Monday 12 August 2013

Bon appétit :: Le Dîner en Blanc Mystérieux


A Pop-Up Picnic ~  the secret Dinner in White is a refined flash-mob feast! 

Launched with just a handful of friends in France,  the ultimate picnic-chic dinner party celebrated the 25th year of the Diner en Blanc tradition at the Trocadéro and Louvre in Paris. Guests wear white and the venue is not revealed until the last minute. The Diner en Blanc tradition that has now spread worldwide.

Al fresco dining: Diners were only told the venue of the 'flashmob' dinner by email shortly before dinner started and within an hour, thousands had descended within their tables

People, all dressed up head to toe in white, enjoy al fresco dining on china plates and bottles of champagne to toast Diner en Blanc’s birthday at the Trocadero square in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

All white: Diners also gathered at the Louvre to celebrate the 25th birthday of the Diner en Blanc tradition that has now spread worldwide

Diner en Blanc: People, all dressed up in white, have a dinner on the Trocadero square in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Celebration: Diners have to dress head to toe in white and bring a picnic table and white table cloth to the event
Come dine with us: More than 15,000 people were expected to attended for dinner but only invited guests are allowed a seat

The All White Night rules are:

Attendance is by invite only and guests are only told the illustrious location an hour before dinner starts.

They must arrive by public transport, bring a guest and

be dressed all in white with a picnic table, wine and food.

Eat to the beat: A band entertains diners eating al fresco in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

Eat to the beat: A band entertains diners who ate al fresco in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower last night
Fine dining: Guests wore all their finest white clothes, brought china plates and bottles of champagne to toast Diner en Blanc's birthday

It’s a tradition going back a quarter of a century, but really not one where you want to spill the red wine. Thousands of foodies dressed from head to toe in sparkling white converged on Paris last night to quaff champagne and eat fine foods together as the annual Diner en Blanc celebrated its 25th birthday.

Diners, who had signed up for the event were kept in the dark as to the location of the giant dinner party right up until the last minute, but were told to make their way to either the Trocadéro or the grounds of the Louvre via email earlier in the evening.

Within the hour, row upon row of picnic tables – complete with white table cloths – were set up, wine was uncorked and revellers began sharing food at the spectacular event. Guests enjoyed their dinner against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower and the city’s most iconic museum until midnight, when they pack up their rubbish and leave.

The tradition began in 1988 when a group of ten friends decided they wanted to eat at a forbidden spot in the French capital. They dined as a 200 strong flash mob at the Jardins de Bagatelle, a favourite spot of French royalty including Marie Antoinette.

Since then the event has gone global with versions of the dinner taking place in European cities such as Milan and Barcelona and much further afield in more than a dozen locations in the US, Canada, Singapore and even Rwanda and the Ivory Coast. The craze finally made the short journey from its Paris home across the Channel to London only last September when thousands of diners converged on the South Piazza of Covent Garden.

The Paris version remains the tradition’s definitive one. Each year the guest list exceeds 15,000 say organisers and past dinners have taken place at such illustrious settings as the Pont des Arts, the grounds of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.

Be our guest: The grounds of the Louvre have hosted the Diner en Blanc event in the past, which started when a group of friends wanted to dine in a forbidden area in 1988
Opulent: The square at the centre of Paris's most famous museum provided a magnificent backdrop for those who arrived to eat at this year's dinner


  • Guests at both venues would have either had to have attended the last Paris event or been invited by someone who did. Everyone who is invited must bring a guest and arrive by public transport.
  • Guests must bring a picnic table, a picnic basket, foldable cheers and a table cloth – all in white of course.
  • Men and women sit on opposite sides of the table to one another and guests are forbidden to sit down until their entire row have set up their table.
  • No excuses: if you are invited, don’t let a double booking or inclement weather put you off – if you fail to turn up or don’t abide by the events rules then you won’t be invited back.
No excuses: Diner enjoyed good weather for the event, but shouldn't be deterred by inclement weather - if you fail to turn up and are on the guest list then you are blacklisted from future events

Launched by François Pasquier and his close friends 25 years ago, Paris’ Dîner en Blanc now brings together over 10,000 people each year in some of the most prestigious locations throughout the French capital.

