Thursday, February 25, 2010

Xie_ Xie Ju~

Do you see this pretty face and lovely vibrant colors? Who does she remind you of?

I am really not a show and tell gifts..

I have known special friends..since 2001 on the net that I exchange surprises with..on occasions..and even on not occasions.... and we keep our personal treasures..quite personal.
They mean so much..but not in a way that you want to say: Look!They are too personal:) And sweet.I am quite private..and I feel that what we offer are reflections of the personal.

We use the tokens of friendship in our posts..and I spot them a mile away..

But if ever I posted a personal diplomatic quiet way..I think they would be questioned:)♥
So..with permission..I am sharing these..

In the darling note that came from Singapore..via Ontario..and then to QC~..

I was taught what these are..

They are known as:"Red Envelopes~..Ang Pows"~(Paos)

She mentioned she thought of our Alphabet Boys~ Lucas..Maxime ..Noah and Olivier~
I will of course use them.. How can one not act upon bestowing luck on a grandson when the giver thought of this across the world?♥
Have you guessed by now?If you have clicked on the link you have.. A wonderful,colorful,happy blog..that has taught me many different things:)

Nooshi visited Singapore and Ju..Lucky them:) 2 young girls..full of life and adventure and knowledge..

Nooschi came back with the offerings for me and mailed them to me..Thank you Nooshi~

I am really looking forward to making Curry Puffs..And Pineapple Tarts:)

And rereading my note many many times~

Xie_Xie Ju~

Thank You~


And to Nooshi .. too.

It's a small small world~After All..

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not for the faint of fat~

Can you see where this is leading?

I won't even put the nutrition information..
Let's just say I had a sweetie who was celebrating a birthday and I had decided to make this for the cake~You're only 33 once~

The Toblerone Cheesecake~

La Recette..

1-1/4 cups Oreo Baking Crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 pkg. (250 g each) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 bar (100 g) Toblerone Swiss Milk Chocolate, coarsely chopped

HEAT oven to 350ºF.

MIX crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

BAKE 40 to 45 min. or until centre is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours. Spread caramel topping over cheesecake just before serving. Garnish with chopped chocolate.

Eat at your own risk~:)I barely licked the knife(ves) used to cut it..:)~As to me..the best part was the topping:)


Monday, February 22, 2010

Vraiment..vraiment bonne~

I made this for a dinner this past weekend and it is on my favorites list now~Forever.
"Une Compote..vraiment ,vraiment bonne!"
It makes a good quantity.. and is as good the next day~

Many of you know..I am so fond of Josée DiStasio..her recipes..her style.. her personality..she is so charming..I have never met her of course.but I do think she would be exactly the same in person.

I wish I had seen all her shows..we never had that opportunity..but I do have a couple of her books..and newspaper recipe clippings..and I saw her Italy CD..
This recipe is called Sweet Pepper Compote..

And is served on crostinis that have been spread with goat cheese..It was a serving suggestion of hers..

I know some of you don't like goat cheese..another soft spreadable mild cheese would be perfect.

My whole family loved it~

La Recette~ From Pasta Et Cetera~

Makes 3 cups~
1/4 cup EVOO
5 sweet red orange and yellow peppers,peel optional,diced..

Hot pepper(finely chopped)or hot pepper flakes or paste
1 onion chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 or 2 garlic cloves(optional)
1/2 cup mixed pitted black and green olives,chopped(optional)
1/4 cup snipped fresh mint or other herb of your choice
2-3 tbsps capers

In a large skillet heat oil and cook sweet peppers,onion and hot pepper for ap 20 mins stirring often.
Season with s and p
Add garlic and onion and cook one minute more
Remove from heat and add olives capers and herbs.
Season to taste.
Serve compote on bruschetta or chunks of baked pizza dough..
You can serve w/ soft goat cheese .
It's great as a topping for burgers and paninis also..

