My French Heaven


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The light after the storm

The light after the storm

It’s the golden light that penetrates my soul. It isn’t warm, it isn’t cold.

I face it, eyes closed, feet apart, chin slightly up.

It enters my body and makes it way to the core.

Mixed with the essence of me it whispers: the battle is over.

Everything is as it should be.  The storm has passed.

Perfect lives here. Enough is here.

The light after the stormThe light after the storm

Canola gold…

Canola in the vineyard

I was about to post around 4pm this afternoon (3.5 hours ago) about canola oil. But then I started to search the net for more information and kept on reading until now. The end result is TMI! Too much information. In addition, several readers added comments that really opened my eyes on the pros and cons of using such highly refined oils, the cons winning the battle! In this season however, canola is blooming all over France and Germany. You can find it at farmers Markets in the South West of France (lucky me) sold as a vegetable. It is called “broutte” and exclusively comes from organic farms as well as abandoned vineyards (as shown in the picture above) I steam it and serve it cold with a light vinaigrette. DELICIOUS!! You can also pour olive oil on it and put it in the microwave for a few minutes as you would with bok choy. So you’ll have to forgive me, but all I’ll share with you are a few pictures I took of the golden stuff in the vineyard on Monday…

Canola in the vineyard

Adendum: Since I posted, several of you also said they’d try to cook and eat the plant. I urge you to be careful and make sure the kind of plant that grows where you are is indeed edible and organic. Plant varieties are so diverse, I wouldn’t want you to get sick! Best option? Come visit me and I’ll cook it for you :0)

A delicious crime. Or how my day was saved by a 2 year old foodie – Un crime délicieux

(En Français plus bas)IMG_5463 _Snapseed

So here is what happened:

I was having one of those really bad days. Feeling blue, really grey sky outside… truly one of those days when you feel utterly alone and have to hold your tears in. Around 10am, I went to the supermarket to buy some chocolate (my drug of choice when I feel sad). In the entrance of the store, they hang “saucissons’ (big sticks of cured pork) on the side of the wall and almost all the way down to the floor. As I was walking passed the display, I noticed a two year old kid sucking really hard on one of the saucissons while his mom was picking fruits nearby. I started laughing really hard at the sight of this little guy. The other patrons heard me, turned around, looked down, and all started laughing hysterically with me…

My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture to share with you. So I’ll include one of my nephew who could have easily perpetrated the “delicious crime” himself…

Yes it was a delicious crime in every way… and yet another reminder that a bad day can turn on a dime if we choose to focus our attention in the right direction. There is indeed joy to be found in every aisle!

Voici donc ce qui s’est passé:

La journée avait vraiment très mal commencé. Un de ces jours ou le moral est aussi gris que le ciel et où on doit faire un effort pour retenir ses larmes (oui je sais, ça sent la dépression). Je décide donc de passer au supermarché pour acheter mon médicament magique: Nutella. C’est alors qu’en passant près du rayon des jambons et saucissons, je vois un gamin d’environ 2 ans en train de lécher l’un des ‘Justin Bridoux’ pendu près du sol. J’éclate de rire. Tous les clients se retournent vers moi, voient le gamin s’acharner sur le saucisson et s’esclaffent à leur tour. Une magnifique communion improvisée!

Je regrette de ne pas avoir eu la présence d’esprit de prendre une photo pour la partager avec vous. J’inclus donc une photo de mon petit neveu qui aurait très bien pu être l’auteur de ce “crime délicieux”…

Oui, c’était un crime délicieux dans tous les sens du terme… et encore un rappel que la joie et la magie peuvent se cacher au détour de n’importe quelle allée…

Essential herbs – Herbes essentielles

Voici certaine des herbes que je cultive dans mon jardin. Elles sont toutes essentielles à ma cuisine!

Here are some of the fresh herbs I keep in my garden. Each and every one of them is essential to French cooking except for basil, chamomile and mint!

Be careful if you plant mint, sage or rosemary. They grow A LOT!! Mint is impossible to get rid of…

Chives and parsley for my saladsIMG_6646 _Snapseed

Rosemary for potatoes and stewsIMG_4309

Basil for those amazing tomato mozza I’ll prepare for my friends this summerIMG_7873 _Snapseed

Tarragon for my tomato sauce and vinaigrettesIMG_7875 _Snapseed

Serpolet (Thyme). It’s called “herb for peas” in France as it is fantastic with peas and green beans

IMG_7878 _Snapseed

Mint for fresh infusions, my famous mint custard and fruit saladsIMG_5287 _Snapseed

Lemon chamomile for infusions as well as some of my beef dishesIMG_8042 _Snapseed

Pineapple Sage for fruit salads or in my “crème Anglaise”IMG_8026 _Snapseed

Proper sage for pizza and home made ravioliIMG_8028 _Snapseed

Oregano on my Italian dishesIMG_8031 _Snapseed

Lemon Thyme for teaIMG_8033 _Snapseed

Regular thyme for EVERYTHING :0) Here you can see my friends the “gendarmes” harvesting. We call these little guys “gendarmes” because the design on their back looks like a mask with mustaches. In the old days, all gendarmes (cops) in France had a big thick mustache. I also call them my friends, because I used to play with them for hours when I was a kid and the grown ups didn’t pay attention to me…IMG_8036 _Snapseed

Bay leaves in most soups and stews! Not too much though as it can make you sick…IMG_8010 _Snapseed


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