The chocolate centre flows like dark lava onto the whiteness of the plate. The last ounce of stress drains from my body…. I have discovered the French version of Death by Chocolate.’ Part love story, part wine-splattered cookbook, Lunch in Paris is a deliciously tart, forthright and funny story of falling in love with a Frenchman and moving to the world’s most romantic city – not the Hollywood version, but the real Paris, a heady mix of blood sausage and irregular verbs. From gutting her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen) and battling bad-tempered butchers to discovering heavenly chocolate shops, Elizabeth Bard finds that learning to cook and building a new life as a stranger in an even stranger land have a lot in common. Along the way she learns the true meaning of home – and the real reason French women don’t get fat … Peppered with recipes to die for, this mouth-watering love story is the perfect treat for any woman who has ever suspected that lunch in Paris could change her life.
– Back Cover
Now, if you have been reading at all lately, you will have noticed two important things.
- My posting speed is slowing to a trickle. I suppose the reason for that is this pesky problem called “life.” I have started taking night classes so I now officially work full time, take night classes, maintain my blog (meaning that I have to continue reading and cooking), and keep up some sort of social life so that I don’t go completely insane. I decided I would rather have fewer posts of quality that I can be proud of, rather than many icky posts.
- I have already posted about my dining experiences in Paris. What do I have to talk about now?
Well, I’m going to tell you.
The memoir Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes makes me want to jump on a plane and get back to Paris as soon as humanly possible. Through this story of romance and food and her romance with food, Bard brings the food of France to life.
Each chapter takes on a different part of her relationship with her French husband, France, and food, ending with a series of recipes that she mentions in the chapter.
I would like to make most of these recipes. In fact, when I went through her book, I post-it noted (yes, I made post-it note into a verb) every recipe I would like to try. I ran out of post-its.
Originally, I had grand plans of cooking up a series of these recipes to share with you, but then work and school butted in. When, I finally had time to cook, I took a look at my kitchen and found I had a much more urgent need than cooking. It was called cleaning.
You may see a few more posts pop up here in the near future with masterpieces inspired by this book. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the recipe that I decided gave me the most taste and goodness for the time, effort and pans put in. While you’re enjoying it, perhaps you could send a good thought my way as I struggle against the quicksand of end-of-the-school-year craziness.
Zen Cherry-Apricot Yogurt Cake
I am really not one to follow a recipe exactly, so Elizabeth’s recipe creates a plain yogurt cake with the option of adding apricots. I happened to have fresh apricots AND first-of-the-season cherries. I don’t much like mixing my fruit and the other main taster of this recipe is allergic to apricots so I made a yogurt cake that is half studded with sweet apricots and the other half studded with tarter cherries. I tried both types and I was crazy about both. Put in whatever fruit you like, or no fruit if you are anti-cake and fruit. Make this cake though. It gets better as the days go by and is mighty fine with a cup of tea.
This recipe was originally posted over at Chocolate and Zucchini.
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk plain unsweetened yogurt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- a good pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- The zest of one lemon
- Fruit- I used about 2 small apricots for one half of the cake and 30 pitted cherries for the other half
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and grease the bottom of a round 10-inch cake pan.
- In a large mixing-bowl, combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, and lemon zest.
- In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture, and blend together — don’t overwork the dough.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and top with any fruit that you like.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
- Let stand for ten minutes, and transfer onto a rack to cool.
For more recipes inspired by this lovely Parisian story, check out Cook the Books and join in!