***My notes..I peeled some of the peppers.. some peel stayed on..I left some peppers in strips..I love the look..I cooked mine a bit longer than 20 mins..I used fresh it was sitting on my windowsill:)I used 1/4 of the fresh hot was plenty~
I love this! I love it like I loved Ina's bruchetta..this is nice because people serve themselves~My whole family enjoyed it~


Soul Food #44

Until the gardens wake up~

The only florals here are in fabrics..and gifts~

I made another Amy Butler bag~It's my favorite so far~The mini accessory is for Kleenex:) I enjoy making them~..But more when I have an idea..I think any of you who have a sewing machine would like to make them also:) The roses were from a friend at Valentines~

The Textures are Thanks to Joe Sistah~

“Give her two red roses, each with a note. The first note says For the woman I love and the second, For my best friend..”

The Ephemera..from one of my links I have shared before..and the Iron On Fabric from Avery for the Ephemera~

The bags are reversible.. and there's a canvas/ fabric middle part also..I used a blue floral for the canvas invisible I ran out of neutral..the beauty? It's's like a stiffener...I forget the word..Interfacing maybe?


** I find these bags great for the grocery store.. just a few items:)Nothing leaky of course..But dry goods~ And bulb saving:)Or just hanging around on a pretty hook somewhere~ ~

Saturday, February 20, 2010


And anticipation~

I am anxiously awaiting Spring ...and my herbs and flowers~(Anticipation)

The grocery store helps with both in February~

Basil is my favorite..I 'm sorry Rosemary you're almost it..and're close..and Thyme too~ But Basil the best~

I have had this recipe forever..have you ever made Boursin Chicken?

You can make your own Boursin or have it on hand like I did the day of the basil..

Through a delightful correspondence of the most friendly kind..I had in my posession..this spice I wanted to try with the chicken..

It's from France~ Ronelle~ My French Kitchen~♥

So..Don a pretty apron..

And try it out of you haven't's one of those keeper recipes..I wish I had had it as a new bride~

La Recette~

Chicken breasts..I used 2..flattened..

Season each side w/ salt and pepper..and if you can find this delicious it:)~

Make a mixture of crushed toasted pecans and Boursin cheese.

Lay flat leaves of basil on your chicken and top w/ boursin mixture..I used about 2 tbsps on each..the breasts were large..
You can do it the other way around also I suppose~

Roll up and coat in home made breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for ap 40 mins..until juices run clear.

Slice in rondelles..they are pretty and serve over pasta.. or rice..
I had made a mushroom sauce w/ dried and fresh mushrooms to go over it~
It was really good:)

Easy for entertaining also~
Correspondence is becoming a lost art..I am still so partial to it~
Seeing someone's handwriting.. feeling the paper.. just the whole moment of it all brings you closer~

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I brought her home many many months ago from a tag/ library sale to bake bread in~

But she is useful for other things..
apart from her charm.. and positively adorable face..
I have found that un bon "bouilli"`stew... is delicious in it~
In French we call it.. "boeuf à bouillir" and it's a meat that you first cubes and then simmer with herbs and onions and beer or wine.. and vegetables..

We really enjoy this meal~
I had wanted to try and finish the complete cooking of it w/ a Pâte à Luter~~

This meant she had to be kept quiet~

She looked funny at first to me..

But I had wanted to try this method ever since Hélène showed us:)~

It was a success~(Beware..night shot!)

Next time I will Pam my edges though..:)
The meat had a tenderness and deeper flavor than usually~

We enjoyed every morsel~ Both he and I~

Not to mention what a pretty presentation the dough seal makes~
La Recette that I used

300 gr flour
1 egg white
water to make the dough workable..
1 egg yolk
Make a well in centre of flour and work in the egg white with some water.. and salt..
Let rest..I rolled mine out in 2 long strands to fit the circumference of Henriette..and brushed w/ egg yolk wash~
Thank you Hélène~

Full Circle~

I am extremely fortunate..More so than my own mom was..Remember the little gifts our children made us growing up?This is what happens when they have children..

They make their nanas gifts♥
With a little help from their moms..

