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Everything posted by pissaladiere

  1. I don't know if matrominial cake is a Canadian or west coat thing, but that is what I have always called date bars. I have searched high and low for the recipe that my mom used to use. It was written on the back of a lavender coloured chinese restaurant take out menu. She thinks the original recipe may have come from a Woodward's leaflet. It was the best matrimonial cake I've tried. I don't remember the crust (although I think it was some combination of flour, oats, butter and brown sugar-definitely no nuts), but I know that the filling was simply dates cooked with a glob of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. They were perfect. I might just have another go at trying to recreate them. Andrea
  2. Thanks Margaret and Clotilde, Margaret, I am very familiar with Cadenet, as we are staying in Lourmarin for the second time. I found this to be an excellent base for touring the region. Your chambre d'hote sounds marvellous. We will be renting a house with a kitchen, so we are planning on preparing our markets finds. Clotilde, it was your article about the Castelas that first drew it to my attention. I can't wait to go there. I can't wait to explore this more wild, remote side of the Luberon, Thanks, Andrea
  3. Hi, I am preparing for our four week stay in Lourmarin in the Luberon. I am very interested in the idea of "fermes auberges". I have read about a ferme auberge in Sivergues called Castelas. I was wondering if anyone has tried any others. L'Houmet in Monteux, Lou Mangan in Caromb, Lou Meou in Lauris or La Bastide des Fontaines in Cadenet. I love the idea of experiencing the people, the food and the land in such a direct way. Any comments on these fermes auberges or on fermes auberges in general. Thanks, Andrea
  4. Abra, I am not familiar with all the towns that you've mentioned, but I do know Uzes and Saignon. You would be able to eat exceptionally well in either of those places. Uzes is more of a town, where Saignon is a quiet hill top village. Saignon is not too far from the most amazing farmers market at Velleron. It opens in the evening and farmers come and sell produce that they have grown and picked themselves. The quality, freshness and passion for their product is amazing. Have you checked out a site called slowtravel (www.slowtrav.com). This is a great, well informed community of people, not unlike egullet, where you could get a wealth of information and it also lists rentals. I have found that many people who have vacation rentals are very willing to negotiate a good price if you are willing to stay for an extended period. Many would rather have their house occupied at a cheaper rate for twelve months, than at an inflated rate for 3 months.
  5. Lots of interesting suggestions. I have spent extended periods of time in Alsace, Champagne, Brittany, the Loire and Provence. I have to say that, without any hesitation, I would choose Provence. It is not hard to find a lovely village that is not too touristed. And if you're spending a whole year, you will find that even the most touristy of villages are quite empty of foreigners for 8 months of the year. I love the Luberon (I know it's rather cliche), and there are so many beautiful villages. If I had a year to spend in France I would look for a village house in Cucuron. This is a working village with lots of services, beautiful surroundings and lovely weather (Like Abra, I am from the Pacific Northwest, so I love the idea of an area with little precipitation) Some other villages in the area that I think are ideal are Saignon, Cadenet, Vaugines, Ansouis, Tour d'Aigues. I would happily pack up my family for a year and unpack in any one of these villages. I am also intrigued by Haute Provence. Forcalquier or Banon sound like great choices. We are heading to the Luberon for the month of July, I can't wait.
