I am a food enthusiast living in Paris, France (UPDATE: now in the NYC area!!) and the author of Swirl & Scramble:

  • Website
  • Location: France
  • Favorite foods: I have favourite ingredients: chocolate, olive oil, fresh herbs, onions, garlic, eggplants, zucchini, cheeses, fishes + seafood.
    Cuisine type: Mediterranean, Indian, Thai and I think French + German pastries are delish.
  • Last bite on earth: I realize my answer to this question would change on a daily basis!

Cook the Book: 'The New Persian Kitchen'

Sumac for sure (no wonder it's such a popular response!) which I sprinkle on pretty much anything! But ESPECIALLY fabulous on freshly fried falafels (makes a huge difference, trust me!) and Pomegranate molasses (which I use in "mouhammarra" a kind of red bell pepper/walnut spread)

16 Recipes For Your Thanksgiving Leftovers!

any pumpkin left over? this is a superb dish to make, easy, healthy and potentially aphrodisiac (thx to the ginger & mussels) Pumpkin Ginger Soup w/Mussels and a drizzle of Safflower Oil

What's Your Go-To Company's Coming Dinner?

any pan seared fish or seafood (salmon, shrimps etc). takes minutes literally.
accompany with a garlic, lemon & fresh herb pasta and some rocket salad. glass of white wine. done.

Fruit You Loathe

@omnomnom: thats how i eat kiwis too :) easiest fruit to eat IMO!

@missmochi: is the skin even digestible? i would had never thought to eat the fuzzy too! interesting!

Fruit You Loathe

bananas bc they leave a dry sensation in my mouth
pears- but am starting to appreciate them more.
otherwise all fruits are awesome :)

The dilemma that is Apple Pie

ouh i really like the balsamic addition. lovely.

TV chef's. How have they inspired you?

And I also enjoy watching Alton Brown because of his scientific approach.

TV chef's. How have they inspired you?

The only TV chef that has ever inspired me and for whom I truly have respect is Gordon Ramsay. Even though he may be equally famous for his raging temper, I really do appreciate his healthy attitude towards food. Everything always seems "balanced" in his dishes. Taste reigns and he doesn't overcomplicate things. I've tried many of his recipes and they are succulent- it's about pleasure and I never have my last bite thinking that now I'll need to nap and digest.
He has a deep and disciplined understanding of food & beverage, and before being a TV chef he is a professional, talented chef first and foremost.

Overloaded pomegranate tree...

At home we have a tradition of using them in spinach pies (use puff pastry or phyllo- both work)! We mix spinach, pomegranate seeds and walnuts all together, it's delicious!

Lunch in Soho

TARTINERY, albeit in Nolita-but really borderline Soho-is great! French casual modern brasserie with fantastic open faced sandwiches.
209 Mulberry Street

Brunch in Hell's Kitchen

I was going to say Marseille as well, although Ive only been there for dinner and what an unexpected surprise, a delightful experience! I don't recall seeing unlimited brunch on their menu...but if their brunch is as good as their dinner, then I'd say go!

Where is the Best Pizza in Naples, Italy??

Da Michele for sure. You will eat marvelously well in Napoli. And sometimes the best dishes are ridiculously cheap. Some of my favourite recollections where:
The pizza (Da Michele)
The mozzarella (coming back home made me think "what have I been eating all this time?!)
The gnocchi (I had the best in my entire life at a local spot, 4 euros/dish)
The sfogliatelle (a must try)
Arancini (although even better in Sicily)
The cheese- all of them.
And how can I forget: the coffee!!

I would also certainly recommend that you bring back some chocolate Torrone. There is a thin, crunchy kind which is divine! I have a hard time forcing myself to stop eating it :)

Ice cream flavors that go well with pie?

fior di latte
nougat (not sure if this is common here)
rum raisin (is this common in the US? it's a popular flavour in France and goes so well with pies)

I just can't

cheese, chocolate (obvious)
vegetables (less obvious- but im a sucker for vegetables!!)

Jello Pudding in cake recipes?

thanks guys, well ive seen recipes in both although more in boxed cakes. Although Im not a fan of boxed cake mixes, I'd be willing to try just for the sake of experimentation!

35 Pumpkin Recipes We Love

Wow all this delicious orangeness. I made pumpkin jam recently- is this something not common in the US? (from what I seem to be noticing)?

