I am currently writing this post on the plane back to Paris after spending three glorious weeks in my hometown Auckland...
|The view from my kitchen..|
It's been wonderful catching up with all the friends I've missed dearly, all brimming with curious and probing questions on the year I've been away. I've also had the pleasure of meeting many new people through my blog, of whom are all very humble and talented on their own rights. I am also very grateful to have had the opportunity to be featured on the media on my few weeks back at home!
Natalie Smith of "Eat Here Now" and "Magic Surrounds" fame, very kindly wrote an article about this blog and my everyday life in Paris for the September issue of New Zealand food magazine "Taste". And I am also very excited about the new hits my blog have been getting from its feature on Metro magazine's blog "Metro Eats" written by my dear friend Jeremy Olds. Jeremy wrote about the happenings of the weekend's past where I had hosted a French-market breakfast for a few close friends in my humble abode.
The idea for this french breakfast came to me the weekend before that, when my boy Martin, a few friends and I were sitting around the long table at the La Cigale during one of their weekly French market days. A good musician/food enthusiast friend of mine Sam Allen was raving about the almond croissants on offer there and says that he downs one or two every Sunday morning as a ritual. Filled with curiosity I had a big bite of his croissant to have a taste. However, I was a little let down because it was made differently to those that are sold in the Parisian pastry shops; they were filled with custard instead of almond cream. So I offered Sam to come over to my house the following weekend so I could bake him authentic butter croissants filled with almond cream and dunked in rum syrup, the way that I have tasted them in many a pastry shop in Paris.
|After 2 hours of proofing|
|After the second 6 hour proofing|
|Rolled out the four sides|
|Big slab of butter!|
|Rolled out lengthwise..|
|Three simple turns|
I happily spent everyday of the following week preparing pastries for my very own French Market. Come friday night, I had about 40 croissants, 20 pains au chocolats, and 20 pains au raisins all ready for their final overnight proofing in chilly Auckland. I went to bed that night super excited and curious to see how fat they were going to get in the next morning!
|My chubby croissants..|
|A little squashed on the tray!|
By 10 am the whole house was warm and full of pastry! Hungry sleepy-eyed friends expressed their delight in being able to smell the freshly baked croissants from all the way down my long driveway. When everyone was seated around my dining table, I put on the kettle and brewed pots of jasmine tea, whilst some friends brought in bottles of fresh orange juice and a can of hot cocoa mix. After a few snaps of photos, I gave the long awaited "go ahead" and everybody made for their pastries like lunch and dinner no longer existed.
|Almond croissants in the oven..|
|Croissants aux Amandes|
|The freshest croissants in Auckland!|
|Pains aux raisins from brioche dough|
|The pastry spread|
Seeing the smiling faces of my dearest friends as they tucked into their croissants filled me with much joy and a great sense of accomplishment. It reminded me of why I am working hard towards opening my own restaurant and pastry shop very soon (Bali 2014! More on this soon.) It is definitely a passion of mine to cook, bake and make people happy with lovely good food. After everyone had stuffed their faces enough, they were able to bring a few back home for their flatmates/families too! It was definitely a breakfast to remember, and I had such a great time hosting my very own French market. I think I definitely have to think about redoing this the next time I go back home in December. I know I will appreciate all the extra pastry practice again!
ps. I will post the recipes soon :)