Whatever Happened To Sunday Dinners? : Chow Baby, Divine Lemon Scones & an Award!

I am once again swooning but for the deliciousness of Ms. Joni’s “food courtesque” Chinese-style recipes! Be still my beating heart (and growling stomach) we have Chow Mein, or Mein Chow if you prefer, action happening here :


The most effortless and versatile vegan chow mein ever! Here we have carrots, onion, green beans, mushrooms, mung bean shoots…but baby corn, broccoli, and faux duck (aka seitan) would also be excellent choices. This was a perfect one-wok meal, and as always, I love you both Celine and Joni, as weekly meal planning is a no-brainer for me, and you all are going to love 500 Vegan Recipes! There are some fabulous photos at the 500 Vegan Recipes Cookbook Flickr group, too. But warning : don’t go on an empty stomach!

But let’s get onto the scones, shall we? As many of you know, since my little accident in November, my Sunday routine has been drastically altered. I loved Sunday mornings because they meant me sneaking out of the apartment before Guppy and Monsieur Fish were awake, greedily soaking up the warm smells of baking croissants and baguettes wafting from the boulangeries as I made my way through the streets of my still-sleeping French city… then on to the forest trails, where the morning mist was still hanging heavy, and save the occasional company of a fox, rabbit or (yikes!) wild boar, I was free to spend one and a half to two glorious hours of me time : the long run.

There was nothing like coming home after my long run, feeling both spent and refreshed at the same time (though not smelling so fresh, gotta admit!). After some stretching and showering, it was time for a decadent Sunday brunch with my little family. While I’m sad (and frustrated) to say my foot/ankle is still not letting me do much other than dream about running, I woke up Sunday morning with that basta! feeling we get when enough really is enough and damn it if I can’t go run at least I’m going to make a fun Sunday brunch treat!

And the Divine Lemon Scones were born. Out of necessity. Because I wanted something citrus, something sweetish (as opposed to Swedish, though, that would have been a good idea, too) and I have a sac of lemons that Monsieur Fish bought last week because they were 1E and he just knew I could use them for something.

divine-lemon-sconeI might have gotten a little carried away with the glaze on this one…what do you think?

These scones have a lovely lemon cakesque groove going on which is perfect for the lemon-lover in me. If, however, you are not as lemon crazy as I am, you may want to use less lemon juice or extract for the glaze, or just skip the glaze all together, though I would think you mad because it’s so good!

Divine Lemon Scones

Because I didn’t feel like washing a million cups, this is a metric measure recipe. Sorry Imperialists Imperial-measure folks. This makes about 12 scones.

  • 300 ml non-dairy milk (I use soy)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 350g AP flour plus 100g AP flour
  • 60g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • pinch salt (but not hard)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • zest from 3 lemons

Preheat your oven to about 200c.

Mix the vinegar and “milk” and set aside. Sift together the 350g flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Now add the oil, zest and curdled soy milk mixture. Stir until just combined, adding flour from the 100g as needed to achieve a powdery, not-even-a-little-bit-sticky dough.

At this point I usually divide the dough into two or three as it’s easier to work with. Knead a piece a few times and flatten it into a bit of a disc-shape. Now cut wedges, about six if you divided the dough in two, and get those babies on a parchment or silplat-lined baking sheet. Bake them for about 10-15 minutes (my oven is psycho, so sometimes it’s more like 10, sometimes 14ish).

While they are on the cooling rack, make your Divine Glaze:

  • about 180g powdered/icing sugar (give or take, depending on the consistency you like)
  • the juice of three lemons (you know, the ones you just scalped for the zest)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional, this really gets things lemony)

All you need to do is mix this up until the powdered sugar dissolves. When the scones are mostly-cool just drizzle this all over them. Setting them on parchment paper is a good idea to help with easy clean-up since this glaze could also double as tasty super glue I think. If these don’t float your sconey-boat, you could also try the Rose & Almond Scones I made for BBD last May – delicate rose flavoured almond scones – yum!

