La fête des ateliers à FLC : Fontainebleau Loisirs et Culture! (En exclu- recettes en français!) Open house at the FLC & The Shellyfish’s Cooking Demo! (Sans Photos)

NB: Suite à un accident technique où j’ai perdu toute mes photos (sauf une) des gourmandises de cette journée, je voulais renoncer et ne pas écrire le suivant. Mais, me voila, j’ai un peu (beaucoup) de retard…faisons semblant qu’on est toujours au mois de juin? :) Due to a technical error where I lost all the pictures of the goodies from this event (save one), I wanted to skip this entry, but here I am anyway. This post is a little (very) late…let’s just pretend it’s still June, ok?

Le samedi 14 juin c’était la fête à FLC : Fontainebleau Loisirs & Culture, puisque nous avons littéralement ouvert les portes au grand public ! En règle générale je me trouve dans ma salle de classe avec mes élèves au premier étage (avec la porte fermée pour ne pas gêner les autres- on s’amuse bien en cours et ça s’entend !). En tant qu’animatrice des cours d’anglais*, j’essaie de préparer des cours aussi ludiques et intéressants que possible, avec des supports aussi variés que possible : peut-être un article sur la politique aux Etats-Unis, une nouvelle parlant des difficultés de la vie du couple (et même une chanson qui propose une autre solution assez extrême !), un texte bien utile qui nous explique comment prendre soin de ceux qu’on aime, ou bien l’analyse des films qui mettent en valeur des “personnes” et des “personnages” clefs de la culture anglophone.

Saturday June 14th things were rather festive at FLC, or Fontainebleau Loisirs & Culture, because it was our end of the year open house! Generally I’m up in my classroom with my students on the second floor (with of course the door closed as to not disrupt the other classes- we tend to have fun and laughter carries!). As the English language teacher*, I try to make my classes both interesting and fun, using as many different mediums and subjects as I can, incorporating varying facets of language and Anglophone culture : maybe an article about politics in the United States, or perhaps a short story about the “difficulties” of married life (and even a song with a rather unique solution to said difficulties!), a handy little text which explains how to “take care” of those we love, as well as watching and discussing films which highlight key people and characters of Anglophone culture.

FLC propose des tas de cours & ateliers : langue étrangère, art plastique, musique, cuisine – et encore! – et J’étais ravie lorsqu’on m’a proposé d’animer un atelier cuisine “sucré” spéciale ayant pour thème la « Cuisine nord américaine » lors de notre fête des ateliers ! Et je n’ai pas hésité une seconde lorsqu’il fallut choisir les recettes : des cupcakes au chocolat de Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World et des cookies aux flocons d’avoine et à la purée de cacahouète de Vegan With A Vengeance .

FLC offers a so many different classes & workshops : foreign langues, art, music, cooking – and more! – and I was thrilled when asked to lead a special “sweets” cooking workshop featuring “North American Cuisine” during our Open House! And I knew exactly what I wanted to make : the “Basic Chocolate Cupcakes” from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and the “Gigantoid Peanutbutter Cookies” from Vegan With A Vengeance.

Tout d’abord il fallait traduire les recettes et aussi faire les conversions entre le système Impériale et le système métrique (tellement plus facile !). J’ai donc préparé des cookies et des cupcakes à proposer aux visiteurs lors de la partie « portes ouvertes cours d’anglais » avant notre atelier cuisine, en faisant les conversions à chaque étape.

First I had to translate and convert the recipes from the Imperial system over to metric (which is so much easier, seriously people, it’s crazy!). I opted to make some test batches (translating and converting as I went using my kitchen scale) to serve to the passers by during the first part of the Open House where I greeted visitors in my classroom.

Je regrette sincèrement, mais je n’ai pas de photo de notre séance « cuisine et langue » (puisqu’on l’a fait en « franglais » !), j’étais tellement prise par ce que je faisais ! Je me suis beaucoup amusée, et les participants aussi (je pense), et nous nous sommes bien régalés aussi bien sûr ! Et le meilleur était de montrer à tout le monde combien les pâtisseries « sans cruauté » sont bonnes et faciles à préparer ! Beaucoup de monde passa, intrigués par les arômes venant de la cuisine, et il y avait plus d’une personne dubitative lorsque quelqu’un chuchotait « C’est végétalien ! Il n’y a pas d’œufs ! Tu te rends compte ! », mais je peux vous assurer qu’il ne restait plus rien à la fin de la séance, ils ont tout mangé ! Je n’avais pas pour mission explicite de faire de la propagande végétalienne, mais, si j’ai pu montrer aux non-croyants que c’est plus que possible de bien manger sans faire de mal aux animaux (et moins de mal à soi), tant mieux !

