French mother of three, Covid front line health worker and passionate horse rider, Marilyn is also an excellent cook. During her free time she enjoys nothing more than baking for her children.
Impressed by her skills and fervent admirers of her beautiful cakes and pastries, we asked her to share about her love of cooking and to give us a few of her secrets!
You are fond of cooking, how did it all begin?
I would say it is almost a family heritage. My grand-father was butler in the navy and my mother has always cooked a lot. I began baking at an early age and already enjoyed making cakes as a little girl.
But the real turning point was in 2011 at the birth of my first child. It started with homemade baby purées then came birthdays... Watching mothers share their recipes online made me want to try them out myself. I too wanted to see the sparkles of joys in my kids' eyes upon discovering what I had prepared. My first major step was the rainbow cake created for the one year old party of my daughter Rose. It was a daring attempt out my comfort zone but proved to be a great success!
Beyond the pleasure of making my family happy, I also feel reassured knowing that I can control the ingredients used in my recipes and thereby take care of our health.
My children strongly encourage my baking passion. Each time I pick them up from school, they always ask: "What have you made for our goûter ( French tea time ) today?" I have to be up to the standard!
Can you tell us more about this "goûter"?
It is the children's favorite meal eaten straight after school, usually around 4.30-5pm. Ours is usually made of a piece of fruit or a yoghurt and cakes! Always a tasty and fun snack for the kids, they love it and look forward to it each day. A real tradition!
During the week I tend to prefer individual single serving cakes such madeleines, financiers or cookies. These can be eaten on the go between two activities or on the way back home.
However during the weekend I like to make it a real treat. I usually bake a cake to share altogether. It is an opportunity to gather and enjoy a quality family moment. The children love taking part too! And of course licking the batter!
What would your top three French recipes be?
Coming from Brittany, my favorite would be crêpes! We now live in the Parisian region but this beloved classic brings us back to our roots. The children relish theirs with thick layers of Nutella!
Another timeless French goûter recipe is the Petit Écolier. These shortbreads with a bar of chocolate on top are called "Little Pupil". I use to eat them as a child during school breaks in the playground. Every time I bake them, it brings back happy souvenirs!
And as a third, I would say the Financier. Did you know that the name of this cake (meaning financial) is said to come from its traditional rectangular mold, which resembles a bar of gold?
Can you share a piece of advice to mothers?
I would say start with easy basics recipes and then gradually move on to more complex ones. Don't be afraid to fail and start again! Rome was not built in one day as we say in French and experimenting is part of the fun. What matters the most is to enjoy the process and to make cooking a moment of pleasure.
Where do you find cooking inspiration?
I follow several great French cooking accounts from which I take most of my cooking ideas! Which does not prevent me from adding my touch or innovating little.
@iletaitunefoispatisserie : French mother of three girls, former financial consultant then school teacher and children's author, Christelle is now fully dedicated to her love of cooking. On her website her recipes are organized by theme and come with videos too.
@lesgourmandisentdarmelle : Delicious and beautifully pictured pastries and cakes. Mother of two Armelle has a great sense of humour.
@cookingmicheline : Easy and basic recipes! Timeless classics shared by Micheline from Nice.
@matribuetmoi : A mother of four sharing her family life and tasty goûter recipes.
Follow Marilyn and her family on Instagram through her @hugoetgaspard account