Speaking of lemons, look what I got!

lemonade-award2One of my favourite blogger buddies, Jumbleberry Jam, passed along the Lemonade Award which goes to bloggers who show great Attitude and/or Gratitude. My wise and witty Jumblefriend loves gourmet vegan food, wine, dark chocolate…wait a minute, I think that this describes the majority of my readers! Anyway, thank you so much for this much-appreciated distinction. While I’m to pass this on to 10 other bloggers, I am incapable of choosing because there are so many of you that I just LOVE, so consider yourself awarded if you meet at least one of the following criteria :

1. You can’t wait to read your favourite blogs, and are incapable of keeping up with your “Reader” which makes you crazy!

2. You feel a genuine connection to your favourite bloggers and refer to them as “friends you met on the Internet” when talking about them to non-blogging people (as opposed to just calling them “bloggers”).

3. You’re eternally grateful for the fabulous recipes and food ideas you find in blogland and have no idea how you’d plan your weekly meals without them.

There you go! Do let me know if you’ve been tagged!

Tuile We Meet Again… Vegan Tuile Cookies! Tuiles Végétaliennes! It’s the Daring Bakers January Challenge


What a fun and easy challenge! I loved it! The Daring Bakers were baking Tuile (pronounced tweel) this month and it was pure joy!

I’d bookmarked Vegan Yum Yum‘s recipe for Tuile Cookies back in April, but never got around to making them. What a sillyfish I was! These cookies came out perfectly : light, crisp with a hint of chew…I served these with a luscious maple-lemon custard (and of course with sprinkles, because that’s Guppy’s signature touch) and they were just heavenly. Vegan Yum Yum’s recipe is a slam-dunk, her directions clear and her style impeccable, so really I cannot take much credit for this culinary success – it’s thanks to Vegan Yum Yum!

Here’s what I did (per VYY’s instructions ) :


I traced three circles in some cardboard. She’d suggested not baking more than three at a time because they cool quickly and shaping would be tricky. I followed her advice and had no problems.


Using my lil’ knife and self-healing mat I cut out the circles.


I put a few dollops of dough in each circle, then using a butter knife I leveled things out.


For a more traditional shape, I used my rolling pin. But the their traditional shape doesn’t lend itself well to filling, so I decided to use espresso cups.


Right out of the oven I would slide them onto the outside of the cup, then one by one I would pinch them into a taco shape and slide them into the cup. They retained their shape as they cooled.


Here’s a cooled tuile just waiting for some maple-lemon custard…


Notice how the custard opened the taco just a smidge? The key is not to fill them before you’ll be eating them as the filling can lead to soggy tuiles…


Notice how the ones on the left are all perdy and the one on the right is creeping open…it was filled about a half hour before the picture was taken. So, be sure and wait until just before serving to fill your tuiles!

This month’s challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux. Thank you both for a great challenge!

Be sure and visit the Daring Baker’s Blogroll to see all the tuile-y goodness!

The unbearable deliciousness of Marmite Biscuits (Crackers)


Like many of you, my first Marmite experience was rather brutal : I’d heard Marmite and Vegemite mentioned before here and there, but I had no idea what it tasted like. I was 16, and visiting England for the very first time.

Gullible, trusting and rather naive, I allowed myself to be seduced by the groans of pleasure coming from the 6 and 9-year-old children who were seated near me at the kitchen table, as the bit into their Marmite and cucumber topped slices of bread.

“So what does it taste like?” I asked, sniffing the open jar. The colour reminded me of the pints of Guinness I’d had the night before with the children’s uncle and cousin at the local pub. I was still marveling over the staying power of the foamy brew, the way the “S” the barkeep traced in frothy white top of my glass remained intact until I managed to finish it down. My head hurt too, but I was 16, who cares about that?

“Here, have some,” the elder of the two beamed, slathering a gigantic dollop of Marmite onto a slice of bread. “It’s kind of like peanut butter, only different,” he offered reassuringly.