I can't tell you how this felt.
But I'm trying.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

J'aime bien~ Les Citrons~

I really like lemons~
I mentioned I had made Dorie Greenspan's sweet tart dough..the recipe is in Sunday's Valentine's Day post~It is beyond a doubt a shortbread cookie crust..I could eat just the whole tart with nothing in it~
But..a friend came for dinner Saturday night so I filled it w/ liquid gold~

Lemon Curd ..microwave lemon curd I made a few days earlier and kept in the fridge~

I am so glad she likes lemons as much as we do..she told me she loved it~

I was happy.

I am sure I posted this quick and easy lemon filling before..I just can't find it~

La Recette~


1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice
3 lemons, zested
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Cook in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the microwave, and pour into small sterile jars. Store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

One of the reasons I started la Table De Nana..was to keep my recipes in one place and it's like my recipe folders and drawers:(~

Monday, February 15, 2010

Soul Food #42~

Little Muslin Bags~

Are fun to adorn as gift bags~
You can stamp them..embellish them..or use iron-on transfers or printable sheets~

The from many different sources,The Graphics Fairy..Shabby Chic Papirskatter~..etc etc..Gleaned from many sites.. Just Something I Made.. and another site/blog ..I cannot find..Sherri. I do not want to mention just one because the images come from many places..

I add to them in Photoshop.. so not one is the same really~

They are combinations.

Like tags..but muslin bags~

So much fun to personalize~Antique w/ tea stains.. add personal items..intials..embroidery etc..

“The greatness of a craft consists firstly in how it brings comradeship to men.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Just a small way of saying thanks to everyone who share their ideas and ephemera~

And other great ideas..

Have you visited here? My French Kitchen? You will love it..Just the art work,the recipes,photos and this time the cutest little warm wrapped foil towelettes..go see:)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chocolate Valentines~

Kate@ Serendipity..organized a Valentine Chocolate Extravaganza~!Her idea was heartfelt and grand!Thank you Kate~!
She is hosting a Valentine's party all about chocolate:)

And ♥s of course~:)

I used Dorie Greenspan's Sweet tart crust recipe~That book is such a favorite!!

And filled my little heart tarts w/ a creamy chocolate and topped each w/ half a Chocolate Truffle..

Dorie's Sweet tart recipe~La Recette~

SWEET TART DOUGH (Adapted from BAKING FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, but taken from my manuscript, so the wording may be a little different from the way it appears in the book)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
To make the dough: Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in the workbowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before your reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change - heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface.
Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
If you want to press the dough into a tart pan, now is the time to do it.
If you want to chill the dough and roll it out later (doable, but fussier than pressing), gather the dough into a ball (you might have to use a little more pressure than you used to mix in dry bits, because you do want the ball to be just this side of cohesive), flatten it into a disk, wrap it well and chill it for at least 2 hours or for up to 1 day.
To make a press-in crust: Butter the tart pan and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbreadish texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
To make a rolled-out crust: This dough is very soft - a combination of a substantial amount of butter and the use of confectioners' sugar - so I find it is easier to roll it between wax paper or plastic wrap or, easiest of all, in a roll-out-your-dough slipcover. If you use the slipcover, flour it lightly. Roll the dough out evenly, turning the dough over frequently and lifting the wax paper or plastic wrap often, so that it doesn't roll into the dough and form creases. If you've got time, slide the rolled out dough into the fridge to rest and firm for about 20 minutes before fitting the dough into the buttered tart pan. Trim the excess dough even with the edge of the pan. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
To partially bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil tightly against the crust. Bake the crust 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack; keep it in its pan.

I love this dough..I made enough to make a nice Lemon Tart for a guest this weekend~
Cooled..filled w/ a teaspoon ofcreamy chocolate ..and then the half truffle..I know too easy..but I was so pressed for time..My husband did can make those anytime:)
Happy Valentine's Day..

This little girl stole my heart with her joy in Italy..her frilly shoes.. joyful expressions.. warmed my heart.I took many photos of small children when I could..I missed mine so much!

