Tag Archives: Celebration

This is a frogs’ world…

Who would have guessed that South Australia’s most iconic cake is actually a “frog cake”? When you think about Australia, you think about a koala, a kangaroo, a platypus… but a frog?!

But it is true and it is a popular cake which was created in 1922 by the famous Balfours Bakery and they became the mascot of this institution. It is said that the creator found his inspiration after traveling to France!!! I am not showing off… I am just telling what I know 😉 Afterall, aren’t French people called “the frogs” or in Aussie language “the froggies”? My theory is that Mr Balfour felt in love with France and one of our iconic cute  pastry called “petit cochon” (little pig) and he thought that it would be so nice to have a cute animal shape cake in his shop that would remind him of France and French people, and tada the frog cake was born! Hey… a French girl can dream?! Anyway good on him…because like I said it was a  huge success. In 2001, the frog cake was listed as a state heritage icon of South Australia… so you’d better respect the frog!

Frog_cakesSo basically a frog cake is is a very sweet dessert with the shape of a frog’s head with its mouth opened.  The texture is pretty smooth: it is a  sponge base with cream and covered with thick layer of fondant icing. Originally you could only find those in green colour (most popular choice) but with the success they also created a pink and a brown frog! I think they look adorable and they must be lovely for tea time, they add colour to the table and give a kind of Alice in wonderland style!

IMG_0911A lovely exhibition took place recently in Adelaide to celebrate this iconic South Australian dessert! One hundred artists and institutions (School, hospital staffs etc) were given a ceramic Frog cake (3 times the size of a normal cake).  They were asked to imagine their own frog cake for this special event raising funds for mental health. What a lovely and inspiring idea I must say… 

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When I heard about this exhibition, my curiosity was challenged and I had to go. First because I have seen those unusual cakes a couple of months ago but never imagined it was part of SA culture. Secondly I loved the idea that they turned this classic cake that seems to be quite ordinary as birthdays treat into something creative, original and extraordinary! 

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My friend Nasim (from Iran) was happy to join me in this adventure! We are the same we like to discover more about our new culture! Futhermore, she loves art so it was really interesting to visit this gallery together and share our opinions.

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The ceramic frogs were nicely decorated, it was very creative since each artist gave its own vision. We saw great pieces and we actually spent a lot of time gazing at each one and trying to understand the point of view of the artist.

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We particularly both enjoyed Emma Hack’s work (she is a famous for her body painting and owns an art gallery in North Adelaide), her ceramic frog was the expression of beautiful mother nature.

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Emma Hack’s flowery frog

I also liked Sophia Nuske’s frog and the Women’s and Children’s hospital’s decorated frog. There were many beautiful smily frogs and  I wish I could get one for my home!

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I have really enjoyed this exhibition and I thought it was a beautiful way to honor and celebrate this South Australian heritage. Nearly all the cute frogs were sold to help a good cause!

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It seems that South Australians still have a sweet spot in their heart for this unusual but classic little froggie cake ❤

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Adelaide Convention Center painted on a singing frog

Sadly the exhibition in Light Square Gallery is already over but if you have missed your chance, you can always cheer you up by biting into this typical South Australian cake… and what a better place than the iconic Balfours Bakery!  For those who are not into frogs they also offer an amazing range of pies that must be delicious! As for me, it should not be an issue, since French people have the reputation to eat frogs legs and to LOVE it… so this sweet version should be a… piece of cake for me haha!

Balfours Bakery – baking since 1853

91 Exeter Tce

Dudley Park, SA 5008

Tel. 08 8368 5305

http://www.balfours.com.au

Adelaide Writers’ week

No wonder March is Adelaideans’ favorite month. There are so many shows running at the moment. It is such a lovely time of the year and a beautiful way to say goodbye to summer!  The offer is massive and the hardest part is to choose because you want to see everything! Actually, I wish I could party everyday… but as a “working/student”  I must save money so I have to restrain myself. Hopefully there are many free events and that is what I love about Adelaide, they do their best to please every taste and  every budget!

