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For my first video I show you how to bake a simple but original and highly colorful cake using French almonds with a long pedigree: praslines.

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An ominous moment on FXcuisine.com - today I start posting videos!

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For my first and very imperfect video, I have chosen a simple French cake recipe using those rock-hard red caramelized almonds I bought at Braquier's in Verdun.

I will endeavour to improve the quality of my video footage for future posts so it can match the pictures I've been publishing here for the last 2 years. For those who wanted to pull the curtain and meet the wizard - here is your chance!

See Cake aux praslines from FXcuisine.com (5 minutes). Click on the video to play it in low resolution, or click again to go to Vimeo and see it in larger size (720x1080).

Cake aux pralines [prah-lean]
150gr (5 oz) cake flour
125gr (4 oz) good quality butter
100gr (3 oz) sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch of salt
70gr (2 oz) pralines

Don't do this unless you have actual red pralines - they are indispensible for this recipe. I did the recipe twice for the video but baked everything in the pan you see, so if your cake pan is the same size as mine, double the proportions above.

Bake at 180°C/350°F for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted through the cake exits dry with not sticky dough on it.

And please, please, do buy an electronic scale to measure ingredients by weight and not by volume. If you love me. That's the only way to do serious pastry

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If you do this recipe at home please let me know how it worked for you by submitting a comment or send me a picture if you can. Thanks!

182 comentarios

  • #1
  • Comment by parshu narayanan
Delightful to see you on video FX - is that the kitchen of the master himself? Of course, the stills had the advantage of all those blown-up food shots that made it so appetizing, though video is probably better for understanding how the recipe works - so I hope you wont move over completely to video. If you were Indian, I would have turned FXcuisine into a TV series :-)
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Parshu, yes it is my kitchen, had to make a few changes to shoot video. I will try to include more close-ups, unfortunately my present Fujinon lens only lets me focus 80cm, but more is on the way. What you mention about the TV serie is fun, I thought about including a few sequences of Bollywood-style lip-sync, the sequence with Abhishek Bachchan at the beginning of Jhoom Barabar Jhoom to me is like highly original modern version of popular operas we had around here in the 19th century. So maybe in the future!

  • #3
  • Comment by ND
Ha ha, this video brings back memories of Eric Cantona—good to have you back, by the way (thought maybe the Anti-cholesterol Liberation Front had finally caught up with you…).
  • FX's answer→ Nathan, I didn't know the footballer looked like me but he's got a great accent! Yes I narrowly escaped kidnapping by the Anti Cholesterol League but managed to turn one of them with a slice of guanciale...

  • #5
  • Comment by Colin
FX I very much enjoyed your video! I was interested that your mixing bowl was a beautiful wood platter! That surprised me a bit, I wonder if a flat bottomed platter is better than mixing bowls, hmm... At any rate where did you get your rubberized baking form? I would very much like to get one! One other note, does the hard candy shell of the praline melt into the bread during the cooking process or is it still hard and crunchy.. It seems like an interesting texture combination between soft and moist to hard and crunchy but maybe that's the point! Keep up the video, it was very enjoyable. I very much enjoy all of your stories!
  • FX's answer→ Colin, the prasline remains crunchy all right, no melting at all. The flat and heavy dough bowl is easier to work with than a light and tall bowl, and it lends itself more readily to photographic constraints!

Very nice first video post. It is nice to put a face to all the posts. There are a few things that I loved about your post: 1) I LOVE the mixing bowl. It just rocks. 2) Your sense of humor really comes out. like when you are smashing up the praslines. 3) Your kitchen is fabulous. Nice space, I am jealous of you in the home kitchen front. 4) like me, there are really some kitchen stuff you would really like to be buried with. I have my list as well.

Nice job, and I hope to see some more video posts.
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Jason! The dough bowl is really cool and I am always looking for more of the same. A pain to clean though and the varnish peels away. You can get similar bowls on Ebay if you search "dough bowl". Ah, the kichen. It wasn't like this when I moved in and for many years I cooked in airplane-sized galleys, so I know how you feel!

  • #9
  • Comment by Luke
This is a wonderful surprise, and an excellent job for a first attempt to boot. With slightly higher production values and a bit of practice, this could easily pass for a big network cooking show.
  • FX's answer→ Luke thank you, I have many improvements ready for the next video and, who knows, one could hope this will not only pass for a broadcast cooking show!

  • #11
  • Comment by Stephani
Yaaay! Congratulations on your first video, Francois.
It was great, I enjoyed watching you prepare Cake aus praslines, please do more videos in the future :-)
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Stephani, I will certainly try to make as many videos as I can in the time remaining to me on this fine Earth!

  • #13
  • Comment by Oskar S
Wow! Great job, really wonderful to see you in action. :D

Nice cake, seems easy enough for me to try it myself. Thanks again!

Best Regards
Oskar S
  • FX's answer→ Oskar if you can get those praslines, they store well and the cake is indeed very easy and really good and looks enticing!

  • #15
  • Comment by Paul Mckenna
Love the swearing, love the nibbling/tasting.
Please do more but don't forget the stills.
Love it.


  • FX's answer→ Paul I'll make sure to include some stills for each video, no worry. But with HD you could make great stills on the screen, with movement and sound. It really changes things compared to standard quality video where the image is always crappy compared to a photograph.

  • #17
  • Comment by Deb
Bravo! I have begun to make cooking videos, also, so I know how difficult it can be. Thanks for venturing into video -- it really makes a big difference to see you cooking!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Deb, indeed a big step up to make videos and I have still much to learn!

  • #19
  • Comment by Wotchers
How lovely to see you in action! And what a tranquil experience you make the art of baking appear - no roar of a blender or mixer. Wonderful!
Your commentary was great and I love the accent! Any plans to make commentaries in the other languages you speak? That would be awesome! Especially for your many non-English-speaking fans.
I hope we're going to continue to see your great stills photographs as well - would hate to see those disappear.
Once again, congrats on your first live action presentation!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks! Yes I love to hear the quiet noises of a cook working in the kitchen, they are like the details in a painting. I bet Claesz would have been very keen to include the noise of his pictures if he could. In the future there will be videos in several languages but I'll have to sript them and shoot the recipe as many times as there are languages plus one for the close ups, that makes quite a number of cakes!

