Friday, December 5

A Creative Workshop in Paris


Hi there,

How are you doing? I have been playing catch up so far, feeling more energised than last week (and the week before). Temperatures in Tokyo have dropped however, and it looks like winter is here to stay!

Maybe because I was thinking of how good a summer I spent in France this year, I realised that I had not yet posted the pictures of the workshop I organised in Paris in August for my lovely girlfriends. Based on a DIY project created for Tukutte magazine for their June 2014 issue, we customised hand-woven Mexican pouches (from Trensa) in the most colourful and creative ways. I had a bunch of lining fabrics scraps from my years at fashion school, and they were just perfect for this little project. I gave simple directions regarding the technique to customise the pouches and everyone came up with their very own unique design. I was amazed to see to see such variety of ideas, they rock!

Having lived in Asia for so long now (10 years), it's easy to forget how beautiful and breath-taking European cities truly are. So every year I make a point to go back and soak in all the majestic architecture and beauty at [nearly] every corner... Are you with me on this one?

****** 
Coucou tout le monde,
Comment allez-vous? Je rattrape mon retard sur le blog cette semaine, me sentant en meilleure forme que durant les 2 semaines précédentes. Les températures ont chuté à Tokyo dernièrement, l'hiver est bel et bien arrivé!
Je repensais aux bons moments passés en France l'été dernier, ce qui est peut-être la raison pour laquelle je me suis aperçue que je n'avais jamais partagé avec vous les  photos de l'atelier créatif que j'avais organisé pour mes copines lors de mon passage à Paris. Basé sur le projet DIY que j'avais développé pour le magazine japonais Tukutte en Juin, nous avons customisé des petites pochettes mexicaines tressées (que j'avais eu de Trensa). Il me restait aussi pas mal de chutes de doublures de mes années passées à Esmod, parfait pour ce genre de projet! Je n'ai donné que le minimum d'instructions à chacune, et j'étais émerveillée de voir leur créativité à l'oeuvre!   

The view from the balcony of Laure's apartment...
La vue du balcon de l'apartment de Laure...


I had brought the pouches all the way from Japan, anticipating this friendly get-together while I was going to be in Paris. My friend Laure (picture below), a talented and well-traveled interior architect, hosted the workshop at her stylish apartment located between le canal de l'Ourcq and les Buttes Chaumont (East of Paris). We met 8 years ago in Singapore while we were both working there. She's always resourceful and has wise advices about everything in life. Her passion after design? Yoga.

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J'avais apporté les pochettes du Japon, planifiant déja a l'avance ce petit atelier créatif lorsque je serais à Paris. Mon amie Laure (ci-dessous), une architecte d'intérieur talentueuse et une voyageuse infatigable, avait proposé d'en être l'hôte. Nous nous sommes donc retrouvées dans son apartment décoré avec beaucoup de goût, situé entre le canal de l'Ourcq et les Buttes Chaumont (dans l'est de la capitale). J'ai rencontré Laure il y a environ 8 ans à Singapour alors que nous y travaillions toutes les deux. Laure me donne de précieux conseils sur tous les sujets; sa deuxième passion après le design? le yoga.


Laure is also passionate about having a healthy lifestyle and she's encouraged me to make some necessary changes at home. Everything seems so effortlessly chic and zen at her home, it's very relaxing to spend time together.

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Laure est également passionnée par le fait de mener une vie équilibrée et pleine de sens, et elle nous a énormément inspiré pour faire quelques changements nécessaires dans notre famille. Qu'il est relaxant et agréable de passer du temps chez elle!


Now meet Rosy (picture below), the founder and designer behind Belgian label Kinses, another of my closest friends. I was extremely happy to see her again after two years. We met at the fashion school in Paris in 2000 and also went to Italy together. She's extravagant, creative and so much fun! We most certainly share a passion for (very good) food and colourful fashion. And Italy. When we are together we can giggle for hours about the most childish things while eating chocolate, or cake, or both.