In the summer of 1988, Pasquier had just returned to Paris after a few years abroad and held a dinner party to reconnect with friends. So many wished to attend that he asked them to convene at Bois de Boulogne dressed in white, so as to be recognizable to one another. Each attendee was also asked to bring a friend. The evening was such a hit that guests wanted more friends to join-in the following year and thus was born the concept of Dîner en Blanc.

In June 1991, four years after the event’s debut, the founding group of friends decided to organize their Dîner in one of the French capital’s most beautiful locations, Pont des Arts, in the heart of Paris (a first). Knowing fully well that local authorities would never allow such an event to take place there, keeping the location a secret until the very last minute was crucial to the success of the event.

Following in his François Pasquier’s footsteps, one of his sons, Aymeric Pasquier, moved to Montreal and kept the family tradition going when he came together with friends to hold the first Dîner en Blanc in August of 2009. In 2011, Aymeric partnered-up with Sandy Safi to launch the first American Dîner en Blanc in New York. The United States held its first Dîner en Blanc in New York on August 25th, 2011. That evening, 1,200 diners (selected from over 30,000 hopefuls) celebrated outdoors at a yet-to-be-disclosed location amid live music and dancing, with festive white balloons and sparklers. Guests, dressed in elegant white, brought their own epicurean feasts, tables, chairs, glasses, silver and white napery.

Aymeric Pasquier and Sandy Safi then came together to create Dîner en Bland International, a Dîner en Blanc organization that would promote the history and philosophy of this event through hosts worldwide, and create an international network of diners and Dîner en Blanc enthusiasts. With over a dozen cities having joined the Dîner en Blanc family in 2012what began (and remains in Paris) as a “friends and word-of-mouth only” event has grown into an international epicurean phenomenon across five continents.

Though the technology behind the event may have changed over the years, the principles fuelling this fantastic event have not; diners continue to gather at a secret location with the sole purpose of sharing a high-quality meal with good friends at the heart of one of the city’s most beautiful locations. Dîner en Blanc International, based in Montreal, is responsible for developing this secret posh picnic in nearly 40 cities by the end of 2013.

Each event is headed by passionate local organisers whom fell in love with the concept and wanted to bring it to their city and add their local flair, yet respecting the event’s core values all the while.

Images & Sources: Daily Mail, UK & New York Times 

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Wednesday 31 October 2012

creamy, sweet pumpkin soup


Pumpkin Soup with Chanterelles :: This recipe comes from Sweet Paul, the Fall issue’s My happy Dish winner Ewa Ostoja-Helczynska.

Pumpkin Soup with Chanterelle  (Serves 4)

3 cloves garlic
2 shallots
2 Lb pumpkin flesh (without grains and filaments)
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Thyme
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
a pinch of grated nutmeg
20 chanterelles, cleaned and halved
fresh thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil

Chop the garlic and shallots.
Fry in a tablespoon of olive oil.
Add the Pumpkin cut into large dice and cover with stock.
Cook for about 20 min.
Add the herbs and spices.
Once the pumpkin is soft, add to a blander and whizz until smoothe.
Pass through a colander.
Pour back into the pot and add cream.
Bring to a boil.
Saute the chanterelles and thyme in the olive oil.
Divide them in four bowls.
Fill each bowl with hot soup.

{Photo by Alexandra Grablewski via Sweet Paul}

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Monday 22 October 2012

handmade ice cream cones + chocolate chip mint


As Nicole at Herriott Grace says goodbye to long summer days, here in Australia we are saying hello! It was a hot ice-cream imbibing weekend!

In clebration of the warm weather I am sharing Nikole’s Chocolate chip mint ice-cream with handmade cones with beautifully crafted cone rollers!


2 (60g) egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (60g) icing sugar
15 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5g) pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (42g) all purpose flour, sifted
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
unsalted butter for greasing the iron

In a medium bowl whisk together both types of sugar. Add the whites and whip until the mixture is frothy and ribbons begin to appear. Add the vanilla. Whisk in flour and salt and beat until well combined. Stir in the butter. Bake in a prepared and preheated waffle iron made especially for cones until golden. (As a general rule I bake 1 tablespoon of batter for 1 minute and 25 seconds on setting 5, but your machine may have different settings.) Repeat, greasing your iron as you go. Roll each waffle immediamtely after it comes off the machine (small cotton or latex gloves are helpful here). I like to leave a little space at the top of each roller but practice to get a shape you love, I think that’s the fun part! You’ll notice in these photos that I fold the bottom of my cones, but this is not necessary, it’s simply an aesthitic choice. If you’d like them more traditional just skip folding them and pinch the bottoms into a clean point.

