Tag Archives: cooking

In the search of the perfect cuban sandwich

It was one of these Sundays in Adelaide, when the  cold wind of winter bites your face and the rain just won’t stop . Latin music playing on the car radio, the crispy air seeping through the windows. It was the perfect day to enjoy some comforting and joyful food and it does not get better than a legendary tasty cuban sandwich.

Basically, a Cuban sandwich (also called a cubano) is a variation of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and baguette. Biting in a cubano, it s not just like biting in any regular ham cheese sandwich…  it’s taking a slice of vacations because once the flavours melt on your palate you can feel the sun, the warm atsmosphere, the music, the colours, the people…

This is how on a rainy and cold Sunday, I ended at Henley Beach in a little restaurant called Hermanos Cubanos. Don’t be fool by the size of the place, it may look tiny but wow oh wow the food is absolutely amazing. I must say I experienced one of the most amazing sandwiches I had in a long time. Imagine the delectable savory roasted pork marinated in garlic, orange and lime juice, the dill pickles tingling your tongue and the mustard magnifying all the flavours. All in all a good hearty sandwich with punchy  flavours where every bite is absolutely pure bliss.

One bite and you’re hooked! 😉

But maybe the best way to fully enjoy this moment is to start by watching this feel good movie called CHEF, if you want to know,  a culinary masterpiece for the eyes where foodtrucks and savoury cubanos are legends! After this, there is no way you can resist going to Hermanos Cubanos for the real deal or if you are feeling adventurous and want to awaken the chef vibes in you,  challenge yourself by cooking your very own cuban sandwich for the perfect tasty Sunday afternoon treat! And why not, if you feel like it, come and share with me your experience by commenting!

 

Hermanos Cubanos
257 Seaview Road
Henley Beach SA
08 8235 9990

Let’s go crabbing!!!!

What could be better than sitting on the Semaphore jetty, catching crabs, drinking beers and having fun with a bunch of good friends?! That’s called a perfect Aussie summer day 😉

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Let’s go to the jetty!

Last Friday, Kim (Vietnam) came up with the perfect and most original idea: “Let’s go crabbing at sunset”, she said! It is something that none of us have experienced before. We thought, yes sure, why not, let’s give it a try! Jessica (Mexico) believes that each week we should do something totally new in order to embrace our new Australian lifestyle and make some good memories.

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Sometimes it feels like your own private desert island!

I must confess I was a bit confused about the technique and was picturing myself running on Semaphore beach, lifting (small) rocks and chasing (or being chased) by crabs and running even faster should this happen to me! I thought, yes well, worst case scenario I would enjoy the beach and maybe even an ice cream.

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Catch me if you can 😉

But actually, I was wrong, crabbing is easier than I thought, all you need is a jetty, a bucket to hold your catch, a fishing basket with line and a little bait to attract crabs such as fish heads… mmm I know yummy! Like fishing, it requires some patience, so the best way to make the time flying by is to enjoy this activity with some crazy and lively friends!

So lucky to be surrounded by my international friends!

Our friend Kim (Vietnam) was the best instructor ever. She gave us many instructions how to throw the fishing basket far far away. You need to keep if flat and be careful with the strings attached to it because you don’t want to end in the sea with it eaten by the crabs. Three, two, one, GO and fly away!

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Thank god, I have been working out lately and it shows!

We were pretty successful and we managed to catch something like 12 crabs. Actually we caught more but we had to release the little ones. Everybody was super happy and Peggy’s kids (Taiwan) were so proud and they had so much fun. It is definitely a good idea for a family/friends activity.

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Summer time can be so hot in Australia, sometimes the temperature is so high that sleeping at night becomes nearly impossible despite a good air con. Some people prefer instead to spend the evening until late at night on the jetty crabbing. There is a cold breeze coming from the sea and as the sun is disappearing the temperature is dropping. Actually I recommend to bring sweaters, socks, trainers as it can get pretty cold on the jetty… As it was a first time, many of us did the mistake to come in their beach gears, not the best idea especially at sun set, it was “freezing”!

