sweet treasures #4: australia calling…
Posted in australia, interiors September 30th, 2010 by pia

I must say, there is really nothing quite like receiving a magazine as beautiful as this one once a month, delivered straight to my little boat door all the way on the other side of the world. No matter how much more sophisticated technology gets, and how much more interior inspiration there is popping up on the internet, printed visual stories are still so. much. better.

find country style here and here.

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a new guest cook in the (blog)house kitchen…
Posted in (blog)house news, food, france September 29th, 2010 by pia

all images in this post are by photographer Jen Altman

Today and for the month of October,  I’m delighted to welcome a very special guest cook to the (blog)house. But before I introduce you, I want to say a big thank you to Yvette for holding up the fort for so long! She was so self-sufficient -  baking up irish tea brack when the mood & weather struck, serving up rhubarb compote, and sharing some Dutch Fare with us all among so many other delicious recipes over the course of the last few months – beside taking full advantage of her enthusiasm to cook for others, I got very used to her company. Alas, we must say au revoir to my dear friend Yvette for now, and let her enjoy the fruits of her labor with her new cookbook, home made.  Merci Yvette,  for being such a generous, wonderful, fun guest. Until next time!

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But with this au revoir comes a warm and heartfelt bonjour! to our new (blog)house kitchen guest.  Would you like to meet her? Not only is this special guest a very talented cook, inspired by markets and small artisan producers, but she also runs cooking classes and market tours, hosts wonderful evenings called “dinner with the cook”, and is committed to living a sustainable life.  When she moved to Burgundy in France, she ditched her car and as she says so eloquently  “took to the proverbial “French bike” adorned with a basket of market produce and flowers as my preferred choice for transportation.”

Please join me in giving a very warm welcome to Marjorie Taylor, the cook herself from one my of favourite places, The Cook’s Atelier

Marjorie has prepared a fabulous Autumn menu, just for us here in the (blog)house, each accompanied by beautiful photographs she has taken herself. And during the month of October she will be sharing a recipe or two from the menu each week, starting this week with the entrée. There will be 5 recipes altogether. Marjorie notes,

“this menu is the perfect example of an autumn menu for dinner with the cook, or the type of menu that we would prepare for a market tour and cooking class.  Everything is made from scratch and guests enjoy a convivial dinner at a long, zinc topped French farm table.  Dinner with the cook is like a supper club, only guests help prepare the menu for the evening. ”

How utterly marvelous. Thank you dear Marjorie for taking the time to share these amazing recipes with us, and to give us all a delicious taste of what dinner is like chez vous.

Mes amis, I hope Marjorie’s October-long stay in the (blog)house kitchen will inspire you in your own kitchens. Perhaps her stay will also inspire you to enjoy a weekend in burgundy, dining at The Cook’s Atelier table. Perhaps we could go together.

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Click here to view Marjorie’s first recipe, Roasted Cream of Cauliflower Soup.

All images in this post are by photographer Jen Altman.

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Marjorie Taylor’s roasted cream of cauliflower soup…
Posted in kitchen September 29th, 2010 by pia

photograph by Marjorie Taylor

Hello, I’m Marjorie and I am the cook in The Cook’s Atelier.  The Cook’s Atelier promotes sustainable France through hands-on cooking classes, market tours and field trips to local artisan producers. I am a big believer in real food, made from scratch and take pleasure in cooking every day.

When the weather is warm, I plant herbs in my window boxes and throw open the windows so I can hear the people bustling below on their way to the morning market.  In the height of the season, I’m busy making confiture and preserving to save a little taste of summer for when the chill sets in.  In the autumn and winter months, there is always something simmering on the back of the stove; a pumpkin soup or some homemade chicken stock, and a fire in the fireplace to keep cozy when it’s snowy and gray outside.

This roasted cauliflower soup that I am sharing with you today is adapted from Ad Hoc, by Thomas Keller.  The recipe in the book is absolutely lovely.  I just decided to roast the cauliflower in the oven because I love roasted cauliflower. Bon appétit…

Roasted cream of cauliflower soup
Inspired by Ad Hoc at Home, by Thomas Keller
Serves 6

2 heads cauliflower (4 to 5 pounds total)
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
3/4 cup coarsely chopped leeks (white and green parts only)
1/4 teaspoon yellow curry powder or Madras curry powder
Sea salt
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups water
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

-Remove the leaves from the cauliflower, and cut out the core.  Trim off the stems and reserve them.  For the garnish, trim 2 cups florets about the size of a quarter and set aside.

Coarsely chop the remaining cauliflower and stems into 1-inch pieces so that they will cook in the same amount of time.  You need 8 cups of cauliflower (reserve any extra for another use).

-Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion, leeks, curry, and coarsely chopped cauliflower, season with 2 teaspoons sea salt, cover with a parchment lid (just parchment cut the size of the Dutch oven with a hole cut in the middle so the steam can escape) and roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are almost tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and discard the parchment lid.

-Pour the milk, cream, and water and bring to a simmer on the top of the stove over medium-high heat.  Simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off the foam from time to time.

-Working in batches, transfer the cauliflower mixture to a blender (leave an opening in the lid for the steam to escape).  Carefully, begin pureeing the cauliflower on the lowest speed and blend, slowly increasing the speed, until smooth and velvety.  Check the seasoning and add more salt if needed.  Transfer to a large saucepan and keep warm.

-Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter turns a rich golden brown.  Add the florets and sauté until a rich golden brown.  Set aside.

To serve, reheat the soup.  This is a thick soup, but if it seems too thick, add water to thin it to the desired consistency.  Taste for seasoning. Pour the soup into a warm serving bowl or soup tureen.  Top each serving with a few cauliflower florets.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper.

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Recipe from Marjorie Taylor, The Cook’s Atelier

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sweet treasures #3: adornments…
Posted in blog favourites, fashion, handmade September 29th, 2010 by pia

…that I cherish, from le voyage créatif. Find marte marie’s shop here, and her beautiful blog here.

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sweet treasures #2: a pretty package…
Posted in amsterdam, fashion, handmade September 28th, 2010 by pia

…from br.wn clothes, wrapped in a discontinued pattern. Isn’t it lovely? So lovely that I can’t make myself open it yet. But I will, and then I’ll show you what’s inside.

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