Hummus & Curried Cauliflower Tartine; Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook

In need of a coffee and always a sucker for a new cookbook, it was impossible to pass by Au Pain Quotidien inrue des Petits Champs where an appetizing display of bakery goods with an airy scrubbed pine interior and namesake books were on display. Currently a dozen branches throughout Paris and many more worldwide, Alain Coumont opened his first restaurant in 1987, Le Café du Dôme in Brussels. Following in the footsteps of his father, Coumont studied at the hotel school in Namur, France before graduating to work first for Schevenels in Liège, Belgium and later as a pastry chef for prestigious chef and restaurateur, Georges Blanc.

Le Pain Quotidien was born in 1990, the idea being a bakery with a communal table where it was possible to eat from 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week serving a selection of tartines, open sandwiches, salads and pastries but its turning point arrived in 1997 with a 'boulangerie-kitchen' in Manhattan, and with it, the introduction of a different style of eating. Eggs were served for breakfast, fresh fruit appeared on the menu followed four years later by the addition of granola, vegetarian and organic foods; the influence of California.

Late afternoon so the ‘wrong time of day’ for snacking but both coffee and Citronade Maison aux Framboises were divine and though I can’t comment about the food, I can for the book: A selection of imaginative recipes covering breads, breakfast, tartines, soup, salads, sharing and desserts. Yesterday evening’s almost-instant Pea Hummous was a winner and my take on Hummus & Curried Cauliflower Tartine made the most delicious lunchtime treat today; toasted sour dough thickly spread with chickpea hummus (a good quality shop bought version, tarted-up with extra tahini, garlic and chilli worked well) before sprinkling with tiny florets of curried cauliflower. The instructions are to toss the florets in olive oil, turmeric and cumin with a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon and thyme before oven roasting, but grilling previously blanched cauliflower speeded up the process and worked perfectly well, leaving room for just a quick garnish of micro-greens.

I look forward to a return visit, hopefully for lunch but in the meantime, shall enjoy Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook in my kitchen at home.