Nov 25, 2008


I don’t show my salty-side as much as I would like to on my blog, but trust me, my kitchen activities do not always revolve around sugar! Actually, I almost prefer working with meats, fishes, vegetables, etc. I also have my fetish dishes, and the one I’m posting about today happens to be on my personal all-time-fave list. It includes salmon, a swirl of tagliatelle with tons of fresh beautifully scented estragon, a bed of spinach, and maybe the best part- lobster bisque with orange zest. It’s classy, sophisticated, and very tasty… and quite honestly, very easy to make- no exaggerations here.
Salmon, estragon tagliatelle, spinach & orange zest lobster bisque.

Salmon pavés
Fresh estragon- and I insist on it being fresh! No dry estragon for this recipe please!
Spinach leaves
Orange (zest)
Lobster bisque
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Prepare your mise en place: have the tagliatelle ready & cooked (1 minute less then the indicated time because you are going to heat it again later on). Chop the estragon and grate the orange. In a deep saucepan, sauté the spinach leaves with some olive oil, salt & pepper. Set aside or keep on a very very low heat so that it stays warm but doesn’t burn. In a pot, lightly add some olive oil, add the cooked tagliatelle, and throw in lots of chopped estragon & salt. You want to heat the pasta mixed with the estragon and have it ready to be eaten at the right temperature when the salmon is cooked. Heat the lobster bisque with orange zest in a pot, and JUST before serving- either whisk it or use a hand blender to ensure an impeccably smooth consistency. This is absolutely critical, and always recommended when serving a considerate amount of sauces- always blend it just before serving. You want the bisque to feel rich & silky in the mouth. On a dish, pat dry the salmon and season before cooking. Add some olive oil to a pan, heat, and transfer the salmon. Cook on both sides according to your personal taste. In a deep plate, start by placing some spinach in the center. Top off with the tagliatelle, on top place a salmon pave, and finish off by drizzling the lobster bisque around it all.

Before I end this post, and without wanting to sound annoying, I would like to emphasize that timing and the order of things is absolutely vital here. When I’m not baking desserts, I am very picky on serving everything at the right temperature, because this is what is going to help enhance the harmony in taste when presenting and enjoying the dish. In a glance, this is what I recommend:

1.Cook tagliatelle- approx 9 mins
2.Grate orange- 1 min
3.Chop estragon- 1 min
4.Sauté clean spinach leaves- approx 5 mins
5A. Mix tagliatelle & estragon- approx 4 mins
5B. At the same time, heat the bisque- approx 5 mins
6. Cook the salmon- approx 6 mins
7. Blend the bisque- 30 seconds
8. Transfer everything to dish- 1 min

Total time: about 30 mins for a classy seductive tasty dish!

Nov 19, 2008


This has to be by far one of the most fun recipes I am going to post on my blog- and also one that I am most excited to share! From time to time here in Paris, I 'll walk into a chocolate shop or stroll around a chocolate fair and notice these stands that display these gigantic chocolate bars that come in an infinite amount of flavours. Do you see what I'm talking about? Huge milk, dark or white chocolate barks with an addition of nuts, cereals, cookies, fruits, so on and so forth. They always look so dazzling for the eye and so tempting to taste, and at the same time there is something intimidating about them because they just seem impossible to make from scratch as if there was a mystery about their fabrication. Well people, let me tell you a little secret- they are probably the easiest thing to make, ever! You just need two things: a very good quality base chocolate and the topping(s) of your choice. For instance, I experimented around with white and milk chocolate. As Christmas is soon approaching, I did one bar that contained a palette of this holiday season's colours: white, green (from the pistachios) and red (glacé cherries) and even some little gold coloured candies for a bit of spark. Another bar I personalized was a Mont Blanc inspired one: milk chocolate, bits of marrons glacés (candied chestnuts) and meringues. And these are just two examples amongst the infinite possibilities you can try out in your own very kitchen. To find out how, scroll down to the end of this post!
Above: the base ingredients that constitute my Christmas and Mont Blanc themed chocolat bars. Below: the chocolat bars are ready!

Personalized Chocolate Bars:

You will need:

A high quality base chocolate- dark, milk or white
Ingredients of your choice. They should preferably be small in size (so if they are big, chop them!) and dry.