  • #21
  • Comment by Bart
J'adore le video!  J'espère que nous pourrions régarder un visite a un fèrme Suisse où ils faisest les fromages traditionels, ou des events Slow Food, ou les fabriques dans la campagne Suisse.  Votre blog n'est pas seulment des recettes fantastique -- c'est aussi le "slice of life" European que je ne trouve pas en aucun blog sinon celui-ci.  Vous mériter quelque chose plus grand q'un blog.  Vous mériter un program à la télévision.
  • FX's answer→ Bart, merci pour vos commentaires! J'espère certainement faire des reportages vidéo sur les mêmes sujets qui sont évoqués sur mon blog depuis deux ans - mais d'abord il faut que je maîtrise la caméra video un peu mieux!

fantastic, delicious, superb!!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks for your kind words Sameer!

  • #25
  • Comment by Jay
FX! This is a lovely and charming video. You're a natural. Your careful pronunciation of "medieval" really makes the video! It looks like you messed up your object tags for the video embed though. You have object width="590" height2='' XYZ="332" which is making the video shorter in height than it should be. I'm guessing that should be object width="590" height="332."

You also cut yourself off at one point right as you began a new sentence. Otherwise, this video is great. I'm really looking forward to many more videos from you (and I'm glad you chose Vimeo as a host, such a great website). Oh, the cake looks lovely too. Keep up the good work!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Jay! I just corrected the parameters for the embedded video. In fact there were 5 more minutes of jokes but it just made too long a film. In the future I'll have to edit out my favorite jokes just like I've been dumping my favorite pictures for the last two years!

  • #27
  • Comment by michael
Hey! I'm putting on kilos just looking at the photos!This cake looks delicious. What part of Switzerland do you operate from? I did a course at The Ecole Hoteliere in Lausanne during 1959, then opened 2 fast food operations in Lausanne, 1 in Fribourg,I in Geneva,1 in Neuchatel, & 1 in Biel (Bienne)during 1969. I haven't managed to down load the video yet but will keep trying!
  • FX's answer→ Michael, I work in Lausanne and leave on Lake geneva. You don't need to download the video, just click and it will stream to your browser. I hear the man who owns the McDonald's franchises in Switzerland is a billionaire - slow food is a slow road to riches!

  • #29
  • Comment by Emiel
I really enjoyed your first video! And, as a student, I'm tremendously jealous of your beautiful, practical kitchen :)
I have to agree with Parshu up there that you should keep making those wonderfull pictures, but this video really carries over your enormous enthousiasm for food :) I'd love too see your tandoor in action!
  • FX's answer→ Emiel, don't worry I did not have this kitchen as a student and had to work a couple years first! For the tandoor unfortunately it is on a corner and will pose some challenges for the camera, but I'll try!

I very much enjoyed your video. I felt that you should have lingered a little longer on the final product, perhaps a further shot of you enjoying the cake? Lastly, I felt the video ended a little abruptly, perhaps it needs a little wrap-up as a conclusion.

All in all a terrific first attempt and I've added the video's page to StumbleUpon as well.

Kind regards,

  • FX's answer→ Liam, oh yes it does end abruptly, in fact we started shooting around 8 at night and when I finally sliced the cake it was 1 AM, so naturally apart from the good lesson learned about starting early, the end is clipped. But it will be better next time!

  • #33
  • Comment by Marloes
I liked your first video very much. It's always nice to see how things are made. Also I liked to see the "master" in action. (And I love your mixing bowl too, I'm jealous...)
  • FX's answer→ Marloes, thank you but beware, cigarettes and jealousy can kill you! I recommend you start shopping for a similar dough bowl, it is very affordable in fact. Just try on Ebay, there are lots of traditional US farm dough bowls for sale and nobody buys them, they can also work as home decor or to empty your pockets when you come home!

  • #35
  • Comment by ariun
Woooaaaah!!! You have such a sexeh accent. Fun watching the video, especially getting a glimpse of your oven in action!
  • FX's answer→ Ariun, well thank you about my accent! In the future I'll speak other languages as well on the videos, each with my trademark Swiss-French accent, so hold on!

I loved that enjoyable and joyful video! A wonderful cake! Really delightful! A speciality I love...

Cheers and thanks for sharing!

  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot Rosa!

  • #39
  • Comment by Clémence
Good to see a praline recipe on FX cuisine. May I suggest the making of the celebrated Parluline, a praline-studded brioche signed by Pralus in Roanne, as a possible future area of enquiry? Pralus is also one of the last French chocolatiers to choose his own beans himself and on the ground. Definitely worth a visit, for all the dreariness of Roanne as a destination!

And all the best with this new era of video footage!

  • FX's answer→ Clémence, oh yes, I love brioche and pralines, but for my first recipe on video I tried the simplest - and shortest - recipe I could find, and brioche dough needs a looooong rest! Next time perhaps!

  • #41
  • Comment by michael
I have now managed to down load your first video, which I enjoyed very much - just one thing though - you mentioned S***, BUT FORGOT TO MENTION THE QUANTITY YOU USED! I will leave out that item when I attempt to make the cake!
Looking forward to more fine videos, thanks.
  • FX's answer→ Michael, indeed, I will update the article body tomorrow with the exact quantities, left the recipe at home I'm afraid!

FX, this is fine.. but please do not abandon the photograph stories. The photographs are the key to unlock the imagination, video does not engage the vıewer half as well.
  • FX's answer→ Andrew, I will continue to take pictures, but with HD you can get as many pixels as the high resolution pics I publish, with movement and sound to boot!

  • #45
  • Comment by Demelza
Just a pleasure to see you and hear your voice and sense of humor in action. Thanks for that video - you made my day.
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Demelza, and the next videos should be better than this one!