I couldn’t help but notice the 6 year-old giggling, but she seemed to giggle all the time, so I wasn’t really sure what that was all about.


Of course I obligingly took a big bite of the tartine offered me, only to realize that I was about to be sick and needed to get to a toilet fast. Embarrassment. I was teased it was the Guinness from the night before. It wasn’t. It was that damned Marmite. Bugger.

I’m a peace and love kind of gal, and I’m always trying to make amends with my enemies. Like the yeasty-spreads. Thrilled I am to say that during Grad school one of my sweethearts had a real thing for the “mite” sandwiches, and I was all about people making me lunch, so I became a fan.

These crackers, however, take the love to a whole new level:


These biscuits are rich, buttery and have an almost eyebrow-raising bacony taste to them. The yeast spread gives them a depth of flavour that is satisfying and surprising. These are perfect for snacking, and would also be lovely dunked in a steamy bowl of soup. I served them with cocktails and billed them as crackers because here, biscuits are sweet and that would have been weird.

This recipe and 499 others will be available for your vegan pleasure in Celine & Joni’s 500 Vegan Recipes. You can check out the Flickr photos if you want more food p*rn, too. It’s a real treat to be working on such a comprehensive book. I’m not trying to be a tease, really! Come on over and I’ll make you some so you can have some, too. Promise.

*Another grand merci to Libby who sent me these super-cute cookie cutters. She was turned away at the polls during the 2001 election in Florida when that phoney election when down. She was there, man. Yet another moment in my day where I am thankful for Obama!

Birthday Recap Time, Kids!

Thank you from the bottom of my little vegan heart for all of your love, electronic and virtual well wishes and other forms of birthday cheer. Birthdays are generally a very big deal for us- we normally celebrate “Birthday Girl (or Boy) Week”, but it’s been a bumpy little time here in Fishland, and my birthday was all but brushed under the rug – until some super friends and blogging buddies like YOU came along to make me feel all special and stuff. I won’t blather on, just know that I feel so grateful for you all. (Snif, snif).

It wouldn’t be a birthday without cake, right?


This scrumptious carrot cake from Vegan With A Vengeance has been all over the blogosphere of late. I’m usually a lemon cake or tofu cheese cake kind of gal, but when I saw Virginia’s carrot cake from VWAV last week, I gave into the peer pressure. Know why I’ve never made it? I can’t find vegan cream cheese here, and I didn’t want to make it without “right” frosting! Sillyfish. I opted for an almond & coconut buttercream, which wasn’t too shabby. I added about 1/2 cup crushed pineapple to the cake (because for me, if a carrot cake is sans pineapple, it’s just a wanna-be) and used a little less pineapple juice – it worked out just splendidly!

Now for the gifts!


I asked Monsieur Fish for this Japanese Couture book from Pomodor24 (Highly recommend her! She has a shop on Etsy, too). He seemed incredulous and felt obliged to remind me I don’t read Japanese, but when I insisted that I’d be able to understand the diagrams and patterns, and that many other stitchy folks who lacked the Japanese skillz managed to sew some beautiful dresses from this book so why not me, he did acquiesce (though I didn’t know it! I was indeed a happysurprisedfish when I opened the mail). Look at how beautiful some of these are!



Now I just need to find me some perdy fabric and I will be all over this! That being said, have any of you made anything from this book? Cause, you know, it’s in Japanese! Ahem. I’ll figure it out, duh! (whispers: but you can email me if you’ve made something so I can see it on your blog & bug you with questions, right?). Whew.

And you need these to cut fabric for a new dress, right?


My sweet parents sent me these! They actually came in a few days before my birthday (meaning I’ve been able to use them) and man, they cut through four layers of cordoroy like non-dairy buttah, baby! Just shows you, getting by with any old tool is possible, but using the right tool for the job makes it so much easier!

I also received two very surprise gifts which made me feel so special!

new-crewel1A book, the new crewel : Excuisite Designs in Contemporary Embroidery by Katherine Shaughnessy. I made my way to the mail box thinking I’d find the light bill, but instead was this lovely book sent by my sweet friend Natalia!



