Honey, Fig & Bacon Bread

"comme-ci comme ça"

The house is starting to get empty. Most important stuffs have been boxed already and ready for shipment to our new address, and the rest also now in their carton will be left behind here in France. Choosing which stays and go was really a tough job for me. Asking myself do I need it or can I live without it, put me in such a dilemma. And I must tell you I really have to go a lot of my kitchen gadgets :-( sadly.

But despite this vacuum invading the house we are getting more and more busy with lots of stuffs; my upcoming birthday, the christmas and new year celebrations, last minute appointments left and right. And oh the long list of christmas gifts to buy and pack, whew, tiring but really fun. In other words I'll be probably popping here and there.

And oh, that thing about living my dreams, well nothing really fancy. It's just about buying and having our own beach resort and opening my Italian restaurant. I love sun and the sea, but I don't really eat fish so I needed some pasta and pizza to comfort me by.

Here's an easy bread recipe I'll be sending off to Susan of Wild Yeast for her Weekly Yeastspotting! If you love bread this thing is for you.

Honey Fig and Bacon Bread


for the leavening
1 teaspoon of dry yeast
50 g of flour
2 tablespoons of honey
100 g of water

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients to make your leavening. Mix them well. Let it rise for two hours.

550 grams of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
200 grams of water
200 grams of bacon chopped
200 grams of dry fig chopped

In another bowl put your flour, salt, the leavening and the water little by little. Once the dough does not stick to your hand you dont need to add the rest of the water. Continue kneading until it becomes, soft, elastic and does not stick to your hand. Form in a ball and let it rise for about four hours. Flatten it and make a rectangular shape. On the top cover it with your bacon and fig. Roll it from one side to the other. Let it rise for another 45 minutes. Bake it in a preheated oven at 240° for 35 minutes. If you want a crusty bread put a ramekin with some water during the baking process.

Ricotta Jambon Parma Ravioli in Tomato Basil Sauce

What is the life you've ever been dreaming of?

Hubby popped this question to me a few months ago. And no matter how dazzled I was with the question, I knew he was serious and needed a gingerly thought answer. When we were kids and people asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up? My case I would always reply back that I wanted to become an astronaut. Curious that no matter how insurmountable our answers were people commend us. For adults, "Ah this child has a dream she will go far". It never occured to them that probably that was just the first word that came out into our mouth, or we probably just thought that it was cool to say that. Projecting ourselves in a distant future with our naive and fearless child heart has always been easy. No limits at all.

"So..." waiting for my answer he insisted. But even before I could react he said that his was retiring in a beautiful island, with his boat internet connection and everything so he could continue pursuing his cyber activities. It is at this point that I realized that "uh oh hubby is up to something". Well to cut the story short we will be leaving France for a couple years in the tropics pursuing both our dreams. His you knew already but how about mine? The hint is on this post. Can you guess it?

I am sending a plate of this delicious pasta over at Kait of Pots and Plots host for this week's Presto Pasta Nights, a pasta lover weekly event created by Ruth of For Every Kitchen. If you want to know who'll be hosting next you can check out the link here. The round up is already posted so don't forget to check it out.

Ricotta Jambon Parma Ravioli in Tomato Basil Sauce
for the filling
1 lb (450 gr) fresh spinach
1 lb (450 gr) ricotta cheese, thoroughly drained
1 egg
4 oz (115 gr) parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
few slices of Jambon Parma minced

for the dough
3 cups (400 gr) flour
4 eggs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

for the sauce
4 tablespoons of olive oil
5 cloves of garlic minced
1 kilo of italian tomatoes (peeled and seeded) chopped
one half cup of fresh basil chopped
salt, pepper


Start by mixing all the ingredients for the stuffing in a bowl. Set this aside.Prepare the pasta dough using the recipe for the pasta. Make the dough soft and moist. Use the minimum flour necessary enough to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands while working. Cut the dough in two parts. Place one of the pieces on the work surface, and flatten it with a rolling pin until it is very thin. Repeat the same steps with the other half of the dough, making a pasta sheet of the same size. Set it aside, covered with a moist towel if necessary to prevent the pasta from drying too much. Place about 1 teaspoon of the filling on the dough, spaced 2 inches apart. Cover with the second dough and press the pasta around the fillings so that the 2 layers touch each other. Press firmly to bond the 2 pasta sheets together. Separate the ravioli by cutting with a pastry wheel. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain ravioli and set aside. In a saucepan put your olive oil and garlic. Cook it without browning it. Add the tomatoes cook over medium fire for few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. When the sauce starts to thicken add your basil and cook for another two minutes. Toss your ravioli on the sauce and serve with some parmesan cheese.