We spent a really good time together and stayed at Semaphore beach from 6pm to 10pm. We also had like a little picnic there because the sea, the air, the activity make you very hungry! Kim was thrilled, I must say some crabs were HUGE and Liliana tried to make me pause with a crab on a picture but I was a bit scared (she is a naughty girl haha). All in all it felt like being on holidays somewhere else. Sometimes you don’t need a lot of money or being in fancy hotels to enjoy life, simple things can actually feel even better. Best Friday, since a long time, I really enjoyed it ❤

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But the fun did not stop there. Crabbing is something and eating crabs is something else! And the party went on at Kim’s house. She invited us in her beautiful home and taught us how to cook the crabs. She also made some delicious sauce to go with. It was fun, because we learnt how to eat a crab, breaking it in small pieces and sucking the flesh out of it… does it sound like a zombie/vampire thing?! I must say it was delicious and we all enjoyed it very much and we can’t wait to go again crabbing!

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I would have never imagined that eating crabs  that I caught could be so much fun!

These moments make me realise how important it is when you are abroad to be surrounded by amazing and generous people that you can call friends. They will make you smile, welcome you in their home and share some part of their culture with you. This is the beauty of living overseas, getting to know new people, bonding with them, discovering new places, opening your heart to new experiences and so much more. The more you are discovering about what is surrounding you, the more you are learning about you ❤

Who could have imagined that crabbing could be so deep 😉

 

Good morning Vietnam!

At the moment, it seems that I have a thing for vietnamese food and I can’t get enough of it. When you think of it, it is not that surprising, Vietnamese and French cuisine have history.

It all started in the 17th century with the arrival of Catholic missionaries in Vietnam. But it did not stop there, then France colonized Vietnam and Cambodia forming the Indochinese Union in 1887 which was the start of the French influence in Vietnam for the next 70 years to come! So naturally when you stay that long in a country, you leave pieces of yourself in several ways: be it architecture, culture, words, names and of course cuisine. I find it fascinating to discover (and taste) the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine (the tasty baguette sandwich called Bahn Mi is one of them). For sure it is different comparing to what I am used to in my home country, and sometimes it is hard to make the link between the two countries but there is something magic about all these flavorful dishes and I can’t help being attracted to them (maybe it is in my DNA).

For those who know me well, I often go to Central Market in China Town. Most of the times to buy herbs or lemon because the quality and the price is much better than what you would get in the supermarkets and also the atmosphere is really nice and friendly.

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In the mood for vietnamese food 🙂

Last time, I went there, I remember it was a beautiful day and as I was feeling a bit hungry I thought I should pass by Little NNQ and see if it was not too crowded. This is a vietnamese restaurant and it is quite popular so it can be tricky to get a good seat sometimes. This place has been recommended to me by John’s vietnamese friend, his name is Phong and lives in Adelaide (and John is American from California who happens to know a lot of people everywhere because he has traveled and worked in so many countries). Luckily the odds were with me and there was a lovely table by the window and the friendly waiter told me I could sit here. As it was a beautiful day, the large windows were opened so it was like I was sitting at the terrasse outside watching people passing by, cars honking and for a minute imagining I was in another country, in a galaxy, far, far away…haha. As things were going well for me, I decided to continue playing my luck and I asked the waiter to choose his fav dish for me. Besides, as I felt adventurous, I opted for the Vietnamese coffee. Normally I’m not the kind of coffee drinker type (I am more into chai or matcha latte) but I’m always happy to try new things and this was the opportunity to get the true vietnamese experience… besides one coffee can’t hurt, can it ?!

My dish was a combination noodle salads. It was very colourful, tasty, crunchy and pretty healthy I believe. So I really enjoyed it and I really recommend it! But I must confess, my favourite part was definitely the Vietnamese coffee as I’ve never had this kind of experience before. By the way, I apologise I have not a lot of pictures to demonstrate the technique but I think I was so overwehlmed by this experience that I completely forgot to document it, my bad !

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Time to relax and catch up as the coffee is slowly dripping into the condensed milk!

