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Coffee in Paris

This has been a little bit of a debate with my expat friends here in Paris. Coffee just isn’t done very well here, at least from our opinion. With that being said though, there are actually a lot of good local coffee spots that have been popping up. So lately we have been on the hunt for best places and a list is definitely forming.

So far we have HolyBelly in the 10th, Coutume, Ob-la-di in Oberkampf area (I posted this one on my Instagram this week and it has by far been my favorite), Telescope in the 1st, Craft Coffee in the 10th (be sure to stop by La Fabrique a Gateaux!), Ten Belles by Canal St Martin, Lockwood near me at Sentier, and Boots Cafe, a tiny spot with just three tables in Old Cordonnerie.

There’s also, Shakespeare and Co. a great place to stop in when you’re in need of some friendly English speaking and a good book.

Shakespeare and Co

Our test for good coffee is if sugar needs to be added or not.

Coffe at Shakespeare and Co Shakespeare and Co Cafe

Right next door is the bookstore that has been open since 1951 and has been a huge center for anglophone literature. You can see beds on the inside nestled between bookcases where artists and poets used to live. And right across the street, le Notre Dame!

Shakespeare and Co Bookstore

Notre Dame

Shakespeare and Company le Cafe and the Bookstore!

37 rue de la Bucherie

29. February 2016 by Molly
Categories: France, paris | 5 comments

A Winter Walk in Paris

Odette DanlaRue Passage CafeleLouisPhilip


A little walk today through Paris from my apartment by Rue Montorgueil down through the Marais and over to Ile St Louis and the Latin Quarter before stopping for coffee at Shakespeare and Co. I love how Paris is a walking city and you can see so many different things just walking for an hour or so. It’s super bleak here at the moment and I’m really looking forward to the sun coming out and warmer weather, but a good cup of coffee and amazing friends always makes things better. :-)

In the first picture is a super cute little choux pastry spot called Odette. This location overlooks the Notre Dame down a small Parisian street that you can see in the second photo. It’s a little off the beaten path and a great place to stop for a petite bite of something sweet and an espresso.

77 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris

22. February 2016 by Molly
Categories: France, paris, random wanderings in paris, Travel | 2 comments

Mini Chocolate Heart Cakes

Just in time for Valentine’s Day! I had a little rendevous at my friend Cara’s place from le 5eme Etage. The goal was to A. make a heart shaped tomato tarte tatin that I’d had milling around in my brain for the last couple of weeks. It’s terribly easy and I was curious to see if the tomatoes would work in a fun and festive heart shape. B. was to FINALLY master these silly little cakes that looked extra tasty in my Bouchon cookbook.


Heart Chocolate Cakes (1)

For Christmas my mom had given me the special mold that was made specifically for these cakes so I really wanted them to work out, but after two attempts with the recipe that came on the back of the package, I was just about ready to give up and use the mold for something completely different, and perhaps a bit more satisfying.

Luckily enough Cara had the Bouchon cookbook! woo! It’s fabulous, but a bit heavy, so I’d left my copy in the US. I puzzled at the recipes for a bit and oddly they were quite different. Flour ratios, sugar, chocolate, all different. So in my last attempt (the very last.. three times is completely enough times for me to try a recipe.. maybe 2 too many times haha) we decided to go with the cookbook recipe and see how it went.

But.. I was a bit tired haha so even though the ingredient amounts were the same, I switched up the method (without realizing until it was far too late to go back) and added little frills for Valentine’s day. :-)

To start, half of the butter (70g) and all of the chocolate, to melt over a bain marie. We used two different types of bittersweet chocolate.


Once melted, take off the heat and slowly whisk or stir in the remaining butter.


Set aside and combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, and dry vanilla powder (if using) in a separate bowl. Whisk together.


In another bowl (you should have 3 now), whisk together the eggs and sugar until a little lighter in color and foamy. Grab a helper and pour in the still hot melted chocolate/butter while whisking. Add the dry ingredients and stir together. The batter will be pretty thick. Allow to rest in a cool place for about 30 minutes.


