While in Istanbul last week, I had the luck and opportunity to meet talented artist Elif Nursad, kind, humble and exceptionally talented along with the rest of her family, I left saying I would be back.
That evening in the anticipation of going to buy a small artwork for some friends the next day, I considered how on so many trips, it is not the men I meet that leave a lasting impact. Sure in some quiet moments I have truly wonderful moments with men and connections are made, but it’s the women who excite me in the relationships forged and knowledge that we are equals.
Often, and especially traveling as a single woman the attention from men is unwarranted and often unwanted as that is not my task. I’m not on a quest of eat, pray or love, and so often it’s these characters in other countries, living their lives who inspire and excite me.
So, whether abroad, or in your own community, tell me about the women who inspire you to forge your own path and not simply live a life so many females just one hundred years ago wouldn’t have been able to. We are lucky to be living in a time where we are freer than ever and the expectation of settling down and having a family is lighter than it’s ever been before.
Speaking of incredible women, while re-watching Julie and Julia recently, the passion evident in everything Julia did (she was truly an incredible person brought to life by the ever talented Meryl Streep) served as a great reminder of the need to eat more French food this year.
The beauty of French food is that its so varied and each region has a number of dishes to try, like Tartiflette in the mountains or Cherry Clafoutis from the rural region of Limousin.
Choux pastry is very adaptable, but one of the simplest things to make without a piping bag are these rustic cream puffs, which keep well for a few days in an airtight container. The dough comes together within five minutes and these are wonderful to pre-make and freeze ahead (without the chocolate topping and filling).
Choux Pastry – Cream Puffs
Adapted from Delia online
1/2 cup strong flour
1 tablespoon superfine/caster sugar
130ml cold water
50g butter, cubed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
80g dark chocolate
1 cup whipped cream
1 teaspoon superfine/caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/390F and lightly grease a baking tray, pouring water over the top and taping to remove excess (you want water beads on the tray to create a steamy atmosphere during baking).
Place a baking sheet on the bench and sift the flour onto it, add the sugar and set aside.
Place the water and butter in a pot over medium heat until the butter has melted and the mixture has begun bubbling. Remove from the heat and pour the flour into the mixture, stirring swiftly to combine until the mixture no longer sticks to the side of the pot.
Add a quarter of the egg mixture, beating to combine before continuing in the same manner until they are fully incorporated.
Spoon a teaspoon amount of the pastry onto the prepared baking tray and place in the oven, cooking for 10 minutes. Increase the heat to 220ºC/430F, turn the tray around and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden.
Remove from the heat and place on a cooling rack, poking with a baking skewer to allow the steam out. Allow to cool fully.
Place the chocolate in a small bowl and melt in the microwave for approximately a minute, stirring to avoid burning at the 30 second mark.
Dip the top of each cooled pastry into the chocolate and place on the cooling rack to set, repeat with the remaining pastry.
Halve each pastry and spoon a tablespoon of whipped cream into the center before placing the chocolate topped half on top. Continue with the remaining pastries.