First the coffee was served in a slow drip filter tool. So basically, the coffee was slowly dripping into the condensed milk in the glass just below it (one drop at a time, so it is a long process). The waiter explained to me that in Vietnam locals would use this time to chat and catch up with their friends while waiting for the coffee to fully drip through. Once it is finished, all you have to do is to transfer the content in a glass full of ice cubes, and enjoy your ice coffee with a straw.  So basically drip coffee is the way Vietnamese people create and enjoy conversation with their friends or relatives. I ❤ the concept, I must say and I can’t wait to renew this experience with my friends next time!

Just so you know the Vietnamese coffee has a strong taste (always Robusta, twice as strong caffeine wise, so be prepared to jump like a kangaroo after that ). Once again, it is one of the many heritage from the colonists period. The French introduced coffee to Vietnam in the 1800s, they also brought with them condensed milk as they could not get fresh milk in Vietnam and they also brought phins which is a slow drip filter that sits on top of a cup. Since that time, it has become a tradition in Vietnam to enjoy coffee this way. It is more than just coffee, it is an invitation to relax and chat.  I think that the combination of the bitter coffee beans allied with the sweetness of the condensed milk and the cool refreshing kick of the ice cubes just work perfectly! I think I have officially became a Vietnamese coffee lover ❤

So next time you are in the mood for Vietnamese food, why not go and try Little NNQ with some friends and indulge yourself with a Vietnamese coffee while chatting remaking the world. Vietnamese coffee will boost your body while relaxing your mind, call it magic or mystique, the choice is yours 😉

Little NNQ

125 Gouger Street

Adelaide SA 5000

http://www.nnq.com.au/littlennq/

I’m a blender girl in a smoothie world

Lately I became addicted to those trendy and colourful beverages called : SMOOTHIES! Not only they are delicious but they are supposed to be healthy as well : perfect combo then, I’m all in! This is the perfect excuse for me to indulge myself with some nice  and fresh fruits ❤

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Balinese Dragon Fruit Smoothie

It all started with the purchase of a magic kitchen device : Mr Blender!  Mr Blender has many qualities :

  • He is POWERFUL : he can blend anything !
  • He is CHARMING : nothing can resist him
  • He is JOYFUL : with his little yellow hat on
  • He is EASY GOING : dishwasher safe, space saver

And this is the part where I started to buy and blend many fresh fruits but also frozen ones to make refreshing smoothie bowls. I also started to be more and more interested in green juices and I purchased Kale, spinach, cucumber etc… I tried many combinations, but I have a sweet tooth so I must confess that I am more a fruity girl than a veggie one!

I think it is a good way to start the day with a smile on your face. Besides I like to have a bit of fun with my smoothie bowls topping them with superaliments and cool stuffs such as : chia seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, grated coconut, goji, almond milk etc… I am having also fun decorating them with layers so it looks like a landscape. I think it is worth it spending a couple of minutes on the decoration because you eat also with your eyes, don’t you?

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My Zen Smoothie Bowl

 Anyway, I am quite happy about all my creations. I like the texture and I like the colour, my favourite being anything involving blueberries, strawberries and vanilla soy or coconut milk! I have also a sweet spot for banana, milk and safran (or matcha) shake. It is easy to find on internet many recipes ideas but generally I prefer to follow my intuitions and what I have actually in my fridge and kitchen cupboard.  You can’t go wrong with smoothies so let your imagination lead!

So next time, you are looking for ideas to brighten your breakfast, have a colourful smoothie bowl : it will cheer you up for the rest of the day 🙂

Chez John

“Breakfast is my speciality. I admit it is the easiest meal to cook, but I make everything with a twist!” – Hugh Jackman

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Chez John : the best American Breakfast in town

Breakfast is my favourite meal during the weekend and luckily Adelaide offers a wide range of nice places where to enjoy the most important meal of the day ❤

I tried many places since I arrived in Adelaide but the restaurants that have, in my opinion, the best breakie in town are: East Terrace Continental, The Royal Oak, The Findi and the Original Pancake kitchen!

But as my grandmother would say, nothing beats an homemade meal and breakfast is no exception! I must say, when it comes to breakfast, my friend John (from California) masters the art and I am a huge fan of his American breakfast! You would think that as a French person, I stick to cocoa, baguette, butter, jam, croissant and pain au chocolat but I must admit that since I moved abroad I changed my breakfasts’ habits. Now I really appreciate a nourishing and salty breakie to kick the day!

