post64 // paris getaways

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lille, france

it’s been a little while since my last post and only one thing can explain that: travel! i’ve been taking advantage of europe’s stellar train system and exploring different parts of france and its neighbors. today, i’m clueing you in on the beautiful (and nearby!) places i’ve been visiting over the past couple of weeks. this was my first visit to each location so you’re getting a true first look. let’s go!


amsterdam 3hr15m by train

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meringues at STACH food

amsterdam is just as idyllic as people make it out to be. i was surprised by how quaint the city was, being quite small and filled with gift shops selling the signature blue-stained pottery, delftware.

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delftware from a shop on prinsengracht street

with just one full day in amsterdam, my friends and i opted for a paddling boat tour of the city. and lucky me, i didn’t have to paddle! (thanks sam and greta.) instead, i photographed and boy did we come across some beautiful architecture. the canals and renaissance architecture make for quite a view, even on a gloomy day!

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fellow boater whose boat is called c’est la vie!

some recommendations:

  • pancakes, the pancake bakery, prinsengracht 191
  • small gifts, spiegel amsterdam, nieuwe spiegelstraat 2a hs
  • afternoon snack, STACH food, nieuwe spiegelstraat 52
  • dinner, breda, singel 210
  • after-dinner drinks, dutch style, de twee zwaantjes, prinsengracht 141

lille 1hr by train

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the reflection at la piscine museum

when first looking for a day-trip from paris, the image above drew me right in. just outside the city of lille is an art museum that’s housed in art-deco swimming pool from the 1930s. cool right?? it was my first stop on my visit to lille, the fifth largest city in france.

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mille feuille at meert

surrounding the swimming pool are sculptures, ceramics, fabrics and artwork. beyond the art, what used to be the pool’s refreshment area is now home to an offshoot of lille’s most famous patisserie, meert. art deco + pastries = i’m there! above you can see meert’s mille feuille, also known as a napoleon, which i ate completely by myself for lunch that day. who said sugar can’t be a good lunch substitute?

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lille’s chamber of commerce

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place charles de gaulle

after lunch and my museum visit, i headed into the town center of lille. lille sits just below the border of belgium and you can tell by their architecture and the friendliness of the people there. similar to amsterdam, lille has many 2-3 story row-houses in colorful paints and darling square windows to boot.

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the bar at estaminet au vieux de la vieille

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a very cool vintage accordion at estaminet au vieux de la vieille

after doing some research, i found many sources recommending the same restaurant and bar: estaminet au vieux de la vieille. it’s located in le vieux lille, a particularly hip part of town. i headed there for just an afternoon pint and bite of cheese but soon i was making a reservation for their dinner. this restaurant truly makes you feel at home, a great pick for any solo traveler!

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the marvelous cheeses at fromagerie philippe olivier

and i even found a church named after me in lille! i was getting more comfortable in lille with each step i took.

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some recommendations:

  • dinner and drinks, estaminet au vieux de la vieille, 2-4 rue des vieux murs
  • cheese shop, fromagerie philippe olivier, 3 rue du cure saint-etienne
  • pastries, meert, 27 rue esquermoise (in-town or at the museum)
  • the funkiest quilt shop i’ve ever seen, la drougerie, 50 rue basse
  • museum, la piscine – musée d’art et d’industrie andré diligent, 23 rue de l’espérance, roubaix

normandy 2hr30m by train

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going to normandy is a trip i recommend for every american. it is a very special feeling being in a foreign country and going somewhere where you see your flag standing so high. after 7 months here in france, it was really moving to see just how america is recognized in normandy.

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coast off pointe du hoc, imagine climbing up this cliff

the coast is magnificent and a little known fact is that normandy is actually a popular vacation spot for many parisians and northern french families in the summertime. much like maine, the water keeps cool!

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outside bayeux’s main cathedral

here’s me playing tourist outside bayeaux’s cathedral in a photo my dad took. i visited normandy with my parents and it was quite a treat for them as they traveled to normandy together 35 years ago! talk about a throwback. we even stayed at the same hotel, hôtel le lion d’or bayeux!

