A Healthy Sunday in March — Un dimanche de mars qui fait du bien

Chocolate, Banana, Pecan and Olive Oil Teacakes

When I go out for a run earlier in the morning, I notice that the air is crisp despite a generous sun outside that fools me into believing that it is perhaps fifteen degrees warmer. Yet, it does not stop the birds from joyfully chirping, quite on the contrary. Their happy singing tunes are a clear sign that we are entering the new awaited season no matter what, even if slower than I really wish. At least it is sunny. I know that it could frankly be much worse all things considered, so I tell myself to be content with that much. Thank God that P. is feeling better than the previous days: we will be able to get some fresh air out.

Make sure to bring a hat with you,” I cry out loud for him to hear; he is listening to NPR in the bathroom upstairs with the water running too, an indication that he is far from being ready. What does take him so long I wonder, now fidgety and impatient to leave.

On part après ou avant le déjeuner finalement ?” (Shall we leave before or after lunch after all?) I continue on.

After, don’t you think? We have a lot of leftovers to finish, non ?

Actually we do, and I realize that I am hungry. Going to the beach on an empty stomach is not a good idea with me. I get grumpy and cannot focus on anything else but food.

We want to drive to Marblehead, a small seaside village only an hour north of Boston, have a stroll on the village’s pebbled beach and check out a few spots by the water we like. I used to work in Marblehead; we even got married there, in a park by the seafront during a stormy and hot summer day — ah yes, I never told you this funny unusual story, did I? It is a pretty good one actually. I have to make a note for another time.

So we start with lunch. Since most of the food is already prepared, it takes only a few minutes to set up a nice table and sit down to eat. We have a sunchoke soup that I have cooked in the morning, leftovers of râpés de légumes prepared the night before, a piece of peppercorn smoked salmon and infallibly, I toss quickly a green salad to go with our meal. We sit back and relax, quite pleased to have our skin warmed up by the bright sunlight filling the house through the sheer curtains. If we hang out there for too long, I bet that we will soon prefer a nap and go nowhere.

Let’s go,” I rush to say, scared that I am actually going to fall asleep.

Râpés de légumes
Sunchoke Soup — Chocolate Olive Oil Teacakes

What are those things?” P. asks looking towards the kitchen island behind me.

Ca ?” I reply as I turn and point in the direction of the chocolate teacakes I’ve arranged on one of the cake stands. “I’ve baked them earlier this morning while I was also making our soup.

I know that they are going to come handy later in the day.

That’s our afternoon snack.

Chocolate, Banana and Pecan teacakes — Views from the beach
Carrot Hazelnut Flan with Radish

We set off and reach the beach that we find mostly empty. Most people are probably still inside spending time with their families. I cannot help but think about my family in France and P.’s in Ireland. I even joke that they are all probably having lamb, no matter the country.

After a walk on the rocks domineering the bay, we find a nice spot on a bench protected from the sea breeze. The sun feels warmer on our skin than earlier, even if we are now outside with our jackets on. We close our eyes for a minute and enjoy this peaceful moment. It feels quite a welcoming change from the busy pace we’ve had during the week. Three older ladies walk the path towards us; their loud conversation and their feet on the gravel disturb the serenity of the place. We sigh and decide to move away a little further.

J’ai faim,” I tell P. He laughs. I know he is too.

Let’s have our muffins.

The taste of the dark chocolate against the banana and pecans is unusual and nice with the olive oil. A bit peppery , probably because of the touch of amaranth flour I decide to add too. I have tried many versions of the same recipe: some baked with oil, others with butter, and I keep changing the flours to compare the flavors too.

A bit more chocolate maybe? And less sweet?” I ask P.

No, I like them like this. Perhaps a few cocoa nibs?

They taste even better eaten in the open air as we enjoy the bounty of a generous day of whimsical March.

I look forward to dinner,” I add, laughing, with my mouth still full.

Me too! P. exclaims. “What are we having for dinner? Lamb?

I should have bought some, shouldn’t I? Well, no, not lamb. Veal. I am making veal roulades stuffed with pesto and apple with carrot hazelnut flans.”

We drive home quietly. We’ve spent a simple but very good day.

Oh, and we can watch one of our Planet Earth documentaries.” They are our new favorite DVDs to watch.

I sense there will be room for dessert too. With a cup of tea.

