Tag Archives: Nice

The last (French) supper

16 Jun

As the title states, I had a lot of stuff to use before I headed back to the not so glorious weather as the Cote d’Azur, but wonderful United Kingdom. Massively misjudging how much stuff I had to take back meant I had to leave the collection of herbs and spices that we had collected. I am probably a bit more frugal than most and I really didn’t want to leave them but paying 10 Euros per kg of excess baggage meant sacrifices had to be made (unfortunately.)

I had some frozen spinach to use, as well as puff pastry, a lemon and feta. I brainstormed and tarts were formed. Yummy and giving me less guilt about wasting food! Perfect hot or cold, for lunch or dinner or even a picnic. And ready in about 20 minutes!

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Spinach & feta tart

Serves 2 or more depending on how big you like your portions

Half a pack of puff pastry, rolled into a rectangle

About 100grams spinach, thawed if frozen

1/2 a pack of feta cheese

Squeeze of lemon juice

Few grates of lemon rind

Pinch of chilli flakes

Garlic clove,  crushed

A little olive oil

Pinch of nutmeg if you have any goes quite nicely!

Method

1. In a bowl, combine the thawed and drained spinach, crumbled feta, lemon juice and rind, garlic with salt and pepper, nutmeg and a glug of olive oil.

2. Arrange your mixture on the rolled out pastry, leaving a pastry border of about an inch or more for those who love their pastry.

3. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 C for around 20 minutes.

Tomato thyme and feta tart IMG_20130615_075622

Serves the same amount

Half a pack of puff pastry, rolled into a rectangle (or however you like to be honest.. Go wild.)

The other half of the pack of feta

2tsp dried or fresh thyme

Any tomatoes you have, thinly sliced, enough to cover the pastry

Method:

1. Crumble the cheese evenly over the pastry, arrange the tomato slices over the cheese so that there is no gaps between them. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle over the thyme and season with pepper (feta is salty enough! ). Bake for around 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 190 C.

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Place Garibaldi, giant (raspberry and lychee cream filled!) Macarons and people watching in the sun. Ahhhh.

13 May

Since finishing working in Nice, I have pretty much been on ‘holiday’ here, before I leave in a few weeks to go back to the wet and cold of the UK. I have been making the most of my time, dividing it up between eating ice cream, going to cafes and people watching, drinking wine, eating patisserie, going to the beach… tough life really isn’t it?

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So anyway, I was recommended by a French friend a place called Deli Bo – a trendy hipster hangout serving lunches, coffees and AMAZING patisseries! I subsequently headed there, picked up a Lychee and Rasberry Giant Macaron and headed to one of the many cafes in Place Garibaldi (my fave place to chill, attempt to read my French magazines, and people watch) to eat it, away from the waiters gaze of course, along with a noisette (a bargain of a coffee – an espresso with a bit of frothy milk – no more than 2 Euros in any French cafe.)

‘Twas delish and so thought I would gloat about how amazing it was with pictures and a blog post here 😀Image

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When in France… Tarte Tatin (upside down caramelised apple tart)

11 Mar

This weekend, I was craving to bake something simple, tasty and satisfying, which doesn’t call for loads of ingredients (and money… I was feeling very pro-student-budgeting after looking at my bank account!)

Of course, I am in France, home of amazing patisserie. As they say, when in France, make a Tarte Tatin (I’m sure that’s not a phrase but yeah, whatever.) Image

The Tarte Tatin was originally made by accident, which is quite lucky for us. I find the caramalised apples so much better than traditional English-style apple pies, which also seem to be more pastry that anything else.

Once more, it gave me the excuse to use my amazing Great British Bake Off book! Slightly adapted… I didn’t particularly fancy tackling home made puff pastry!

It’s also amazing warm, with salted caramel and pecan ice cream (I have a constant supply in my freezer, naughty.)