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normandy american cementary

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memorials in the sand at omaha beach

some recommendations:

  • hotel and dinner, hôtel le lion d’or bayeux, 71 rue saint-jean, 14400 bayeux
  • sights,
    • normandy american cementary, 14710, Colleville-sur-Mer
    • pointe du hoc (cliffs overlooking normandy, critical point in ww2)
    • bayeux tapestry museum, 13bis rue de nesmond
    • bayeux cathedral, rue du bienvenu

and in this week’s other stuff, how about some paris food recommendations!

  • must try duck confit here
  • must try chocolate here
  • must try frozen margaritas here

 

all photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs.

post63 // where to eat croissants in paris (+video!!)

you’ve asked and i’ve answered! after my last episode of foodstuffs presents here in paris, i asked viewers what they’d like to see more of. requests for croissants came knocking on my inbox, one after another. so here we are! i took the subway on over to east paris — home to the very trendy and bustling “le marais” and bastille neighborhoods — to check out two of the most well-known bakeries in paris.

ride along with me to see which croissant wins out and what bakery you should bookmark for your next trip to paris.


  1. blé sucré (11th arr, bastille) 7 Rue Antoine Vollon, 75012 Paris, open 7am-730pm tuesday-sunday
  2. du pain et des idées (in between 10th and 3rd arr, république) 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, open 645am-8pm weekdays only
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blé sucré’s croissant (left), du pain et des idées (right)

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blé sucré’s croissant, exterior

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blé sucré’s croissant, interior

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du pain et des idées’ croissant, exterior

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du pain et des idées’ croissant, interior

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blé sucré’s croissant (top), du pain et des idées (bottom)


and in this week’s non-croissant related stuff!

current inspo: this hedgehog

my host family showed me the intro to a classic french film with uncanny resemblance to la la land. what do you think?

a great read on new york city restauranteurs


photography and videography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post62 // a chocolatey babka to bake this weekend

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ready, set, dough!

this recipe is one that i am very excited to share as it’s a great introduction to working with yeasted products. if you’re someone who homemade bread and doughs have intimidated, you’re not alone.

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working with yeasted products is pretty adventurous for the average person’s sense of baking. instead, brownies, box cakes, and cookies are what we’re taught to start with. well today, that changes! i’m here to show you that dough can be easy too.

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i first became (very!) interested in doughs when i set out to discover a special recipe: kindred’s milk bread. after recipe testing, testing, and testing again, i quickly grew acquainted with my instant packets of yeast. fast forward two years and i’ve had four months of working in an award-winning bread bakery and six months of pastry school under my belt. i am still by no means an expert but dough making is now my very favorite of kitchen activities.

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a couple tricks of the trade to get comfortable:

  • try working the dough without a mixer. while most dough recipes for home cooks call for a kitchenaid with a dough hook, almost all of these final doughs can be achieved without a mixer. mixing by hand also helps you get familiar with the texture, elasticity, and form the dough should take.
  • work on a cold surface. marble or butcher block is preferable and make sure your ac is cranking!
  • salt and yeast aren’t friends. salt slows down fermentation (a.k.a. what the yeast is doing!) so don’t combine them at the onset of your recipe making. instead, dissolve the yeast in a bit of water and stagger adding it with the salt.

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now that you’re a bit more comfortable with the basics, let’s dig into this babka recipe! it’s truly foolproof and the filling options are endless. pictured here is my dough, filled with dark chocolate, banana, olive oil, and sea salt.

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next comes the braiding. youtube is a god send for these kind of video tutorials and much like pie crust braiding and cake decorating, videos for babka braiding are a great way to get familiar. i found this one super helpful when i braided my first babka. while i added some twists to my dough, you get the basic gist!

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while on the babka subject, i wanted to share two of my favorite loaves:

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so get going and make your own! you can find the recipe below as usual and always know that my inbox and instagram are awaiting all your questions!