+ For those looking for a more traditional size we’ll be adding a larger roller size to the shop in the next while. Join the list here.

Photos: Michael Graydon
Styling: Nikole Herriott
And the BEAUTIFUL letters: Sarah Foot

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Wednesday 10 October 2012

Omleta Me Sparaggia Asparagus Omelette


Wild asparagus omelette from My Greek Island Home by Claire Lloyd.

 This wild asparagus dish looks rather untidy, but it’s absolutely delicious. Put it on the table with a large spoon for people to help themselves. 

Omleta me Sparaggia, (Asparagus Omelette), page 85.

340 g wild or thin cultivated asparagus
olive oil for frying
6 eggs, beaten
200 g fetta cheese, crumbled
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Snap the woody bases from the asparagus and discard, then break the asparagus into pieces approximately 4 cm long. Drop the asparagus pieces into the water and boil for 2–3 minutes, until just tender, then remove from the water and drain in a colander.

Heat a medium-sized non-stick frying pan over a high heat, add olive oil, then add the asparagus to the pan. Pour the eggs over the top and cook, uncovered, for 4–5 minutes until just set. Slide out on to a plate, scatter the crumbled fetta over the top, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 6 as part of a shared meal

{Image & recipe: Claire Lloyd, My Greek Island Home}

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Saturday 29 September 2012

spring + sweet blue skies


As the first month of spring passes, I thought these beautiful pictures from Sweet Paul captures the joy of this pretty season. The styling by Alicia Buszczak is artful and so delicate.




Paul Lowe did a wonderful job putting together his Spring 2012 issue of Sweet Paul.

Food styling + recipes by Diana Perrin

Prop styling + illustrations by Alicia Buszczak

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Saturday 25 August 2012

veloute de feves & fromage


Cream of beans & cheese soup ~ always sounds sexier in french!

300 g of beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons chopped chives
Homemade vegetable broth or water
Salt + Espelette pepper
3 teaspoons fresh goat cheese

Bring salted water to a boil, then soak the beans for 5 minutes. Take them out and put them in a bowl of cold water to stop cooking (beans are good and green). Remove their second skin, it is usually sufficient to “pinch” to bring out the bean (if using frozen beans, refer to the method of preparation on the package).

Mix the beans with some broth, chopped chives, olive oil, a pinch of salt and a pinch of Espelette pepper (you can also add a clove of garlic). Add progressively to vegetable broth or water until desired consistency. Finally add the goat cheese and mix again. Reheat the soup and serve with a spoonful of goat cheese and some chopped chives.

{Source: my little fabric}

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Sunday 12 August 2012

so sweet


Petals + Dessert :: A beautiful combination of art, fleur and dessert.

Pinched Rosewater & Rhubarb Macaroons for Sweet Paul Magazine.

Recipes & Food Styling by Diana Perrin of Casa de Perrin, Prop Styling & Artwork by Alicia Buszczak and Photography by Bricco.

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Wednesday 25 April 2012

Salute to the sacred ANZAC biscuit


It’s ANZAC Day in Australia :: Australian New Zealand Army Corps.

I really should bake some ANZAC biscuits using Anthony’s award winning recipe

~ he won 2nd-prize at the Ekka in 2002!

 The story

Made by women for their men serving in the WWI trenches, the brittle treat was designed to last the long boat journey to Europe. Where lesser baked goods would have failed, stale and crumbly are not in the vocabulary of the ANZAC biscuit. They are best slightly moist and without the six-month shipping period!