Serves 6-8

200g all butter puff pastry
150g golden granulated sugar
600g eating apples
6tbsp water

Method:
1. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and warm on a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat slightly and boil to make a caramel, gently tipping the pan  backwards and forwards now and again (don’t stir!) When the caramel is golden brown, put the saucepan into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process and burnt caramel!
2. Core and slice apples, but leave the skins on. Pour the caramel into a lined 20cm tart or cake tin with a fixed bottom (otherwis
e your caramel will drip through the bottom!)
3. Arrange the apple slices on top of the caramel.
4. Roll out your pastry to a disk, drape over the apples and tuck in the edges of the disk down to the bottom of the tin. Cut a small cross in the middle of the pastry.
5. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 30mins or until pastry is golden brown.
6. When cooked, place a large plate over the pastry then carefully flip the tart so the tasty caramelised apples are revealed and subsequently ready to be eaten with lots of ice cream/cream/custard…. (or all three..)

Skiing in Auron and Pain Bagnats

5 Mar

Last Sunday we took yet another ski day-trip, it’s just too fun/close/(relatively) cheap not to make the most of it! This time, we decided to go to the resort of Auron, which is another small, family resort in the Mercantour national park area. Like Isola 2000, it’s less than 2 hours by bus from Nice.

To be quite honest as it’s a lot lower than Isola, it was a warm +6 C which meant slushy skiing and lots of ugly brown mud/mountains. We didn’t like it as much as Isola but you know, can’t really complain about spending a relaxing Sunday on the slopes.

One of my favourite parts (obviously) of skiing is having a hearty lunch outside in the sun on the side of a mountain in preparation for an afternoons skiing. Laaavely.

The restaurant with the best view (priorities hey!) we came across on the slopes was la Bergerie, despite it being absolutely heaving (French half term…) we were served quickly. The menu was mostly Provencal-inspired dishes, hence choosing between us the Raviolis Nicois in a meaty sauce daube and the Pain Bagnat Revisité.

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The Pain Bagnat is amazing (basically a Nicois salad in a bun.) It is one of my favourite food discoveries here, which is perfect as the boulangerie on the corner of our road does the best one using their own fresh olive bread bagnat rolls. The Pain Bagnat Revisité  was more of an elegant, open sandwich type dish, being in a restaurant and costing 14euros what do you expect. I must admit the hearty roll is a lot more satisfying.

I went to the boulangerie today to pick up a pain bagnat for lunch. Due to it

being 2pm (the French eat their lunch at 12pm sharp) there were non left. No worries. I bought myself a bagnat roll and made myself a Pain Bagnat à la Phoebe (that is, without anchovies, eww.)

Serves 1 hungry person, 2 hungry-ish people

Ingredients:                                                                 IMG_20130305_163836

1 giant olive bread roll
1 tin tuna in olive oil
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
handful rocket
5 black olives, halved
a few slices of red pepper
a few slices of hard boiled egg
anchovies (optional)
good olive oil and balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Method:
1. Slice  your bun, drizzle the olive oil onto the bread, spread the tuna on the bread then pile up all the other ingredients. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and balsamic et voilà!

The most chocolatey white and dark chocolate cookies for when it’s stormy and you want a chocolate hug

22 Feb

These cookies are an adaptation of the ‘Double Death by Chocolate Cookies‘ recipe from my bible, being The Great British Bake Off, How to turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers of course.

I made these cookies for Valentines day (a request haha!) However I was majorly craving them last night during one of Nice’s storms. I love them! The weather here is great, it hardly ever rains but when it does, it usually involves a storm. Films, tea and chocolate cookies are perfect for eating in bed, listening to the storm outside.

I modified this recipe from the Bake Off book as I had no cocoa powder. Instead, I melted some dark chocolate and reduced the amount of soft butter, I also added some extra flour to balance out the wet/dryness of the mixture. I also added quite a few more white and dark chocolate pieces to the cookies because I just love chocolate.

The first time I made these cookies I used the cheapest dark chocolate from Carrefour – they came out ok, however the high sugar content in the chocolate made them a little too sweet and not ‘chocolately’ enough. As a result, use dark chocolate of more than 70% cocoa solids, it is really really worth the extra few centimes/pence (even if you are a student!)

