Simplicity can be such a curse. No doubt a simple pound cake requiring only a handful of ingredients is hardly a technical challenge compared to an multi-component entremet. Yet, it is often the simplest things that are the easiest to pick up but most difficult to master. As such, I’m constantly on the hunt for THE perfect cake recipe, if there’s ever such a thing, be it a pound or chiffon, or even a simple buttercake. Some recipes “worked” for a while, and just when you thought you’d nailed it, a better cake comes along and sends one back to the drawing board! And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s been through this!
While searching over youtube for French recipes to prepare a rack of lamb, I came across a BBC cooking series “Kitchen Secrets” hosted by renowned French chef Raymund Blanc. Monsieur Blanc left France in the 1970s and crossed the English channel , where he found a new life and new hopes. Entirely self-taught with no formal training in classical techniques whatsoever, he opened his first restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons as a small shop in 1977 before expansion in 1984. The restaurant was conferred two michelin stars a year later and held them since. I found myself glued to the cooking series, watching the episodes for the two seasons running over youtube, all in a single sitting. Naturally, having spent all that time in front of the monitor, I didn’t get to prepare that rack of lamb for that evening’s dinner, but all was not lost as I found myself quite inspired.
pâtisserie Sadaharu AOKI paris ‘s dessert boutiques in Taipei were THE places which we were looking forward the most to visit on our trip to Taipei last year. Having read so much about him and his works, we were in dire need to sample some of his creations. It is our closest call we could ever get to pastry heaven. Pierre Herme is still another 3 hours away in Tokyo but going to Aoki is by no means settling for second best! With his macarons highly raved amongst fellow dessert afficionadoes online, little deliberation is required when we were considering takeaways back to Singapore on our last day. So here on Macaron Day, we share them with you!
I’m “fast forwarding” my Japan posts to bring to you guys the Le Cordon Bleu Macarons from Kobe! “Nan desu de?!” some of you might ask. ‘Cos in barely 2 weeks’ time on 20th March is Le Jour de Macaron aka Macarons Day! This day which celebrates the popular French confectionery was initiated by no other than the man who revolutionised macaron gastronomie, Pierre Hermé. Since its inauguration 7 years ago, Macarons Day is celebrated by many patisseries around France, with notable names like Sadaharu Aoki, Dalloyau, Laurent Duchêne and Jean-Paul Hévin, just to name a few. It has since spread across the Altantic to NYC and Toronto, as well as the rest of the world! And over at Aspiring Bakers, we are having celebrating it for one whole month with “Aspiring Bakers #17 – March Macaron Madness!”
We visited Kobe as a day trip on our second last day in Kansai. It was an impromptu decision actually as we’d initially decided to stay put in Osaka after visiting Kyoto and Nara a couple of days back. But we kinda ran out of places to visit in Osaka, which is pretty much of a business and commercial hub, with much less character and history than its neighbouring cities and towns. So it was off to Kobe for more patisserie hunting!
After our little tour at Nishiki Market, we found ourselves at Daimaru Kyoto, located in between Kawaramachi and Karasuma stations. Won’t miss the chance for a little “tour” of the depachika as well. True enough, the basement is filled with little takeaway corners representing various big names which have found themselves in Kyoto. The one that struck us most was a small little booth by the famed Belgian patissier cum chocolatier, Jean-Philippe Darcis.