  • #47
  • Comment by michael
So you are in Lausanne! - I remember seeing Charlie Chaplin having lunch with William Holden at The Beau Rivage in Ouchy! (that was probably before you were born!)I remember having such a good meal at La Grappe D'Or, somewhere near The Place St Francois, that I proposed marraige to the girl I took there - and I was only 18!!That's the effect good food can have on you! - I wonder if that Restaurant still exists today?
  • FX's answer→ Michael, la Grappe closed and reopened, now it's an upmarket Italian joint. But the Beau Rivage is still there and now we have a statue of Charlie Chaplin. Did the girl accept your marriage proposal?

Great Stuff! Have no idea where to get the pralines in Israel...It would be a good idea to suggest substitutes that are more readily available everywhere. Would rassberries work?

At any rate - Mazal Tov and keep up the great work!

My little tip - cooking is always more fun with a class of wine ;)
  • FX's answer→ Mirra, thanks for visiting. You do need to have the pralines or it will be a very different recipe.

  • #51
  • Comment by John Kessell
Great first video!  I live in the lower Caribbean where you cant get almost any of the superb "first world" ingredients but I can always live and dream! Thanks for some great moments.

PS Could you give us one on Tiramisu which I had the States
recently and which has to be the most sinful dessert I ever had.
  • FX's answer→ John, in fact I have a tiramisu recipe, not the original one but with strawberries and rhubarb. Look for my article and just dip the biscuits with super strong coffee and omit the fruits and you'll have splendid tiramisu!

  • #53
  • Comment by Simon
Hey FX,

A very enjoyable and informative video. I just wondered at what temp. the oven was preheated to, and for how long the cake was in there.
Keep them coming!!

  • FX's answer→ Simon I will post the full details tomorrow, I think it was 180 Celsius for 45 minutes. Look for the pralines and I'll be back with the numbers.

  • #55
  • Comment by mariliafig
I loved!!!!!!!You are the BEST!!!But I can not find writen recipe.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks and check back tomorrow for the full recipe!

  • #57
  • Comment by GunnCat
FX, that was great, but you looked a bit nervous! Perhaps next time you should open with a libation. :)
  • FX's answer→ GunnCat, drinking on the job, me? Not a chance!

  • #59
  • Comment by Magdolna
My first impression was that you used the "that's it" "okay" "thank you" -s too many times...Also: don't show discarded items landing in the sink. The tradition or history behind the cake, a funny recollection of a private memory that has to the with cake, whatever, would have enriched the peresentation a lot. The background of the kitchen is uninspiring, to say the least, the cameraman should learn a few tricks, but I enjoyed your almost Depardieu-esque looks and accent, which is so very cute...Otherwise, I will try this cake before Christmas, maybe with something else that the red almonds, and you could have made suggestions what else could go into it, if we don't find red almonds in the corner store, or dislike red paint in our mouths...., but personally I have tons of ideas, so it will not be a problem for me to substitute. Thanks for the work, keep up with it and improve, you are on your way to success,if your videos will be as fascinating as the previous works, I loved the wording of your stories, they are literature: entertaining, educating and useful!!
Magdolna from Vancouver Canada...it is snowing here! Merry Christmas!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, yes it's also snowing and eerie here. I had to edit 5 minutes of talk and jokes and background out to make the movie of a palatable duration, and yes, too many thatzits remained. As for the kitchen I spent the whole afternoon removing highly inspiring ingredients and cookware that cluttered it and made it distracting.

    For the ingredients, I recommend you really use a praline and not some nuts, the praline is what gives the cake its character, with the islands of crunchniness and color. Otherwise with hazelnuts or plain almonds it will be very - uninspiring.

Wow, FX, very nice kitchen.  And kudos for doing everything old-school by hand.  Being an American, I have a food processor for the flour/baking soda mixture, and a 10-speed stand mixer for the dough.  If I tried this, I'm pretty sure I'd look for some kind of powered gadget praslines breaker at my local restaurant supply store!

On the recipe, I noticed you didn't use any vanilla or vanilla extract; is that due to the caramalized nature of the praslines (or to keep your first video as simple as possible)?  I've never cooked with them, so I'm curious if adding something like vanilla or a fragrant spice would conflict with the nuts at all - I'm thinking of making muffins or a smaller version of your cake in some ramekins I have laying around.

I'll have to keep an eye out for those baking pans.  They look fantastic.
  • FX's answer→ Harrison, although I have many powered machines in my kitche, there is no need for them to bake a cake and no need to put off those readers who don't have much equipment when all you need is a paddle and an arm. Next time I may even do it right on the bench. I find the simplicity of it all attractive by itself. For vanilla, you could have added some but there is no need for every cake to taste like plain vanilla. I'd rather recommend some grated lemon rind and really good eggs and butter.

    For the baking pan you can find there everywhere online or on Amazon, these are the new standards in professional kitchens, and very durable too!

  • #63
  • Comment by Agustin Jauregui
Olé!!! It´s fantastic to see you in action!!
I must admit that during the last days I kept checking your site several times hoping to have a nice recipe but the video has been a total surprise.
Thanks a lot a keep pushing!!
Regards from Spain
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Agustin, I am sorry this took some time in the making, but focussing so much on video these days I did not fee like shooting photo articles before I could get at least one video out!

  • #65
  • Comment by Meramarina
Hey, that was fun and I want to go bake something now!  Can you get some of that cake to the viewers out here ? !  We are hungry!!!!!!!

Something strange happened to the lighting at the end, it seemed to get much brighter.  Maybe it was just the joy of freshly baked cake--I completely understand!

Will you be taking the video camera with you for Out-Of-Kitchen Experiences? (now that sounds almost supernatural . . . like, "I saw a great light,  I went toward the light . . . and . . . there was CAKE!"

Good luck with the next videos!
  • FX's answer→ Meramarina, yes the last scene is overexposed, we had to come back after having changed the light to finish the master shot, and that was one of many mistakes that night! Of course I will make out-of-the-kitchen gastronomic experiences on video too!

  • #67
  • Comment by Hirm
Hi FX,

I truly enjoyed your first video.  I will definitely try the cake and I cannot wait to impress my friends!  Other than the cake, I was very amazed by your kitchen.  So sleek! One question: what kind of countertops do you have?  It looks incredibly durable.