Makes 14 large, gooey cookies        IMG_20130221_225053

Ingredients:
175g self raising flour
Pinch of salt
Pinch of baking powder
95g golden caster sugar
100g very soft unsalted butter
1 large egg at room temperature
25g good quality dark chocolate, melted
100g good quality white chocolate, broken into chunks (personally, the chunkier, the better)
150g good quality dark chocolate, broken into chunks

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 180C. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix the melted chocolate and soft butter together then add to the dry ingredients.
2. Beat the egg until frothy then add to the dry ingredients along with your chocolate chunks. Mix until thoroughly combined.
3. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and drop it onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Repeat with all the mixture allowing space between each blob for the cookies to spread when cooking.
4. Bake for approximately 12 minutes. They should be firm but not hard, they carry on cooking for a while and harden up after you take them out of the oven, burnt cookies is not a good look, you want soft, chewy ones!

Leave to cool then eat

Nutella, crêpes, emmental and ham – Shrove Tuesday the French way

13 Feb

France has its ‘pancake day’ on the 2nd of February, known as the Fête de la Chandeleur.

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Unbeknownst to me, the 12th of February mardi gras doesn’t involve pancakes. It literally means ‘fat Tuesday’, yet it does not involve pancakes and their delicious if a little naughty (when else do we have ice cream and chocolate for dinner?!) toppings… hmm.

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I wish I had known about the Fête de la Chandeleur earlier, as I then would have had two excuses to eat pancakes all day. Oh well, I suppose I had my fair share of them last night (and this morning…)

For our pancake party, everyone brought a batter ingredient and a topping. We had such a great selection from French classics such as Nutella and banana crepes as well as emmental and ham. We also had Speculoos spread and banana (cinnamon coffee biscuits in a spread… the French love it!) to melted Lindt chocolate and strawberries topped with ice cream, Greek yogurt and fresh rhubarb and raspberry compote, to British classics such as lemon and sugar. And of course, fluffy American pancakes with butter and maple syrup!

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Yum Yum Yum!

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Simple pleasures – Sunday morning croissants & hot chocolate à la français/Phoebe

3 Feb

During my walk home from the nightbus after a night out in Cannes, I found myself walking past my local boulangerie. Late night to the early hours of the morning is when all croissboulangeries make their masses of breads and pastries. The smell of fresh bread is infamously amazing, however the wafts of baking croissants I believe is even better. I went to bed adamant to treat myself to a croissant in the morning. I also realised that I am actually quite obsessed with food – who plans their breakfast so determinedly (I even checked to see if I had apricot jam…) at 4am whilst knackered and (slightly) under the influence of alcohol?!

True to late night determination, two fresh, buttery croissants made their way to  my apartment. As it’s a Sunday, I thought why not go all out and have a typical French, tasty yet not so healthy accompaniment – hot chocolate in a bowl, the only way to drink it (if you are a French child, but oh well.)

As an adult, I did make myself a bit more of a ‘grown-up’ hot chocolate in a bowl. The addition of a shot of coffee makes masses of difference in my opinion. It takes away some of the sicklyness that can come from a big bowl of milky hot chocolate, plus gives you a bit of a (much needed) caffeine buzz.

Just what I needed!

My version of chocolate chaud calls for:
A china, heat proof smallish bowl that can easlily be drunk from.
About 250ml milk (if you are going really authentic then use UHT – although the French stuff doesn’t have quite the same strong taste as the UHT milk in the UK.)
1 tbsp hot chocolate powder (Poulain is a popular French brand that is the best – far better than any supermarket hot chocolate in the UK, I always bring a pot back with me!)
Shot of espresso or 2tsp instant coffee granules

1. In your bowl, mix the coffee and hot chocolate powder with a few tbsp milk to form a paste, add the rest of the milk then pop in the microwave for 1min. Stir to ensure everything is well mixed and cook for a further 40seconds.
Serve with warm croissants and jam.