Chocolate, Hazelnut, Banana and Olive Oil Teacakes

(For 6 cakes)

You need:

  • 1/2 cup (minus 2 Tbsp) blond cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 80 g dark chocolate, 70 % cocoa
  • 3 Tbsp hazelnut flour
  • 3 Tbsp quinoa flour
  • 3 Tbsp amaranth flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 banana, just ripe but not overly so
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped coarsely


  • Preheat your oven at 350 F. Grease 6 muffin molds; set aside.
  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the brown rice, hazelnut, amaranth and quinoa flours. Add the baking powder and salt; set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the olive oil with the sugar, then add the eggs, one by one, waiting that the previous one is well incorporated before adding the next.
  • Add the melted chocolate and mix well.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture.
  • Add the banana and pecans.
  • Divide the batter between the molds. Add extra pecan and banana slices, if you wish for decoration on top. Bake for 30 min, or until the blade of a knife inserted comes out dry. Let cool and unmold on rack. Enjoy whenever, and have as many as you want. They keep for a few days but are best eaten on the day.
Le coin français
Petits gâteaux au chocolat, banane et huile d’olive

(Pour 6 petits gâteaux)

Ingrédients :

  • 80 g de sucre de canne blond
  • 120 ml d’huile d’olive
  • 3 oeufs
  • 80 g de chocolat noir à 70 % de cacao
  • 3 càs de poudre de noisettes
  • 3 càs de farine de quinoa
  • 3 càs de farine d’amaranth
  • 80 g de farine de riz complet
  • 1 càc de poudre à lever
  • Pincée de sel
  • 1 banane, mûre mais pas de trop non plus
  • 40 g de pécanes, hachées grossièrement

Étapes :

  • Préchauffez votre four à 180 C. Graissez 6 moules à muffin, ou des petits ramequins; mettez de côté.
  • Faites fondre le chocolat au bain-marie; mettez de côté.
  • Dans une jatte, mélangez les farines de riz, quinoa et amaranth, et ajoutez la poudre de noisettes, le sel et la poudre à lever. Mettez de côté.
  • Dans le bol d’un mixeur à pied, mélangez le sucre avec l’huile d’olive, puis ajoutez les oeufs un à un, en attendant que le précédent est bien incorporé avant d’ajouter le suivant.
  • Ajoutez le chocolat fondu et mélangez bien.
  • Réduisez la vitesse de votre batteur et ajoutez le mélange de farines.
  • Ajoutez la banane et les pécanes.
  • Divisez cette préparation entre les moules. Ajoutez une pécane et une tranche de banane sur chaque gâteau pour décorer si vous le souhaitez. Faites cuire pendant 30 min, ou jusqu’à ce que la lame d’un couteau insérée dans le gâteau en ressorte sèche. Laissez refroidir et démoulez sur grille. Dégustez quand vous le souhaitez. Les gâteaux se gardent quelques jours mais sont encore meilleurs mangés le jour même.


  1. cool layout, light, composition and colors….as always. makes me want to hop back in the kitchen (even tho it just got cleaned up…)

  2. Ah, yes. There is nothing like a sunny day, a nice walk and good food to chase away the winter (or early spring!) blahs.

  3. You really are an amazingly creative cook. I am so glad that you experiment with alternative flours because it really helps expand the flavors we are exposed to. And I too, just love the colors of your table arrangements. Everything looks delicious. Your husband must LOVE you!

  4. Just discovered your blog via tastespotting. What a beautiful and interesting blog. I’ll be visiting more often.

  5. oups et bien un dimanche de mars comme celui ci moi je veux bien qu’il dure dure toute l’annee (avec le soleil en plus bien sur)
    je suis en retard mais j’adore ton new look

  6. bea, you really make me want to move in with you. You always bake somthing a little unexpected, gluten free, healthy… and colorful. The photos are gorgeous as always. So talented!

  7. Tes billets m’inspirent beaucoup! Textes et photos, recettes et… tu me donnes vraiment envie de revoir Marblehead, pas très loin de chez moi finalement. Voilà un projet de week-end pour l’été prochain!

  8. Can a regular unbleached all-purpose flour be substituted for the amaranth and quinoa flours? If so, would the all-purpose four quantity need to be adjusted, or is it a direct 1:1 substitution? Thanks.

  9. your photos are always so dreamy … sigh. also, i love the shape of the tea cakes. where do you buy a special pan for that?

  10. It is such a treat to be able to walk on the beach in New England in the springtime, while it is still cold but not too cold. And to have a wonderful meal afterwards — well, that is perfect.

  11. The choc teacakes look delicious. I love the mould you cooked them in. Your pictures from the walk are beautiful

  12. Sounds like the perfect sunday for sure. We did not have lamb either, but we did have chocolate!! Glad to hear P. is feeling better!

