Bon Voyage with A Suitcase and A Spatula

Raspberry Croissant Bread Pudding, photo (c)2013 La Domestique

Bonjour! Today we travel to France with Tori Haschka’s new cookbook, A Suitcase and A Spatula! I’ve followed her beautifully written recipe blog, eatori, for years and couldn’t wait to dive into Tori’s debut book of “recipes and stories from around the world.” The book is divided into 4 chapters dedicated to breakfast, then summer, winter and finally, dessert. Tori tells the tale of traveling the world with her other half, The Hungry One; each page a new destination with a story (sometimes funny, sometimes serious, always touching) and a recipe. She has a way with words, demonstrated perfectly in the book’s intro, ” More than a photo, a journal entry or a pair of souvenir cufflinks, it’s the food that keeps the journeys alive.” 

Raspberry Croissant Bread Pudding and French Press, photo (c)2013 La Domestique

Though Suitcase and A Spatula covers locations from Phi Phi Island to Iceland, the moment I opened Tori’s book I felt France calling to me more than any of the far-flung locations (surprise!). Being so fond of sweet baked breakfast dishes like clafoutis and the Dutch baby, I was delighted to discover the cute single-serving Raspberry-Croissant Puddings inspired by her trip to Paris. She tells the story of how the recipe came to be in true Tori fashion, “To feel like you’re in my Paris, just mangle your vocabulary at the boulangerie, then be too embarassed to say you wanted TWO croissants, not TWELVE.”  Since it’s just the husband and I at home, I decided to forgo the formalities and pour everything into one large pie plate. I baked the pudding for a special Saturday morning breakfast and we sat at the kitchen table with a pot of French press coffee and two spoons, devouring the pudding straight from the pie dish. In her intro, Tori concedes you can make this bread pudding with something other than croissants (brioche or a supermarket loaf), but I beg you not to. Buttery, flakey croissants were made for this dish– a perfect combination of crisp, caramelized crust and soft, luscious pudding. The custard is rich but not too heavy, with just the right amount of sweet vanilla essence. This recipe made me see raspberries in a new way, as their lively tart flavor and floral notes paired so perfectly with the bread pudding. Tori has such a talent for flavor pairing, and her recipes always strike me as being so clever, so delicious, but with just the right amount of restraint. Speaking of restraint, the husband and I left some of the Raspberry-Croissant Pudding in the fridge for our Monday breakfast. It was a real treat heated up and served with fresh vanilla bean yogurt the next day.

Raspberry Croissant Bread Pudding and Coffees, photo (c)2013 La Domestique

Sometimes you need to get away, but it’s just not in the cards– no vacation time, an unexpected expense drains your bank account, etc. These are the times to open up A Suitcase and A Spatula, letting Tori’s words transport you to somewhere far away, free of worry and obligation. She has a way of weaving a story, making you feel as if you’re reliving a memory. It’s pure magic. More than just a collection of recipes, the book encourages you to make lemonade out of lemons in travel when things don’t go your way. Her Carpet Picnic Guide turns a rainy day stuck inside the hotel into a whimsical feast. Instructions for a Minibar Cocktail Party give you every reason to refuse to take off that fuzzy white hotel bathrobe and go out on the town. If the worst happens– you fall ill while traveling (say, through the sunny South of France) Tori has just the thing for that: a good dose of medicinal rosé wine complimented by a bowl full of mussels and broth. She switches between the role of best girlfriend and motherly figure seamlessly, selling her recipe for Mussels, Fennel & Chickpeas in Pink Wine  with the dogma, “No matter how you were feeling when you started, healthy contentedness comes from this.”

Mussels, Fennel and Chickpeas in Pink Wine, photo (c)2013 La Domestique

I love my pink wine in the springtime, and was only too happy to give this recipe a try. The beauty of this dish is found (again) in its simplicity, requiring only a handful of ingredients and little effort. The magic being the release of briny mussel liquor mingling with pale, fruity rosé and anise flavored fennel, as well as, Tori writes, “the novelty of chickpeas playing hide-and-seek in the shells.”  I’ve never thought to pair mussels with chickpeas, and to be honest, I’m pissed that Tori beat me to this fantastic idea. The tangy, garlicky, creamy aïoli is just the sort of rustic condiment you want to spoon over your heaping bowl of mussels. Tori’s method of whipping up this homemade mayonnaise is truly foolproof– it’s so smart to whisk the egg yolks and olive oil into an emulsion and then just stir in your flavorings, rather than struggling with a mortar and pestle throughout the whole task. I only made one change to the recipe. Here in Ireland I can’t find the parsley to save my life, but not wanting to leave out that hint of green, I substituted earthy thyme leaves (what grows together goes together, Provençe being the land of blushing wines and scrawly Mediterranean herbs). Plucking the plump mussels from their castanet-shaped shells and lavishly sopping up generous globs of aïoli felt like a meal fit for a Monacan prince, with the smug satisfaction of having done it on a pauper’s budget.