These are wonderful memories..I can still see her and even the joyful pigeons in the Piazza~
I think Kate made some joyful Bloggers with her Chocolate Valentines~

P.S. I know my post seems like a lot of smoke and mirrors and a much more exuberant post than usual..~It is..
I was a participant from the beginning to celebrate Valentine's with Kate and a group of Bloggers..Unfortunately La Poste Canada/Europe is not always perfect.Some casualties happen..
My Belgian Chocolates have been eaten by a pilot..or a postman..or will be here soon..The latter is my humble opinion..
Everyday I have been asking Jacques..did they arrive? He knew the daily drill~
I waited till the last moment.. and then winged it w/ this dessert above..
Kate..I'll try and make you prouder soon:)
I do have a funny anecdote if you are still reading and not fast asleep by now..zzzz ..
the doorbell rang at dinner time near the last day.. the doorbell never rings in the dark at dinner..unless it's my DSIL or DD..It was a delivery..that we had to sign for ... a huge box..huge..I was serving dinner..and Jacques walked in with the box.. he said nothing really just gave me the box and smiled..but then said:"I thought it was the wonder it took so long.."
The box was ap. 3ft x2 ft:)

You must admit that's funny:)
My Funny Valentine~

An even funnier Valentine~

Poor Kate .. and the mail system..I apologize Canada/Europe:)And Kate!

I had insisted Kate NOT send me the chocolate..that I had chocolate..and forgot I guess..Because I did insist and made her promise:) Imagine that!
It's funny what we tuck behind our brain..I got carried away in the idea..and forgot about that piece of the puzzle~
I need to have less on my mind:)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sunny Wintry Days~

Can almost make you believe you could be staring at one of those incredible blue Provençal skies~ Almost..
Just get the right accoutrements together..and relax..

With a cup of green tea.. some French placemats..And Peter Mayle's Provence A-Z:)

It's enchanting..I love reading through the alphabet with him..

Along with a Raspberry Bakewell Cake gleaned from The English Kitchen:)

La Recette~

Raspberry Bakewell Cake
*Raspberry Bakewell Cake*
Serves 8

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in the August 2009 issue of Good Food Magazine. It's totally scrummy. I'm not sure it can be improved . . . well a bit of a drizzle icing on the top would probably go down well, but really with a dollop of creme fraiche it went down a real treat! Moreishly delish!

5 ounces ground almonds
5 ounces unsalted butter, softened
5 ounces golden caster sugar
5 ounces self raising flour
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
9 ounces raspberries
2 TBS flaked almonds
icing sugar
creme fraiche

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Base line and butter an 8 inch round deep cake tin with a removable bottom.

Place the almonds, flour,butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor. Blitz until well combined and smooth. (It should be quite pasty) Spread half of it in the prepared baking pan. Scatter the raspberries over top. Dollop the remaining batter over top and then spread it evenly over all. (I used the bowl of a wet spoon for ease) Sprinkle the almonds evenly over top.

Bake for 50 minutes until well risen and golden brown. (It took 60 minutes in my combi oven to be baked to perfection) Cool in the tin on a wire rack before removing from pan. Dust with icing sugar before cutting into slices to serve. If desired serve with dollops of creme fraiche.

**My notes.. a hint of almond essence escaped and slipped into the batter because we love that taste..
This cake is exquisite.

The English a French kitchen one sunny afternoon~

Thanks again Marie~

I still dream of this place~

This is my collaboration to Ann and Lori's Blog Showcase~

You can hear Diana..while you go see Lori:)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Little Angels~

Share great recipes..dragonflies..etc:)
I've often mentioned that this is where I am learning to cook and bake more than anywhere else..through the wonderful blogs and people we come across..

This week two charming blogs(more than charming..that sounds clichéd..MUCH more than charming..) that I follow.. taught the same thing in different ways..

Feast your eyes here at Mary's and here at Linda's to see beautiful photos..step by step instructions..links to recipes..and discover this delicious little recipe..Dumplings/Potstickers~

Mine made 16 following Linda's technique of rolling it out to a log shape then cutting 16 pieces..then flattening with the base of my 4 Cup Pyrex glass measuring cup in between 2 sheets of cling wrap..

