Anniversary trip to Paris – Day 1

We recently celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in Paris.  It’s a city that we both love and have visited not nearly enough given its proximity to London.  With granny minding the Bear, we made our way to St Pancras to catch the Eurostar.  We didn’t have much time to kill at the station but spent it well sipping Bloody Mary at Searcy’s.  I’m not a big champagne drinker and so wanted to leave bubblies for later that day.

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A quick stop at M&S for lunch and snacks, we boarded our train to Paris.

Three and a half hours later, we were checked into our hotel, Le Villa Maillot, for the second time this year.  Hubby surprised me with some champagne and chocolates! IMG_1197.JPG

After a quick rest, we headed back to the Gare du Nord area in search of two Thierry Breton eateries. Alas Chez Michel was closed for their summer holidays but thankfully La Pointe du Grouin was buzzing with happy hour revellers.

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It is a lovely little spot, which serves bite sized food, tapas-style if you will.  You buy ‘Grouin’ tokens from a machine ( I think Eur1 = 1 Grouin), and the place your order at the bar for food and drinks. We propped ourselves at the bar and shared a few dishes washed down with a couple of glasses of beer.  Girolle mushrooms, cod with butter, broccoli and cauliflower, razor clams and plenty of bread to mop up some seriously tasty butter-based sauces.

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After dinner, we went for a long walk and found ourselves near Opera.  All the shops were closed but there was a buzz in the air.  Paris is a city best seen at night, so we jumped into a cab and off to Trocadero we went to pay homage to:

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I will never tire of seeing the Eiffel Tower, day or night..

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Summer fruit tart

Happy 8 years, dear blog! Slightly neglected but never forgotten. A treasure trove of memories.

I had some overripe peaches in my fruit bowl, a cooking apple that hubby brought home and a punnet  of blueberries that the Bear asked to buy when we were in the shops earlier.

I used my go to recipe, modified from Patricia Wells’ “Provence”.

Ready in just under an hour, timely as Hubby got home famished from a game of golf.

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Berry popsicles

The Bear and I made some popsicles recently. This strawberry/blueberry combo was a hit.

  • a handful of strawberries, blended
  • a handul of blueberries blended with a tbsp of Greek yogurt

1. Fill half a popsicle mound with the blueberry blend

2. Top up with the strawberry blend

3. Freeze for 5 hours before demoulding.

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Peach and blueberry pudding revisited

A few years ago, hubby and I attended a book launch/cooking demonstration by Bill Granger at Waterstones in Piccadilly.  Bill was promoting his then latest book, Bill’s Basics.  He signed a copy of the book I purchased, ‘Dear X and Y, I hope this inspires many great meals together!’

I was flicking through the book earlier and started tearing up upon seeing the note. How did I get from trying out countless new recipes on a weekly basis to eating chili con carne four days a week, every second week?

In that book, is a very simple recipe for a pudding- peach and blueberry, in a cakey batter.  I made it for our good friend Stavros and his parents when we visited them many years ago.

Here is a link to the recipe.   I made it this evening with the Bear.  We served it with cream but it would also go well with custard/ice cream.

Peach and blueberry pudding

It reminded of old times, when this blog was actively updated and I had the time/energy/inclination to test new recipes.

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Pandan tray bake

Pandan leaves are widely used in Souhtheast Asian cooking, both sweet and savoury. We always had plants growing, almost wildly in our garden, requiring minimal care.  

One of my favourite cakes is Pandan cake. I only developed a taste for it in the last few years. One of mum’s friends made the best Pandan cakes ever, often supplying us with freshly baked treats whenever we visited. 

Pandan leaves are available in oriental supermarkets in London.  Though nothing beats using freshly juiced Pandan for cakes, I’ve come to rely on bottled Pandan essence. 

I modified a Mary Berry recipe (lemon tray bake) for a Pandan version and it came out beautifully.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/lemon_drizzle_traybake_01890
Omit the lemon zest, and ingredients for the glaze. Replace with 2tsp of Pandan essence, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 10g Dr Oetker lime green food gel, for flavour and colouring. Bake for 35 mins, 180 degrees Celsius.


Do try if you’re a fan of Pandan cakes. It’s a lovely taste of home and some of that homesickness and longing does go away, albeit temporarily.