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and to add a bit more to your daytime scrolling, here’s this week’s other stuff. enjoy!

major mid century vibes in urban outfitter’s latest collection

the best congratulations card that ever did exist #corgis

i’m heading to normandy in a couple of weeks, any recos??


chocolate and olive oil babka

serves 6-8

fixings

dough

3.5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading

1 packet active dry yeast

3 eggs

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup warm milk

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (a quality brand)

filling and assembly

1 bar dark chocolate (100g)

1 banana, mushed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finish

sea salt flakes to finish

the lowdown 

dough

  1. heat milk to just warm and add yeast. while yeast is dissolving, combine the butter and sugar. in a separate bowl, whisk eggs and olive oil to combine. gradually, add egg mix into sugar and butter and mix until well combined.
  2. add flour and salt into wet ingredients, bit by bit. the dough at this point should be shaggy and does not need to be well combined. add yeast and milk to mixture and begin to knead the dough.
  3. knead dough until smooth, about 10 minutes. dust work surface with flour as necessary throughout kneading. once dough is regular and well-combined, transfer to a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic. let dough rise 1 hour in a warm room, 2 hours in a cooler room, or overnight in the fridge.

filling and assembly

  1. grease loaf pan. break chocolate bar into small portions and melt in a microwave or saucepan. mush banana and combine with chocolate, and olive oil.
  2. roll dough out to the size of a baking sheet. the dough will retract a bit while shaping so make sure it truly is as large as a baking sheet. brush dough with filling mixture and use a spoon or offset spatula to smooth out evenly. do not brush filling on outer edges of dough for a clean finish. sprinkle salt flakes on to finish.
  3. time to roll! turn dough so that the longest edge is facing you, crosswise. tightly roll up babka dough. once rolled, use a serrated knife or bench scraper, to cut dough down middle. criss-cross dough ends down entire strand. tuck ends underneath dough to finish. transfer braided dough to loaf pan and let rest, uncovered for the same resting times as before, 1 hour in a warm room, 2 hours in a cooler room, or overnight in the fridge.
  4. preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. bake babka for 35-45 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean and dough has browned on top. check on dough halfway through cooking and cover with aluminum foil if already well-browned. (this will vary oven by oven.)
  5. once out of oven, brush another layer of olive oil on top for added shine.

post61 // open this valentine! (psssst, it’s filled with chocolate)

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heavenly chocolate cake douceur chocolat

hellooooo! greetings from my chocolate-filled valentine! since i’m far away from many friends and loved ones on this valentine’s day 2018, i’ve decided to send you a virtual valentine with chocolate creations like the stuff of dreams.

this valentine’s day landed perfectly in the middle of my pastry trimester, which is focused on chocolate work. well done, le cordon bleu scheduling! from chocolate glazes to tempered chocolate to chocolate mousse to chocolate crunch, i’ve been working with a lot (!!) of chocolate this trimester. talk about keeping my uniform supremely white while doing it — the toughest job of them all.

below you can find four chocolately creations that i’ve made in my pastry classes. i’ve listed their core components so that you (yes, you!) can go and make one for yourself!

dark chocolate choux pastry choux au chocolat noir 

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this chocolate choux pastry is filled with chocolate pastry cream and a crispy praline insert. outside, you see a chocolate crunch topping, finished with a dark chocolate glaze.

to get started, check out this recipe for chocolate choux pastry. you’ll quickly see how easy it is!

chocolates (muscadine, praline) chocolats (muscadine, praliné)

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these two types of chocolates are called pralines (the square) and muscadines (the baton). the muscadine is filled with a creamy praline, chocolate, cointreau paste while the praline is filled with a simple chocolate and praline paste. i dipped both in tempered chocolate and rolled the muscadine in icing sugar directly after. to make the “professional” decoration on top, simply use a fork to lightly mark the chocolate 10-20 seconds after dipping, just before the chocolate has set.