  6. My family (me, husband, son (7 years old), daughter (5 years old), mother) will be spending two days in Paris to see the final stage of the Tour de France. We will be taking the train from Avignon and arriving late Saturday morning and returning to the South Monday mid-afternoon. We would like one lovely lunch in there. Sunday seems to be difficult as many restaurants are closed, and we will be busy watching the cyclists. We are staying at the Hotel Magda close to the Arc de Triomphe. Can anyone recommend a restaurant (not too fussy as we will be with children) in the general vicinity of our hotel. My mother and I would like to take a couple of hours Monday morning to see some foodie sights. We were thinking of going to the Rive Gauche. I would like to visit Pierre Herme, but apart from that I am open to suggestions. Thanks in advance, Andrea
  7. Hi, Unfortunately, as Joie pointed out, Indian is out. Star Anise sounds promising. Thanks Claudia. Andrea
  8. Hi, Thanks for all your great suggestions. I'll pass on the idea of Bin 942, Portobellos and Bogart's and let the group decide. Cheers, Andrea
  9. Thanks for the suggestions so far. I really wanted to try Cru, but the other couple we are dining with think that $38 is a bit pricey. Last time we went to the theatre we tried Ouisi Bistro. I really like the atmosphere, and used to go there often when I lived in the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, none of us had a good meal last time we went. It was their gumbo festival, and, I like a nice dark roux, but it tasted as though theirs had been burned. Anyway, it is the same foursome dining out, so they have already nixed Ouisi. Has anyone been to the Red Door? We used to love En but it has moved to west 10th. Any other suggestions? Andrea
  10. Hi, We are going to a play at the Stanley on Saturday night. We would like to have an early dinner. I would love to return to either Vij's or West (for their early bird pre-fixe) but our dining companions are not particularly adventurous and have a limited budget. I thought of trying "Salade de fruits" in the French Cultural Centre on 7th. I ate there several years ago and remember enjoying it. Any other suggestions in the area. We are looking for something tasy, but with main courses under $20. We don't want the Cactus Club or Joey Tomato's. Thanks a lot, Andrea
  11. I haven't done much baking since Christmas. Yesterday, though I made the Katherine Hepburn brownies. They were rich, gooey and very chocolatey. Loved them. I also tried the vanilla ice cream, and did the chocolate chip mint variation. This was a lovely, rich, creamy ice cream. It went well with the brownies. I've always had much more success with sorbets than ice cream when using my cuisinart icecream maker. This base recipe was a great success and gives me confidence to try more variations.
  12. I've been continuing to bake recipes from this book any chance I get. I recently made Dorie's favourite chocolate chip cookies, the oatmeal breakfast loaf and the rum soaked vanilla cakes. I had a similar problem to others with the chocolate chip cookies spreading too much. I tried chilling the rest of my dough to see if that would remedy the problem, but it didn't. I don't have this problem with other cookie recipes. They were quite tasty, despite their thin, buttery crispy edges, but I think I'll stick with my regular recipe. I really enjoyed the oatmeal breakfast loaf. I made it yesterday to have with breakfast, and everyone (picky husband who usually only likes chocolate baked good and two kids who don't usually like things with nuts) gobbled the whole thing up. It had just the right level of sweetness, and thanks to the apple sauce and oil was very mosit. I just finished the vanilla cakes. I substituted some of the vanilla for lemon zest and substituted the rum for lemon juice in the cake, I also used lemon juice in the syrup. This is the best lemon loaf that I've every made (and apart from chocolate chip cookies, lemon loaf is probably the baked good that I make most). It has a nice fine crumb, the syrup makes it moist and extra lemony. Delicious. I love this book!!!! Andrea
  13. Really enjoying the book. I've tried a number of recipes out of it. I made the white out cake on the cover for my son's seventh birthday. He doesn't like tradiitonal buttercream frosting ("too buttery", says he), so he just loved that fluffy, marshmallowy, meringuey frosting. The cake was moisty and intensely chocolatey. I've also made the buttermilk biscuits, apple spice bars, great grains muffins, lemon cream and the bittersweet brownies I thought all of them were excellent recipes with techniques and ingredients that made them a little different and special. I can't wait to begin my Christmas baking. I've bookmarked several recipes. Andrea
  14. Thanks for all the suggestions. I will check out the menus on-line and come to a decision. Someone else suggested the Farmhouse Inn. Has anyone been there lately? thanks Andrea
  15. Hi, Next week we will be heading to Healdsburg in the Sonoma valley for some cycling, wine and excellent food. We have booked a reservation at Manzanita for one of our nights, we would like to try some good, traditional mexican food and one other good quality restaurant that is not too fancy (we don't want to go to Cyrus or Dry Creek Kitchen). Does anyone have any suggestions? We will have a car, as well as our bikes, so it doesn't have to be in Healdsburg (but we would like to stay within half an hour of there) Looking forward to your suggestions.