I’m so sorry that I don’t have any picutres of our “language and cuisine” session (because we did it in “fringlish” sharing random English vocabulary for baking & the kitchen- fun!) but I was so into what I was doing, it didn’t even occur to me to ask someone to be my photographer! I had so much fun, as did the participants (I hope!), and we also loved devouring sampling the goodies! But for me, the most rewarding part was showing everyone that “cruelty free” baked goodies were so yummy and so easy to prepare! There were many folks who just passed through the kitchen, curious as to the enticing aromas coming from the oven, and there was more than one eyebrow raised and doubtful look when someone whispered “It’s vegan! There are no eggs! Can you believe it?”, but there was nothing left at the end! They ate everything! I didn’t have a hidden agenda of Vegangelical propagandising, but if I was able to show a few non-believers that it’s more than possible to eat well without harming animals (and harming yourself a little less), well rock on!

Et voici les recettes, avec la permission de Ms. Isa et de Ms. Terry, les supers nanas de la cuisine végétalienne ! If you’re looking for the original versions of these recipes you can try here for the cupcakes, but I’m not sure the cookies have leaked to the blogosphere…though I’m sure they’re out there.

Cup Cakes au Chocolat

Ingrédients :

20cl lait de soja
5ml vinaigre de cidre
200g sucre en poudre
7cl huile végétale
10ml essence de vanille
180g farine
65g cacao en poudre
3.5ml (3/4 teaspoon) de bicarbonate de soude
2.5ml (1/2 teaspoon) de poudre levante
pincée de sel

1. Mettre le soja et le vinaigre dans un grand bol et mettre de côté.
2. Préchauffer le four à 175°. Mettre les feuilles de papier dans le moule.
3. Ajouter le sucre, l’huile, et la vanille au soja et mélanger à l’aide du mixer jusqu’à ce que ça mousse.
4. Passer au tamis (ou juste fouetter avec une fourchette) la farine, le cacao en poudre, la poudre levante et le sel dans un autre bol.
5. Ajouter en deux fois le mélange de farine aux ingrédients liquides tout en mixant, jusqu’à obtenir une pâte lisse & homogène.
6. Repartir la pâte dans les moules (les remplir au 3/4) et enfourner pour 10-15 minutes.

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies

Ingrédients :
225g farine
175g flocons d’avoine
10ml (2 teaspoons) poudre levante
pincée de sel
175ml huile végétale
175g beurre de cacahouètes
225g sucre roux
200g sucre en poudre
125ml lait de soja
10ml (2 teaspoons) essence de vanille

1. Préchauffer le four à 180°. Sortir 2 plaques de cuisson.

2. Mélanger la farine, les flocons d’avoine, la poudre levante et le sel dans un grand bol. Dans un autre bol, mixer l’huile, le beurre, les sucres, le lait et la vanille.
3. Ajouter le mélange de farine aux ingrédients liquides et mixer. La pâte sera très humide et collante, c’est normal ! Répartir des cuillerées de pâte (aprox. La taille d’un œuf) sur la plaque de cuisson (aprox. Une douzaine). Enfourner pour 10-12 minutes, puis laisser refroidir quelques minutes, puis les déposer sur une grille.

* A partir de la rentrée il y aura des cours pour enfants le mercredi matin! Vous pouvez m’écrire pour plus d’info!

The Battle Of The Bags

I’ve talked about my new-found obsession love for sewing here and here and here and here. A bit back I found the this great (super-easy) bag tutorial over at Tiny Happy (who just has the most lovely ideas). I was really motivated to try and make myself a bag, so after spotting some fun fabric at the marché I set to work :

This was such a great first project to make : easy, straightforward (if you read the directions before beginning…which I didn’t, and made a very predictable mistake right off, but not a grave one…). It has two small inside pockets for my phone and for my wallet. I have been using this bag as a purse- it’s big enough for my agenda, keys, some random doo-dads for the Guppy, etc. I really love the fabric- it’s actually home decorating fabric, green and sort so satiny. I will perhaps make a scaled-down version of this for my nieces’ birthdays in September with some fun pre-teen fabric.

