It’s been such a long time since I last chatted in this space that I don’t even know where to start to resume a conversation. So perhaps the easiest way is simply to write down words, however they come to me, the way I’m just doing now as I am sitting at the dining room table with a cup of white tea in one hand, and a lemon cookie in the other.
It feels easier already now that I’m past the first paragraph! I wonder why I waited for so long for this to happen.
The truth is that I know well why.
So hi! I am glad to be here. I am so behind on knowing what’s going on in the blogosphere
I hope you are all well.
The past year has been full.
There isn’t a day going by when I am not reminded that I am really lucky to find myself in this spot now though. Despite the sleepless nights, the days when I wonder how I can cope with everything that is going on.
We wanted a second baby so much. A sister or brother for Lulu. And now we have two amazing children. So yes indeed, the simple truth is that I’ve made a priority of enjoying every minute of this fleeting moment of their young days.
No matter how I look at it, this time passes way too fast.
Lulu has turned seven in late December, and continues to grow into a fun creative spirited girl. Rémy turned one a few weeks ago, and is an amazingly happy baby with always a smile on his face. I often wonder why I am so blessed to have such an easy going baby.
With both of them, we’ve traveled a lot over the past year (and if you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen snapshots of our trips). Some time in the future, I will write more about each one of them, I promise to myself. I know you’ll enjoy.
Unlike last year when I was nine month pregnant, winter has been gentle in Boston too. In many ways it makes me happy to imagine Spring is already at the corner; and in other ways I miss the usual colder days we have been used to getting in New England at this time of year.
So that when snow finally came down and covered the ground with a pristine coat of white, I was one to clap my hands with excitement, the way Lulu and her friends, and Rémy too, did at the prospect of going sledding in our park down the road.
It felt magical. And emotional for me too, as I vividly remembered the days that followed Rémy’s birth last February.
Naturally, I was inspired to rush to the kitchen to cook comfy foods to feed us well.
Between chocolate granola, nourishing pots of soup (check my curried broccoli and spinach soup recipe below for inspiration), hearty salades composées assembled spontaneously, and family-style cakes.
These foods have the word snow and winter and cuddle up by the fireplace written in capital letters on them.
Take my lemon and olive oil cake, for example.
After baking it a number of times, I knew I would return to it when I was looking for a birthday cake for Rémy’s first birthday.
It’s a light down to earth cake (literally five minutes to prepare before you bake it–so what’s not to love about that?), perfectly balanced with the right amount of sweetness and lemon flavor.
A genuine crowd pleaser, for children and adults alike.
I know for a fact that I will keep coming back to it. Who knows? Maybe even for Rémy’s second birthday.
Although I know well that there will be many cakes between now and then.
I have one year to change my mind…
For the cake:
- 1/2 cup olive oil (or grapeseed oil) + more for the pan
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Pinch of sea salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup blond cane sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 to 4 tablespoons)
- 3/4 teaspoon lemon oil extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and brush a cake pan (8 1/4″ x 3 1/4″–21 cm x 8.5 cm) with olive oil–for convenience, use a cooking spray if you have one; set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the almond meal, millet flour, oat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt; set aside.
- In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar.
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice and lemon extract.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones, and beat until homogeneous.
- Pour into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the blade of a sharp knife inserted in the middle comes out dry. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before unmolding. Let completely cool.
For the lemon icing:
- 5 1/4 ounces (150 g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
- Squeeze of lemon juice, to taste
- Berries (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
- In a bowl, add the confectioner’s sugar. Stir in the water, and lemon juice to reach the texture you like. It should not be too runny, but enough so that it spreads on the cake.
- Pour over the cake and let drip on its own.
- Add berries to taste and decorate and let completely cool. Keep in the fridge to set. Slice and serve.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + more to drizzle
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 pound 2 ounces (500 g) broccoli
- 3 1/2 cups (830 ml) water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup (235 ml) coconut milk
- 5 1/4 ounces (150 g) spinach leaves
- 1 bunch parsley
- Sea salt and pepper
- In a pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the leek and shallot and cook for 4 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally and without browning.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute before adding the broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes and the water and bay leaf. Cover and reduce the heat to simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender.
- Discard the bay leaf. Add the coconut milk and cook for 1 minute.
- Stop the heat and add the spinach and parsley; stir until the vegetables are all soft.
- Transfer the soup to the bowl of a food processor in a few batches and purée finely. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil and microgreens, if you like.