John’s American breakfast is the BEST and even the restaurants can’t beat the quality of his cuisine. Generally he makes: scrambled eggs, homemade baked beans with a twist, rosemary potatoes, portobello mushrooms, grilled/garlic tomatoes, crunchy bacons and toasts! Breakfast is served with a lovely English breakfast tea with some milk and sugar. It is absolutely divine and I really adore it! It smells so good and I like the colours and the texture, it is absolutely fantastic. Pictures don’t do justice to it so you will have to take my word for it!

You can always look on the internet and try to find “chez John” to taste his amazing American breakfast but I am afraid it is a very exclusive address and if you want to get invited, you will have to become friends first and move to California 😉

That sushi is a diva!

If you happen to be a foodie of great diversity like me, you should definitely join our English cooking class at the North Adelaide Community Centre!

There is always something nice to taste, a new flavour to discover or a new technique to master while learning English!

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Marjorie (from Colombia) mastering the sushi art

Today was a very special day because there was the famous South Australian Life magazine covering our international cuisine event! Actually they wanted our dishes to appear in their food and wine section…. wow… can you believe it, our dishes are making the news!!!

So we did our best to represent our countries with food we really love! I think we did a great job and we enjoyed plates from different part of the globe:

– Yosuke (from Japan) made delicious sushis for us! The tuna and the salmon came from Adelaide Central Market and it was very fresh and tasty! I think all the eyes were turned on this piece of art and we were all more than welcome to give it a try. It was not that easy and rolling a sushi is a real technique! Actually Marjorie (from Colombia) and Balbina (from Spain) were really good at it!

– Jessica (from Mexico) cooked amazing chicken tacos with a fabulous fresh guacamole: OMG it was divine! I love the colours of Mexican cuisine, it is so lively! It is like the party is already starting in  your plate before it has even reached your mouth.

– Marjorie (from Colombia) prepared some vegetable roots with cheese and tomatoes/onions sauce. Somehow the sauce reminded me of the taste of one of our traditional dish from South of France called: ratatouille.  What a lovely surprise I must say!

– Pegguy (from Taiwan) made a beautiful Taiwanese beef noodle soup, such a comforting dish! The beef was literally melting in my mouth and the flavour was absolutely lovely!

– and I (Virginie from France) cooked a “tarte au thon”. Basically it is a kind of quiche made with mustard, tuna, tomatoes, cheese and cream! It can be a starter or a main dish with a salad… depends on how hungry you are! I got the recipe from my grandmother and it is always a hit when I make this dish. My family and friends absolutely love it, and so do I ❤

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English mixed with cooking class: a tasty concept!

As always, this class was good fund and a great success! It was a wonderful opportunity to taste some lovely dishes and bond with each other 🙂

Soupe à l’oignon au bleu d’Auvergne – Onion soup with blue cheese

“A classic and comforting recipe from the French countryside that will please your palate during winter, especially after an outdoor walk in the biting cold.”

Ingredients:

 For 4 people:

 • 400 g onions

 • 2 liters of chicken stock

 • 70 g unsalted butter

 • 150 g of Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese)

 • 4 slices of country bread

 • Salt

 • Coarse salt

 • Ground black pepper

Method:

 • Peel and chop the onions.

 • Melt the butter in a large saucepan add the onions and gently brown over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula.

 • Then add the chicken stock, seasoned with a pinch of coarse salt.

 • Stir and bring to a boil and allow to simmer about 1 hour over low heat. Stir from time to time during cooking.

 • Meanwhile mash the Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese) in a bowl with a fork until you obtain a creamy texture.

 • Lightly toast the slices of country bread and while still warm, spread the cheese on the top of them.

• Once the soup is cooked, remove half of the volume of onions with a skimmer or a slotted spoon. Let the mixture cool down and put it in the blender to obtain an onion puree.

 • Then put the onion puree back into the saucepan, mix, adjust seasoning to taste adding salt and pepper and mix well again.

Presentation: 

Serve this traditional dish in preheated soup plates. Place the toasted bread spread with bleu d’Auvergne on the side ready to be immersed in the soup.