  16. Hi Pam, I'm in Canada too. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. I have it on order at Chapters, but if you find it somewhere else first, please post about it. Happy baking, Andrea
  17. Hi Lizzy, We have grappled with the same issue as you around kids and dining. Our kids are now four and six, and they love to eat out with us. Although they are generally well behaved, if we are going for a more sophisticated restaurant we usually look for something larger and noisier, so that they will not bother people looking for a quiet, romantic meal. They've done just fine at Feenie's, La Regalade, Kettle of Fish and any of the CFD chains. What really works for us is going for lunch. I think that almost any restaurant is fine at lunch time and the kids are usually at their best then. I wish more fine dining restaurants would open for lunch on Sundays. A long leisurely lunch in a restaurant on Sunday is a tradition we immediately embraced when visiting Europe. We had a great 2 1/2 hour lunch at Bacchus at Domaine de Chaberton in Langley last week, and the kids were a delight. There is that tricky stage when the kids begin walking and are hard to contain (18 months to 3 years) but after that it's doable and enjoyable. Andrea
  18. We stopped by the Taco Shack on Saturday evening. I'm not really familiar with the California Taco Stand idea, but love fresh, authentic mexican food. My son (6 years old), my husband and I each had an order of tacos. We tried one of each kind; steak, fish and chicken. I really enjoyed them and the homemade tortillas. The medium green salsa and the hot spicy were very flavourful. I found the fish taco a little bland. The chicken and beef were well seasoned and tasy, if slightly dry. We had intended to make this our dinner, but it really only seemed like a snack to us. We ordered another two orders of beef and chicken tacos, and my son and I were quite satisfied. My husband, however, was still hungry and came home and raided the fridge. I would happily stop by for a light lunch or evening snack again, but it seemed hard to make a meal of those tacos.
  19. Thanks for all the great suggestions. I'd forgotten about cupcakes. I really like the idea of chocolate covered pretzels or nuts. I also like the idea of bite sized goodies in mini muffin liners or other wrappings. I'll post more details when I finalize my menu.
  20. I am throwing a surprise poker/40th birthday party for my husband. He absolutely loves single malt scotch and anything chocolate. I have the scotch part covered, but would like to set out a chocolate buffet. It needs to be mostly neat, finger food as they will be playing cards. So far I have thought of brownies, chocolate chip cookies, a variety of truffles (scotch, chile, . . . ), chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate cheesecake cut into tiny fingers or squares. I know not all of these are completely neat, but, it is chocolate after all. I am looking for some more ideas, perhaps something with nutella, peanut butter or pecans. Any suggestions?
  21. I'm pretty sure that this was not the problem. I did refrigerate the custard overnight. I am sure that the bowl was frozen as it had been in the freezer for several weeks. I do add a little bit of alcohol to my sorbets, should I also do this with my ice cream?
  22. I bought my Cuisinart ice cream maker last summer. I used it for all sort of fresh fruit sorbets (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, plum, peach, pear) with excellent results. I've only made ice cream with it a few times. Both times the result has been rather grainy and icey. I have made a custard of eggs, heavy cream and whole milk and combined this with pureed strawberries. Any suggestions on getting a creamy rather than icey texture.
  23. Thanks for the cake board idea. I think even my clumsy hands can manage that. I will report back on the birthday cake next week. Andrea
  24. Thanks for all the ideas. I'm leaning towards filling it with a mixture of strawberries and cream and topping with the pink tinted buttercream and strawberries. It is hard to go wrong with chocolate and fresh strawberries. The ganache mixed with fresh strawberries sounds delicious too. Maybe I'll do three layers of cake. If I make a large oblong cake, what is the best and easiest way to split it into layer. I am a little clumsy at that sort of thing? Andrea
  25. My soon to be 4 year old daughter has requested a chocolate strawberry cake for her birthday. She would like it to have "pink" icing and chocolate covered strawberries on top. It will need to serve around 20 people. I was thinking of making the America's test kitchen sour cream chocolate cake, but need ideas for the filling and icing. I'm looking for something delicious but not too rich. My kids don't mind a nice bittersweet ganache, but I'm not sure the rest of the kids present will appreciate it. I'm hoping that our delicious local strawberries will be beginning to ripen by then (It is at the end of this month) Any inspiration or ideas?
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