  • FX's answer→ Hirm, thank you! I have polished stainless steel and two large custom-cut kitchen plastic boards, black. I designed everything, lots of work. For cutting I use mostly a pile of super cheap Ikea black cutting boards which I throw in the washing machine as they get used, much more efficient than trying to wash them as you go.

  • #69
  • Comment by Sebastian
So that's why your update schedule was moving a bit slower the past two weeks - you were plotting behind the scenes! :D WEll, the wait was definitely worth it - seeing (and especially hearing) you in action is simply priceless; Five minutes of my life well spent. I'm looking forward to seeing you in motion again - although I enjoy your food pornography pictures just as much.
  • FX's answer→ Sebastian, would you like *moving* food pornography? I'll try to get the same estethics but with the moving pictures, that's my challenge right now. And I have to try and find a way of fitting the many jokes I cut out into a not-too-long film!

  • #71
  • Comment by Darjeeling Snow
Bonjour,  cher Francois !!
Quelle surprise !! Truly !!
I love the recipe - even though you have apoligized for it - as I do all your recipes and articles.   I know your are concerned about the technicality of the video image,  but surely it is fine ... no apologies necessary.   Since it is your 'oeuvre',  and you are the chef of it (pardon !),  
I am sure you will tweak it to your satisfaction in the future,   but I - for one -do not mind at all ... it is just so nice to see you....oh....and something verrrry important:

Although I do not smoke, I must thank you for the advance warning which you so kindly gave about jealousy:   I now see I will soon be bidding this lovely world 'adieu' since I really am jealous -- not only about your wooden bowl with all its work space and nice low rim,  and the comfort of being able to keep your elbows low ..... but of your kitchen,  your scholarship,  your multi-faceted mind,  and your way of speaking English !!  Usually even the good Lord Himself does not give such a nice advance warning  !!  Hi hi hi !!

Whilst watching your video,  I suddenly thought to use the praslines we can buy here in New York from the street vendors who sell caramellized peanuts roasted in their push-carts in the fresh air.   Although we certainly have access to all sorts of praslines,  I love street vendor peanuts.  There is something nice about them,  the people who sell them,  the scent of charcoal.   Peanuts might seem lowly in comparison to French almonds,  but I think It would be fun to incorporate peanut praslines into a cake (especially charcoal-scented !)  I never thought of them as something to incorporate into a recipe until now,  but I have gleaned from your site the fact that people do include local products in their cuisine,  and often those very things become part of a culinary tradition.... so I cannot see any reason why I should to snub caramellized peanuts sold by New York street vendors,  do you ?

Thank you for the information about finding wooden bowls .... and when you do videos in different languages,  will you please let us know how to find them ??.... I for one like to listen to things in different languages ... it's very much fun.

You said you work in Lausanne.... what is it about Lausanne?  Once I took the night train from Paris to Venice.  As the train pulled into a station late at night,   I suddenly woke up and looked out the window of my compartment to see where we had stopped.  "Lausanne," the sign read.   I don't know what it was,  but I suddenly heard myself gasp aloud and say,  "Ohhh .... SWITZERLAND !!!"  I was very surprised.  I swear I could hear the stars,  I just knew that there were cows asleep nearby,  and that one more day had passed in Gruyere just a little distance away where the cheese makers had once again made the world happy !  Marrant !  Really,   really ... I almost heard cow bells.  Now,  after reading all your articles / recipes about that section of Switzerland,  I am convinced that there is something special there.  In addition to all the above,   during that train ride,   a border guard in uniform,  with the most beautiful manners,  came onboard the train at Lausanne to check our passports (since it was a border stop),  then bade us "Belle cose" by way of wishing us good night as he took leave and went on his way.  That was something !! I will never forget it.  It was mystical !!   Lucky you ... Lausanne !!

with much appreciation,
and love
  • FX's answer→ Darjeeling, thank you for your kind words! In fact I just went outside to the local Christmas market to see man making those rough street pralines, he used almonds instead of peanuts. Although they are not as good as serious pastry-chef-grade pralines, you can certainly use them for a cake. The red coloring does give the cake much of its appeal though. Many people stopped in Switzerland en route to Eastward destinations, I think Churchill and the Queen of England did the same stop at Lausanne train station as you did. An island of peace in the midst of Europe, that we are. Do you live in Darjeeling or are you just fond of the product? I really love the second steeping of a a second flush Darjeeling on Friday afternoons, when all the cafeine has gone in the first water and you just get the soothing polyphenols.

  • #73
  • Comment by Darjeeling Snow
Please include all the jokes
  • FX's answer→ Will do for next video!

  • #75
  • Comment by Bine
Congratulations FX, that's an amazing first video! The picture quality is fantastic, the HD version on fullscreen definitely outclasses the crap they're selling as "digital TV" here by millions. Can't wait to see more of this!
  • FX's answer→ Bine, glad you liked it! In fact the original quality is 1080p so three times as many pixels as in the HD version on Vimeo, but I didn't find any service where to host the full HD version!

  • #77
  • Comment by Marianne - Vaxholm
For God’s sake Francois – I do hope you will not listen too closely to some of your critics and supporters… I love your way of making the butter hit the bowl with a bang, elegantly flinging used items into the sink or shoving them out of the camera’s sight! You made me smile, giggle and laugh out loud - specifically because of the ‘Thank You’s’ and other features such as the authoritative‘..hand me the marise’.  Never mind the ‘too much echo etc, etc’ – there are enough dead-boring and technically perfect cooking videos out there already – your’s is marvellous. So, more idiosyncrasy, more of what makes you so enjoyable and more of your jokes, who said these videos have to be short? The people who want the short version can read the recipe and will miss out on your infectious laughter.
Great initiative, I am looking forward to your future adventures. Marianne
  • FX's answer→ Thanks for your encouragement Marianne!
    I will try to post perhaps a longer and shorter version so people can choose which one they like best, but the long version can be pretty boring and I'm never sure if my jokes really work - or if they are downright silly!

Bravo!  I toss my imaginary roses in admiration!


I don't think I've ever heard the word "shit" used during a cooking demonstration!  I'm sure many chefs have thought it, though.  It made you very human.

