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Sunday, March 25, 2007
foodbeam has moved!

After a little more than a year and a half it was time for foodbeam to have its own domain.
From now, new posts will be published on

Please update your links and bookmarks!

You'll see that the new design is very... different; but the content remains the same (though i still have to upload pictures for old posts).

Hope to see you at

PS. to answer some emails i've received: yes, the comments have been closed here. I thought it would be more convenient.

- fanny


Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Une robe couleur de soleil - Sorbet au melon et au champagne

[A dress as bright as the sun - Melon and champagne sorbet]

It seems I've always been what you would call a summer lover. Forget ski bunnies; for me everything is about sun, heat, sea, sand and ice cream. Oh and I forget: sunglasses.
I am truly inspired by summer and I think it shows.

In fact I *so* love summer that I can remember every single one of them: from 1989 to now. Most of my summers were spent at my grand-parents' house on the Atlantic coast and I would have my lovely cousin as a companion de jeu.

We would build des châteaux de sables immenses [sand castles], pretend we were selling ice cream (which was indeed made of a mix of sand and sea water), make rose water (that smelled like anything but actual rose water) and eventually, we would watch Peau d'Ane over and over again.
It had to be our favourite movie. Actually we knew every single song from it. But we were, first and foremost, fascinated by Peau d'Ane's dresses.
Une robe couleur du temps [a dress the colour of the sky]
Une robe couleur de lune [a dress the colour of the moon]
Une robe couleur de soleil [a dress as bright as the sun]

We would inevitably end up arguing about which dress was the most beautiful; for me it definitely was the robe couleur du temps. Though, I also really liked the dress as bright as the sun; a tough decision for sure.

However, no matter how pleasant these recollections are, my greatest memory has to be les melons charentais [melons from Charente] that my grandmother used to take back from the market every Saturday morning.
They were juicy and sweet; actually they were exactly what you expect from a melon.

Melon and champagne sorbet
Today I'm still considering melon as a favourite because it offers endless combinations.
I think it does work really well as a sorbet; it's fragrant and the bitterness of the champagne counterbalances the sweetness of the melon.
The resulting sorbet was really smooth and not icy at all. A real keeper.

Just a short note about how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker - although using an ice cream maker is more convinient and will give better results, you can try the freeze and mix method:
"Pour the ice cream mixture into a wide freezer-proof container. Cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper to avoid ice crystals forming on the surface. Cover with a lid and place on a level surface in the coldest part of the freezer.
After between ½-1½ hours, the sides of the ice cream will be solid, and the middle will remain a wet slush. Transfer it to a bowl and whisk with an electric beater, or by hand, until uniformly thick.
You could also pulse it in a food processor. When smooth, replace it in the freezer. Repeat 3 times, every ½-1 hour, or until the ice cream is uniformly thick. Freeze for another hour." (adapted from Waitrose)

Melon and champagne sorbet
serves 4

200g caster sugar
200ml oz water
1 ripe melon
150ml champagne

In a pan boil the water and caster sugar together until it reaches the short thread stage.
De-seed and skin the melon. Chop it into chunks and process until smooth. Add the cooled sugar syrup and champagne to the puréed melon, churn until frozen and place into the freezer.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Je crois que je suis amoureuse de quelqu'un - Un été en Nouvelle Zélande

[I think I might be in love with someone - A summer in New Zealand]

Indeed in love I am.
I just love New Zeland summer. Actually I love it so much that I don't even have time to bake nor cook. And I do really miss it. So, promise, as soon as I get baking scales, it will smell of chocolate and sugar all over the campus.
Baking in progress...

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Monday, February 12, 2007
Stepping into summer – Bill Granger’s peach, almond and yoghurt cake

As you now, already know, I’ve arrived in New Zealand last Saturday; pretty jetlagged - to tell the truth - but still immensely happy.
There was just this thing that kept me slightly disappointed.
I had dreamt of beautiful sand beaches and a sun so bright you could hardly see. Well, what I found arriving here was – let’s say – far from my expectations.
Imagine England during autumn. Then you’ve got it: a cloudy, freezing cold weather; nothing less, nothing more.
Not really what you would call summer, wouldn’t you?

Though, today something happened. After the rain - so cold I thought it was snow -, the clouds disappeared leaving place to a harsh and hot sun.
I immediately switched my Converses for KJacques (lovely leather flip flops from St Tropez) and although my feet are now begging for thick wool socks, I can’t help but smile. Smile from happiness: summer is finally here.

Peach, almond and yoghurt cake
adapted from Bill Granger’s simply bill

While I didn’t make this cake today (actually made it last week with the New Zealander summer in mind) it makes a beautiful summer cake.
Think a moist, light yet dense and deliciously scented cake.
Again this cake comes from Bill Granger, who’s now become my reference for no-fuss cakes.
Indeed, I always loved his way to cook and enhance clean, simple flavours; but I seemed to have forgotten him a little - in favour of my ultimate food-hero: Pierre Hermé.
Luckily when I decided to go for a bake-lots-of-cakes day, I stumbled across this and this. The gorgeous pictures and appealing flavours had my name written all over.
I couldn’t resist and I’m glad I didn’t. This day, although exhausting, resulted in two stunning cakes – one that help me face my disgust for the chocolate-orange combination and one that was perfect to turn me on to summer.

The latter is a really straight forward cake that is perfect for breakfast, lunch, tea; or indeed for anytime of the day. A real keeper!
The yoghurt makes for a wonderfully most cake, while the peach and good dose of vanilla provided a subtle and stylish flavour.
And the almonds! What a nice touch: they give both a lovely aroma and a beautiful look.

Peach, almond and yoghurt cake
serves 8

220 g unsalted butter, softened
250 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
225g self-raising flour, sifted
50 ml milk
250 ml plain yoghurt
450g peach, skinned and cut into dices
50 g flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 170°C.
Grease and line the base of a 23cm springform cake pan.

Place the butter and sugar in a bowl mix until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
Fold in the flour, milk and yoghurt and mix until barely combined.
Gently add the peach chunks.

Pour the mixture into a pan and sprinkle with the almonds.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 min or until skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. If browning too quickly, cover top of the cake with foil for the last 20 min of cooking. Remove and cool.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007
Dessine moi un mouton - quand foodbeam part en Nouvelle Zelande

[Draw me a sheep - when foodbeam goes to New Zealand]

I finally arrived in New Zealand this morning (or was it this afternoon?) after a lovely journey (have a just said lovely? - huml, weird how long flights affect your brain).

When I arrived into my flat, the first thing I checked was the kitchen and I'm pleased to say that it does have a true oven. How great is that?
So that doesn't mean foodbeam will be updated as often as it used to be, but I'll try to do my best (who am I kidding? I could *never* stop baking).

- fanny

Thank you all for the sweet comments. They really cheered me up!

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