don’t have space or a big marble slab to temper chocolate at home? follow this guide for a quick microwave-tempering! thermometer required.

heavenly chocolate cake douceur chocolat

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this three-tier cake is quite the showstopper. the base is a hazelnut dacquoise filled with a praline crunch paste, topped with two layers of chocolate mousse and tempered chocolate rounds. the decoration on top was made with cookie cutters and tempered chocolate.

never heard of a dacquoise? it’s a cake base that’s very popular here in france, made from egg whites and nuts. bonus: it’s gluten free! start this cake by making your first dacquoise with food network’s recipe.

opera opéra

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of all the pastries seen here, you may be most familiar with the opera cake, a parisian classic! this cake alternates between layers of biscuit sponge and coffee buttercream, with a layer of chocolate ganache smack in the middle. on top is a chocolate glaze and the traditional opera writing (my first attempt at writing on cakes!).

you might be able to find this one in a high-end french bakery. but if not, Joe Pastry blog has a great tutorial that matches the authenticity of my recipe from cordon bleu.


just in case you’re wondering

while i’d love to be sharing all my cordon bleu recipes with you, they’re under copywrite. *but* i look forward to testing many of them once i’m out of school and sharing renditions that can be cooked in your home oven. stay tuned on this for next year!


in this week’s other stuff !

a hot new restaurant i’ll be trying in paris this weekend. reviews have been a+++++

books as decor is popping up everywhere (even in my house here in paris!). definitely digging this style trend

wardrobe goals


andddd that’s all for this week, folks! wishing you a very lovely valentine’s day!💖

 

 

post60 // paris in white

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square de la place du commerce, 7 january 1017 8:49am

as i sit here typing, more snow is falling in paris! given that this is a bit of a rarity here, i’ve decided to share some of my favorite images from the week. (all shot by me!)

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rue des 4 frères peignot, 6 january 2017 7:06pm

according to my parisian family, there hasn’t been significant snow in paris in 3 years! i am truly lucky that the sky decided this was the year.

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commerce metro, 7 january 2017 8:52am

to celebrate the occasion, i took to the streets wednesday morning and started photographing. the city was the quietest i’ve ever heard it, reminding me of new york city in the snow.

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already, paris is beautiful. topped with a fluffy cushion of white, it’s just enchanting.

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rue des presles, 7 january 2017 9:17am

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avenue de suffren, 7 january 2017 9:20am

since i live close(ish) to the eiffel tower, i headed over to champ de mars, the huge green space in front of the tower, to get some images of the snow-crusted landmark.

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champ de mars, 7 january 2017 9:24am

the snow had just stopped and it was early enough that the white blanket was still intact!

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champ de mars, 7 january 2017 9:24am

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champ de mars, 7 january 2017 9:31am

one of the best parts of this snowfall was watching other people experience it. i have classmates at school who walked through snow for the first time this week. as we butchered a chicken on wednesday in class, my friend saw his first snowflakes! talk about ideal 😜.

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rue violet, 7 january 2017 9:02am

the toddlers from the preschool next to my house excitedly played in the snow all wednesday, most of them seeing snow for the first time! i dodged snowballs on the way home from school tuesday night.

the whole event has made me feel like a true kid, the way only snow can.

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rue des entrepreneurs, 7 january 2017 9:57am

and i couldn’t resist a foodie pic in the snow. are we surprised??