Staff Picks: What Do You Eat When Nobody's Looking?

oh man, having lived for such a long time in France, my weak spot is definately "creme de marrons" (which is sweetened chestnut spread/puree- the same thing that the swirls on a mont blanc dessert).
best thing ever: a crepe with creme de marrons, nutella & whipped cream.

also left over pizza- a classic :)

Market Scene: Spring Onions, Strawberries, and Artichokes at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market

wow, i never get to a farmer's market early enough to get a hold of vegs like these!! by the time im there all that's left are apples & turnips!!

First Look: Lebanese-Armenian at Almayass in the Flatiron

hmm interesting. curious to check this out!

Cereal Eats: Can We Talk About Weetabix?

growing up in Europe, I used to eat these ALL the time as a kid- sometimes w cold milk, sometimes w warm. I also used to add honey & raisins for a sweeter twist- so simple, but mm so good.

Then a few years ago they launched "bite sized" Weetabix that you could get away with eating straight out of the box, without the milk (that was not the intended usage, but I ate them like that anyway, like cookies).

A Tour of Kalustyan's, the Indian Specialty Food Megastore

isnt this the craziest (in a good sense) food shop in the city? i love it! its like disney world for the food curious :)

Junoon: Is Fine Dining Indian Worth The Price of Admission?

I had been counting the days to check out Junoon after I heard they were opening. When I finally went, I wouldn't say it was a disappointment, but it was definitely below my expectations. I realized the price was not so much about the food, but more about the space, service, etc etc. But certainly not for mind-blowing food.

For that same price tag, I've had a far, far better experience at Tamarind (the Tribeca location).

French Onion Soup?

Tartinery in Nolita (209 Mulberry St). Authentic French eatery. Try their French onion soup 'Soupe a L'Oignon Gratinee'

Black and White appetizer?

- Crostini with Lucious black olives & feta cubes
- Anything with black olive tapenade
- Squid ink pasta, black bean pasta, black quinoa..lots of dark coloured carbs out there.
- Black bean hummus

- White marshmallows dipped in white chocolate and coated in shredded coconut
- Chocolate whoopie pies with a white coloured filling
- Meringues with whipped cream & blackberries
- Bowls with licorice & marshmallow candies to nibble on
- Bowls with yoghurt coated pretzels, nuts, etc...
- Marble cake

Is the physical cookbook here to stay?

I think cookbooks are here to stay...everytime I walk into a book store, I get the feeling the cookbooks section gets bigger and bigger...

However personally I prefer searching for recipes online vs buying too many books.

2012 went by incredibly fast- for better or for worse!

Is it too early to be posting end-of-year themed stuff? I just cant help but think we have only a few weeks left for this year to end...and with that said...
what made your tastebuds jump with joy or drown with sorrow in 2012?

For me, on the top of my mind I'd say:

-Awesome champagne cocktails I've stumbled across (ginger+lychee OR saffron+cardamom)
- Creative/gourmet arancini balls
- Rise of Korean food (I find this interesting to observe)
- More great pizza
- Sweet potato fries
- Restaurants presenting food on dishes in flat patterns vs the increasingly boring skyscraper/vertical stacking.
- Kale, just as not as crazy as in 2011.
-Gourmet flavoured marshmallows
- Speakeasies

-Cupcakes. I cant wait for the cupcake tyranny to end. And cake pops too.
-The cucumber trend at bars. Too many alcoholic beverages with cucumbers in them.
-Candy corn everything. Dunno if it's just me, but the last few months too much candy corn flavoured candies/chocolates.
-Too many mono-themed eateries (ex: places that sell just meatballs or grilled cheese sandwiches or risotto, etc)
- Speakeasies

The dilemma that is Apple Pie

Hello all!

There's a cold breeze in the air, the leaves are turning yellow and it's pitch black by 6PM already... All signs lead to one thing: it's that time of the year for Apple Pie! As much as I love it, as much as I dread it as it can get terribly boring.
I've tried variations in the past such as combining with other fruits, adding exciting spices, using a cheddar-spiked crust, using different bases (puff, phyllo, short crust etc).
Maybe my favourite experiment of all however was a Apple-Nougat Pie (which was fab) but am currently in total lack of inspiration right now.

How do you make your Apple Pies more exciting? Curious to know!

Jello Pudding in cake recipes?

Hi! I keep coming across cake recipes that call for a Jello pudding mix. This really startled me as I dont understand what the benefit is...and a tad curious about what on earth a Jello pudding mix is doing in there? Has anyone tried this before? What does it do (better...or worse?) to a cake? Thanks!!

How to experience a quintessential Thanksgiving/NYC?

Hello everyone, hope your Thanksgiving preparations are going well :)

This might be an odd question, but thought Serious Eats would be a good place to ask.

