midsummer musings

delicious links and a giveaway, just for you!

July 18th 2021

I guess it’s not *strictly* midsummer yet but it feels like it. School’s been out (for me) for over a month and with no cooking camp this year to run, it feels like way longer! I deliberately did not commit to running a camp this year because, well, it’s been a bit of a long year (understatement of the decade) and I needed some “me time”. It’s rare that I will actually choose down time over being busy but if the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that deliberately scheduled down time is important.

But, never fear, I’m working on a couple of exciting projects (one of which I will be telling you about very soon right here!) which are keeping me busy… until I leave for France in a couple of weeks


Before you start wondering whether travel to France is a good move right now, rest assured that *I* am also anxious about this trip. Many of you will know I am a frequent traveller and *normally* a trip to France is something I wouldn’t blink at - just a hop, skip and jump across the pond. During a pandemic, well, everything feels like *a lot*. But the house is a business and business needs taking care of! We have a handful of local bookings this year and what looks to be a busy season next year and some things are just easier to do in person. So we’re taking the plunge. Want to know what it’s like? Stay tuned to my Instagram Stories where I’ll share the journey (and the trip)!

a gift for canadian readers!

Happy Pops are my summer indulgence this year! All-natural, gluten-free and vegan, these are the best way to cool off when it’s hot. You can get them in some supermarkets here in Toronto but they deliver across the country (insulated packaging that worked a treat on one of the hottest days of the year!).

New customers: use code HAPPYMARDI for a 10% discount - give them a try and let me know what you think! And I take full responsibility if you become as addicted to them as I am ! Stock up!


Thanks to the kind folks at Raincoast Books, I have one copy of Rebekah Peppler’s À Table to give away to one lucky newsletter reader. I wrote about this book and the Ten Things I Learned About Entertaining French-style on my blog here.

To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling me what you’d like to learn about entertaining, the French way!

Leave a comment

Winner will be chosen at random on July 31st after 6pm EDT and notified by email within 2 days. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email otherwise another winner will be chosen. Good luck!

cooking class update

I’ve decided to take a little break from my online cooking classes this summer. After 16 months where I taught between 2 and 5 online cooking classes every week, I need a little R+R (and time to work on aforementioned projects). A lot of countries around the world are loosening restrictions as well and many more “in person” activities have come back. At least here in Ontario, people are flocking back to “normal life” meaning the appeal of the online classes is definitely not a strong as a few months ago. I *may* have a couple of classes with Context through the summer (I will let you know) but I won’t be adding any new classes of my own until late summer/ fall.

I hope that in the fall, people will have settled into a more “hybrid” life - a little bit of online, a little bit of in-person when it comes to social activities (I know that is the plan for me!). And I’m working on some new class ideas so stay tuned!

In the meantime…

I do have a “Menu du Jour” class on Sunday August 29th at 11.30am EDT that you can sign up for! Use the code NEWSLETTERSUBSCRIBER for 15% off ticket prices! In this class, you’ll learn to make Vichyssoise (Chilled Leek and Potato Soup), Roasted Tomato Quiche, Tarte Fine aux Pommes (Apple Tart). Come and join us - we have a lot of fun!


recipes you might have missed

Here are two recent recipes from my blog for my two of favourite meals of the day: ham and cheese financiers for l’heure de l’apéro and a no-bake chocolate strawberry cake for dessert!

summer reads

My latest Summer Reads picks:

The Margot Affair (read my review here)

The Chalet (read my review here)

My Place at the Table (read my review here)

The Exiles (read my review here)

what to watch

We actually haven’t watched much of note recently (we’ve watched a few pretty grim movies by accident, noone needs any more grim in their lives these days LOL!) and we seem to have fallen into a couple of shows with loads of seasons that we are dipping in and out of. One we enjoyed was Biohackers (although I would recommend watching BOTH seasons close together as we struggled to remember the first season when the second came out).

23 days in July

With the Tour de France coming to a close today, I thought it would be cool to share this film that my dad worked on in 1983! That’s right, he and his film production company followed Australian cyclist Phil Anderson throughout the Tour (he finished 9th!) and it is (still today) a truly fascinating look at the world’s most famous cycle race. I was thinking about it the other day and came across the entire film on YouTube! Apparently it’s a hidden classic of Australian cinema”! Enjoy!

links you might like


Looking for some new recipes to try? Did you know I am a recipe tester for Leite’s Culinaria? Here is a list of the recipes I’ve deemed “Tester’s Choice” (a dynamic list that’s always being added to).

Need an excuse? The Health Benefits of Coffee via The New York Times might be just what you’re after to justify your habit!

It’s not their job to buy you cake via Nieman Lab. With office jobs around the world poised to go back to some form of “in person” scenarios over the next few months, I found this an interesting read. Has the pandemic made you rethink your own office culture? What do/ don’t you miss about it?


The one pandemic meal tradition we’re keeping via Food 52. Did you start a new food tradition over the past 18 months?

What we spent in a month: six American families open their doors (and wallets) to show us how much life costs via The New York Times. This was absolutely fascinating!

I’m not scared to re-enter society, I’m just not sure I want to via The Atlantic. How are YOU coping with “re-entry”?


Marché des Producteurs de Pays via David Lebovitz. Can’t travel to a French Farmer’s Market this year? Travel vicariously with David!

7 French cocktails to order on your next trip - and re-create at home via Condé Nast Traveler. For planners and those who aren’t quite ready to travel yet.


This month, I’m sharing some newsletters here that *I* enjoy each month and hope you will too! Some excellent writing here.

Dorie Greenspan

David Lebovitz

Alicia Kennedy

Ann Mah

La Cuisine Paris

Food Nouveau

The Bake School by Kitchen Heals Soul

Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacob

buy my book!

“One of the best ways to have fun and bond with young people is to cook with them as partners. Kids are inherently creative; the smell and taste of the dishes produced will stay with them permanently. In the French Kitchen with Kids, a thorough, well-organized, approachable and friendly cookbook, will take your child on a delectable culinary voyage leading to a lifetime of lasting memories.”

– Jacques Pépin

buy my book here

rent our holiday home in south-west France!

Can’t you just picture yourself here?

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!

read more and book your stay!

Thanks for reading! Stay safe!

Mardi xo

(don’t forget to comment on this post for your chance to win a copy of À Table!)