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rue de javel, 8 january 2017 2:54pm

to end: the less glamorous side of parisian snow. somehow, i still think it’s beautiful!


i’m currently working on a valentine’s day post that features many of the chocolates i’ve been making in pastry this trimester. tune into the blog this sunday for the feature!

happy weekend everyone. xx


all photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs.

post59 // foodstuffs video guide: the best baguettes in paris

hey there guys and gals! how’s your friday? if it isn’t the best friday of your life, i’m just out here trying to make it better, by way of baguettes (lots of them).

i had so much fun filming my bakery crawl last month that i decided to bring these filming efforts to paris! this week i compared and contrasted 4 different baguettes from local bread bakeries in my neighborhood. boulangerie is the term for a french bakery that sells bread and you can find them at nearly every corner here in paris. so come ride along with me as i show you the insides of these shops, complete with handles shaped like croissants, and get into the nitty gritty of what makes a traditional french baguette.


foodstuffs video guide: the best baguettes in paris (15arr)

 


  1. le fournil sainte lucie (15arr) corner of rue de javel and rue sainte-lucie, 75015 paris, open 715am-730pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition
  2. maison koneth (15arr) 141 rue de la croix-nivert, 75015 paris, open 7am-8pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition
  3. borissou (15arr) 93 rue de commerce, 75015 paris, open 730am-8pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition
  4. eric kayser(15arr) 79 rue de commerce, 75015 paris, open 645am-830pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition

and in this week’s other stuff!

quite possibly the coolest dessert i’ve ever seen

these jeans fit so. good.

a quote in honor of the late paul bocuse, “classic or modern, there is only one cuisine… the good.” — paul bocuse, french chef (1926-2018)


what french storefronts do you want to see next?? charcuteries (meat shops)? fromageries (cheese shops)? comment below and i’ll take you there!

post58 // roasted winter citrus

Version 2

wahoo!!!! it’s friday. time to weekend a.k.a. sleep and eat and do all the fun things.

it may not feel very bright outside but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the brightest, sweetest, best-looking part of the winter blues: winter citrus!! last week my french host mom, martine, brought home a gigantic grapefruit. seriously, the biggest grapefruit i’d ever seen! it reminded me how tasty our citrus is this time of year and that this ingredient needs to be recipe-fied.

enter roasted winter citrus. sound weird to you? it isn’t. roasted citrus is one of the best desserts to eat right now and luckily it checks all the boxes for your dry january/whole30/diet efforts/lol i’m actually out here eating cakes every day lifestyle!

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i modeled this recipe off an easy one martine puts together with roasted apples in place of citrus. above, you can see all the citrus i used! lemon, clementine, orange, blood orange, and grapefruit. i found that those with a tarter taste (lemon, blood orange, grapefruit) had an even tangier taste after roasting. brushed with a blend of melted butter, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and honey, these slices will fulfill all your wildest sweet and sour dreams.

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and you may notice that foodstuffs has a brand new look this week! the lovely sarah ku, cousin of the equally as lovely eunice choi (my former colleague at food52), helped me get one of her beautiful banners up on my website this week. along with martine’s apple recipe, the colorfully fruity banner helped inspire my recipe for this week! that’s what i like to call a win, win.

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i served my citrus slices with just a light topping of honey, but there are many other options! some sweet ideas: serve alongside uncooked slices for a contrast of flavors, with a sprinkling of fresh herbs (e.g. basil), or with yogurt, cheese, ice cream, etc. some savory ideas: a sprinkling of herbier herbs like rosemary and thyme or as a garnish for a main dish cooked with citrus elements (e.g. veal or pork chop). you really can’t go wrong here.

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anddd in this week’s other stuff!

a beautiful quote shared by a certain butterfly in my life

i’m on the overall bandwagon (has anyone else been seeing them everywhere?!)

you should dance to this throwback song all weekend

that’s all for this week folks. short and sweet (and sour)!


roasted winter citrus

serves 4

fixings

4-5 medium pieces of fruit, be it oranges, grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, clementine, etc.

2 tablespoon butter (1/4 stick)

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

the lowdown

  1. heat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, 180 degrees celsius.
  2. wash fruit well and slice to medium thickness, 1-2cm worth.
  3. heat butter in a small saucepan. once melted, add honey, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. mix to combine.
  4. brush each slice with butter blend on both sides and place on baking sheet.
  5. roast for 20-25 minutes! once out of oven, brush with butter blend one more time to give some shine. top with a bit of honey to serve.