Have your mise en place ready: line a mould (doesnt need to be too deep, just something to "hold" your mixture) with baking paper- bottom and sides.

Then melt your chocolate in a bain-marie. Once it is fully melted, shiny and consistent in texture, mix in your selected ingredients. Pour this mixture into your mould, and if you wish, sprinkle on top some of the chosen ingredients for a greater visual effect. Let cool in fridge for at least 1 hour, and the rest is up to you- devour it, share it, wrap it and offer as a gift, propose with a coffee alongside other "mignardises"...

But most of all- be creative! Add nuts, dried fruits, cereals, cookies, candies, M&Ms, Oreos, caramels, pate de fruits, marzipan...whatever your inner Willy Wonka is in the mood for! You can even mix two different chocolates together! If you do try this recipe out, I would certainly be curious to know what you experimented around with, so please, drop me a message and DO share your chocolatey results!



Nov 16, 2008


People- I am starting to get into this culinary Christmas-y mood now. So do not be surprised if a lot of festive images & recipes start popping up on my blog in the coming weeks :-) Anyway, having said that, it only makes sense that marrons glacés are involved in today's post. Here in France, marrons glacés are really one of the most popular sweet delicacies to have at your table during the Christmas festive season. They can be found at shops throughout the year, but as of mid-November, they take over all the shelves alongside truffles, mendiants & other winter treats.
I personally love the combination of marrons glacés, milk chocolate and a tad bit of Grand Marnier, and these little truffle lookalikes contain exactly all these ingredients. They are easy to make if you get ready made marrons glacés. But if you are feeling really courageous... you can make them from scratch! ;-)Recipe for Marrons Glacés Grand Marnier Chocolate delights:

Marrons glacés
Milk chocolate melted in liquid cream (as for a ganache)
Grand marnier

Inside your milk chocolate ganache preparation, add your desired quantity of Grand Marnier. Adjust the quantity according to your personal taste. Roll each marrons glacés in the ganache mixture. Place in fridge for about 30 mins, and roll again in ganache. Place in fridge once again for about 15 minutes, and then roll each ball into the cocoa. They will need to rest in the fridge for a good hour before being consumed. Enjoy!

Nov 14, 2008


Yes, something has indeed changed! My blog has gone through some sort of revamp - makeover - newlook - whatever you want to call it really! I just felt it was time to give it a new face, and also a new name: SCRUMPTIOUS. I've always loved that word- something about the way it's pronounced and the images that go through my head when I hear somone (or myself) saying it. What's more: I've tried to associate my blog's new name with a hopefully powerful visual identity- a pair of luscious raspberry lips that I had photographed a while back. So voila my friends, this is the new face of my blog and I hope you like it. Any comments and critiques are of course more then welcome :-) Finally note that I've kept the same address as to not create any confusion.
Last but not least, I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you who pass by and check out my blog, for those who comment in silence and those who take the time to leave a few words. It all means a lot to me as in a certain way it fuels my passion for the culinary arts and my never ending love to everything delicious in this world.



Nov 12, 2008


Despite my love for everything sweet (I am an extreme sweet-tooth!) , in the recent years I have really tried to become healthier, and when I am cooking or baking, I try to watch out what is going into the pots, pans, moulds or dishes. Now taking a healthy approach doesn't always work with some recipes because it can alter the textures or flavours- but when it doesn't, I always believe that it is best to go with the healthier option. And so all this talk leads me into introducing a healthy apple cake I came up with the other day. We happened to have a huge basket of apples in the kitchen and as I am really not a big fan of raw apples, I decided to use them in a cake. After a quick brainstorming session and while looking out from the window into the clearly approaching winter season, I decided to cook up something that would omit all the typical culprits- egg yolks, butter, white sugar & Co. Let's take a look at some of the good-for-you ingredients I've included:

Apples (duh)- and we all know how healthy apples are ("an apple a day keeps the doctor away")

Almonds (tons of it) which can help to fight off cholesterol, promotes cardiovascular health, excellent for smooth & supple skin, an infinite list of benefits...