Chocolate Upside-down Caramelised Pear and an Award

Got this from Laura's Paris Cooking Notebook a talented food blogger who is not so a stranger to french cuisine, endless chit-chat on cosy terrace in Parisien Brasseries for she lives in the romantic city of Paris. Big thanks again to Laura for passing this on to me. I'm not really sure but I think I already did a similar meme on random truths.

Anyways here goes the Honest Scrap Award she gave me and the ten truths about me

1. I measure five feet tall and two inches and weighs 99 pounds.

2. I'm unreasonably afraid of new born animals.

3. My name is not really my original name. (Thank God my dad loved me so much he replaced the first one registered by my mom in the hospital. T'was a name of a famous porn star at the time :-))

4. I played a stupid prank on my professor that I caught one time sleeping in the university. I drew and connected her eyebrows with a marker and getaway with it.

5. I was once assaulted by a holduper with a knife from the back but I blew him with a "flying kick" and a punch. The truth was, I mistook him for a friend whom I thought was pulling a gag on me. Definitely not advisable to do :-)

6. I love watching cooking shows in TV.

7. My hubby proposed to me under the moonlight on the beach.

8. I listen music all the time. And sing or dance with it.

9. All the politicians that I voted for have won. And I really regret it for I don't wanna be an accessory to their "crimes".

10. If I will be re-born again I want to be a man.

This is my entry to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Astrid of Paulchen's Foodblog. Weekend Herb Blogging is a delicious weekly food adventure created by Kalyn and now under the caring wings of Haalo of Cook Almost Anything.

Chocolate Upside-down Pear Cake
  • 4 eggs
  • 150 grams of sugar
  • 120 grams of flour (I run out of flour so I used almond powder)
  • 125 grams of butter
  • 200 grams of Dark Chocolate (70%)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 pieces of pear, peeled and quartered
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 10 grams of butter
Start by caramelising the pear, in a saucepan melt the ten grams of butter the 4 tablespoons of sugar and pear. Once they are golden brown on sides deglaze with the water to avoid burning. Set them aside. Melt the chocolate in bain marie. Separate the yolks from white. In a bowl cream the sugar and egg yolks. Add the melted butter the flour and baking powder. Whisk the white eggs until they are fluffy. Fold it gently into the mixture. Preheat your oven at 180° celsius. Put the pear on a buttered baking dish then pour the mixture. Bake for 35 minutes.

Yakiniku and an Asian style brunch

Raising a bustling two year old kid, developing a business, working part-time, and trying to write all about this in my kitchen cyberworld as I run my household makes my life very hectic nowadays. Without counting of course the fast approaching holiday preparations and our move, I feel so helpless. I miss the day I could read a book while sipping a hot chocolate or to work uninterrupted with my writings and drawings for my projects and businesses. I miss those afternoon after taking a long bath that I could try on all the new clothes and shoes that I bought and that I have rarely put on and play a fashion model in front of the mirror. Sigh!

This morning as I sip my hot chocolate in the terrace and as I savour these little moments of freedom before everybody wakes up I was greeted by this spectacular view of peace and serenity. It is at that instance that I have realised that we need some movements to spicen up and add colors to our life to appreciate this kind of solitude after. I complain a lot but I love being busy for my daughter, for my husband and for myself. I told this to hubby, he looked at me and replied, "well what do you expect you are really French now!"***

*** French have reputation of being big grumbler

The mountain of Saint Victoire under morning fog
View from my terrace

The hills of Aix

I am sending this Asian Style Brunch to brilliant Meeta of What"s For Lunch Honey this month's hostess and the creator of that delicious monthly event Monthly Mingle. I am a certified rice eater, so waking up late on Sunday means a brunch with rice. These are easy to make yakiniku barbeque served with steamed rice, a bowl of miso soup and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream with some gooseberries on the top.

Yakiniku Beef Barbeque

3/4 lb beef loin, cut in cubes
1 Tbsp of honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp grated garlic
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp white sesame seed
one cup of cut onion leeks


Mix Honey, soy sayce, garlic, sesame oil, and sesame seeds in a bowl. Marinate beef in the sauce for 30 minutes. String the beef on the skewers alternating with onion leeks.Heat a large skillet on high heat and cook them two to three minutes on both sides.