Top tip:

A little trick to avoid ” crying ” while mincing onions: use a sharp knife! Actually a bad knife crushes the pulp of onion instead of slicing it – it spreads a fine mist of onion juice in the air followed by a river of tears!

If you can’t find Bleu d’Auvergne, you can use a local blue cheese as well, in that case choose a creamy and flavourful one.

Bon appétit 🙂

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Kellie, who is the North Adelaide Community Centre coordinator, asked me to take part to a good cause by writing a recipe from France. The idea was to create a “City Community – favourite soup recipes” book in order to raise money for the Welcome Centre of South Australia – http://www.welcometoaustralia.org.au/ – so they can replace a trailer which was recently stolen from them! The goal was to obtain a collection of recipes that reflect a little bit about our family and heritage. I really liked the initiative and I was happy I could help! I chose to translate this recipe into English because I originally come from Auvergne and I liked the idea that  “Bleu d’Auvergne” (a typical blue cheese from this region) was part of this comforting dish. My favourites French cheese are: Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert (another blue cheese), Cantal, Saint-Nectaire, Salers and Gaperon – all made in Auvergne haha! Luckily some of them can be found at the Adelaide Central Market which is good when I am missing French cheese.

On the rocky road again

Easter time is all about chocolate and you would think that now you can wait until christmas for your next chockie shot… but can you really get enough of those little treats?! I really doubt it!

Luckily for me, I live in Adelaide: Haigh’s chocolates paradise! Forget about Willy Wonka’s factory because here it’s not just a story, it is the real thing! They have just celebrated their 100 years anniversary and it is too bad they did not organise a chocolate lottery for this special occasion 😦 Anyway, I am in love with their chocolates but the one that drives me literally crazy is: Milk Rocky Road! I could eat it all day and then probably cry a river because my jeans don’t fit anymore. What can I say, it is my secret weakness, I must say they are absolutely delicious! Imagine cubes of light vanilla marshmallow mixed with cherries, sultanas and almonds, tossed in chocolate. The first time I tried them was in September 2014, only a couple of days after my arrival to Australia and I still remember the flavour on my palate ❤ what a delightful surprise when you think that I am not a big fan of marshmallows! I am not sure you can find “Rocky Road” in France, well I have never heard about them before. On the contrary, it seems to be easy to find those little treats in Australia, Great Britain or America (with slightly different variations).

So if like me you are a chocolate lover and you want to know what Rocky Roads taste like, then here is an easy recipe from the famous Chef Jamie Oliver himself! In this recipe, he uses dark chocolate (healthier option) but I prefer the non diet friendly version with milk chocolate 😉

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fruit-recipes/rocky-road-kill/#owepoyEMDyxbMiaw.97

My tip: should this not be easy for you to find golden syrup in your country, I think it is ok to use substitutes such as Agave syrup, Maple syrup or molasse. Careful with the dosage since you don’t want the result to be too sweet. Please feel free to let me feedbacks in the comments section as I am curious to know how it went, if you liked it and if you have any tips to share.

Speak, cook, love

Tuesdays rhyme for me with English class and cooking! Actually there is an original free English conversation class at the North Adelaide Community Centre hosted by the talented and hilarious Malcolm. The theme of this class is: World cuisine. People from all continents attend to this joyful English class, there are no homeworks, no grades but only one rule: each participant is invited to share about his culture and his country through cooking. In my opinion it is a very interesting concept and a good way to practise English while learning about other customs and fooding. Malcolm puts everybody at ease, he is a very encouraging teacher and he has a lot of humour so everybody, even beginners, has an opportunity to speak! There are very interesting stories to hear about and it is like traveling the world! So many foreign countries are represented: China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Spain, Iran, France, Italy, Croatia, Chili, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela… it is wonderful to be surrounded by all these different accents and good vibes. I have met really amazing friends thanks to this class and it has made a huge difference in my experience here for sure!