Egg whites only - hello proteins, goodbye cholesterol
Ginseng honey- for better stamina and vitality, and better resistance to stress. Real brain food here!

This recipe that I will share with you is full of goodness that it may possibly help you fight off the chilly winter season and protect your immunity system! (ok, maybe that last bit was a slight exxageration). It's not the prettiest cake to look at, but it turned out to be amazingly delicious with a melt-in-your mouth almondy texture, and a scent composed of a swirl of baked apples, honey & almonds...mmmm... Let me tell you one thing- if I had kids (which I don't), I think I'd be making them these cakes for a yummy but healthy treat. Enjoy the recipe, at the end of this post!

Recipe for a Healthy Apple Cake:

*Ingredients based on a 20cm cake mould:

2 egg whites
40gr vegetable oil
3 tablespoons ginseng honey
40gr natural brown sugar (Muscovado, Demerera, etc)
20ml almond essence
100gr ground almonds
30gr whole wheat flour
2 big apples- sliced
Natural brown sugar

Preheat oven to th4/180C/350F. In a bowl, whisk the egg whites (as for a meringue). In another bowl, mix the vegetable oil, ginseng honey, brown sugar and almond essence. Then gently incorporate the egg whites into this mixture. Finish by adding the ground almonds and whole wheat flour, mix. In a seperate bowl, mix the apple slices with some brown sugar. Grease & flour the sides of a cake mould and line the bottom of the mould with parchment paper. Start by placing the apple slices (mixed with the sugar) on the bottom. Then follow with the cake batter. Bake for 40 mins (you can check at 30 minutes, but it took me 40 minutes). Let cool, and turn cake over upside down. Enjoy!
P.S: I grinded the almonds myself, but I did not grind them ultra-finely, therefore leaving in some crunchy bits. Personally, I prefer keeping in some crunchiness (say 10-20% of total almonds remained crunchy) as the contrast with the moist base and baked apples turned out to be lovely.

Nov 4, 2008


There has been a lot of chocolate on my blog lately, right? Well, I must be going through a chocolate phase and it might also be a seasonal thing as I tend to prefer chocolate based desserts when the weather is chilly. Nothing like some nice chocolate to brighten up a cold winter day! This time however I took a break from the truffle factory I had been running in my kitchen to a most rich, moist yet basic (but heavenly) chocolate cake that I jazzed up with some Middle Eastern influences: cardamom, dates and sesame seeds. I felt that the cardamom gave some depth to the overall flavour, and the dates (which are so underestimated in my opinion- there see to be so many date haters out there!) add a nice chewy fruity texture. The sesame seeds then add a bit of crunch and a toasty scent to each bite. Overall, there is a really nice mixture of flavours, but to be enjoyed in moderation (if you can resist)- this is a very rich and heavy cake!
A pattern in the cake batter (above). Adding the dates to the batter (below)
The first cut...and the heavenly scent of cardamom infuses in the kitchen...
Recipe for Chocolate, Cardamom, Date & Sesame Cake:
100gr chocolate
40gr butter
3 eggs- seperate the yolks & whites
50gr sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
A handful of dates, seeds removed, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla essence or 1 vanilla pod
30gr flour
For the chocolate coating:
50gr dark chocolate + 25gr liquid cream
Sesame seeds

*Ingredients for approx 20cm/8inch diameter cake mould.

Preheat oven to th4/180C/350F. Melt the chocolate & butter together, mix well to obtain a shiny and smooth texture. In a bowl, whisk your egg whites until firm. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks with the sugar, cardamom and vanilla. Add the flour, mix well. Add the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and mix slowly. Then add the melted chocolate mixture, stir gently. Finally throw in the chopped dates and mix the batter gently one last time. Transfer batter to greased & floured cake mould and bake in oven for 40 mins. When the cake is ready, remove from oven and let cool. In the meantime, you can start preparing the coating. For the ganache, heat the liquid cream in a pot, then turn off heat, add dark chocolate, cover and leave for 5 mins. Remove cover, stir will until shiny and smooth. In a pan (no oil or butter needed here), toast the sesame seeds by placing on heat and keeping a close eye as to not burn them. You just want to get them into a nice golden colour and achieve a toasty smell. Coat cake with ganache and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.