Toulouse Style Sausage and Beans

Whew, It's been a while I haven't been babbling about my kitchen and my life! The truth is my digital camera is pretty much clogged up already with all the recipes I wanted to upload here, but unfortunately my time is kinda tight. There is definitely a lot of things that's been going on here lately. And well to cut to the chase, were moving.

And this isn't just a ten or twenty kilometers moving but a big cross-country adventure. It's been months that we've been cooking this up and mind my words this isn't really easy. Counting all the stuffs we have to keep and give up plus all the paperworks I'll sum them up in one word, "exasperating"!

Like this one afternoon that we needed to do my daughter's ID photo, I don't know how do professional photographers succeed in making them behave in front of the camera because mine doesnt..well if you don't believe me, see it for yourself :-)

all the pose but the right one....

I'm sending off a big helping of this delicious Sausage and Beans to SRA of When my soup came alive this month's hostess of that fabulous monthly My Legume Love Affair an event created by the talented Susan of Well Seasoned Cook.

Toulouse Style Sausage and Beans

1lb of dried white beans
1lb of pork sausage from Toulose
4 tablespoons of duck oil
1/2lb unsmoked bacon
1 onion chopped
1 red pepper chopped
2 garlic cloves
5 big tomatoes, peel and chopped
some thyme and laurel leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Soak the dry beans overnight in cold water.Then cook them for about one or two hours in your pressure cooker or until they are tender. In a pan put your duck oil and fry your Toulouse pork sausages, then add your chopped bacon. Set them aside, on the same pan sauté the garlic, onion, pepper and tomatoes. Put the cooked beans, sausages and bacon, cover and let it simmer for an hour. Add the thyme, laurel, salt and pepper. Put them in baking dish and continue cooking in the oven at 200°celsius for about thirty minutes or until it becomes thick and sausages golden brown.

Double layered Dark Chocolate and Chestnut Cake

Life is short.

“When we come face to face with death, we think of our life. Death is a picture of a life lived. That’s why when we go to wakes; we talk about how the person lived her life with you. We sit quietly and think about our own lives; how we live it. Living a life worth living is living a life with purpose.” I come across these lines as a sermon given by a priest on a wake's mass. It smashed me right into the face.

I used to see halloween and November 1 & 2 celebrations' as a joyful event where I see my cousins, we play costumes, we eat, we play cards, everything was just about fun. But since dad passed away last year this has metamorphosed into a solemn and reflective moment for me to remember him. I know dad wanted me to remember him on a cheerful note but this is so hard for me to do. For I terribly miss my dad and that there is no single moment of the day that I don't think about him.

Hope you all had a "happy halloween" and a memorable "all soul's day celebration"!

I am sending over a slice of this chocolate chestnut cake over at Haalo of Cook Almost Anything the new caretaker and this week's host of Weekend Herb Blogging. WHB is a delicious weekly event created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.

(make a 20cm round cake)

4 eggs
100g of sugar
4g of salt
140g cake flour
30g salad oil
30g fresh milk

for the filling
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup of puréed sweetened chestnut

For the chocolate frosting:
2 1/2 cup sugar
1 ounce of dark chocolate
1/4 cup of butter
2 tablespoons of heavy cream


For the sponge cake
Start by sifting the flour, set aside. Grease and line a 20cm round pan, set aside. Pre-heat oven at 180degC. With an electric mixer, whisk eggs and sugar & salt on high speed for about seven minutes or until the batter doubles in volume and is ribbon-like texture. Turn to low speed and whisk for another 1 to 2 mins. Add sifted flour into the batter. With a spatula, gently fold in the flour until well blended. With a spatula, mix about 1/3 of the batter with the salad oil in a separate bowl. Fold in this mixture into the remaining batter. This will help ensure that oil will be fully blended and at the same time will not deflate the batter. Add in fresh milk and fold in gently. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35 mins, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Unmold and cool completely.

For the filling
With an electric mixer, whip the whipping cream still stiff. Fold in the puréed sweetened chestnut and set aside.

For the chocolate frosting:
Start by melting chocolate in a bain marie. In a mixing bowl, cream confectioners' sugar, melted chocolate and butter. Beat in heavy cream. Add small amounts hot water or hot black coffee until desired spreading consistency is reached.

Assembly of the cake:

Slice the cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place one of the cake layers cut-side down on a cake plate. Spread the whipped cream with chestnut purée over the layer. Top with the second cake layer, cut-side up. Spread over your chocolate frosting and decorate with almond shivels.