Mussels, Fennel and Chickpeas in Pink Wine, photo (c)2013 La Domestique

Now that I’ve gotten started cooking through A Suitcase and A Spatula I’m hooked, with many more recipes marked by sticky post-its. I heartily recommend you check out Tori’s book, and not just because I consider her my friend. The book is a valuable collection of unique recipes with surprising flavor combinations guaranteed to wake up even the most jaded palates. The gorgeous photos taken by Isobel Wield and illustrations by Andrea Turvey bring Tori’s journey to life in a book that’s as beautiful as it is useful. Whenever I need a pick-me-up, a brief escape from reality, I know I’ll find respite from the burdens of the everyday in Tori Haschka’s, A Suitcase and A Spatula.

Tori has generously allowed me to share the recipes from her book here on La Domestique!

Raspberry Croissant Pudding

serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 475 mL (2 cups) milk
  • 100 g (1/2 cups) sugar
  • 6 croissants, preferably stale
  • 150 g (1 cup) raspberries (if frozen, let them defrost and the juices strain), plus a few extra to serve
  • six 250 mL (1 cup) ramekins
  • deep baking pan

Preheat the oven to 180° C (350°F) Gas 4. Grease the ramekins with butter. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, milk and sugar together. Tear the croissants into pieces the size of a matchbook. Place half the croissants across the bottom of the ramekins. Add the raspberries, then the remaining croissants. Pour the custard over the croissants and allow to soak for 10 minutes. Cover each ramekin with foil and puncture the top to let the steam escape. Try not to let the foil touch the mixture. Put the ramekins in a deep baking pan. Pour hot water into the pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40 minutes or until the custard is set. Serve warm with more fresh raspberries. {Note: if you bake the dish in a pie plate as I did, it takes much longer to cook, about 45 minutes more.}

Ingredients for Raspberry Croissant Bread Pudding, photo (c)2013 La Domestique

Mussels, Fennel & Chickpeas in Pink Wine

serves 2

  • 1 kg (2 1/4 pounds) mussels
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely diced
  • 1 x 400 g (14oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 200 mL (3/4 cup) dry rosé wine
  • 4 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • bread, for dipping
  • 1 recipe Aïoli (see below)
  • large, heavy, lidded saucepan

Put the mussels in a sink of cold water. Get rid of any that are open and won’t close when you tap them against the side of the sink. Remove the hairy tuft of beard from each mussel. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Sauté the garlic and fennel over medium heat until translucent. Add the chickpeas and toss to coat them in the olive oil. Add the muscles, wine and half the parsley to the pan. Turn up the heat and clamp on the lid. Steam for 5 minutes until all the mussels have opened (discard any that don’t). Transfer the mussels, chickpeas and broth to 2 bowls. Top with the remaining parsley. Place the bread and aïoli in the center of the table, along with an extra bowl for the shells.

Satisfaction is an empty bowl and a pile of shells (c)2013 La Domestique

Aïoli

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 120 mL (1/2 cup) mild olive oil, or half olive oil and half vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt and black pepper

Whisk the egg yolks in a clean bowl for 30 seconds. Slowly trickle in the oil and continue whisking until you have a thick and glossy mayonnaise. Stir in the garlic, grated zest of the lemon and a good squeeze of the juice. Season with salt and pepper. Note: If the mayonnaise splits, don’t throw it out, just get a clean bowl and whisk another egg yolk. Slowly trickle in the split mixture.

14 Comments

  1. Hello in Ireland! Two fabulous recipes…all ingredients that I love. I couldn’t help but notice that green lush Ireland view out your sweet window. Glad to see you cooking and experiencing everything on your new adventure.

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah! I love the view out that window- so glad you picked up on it! Thanks for popping by!

      Reply
  2. Oh this looks insanely good, I have not had breakfast yet and it will not I am sad to say be as good as this!

    Ali of

    Dressing Ken

    Reply
    • Thanks Ali! I hope you have a fantastic day.

      Reply
  3. What a lovely review of Tori’s book. I love any book that transports you to another place! Both recipes sounds incredible. Can’t say I’ve ever had a stale croissant in my home (they never last that long) but the pudding looks worth the effort! Beautiful photos, Jess!

    Reply
    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Nicole. I do think the idea of a stale croissant is funny too– but that recipe is so good it’s worth hoarding a half-dozen croissants until they go stale to make it. :)

      Reply
  4. I’ve been a fan of Tori’s for a while and can’t wait to dig into her book. Your photos confirm my hunch it will be awesome. And yes! That view! You are a lucky duck, aren’t you? :)

    Reply
    • Renee,

      You will love the book! I’m sure it will be a great source of inspiration for many happy meals. Thanks for saying hi!

      Reply
  5. Can you come round and cook me supper? This looks like the perfect meal :-)

    Reply
    • Kate,

      Ha! I would love to, and you’re just across the pond! :)

      Reply
  6. Oh! Look at those croissants! Beautiful!

    Reply
    • They were lovely, Ester. You’ve got to try the recipe- so good!

      Reply
  7. I would very much like to eat that pudding. As soon as possible.

    Reply
    • Jon, the pudding is so good! You must make it. :)

      Reply

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