My other suprise gift was a book card! Everybody’s favourite Texas Vegan Mum Krys, and her Two Vegan Boys, Arthur and Adam sent me a gift certificate so I can treat myself to one of my very favourite things – a book!

I am so moved by the friendships that have grown out of our little blogging community, and Natalia and Krys, you are both so special to me! And you made me feel special – hey, come on, group hug everyone! Thank you!

Decisions, Decisions…

It would seem we are inundated with a host of decisions from dawn to dusk. While I embrace free will (or the illusion of it? hummm…), there are moments when it’s just not possible, nor desirable, really, to have to chose between the lady or the tiger.

If you know what I mean.

Our conundrum? Cookies or brownies.

I know. Earth-shattering stuff.

Luckily, I have a friend. Her name is Celine. She’s working on a cookbook.


Thanks to Celine, we were liberated from the bondage inseparable from freedom.

The only real decision to be made, was how many to eat.

Monsieur Fish helped make this decision for me by eating nearly all of them.

Problem solved.

Stay tuned for some breakfast love tomorrow…

I’ll test your cookies, baby.

The alternate title for this post was “You say pain killers, I say cookies.”

I couldn’t decide.

Probably because of the pain killers. Ha!

I may be down, but I’m not out of the kitchen, and I have been bakin’ up a little love courtesy of two of the sassiest, snappiest and most seductive ladies of the net…Celine and Joni.

Running the Paris Marathon might not happen (just yet), but I am embarking on a marathon of recipe testing for their upcoming collaborative cookbook project. Uh huh. You may now officially begin drooling my friends.


Chewy Ginger Cookies

Guppy & I had a little collaborative effort of our own in the kitchen – this of course would explain the purple sprinkles. These have become my new favourite ginger cookie ever! I wuv these cookies, and so did Guppy. We ate them all (there weren’t too many, honest!). Don’t tell Monsieur F we made them, K? He’ll never know…

But don’t you go feeling all sorry for M. Fish on me, because he got to go crazy with these :

sodarollsToasted Pine Nut & Chive Soda Rolls

There is a magical recipe for soda rolls that is going to make you think that Celine invented the wheel or something. Which she did. Didn’t she? This recipe is as flexible as a poll dancer kids – I opted for the toasted pine nuts & chives because I thought they would go nicely with the “lets put all the left-over veg and pasta in a big pot with some veg stock and call it soup” I was making. And they did. In fact, they were so classy and sophisticated (yet refreshingly down to earth, like me! Ha!) no one really paid much mind to the tasty yet strange looking soup in their bowls. Right on.

More test recipes to come my hungry friends.

It’s not Monday yet, is it? At least we’ve got cookies!

Today marks the end of our first holiday of the school year, and that means back to work for Guppy and I (well, until tomorrow, which is another holiday – woo hoo!). We decided to get the most of our last holiday weekend :


…walking in the “rain puddles” as Guppy calls them. So much more poetic than “mud puddles” if you ask me.

raking“Swishing” the leaves (I asked her what she was doing, and she told me plainly, “swishing the leaves!”). We’re between the rows of trees on the left of my header photo, FYI. It’s called le parc du château, because it’s part of the castle domain here in Fontainebleau.


What walk in the park would be complete without the spontaneous drum solos!

After our lovely promenade, kicking up leaves with our feet – I *love* that sound! – we headed back home for a delicious snack of tea, hot chocolate and cookies!


and not just any cookies, these are the “Classic Peanutbutter Cookies” from Ricki’s much-awaited cookbook Sweet Freedom due out in early 2009. It’s not difficult to win over a family of self-described cookie monsters, I admit it, but holy yum! It will never cease to amaze me how something so easy can be so good! And the sprinkles? Ask the Guppy, who was in charge of criss-crossing & decorating. She helps remind me to pay attention to the details of happiness. Cookies = good. Sprinkles on cookies = fantastic! I have to remember to think like a 3-year-old. I think that the majority of the time, it’s the right way to go. Knowing there are cookies waiting for your afternoon snack makes the day so much more exciting, don’t you think?