I dug my little hobo bag so much I wanted to make another larger version for carrying graded papers and whatnot, so I improvised and just sort of invented the dimensions based on Tiny H’s tutorial after finding the most adorable flowery corduroy fabric (again at the marché, my little town doesn’t have a fabric store…) :

I got all rock star with this one and rather than just doing a simple little button closure, I did a snazzy flap (which was of course also easy, but was fancy for me!). The photo colors aren’t as true as I wish they were, because the lavender lining material is just such a pretty color…just pretend you can see the vivid color, ok?

zippered back pocket

I mentioned in this post that I wanted to work on this bag from A Mingled Yarn (who also has such lovely projects going on). I’m the most proud of this one because it was really out of my league due to the complexity of the steps, and my unfamilarity in reading sewing tutorials, but I didn’t care! I needed a large messenger-type bag for an upcoming trip, and loved this linen fabric and knew it was destined for a bag.

snap-closure front flap

It has Velcro front and side pockets – I couldn’t figure out how to not have the Velcro stitches showing without losing losing the durability of sewing through the layers of fabric, but I have since decided to use a decorative dark blue ribbon to disguise the rectangles.

The large inside pocket has four mini-pockets – this was the first time I used elastic! Talk about living on the edge! I’m still so punk rock… Since this was my first real multiple-step project, I learned so much. It was challenging in that so much of what I did at the very beginning had a huge impact on what I was finishing up at the end…oh the interconnectedness of the universe…

So despite some newbie errors, a few slightly-crooked seams, and 4 broken sewing machine needles (all during the last 10 minutes of the project!) I am over-all thrilled with this. My sister-in-law who is an avid seamstress was commenting on how she liked my sac and asked me where I bought it! How proud was I when I told her I made it! I am hoping to make another one for one of my sisters who is having a baby girl in November, but with dark brown and pink colors (which is what they chose for my soon-to-be niece’s room).

Now if only I could just happen upon a large trunk full of lovely fabric and notions to feed my desire to make things all by myself!

Thoughtful Fridays – Pour Ingrid Betancourt, Enfin Libre – Finally Free!

photo credit

“L’avenir s’ouvre, plein d’opportunités, je n’ai pas de fardeau du passé à porter.”

Ingrid Betancourt

(“The future is opening up before me, full of opportunities,

I don’t have the burden of my past to bare.” Ingrid Betancourt*)

Ingrid Betancourt was freed after 2324 days of captivity by the FARC in Colombia. 14 other hostages were freed as well. There are so many others, hostages and wrongfully imprisoned, who find an indescribable strength from within to survive their quotidien…such courage. You can read more about her liberation here ou bien ici et aussi ici (this can also be read in English).

* my translation

Ricki’s Rockin’ Raw Bars & Meet “The Zester”

A few weeks back Ricki posted a most excellent raw bar she created. The “Fig and Cherry Bars have become my favourite raw bar and I’ve made these puppies 4 times already! (This is indeed a lot because neither the Guppy or Mr. Fish will eat them. I don’t know why. They are the best raw bar I’ve ever had, let alone made!).

When I first read the recipe, I wanted to make them post haste, the only problem was I didn’t have any dried cherries. I looked around my kitchen (this took me about 5 seconds because I have a lilliputian French apartment kitchen!). Dried cherries I had not, alas, but an unassuming sealed bag of dried prunes caught my eye. Pourquoi pas? Dried prunes are very sweet, quite high in calcium (which was what these bars were all about!), and rather moist (a bonus in the raw bar department, really).

I’m thrilled to report that the dried prunes rocked the raw bars without a doubt – they were moist and sweet enough that I could opt out on the optional agave syrup, so yeah for that. After doing a little scooby-dooing around my petite ville I found that if I really wanted dried cherries I also had to be ready to shell out nearly 15E for about a handful. To this I said, non. If you’ve got dried cherries priced for the proletariat in your hood, however, I suggest you follow Ricki’s recipe. I’m sure they’d be all tarty-delicious. I also added 2 tablespoons of carob powder to one of the batches and it was a very good move.

This little gadget is one of the best kitchen investments I’ve ever made. Maybe I’m the last human on this planet to have ignored the existence of these puppies, I don’t know. I do know that removing the zest from citrus has always driven me nuts, and to be honest I would sometimes skip it because I found it to be such a pain (I know *hanging head*). Then I found “The Zester”. I love this thing. It has made zesting about 90% less annoying. It is so handy and it was worth every cent of the 7E I spent!

And because this post is all about Ricki (and that’s ok, because she’s pretty rockin’), here’s a sloppy picture of my Radish and Grapefruit Salad. Radishes are so good for you- very good for muscle tissue recuperation (I wish I could link to the two articles I’ve read about this but I cannot find them for the life of me! One was from a Sports Therapy Journal and the other was written by Amby Burfoot for Runner’s World). Despite their good-for-you-ness, I have a tough time working them into my meals, but the tartness of the grapefruit marries perfectly with the bitterness of the radishes. I added a generous teaspoon of tahini to the dressing and it was perfect!