I look forward to many more videos.  I must echo the sentiments above that closeups of technique would be most helpful.  Also, is there a way for me to expand the video to the full size of my computer screen?

You are adorable, I love your giggle and you're a wonderful instructor.

<3 Chiffy
  • FX's answer→ Chiffonade, indeed it is the "shit!" that makes us human in this world. No problem, I'll include extreme close ups as usual. To view it in big you need to click on the HD icon top right, then on the link to Vimeo that will happen, then you can see it in HD. Just click on the icon bottom right to maximize it and then on the other bottom right icon so that it doesn't overstretch it. "That's it!"

  • #81
  • Comment by Gray
Francois simply splendid! I had hoped that you would get into a video format as well, sometimes some recipes need to be seen in action hehe.

You did, however, make me cringe when trying to smash the praslines. I would have expected you to place them into a clean dishcloth and beat them with a heavy roller, Its so much easier or so I've found from personal experience
  • FX's answer→ Gray, ah yes, I could have quietly placed them in a bag but what would have happened to cinematic drama?

Hi FX, the video is very entertainig. I love your articles and the video certainly meets the high standard you set with them. Please don't streamline upcoming vids!
  • FX's answer→ Thomas, the original video was 11 minutes long, the pace was so slow I nearly fell asleep watching it, which is why I decided to edit it. Perhaps a director's cut?

  • #85
  • Comment by John Todd
Hi! Love your site.  But I have some critiques of your video.
Even if you don't publish this letter, please keep these things in mind.

Please don't think that I am being an ass.  These are just observations that I see with my trained eye - I've been doing film/video for decades now, and these are some mistakes that most people make; but they are very easily fixed. :)  Lighting for video is totally different from lighting for pictures.  Your pictures are wonderful!  Here are ways to make your videos wonderful, too.

I have a degree in film/video.  I like your video, but here's how to improve the lighting:

A.  In the front shot (of you), turn a light on in the background.  I think I see tall windows or a patio door in the background.  Splash some light across them, or set up a light outside on the patio to light up the yard area a little.  This is to avoid the "black hole" that I see on the screen right now

B.  The egg closeup looks good, but a little backlighting would be nice.

C.  The overhead pan shot - nice, but maybe needs a little more light in the pan.

D.  Pouring the red stuff into the yellow stuff - needs a light in the background to avoid another black hole.

E.  Stuffing the batter into the cake pan - needs background lights.

F.  The oven shot is great!!!  :)

G.  The cake shot is very nice!!! :)

Are you wearing a white shirt?  Never wear white on video, it doesn't render properly.  Instead, switch to a light blue or very pale tan(brown) color, or light grey,  whichever you like.  Never use horizontal stripes, either.  (The vertical stripes you used were just fine.)

Also - I don't watch videos.  I only read text and sometimes look at pictures.  Please do a writeup on the video articles, and you can also include still frames grabbed from the video to avoid taking pix separately.

I hope this helps!  I really enjoy your site and look forward to many great articles!  Thanks for a great site!
  • FX's answer→ John, thank you very much for this detailed feedback! I will try to improve the background lighting, in fact we had a 1K lighting through a cookie but I need to create some interest in the background. Now with regard to the black clipping, most of my photographs (stills) are shot low-key on a pure black background. I know that lighting for video is a lot about reducing contrast to fit the image in the camera's narrow dynamic range, but is there any way to make a low-key image shot on a black background acceptable? For instance when I shoot close ups they are mostly against my black apron or on the black top. Thanks for your help!

FX, you did a wonderful job on your video.  Congratulations!  I love your mixing bowl and your kitchen. I will have to look for the praslines because now I have to make that cake, especially that I have the right baking pan.

Looking forward to seeing more of your videos.

  • FX's answer→ Liliana, thanks for your visit! If you find some real pralines, don't hesitate to buy them, they save well and then you can bake all sorts of nice things with them!

  • #89
  • Comment by Apiculteur Suisse
The video is just great, please, do one in french.
thank you.
  • FX's answer→ Bonjour, je vais essayer d'en faire une en français également. Où sont vos ruches? Quel type de miel produisez-vous?

  • #91
  • Comment by Laura Bortolin
Fabulous!  I have only recently discovered your site, quite by accident, and have been visiting it daily ever since.  Today I was pleasantly surprised to find your very first video and quite delighted to hear that you sound just as I had expected you to!  Very nice to have your voice in my head as I read your recipes from now on.  I look forward to enjoying more of your videos in future, but also hope you keep the stills as well -- hopefully this won't add too much work!  Thank you for the beautiful recipes, the lovely photos, and your glorious sense of humor!  Merry Christmas from Central New York!
  • FX's answer→ Laura, thank you for your kind words! Yes I think I'll continue shooting pictures as well, when the food is on the table and the light is set, it is not much extra work. At least not compared to the dreary task of editing video for a beginner!

  • #93
  • Comment by Gilberto Ramirez (Guy)
FX! I'm impressed! Just when I thought that your blog couldn't get any better, you come out with VIDEOS! Let me congratulate you on this endeavor and for allowing us to 'visit' with you. I also have an accent, castellano being my first lengua. I'm 80 years old and now my HUGE passion for making cheese started after I'd read your "Swiss Alps Cheesemaking" entry. Wonderful hobby.
From your recipes I have also made 'proper Pea Soup', italian pesto soup, beef burguignone, quince chutney, and a whole lot more of delicious things. I would venture to say that the beautiful pictures and your comentaries is what inspire me to cook. My wife is also happy because now I'm doing most of the cooking!
I much appreciate and enjoy every one of your articles.
Sincerely,  Guy
P.S. Tried your rabbit stew last friday. Mama says,"Delicious!".
  • FX's answer→ Gilberto, I am most amazed to see that you, probably the eldest of my readers, has managed to try many of my recipes! Great choice those soups, and the rabbit stew is divine, isn't it? If you live in Spain there must be lots of great traditional cheesemakers to visit, this is an ancient art that has a long tradition in Spain too!