  13. ça faisait longtemps, me semble -t-il que tu n’avais pas décrit un de ces moments de vie qui me parlent tant… une merveille, ce texte, du réveil tôt le matin à cette histoire de petit gateau au chocolat tombant à pic.. je me suis régalée!

  14. Des photos magnifiques, comme d’habitude. Un post rempli de plénitude, de sérénité, de bien-être, le tout articulé autour de ces superbes plats tout simples mais terriblement alléchants et qu’on devine savoureux… bravo, j’adore!

  15. Quelles belles photos! Je suis heureuse que j’ai le temps pour lire mes blogs, surtout le tien… j’ai un peu d’envie – bonne nourriture, belle village… j’ai besoin d’une vacance!

  16. Wow, I feel really happy finding your blog. I have cøliaki, a condition when you cant eat gluten. Now I can follow your blog for inspiration:) Thank YOU!

  17. I miss the cool crisp air of the north, especially this time of year. Easter lunch looks divine, love a peppery taste so I look forward to trying your recipe. We received the Planet DVD for Xmas they are fantastic aren’t they.

  18. Hmmm… yummy! Can’t wait to try them. Do we have a recipe for those fabulous looking Râpés de légumes? And those flans look interesting… I’m so greedy 🙂 I love your blog. Thanks!

  19. I think I’d rather have a crisp, cool Easter than a 75* muggy one. Your lunch looks lovely. Perfectly lovely.

  20. Hi Reva, many many thanks. I am delighted to raed you like it and that I inspired you this way!

    Valérie-Jeanne, complètement!

    Peabody, thank you

    Yoyo, many thanks to you.


    Elarael, sweet.Oh and I can tell you how much I am enjoying cooking with these flours. They add so much to baking in my eyes. Better textures. Thanks!

    Rosa, merci. I hope yours was nice too.

    Leonine, tant mieux. C’est une bonne maladie.

    Kristel, thank you and welcome.

    Tiuscha, yes it really was.

    Veronica, merci. Comme toi, c’est du bonheur tout simple, mais si bon. Merci de ton gentil mot.

    Aran, eh thanks. That is nice of you to say!

    Caroline, thank you.

    Miss Diane, ah oui, il faut y aller. En été, c’est en plus avec la chaleur et le maillot de bain.

    Eilleen, thank you.

    Margaret, ah there is no recipe for the râpés de légumes as of yet,but hopefully soon! Thank you for checking.

    Lena, yes you can subsitute (to have about 180 g flour total). The texture might be slightly different, and taste too, but I am convinced nice all the same.

    Nicole, thank you. The pan is actually individual brioche molds. On line, or in a kitchen store like sur la table. Good luck.

    Lydia, yes the beauties of New England. We are lucky to have such a lovely coast to hang out on.

    Coco, nice! I am then pleased. 😉

    Katie, many thanks.

    Clairel, merci!

    Jesper, oh go for it. I love them myself.

    Chocolat, that is nice, merci.

    Flanboyant Eats, eh you are going to make me blush. Thanks. Hire? ahah, I am not sure it would always be a winner!

    Helen, merci. Yes glad P. is better too. He really was miserable.

    Alhya, ah merci bien. Contente que tu te sois régalée. Ces moments sont précieux. La vie va bien trop vite pour ne pas les remarquer.

    Botacook, oh merci. Vraiment gentil comme mot cela!

    Judith, merci beaucoup de ton passage.

    Hege, ah thank you. And yes I am familiar with coeliac too. My father-in-law is too. There are so many possibilities out there to eat gluten free, in a happy healthy way.

    Kim, oh yes I love the DVDs too. Another one arrived tonight and I cannot wait to watch it.

    Myra, no recipe as of yet, but hopefully soon!

    EB, oh is this what you had in SF?

  21. Tu me donnes envie d’air pur, de froid sur les joues, de nourritures saines – de Bretagne je dirais 🙂

  22. We seem to share our weather patterns. We too are stuck in the last of the winter chill, waiting patiently for the Spring. I love the Winter, but this time of year it always feels just one month too long. I want strawberries! And asparagus! And daffodils!
    Loving your new photo style. It’s light and breezy and whimsical, perfectly up to date! Well done.

    ps/ I hope you don’t mind, I tagged you for a meme:

  23. The teacakes were very dilicious and different. I loved the taste and texture since I’ve never used amaranth flour before. I’m always looking foward to your next posting :)!

    Love the food and the photos.
    Thanks for the inspiration, keep it up!

  24. Bea! i always love your food and photos. U are so talented. U are one of many food blogger that have inspired me to do my own food blog. Even still so ordinary but im happy. Please do come to my food blog Sweet Scarlett at thesweetscarlett.blogspot.com Merci…

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