Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, French food /

Life is full of challenges. Today was no exception. Let me explain. I was contacted by Tesco to participate to #FestiveFoodSwap, and I said yes. What is it about? This Christmas, one of Tesco’s helpful little initiatives is to inspire people to experience new flavours, with a range of products from across the world available in store. I had to give them a festive recipe from France that another blogger will make, and they said they would send me a festive recipe from someone that I would have to make.

The packet arrived yesterday. I hadn’t realised that it included a superb hamper with everything to feed an army until Christmas. Oh, and I had forgotten how good lebkuchen tasted…Yummy!


IMG_9996My daughter found that there was a gingerbread house, and was jumping with joy. I felt guilty about the fact that I had never, ever, given her the opportunity to make a gingerbread house before, and it was clearly something she wanted to do. Well, she did it there and then, and the result was amazing!

I then discovered what I had to bake. It was a Pumpkin Cake. I couldn’t help feeling a bit stressed. The fellow blogger who gave the recipe is called Elfa, and she writes the blog  Californian Mum In London. I was provided an American recipe from her to try.  Here is what the paper said:


“Pumpkin is often eaten during fall and early winter and is traditionally used within sweet desserts for Thanksgiving and Christmas in America. Pumpkin desserts are a festive family favourite and the equivalent of mine pies to the Brits.”


Great. Pressure was on me. It took me five years to try a mince pie because I thought there was cold meat in it, and now I have to bake a pumpkin pie. What can I say? I am not very adventurous…Time to take the plunge!



3 eggs (beaten), 425 pumpking puree (Libby’s canned pumpkin filling, available from tesco), 250g rapeseed oil, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 300g plain flour, 400g caster sugar, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp ground spice, 1tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, handful of chopped walnuts

Right. Can I come clean on something? It is the first time ever that I haven’t put any butter in a cake. Because we French put butter everywhere. That’s what we do. And can I also admit that I didn’t know what rapeseed oil was? It reminded me of the time when I went to the supermarket to try to find some lukewarm water (I thought it was something like elderflower, you see). What can I say? I am still learning…


35g icing sugar, 1 tbsp. maple syrup, 1 tbsp. water



Preheat the oven to 160C.

Grease one 2lb loaf tin and 11 lb loaf tin.

Mix the first four ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients.

Next add the wet ingredient mixture from the first bowl into the second bowl and combine.

Add full combined mixture into the loaf yins and bake for one hour.

Allow to cool before pouring over the glaze.

Combine all the ingredients for the glaze together just before adding on to the cooled cake.

I got there in the end…And the result was, well, delicious!

I had to Google what a 2lb loaf tin was. You see, I don’t do lb. I can’t remember how we were managing before Google…


I went to my local Tesco store to find all the ingredients. The shop assistant had to help me find the pumpkin puree, which we eventually located in the American section.

Once home, the baking became a new family project, with my daughter acting as sous-chef.

“ Mum, it looks a bit like a carrot soup”. I knew it: she is more French than she wants to admit.


And here is the result! (and it’s delicious…)


Disclosure: I teamed up with Tesco for this post. All opinions remain mine.