(this is the Funnel Cake Mille Feuille from The Tempered Room in Toronto. Thanks to Neil for picking up on my hints on social media. Because we all need a little more sweetness in our lives!)
September 20th 2021
Well then. Here we are. School’s back - looking a little different for a second year (actually third if you count the end of the 2019-20 school year but what is time these days anyway?)… Teaching elementary school means I am still teaching in a mask (which I have no issue with except that for teaching languages it complicates things quite a bit) but I am in-person with all my classes this year which is a great blessing! On verra (we shall see) how this year unfolds.
Last week was our first five day in-person teaching week at school since February 2020. I’ll let that sink in…
Yeah, everything right now is a lot and while a lot of life is slowly returning to a semblance of normal, there are still a lot of things that are not (hello, school) and all over the world we see countries struggling with third and fourth waves, third doses, anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, protests etc… Turbulent times indeed
Me? I’m coping by putting my head down, focussing on the day-to-day (sometimes the hour-by-hour!) but also on the next chapter of my book (due out in December so I really do need to focus!). I’m also running and exercising (because, mental health) and actually training to run (not race - there’s a difference) a half marathon on October 30th. Wish me luck!
What about you, how are things where you live? Are you totally back to normal or is it normal-ish?
French Food for Everyone: le goûter (after school snacks) is out now!
That’s right, you can purchase French Food for Everyone: le goûter (after school snacks) as a paperback or a Kindle e-book! Read about the making of the book here!
Don’t forget to share your creations from the book using #frenchfoodforeveryone and please, if you enjoyed the book, consider leaving a review!
This month I’m giving away THREE copies of French Food For Everyone: le goûter (after school snacks) to lucky subscribers!
Winners will be chosen at random on September 30th after 6pm EDT and notified by email within 2 days. Winners will have 48 hours to respond to the email otherwise another winner will be chosen. Good luck!
cooking class update!
As I’m working away at the second chapter of French Food for Everyone (le dîner - coming out in December!), I’m cutting back on the number of online classes I’m offering this term, simply because I need some downtime every week (more than before-times but that’s another story…). I will however, be offering select classes through Context Travel (keep your eyes peeled here for upcoming classes and I’ll share here when more dates have been confirmed).
I am, however, hosting three special classes in October as I am taking part in The Big Social and my way to cook, create and connect is to host online cooking classes (see below).
The Big Social is a fundraiser where Canadians cook, create, and connect during the month of October to help fight poverty and food insecurity. Launched in November 2019, The Big Social has brought thousands of Canadians together to share food and change lives. The Big Social supports Community Food Centres Canada and their work with 300+ partners in communities across the country. They bring people together around food—in kitchens, dining rooms, and gardens — while fighting for a more equitable society.
This year, I’m hosting three online baking classes baking recipes from my new book French Food for Everyone: le goûter (after school snacks) to help people cook, create and connect over food! Classes are free in exchange for a donation to CFCC.
Donate here (a minimum of $15 per screen/ family per class) and then register on Eventbrite!
October 2nd 3.30pm – 4.30pm EDT Torsades au chocolat (Chocolate Custard Twists). Register here.
October 17th 11am – 12pm EDT Gâteau au Yaourt à l’Orange (Orange Yoghurt Cake). Register here.
October 23rd 3.30pm – 4.30pm EDT Cake aux Pommes (Apple Snacking Cake). Register here.
you might have missed (end of summer reads…)
My last three Summer Reads of the year (click on the titles below to read the reviews).
The Pull of the Stars (life in a maternity ward for three days during a pandemic in Ireland in the early 20th century - more uplifting than you might think!)
Return to the Vineyards (complex characters, loads of romance and mystery/ family intrigue. Plus, FRANCE. Burgundy, wine, charming countryside, oh and food!)
The Lost Girls of Devon (mystery plus family and generational intrigue set in the moors of Devon)
Three very different novels, can highly recommend them all.
links you might like
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée is the pumpkin dessert you need this fall (my recipe via Food Network Canada).
Why cookbook stores are the antidote we need right now via Thrillist. Because who doesn’t love a good cookbook store?
Queen Elizabeth II always travels with this cake via Town and Country. I mean, if I could travel with a cake, I probably would too!
Remembering Julia Child via Smithsonian Magazine. Everything you want to ask about Julia, answered by a Smithsonian curator.
Saying good bye to a pet is undoubtedly one of the hardest things we ever have to do. David Leite couldn’t have written a more perfect piece in Saying Goodbye to Devil Cat via Leite’s Culinara.
Broad or posh, we still sound uniquely Australian. Where did our accent come from? via The Sydney Morning Herald. This is a really interesting look at how language evolves.
Is it ever ok to use all caps in your writing? via Thesaurus.com. Short answer? Sometimes…
She visited every country on earth. Here’s what she learned via National Geographic Traveler. (enter email address for 3 free articles a month). “Travel with kindness, travel with positive energy and without fear” (and so much more!).
Making discovery, not distance, travel’s point via The New York Times (possible paywall). “[Y]ou don’t need to go far to get away. “Small travel […] has its own rewards.”
This month I’m featuring some places *I* have been featured!
You can check out my “French 5” interview over on the Canadian-French website Bisous des Caribous here.
I chatted with Jonathan Bouchard of Y a Pas Deux Matins Pareils about French Food for Everyone! Listen here (in French).
what we’re watching
It’s a bit of a mixed bag this month!
Under the Volcano: The Air Studios Monserrat Story. “In 1977 George Martin fell in love with the island of Monserrat and decided to build the ultimate, get-away-from-it-all recording studio.” This documentary features amazing footage of the studio’s clients through 1989 when Hurricane Hugo destroyed 90% of the islands buildings. This was an unexpected find - absolutely fascinating!
Hit & Run (series). I watched the entire series on the way home from France this summer. “A man searching for the truth behind his wife's death becomes caught up in a dangerous web of secrets and intrigue stretching from New York to Tel Aviv.” If this was a book it would be a page turner!
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork. This documentary “follows the investigation of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier, a French film and TV producer who was killed while at her isolated holiday cottage in West Cork, Ireland, in 1996”. Ok, I also watched this entire series on a plane this summer. Eerie and disturbing.
Stillwater. “A father travels from Oklahoma to France to help his estranged daughter, who is in prison for a murder she claims she didn't commit.” Directly inspired by the Amanda Knox story, this focuses more on what happens after the crime rather than the crime itself. This was well done.
Clickbait. “When family man Nick Brewer is abducted in a crime with a sinister online twist, those closest to him race to uncover who is behind it and why.” Ok this was total clickbait viewing - one of those “this isn’t the best but I can’t stop watching”. Also about 2 episodes too long.
Gone for Good. “Ten years after losing two loved ones, a man is plunged into another dizzying mystery when his girlfriend vanish.” Based on a Harlan Coben novel, this had plenty of twists and turns and timelines. Kept you on the edge of your seat!
The Innocent (yes, on a Harlan Coben kick this month apparently). “An accidental killing leads a man down a dark hole of intrigue and murder. Just as he finds love and freedom, one phone call brings back the nightmare.” This one kept me guessing too.
Sidebar: how DOES Harlan Coben come up with (and sustain) these complex plots? What a brain!
buy my books
rent our holiday home in south-west France!
Our charming house in Nérac, halfway between Bordeaux and Toulouse in the heart of Gascony is available to rent if you're able to travel there!
Thanks for reading! Stay safe!