Bon appétit, c’est French Week at Lidl!

Lidl French Week 2014

Hands down, one of our favourite things about family hols abroad is the supermarket shopping.

Seriously. I LOVE browsing the aisles and making discoveries, trying little bits of this and slices of that and drooling over the patisserie – while my husband gets lost in the wine aisle! – to take back to our hotel for a sneaky picnique in the room, or to the campsite to enjoy on the deck.

Yesterday, we did exactly that- except we weren’t in France, but at Lidl, where it’s French Week in store until 4 October! We were invited to check out the fantastique, limited edition offerings in store and put together a French-inspired family meal. Read more.

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“It’s a Bundt!” My Big Fat Greek Wedding moment …

Coconut and Pecan Pound Cake

Last week on Instagram, I shared the fulfilment of a long-awaited dream: to make a Bundt cake, as per My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Classic movie moment, classic cake, so I thought I’d share it on the blog!

In this case, a Coconut And Pecan Pound Cake, one of many recipes I can’t wait to try out in Relish, by new mama Daphne Oz (daughter of the famous Dr!).

Super-easy, as it turns out, to make (especially in a stand mixer! Cheating? I don’t think so …) and lovely when served fresh from the oven and covered with the still-warm glaze and a dusting of icing sugar.

The gorgeously sunny day and pot of Earl Grey alongside helped.

A quick mention about the pan (this one): I’ve got to say it’s outstanding: really solid, and, as such, less likely to burn your Bundt :)

Treat yourself!

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Patisserie Valerie – c’est magnifique!

Patisserie Valerie window display

When I lived around the corner from the original Patisserie Valerie in Soho, I often used to dive in for a hunk of the most AMAZING panettone – all year round! – and a bowl-sized cappuccino.

Now there are over 50 branches of “Pat Val’s” around the UK, with Parisienne-inspired decor and atmosphere that replicate the flagship really well.

And, oh, the cakes for special occasions – serving 10 or more (I think this one was about £30) …

Patisserie Valerie cake

Most dangerous deal of the moment? 4 slices of your chosen cake for £10!

All I can say is, if you’re passing, just say “Oui!”.

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6 healthier treats for when you’re craving something naughty!

When I’m super-craving something sweet or savoury in the ‘naughty’ department (think: crisps, ice cream etc.), here are some AMAZINGLY good alternatives which make me feel a bit better about diving in! :)

Oh, and some caffeine-free teas I’m pretty obsessed with, too!

So, in no particular order of scrumminess:

1.  Raspberry & AMOURetto Live Gourmet Yoghurt by The Collective.

Raspberry & AMOURetto Live Gourmet Yoghurt by The Collective.

Just discovered this – delicious, swirly, raspberry in a live natural yoghurt (= healthy points!). Read more.

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Lou’s Ridiculously Good Gluten-free Brownie recipe!

Lou's Awesome Gluten Free Brownie recipe

OK, so this post isn’t exactly IDEAL if (like me!) you’re on a mission to cut back on the sweet stuff post-Christmas! But, I PROMISE you, it’s worth it.

This is the text I got from Lou of Vintage home decor and gifts (she also makes AWESOME cakes), after I made an emergency New Year’s Eve request for a gluten-free brownie recipe I could make for my brother and his family, who were visiting the next morning, first thing (ouch).

My lovely sister-in-law has to eat gluten-free and is an AMAZING baker (so, no pressure. Not that she was expecting anything, but after a 3 hour motorway journey in the rain, I thought she’d like something yummy along with a much-needed coffee and curl up on the sofa!).

I followed Lou’s directions to the letter – although the brownies needed a little more than 20 minutes in our oven – and they turned out a treat!!

The cranberries gave them a Christmas-y feel, but honestly, these would be delicious ANY. TIME.

When my brother called that evening to say they got home safely, my sister-in-law asked for the recipe (I nearly fainted).

In yesterday’s post, I said I’d be sharing more ideas from other bloggers, websites and experts here – from cooking to crafts, wellbeing to home organisation and LOTS more – so this makes the first! :)

Do check out, too, Lou’s new Little Vintage range, featuring adorable, customised children’s tees with beautiful appliqué designs!

PS: I know, why not show a photo of the brownies? Well, all that remained was a chocolate-y, cranberry-ish rubble by the time I thought to share the recipe.

OOPS! :)

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    Jenni Baden HowardA daily one-stop bloggy shot of busy mama beauty, fashion, fitness, food and family, edited by Jenni Baden Howard. More.

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