Dear French Market Shoppers,
One of the aromas that I love is the smell of butter croissants cooking, it always reminds of Parisian Patisseries where I would eat my morning treat with a delicious cup of coffee. I can never decide whether I prefer a golden flaky croissant to a Pain au chocolat, which is similar pastry to a croissant but wrapped around a baton of chocolate. The difference between croissant pastry made in France compared to the rest of the world is in the quality of the butter and flour. To produce a high risen flaky croissant you require a higher fat content in the butter as this enables the croissant to cook at a higher temperature and to rise better.
This week I have finally sourced frozen croissants and Pain au chocolat, made in France by a leading bakery, that you just take from your freezer and pop straight into your oven and cook. They are due in tomorrow morning so come later in the day to stock up for your weekend breakfast treats.
I am counting down the days to my daughter Nicky’s return, it is just one week left. As she will be staying with me to start off, I suddenly realised there were lots of odd jobs to do around the house. I duly went and bought an electric drill and started to try and drill into walIs to put up things like curtain tie backs. I did not realise how hard this would be and was terrified the drill would break so I was being overly cautious. Needless to say the raw plugs would not even go into the pathetic little holes I had drilled, in the end a very kind friend offered to help and fixed everything within a few minutes. I think I will stick to cooking it is much easier.
Nicky will be helping in the shop the first week of May, while I train our new staff at the new venue in Johannesburg. So if you see a much taller and younger version of me, don’t be surprised. I am so excited, we officially open the new shop on Saturday 9th May so please tell all your friends in Jo’burg to pop in and say hullo on that Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th while I am there. The stock will be almost identical to here except that there, Paul Zwick, my joint venture partner, makes the most amazing baguettes and pastries, he is famous for his sour dough baguettes which is his passion. The location of Patisserie de Paris and French Market JNB is 9 MacKay Avenue, Blairgowrie. The phone number is 011 326 0913.
It became fashionable with the Nouvelle Cuisine trend in France to serve bite sized dishes of food to tantalise diners’ tastes with compliments of the chef at the start of a meal. Named an “Amuse-Bouche” this translates as a mouthful of food that pleases or tantalises the taste buds. I decided that I could also use this term in this week’s recipe for a bite sized sweet dish served at the end of a meal, as the taste is tantalising and the portion small. With the arrival of my delicious range of French jams, I created a simple recipe with small layers of flaky pastry, spread with some of my divine American cream cheese (made from fresh cream and milk) and a layer of fig jam or some slices of fresh figs. Wine pairing was difficult as the figs have a lovely fresh taste, the jam is sweet and the cheese is really creamy so I think that a chilled, sweet Petit Guiraud Sauternes from the Bordeaux region is probably a good combination, alternatively a chilled San Leo Brut Prosecco, which is a fraction off-dry, sparkling wine from the Veneto region in Italy could also work well. This is a really easy peasy recipe, looks very attractive and tastes delicious. You can find the recipe on my website here.
We have lots of delicious French pates and cheeses in stock so do pop in and try something new.
Look forward to seeing you again soon,