Fill the molds to the top. There is no need to butter the molds because we’re using silicone and there’s a high butter content in the cakes which will help them not stick! Bake at 160C or 350F for 20 minutes. Take out and press a fresh raspberry in the top and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until fully cooked.

Baked Mini Chocolate Cakes

Bouchon in French means “cork” like a wine bottle cork. The mold that was made for this recipe was specifically designed to make them in this cork-like shape! Do try them in a mini cupcake pan though! Just keep an eye on the baking time, because it will probably be a bit less. I would also lightly spray the cupcake pan just in case.

Now the hard part, wait about 10 minutes, then carefully flip by placing a flat baking sheet lined with parchment on top, then gingerly grabbing the mold and flipping the whole thing over. You might need to give a little push on the top of the cakes to help them come out, but otherwise they should pop out pretty easily.

Take a square of parchment and fold in half then cut out a fun little heart or other design. Place on top of the cake and dust with powdered sugar.


And tada!


Bite sized and ridiculously chocolaty with a little raspberry to cut through the decadentness! Happy Valentine’s Day to You & Yours!


Mini Chocolate Cakes (Bouchons)

Recipe amounts from Bouchon. Method and a couple twists by moi! Try baking them in a mini cupcake pan if you do not have the special Bouchon mold. Reduce the time by about 5 mins though and keep an eye on them, touching the sides to determine how cooked they are. The Bouchon mold can be bought at William’s Sonoma.

140g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

50g All Purpose flour

50g unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder (Dutch processed)

pinch of salt

75g eggs (about an egg an a half, whisk two together then weigh)

160g granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste, or pinch of vanilla powder

110g bittersweet chocolate (60-70%)

fresh raspberries

Over a bain marie, melt half of the butter and all of the chocolate. Off the heat, stir in the remaining butter.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and if using the vanilla powder.

In a third bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until a little lighter in color and foamy. Grab a helper and pour in the hot chocolate mixture quickly, whisking as you add it. Stir in the dry ingredients and let sit for about 30 minutes in a cool area.

Preheat your oven to 160C or 180F and fill the Bouchon molds to the top. If using a mini cupcake pan, lightly spray with kitchen spray before filling, just in case! Fill just about to the top as well, a little more than 3/4ths full.

Bake 20 minutes then remove from the oven and press in a fresh raspberry and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes (I set a timer). Then place something flat on top that’s lined with parchment and flip!

Dust with powdered sugar and Enjoy!


Happy Valentine’s Day!


13. February 2016 by Molly
Categories: cake, chocolate, cupcakes, raspberry, valentine's day | Comments Off on Mini Chocolate Heart Cakes

Tomato Tart Tatin for Two!

I’m not a major fan of Valentine’s day, it’s just so cheesy. I think love should be celebrated every day. :-) BUT I do love making themed things to eat for it (oh I know that’s super cheesy too, eh, who cares!)! Like this Tomato Tart Tatin for Two! Perfect to share with good friends or your amour, as you can size it to be as big or small as you like! I made a version of it over the summer at Chateau de Gudanes and have thought about it ever sense because it is beyond easy to make and so delicious!! The only thing that takes a bit of time is cutting the tomatoes into heart shapes, but that’s fun, so no big deal. ;-)

A huge thank you to Cara at le 5eme Etage for being photographer!


Just a note: This recipe would be a good one to hold on too for the summer months when tomatoes are in season. I just loved the idea of red for a savory tart so I used the best ones I could find!

Start by cutting in half and roughly scooping out as many tomatoes as needed to completely fill, when placed side by side, a tart pan. Save these in a bowl to conserve some of the liquid to make a sauce later. Roma tomatoes are best for theme-ing the tart because they already have an oblong shape, but when doing this at another time any in season tomatoes will work!