Each year, Adelaide hosts the “writers’ week”: a  unique free event! This is an absolutely charming festival celebrating an important art form: WRITING. The writers’  week offers the opportunity to meet national and international authors, to hear about their books and to share their visions. http://www.adelaidefestival.com.au/2015/writers_week/adelaide_writers_week

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It is an outdoor event taking place in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden. The park is beautiful with the garden roses and the palm trees. It is a very relaxed atmosphere, very casual… I like the way they keep it “simple” and intimate. It makes it even more special and appropriate to share a true passion between writers and readers.

My friend Nasim (from Iran) and I decided to go to the Writers’ week on Thursday 05 March afternoon and we listened to Esther Freud talking about her book Mr Mac and Me set at the onset of the First World War. Esther is a  British novelist and actress. Her family is famous: she is the daughter of painter Lucian Freud and great grand-daughter of Sigmund Freud! It was really interesting to listen to her talking about her book, the war and the little village where the story takes place. It was a little bit hard for me to understand as we were sitting in the back so I had to real focus on the words. I must say the Q&A session was really good and it was also interesting to hear about the author’s personal life as she had quite an original childhood. As a child when she would visit her father’s studio, she was so used to see nudes paintings, it was very natural for her and part of her life. So when she was 16 and he asked her if she would mind sit for him, she immediately accepted and took her clothes off. Actually she said that posing naked for her father was much easier than taking her clothes off in front of a lover – which made the audience laugh! I hope it does not sound like the typical French cliché that the only part I got clearly is this episode  😉 haha…  Actually I recall seing Esther’s nude painting at the Tate Modern when I was living and working in London and I am glad I could hear the true story behind this piece of art as I felt a little bit uncomfortable at the museum.

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My favorite presentation was from the author Favel Parrett “When the night comes. She is such  a lovely and interesting person! Basically, her story explores the relationship between two different characters who left their mainland to seek for a better life. Isla is a isolated young girl who lives in Tasmanian and Bo is a Danish sailor on his way to Antarctica. Bo enjoys sharing his fascinating stories about the life on board of the Nella Dan ship that transports people and cargo between Australia and the Antarctic research station. The power of the story lies on the amazing description of the journeys and the detailed life on board which will make you travel with the characters. All inspired by the author’s own experience during her Australian Antarctic Arts fellowship used as research for her novel! http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2012/fellowship-to-tell-the-story-of-longest-serving-antarctic-ship

The Q&A session was also very interesting since the author explained how hard it was to let the characters go when the book was finished. She spent 2 years writing this novel and it was like Isla and Bo were part of her life. She also explained why she chose this title since people were surprised because when you think about Antarctica you think about light, ice, white snow, sun (by the way leave me a comment once you have read the book and I will reveal you why she picked this title). She also told us how hard it is for her to come up with a title as she changes her mind quite often. She also insisted on the fact that it is useful to have a good editor to walk you through and to say “ok, now it is done, stop” since she could have kept on doing more and more researches and re-write again and again about her story and her characters. She added she would be thrilled to work again on a ship like she did a couple of years ago because it is just you and the immensity of the sea balanced with the confined life on the boat that becomes your home and your family! It must be an incredible experience… Anyway, I have really enjoyed her presentation and I will definitely read her book!

Actually it is quite funny because I happened to have a conversation about Antarctica 10 days ago with an old friend of mine…  Life is funny sometimes, don’t you think?!  So my friend John (from California) told me that he would love to take a trip to Antarctica and he is meaning it! I was like “well, good for you” but maybe I should be more enthusiastic about it too since I have never been that “closed” from Antarctica! I must say I was feeling a little bit skeptical… probably because I have never considered this destination before, why would I!? It sounds like a cold no man’s land to me… but now after hearing about this lovely book and story I am willing to give it a go, I have totally changed my mind about it. It sounds like an expedition, an exciting and unique adventure!!!

Adelaide Zoo - 063This is what I like about books, it touches your heart and gives you new perspectives. Writing is about creating, communicating, expressing and connecting with the world… I can’t see better events than Adelaide Writers’ week to celebrate this overwhelming feeling! All in all a fantastic journey where imagination and creation have no limits!

Let’s get crazy: it is mad March!