******
Voici mon amie Rosy, qui a fondé la marque belge Kinses. J'étais vraiment heureuse qu'elle soit libre cette semaine-là, après deux longues années durant lesquelles nous ne nous étions pas vues. Nous nous sommes aussi rencontrées à Esmod Paris en 2000 et avons vécu en Italie ensemble. Elle est pleine d'extravagance, très creative et tellement chouette! Nous sommes sur la meme longueur d'ondes lorsqu'il s'agit de tester de délicieux plats et aimons toutes les deux les couleurs! Et l'Italie. Nous pouvons passer des heures à papoter de tout et de rien en mangeant des chocolats ou des gâteaux, ou les deux. 

Rosy is starring a flower headband by French designer Nini Peony
Rosy avec sa toute nouvelle couronne de fleurs créée par Nini Peony.

It's important for me to see my girls at least once a year, and it usually happens in Paris where most (but not all) of them live. I studied in the city of lights for a year before moving to Italy and lived on and off for maybe another year, which isn't that much, but I have some crazy happy memories of my time there...


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C'est important pour moi de voir mes amies au moins une fois par an, et cela se fait tout naturellement à Paris, où la plupart d'entre elles résident (mais pas toutes). J'ai étudié dans la ville lumière une année avant de partir en Italie, puis j'y ai vécu de temps en temps pendant encore une autre année, ce qui ne représente pas grand-chose en fait. Mais j'ai des souvenirs vraiment chouettes de cette période de ma vie...

Friendship bracelet by Kinses.
Bracelet d'amitié - une création Kinses

I may not be able to run a workshop without a delicious lunch anymore. This workshop was no exception, however I wasn't the one behind the stove this time. Laure worked her magic and prepared a tasty, light and mouth-watering vegetarian lunch for us. And since no lunch is complete without dessert, let me introduce you to our baking fairy for the day...

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Je ne pense pas être en mesure de conduire un atelier sans qu'un délicieux repas ne soit servi. Cet atelier ne faisait pas exception, mais ce n'était pas moi derrière les fourneaux cette fois. Laure nous prépara un déjeuner végétarien extra et léger, parfait pour l'occasion. Et comme il n'existe pas de déjeuner français sans dessert, laissez moi vous introduire notre petite fée des desserts...


... I named Laetitia! A fashion blogger + a passionate foodie and a romanic at heart... Parisian by adoption. We met at the fashion school in Paris as well - fond memories of our year together. She's very talented but kind of refuses to admit it. And she has a unique sense of humour, which I love. Check out her blog Style Melia (in French) and read it, you will understand what I mean >.<

****** ... Laëtitia! Une blogueuse mode et une passionnée de nourriture, très romantique aussi... Une parisienne d'adoption. Une ancienne d'Esmod Paris comme moi, nous avons passé notre année de diplôme ensemble (ainsi que Rosy). Très talentueuse mais ne voulant pas le reconnaître. Elle a un sens de l'humour que j'adore, allez faire un tour sur son blog Style Melia, vous comprendrez mieux!

Picture taken on a bridge over the Canal St Martin on a sunny day!
Photo prise sur un pont surplombant le canal St Martin un jour ensoleillé!

Tartelettes aux framboises, mini chocolate cupcakes and cannelés

Choux à la crème! 

I have met Blandine (picture below) while being a sales assistant at Claudie Pierlot, the shop that was located rue du Faubourg Montmartre, in between jobs. We clicked immediately as we have a shared passion for jewellery and Japan - among many other things. Blandine is eternally optimistic, a bout-en-train and a very creative soul as well. She's currently creating fancy jewellery and she has the best sales & customer service skills I have ever witnessed. What a sweetie!