So I'm a non-American who moved to the US just about a year ago... so never really celebrated Thanksgiving- but would absolutely love to experience the 'proper' thing.

Im in the NYC area- and other then the Thanksgiving parade and Black Friday (the latter- which I dont plan on doing!) how can a 'foreigner' get a real taste of Thanksgiving Americana (if I may call it that way)?

Would be grateful for any recos!! Thank you!!

Food-related new year resolutions

OK okay.. 'new year resolutions'... cheezy for some, but it is inevitable..and its almost that time of the year, so I had to bring it up :)
So what are all your food new year resolutions?

-Master authenic Indian recipes
-Start writing about the food I eat out (and not only take photos of it).
-Continue discovering as many exotic fruits,vegetables, herbs & spices that are not so common in this part of the world
-Learn more about wine-tasting (I know the basics, but would like to know even more!)
-Drink less coffee and more green tea
-Increase my veg & fruit intake (I'm currently doing good at 5-6 servings/day but would like to aim for more)

Thanksgiving dinner in Manhattan for foreigners?

Hi! So I have just recently moved to the US and me & a couple of friends dont have the habit of celebrating Thanksgiving (none of us are American)... but we definately would like to get a taste of the experience this year. We are planning on eating out and I would be open for any recommendations from serious eaters here :)
Ive been looking up a few restaurants but everything is booked...(!) is it difficult to get a reservation for Thanksgiving? Any recommendations of nice places? Budget wise we are pretty flexible- what we are looking for first and foremost is good tasty food.
Thank you!!

One-shot cooking classes pro or not pro / NYC area

Hi! I just moved to the U.S less then 2 months ago and I am in major denial because I havent cooked a single thing yet in my kitchen. It is starting to feel very awkward and sad :(

I was previously living in Paris, France; where I was cooking all the time... the lifestyle is very different here and I get the feeling it doesnt give much time to cook.

Anyway, I was wondering if there were any cooking sessions in the city... one-shot type of sessions as it would be on a punctual basis. I just need to get back to cooking, and I'm open to any kind of concepts there could be out there- whether it's a classic school or sthing a bit more "crazy" should I say.

I've done some research but havent found all that much yet- I keep getting the French Culinary Institute (in Soho) on my search results.

Thanks a lot!!! Have a great day!

Why Food Bloggers Are Here to Stay

Hello SErs,
So Im guessing there are many food bloggers on here...
Came across this article :

Agree to disagree- what do you say? Are Food Bloggers here to stay? Or is this phenomenon coming to an end? If so, what could be the next big thing?

Hope those in the US had a great weekend,
Cheers from Europe!

I'd rather be called a X, Y or Z than a "foodie"

hey everyone :) i really hope im not repeating a subject that has been discussed a gazillion times in the past, in that case sorry in advance :)

SO i realize in a couple of recent threads the word ''foodie'' is considered as quite outdated and annoying to many. I admit im one of those who dont like the term.

I suggest that we get rid of this word once and for all (muahaha) and start proposing a better term to substitute it with!

I quite like ''gourmet'' . I'd rather be called a gourmet then a foodie.

Good flavour combinations with Black Sesame Seeds?

Hi everyone :)
I have a huge bag of black sesame seeds, and I really need to find ways to use it up.
Other then matching it up with matcha / green tea or using it to make black sesame ice cream or making crackers, what else goes well with those seeds? Sweet or savoury it doesnt matter!
Thank you!

Has anyone tried going raw?

Hi everyone :) I dont know if this topic has been posted before- in that case, apologies in advance.
I was wondering if anyone had tried going raw before? I know it can be tough when you're a serious eater... I dont think I could ever go raw for a lifetime, but I do want to give it a try for a while for health reasons (nothing serious, but my body is in need of a detox lol)
I tried going raw a while back but it drove me insane after 5 days!

So have you experimented with raw food? Did you enjoy it? What made it easier for you?

Thanks for your replies!

Éma, Syrian Ice Cream from Bakdash in Damascus

Photographs by Marianna F. If you're in the mood for a sugar coma, read Paris-based blogger Marianna's latest posts at Swirl and Scramble about her recent trip to Syria and Lebanon. I'm currently obsessing over her photos of éma, a kind of Syrian ice cream, from famed ice cream parlor Bakdash in the Souk al-Hamidiyeh. Marianna says that the ice cream—made of whole milk, mastica (which gives the ice cream its chewy texture), and rose water—is a specialty of Syria not easily found in other Middle Eastern countries. The ice cream is manually churned, scooped into cups and cones, and given a generous coating of pistachios before your eyes. Marianna calls it a must see and a must taste... More