I cut a V-shape at the top while cutting out the core, and then a bit off the sides to fully commit to the heart shape.



Melt about a tablespoon of butter and a good glug of olive oil in a saute pan and then place the tomatoes in the pan skin side down to soften over medium-low heat.


When soft, transfer to your tart dish of choice! Mine has a removable bottom, so I lined it with foil just in case. The tomatoes should be as close together as possible.  TomatoesinTart

In the pan add about a 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar, a teaspoon of red wine vinegar, and two tablespoons or so of the reserved tomato juices from scooping out the tomatoes earlier. (If you’re making a larger tart, double this amount to end up with more syrup goodness) Reduce until syrupy and pour over the tomatoes in the tart dish and top with basil, oregano, thyme or a mixture of herbs.


Top with puff pastry that has been cut with about a centimeter overhang. Tuck in around the tomatoes or fold like in the photo below, pressing in around the sides.


Prick with a fork to release the steam then bake at 350F or 180C for 25 to 30 minutes depending on the size of your tart. Allow to rest about 10 minutes, place a flat plate on top and flip!

Valentines Day Tomatoe Tart Tatin

Tomato Tart Tatin

Tomato Tart Tatin

tomatoes (enough to fill your tart dish when cut in half)

herbs (basil, oregano, thyme or a mixture)

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 180C or 350F. Cut the tomatoes in half and roughly scoop out the inside. Reserve the scooped out portion in a small bowl. Cut the tomatoes to look like hearts. In a saute pan, heat up the olive oil and butter. Place the tomatoes in the pan, skin side down and cook over low to medium heat until soft.

Remove from pan and place in a tart dish skin side down as closely together as possible.

In the pan, add the red wine vinegar, brown sugar, and about 2 tablespoons of the reserved tomato juice. Reduce stirring until a syrup forms. Pour over the tomatoes and sprinkle herbs on top.

Cut the puff pastry to fit with about a centimeter overhang. Place over the tomatoes and press into the sides. Prick with a fork and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the puff pastry is cooked.

Let cool about 10 minutes. Then place a flat plate on top and flip! Top with more chopped herbs for a pop of color and enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!


09. February 2016 by Molly
Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tomato Tart Tatin for Two!

My Stay at Chateau de Gudanes

The address simply says Chateau de Gudanes and the tiny 49 person town it’s located in. No number, just an assumption that the mailman knows the way.


The trip to the Chateau started with a 6 hour train ride from Paris to Toulouse. I was gazing out the window almost the entire time as the terrain changed from flat to hilly to mountains in the Midi Pyrennes with little villages dispersed along the way.

My first look of the Chateau was pure excitement. After months of planning and waiting, I was finally there. A field of yellow flowers stretched in front of the Chateau. It stands at the high point in the valley where it’s located, surrounded by mountains and keeping a protective eye on the two villages below. I’d caught quick looks of it through the trees as we were driving up but it was nothing you could have imagined. Smaller at first, but as you walk up larger and more imposing with an aura of mystery.

Chateau Gate

My stay started with exploring the Chateau (I went up almost every day to do a little wander and see what work was being done), preparing for a workshop on renovation techniques, visiting brocantes, and entertaining several guests that popped by with sweet treats.

Antique French Plates IMG_8663

Going through my pictures of the Chateau was like saying hello to an old friend. So much has changed and happened within those walls over the years and even since I took my first pictures. The front rooms cleared out to make space for the restoration workshop, a new table brought in that had been built from wind-felled trees on the Chateau grounds, the temporary kitchen came together, and electricity and plumbing were brought to the Chateau for the first time in years. I took most of my pictures in the first couple of days that I was there when everything was new and discoveries kept popping up. The Chateau is surprising in that way though, there’s always something new to be found even after you’ve walked the rooms a number of times.

IMG_8387 IMG_8383 IMG_8445 Continue Reading →

08. October 2015 by Molly
Categories: France, le tour de france, Travel | 36 comments

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