IMG_1153Once a month or so, thanks to Malcolm and our amazing coordinator Kellie our English class takes place in the community centre kitchen. We cook all together traditional dishes from our respective countries but also sometimes Australian meal (like Anzac biscuits) and learn about the story behind. Malcolm says that it is a good exercice for us to put our English into context with real life practice: reading recipes in English, understanding the vocabulary, solving problems together, connecting with each other, joining forces… The results is always incredible, so many different ingredients, colours and flavours: the world in a plate! We have a lot of fun as you can see by yourself in the following short video. If you start watching at 1:14, you will see our teacher Malcolm being interviewed about this wonderful class and if you pay attention you will see me as well with my friends at the North Adelaide Community Centre kitchen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip0LqXRDRpg

 

IMG_0469But the fun does not stop here, because after the cooking we can taste all these lovely dishes and share with the community centre guests. Again it is another opportunity to meet locals, mingle, express our opinions and please our palate with worldwide food. I am glad we have also the opportunity to taste Australian traditional dishes: pavlova, lamington, anzac biscuits… because we don’t have those in our countries and the point is to learn more about Australian culture because this is where our ❤ is at the moment. So come and join us at the North Adelaide Community Centre, you will love cooking and speaking English for sure!

North Adelaide Community Centre

176 Tynte Street

North Adelaide SA 5006

Tel :(08) 8203 7990

You should drink more water!

“No water, no life. No blue, no green” – Sylvia Earle

Forget about make-up, beauty creams, vitamins, miracle pills, fancy clothes, jewels to make you beautiful… because a girl’s best friend is closer that you think, it is actually: WATER!

Water has many virtues: it helps to digest, to regulate body temperature, to help with weight loss, to feel full of energy, to have a clearer skin, to stay fresh, to prevent headache, to beat colds, to think clearer! With all these benefits it should definitely be part of your beauty routine ❤

We are supposed to drink around 2-3 litres a day… which seems like a lot! But you can make it fun by adding cucumbers, lemons or fruits in your glass of water, to spice up things so it does not get boring! Here is a lovely article with 20 cool recipes and amazing pictures that will make you fall in love with your glass of water!  http://www.diyncrafts.com/7075/health/20-delicious-detox-waters-cleanse-body-burn-fat

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Water spiced up with mint, orange, lemon and cinnamon!

I personally adore tea so it is another disguised way to hydrate your body and feel splendid! My favorite time being in the afternoon while blogging and enjoying an homemade iced tea or a warm and comforting cup of my favorite blend.

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Delicious mint and lemon iced tea at “E for Ethel” cafe

You can also make it trendy and healthy at home! In Adelaide we are lucky to live near Mount Lofty and its natural springs. You can enjoy pure and refreshing water for a really decent price and it is always nice to buy local! It is non polluted,  it is natural, high quality and it tastes good! Here is my tip: buy a 10 liter Mount Lofty water pack (easy to find at Coles supermarket), it is convenient, cheaper and environment friendly! Then buy a beautiful bottle: I went for “Voss”, they have really stylish glass bottles but their water is so expensive because it comes from Norway springs! So now what I do, I fill my trendy “Voss” bottle with my “Mount Lofty natural spring water“,  I place it in the fridge and I have always fresh and  pure water to offer. I must say the bottle looks pretty cool on my table which is always a PLUS to feel good about yourself or when you have guests!

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10 litres pack of natural spring water
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Stylish Voss bottle

 

 

 

 

 

And now a funny story: I am going to reveal a little secret about Mount Lofty 10 litres pack that only Australian people know because they were born with it I assume. It seems that foreigners don’t know how to make the water flow from the box… My friend Nasim (from Iran) and I (from France) made exactly the same mistake, turning the plastic button from right to left and the other way around… we turned every part of it but nothing happened, not a single drop of water. One day Nasim’s neighbor (from Oz) paid a visit to her and Nasim asked her if she knew how to use the water pack! Her neighbor smiled and said, “Oh, it is easy, there is a little trick to know” and she showed her! Then it happened the same thing to me and I spotted that Nasim had a Mount Lofty water pack at home too, so I asked her to show me how to use it and she said, “it is easy, there is a little trick”… when thinking of it I feel stupid now haha… don’t turn the plastic bit, it won’t do anything! For god’s sake it is not a French wine barrel with a small pourer to turn on and off! So the technique is to lift the small plastic bit up or down like if you were switching a light on or off and the miracle will happen, you will have your own fountain of water springing in your home ❤ magic!