My Take on… Picnic in Provence

Book Reviews

In a recent post, I gave my take on Lunch in Paris, a memoir with recipes by Elizabeth Bard. Having enjoyed her first book, I decided to follow her journey to the French countryside of Provence. Picnic in Provence is full of more of Bard’s recipes, this time with a flair for the French countryside.

In Picnic in Provence, the now pregnant Elizabeth and her husband set off on an adventure to Provence to visit the home town of Rene Char, a poet that her husband finds of interest. To their surprise and great luck, the home that Char used to inhabit is now available for purchase. Falling in love with Provence, the couple decide to leave Paris for the countryside. They learn to live at a slower pace and decide to become entrepreneurs as well. What town could not use an ice cream shop?

After reading Picnic in Provence, I am ready to pack a bag for France. After all, I am fond of lavender, French cooking, and ice cream. Picnic in Provence did not dissapoint. It was a perfect follow-up to Lunch in Paris. I highly recommend making some croissants and sitting down with a copy of Bard’s latest memoir. Au Revoir!


Baked Alaska Cupcakes


I have a bucket list of items I want to try and make in the kitchen. Baked Alaska was on that list. It was one of the intimidating, challenging items on my list. How can ice cream be baked? Will I end up with ice cream soup? How will we eat the whole thing before it melts?

The answer was simple. Start small. I found that Baked Alaska can be made in cupcake form. Brilliant! The recipe I was looking at called for a box mix cake. I do not do box mix cakes. The family does not prefer them, and to be quite honest, I do not see the point in buying a mix if I have all the ingredients to make a cake from scratch. It is not any harder to make and it tastes better. Also, we did not need 24 cupcakes, only 3. So, I decided to make three Baked Alaska cupcakes.

First I made the cupcake batter and filled the cupcake papers in a muffin tin. I let these cool on a wire rack. Next, I placed them into a freezer safe container and then scooped ice cream on top. Into the freezer they went for a couple of hours.

I preheated my oven to 450 degrees F while making the meringue. Then I took the cupcakes out of the freezer and popped them back into the muffin tin and spread the meringue over the top.

I popped them in the oven for 2 minutes, until the meringue browned.

Then the Baked Alaska cupcakes were plated, brought to the table, and devoured.

The results were good. The family liked these tasty treats. My husband wished that I had made more. So the next time I made a bigger batch. Another successful attempt in the test kitchen. Happy baking!

To make the Baked Alaska Cupcakes:

  • Make cupcakes using paper cupcake liners (any flavor/any recipe – I used chocolate)
  • Ice Cream (any flavor – Again I used chocolate)
  • Meringue – to cover 6-12 cupcakes: 2 egg whites/ 1/4 tsp cream of tartar/ 3/4 tsp vanilla/ 1/3 cup sugar

Make cupcakes and let cool on wire rack. When cool scoop ice cream on top leaving a little border around the edge and place in freezer safe container. Freeze for at least two hours. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Beat egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the sugar until stiff peaks form. Take cupcakes out of freezer and place back into the muffin tin. With a knife, spread the meringue gently around the ice cream being sure to seal around the top of cupcake. Pop in the oven for 2-3 minutes. The tops should be light brown in color and firm. DO NOT over bake as the ice cream will melt. Remove from oven and plate and serve promptly. Enjoy!

A Taste of the Islands


When we went to Maui a few years back, we decided to try Hawaiian Shave Ice. We stopped by Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice for our first tasting experience. ( Having never eaten it before, we found it interesting and fun. It was indeed delicious!

In Hawaii, Hawaiian Shave Ice is served in a cute little plastic cup that resembles a flower. The shave ice is served on top of ice cream (I chose macadamia nut.) and flavored syrup is poured into the ice. Indeed a cool, refreshing treat.

At Ululani’s, the syrup comes in so many flavors it is hard to choose. The syrup also comes in sugar-free flavors for those wanting to cut down on their sugar intake. There is macadamia nut ice cream and toppings to add to the final creation as well. Plan to go back another day to try more flavors.

When we got home we looked for a Shave Ice place. We found one! Now when we want a little taste of the islands, we can head on over for a little Shave Ice and dream of being back in paradise. No, it is not Hawaii, but it does bring back the memories. Aloha!

Our version of Ululani’s
Bringing back the memories….
Ice cream and flavored shave ice in one bite. Yum!