What about baking a cake for Mother’s Day! The lady’s cake is always a strawberry cake!

Mother’s  Day is just around the corner and I know that the strawberry cake is always the girls & lady’s favourite cake.

Baking a cake for your mum or your wife is always the best present you can do for Mother’s  day celebration. However. if you don’t have any knowledge on how to bake one, just buy one! 

This fresh strawberry cake is perfect for any holiday, but it’s also perfect  to celebrate any Spring and summer day

My recipe is very easy to make for anybody with a little knowledge of baking. This strawberry and cream sponge cake is essentially a French light genoise sponge cake filled  with fresh strawberries, vanilla chantilly cream and fresh strawberry coulis (optional)  The making of the French genoise cake is not as daunting as most people might think, all you have to do is to follow a few simple sponge cake making tips outlined below and watch your cake rise as light as a feather.

The french genoise recipe 

For the génoise sponge

250g/9oz caster sugar

8 medium free-range eggs

250g/9oz plain flour

50g/1¾oz butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 180C/185c Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line two 22cm/9in round cake tins.

For the génoise sponge, place the sugar and eggs into a large bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until thick and pale.

Gently fold in the flour and melted butter until smooth.

Bake for 30–40  minutes, or until the cakes are risen and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

method to build the cake 

1/ Place a 20-22cm/8-10in stainless steel ring onto the flan case and use it to cut through, discarding the outer rim of sponge. Cut the flan in half horizontally so you end up with two thin layers.

2/Place the steel ring onto a large, flat serving plate. Place one of the sponge layers inside and press down lightly. 

3/Place the double cream in a bowl with the vanilla bean from the pod, and the caster sugar. Whip until semi-firm peaks form when the whisk is removed.

4 Line the ring with the large strawberry halves with some fresh strawberry coulis . – reserve the rest of the strawberries.

5 Carefully spoon the whipped cream into the centre of the flan and spread out gently to fill the whole mould – adding as much cream as necessary to cover to the top of the strawberries. Place the remaining flan case on top and press down lightly and cover the top of the ring with whipped cream.

6  Remove the ring by carefully warming the edges with a hot cloth and lifting it straight upwards.

Carefully heat a metal skewer over a direct flame until very hot (use oven gloves). Use the hot skewer to score the top of the cake with lines to create a diamond pattern.

Now is time to be creative and you can use a piping bag for the decoration and garnish with a fresh strawberry, you can use the remaining vanilla pod for the decoration.

enjoy

Chef Bertrand Munier

How living in France changes your lifestyle..

Whether for better or for worse, many foreigners find that their habits alter when they move to France. Here, a few veteran expats share their experiences of how French culture has changed their lifestyles.

For Janine Marsh, editor of The Good Life France, it’s her attitude towards meal times that has altered the most since moving to France.

“During my 15-minute lunch ‘hour’ in London, I’d rush to do my shopping, pay cheques into the bank, phone the utility services, etc,” she recalls.

In France, however, time off for lunch is sacred

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“For two hours, banks and shops close. Road workers, doctors, butchers, bakers, candlestick-makers simply va va voom at lunchtime to the restaurant of choice.”

Any tips? Visit you local council office before the lunch break, advises Janine, if you want to get anything important done.

There may be increasing fears over the rise in binge-drinking in France, but there’s still a big difference between the British and Gallic drinking culture, according to “A Year in the Merde” author Stephen Clarke.

“I now drink much less than British friends, who are capable of sinking twice as many pints as me during an evening. France just isn’t as much of a binge-drinking culture (though it’s now taking root here),” says Clarke.

Colin Randall, editor of France Salut and the former France correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, has also noticed a change in his drinking habits.

“I think nothing of having something from the trolley on the train into London from airports but never even think of looking for a pre-flight bar in France,” says Randall.

Piu Eatwell, the British expat author of They Eat Horses, Don’t They, agrees.

“A decade of Gallic influence means that I now almost never drink spirits such as whisky or gin, and certainly not as an ‘apéritif’. The only pre-dinner drinks I drink now are Champagne or Kir,” she says.

“I pretty much exclusively drink wine, and only ever accompanied by some sort of food (generally at meal times, or with an apéro).”

Quality over quantity

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Paris-based American writer Lindsey Tramuta, who runs the Lost in Cheeseland blog says she’s learned to value quality above all else.

“My base expectations on quality – ingredients, craftsmanship, experiences – have gotten higher since living in France these last nine years.

“Surrounded by artisans in everything from food to home goods who themselves place a premium on quality, has indeed influenced my own consumption habits. Buy less, buy better.”

Author Stephen Clarke says he’s abandoned the weekly supermarket shop since moving to France.

“I go food shopping every day rather than filling up a supermarket trolley and trying to live off the contents for a week.

“Sometimes I go out and buy fresh bread twice a day, straight from the oven. My whole idea of freshness has changed.

more ….

a bientot

Bertrand Munier

www.bertrandmunier.co.uk