I heart Munich. Everyone always asks what is our favourite place from our travels, and I just can’t answer them. We have been to so many uniquely awesome places that you simply cannot compare them to each other. But then I went to Munich, and it wins. Not because it is the biggest or fanciest or anythingiest. Just because I love being in it. It has this warm cosy feel to it, everywhere there are majestic old buildings, forested gardens and little squares. Being there for christmas, we got to see the city at its magical best. Nowhere does christmas like Germany. We stepped out of the airport and straight into the midst of a christmas market, and within an hour of being in the city had proceeded to consume hot steaming mugs of gluhwein, bratwursts (yes, plural) and had a giant gingerbread stashed away for later.
Our time in France is wrapping up and soon it will be off home to New Zealand with a few adventures thrown in along the way. So what better way to say au revoir to a few friends than with the dark, rich, guilty pleasure of a chocolate tart in a crumbly ginger case. This tart is pure heaven, and despite the fact that we all had seconds, I still only managed one photo of a smidge of tart in the process of being devoured. Naturally this meant I had to, just had to have a piece the next day so I could get a photo of it looking all posy and pretty.
This tart came about last year, after an awe inducingly good chocolate tart in Akaroa caused me to hunt for a replica recipe. This one is based on a bare essentials recipe for the French Cafe’s version, found in Cuisine. This time though, I wanted it to be christmasified [yes I am blatantly making up words]. Plus, as it was to follow this here spanakopita conglomerate, I though double pastry may hint too loudly at my weakness for its buttery golden goodness. So I decided I wanted a ginger biscuit crust, and off I skipped to the grocery store only to discover that the french don’t do gingernuts. So this tart has a spekuloos crust with ground ginger, which tasted great. But I guess once we are home I will have to make a genuine kiwi gingernut encased one purely for comparison reasons, honest.
I’m in trouble. I, well, I bought a pig, a rather heavy pig, a pig that now needs to be sent back to New Zealand in an already full box with weight restrictions. You see, a friend of mine in Lyon took me to the Antique markets that she has discovered and is herself currently banned from [though clearly flouting]. They are brilliant, if only I had a container to fill and send home. There is gorgeous old furniture and antique sleds all polished up and waiting for the snow. Chandeliers, crumbly old books and this pig. And despite being super good and forgoing many lovely finds based on them being overweight [what a sizist!], this pig could not be left behind, he looked at me with his little piggy eyes, asking to come to New Zealand. It didn’t help that I have a slight thing for pigs. We had a pet piglet when we were little, he name was Wilbur and he lived on our grandparents farm. He used to sit on our backs to watch TV with us, we would push him around in a pram and make him wear bonnets. Then later that year we enjoyed a tasty leg of ham not putting the puzzle pieces together until it was much too late. This lead to the start of a pig collection, ones that couldn’t be eaten. I even had a beanie pig that went to school with me each day and the teacher would demand notes from home when he was absent. So I purchased my antique find and skipped home [not literally its hard to skip with a small brick in your bag] eager to show the boy what fantastic shopping skills I have. But after sighting the pig, the boys face showed that he
has no taste was not so smitten with my little piggy friend. Then he asked to hold it, I was doomed. Le petit prince it is not, the thing is made of solid iron and weighs as much as a sack of potatoes.
Only one month to Christmas and as it will be my first wintery Christmas I am getting far too excited at the prospect of snow, markets, and mulled wine! But it is still 5 days until I can open my advent calendar [technically it is the boys, but there are plots afoot] so I decided to make some very French Christmas treats to snack on, and maybe share, until then. Orangettes are crystallized orange peels that have been dipped in dark chocolate and as a lover of this partnership I’m becoming quite a fan of them. And now I don’t have to send copious amounts to New Zealand, I can simply make them every Christmas instead.
Autumn has well and truly settled in, here in Lyon. We have the crisp sunny days, the golden leaves, and pumpkin galore. So after a sunny Sunday’s morning spent enjoying the first two I decided to experiment with the third sign of Autumn and make some soup.
Every time I have had pumpkin soup lately I’ve wanted it to taste more pumpkinish. Ooo and with honey because I love honey roasted pumpkin. Plus maybe a little cardamom as it is my current favourite spice [sorry paprika, my infidelity is fleeting I promise]. So I did some experimenting and it worked! I have my new pumpkin soup ‘go to’ recipe.