Serves: Makes about 30 cookies
Preparation time: ~20 mins
Calories: ~90 calories per cookie
Hi folks, I hope this Wednesday sees you well! I’d promised you some photos a while ago and while I was going to post some photos from a trip to Stockholm last year I decided to post something rather more seasonal instead. How about a trip to a rather nice park in Paris?
There are many parks in Paris, though perhaps my favourite is the one I’ll be showing you a mere corner of today. I find parks here are often very neat – well tended, manicured lawns, which you’re not allowed to sit on of course, imposing stone fountains and statues. They have a place but I prefer something which seems a bit more natural. That’s why I’m such a big fan of the Albert Kahn Gardens.
Founded in 1893 by Albert Kahn, a wealthy banker and philanthropist, it served for many years as his private garden, and meeting place for his intellectual-type buddies. Kahn travelled to Japan in 1909 and returned with many photos of the country, which served as inspiration for a large section of his garden – Japanese-style wooden structures, blossom and maple trees and stone ornaments which remain to this day – going there you could be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped right out of a park in Japan somewhere.
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 actually bankrupted Kahn and his beautiful garden was turned into a public park. While this must have been devastating for Kahn it was no doubt wonderful for the people of Paris and its suburbs, to be able to so easily view the beautiful collection of plants and trees which he had amassed.
I really recommend giving the place a visit if you can – it’s not expensive to go in, just €3 per adult I think, and it’s fascinating to walk around because there is so much variation. The garden covers 4 hectares and in that space you have the Japanese-inspired part, conifer forests, rose gardens, fruit trees, an orangery, ponds, bridges, small lakes, hillsides and rock formations – so much to see!
Spring time is the best I think – not too hot and you get to really appreciate the beautiful budding trees and fresh, green leaves.
You’ll need to plan a good few hours to visit the park, and make sure you arrive early if the weather is good. We made the mistake of visiting once on a warm Spring Sunday, just to be met by a rather sizeable queue snaking out of the front gate. The park itself is also a bit out of the way – in Boulogne-Billancourt, just outside Paris. While still connected with the city by bus and métro it is pretty much at the end of the line so plan your day accordingly!
As for today’s recipe, well, I so desperately wanted to use my new piping gun thing. I’d also been wanting to try these two flavours together in a cookie for a while so decided that there was no time like the present. How do they taste? Well – there’s no question about whether these are going to be usurping such delights as the chocolate chip, oatmeal and raisin or ginger cookie but they’re definitely tasty. The vinegar gives a complex background flavour and the little “grits” of freshly ground black pepper give a real bit of zing in your mouth when you bite down on one!
Eat them with fresh strawberries for a perfect blend of flavours Have a great end of the week everyone – I’ll see you back again on the weekend!
Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar Cookies
- 180g Butter
- 180g Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 280g Plain Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 heaped tsps freshly ground Black Pepper
- Start off by preheating your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and then cream the butter and sugar together well and add in the egg. Mix well and then stir in the flour and baking powder, bit by bit. Add in the the black pepper and balsamic vinegar and mix to form a thick paste.
- Pipe the cookie dough onto a greased baking sheet – there will be enough dough for about 30 cookies. If you don’t have a piping bag or gun then simply form small balls of dough and flatten with a fork onto the tray.
- Bake in the oven for about 6-8 minutes, until starting to turn a nice golden brown. Enjoy on their own or with fresh strawberries for a great flavour combination.