I’m baaaaaack! There were many developments since my last post so many months ago. I’m back on US soil for one thing, I moved to a beautiful Pasadena Bungalow (in the background above!), and my 9 to 5 job turned into a 9 to midnight job pretty quickly. The late nights meant lots of frozen pizza and and Thai takeout…certainly nothing pinterest worthy was coming out of my kitchen. But alas, work has slowed down and my ovens have fired up again. Make way for some festive brioche!
Now that I’m home, the thing I miss most about France (other than everything) is the bread. I pretty much survived on flour, water and salt for three months: a sturdy baguette while strolling through town, flour laden slices of country bread with a smear of fromage for dinner and starting the day with a just-sweet-enough roll of brioche. Whether or not I was hungry, the smell of freshly baked bread would always lure me in.
In the US, you kind of have to hunt for good bread and there isn’t exactly a boulangerie on every corner. I feel like So-cal in particular seems to repel bakeries in favor of organic cold pressed juice bars. Bah!!! For Angelenos, Zoe Nathan is pretty much the go-to name for breads and pastries. Her small empire in Santa Monica includes greats like Milo and Olive, Rustic Canyon, Sweet Rose Creamery, and the cream of the crop: Huckleberry.
I was beyond thrilled when she released the Huckleberry cookbook last month – her recipes are humble crowd pleasers that highlight seasonal ingredients. This is my holiday take on her blueberry brioche, a sweet, visually striking bread that would be perfect for Christmas brunch or even gifting. (Sidebar: I originally meant to give this to a neighbor but I literally devoured half the loaf in 10 minutes). Enjoy!
Posted in Baked Goods, Breakfast, Events
Tagged Baked Goods, Bread, Brioche, Brunch, Christmas, Cranberry, France, Huckleberry, winter
First stop on the European tour: Foggy London Town!
My first visit to this city came with a welcomed sigh of relief. After two months of adjusting my audio to French speakers, it was strange to finally understand people again. Spring was there to welcome me and my visit was accompanied with long strolls through Hyde Park, bustling city walks through the Strand and just general meandering through alleys lined with magnificent street art in Shoreditch.
The food was vast and lived up to the hype. I had an unforgettable dining experience at Heston Blumenthal’s celebrated Diner, steaming hot dumplings and Dim Sum in China Town, Indian cuisine boosting sweat inducing curries and of coarse, greasy fish and chips with tarter sauce.
To wash it all down? Pints upon pints of beer, a pleasant change from all the wines in France. The pub scene in London is like non other, with charming historic pubs once favored by Charles Dickens, cavernous underground drinking holes and elegant rooftop bars.
In a mere 3 days, I got a great taste of what the city has to offer: a true mix of old and new, having seen London Tower and Big Ben in the same skyline as the sweeping, glass monstrosities popping up all over town. And while there’s still so much more to do and see for my next visit, I can proudly boost I even got to see the Queen!
Here are some highlights from London:
We packed our bags, we said our goodbyes, we shed some tears. My time at ENSP is now over but I can say, without any doubt, that this was one of the most challenging/rewarding/enriching and fattening experiences of my life.
Ah drama…it’s good to have it in life from time to time. And the same holds true for desserts. For me there’s no better way to cap off a luxurious meal than to have the waiter bring out an elegant and sometimes over-the-top plated dessert. My eyes grow wide and I might even let out a gasp. These are the types of desserts that make me want to be a pastry chef. I yearn for wide eyes, the gasps and the “wow.”
We were fortunate enough to have plated desserts added to our lab schedule, but it meant several hours of overtime and double labs. We didn’t care, it was time to break out the big guns: the gold leaf, the paint brushes, the hand pulled sugar rings. We were ready.
Posted in Baked Goods, Dessert, ENSP
Tagged Baba, Chocolate, Floating Pear, Hazelnut Cake, Ice Cream, Lemongrass, Mango, Molten Chocolate Cake, Pana Cotta, Passionfruit, Plated Desserts, Plating, Sorbet, Sugar Rings