I finished up the embroidery for my new niece’s bibs this weekend, too. Hopefully I’ll get them assembled today or tomorrow. They are just begging to be drooled upon!

The beautiful & inspiring and the delicious & nutritious!


collage du site Marie Claire Idées

I’m always rather thrilled when my new copy of “Marie Claire Idées” arrives. There are so many amazing-cute-crafty-stylish things to ooh and awe at, and it’s just loaded with creative ideas and crafty inspiration. The Salon Marie Claire Idées is happening November 14, 15 & 16 at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris and I’m feeling rather excited about attending. Anyone in the area want to come with me?

My little package of love for my new niece (and her Mumma, my sister) is almost ready. If the sun would just shine a little I’d take some pictures. I’m finishing up a few details today (I hope) and will share that with you soon.

A CrafyFish needs sustenance, and lucky little ole’ me was able to nibble on some of the most tasty scones ever!


Pear and Pecan Scone from Sweet Freedom

This photo is so hideous I wasn’t even going to post about these super-scones, but I decided it would be an injustice to you, my readers, to not share such deliciousness just because of my slap-dash photography job. (I really will make a light box one of these days, probably around the time that we change time in April again…). I made these succulent scones for our quatre heures or afternoon tea, and for some reason the Fish Family was particularly affaimée (starving) and we just started feasting away once they were cool enough to eat…and luckily M. Fish, crumbs flying from his mouth (but in a really cute way) exclaimed “attends! tu as pas pris de photo!” (wait, you didn’t take a picture yet!) and I quickly snapped a picture in my already very dark kitchen. I must say I was really proud of my husband, because he generally teases me for taking pictures of food. It was sweet.

I feel like I need to briefly qualify the “nutritious” part of today’s title. See, the Sweet Freedom treats are not your typical AP flour & 300g non-dairy margarine type treats. I don’t ever tell M. Fish what’s in (or what’s not in) the scones or cookies or bars he’s drooling over, but he sure doesn’t think things taste too *healthy*. And I need to be clear – he’s lucky he’s cute, because he is one picky fishy in the food department!

These scones were like everything I’ve had the opportunity to make from Ricki’s up-coming book – DELICIOUS! And pears and pecans? Together at last is all I have to say! I am so looking forward to seeing the book in early 2009…I want to get my hands on all those recipes that we’re *not* testing! Please visit the Sween Freedom blog to see other examples of the delicious treats to come!

Little Gifts

Not long ago when Monsieur Fish was dropping Guppy off at school, he bumped into a friend from Lycée that he hadn’t seen in almost 10 years. Not only does her little girl go to the same school as Guppy, it turns out that her little girl Sofia is Guppy’s best school friend. Small world indeed. After some brief catching up, his friend invited us over for an apéro or cocktails the following Friday.

I wanted to bring something to share, but our hostess refused. So, I opted to make a little gift for 3 1/2 year-old Sofia instead :

Guppy helped me chose some felty friends to make for Sofia, and I made her a little heart-shaped pouch to keep them in. These Aranzi-Aranzo-inspired critters were really quick to whip up, which is a good thing since I started them shortly before we had to leave. This would explain the not-even-a-little-straight stitching on the heart pouch. But oh well. I don’t think the future recipiant’s attention was really drawn to the seams..

Our cocktail was lovely, and our hosts went all-out to make it a real Vegan-friendly affair : organic wines (which were super-yum!), crudités with soy cream dips, a lovely leek and potato tourte which was delicious, and cucumber and hummus mini-sandwiches. It’s so refreshing when people go the extra bit to prepare something that makes you feel special, rather than just tossing some raw veggies on a plate for you at the last minute (yes, I’ve had that happen).

