Friday, December 30, 2016

a year in review

It is time to bid farewell to 2016
and review this year top posts.

There were some great house projects:
the baking corner and the patio makeover are among my favorites,

There were a couple quilts:
calendar kids and puppies

And some smaller sewing projects:
sweet pepper coasters, lunch box, fox pillow and sewing mat.

and also some cross stitched embroideries:
advent calendar and beach bag.

I cannot finish this list without adding some desserts:
apple pie, lemon pie, galette des rois and tartelette aux fraises.

It was a very good year for this little blog, and I hope 2017 is just as good.
See you next year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

la buche de Noel aux marrons

Just before Christmas, as I was revisiting my traditional chocolate buche de Noel,
I mentioned wanting to try a new flavor:
la buche aux marrons or chestnut yule log.

Well it turned out pretty good, Miss C. and I really enjoyed it,
the men of the house cannot eat it since it is full of nuts!

To keep it fair, I also made the chocolate one.
So I started with the same dough, and after baking it and
covering it in simple syrup, I used 2/3 for the chocolate buche
and 1/3 for the chestnut one.
While they are different they followed the same principle:
rolled cake with filling and covered in sugary goodness.

This Christmas Chocolate buche.

For the filling, I used some chestnut spread (sent to me by my parents,
but it can also be purchased on amazon: here).
I was loosely following this recipe from Sunny Delices
but since it was a small scale, I used 100 g of chestnut spread,
30 g of soft butter and 60 ml of whipped heavy cream.

After rolling it, I made some Swiss meringue (just like for my lemon pie)
with 2 egg whites and 3 oz of sugar (cooking it before whipping it)
and finally blow torching it.
It makes everything prettier!

This buche definitively goes my vision of a Champagne Christmas!

For Christmas, we kept the table setting simple:

pretty plates, a few candles (battery operated for safety!)
and Champagne of course.
Silly dog and tween not optional!

Happy day!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas

I would to wish you and your family
a Merry Christmas.

Embroidery by my Mom
pattern from Les brodeuses Parisiennes.
I grew some paperwhites, well they are pretty but they smell so bad 😞

Joyeux Noel!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

another buche de Noel

Are you ready to celebrate?
Still undecided on what dessert to choose for Christmas?
How about a traditional French dessert: buche de Noel?

It is very chocolaty and my kids just want nothing else!
A few years ago , I share our buche de Noel,
which I made pretty much every year...

Here for the recipe

Well while I was going through this recipe, I realized I was pretty short on explanation originally,
so this time around, I took a few pics while I was making it.
They are a little dark as I was making the cake late a night for a work holiday lunch....
So yes I will be making another one on Saturday morning,
the younglings are speaking of mutiny otherwise!

In the morning I bake the cake and made the simple syrup.
(reminder: 5 egg yolks, 2.5 oz sugar, 1 tsp vanilla;
 5 egg whites, 2.5 oz sugar; 4.35 oz cake flour, pinch of salt)

In the evening I cut off the edges (they can be dry and uneven) and 
covered the roulade with the simple syrup flavored with some espresso,
(alcohol is good too, but this was for work, so coffee is always the answer!)

Then I made the mocha mousse ganache with heavy cream and chocolate.
(reminder: 4 oz semisweet chocolate (chopped), 1/4 cup of milk, 
1 tsp of instant espresso powder, 1/2 cup heavy cream)
The chocolate has to be melted with some cream or milk very gently, so best to warm up the milk,
then pour it over the chopped chocolate and let the warmth melt the chocolate.
Very important: this need to cool down, completely before adding it to the cream 
and whipping it to make the mousse!
Then I "buttered" the cake with the mousse.

Next is the part where people get nervous: rolling the cake!
It is moist and a little heavy, so I grabbed the paper to help me roll the cake.
I could not take a pic while it was happening, but here what it looks like after.
I also cut a piece off at an angle, since I do not have any platter big enough for such cake
and it needs to feed 15 people (which it totally did!)

On the last turn, a large crack was need to worry, this were the icing comes in,
glues everything together and hides "the flaw"!
I like to make my chocolate icing following the recipe on the back of the Hershey's cocoa:
1 stick of butter, 2/3 cup of cocoa, 1 tsp vanilla,
3 cups of powder sugar, 1/3 cup of heavy cream, 
I ended using more cream as it was too thick to work with.

After that, all better!
I usually leave the ends uncover so that the"wood" can be seen,
but it was not looking perfect so I covered it all...
Finally it is time to decorate with some snow (powdered sugar),
some sawdust (white chocolate shavings)
and of course figurines! (Miss C. has quite the supply)

I also made a no cream mini roll cake for one of my coworker,
not as pretty but she was able to have some dessert!

I am thinking about breaking tradition and make 2 buches this Christmas,
I am not a huge fan of chocolate cake, so may be I can still some of the cake,
and use some chestnut spread to make une buche de Noel aux marrons....
I will let you know how it turns out!

Happy day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

my little Dandelions are coming along

My new set of Dandelion doe(s) is really coming along,
I have now 4 new friends

who will be leaving me shortly....
well one is staying with me,
but to keep everything a secret as much as possible,
I will not say with one!

They are still missing their little black nose,
but I have already sewn their little Liberty of London dresses.

Some have laces (heirloom or regular), some are more simple,
and of course there are the boots.
I still have 2 more pairs to make, I love adding the embroidery details
on the side of the boots and of course matching them to the dresses.

Aren't they so cute with their little Liberty of London ears?

Next time you see them, they will be all dressed up,
but only after Christmas.

Happy sewing!

Friday, December 16, 2016

present mug rug

It could not be Christmas season without sewing some mug rugs!
This year, it will be a very limited edition, as in one,
it was not a fast project but it turned out really cute:

I mean what is not to love:
linen, Liberty of London and presents,
oh and paper piecing!

I used this pattern from Clover and Violet.
It is a fairly easy pattern, just square/rectangle shapes
and no precise joined points,
unlike this dress or dressform!

But it is time consuming, and so reserve to a someone special.
If you are looking for a nice but faster mug rug for the Holidays,
check these ones:

here for the tutorial

or these ones:

For the fastest of the them all:

And finally the one that stayed with me in the sewing room:

(less clean right now!)

Happy sewing!

Coffee, bunny and Easter eggs

Can anyone have too many bunnies, really? OK, maybe, but I am not there yet! I changed my cocoa station from last winter to a spring coffee ...