Do not do what I did and make the wrappers the night before.. because the soft little warm dough is so tempting to play with, unless you have a better idea than I did of placing each wrapper in between small disks of wax paper..they will will have a heck of a time removing them and will have to resort to a little gizmo I have on hand to seal..No pretty fancy pleats here..just my pierogie/samosa..sealer..thank goodness it worked to make my wrappers look more presentable..

They make clean neat little pockets..

My filling was my usual filling with pork and spring green onions some sesame oil,ginger soya sauce and asian sweet chili sauce..I made her dipping sauce with less soya and a touch of orange juice concentrate..and some thinly sliced spring green onions~
I served it w/ One Perfect Bites Rice/ cabbage warm salad..and we had a feast.

I would love to say we had some leftover..but we ate the all!! Just the 2 of us..That says a LOT.

The Dough Recette~

10 ounces (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
About 3/4 cup just-boiled water (see Note)
To prepare the dough in a food processor, put the flour in the work bowl. With the machine running, add 3/4 cup of water in a steady stream through the feed tube. As soon as all the water has been added, stop the machine and check the dough. It should look rough and feel soft but firm enough to hold its shape when pinched. If necessary, add water by the teaspoon or flour by the tablespoon. When satisfied, run the machine for another 5 to 10 seconds to further knead and form a ball around the blade. Avoid overworking the dough.
Alternatively, make the dough by hand. Put a bowl atop a kitchen towel to prevent it from slipping while you work. Put the flour in the bowl and make a well in the center. Use a wooden spoon or bamboo rice paddle to stir the flour while you add 3/4 cup water in a steady stream. Aim to evenly moisten the flour. It is okay to pause to stir or add water—it is hard to simultaneously do both actions. When all the water has been added, you will have lots of lumpy bits. Knead the dough in the bowl (it is not terribly hot) to bring all the lumps into one mass; if the dough does not come together easily, add water by the teaspoon.
Regardless of the mixing method, transfer the dough and any bits to a work surface; flour your work surface only if necessary, and then sparingly. Knead the dough (it is not hot) with the heel of your hand for about 30 seconds for machine-made dough, or about 2 minutes for handmade dough. The result should be nearly smooth and somewhat elastic; press on the dough; it should slowly bounce back, with a light impression of your finger remaining. Place the dough in a zip-top plastic bag and seal tightly closed, expelling excess air. Set aside to rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours. The dough will steam up the plastic bag and become earlobe soft, which makes wrappers easy to work with.
After resting, the dough can be used right away to form the wrappers. Or, refrigerate it overnight and returned it to room temperature before using.

Note: Recipes for hot-water dough often call for boiling water to hydrate the dry ingredients, but I find that practice too dangerous and prefer to let the water rest first. For the just-boiled water, half-fill a kettle or saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and after the bubbling action subsides, 30 to 90 seconds (depending on the heating vessel), pour the amount needed into a glass measuring cup and use for making the dough. I typically wait no more than 2 minutes after boiling to use the water.

PLse read the whole article here..
The link provided by Linda~

Mary's cute little tortilla press would have been fun to try:)
You must go see both the girls superb photos..And learn from there first..I am here to tell you the recipe is great..I had tried homemade potsickers last year..the no avail..WE had once purchased Gyozas on a trip to the US at TJ"s.. NO comparison with all due respect~

I lightly sautéed mine..till they were golden..then added a bit of water..and a clear lid and steamed them until can also par boil then crisp my daughter did..I will try that too~

Merçi Les Filles~

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

De l'Huile Épicée~

A fun little sunny day project~
One of our favorite restos in Little Italy used to offer this oil..well.. a similar oil.. with crunchy pizza dough triangles before lunch..they don't anymore.. I ran out of out pre-made bought kind and decided to make some after reading Josée DiSatsios take on them..

Nothing is simpler..and I love to reuse favorite jars/ vessels~


Simply warm your EVOO and add crushed chili peppers and garlic..let them infuse.. Take off the stove and again let it infuse .. remove garlic as soon as possible though as it will not keep in the oil.. strain and put in your jars..I left herbs and chilis in..Keep refrigerated~My little jars were sterilized~

It tastes as fresh as a summer day in Provence:) below.. La Fontaine De Vaucluse area..Love at first sight~