Maître Choux, London

Before going on holiday, I do my research.

Usually, I’ll get a coffee, a slice of cake and browse the travel books of Waterstones like it’s my own little library. Writing a list of restaurants and bars in my travel notebook or if I’m feeling modern taking note on my phone. 

I’ll then look at reviews online and thanks to Instagram I can now look at everyone else’s food photos. Or just search whatever city I’m going to visit with ‘food’ after it and thousands of amazing photos will pop up. Easy peasy.

Before visiting London, Maître Choux is one of the first places that I pinpointed as wanting to visit. Strange, as I’m not big on eclairs… but I absolutely adore profiteroles. (Yeah, I don’t know why either).

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As shown here and on countless other Instagram accounts, the eclairs at Maître Choux are stunning. The colors pop and each flavor of eclair is identically and delicately decorated. It’s a standard of patisserie that isn’t common or local here in Glasgow and as soon as I found out they had a pistachio flavor that was me sold.

So, we went for breakfast (I did say I have a sweet tooth) on our last day in London. This location in South Kensington was a bit out of the way from us, so we decided to dedicate our last morning to it and I cannot say I regret it or the amount of calories I consumed.

I feel like we were the definitely some of the first customers of the day. While we were browsing and quietly debating what to get, the staff was friendly and offered us one of their chouquettes each. This is basically just plain choux pastry with pearl sugar on top, but it was insanely delicious. I was expecting it to be really tough, especially with no filling to moisten the pastry, but it was incredibly light and had a very slight crisp to it. I could essentially eat them like a bag of crisps.

So, it was really tough to choose between everything, but I was already keen on the pistachio before arrival. We decided to split three whole eclairs between us- Pistachio, Raspberry with a Macaron top, and Coffee. As we were sitting in, we also ordered two cappuccinos. 

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I wouldn’t say the coffee was anything special, just normal. I get the impression this isn’t really a place to ‘sit in’ – it’s a very small narrow shop with two little tables crammed at the back. We both had carry on suitcases with us which added extra awkwardness. If you can, I’d suggest taking them away.

But, as we were sitting in the staff provided us with two additional chouquettes on our slab of pastry. Which of course we ate. No regrets.

In terms of the eclairs, I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews between amazing and overrated. The word overpriced was thrown in a lot. To me, I didn’t have too much of an issue with the price, because the appearance is part of what makes these eclairs so photogenic. Obviously you want them to taste amazing as well, but there is a lot that goes into the decor and the preparation so to me, 5-6 pounds while I’m on holiday… that’s fine. You’re definitely not going to eat these every day.

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So, out of what we had the chouquettes and the raspberry eclair were the best. The raspberry eclair and a nice light texture because of the macaron top, but also had the strongest flavor because of the fresh raspberry puree. The vanilla creme was really smooth – it all worked well. This one is special. 

The pistachio was the next favorite, but the flavors were a lot more subtle. I wouldn’t say this one was mind blowing, but delicious all the same. Lots of creamy filling, but it just needs a little more pistachio flavor. 

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The coffee eclair, sadly was my least favorite and in fact wasn’t too impressive flavor wise. Again, the coffee taste was weak and I’m definitely a triple shot kind of girl. The inside was a creme pat/whipped cream mix and I think there just too much dairy weakening the coffee taste. 

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That being said, it still gets top marks from me. On all the eclairs the choux pastry was sturdy, but not crunchy or too tough. These little lovelies would make for a very fancy Friday treat or in my case a very decadent breakfast of champions. It transported me to France, if only for a few bites. Honestly, the colors… and those little chouquettes. Magnifique! 

If there ever is a next time I’d be tempted to get the raspberry one again and try something chocolatey. Chocolate is always rich in flavor. 

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xx

Maître Choux
15 Harrington Rd, London SW7 3ES

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These three weeks.

Well, I’m not sure what happened, but I’ve basically put this blog off for the past three weeks.

Fear not, I have been still been snacking and delaying my diet/beer ban.

(It’s just too hard when the sun is out)

I’ve built up so much content that it’s been a little daunting to sit down and sort it all out. Also, I desperately need a new photo editor, because this apple photos thing is an utter joke. I know, but I’m worried if I actually get Lightroom my five year old mac will burst into flames.

Anyway, I still wanted to share bits of London with you which feels like an absolute age ago.

So, these past three weeks have been a mix of the following:

  • Snacking
  • Actual work
  • New beereries around Glasgow
  • Another leftover banana recipe
  • Fashion photo shooting (you can see some work here: The Chic Guide)
  • Another birthday
  • Amsterdam
  • General malaise

I’m very excited to share everything with you and I’m going to get myself together. I’m still trying to cope with the fact I’m now 30 and brexit.

Let’s get the fun started. But I’ll leave you with this little shot from a previous trip to Amsterdam. It seems optimistic.

RAINBOW!

 

xx

Banana Walnut Crumb Muffins

It’s Sunday!

Which usually means having a bit of a lie in, maybe a little brunch and doing anything possible to avoid that Sunday night fear… oh, the spooky emails that await you on a Monday morning.

I think this recipe can help ease the pain of any morning, really. It’s easy, delicious and can easily be made from things you probably already have lying around in the cupboards.

Banana, honey and walnut is a classic combination and putting this into muffin form just makes for a more portable breakfast.

What usually happens is that I’ll get a bunch of bananas early on in the week and occasionally will have leftover ones by the weekend. Don’t let these little gems go to waste. Your overripe bananas will be sweet and in their prime for some delicious buttery baking.   This recipe is still non-fussy, just adds a few nuts and a crumb topping for added fun. 

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Banana Walnut Crumb Muffins

Makes a dozen

 

Muffins

2 cups of flour (I did one cup whole wheat and 1 cup plain)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
2/3 cup of crushed walnuts
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons melted butter
2 medium to large bananas, mushed up
Just under a 1/2 cup of honey

I used coconut milk for this recipe because that’s basically what I had in my fridge and needed to use it, but normally I would use skim milk. If you’re using something thicker like whole milk you might only want to add in 2/3 of a cup. 

To bake:

1. Preheat oven to to 350 degrees fahrenheit (176 degrees celsius) and line cupcake/muffin pan with paper liner.
2. Place all dry ingredients in a small bowl (flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon) and mix gently together
3. In a large bowl use a mixer to blend, egg, melted butter, honey, and vanilla for 3-5 minutes. Mix should be a little bit fluffy – whip that egg!
4. Add in milk and mushed up banana – gently mix until incorporated.
5. Add flour mixture in at least two batches. Make sure batter is fully mixed. Remember it will be a bit lumpy due to the bananas.
6. Add walnuts and gently mix until evenly distributed.
7. Pour batter into muffin pan until about 2/3 full

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Crumb Topping

1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup sugar (I did a mix of brown sugar and granulated)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon on salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 crushed walnuts

To make: 

1. Combine all ingredients with hands or spatula until the ‘crumbs are formed. Then sprinkle crumb mixture of uncooked banana muffin batter.

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Once crumb topping is on the muffins- put them in the oven for about 25 minutes. When done go for the toothpick test to make sure there’s no batter sticking, the crumb topping should be golden brown.

And there you have it.

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These are definitely best eaten when hot, but will be good for up to two days.

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xx