  • #95
  • Comment by Barbara
Loved the video as is, no great finishing required. Here in the states finding "pralines" might be a problem. finding "burnt sugar" almonds and peanuts is not. they are red but not as bright as yours. The baking pan is suitable for oven and I believe microwave as well. silicon pans and baking sheets are the newest, coolest thing around. I love the Silpat sheet that came with my commercial cookie sheet.
  • FX's answer→ Barbara, indeed finding those pralines may be difficult but the day you see them in a shop, you'll know exactly what to do with them! Man, you could lose quite a few teeth trying to eat them whole if you didn't know.

  • #97
  • Comment by Chris
Francois, wonderful job. Your blog is a the best food blog in cyberspace, bar-none. The video was great and I hope this was the first of many more to come. Keep up the great work. Chris
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot for your endorsement Chris, this will keep me going into 2009 with more images - moving this time!

  • #99
  • Comment by Josh
Brilliant. I hope to see many more of the videos. Entertaining, educational, and just something completely different. I watch a lot of food television, but I am particular when it comes to what to watch. This is definitely something that I will continue watching, and if it makes it from the internet to the television, I will be watching it there as well. I've never commented on anything of yours before, but it is truly a magnificent blog.

Thank You.
  • FX's answer→ Josh, thanks a lot, it feels like I am coming out from behind the curtain and meed the audience, including some people who were sitting quietly in the back of the room and whom I never had the pleasure to see before! I also watch much food TV and think that there might be a way to make something new and - Who knows? - better.

Dude that was fucking awesome, i've been reading your blog for months now and this video feature takes it the next step. Don't stop doing the video features (the more the better, really) and don't lose that sense of humor!
  • FX's answer→ The sense of humor is really not the limiting factor here, I had to cut out most of the jokes or the running time would have been 10 minutes! Ah, too bad, my favorite jokes, all gone down the drain... Did you get the one with the pralines' color?

Salut François, I like your video though I could hardly imagine anything as entertaining as your close-up food porn - watching you in action is a completely different thing. As for the constructive criticism I agree with Magdolna, at least concerning the background of your kitchen. The room might be a bit too deep and empty to create a warm atmosphere, visually and acoustically - maybe you will find a temporary solution to shorten it? A bit unintimate, too, is the bright light with your shadow on the high level wall unit, at least in my opinion. - Keep it up and have fun, I always look forward to your interesting news!
  • FX's answer→ Antje, thanks for the feedback! The light that cast a shadow was a mistake when we moved the lights, it isn't by design. The echo is due to the other side of the room which you can't see in the video, and I have a plan to tame it. As for the room's lengths I will see if there are any bricks and mortar to reduce its proportions. Actually it's much bigger than it looks on the screen, but I'll try a trick of lighting by planes so that they don't need to build a new dam in the Alps just for my electric consumption!

  • #105
  • Comment by Felix
That was awesome When you said "Shit" I was hooked. Please let me know when you have your FoodTV show.
Great job...
  • FX's answer→ Felix, I am working on it, but how do you say "Shiiiiit" on TV?

  • #107
  • Comment by rosedarpam
Delighted to see that you have added video.  It would have worked well when you went to the market in Torino.  However, please don't give up 360 degree photos.  They have an ethereal feel about them and I also like being able to go back and focus on one particular shot.
  • FX's answer→ Rose I will post a couple more 360 panos soon, don't you worry! In Torino there were scores of TV crews of every size and whole studios set up.

  • #109
  • Comment by Shu
Congrats on your first video. A very good effort I must say! Do you have a sript?
  • FX's answer→ Shu, alas no, no sript for this first film. But in the future I don't think I can do it without one. But how do you sript "shiiiiiit!" ?

  • #111
  • Comment by Jo
I have been a long time reader but this video drew my first posted comment. I always felt your photos and comments showed your lovely enthusiasm for cooking. The video made me smile because your real love of a new experiment and playing with the lovely red pralines in the 'explosion'. You are the example of true admiration of food and wanting to connect with others about it.
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Jo, I am really pleased to hear that this drew you out of the cold into the world of active readers of FXcuisine! I will certainly try to make more videos - and better ones - in the future. Glad you liked it!

Oh MY goodness Francois,I LOVE LOVE LOVE the video! Congrats on the new venture! You had me smiling from ear to ear and I completely laughed out loud when you were trying to smash the almond, especially when the "S" word slipped!!! Your personality and sense of humor totally shine through, the video quality is pretty good, and I love that wooden platter that you often use when cooking. I only have one suggestion, don't forget to smile! :) I hope you will post more videos!
  • FX's answer→ Oh yes I will need to smile more, but directing and cooking and cursing all at the same time - pretty involved stuff!

  • #115
  • Comment by David
Absolutely fabulous. A real novice cook doing a cooking show and making it fun and enjoyable! I live in the states, so we are doomed to not have the quality of ingrediants that you can acquire. Keep on inspiring us!!!
  • FX's answer→ David, you might find the pralines online, although most of what I saw in the US under that name are industrial candies with candied almonds inside.

  • #117
  • Comment by Shiladitya
Dear Francois ,
                Thanks for elevating  the FXcuisine experience to a totally different level !! To tell you the truth, after your 360 degree treats I started wondering when you would start doing videos. You are absolutely fascinating at the kitchen counter. Keep up the good work !!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks! Who knows, next step might be 360° videos.

  • #119
  • Comment by Irina
You made a video - how wonderful.  
Thank you for sharing your great recipes in a way
which makes it easy for beginners to bake
the not so beginner style courses.

  • FX's answer→ Thank you Irina, as you see baking is really easy and enjoyable and doesn't require complex tools!

  • #121
  • Comment by Bine
Hello again FX - here's an idea that came to my mind yesterday about making videos in different languages. How about using subtitles?

It does mean a bit more editing but you wouldn't have to sript everything in such detail, and you wouldn't have to shoot the whole thing more than once. I think that many of your joking comments and those little charming details (like the involuntary "s-word") would get lost if you did the same sripted scenes over and over again.
  • FX's answer→ Bine, I would do the first master shot in English so you get the spontaneity, but subtitles are really boring and Germans or Italians or French or Spaniards would really prefer, I think, to hear the coarse French-accented original in their own tongues.