There is a lot going on at the moment in our city! Adelaide is a hive of activity: streets and parks are lively, full of music and new faces. The iconic Fringe Festival is in town!

Every year, Adelaide becomes the capital of Arts by hosting many quality events featuring: Opera, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cabaret, Literature and Visual Art. The festival is considered to be one of the world’s major celebrations of the arts and cultural events in Australia. Have a look at the program, it is quite impressive:  http://www.adelaidefestival.com.au

The city has so much to offer! No wonder there are so many tourists at the moment visiting Adelaide to enjoy the entertaining shows. This year the festival’s theme is: Experience something new! Since it is my first year in Australia, I can totally relate to that. I mean everything is a new experience for me here and I love it ❤

I personally took part to the Writers’ week and I am planning to go to the French films festival too! Some friends invited me to the garden of unearthly delights in Elder park with a bunch of colleagues. First time they mentioned it I thought I heard “the garden of unhealthy delights” haha. It was really nice: good food (Aussies barbies = Australians’barbecues) and music in a very casual and friendly atmosphere! The perfect place to relax after work:  http://www.gardenofunearthlydelights.com.au

We have a long weekend coming since Monday is a bank holiday in Australia and everybody is talking about: WOMAD (World of Music Art and Dance)! It is a very popular festival with 400 artists from all other the globe making Adelaide dance in the glorious Botanical Garden. I have heard that artists such as: Buena Vista Social Club, Sinead O’Connor, Youssou N’Dour, Neneh Cherry… will be here 😉 It is still time to buy a ticket as I heard that there might be discounts on Monday:  https://www.womadelaide.com.au

Speaking of  Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry, do you remember their beautiful song “7 seconds”?  It was a hit in France in 1994 and I was a teenager…  If you pay attention, you will notice that a part of the lyrics are in French https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqCpjFMvz-k

So it seems, in March in Adelaide, there is no time to rest! The more you are outside enjoying the variety of events in the CBD, in the parks and by the Torrens river… the better!

DSC_0221 This is why  I believe it is called “Mad March” because each day is a party that you have to join in!

Pavlova, the ballet dessert!

Pavlova seems to be a dessert the australians enjoy during summer time… A lot of people around me (natives essentially) have mentioned it many times saying that they had this dessert for christmas… I was really curious about it and I was wondering what it looks like, what it tastes like, what it feels like… Is it good? refreshing? Sweet?

Today, for the first time since I arrived in Australia, I had the chance to taste this popular dessert! Colleen our English teacher cooked one for us. I was thrilled to get to know more about my new country and its cuisine!

Actually Pavlova is a meringue cake, it has a crisp crust on the outside and it is soft like a cloud in the inside. It is topped with whipped cream and fruits such as strawberries, berries… Colleen has put bananas inside to add a special taste. She told to our class that it was quite easy to cook! I think the hardest part is to get the meringue right. You can buy ready made meringue but I think it does not feel the same.

This dessert is a traditional and festive dish that australians enjoy a lot. It is believed to have been created in honor of the beautiful and famous Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova when she visited Australia. The texture and the white colour is supposed to remind you of a beautiful and elegant ballet tutu. Poetic isn’t it?

It tasted very sweet and each bites were litterary melting in my mouth. I really liked it and I hope I will have other opportunities to savour this typical Aussie dessert 🙂

As for those who are not living in Australia and curious to taste a Pavlova, here is a recipe that will make you want to practise your arabesque!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/the-best-pavlova/

Bali : The island of the gods…

Bali is not just a beautiful trip, it’s a cultural and spiritual journey that needs to be experienced in order to be fully appreciated… Actually, it all started 2 years ago when I have read this famous book called « Eat, pray. Love » based on a true story of a woman who lived 6 months in Italy, then 6 months in India and then 6 months in Bali. Her wonderful story inspired me and I was curious to know more about this country since I have never been there before. So I felt very lucky to spend my christmas time in Bali!

