Adorable doors

 

This is a slight departure from my normal blog posts, but today I am in a reminiscent mood. Thinking back to all of the other amazing sights of France aside from éclair’s. I know it may be hard to believe, but I have other things that spark my interest, and take my mind off my belly, when I am on holiday.

Namely doors. I spend a lot of time taking photos of doors…and gates. Lamp posts too, but I will stick to doors for now. What interests me in them? I am not 100% sure. Some are ornate, others are decaying, some are new, more than a few are painted, but they each have an allure to them that makes me stop and take their photo. In Paris in particular, doors scattered all over the city conceal secret passages to nooks that would otherwise remain hidden if you did not peek beyond their shield. Some open, others do not, and you never know where a gentle push will lead you.

 

Crème de la crème of ice cream from Mrs Whippy

Creme Brulee toffee
Summertime. That time of year when we look forward to flashing our legs, kicking on our thongs (flip flops just in case anyone gets the wrong idea – hello to my American readers!) and sitting outside around the barbeque – or just amongst the flies. Dining becomes al fresco and the sunlight seems endless (yes, even in Tasmania). This however, is not ideal hot chocolate or éclair consuming weather – they are more suited to the cooler months, which we get plenty of.

This dilemma aside, it is the season for ice cream and I just so happen to live with my very own Mrs Whippy! Granted, her whippyness only reappeared last weekend after a long hibernation and without Greensleeves music to herald her return, but she has not lost her touch with the ice-cream machine – or her fondness for what I would call ‘encouraging words’ in the kitchen to all appliances, crockery and ingredients! The kitchen can apparently be a stressful place…

So over the weekend, during my seasonal departure from hot chocolate and éclair sampling, I was able to satisfy my sugar-craving with homemade crème brûlée ice cream, made by my lovely sister (aka Mrs Whippy). And without any partiality, this was magnificent ice cream, tasting exactly like crème brûlée except a frozen version and with more toffee to get stuck in your teeth for hours. Unfortunately, we ate the whole bowl so I am hoping this is only the start of a summer filled with frozen delights 🙂 

Sit back and listen to the soundtrack of childhood summers with Greensleeves – the song guaranteed to have kids running onto the road in 5 seconds flat (regardless of fence height, yelling parents or oncoming traffic).

Creme Brulee icecream

Have cake, will travel

20140919_200446

Mums – they are special that’s for sure.  I am not going to claim having the world’s best mum (no offence mum!), but it is quite an overused expression.  I just have my mum (and a dad of course who is equally special) and she is a goodin’.  Last Friday was my birthday and I was supposed to travel home with my sister to stay with my parents for the weekend.  Unfortunately, on Friday morning, my sister woke with a migraine that had been persistent for over 24-hours.  The road trip was off, which was fine – we would just have a quiet weekend at home instead. I sent mum a text to tell her we would not be visiting after all, and no less than an hour later she called me to tell me that she was about to pack up the car and my dog, and as soon as dad was home from work THEY were hitting to road to come to us.  This, I will say, is totally unlike my mum.  She is a planner and does not do things like this at the last minute.  For a few moments, I morphed into my mum and was the one worrying about what I would cook, where they would sleep, how it was all going to work.  Mum was the relaxed, ‘it will be fine, I have food with me and we will work it all out when we get there’ type.  I must say, this is more dad-like behaviour.

And yes, this post does have something to do with food.  I am getting there!

So then mum gets to the real reason for her enthusiasms (aside from seeing her two lovely daughters).  She had made her first successful sponge cake for my birthday, and HAD to bring it down so we could see it!  Bless her.  So about 8 hours later with food, my dog, bedding and dad in tow, she arrives bearing the fruits of her labour – the sponge cake.  And her perseverance had paid off.  It was a great sponge – and who can go past a freshly made sponge filled with jam and cream?  That’s right – no one. It is like scones on speed really. And made all the better from mum’s enthusiasm and proudness of finally conquering her nemesis. Now, for her to teach me since my last attempt was hard as a rock and complete with lumps of egg and flour…

cake

Steptember is here! Time to move it, move it…to the furthest cafe!

steptember_logo
Even though it feels like spring has been with us since May, winter has ended and we now look towards longer, warmer days. With winter gone, some bad habits need reigning in (or at least my behaviour needs to be modified to accommodate them!). These would include eating too much and not moving enough. I doubt I will ever be cured of the former, but I can do something about the latter. And after all the éclairs I have consumed this year and my recent influx of hot chocolates, some moving is required!

Recently, I moved house and now live in an area with street lights (this is a real treat since my previous neighbourhood had a serious lack of lighting!), so I have taken the opportunity to embark on some early morning walks – now that I can see where I am going. I have also started, with three co-workers, Steptember, which is aimed at getting us all to move more and try and exceed 10,000 steps a day. Working in an office means lots of time sitting on our bums, which in time will likely make them wider! I only started Steptember today (the pedometer was a few days late), but it has really made me think about finding opportunities to move. Having the pedometer attached to me is a constant reminder to get up and ‘collect’ more steps – it’s quite fun and rewarding. Steptember is also an opportunity to raise money for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, who help adults and children living with cerebral palsy across Australia. So I am moving more (good for me) and helping raise a few dollars (good for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance). I am not a big fan of asking people to donate their hard earned, however should you feel inclined, you can do so at Steptember

It would appear my blog subject matters of hot chocolate and éclairs have been good catalysts for an increase in physical activity. I suppose it is all about finding a balance – if I walk more I can therefore drink more hot chocolates (if we have a hot summer I might be in trouble). Maybe I will move onto iced chocolate…hmmmm.

Jacques, Jacques, Jacques…

20140423_130030

I am nestled in Jacques Genin for this live blog. Heralded as one of THE chocolatiers globally. However my research has given me the bum-steer on this one. There were supposed to be éclairs. There are not. Luckily there is chocolat chaud. And mille-feuille. I might just survive. The surroundings are very classy. My Converse sneakers for the first time feel out of their depth. They are hiding under the chair.

This had better be good.  A 40 minute walk with blisters was undertaken to get here. They are taking their time but apparently (according to already proven to be untrustworthy research), the mille-feuille is prepared when ordered to ensure flakiness. And it is France. Nothing happens quickly.

Oh it’s here. And it comes with a glass of water which makes me suspect thick chocolate! Oh, hello! We have a clear leader for best hot chocolate ever. It tastes thick and rich but it is not too much. It still makes you try to chew it, it is that good. And I have a whole pot of it all to myself 🙂

If a breeze comes through the door, my mille-feuille may blow away it is so light. Pastry like dust. Oh my goodness. I doubt I will ever eat a pastry like this again. Perfect does not even begin to cover it.

And the chocolat chaud? I want it in an IV drip! And two complimentary chocolates – are they waiting for me to burst? I may be stuck in this armchair all day. Dammit! So very la-di-dah…if this is heaven, I’m getting christened. Paris je t’aime.