  • #123
  • Comment by Johanne
I have been watching this site since summer and never commented, but this seems like a good time to show my absolute support for your wonderful work. The video was fantastic, I was smiling all the way through. It's fun to watch someone who enjoys cooking/baking prepare food. It's also great that you're interested in posting videos now (not that I didn't LOVE your photography) as it's easier to make certain meals after seeing someone else do them. Can't wait for next, thanks for all you've done!
  • FX's answer→ Johanne, thank you so much for coming out of the digital woodwork and manifest yourself! I am really glad that the video idea is so popular and future videos should be, I hope, better!

  • #125
  • Comment by James
How can I watch this video? Maybe I'm missing something... I love your previous work! James
  • FX's answer→ James, all you need is click on the little video with the "Vimeo" look and it should start playing. Otherwise just read the instructions and the vimeo (company hosting my video) site will tell you how to show it - very easy!

  • #127
  • Comment by Zeashan
FX, I love the videos! Great work! I am really pleased to see you branching out of just blogging. The cake recipe looks great, I am thinking about trying this with a different variety of candied almonds. I would love to see some more recipes in this format, and please, do include the humor!


  • FX's answer→ Zeashan, glad you liked it and I'll include the humor in a condensed form next time!

  • #129
  • Comment by Harlan Hokin
Felicitations! I look forward to each new article and have not been disappointed yet!  Keep it up.  The video is fine, but I have one question : please tell us about the baking pan you used for the prasline cake. Thanks!  
  • FX's answer→ Harlan, this is a silicone baking pan, very customary in professional pastry shops nowadays and also for professional pastry eaters like myself!

Very cool, loved it.
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Jonathan!

  • #133
  • Comment by Laura D.
OK, FX--I take back everything I said about preferring stills to video.  You are a doll on video!  Not that I would like to forgo your beautiful still photography, but your personality and charm really come out in the video, and in the sound as well, of course.  So don't stop taking stills, but bring me more video, too.  (I know--I'm greedy.)

Now, how do they make the pralines red?  Is it a carcinogenic, petroleum-based food coloring (what we call Red No. 40 in the U.S.), or is it something natural and hundreds of years old, like lac or cochineal?  I'm hoping for the latter to be the answer.

A comment for your readers about the silicone pan you used: silicone pans come in many shapes and sizes, from Bundt pans to miniature muffin pans or petit fours molds, and some are very detailed.  They're not good just for baking either--they work very well for gelatin-based or frozen desserts, as you can unmold without using hot water and destroying the fine detail.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Laura! I am not sure of the kind of coloring they use for the pralines but these come from not really far from the EU headquarters so I doubt they would use anything that is a proven carcinogenic. I'll look on the label though.

  • #135
  • Comment by Nikki
You know... I'm very hard of hearing and thought that I'd have a hard time hearing/understanding you in your video, without captions/subtitles...  but you had me laughing so hard and smiling that it was absolutely worth turning up the volume to hear you. :)

I remember those almonds from when I lived in Vicenza.  I never understood how anyone could eat them and not break their teeth...!!

Looking forward to many more videos from you, FX.  Outstanding work!  
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Nikki! In fact for years I never quite understood it either and lost a lot of teeth before getting the knack of it!

  • #137
  • Comment by madhoo
Wow! I love cake, it was a fantastic experience of seeing a fast & quick recipe of it through a video and the video was clear one. it was a good one. I am going to try it ....
This information might help one of my friend in her MBA project as her product for the project is Cake .

Keep providing us such lovely & interesting recipes & information

Thanks & Regards
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot Madhoo!

great first try at a video! :)
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Veronica, the next ones should be, hopefully, better!

  • #141
  • Comment by barbara Ender
That was fun! You make it look very quick and easy. When I think of the hours my mother slaved over the mixing bowl, beating the butter and sugar together with her wooden spoon till it was white and fluffy (she used to bake every day) and was the queen of cakes. I doubted if your cake would rise, but it did! And it looks very appetizing.
  • FX's answer→ Barbara, if you really like beating dough I recommend the Kenwood Kitchen machine, Swiss edition, it even kneads bread dough with a hook. Great stuff!

  • #143
  • Comment by Duedel
Vielen Dank für die geniale Seite. Ich freue mich sehr über jeden neuen Beitrag. Das Video ist die Krönung der ausnahmslos tollen Artikel.

  • FX's answer→ Herzlichen Dank für deinen Besuch!

  • #145
  • Comment by Cathy
Hi FX,
I loved your video.  It was fun to watch.  My only complaint:  too bad you cut out some of your jokes. You're very funny in writing.  Thanks for the great website.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Cathy, well that's nice to hear but I like short edits when watching movies and didn't want to bore everybody with an age long video. But rest assured that I'll try and find a compromise next time with more compact humor!

  • #147
  • Comment by don siranni
Francois,great fun,but,I'm slow to get the technicals right.I got my computer so tangled up in its' underware trying to go to the"vima" resolutuion that I needed to pull the batteries out-for an hour!I'm going to keep trying tho. Enjoyed what I did catch ,especially since I got three different phases (voice) at the same time.I'll try to get only one this time.
  • FX's answer→ Good luck Don!

  • #149
  • Comment by Ouroboros
Good start, FX, good start, indeed.  Video quality is great...sound quality, not so much.  Very echo-y.  You have a very cavernous kitchen, so that's to be expected.  Perhaps use a lapel pin-style microphone piped directly into your camera's audio input instead?

On a side note, your accent is impressive as it is very close to neutral considering the number of languages that you speak.  I am assuming that French is your native language.  I am wondering, how did you learn the other languages that you speak?  Very spurious question, but I am very curious.  I can speak a bit of Italian and a bit of German, but I have to translate those languages to and from English in my head while I am doing it.  You seem to speak English as second nature.  How?

Although I am not much of a baker, the cake looks nice and probably tastes wonderful.

  • FX's answer→ Thanks Ouroboros, in fact I was using a lav (lapel microphone) and the echo came from the part of the kitchen that you don't see, but I have plans to tame this. Obviously it was too echoey!

    For language learning you can visit my other site how-to-learn-any-language.com and yea shall find!

  • #151
  • Comment by chef4cook
Great video. Looks like you had some fun.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, oh indeed I did!

  • #153
  • Comment by lynn
Hi FX,

Nice job on the first video.  like everyone else I enjoyed hearing your voice after all this time, and seeing your beautiful kitchen.  personally I liked seeing you toss the dirty dishes into the sink!  And I noticed you break eggs into a separate bowl before mixing them together.  My mother taught me to do this, but I've never seen anyone else do so.  

The cake was a nice little cake, and I could almost smell it when you cut it open.  

So, the video is a success, but I think the still photos lend a sense of mystery and beauty that video can never capture. Your still photos are beautifully composed! So please don't switch over to video completely.

Lynn from Berkeley
  • FX's answer→ Lynn I hope to keep doing both but will also try to bring the video images closer to the stills. For the eggs you need to do this in case one egg is bad so it does not contaminate the others - I actually had a whole sequence explaining this with a Jim Jarmusch-inspired joke but cut it out during editing. I'll do it again next time I use eggs!

  • #155
  • Answered by fx
I have looked up the red food colouring used in the pralines, it is: Ponceau 4R (also known as Food Red 7, C.I. 16255, Cochineal Red A, New Coccine, Acid Red 18, SX purple) is a synthetic colourant that may be added to foods to induce a colour change. It is denoted by E Number E124. Its chemical name is trisodium salt of 1-(4-sulpho-1-napthylazo)- 2-napthol- 6,8-disulphonic acid.

Ponceau 4R is a red azo dye usually synthesized from coal tar which can be used in a variety of food products.
  • #156
  • Comment by Jason
Congrats!! You made a great video. It was a lot of fun to watch and I'll be making this cake for a Christmas present! Thank you FX.
  • FX's answer→ Well Jason this is really nice to hear, my little cake now a Christmas gift!

  • #158
  • Comment by Donna Young
FX, I loved your video! like your cake, it has simplicity and charm, a perfect combination!
Happy holidays!
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Donna, indeed this cake is really original and yet very simple!

  • #160
  • Comment by David
FX, this was awesome!!  Great cinematography so to speak.... can't wait to see you whip up some cult sicilian pasta dish on video.  How would you describe your accent?
  • FX's answer→ Thanks David! I have a French accent in English, don't I?

The video is fantastic, and it's great to actually see you in action! Would love to see you make some of your delicious-looking homemade extruded pasta. Sigh, after months of searching, I still cannot find an extruder with bronze dies that's available (and affordable) here. So, when it comes to pasta, I must live vicariously through you...I just love your blog!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Lucy, have you looked into a second hand Kenwood Kitchen Machine on Ebay? Otherwise there are some hand-cranked machines that look like a sausage maker, they come up sometimes on Ebay.it and are really cheap. Good luck!

Excellent first video and I am looking forward to many, many more!
  • FX's answer→ Thank you and hold on for my two Christmas videos!

  • #166
  • Comment by Nguyen
Wonderful!!! Looking forward to watching more videos from you. Your site is trully inspiring. Merry Christmas!
  • FX's answer→ Thank you and wait until tomorrow for two new videos!

  • #168
  • Comment by Brian P.
Great video.  Yes, a little work is needed on the production side of things but your personality was perfect.  I loved the fact that you cursed, and in English!  This sort of thing is frowned upon on our broadcast cooking shows here in the US but really makes for better viewing as it makes you feel more approachable.  Congratulations and keep up the good work!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Brian! Well I curse in many languages but the purpose of expletives is to share one's state of mind with those listening in. Gordon Ramsay's kitchen nightmares are all beeeeeped to death due to the intense cursing, but they still broadcast them.

Congratulations for your first video. It´s very good, only change video´s hight, if it were a little more tall will be easier of see (excuse my english) :)

  • FX's answer→ Javi, you can click on the bottom right and make it full screen, or click on HD and go to Vimeo to see it in high resolution.

  • #172
  • Comment by Kya
I really like that you are adding videos now! You are very expressive and clearly know your stuff (which was clear even before the videos, but that's half the fun of watching them). I think you need your own tv show where you get to travel the world and give us a real taste of the behind the scenes, as well as your cooking, and dining experiences. Maybe that's on the menu for your web broadcast anyway =D

Have you considered putting your vids up on youtube as well? It's so popular, and nice that people could subscribe to your account if you had one there. Maybe you'd even become a youtube partner! hehe
  • FX's answer→ Kya, I'll see about uploading the vids on Youtube, but the quality is soooo bad it hurts my heart there. But hey, broadcast quality is not that good either, right?

  • #174
  • Comment by MC
Bravo! Great video. You are right, it is so much better to show than to tell. Now I am sorry I didn't buy the red pralines I saw at G. Detou in Paris last week... :-(
I am so glad I happened on your site. I have a lot to discover yet. Thank you so much for sharing, MC
  • FX's answer→ MC you'll get many chances to buy pralines in the future, I have had a sack for a few months and didn't know what to do with them myself!

I have been following your site for a long time, and I think these videos are just perfect!  I always thought you have perfect photos, and fantastic writing, but now you have the best videos as well!!  Wow!  The foie gras video is equally fabulous (if not better, because it IS longer).  Your sense of humour is causing me to laugh loudly, and smile constantly.  Well done!  And keep them coming.
  • FX's answer→ Pink Peppercorn, thanks for your kind praise, I will try to improve the videos until they are - hopefully - broadcastable.

  • #178
  • Comment by Catherine
Great video! What oven do you use? I love the "roll-out" racks.
  • FX's answer→ Catherine, this is an upscale Miele oven, really a fine appliance. It replaced an 18-year-old oven that stretched the semantic boundaries of the word foobar!

  • #180
  • Comment by Kya
There is actually some way to upload to youtube so that a video can be viewed in high quality now! I don't know the trick myself though =( Whatever works though! A new vid is a new vid =)
  • FX's answer→ Kya I will give Youtube a try then!

  • #182
  • Comment by Sam
I have just come across your website and have found it so interesting I've already emailed friends with a link. I have found your video very nicely laid out in terms of easy to follow steps and I hope to try out the cake as soon as I can find some of the red pralines! Thanks!

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