I have really enjoyed this country, its amazing temple, its wonderful colours, its delicious cuisine but above all its friendly people. It is impressive how balinese people are generous, lovely and cheerful… somehow you always end up with a big smile on your face when you are around them. Thanks to Airbnb I managed to find a beautiful villa with a nice swiming pool near canggu’s beach. Each day, I would get up early, do a 1 hour yoga session on the garden rooftop facing the sea, have a swim, enjoy an awesome breakfast prepared by Ketut (I ate the best bananas pancakes ever), then I would go surfing in the afternoon or visit a famous place, the evening I would enjoy a nice dinner on the beach or at the villa. Time went by so quickly… I have visited many places such as Ubud (known as the capital city of art), the monkeys forest, the water temple, the rice paddies… everything was absolutely gorgeous…

While in Bali, I had the chance to experience two important ceremonies called : Galungan and Kuningan

« Galungan marks the beginning of the most important recurring religious ceremonies. The spirits of deceased relatives who have died and been cremated return to visit their former homes, and the current inhabitants have a responsibility to be hospitable through prayers and offerings. The most obvious sign of the celebrations are the penjor – bamboo poles with offerings suspended at the end. These are installed by the side of roads. On the other hand, he Kuningan ceremony in Bali traces its name to the special offerings of Yellow Rice, or ‘nasi kuning. These are offered to the ancestors and Gods, to appease them and keep them happy. The Kuningan in Bali is a time when the spirits of decease people return to earth and the whole family comes together and prays to their ancestors and the Gods to keep them happy and to bless them. » (source Wikipedia)

In my opinion it was a humble and peaceful experience which I am glad I could be part of. Balinese people are very spiritual people and it felt really good to pray with them and for the peace of their ancestors.

I am grateful I can travel and learn about different cultures. I am always amazed by what I discover…Once the Dalai Lama said : «As often as possible, go someplace you’ve never been before. Experience new places and new things. You might find yourself with someone or somewhere that makes you much happier than your previous circumstance. The Earth is so vast with unique and beautiful places, why wouldn’t you want to go explore them? » …

What about you ? Which country are you going to visit this year ?

Happy new year 2015!!!

I wish you all joy, happiness, health, luck, success and above all LOVE for this coming new year hoping that your dreams will come true, your projects will come to life and your efforts will be rewarded! I like to believe that amazing things are on their way and it is just a question of time before we experience them !

I wanted to write something inspiring for the new year but it is not that easy… so I have been thinking and looking at old pictures hoping to find some ideas… Somehow I happened to find my graduation pictures (Master degree in Marketing – Business school and University of Strasbourg) and while looking at these pics, it suddenly hit me!

I thought that instead trying to write something that might be naive or dull and probably useless, I would instead share with you a powerful and inspiring speech which was pronounced by Steve Jobs actually during a graduation ceremony! This text called « Linking the dots » is pretty famous but still so true, full of meaning and so appropriate. It is the perfect message for those who are looking for directions and for answers. I thought it could be a beautiful way to start this brand new year full of promises and hopes!

One last thing, I want to say: Believe in yourself and your destiny, trust your judgement, follow your dreams, never give up (especially with your English for those like me still learning it lol), be passionate, take risks, work hard, allow yourself to make mistakes, be patient… Don’t let the others define you and don’t allow them to decide for you! You are the only one having the key of your kingdom! Sometimes it won’t be easy, there will be obstacles and moments of doubts but stay focus, be strong and you will overcome all the difficulties, making you a stronger and a better person and amazing things will happen to you because life can be (also) beaufiful if you give it a try with all of your heart and your guts!

Enjoy the reading: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html and as Steve Jobs would say: « Stay hungry! Stay foolish!»

and have a wonderful year 2015!
xoxo
Graduation Party
It is me on the front row, black dress, red shoes and red belt: CONGRATS!!!

Do you hear christmas coming?

It is in the air, it is in the streets, it is in our houses, it is in our minds and our spirits…

It is a little song playing in your head, it is red and green all other the place, it is all about glitter and shiny stuffs, lovely food, many presents and probably too many chocolates… or not 😉
Christmas is all around us and it is a nice way to celebrate and conclude year 2014. Some of us will be with their families and friends, some will be traveling, some will be relaxing…

Whatever your agenda is, I wish you a wonderful christmas and a happy time!

SMILE – LAUGH – ENJOY