In other news, I have a new niece! Baby Payten was born last Tuesday and she is doing splendidly. Guppy is rather frustrated because she “wants to go hold that baby”. It’s rather difficult to explain that we can’t just hop on the plane and fly to the U.S. to see her Auntie & Uncle and their new daughter. She felt better when I told her she could help me work on some gifts for her new cousin, though.

I’m making bibs like nobody’s business. I probably should have started them, geeze, I don’t know, before she was born? Yup. I have some other things I’m hoping to make for her…need to get on that.

Growing up, one of my very favourite things was corn bread. My father would often be the first one up and would make some yummy corn bread for us to slather with jam for breakfast. It was also one of the cursory dishes at Thanksgiving. I had never, ever made it myself, though. Mostly because I am a big cooking and baking novice and thought that I couldn’t get corn meal here in France.

Ahem. I’m a big banana pants. In my defense until a year and a half ago I’d never made a cupcake, and up until a year ago I’d never attempted bread or biscuits. I’m a newbie. As I was making polenta the other day it sort of hit me that duh, I do have the technology, even though we call corn flour polenta flour, it’s the same darn thing.

Silly Shellyfish!

Here is some yummy Autumn goodness to keep you the chill at bay : Yummy Corn bread adapted from VCON and homemade chili. Perfect for nibbling while watching the wind whip the leaves off the trees.


Vegan MoFo Day 28 – The Joy of Vegan Baking

I would like to talk to you today my friends about one of my favourite vegan cookbooks. The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks’ Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. This was one of those books that I’d been eyeing when I’d peruse the cookbooks on various websites, but as is often the case, the international shipping would have been as expensive as the book itself! I managed to pick it up during my summer vacation to the US and I couldn’t be a more satisfied customer.

Jam-Filled Oat Bran Muffins

This is the most comprehensive “baking” book I’ve ever owned. It reminds me so much of the copy of the Better Home and Gardens baking book stationed next to the sugar canister and the oven during my childhood. Weighing somewhere around 15lbs, this huge tomb was my mother’s go to cookbook when she had a question or wanted to try to incorporate something new in her baking – that is how I would describe Joy of Baking. There is such an amazing collection of recipes here : your basic cookies, cakes, bars, cobblers and crisps, but it goes above and beyond with recipes like “Butterscotch Pudding” (and chocolate, and baked pumpkin), “Rugelach”, “Caramel Popcorn”, a huge choice of pie crusts (including raw!), sorbets, smoothies, Naan, pies, cheese cakes, cupcakes, frostings, sauces, waffels, biscuits, pancakes…the list is seemingly sans fin. Oh, and it is visually beautiful as well : loaded with glossy pages and lovely photographs.

Filled with homemade apricot jam…

Patrick-Goudreau’s introduction is engaging and informative, both for the veteran vegan and the vegan-curious, she’s included a fantastic section entitled : “The How-to’s and What-nots of Vegan Baking” with invaluable suggestions for subbing and switching up more traditional (and more cruel) ingredients. There is also a comprehensive appendix section with information on yields and equivalents, pan substitutes, a glossary, celebrational and seasonal suggestions… whew!

Cookie Model “Guppy” with Sugar Cookies, ready for the oven…

I have made so many things from this book, it’s crazy! Some of our favourites are the “Sugar Cookie” and “Royal Icing” recipes, the “Pastry Cream” (custard) and “Vanilla Cupcakes” (which makes a perfect white cake) are also amongst our favourites.

“Look What I Made!”

Guppy was snubbing my orange pumpkins for pink & blue sprinkles…

There are so many recipes in this book that it will take me a lifetime to go through them all, and that’s what I love about it! These recipes will accompany my family for years to come!

I’d also like to say that it is through her cookbook that I have come to appreciate Ms. Patrick-Goudreau and her advocacy efforts. I’ve become a regular listener to her podcasts at Vegetarian Food For Thought, and am thrilled to have such an articulate and cultivated person fighting for the animals. Her podcasts are always thoughtful and thought-provoking, and I especially love that she highlights short fiction which has a lien or link to animals and animal rights. You can learn more about her by visiting Compassionate Cooks.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins