Pauline à La Crème Anglaise Interview
We sat down to chat with Pauline, from the blog Pauline à la Crème Anglaise, to find out the ins and outs of her new life in England!
How did Pauline A La Crème Anglaise come about?
I’ve always loved cooking, but I started baking when I arrived to London and fell in love with British baking five years ago.
From cheesecakes to Cornish pasties, Eccles cakes and Bakewell tart, I baked a new recipe every week.
My adventures and discoveries as a French expat tackling British baking and my growing interest in food photography inspired me to create Pauline à la crème anglaise (www.paulinealacreme.com).
Why did you make the move from France to the UK?
I was looking for a new job. Since I’d spent six months in The Netherlands for a university exchange when I was a student, I had kept in the corner of my mind that I would live abroad for an extended period of time, at some point in my life.
I found a position in a marketing agency specialised in Food and Drinks (my passion) in London, fell in love with the UK and never left.
The English can't cook, or so it goes, what do you think?
That is so not true! Some of the best Chefs in the world are British. I’ve read London has one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world.
But there is more to the UK gastronomy than haute-cuisine. British people are also very good at making simple but delicious food with a few, high-quality ingredients.
I’m discovering every day how incredibly diverse and rich British food culture is. Every region has its specialities, its unique recipes and local favourites. In London, you also get the best foods from around the world.
I used to only know about French food, but since I’ve been leaving in London, I’ve discovered and loved love Indian, Asian, Caribbean, South American foods, etc.
What French dish do you miss the most?
A good baguette (that’s a rare thing here). But I comfort myself with your delicious Sourdough and Soda breads!
Favourite British food discovery?
British cakes, pies, and all things baked! I love a good Cornish pasty, and nothing beats a sticky toffee pudding.
What kitchen item could you not live without?
My silicone spatula.
If one day I get a Thermomix, I might change my answer ;-)
Who is your cooking inspiration?
Everyone! From a top chef on TV to an old lady cooking in a little shack in a remote part of the world. I’m always looking for inspiration, and I love trying new things.
What are the main differences between British and French cuisine?
There are many. Take baking for instance. When you think about French baking, you think about millefeuille, Paris-Brest, macarons, operas and all these cakes that are absolutely divine but impossible to replicate at home unless you’re a very experienced home-baker (which I’m not). British baking overall seems more accessible to me, easier to re-create.
British cuisine also has many foreign influences, which is not as much the case in France. For example, I love that your national favourite dishes include Coronation chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala!
Most memorable cooking experience?
When I went to Vietnam on holidays a few years ago, I stayed in a homestay, and asked the mum who owned it if I could cook dinner with her.
I didn’t do much more that peeling garlic, but I had an amazing time, just kneeling by the fire around her pots and pans, watching her cook and sharing smiles (I didn’t speak any Vietnamese and she didn’t speak English).
I try to invite myself in as many kitchens as I can when I travel. It’s a great way to learn about local cuisine.
You seem to travel a lot, how do you make time blog during your trips?
I don’t travel that much, but when I do, I always have my camera ready.
I also scribble recipes that I like and might be able to re-create myself. So when I come back, I’ve got great memories and things to blog about.
Your photography is really great, any tips for food bloggers-to-be?
Photography is like baking to me, it’s all about practising and trying.
My tips: read a few good photography books for beginners (I liked Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin), learn how light works, learn about depth of field, exposure and try, try, try. Like me, you’ll learn as you go along (I still have so much to learn!) and discover your own style.
Buy yourself one or two light photography reflectors (they cost £10-15 on Amazon) which will make your life so much easier, and start with working only with natural light. I think that is the best way to learn the basics.