can see some photos of Paris as I explored some cafés to write in... 

An update on my sourdough son Barney... 

He's coming back to life! Here I made him into an apple cinnamon babka which worked out really well, the dough was light and fluffy, pulled apart nicely... I took it to a brunch with some other expats in my area. 

Here I recreated the pumpkin loaf that I made last year for Canadian Thanksgiving. It is well and truly the pumpkin/courge season in France and they are in every store. I love the slightly orange tint that it gives to the bread. 

Barney is finally coming back to life.. This was an experiment I did with 20% buckwheat and the dough was quite wet so I added generous handfuls of oats to the dough as well. 

 For American Thanksgiving I made this "Thanksgiving turkey" for our musical friend. We got together to play string quartets one evening - the Hoffmeister and the Beethoven Op.95, my favourite string quartet of all time!

Dinners in November... 

I bought an enormous quantity of spinach so I made this deconstructed lasagne with spinach, ricotta and cannelini beans. I think it was one of our best dinners in November. 

Continuing with the pasta theme as the weather gets colder, here we had mushroom risotto with a side of spinach braised with tomatoes. Simple and delicious dinner!

I've always wanted to try stuffing a butternut, and here I've stuffed it with a mix of quinoa, lentils, mushrooms and cranberries. The flavour combination was excellent, though next time I'd add some more liquid so it would be more mushy and stick together better.

It's been so cold this month we have had a lot of soup. Here is a Korean style soybean based soup with tofu, seaweed, Chinese cabbage and radish. 
Three extraordinary, soft and luscious Italian kakis are also in the background. 

Other beautiful things to remember...  

I've never been a huge fan of mug cakes (I think I shouldn't have them because they are too easy and maybe I would eat them all the time?) but for my friend's birthday I had this vegan chocolate mug cake and it was such an amazing treat for a whole 2 minutes work and 3 minutes in the microwave, if only I had some vanilla icecream as well... 

We were in Lyon for a weekend in November visiting S' friends. One of them brought this spectacular cake called Le Président from the famous Bernachon to our dinner party. It was created in 1975 for the then French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.  Each cake comes with its own serial number and explanation card! 

The cake consists of a hazelnut praline chocolate sponge cake filled with candied cherries and topped with those amazing ruffled "leaves" of chocolate - those leaves have to be tasted to be believed, they are like snowflakes melting on the tongue!  

While we were in living in Toronto, two of S' friends had a baby - they were the cellist and second violinist of the group he often played with (in fact they performed several times as part of Des Amis de la Philharmonie de Paris). We had a get together and they brought this incredible Saint Honoré cake, light blobs of choux with an enormous quantity of cream. 

I bought these gorgeous little yellow organic apples one day with the idea to turn them into... 

My first tarte tatin! To be honest I've never eaten a real French tarte tatin (I may have had it once in Australia?), so I was entirely unsure of what I was aiming for. 
First I made a caramel (which I salted for an additional dimension of flavour), cooked the apples in the caramel, then added the pastry on top to bake. I had no idea how it would turn out, but the apples turned into a gorgeous smooth and quivering jelly-like consistency with the caramel darkened and condensed into a syrup. 
We took it to S' friend's place for lunch (attracting some admiring looks on the subway), and I think the ultimate compliment was when his son ate practically half the tart! 

The curveball this month... 
is a crib! (that S and I had fun assembling one rainy afternoon)

I'm not sure exactly how long I have been involved with IMK now but it has become a lovely monthly routine for me to review the photos of what I've eaten and cooked in the last month. It's certainly a moment that brings me a lot of joy every month! 

I am very happy to share with all of you that the next 1st of the month (1 Jan 2024) is the due date of our first child. I might miss a few IMKs, but rest assured I'll be back with pictures of purée soon! 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the IMK community for having witnessed all the changes in my life over the last few years. I don't know any of you in real life but rest assured I know you all by your food! I'm sending this to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings, who of course hosts the monthly IMK event, thanks Sherry!


  1. that chocolate cake looks amazing - beautiful, and wonderful flavours. It is always lovely to see your IMK posts, and I thank you for being a big part of IMK!!

  2. OMG i just saw the crib!!! Huge congrats to you both.

  3. BIG congratulations on the upcoming birth! May it all go smoothly. And I am so happy that Barney is now producing such beautiful loaves. I have been baking bread every weekend now that summer is here. And your tart tatin looks amazingly luscious.

  4. There are amazing foods happening in your kitchen! Love the sourdough. Barney is serving you well. Thanks for sharing with us.


  5. NOW you are REALLY changing your life! I hope you will continue to share with us. I hope everything goes perfectly with you, your husband, and your baby.
    best, mae at

  6. Congratulations on the new arrival! The bun you've got baking is the most special kind of bake! So happy for you. Looks like Barney has been serving you well - that babka really requires lick-a-vision! Wishing you happy holidays - 2024 is going to be very exciting for you!

  7. There are so many delicious things in your kitchen to be proud of, and I love how creative you are with your sourdough. Those two cakes have my mouth watering, and make me miss my family in Montpellier France so much. We are in Cairns, FNQ, for the massive cyclone event, and brought some of my sourdough mother with me. I'll thaw her out soon and start baking when electricity and the weather stabilises. All the very best for the birth of your baby. You will be able to snuggle him/her endlessly. I had both of mine in the March tropical heat, not many clothes were needed for the little darlings. Take care my dear, and enjoy your bub.

  8. Johanna @

    Wow that is some month! The baking and food looks amazing. I love to imagine you on the subway with your tarte tatin.The Le President cake sounds amazing and looks so gorgeous. Love some stuffed vegetables and that butternut pumpkin sounds delicious. And am very pleased to hear Barney is recovering - doing much better than my sourdough which gets neglected too often!

    Best wishes to you and S for the birth of your child - what a wonderful way to start the new year. Good luck with being far from home and facing all the changes ahead and hope it is a happy time even if you get less sleep than usual.