Today Marie Asselin from Food Nouveau joins us to give us a behind the scenes look at her brand new e-cookbook, Sweet Spot and, you could win one of 5 copies!
As I’m writing this post, I feel a mixed bag of contradictory emotions: excited, incredulous, proud, tired. What’s happening to me?
I just self-published a cookbook, that’s what.
The Story Behind the Cookbook
Image courtesy of Catherine Côté.
I’ve been an avid cookbook collector and compulsive food magazine buyer for 20 years now. I’ve been writing my own food blog for over five years. Yet, until recently, the thought of writing my own cookbook had never crossed my mind. Why? I didn’t feel like I had anything to say, I didn’t know what I was an expert in, I didn’t have the confidence to put my name out there.
This past spring, I met an editor at a conference to inquire about translation opportunities. He had a look at my blog before we met and after we chatted for a while about translating the work of others, he asked me, “But don’t you have a cookbook idea?” I stammered, and by my inability to find an intelligible response, it was clear I hadn’t.
But that conversation planted a seed. I had recently decided to concentrate my professional activities in the culinary field. I had a flexible freelancer schedule and some time on my hands. I had the chance of being able to pretty much do it all myself (I was a graphic designer in a past life). I spoke to a food photographer friend, who immediately offered to help and pushed me to carry on with the project.
It seems like I was looking for something that was right in front of me. For people around me, writing a cookbook was an obvious path, but I had to have the idea spelled out for me to finally see it and, most importantly, act on it.
Desserts are the reason why I first entered the kitchen as a kid. Even today, I’m a baker first, cook second. I’ll gladly spend a whole day in the kitchen to make desserts, and the more complex, the better: some of my favourite projects include French macarons and éclairs. As a young adult I fed on ready-made meals, but I would bake desserts — many, many desserts. In my early twenties, after months of being sick I discovered I was lactose-intolerant. Something had to change in my diet and it had to change immediately. As desserts were a major source of dairy products, I stopped baking for a while but became increasingly frustrated by the deprivation.
So I started experimenting: not cutting off all dairy products, but dramatically reducing their presence in my recipes. Eventually I discovered alternatives that allowed me at times to eliminate dairy products without sacrificing the taste — in fact, in many cases improving it.
After 15 years, this way of baking — diminishing the use of dairy products, carving a spot for healthy ingredients, finding the sweet spot between rich and satisfying — has truly become first nature to me. It allows me to be healthier, but most of all to eat more dessert! To be honest, this was my goal all along.
So what if I told you you could make desserts that are leaner and more nutritious, but still taste sumptuously indulgent? I know first-hand that making better-for-you sweet treats that don’t feel like a watered-down version of the real thing is not impossible. My 15-year quest has led me to create desserts that don’t rely on the overuse of butter and cream to be crave-worthy. Over the years, I developed clever tricks that allowed me to significantly diminish the use of dairy products, carving a spot for healthy ingredients along the way.
In my cookbook you’ll discover modern desserts that your guests will swoon over, but only you will know that you actually made healthier choices for them. My recipes use quality ingredients and complex flavor combinations to create dishes that reach a balance between rich and satisfying — that sweet spot that means you don’t need to over-indulge to feel like you treated yourself. Sweet Spot features over 60 meticulously tested recipes ranging from basic to elegant, along with mouth watering photography, baking ingredient information and substitution tips, and information about the benefits of adopting a (mostly) dairy-free diet, which is relevant to all sweets lovers, lactose intolerant or not.
You don’t have to be lactose intolerant to bake from this book. You just have to care about what you eat and love sweets.
Interested to read more? Sweet Spot is an electronic book offered in PDF or EPUB formats. Find out all about the book, along with simple instructions to purchase it, through the official Sweet Spot page on my blog. I am currently running a special launch week offer: enter code SWEET25 upon checkout to get 25% off your purchase. Let’s get baking!
If you bake from this book (I sure hope you will!), please photograph your creations and share them on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #SweetSpotBaking. Feel free to share your own baking tips, too! I can’t wait to get the conversation going.
Image courtesy of Catherine Côté.
To celebrate the launch of a project I poured so much of my heart into, I’m offering 5 copies of Sweet Spot: Modern, Better-for-You Dessert Recipes, with Clever Tips to Bake (Mostly) Dairy Free to Food Bloggers of Canada readers. Winners will get the opportunity to choose the version they want to receive (either PDF or EPUB). Good luck!
This article was written by Marie Asselin, a writer, translator, web designer, and passionate cook who loves to indulge in Quebec City’s burgeoning food scene. She is the author of the food and travel blog Food Nouveau, the cookbook Sweet Spot, the artistic director of Quebec City’s online food magazine, Fou des foodies, and Travel+Leisure’s Quebec City expert. Find her on Twitter @foodnouveau and on Instagram @foodnouveau.