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So this coming saturday I’ll be returning to Nottingham. And although I’m looking forward to seeing my friends, I’m a little sad that it means leaving my family. And my nice room. And the nice kitchen. And the pleasant seaside strolls.

Okay, I’m a lot sad to be going.

But I won’t be returning empty handed! No indeed- a couple of days after Christmas, my family & I took a day trip to France in order to stock up on beautiful French food. We live pretty close to Dover, so it’s really a case of boarding a ferry and hopping on over.

Now, I’ve been trying to persuade my parents to retire in France for years {fingers crossed, they’re finally coming around!} and one of the many, many reasons is because of the glorious items available in their supermarkets. There’s just no comparison.

Shall we start with the cheese?

france 2france 8I bought so many kinds; maroilles, chasseur, comté, fromage racelette, and the green packaging there? A lovely brie with an olive centre.

And then there was the lovely baskets of fresh bread, the giant babybels larger than my hands, and the selections of ice cream and sorbet available.

france 10france 9france 3

franceLovely. And as you can imagine, when it came to desserts I had zero restraint and brought home my own bodyweight in patisseries.

Petit fours, very unusual flavoured macarons {think yuzu & citron vert!}, classic patisseries- eclairs, tarts, mille-feuilles, etc, trianons, gateaux au speculoos and so forth…

macaronsfrance 4france 5

So yes. That was such a holiday highlight. Because it was basically just pure gluttony, but hey! If you can’t eat more baked goods than is technically good for you at Christmas, when can you?

stollen 4I didn’t have the opportunity to bake much between Christmas day and New Years because we were eating out pretty extravagantly every other day and, you know, there’s a limit {even for me, sob}.

But I did make my first stollen, which was full full full of lovely rum soaked fruits and had a huge roll of marzipan in the middle which I just adore.

What can I say? It went and stollen my heart.

I am such my father’s daughter in the joke department.

On the weekend after Christmas, my mother & I spent the day in London as my Christmas gift for her was tickets to see The Nutcracker at the London Colliseum.

It was really amazing. The live orchestra, the athleticism and utterly compelling beauty, the costumes. And the sets. My god, I actually shudder to think at the costs which go into putting on such a performance. At the peak, there were fifty ballerinas, all beautifull dresse, dancing accross the most elaborate of festive scenes, ice skating and throwing snowballs, snow falling and trees growing, a hot air balloon carrying the stars and villain to the next scene…it was beautifully done.palm c

Afterwards, we dined at a really pleasant restaurant in Convent Garden. Obviously I took photos of the dessert which was very, very rich {but equally delicious.}

Although it was described on the menu as a chocolate tart, it had the density and texture of a ganache/brownie. With the sharp raspberry coulis and cool mint chantilly it was lovely and rounded off a perfect day!

dining c lunch 1The following day we ate at my favourite restaurant and my favourite course was the dessert {oho, how shocking!} which was a lovely bread and butter pudding with baileys soaked raisins. I think it had been pan fried to give the crisp, caramelized edge. It reminded me a lot of the bread & butter pudding I had at The West House on my birthday last year, so really, really nice!

And that is pretty much what I have been eating doing over the Christmas month repreive. I think now anyone can see why I’m so reluctant to return to lectures groan, and general not being at home-ness.

Tomorrow I’m going with my mother to have afternoon tea at my favourite traditional tea room, so expect photos of that in the upcoming posts…

A belated Happy New Year to you all!

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6 thoughts on “France, festivities and the Nutcracker ballet.

  1. The brie with an olive centre sounds amazing! I really should spend more time traveling in France! Speaking of unsual flavours, my mum has just told me that she’s found a way to make perfectly smooth yuzu. When I was little we’d just get it from the supermarkets but here in the UK they’re hard to come by even in Chinese supermarkets. I can’t wait to bake with yuzu when I get hold of the recipe.

      1. You’re so lucky to have a knowledge of oriental flavours to play with! Over the past year, I’ve seen the popularity of matcha sweeping through all sorts of baked goods, but I have no idea what it tastes of and have never tried :s But with such a vibrant colour, I can understand its appeal on a visual level! The same with pandan? I’d love to be able to find something flavoured with that, buy my local oriental supermarket doesn’t sell anything Pandan flavoured. I think. I’m not entirely sure because I can’t read chinese <_<'

  2. You can find pandan essence in most chinese supermarkets I think (perhaps speak to the sales assistant?). I totally agree with the surging popularity of matcha. I’ve been put off mostly by the price so far but I guess it’s just a matter of time before I give in to it given that I am actually a big fan of green tea.

    1. Oooh, okay, I will do, thanks! 😀 As for matcha I thought I disliked it, but then I’ve only ever tried the english, herbal green tea. I imagine matcha will taste different and therefore is worth trying 😀 I’ve recently fallen in love with rosehip tea {very rhubarb-y} and also sweet fennel. Definately a good flavour for a pound cake or mousse!

      1. Matcha is meant to taste subtle yet refreshing. It works like citrus fruits in desserts without the zing. There are so many exotic flavours out there waiting to be explored and I cannot imagine the range of stuff we can do with them! I hope I will be able to enjoy the process of discovery and experimentation slowly at my own pace. 😀

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