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J'ai rencontré Blandine (photo ci-dessous) alors que j'étais vendeuse chez Claudie Pierlot, dans leur boutique du Faubourg Montmartre, entre deux jobs. Nous avons immédiatement sympathisé ayant en commun une passion pour les bijoux et un intérêt pour le Japon - entre autre choses. Blandine est une éternelle optimiste, un bout-en-train avec une âme très créative - elle crée d'ailleurs des bijoux en ce moment. Et elle a le meilleur sens de la vente et du service que je connaisse. Elle est fantastique! 

Blandine and her infectious smile!
Blandine et son sourire!

Organising a workshop while spending time with your friends is the best way to spend any afternoon at home. We could chat endlessly and catch up with each other's lives while sharing great food and wine. No one to tell us we were too noisy, or too slow. We could laugh to our heart content and despite the many hours spent at home, still feel very productive with our day - and energetic enough to go out in the evening.

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Organiser un atelier créatif pour passer du temps avec mes amies fut une super expérience. Nous avons pu papoter et échanger tous les details sur nos vies respectives, tout en partageant un délicieux repas. Personne pour nous déranger. Nous avons ri à gorge déployée, et même après avoir passé toute la journée à l'intérieur, nous avons eu le sentiment d'avoir été productives - et avec encore assez d'énergie pour sortir le soir boire un verre! 


So the next time you plan a get-together with your friends, make it extra special and celebrate the event that brought you together. And no matter how far you live from each other, remember their birthdays and let them know how special they are to you ♥︎

******
Donc la prochaine fois que vous organiserez quelque chose pour ou avec vos amies, préparez un truc super special pour célébrer ce moment. Et si de longues distances vous séparent, ne les oubliez pas et célébrez leurs anniversaires pour qu'elles sachent que vous tenez à leur amitié ♥︎

Le Louvre, Paris 2014





Tuesday, December 2

Christmas Origami Workshop at Sugar Town {Tokyo}


Last weekend my daughter Chloe, her friend and myself attended an Christmas origami workshop at Sugar Town shop. I initially planned to spend some mother-daughter quality time with her, then we invited a friend to join us. It was raining heavily that day, but we slowly made our way to the shop, which is located near Omotesando. We had a really nice time together with other participants and teacher Yoshida Tsuji. The girls were over the moon crafting together for 2 hours, and they came up with their very own ideas, adding details here and there.

After what the sun was back, and we went for stroll in Harajuku nearby, and had an ice cream!

Irochigai, colourful little sachet to hold your perfume



Sugar Town is a super cute giftshop located near Omotesando 
and they run creative workshops every couple of months. 
Make sure to check out their website!



Color candy houses spotted somewhere in Harajuku - how cute!



Monday, December 1

Mini Me Dolls Workshop

 

 Hello friends!

How have you been? I wonder how many of you have been busy cooking for Thanksgiving, I hope you all had fun times with your families.
I wasn't feeling too well last week, thus the lack of posts and overall slow activity on all of my social media. I am a bit better now, and I have photos of the last workshop to show you! They were all taken by my trusted photographer Nao Lincoln, I am so thankful for her help!

The theme of this workshop was the Mini Me dolls, and I had started to prep up the house for Christmas - minus the Christmas tree which we made yesterday. I will share more inspiration on this very topic later on the blog... Enjoy the photos!

An embroidered Christmas decoration made last year
Participants could choose their favorite color combination!
A rare photo of me teaching - thanks Nao, loving it!
 Here are the wonderful dolls created by each participants!

I always serve a warm, home cooked lunch after my workshops, and on the menu this month was:
➵ a vegetable soup
➵ a Moroccan couscous, cooked my style
➵ a vanilla flavoured panna cotta with its red berry sauce

And I served a hot chocolate & sesame/ chocolate cookies at mid-workshop to cheer everyone up!

My Moroccan couscous, rich and very very tasty!
Vanilla flavoured panna cotta with red berry sauce

I would like to thank everyone who attended this workshop, we had a wonderful moment all together!



