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!





Wednesday, November 12

Parade by Aiko Fukawa {Tokyo}


Hello friends,

I was very lucky to visit Japanese illustrator Aiko Fukawa's exhibition at Gallery Speak For last week, and thought you would most probably love to have a glimpse at her work too! 
Aiko Fukawa graduated in 2005 from the Tokyo University of the Arts, Design department and has ever since created various artworks for advertising, book cover, stationery, magazines, children's picture books, etc... She has also published her first art book (Art Works Holiday, published by Genkosha) as well as a drawing notebook called Four Seasons.

I first encountered Aiko Fukawa's artwork at one of my favorite select gift shop in Tokyo - Uguisu, and I instantly fell in love with her distinctive, cute and colourful drawings. Until I have the chance to meet her in person, I will continue to collect the cute stationery pieces and include them in my styling whenever I can. Now let's the parade begin!



As I mentioned earlier on social media, I was particularly inspired by the framing of some of her drawings. Painting polka dots on a plain wooden frame sounds like an excellent way to add a twist to a room. It would be difficult for me to point which art piece was my favorite, but I would be really happy to own the cat "wallpaper" like one, with the white polka dots. Oh me, oh my!

Where from does Aiko Fukawa draw her inspiration? that's what I will try to figure out for you in the coming months...


Aiko Fukawa :: Website :: Tumblr :: Where to buy


A wall at my home, can you point Madame Cat by Aiko Fukawa?


A note about Gallery Speak For: the bright and spacious gallery is located in the heart of the trendy neighborhood of Daikanyama, and holds exhibitions very regularly. There currently is one that I want to check in the coming days: Without Ceremony by Lien






Tuesday, November 11

Mini Me Doll Workshop


Following a feature in the 3rd issue of tukutte magazine (from September 2014 - you can read about it here), I am running a unique workshop in Tokyo to teach you how to make your very own Mini Me doll charm.


PROJECT: Mini Me doll keychain/ charm workshop



Materials: fabrics, cotton lace, Thai silk for the embroidered face, polyester polyfill (filling)
(materials all included)
Participants will be able to choose the fabrics for the body and the heart among available pre-cut pieces. The pieces on the body are hand-sewn but the assembling requires a machine. 
Level: beginner and intermediate 



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After the workshop we will share a hearty home-cooked meal in a relaxed atmosphere. On the menu for this workshop:
- hot chocolate with cookies (mid-workshop treat)
- couscous royal, a Moroccan dish including a wide range of vegetables & beef, served with bulgur (or semoule in French)
- Dessert: a pannacotta served with a red berry sauce
- Drinks: mint tea, water, juices

********
Get ready to be inspired to decorate your house for Christmas with handmade party decorations! 
My chosen theme for this year is Russia, using bold and vivid colours with golden details.

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Date: November 19 (Wed)
Time: from 10am to 3pm
Location: Denenchofu (at my home)
Maximum number of participants: 8 people
Fee: 5,900yen all included


To reserve your spot, please kindly click on the link below:


Workshop organised in collaboration with Niki's Kitchen.


Monday, November 10

Calaverita by Morico Soeda


Hello friends,

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and is ready to make the most of the week ahead! 

I am glad to introduce you the beautiful handmade creations of Morico Soeda, founder and designer behind Japanese label Calaverita. Morico draws her inspiration from the far away land of Mexico, and translates it into quirky and whimsical dolls and accessories, all hand-embroidered by herself. I first discovered her work last year while participating to my friend Yuko Anderson's exhibition at Gallery Aqui in Tokyo in 2013 [read about it here and here].

I fell in love with each and every piece, as they are truly unique and so colourful. This exhibition was taking place at Gallery Aqui as well, a pretty space located right next to Komazawa park in Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo. Enjoy!

The red devil was produced in collaboration with and for Cabane de Zucca, 
a famous Japanese fashion label.


NEWS :: Calaverita is participating to the Mercado de Nuestro Mexico Vol.5 at Gallery Cafe Shouan bunko until November 16, 2014. 


My daughter with Morico Soeda - November 2014



CALAVERITA :: Facebook :: Blog



Friday, November 7

November Newsletter

Hello everyone! 

The November newsletter has been sent out yesterday. Every month I am sharing the studio's latest news with my subscribers and they can usually enjoy a special offer before anyone else. 
If you would like to sign up to receive our news in your mailbox, please click here




♡Happy weekend♡


Thursday, November 6

The Mini Me dolls at Cocoon in Brussels!


Hello friends,

You may have seen a lot of pictures of the Mini Me dolls on my social media platforms lately... the reason is, I was preparing a capsule collection of dolls in a collaboration with Kinses for the upcoming event Cocoon, an interior fair taking place in Brussels (Belgium) from November 15-23.

My long-time friend Rosy Sambwa, founder and designer behind homeware & accessory label Kinses, had sent me a selection of African fabrics (also called wax prints) last September for me to include in my designs. I enjoyed playing and mixing up the colourful prints, and I hope you will like the photos below of some of the dolls I created in the past weeks. I made 22 dolls in total, and a majority are the smaller size dolls - they are so cute, I can't help myself!

Family picture!

And here below are some pics of the mess I am living with when in the midst of a project... oh well, I have just moved in a "new" room where I will set up my atelier so I guess it won't disturb my husband as much from now on...

the choir - as someone mentioned on Instagram...
from shooting day to shipping day!





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