Anthony’s Recipe

1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sugar (you can use less or substitute with brown sugar)
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter
2 tbs golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Oven at 150-160.
Combine flour, oats, coconut and brown sugar in a bowl.
Put the butter, golden syrup and 2 tbs water in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until melted. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda.
Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.
Roll mixture into balls. Place on the trays, about 5cm apart.
Press with a fork to flatten slightly. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

{Images via 1. australian traveller & 2. bojon gourmet}

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Monday 9 April 2012

Apple and cinnamon hot cross buns


YUM…. The mix of candied apple and dried apple combined with a sticky cinnamon glaze provides a new twist on an old favourite. These buns are equally good served warm on the day of baking, or several days later, toasted, with lashings of butter. Serves 20

325 gm raw caster sugar
1 lemon
Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, diced
1 cinnamon quill
750 gm (5 cups) plain flour
150 gm sultanas or golden raisins
50 gm dried apple, diced
30 gm candied orange, diced
14 gm (2 sachets) dried yeast
3½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
Finely grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
380 ml milk
100 gm butter, coarsely chopped
1 egg

1 Combine 260gm sugar and 375ml water in a saucepan, then squeeze in juice of half a lemon and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, cut remaining lemon half into 5mm-thick slices, add to pan with Granny Smith apple and cinnamon quill. Bring to the simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook until lemon and apple are translucent (20-25 minutes). Strain, reserving fruit and syrup separately. When cool enough to handle, dice lemon, combine with apple and set aside.
2 Combine 700gm flour, sultanas, dried apple, candied orange, yeast, 3 tsp ground cinnamon, allspice, rinds, remaining sugar, reserved apple mixture and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan, warm over low heat until butter melts and mixture is lukewarm. Whisk in egg, then add milk mixture to flour, stirring to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). Place in a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).
3 Knock back dough, divide into 20 even pieces, then knead each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange dough balls into two concentric circles on a large round or rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving 1cm between each for dough to expand. Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).
4 Preheat oven to 220C. Combine remaining flour and 70ml cold water in a bowl and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle and pipe a cross shape onto each bun. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 200C and bake until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped (8-10 minutes).
5 Meanwhile, combine reserved syrup and remaining ground cinnamon in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until syrupy and combined. Brush thickly over hot buns, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Cooking Time Prep time 45 mins, cook 50 mins (plus cooling, proving)
This recipe is from the April 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

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Saturday 10 March 2012

chocolate hazelnut meringue


My beautiful friend Angela whipped up a show-stopper, a delicious chocolate hazelnut meringue to celebrate my birthday! yummmmmmmmmmmmm!

Sadly I didn’t get a good pic of Angela’s creation and so I am sharing this one by Riverstone Kitchen.

    Chocolate hazelnut meringue with frangelico cream

    8 free-range egg whites
    300g caster sugar
    1 tablespoon cornflour
    2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    120g hazelnuts, roasted, skinned and lightly crushed

    Whisk egg whites in a mixer on medium to high speed until stiff. Add sugar in three separate additions, whisking for 2 minutes between each addition. After the last of the sugar is added, continue to whisk for a further 2 minutes.

    Remove mixing bowl from mixer and add cornflour, cocoa and hazelnuts. Gently fold ingredients together until just combined. (Over-folding will knock out too much air.)

    Divide the mixture between three baking trays lined with baking paper and marked out with a 28cm circle on each piece of paper. Spread meringue mixture evenly around the circle with a spatula and bake in a 100°C oven for 1 hour before turning down to 80°C for a further 2 hours. Turn off oven and allow meringues to cool completely.

    Ganache & to assemble
    400g dark chocolate pieces
    150ml cream
    30ml dark rum

    Make ganache by melting chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Remove from heat before stirring in cream and finally rum. When the ganache is still slightly runny but almost set, pour half of the ganache on to the first meringue. Spread evenly over the meringue before placing the next meringue disc on top. Pour on the last of the ganache and place the final meringue disc on top. Allow 1 hour for the ganache to fully set before cutting.

    Frangelico cream & to serve
    600ml cream
    1⁄2 cup icing sugar
    30ml–45ml Frangelico liqueur
    Dutch cocoa powder and icing sugar, to dust

    Whisk the cream, sugar and Frangelico together to a soft peak. To serve, cut the meringue into 10–12 pieces, garnish with a spoon of Frangelico cream and dust with Dutch cocoa powder and icing sugar.

    SERVES: 10-12

    {Image: Photo by Fiona Andersen via Cuisine}

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