* Workshop organised in collaboration with Niki's Kitchen *

©Photography by Nao Lincoln



Tuesday, November 25

Le parfait Mont-Blanc {recipe}

Hello everyone!

Two many days have passed by since my last post, as I was busy preparing for the Mini Me doll workshop, decorating my house for Christmas and entertaining my little ones over the weekend. The workshop went really well, we had such a good time! I am hoping to share some pictures with you all later this week.

Last October I had promised to share the recipe of the Mont-Blanc dessert I served at the Halloween workshops. This dessert takes many steps to make, but it isn't really difficult. To make it even easier, you can buy ready-baked tartelettes (pastry base) and I also used chestnut puree in a can - from France.

A bit of history to start ...

I've always thought Mont-Blanc was a French dessert, but I have ultimately discovered that it was first described in an Italian cookbook in 1475. It then became popular in France in the 17th century, around 1620. The pastry has five components: the pastry, the meringue, the almond paste, the chantilly (whipped cream) and sweetened chestnut purée. It's one of my favourite desserts, so I'm happy to share my recipe on the blog today!


Ingredients (serves 6 people)
  • 6 tartelettes (already cooked pastry base)

  • Meringues (the size of a cotton ball):
4 egg whites (to get out of the fridge 15mins before beating)
250g sugar
1 pinch of salt

  • Almond paste:
50g almond powder
50g icing sugar
50g plain flour
50g soft butter
1 egg

  • Chantilly (whipped cream)
250g whipping cream
25g white sugar

  • Chestnut cream:
100g sweet chestnut cream
100g chestnut purée 


STEP 1 // the mini meringues


You can bake your meringues a couple of days ahead if necessary. Keep them in an air-tight container  to avoid them to soften.

Tip: chill out your glass or metal bowl in the fridge before whipping up the egg whites

  1. Preheat the oven to 100 degree celsius
  2. In a glass or metal bowl, beat your egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy, adding a pinch of salt right at the start. 
  3. Sprinkle in sugar, a little at a time, while continuing to whip at medium speed. When the mixture becomes stiff and shiny like satin (after about 15mins), stop mixing and transfer the mixture in a pipping bag with a large round or star nozzle.
  4. Pipe the meringue out on the baking sheet (see the above photo) and bake in the oven for about 1 and 1/2 hours.
  5. Allow the meringues to cool completely before removing them from the pan.

STEP 2 // the almond paste


the almond paste I scooped in the tartelettes before baking...

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.
  2. Combine 50g of almond powder with the icing sugar, plain flour and soften butter. Add 1 egg and mix well. 
  3. Transfer the almond cream to a piping bag and pipe it on to the tartelettes (pre-made pastry).
  4. Bake in the oven for 3-5mins. 

... and this is how it looks like when it comes out of the oven.


STEP 3 // assembling


Top each tartelette with a small meringue. You can spread a bit of jam under the meringue to "glue" it  to the tartelette.



STEP 4 // the chantilly or whipped cream

I highly recommend you to make your own whipped cream for this recipe. The bottled one simply doesn't hold very long and it will flatten quickly if you don't serve it immediately after making it.



Whip the cream with sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer the chantilly into a pipping bag and pipe it over the top of the meringue to form a dome shape (see photo below). Refrigerate for an hour.



STEP 5 // the chestnut paste

Mix well 100g of sweet chestnut cream with 100g of chestnut purée. The chestnut cream is already sweetened, while the purée is only made of chestnuts. It's important to mix both to avoid an overly sweet dessert. 


STEP 6 // the assembling

Transfer the chestnut paste to a pipping bag fitted with a special vermicelli nozzle and pipe the chestnut mixture on top of the chantilly, attempting to cover it heavenly. 

TipThis is by far the most difficult part of this recipe, so it may be a good idea to practice a little bit until you feel comfortable with the result.

At this stage, you can top your dessert with a bit of chantilly, which represents the image of a  snow-capped mountain.

Bon Appétit!





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