So yes, family dinner on the 24th with my brother’s gravlax (my recipe here) and my home made terrine of foie gras. It was 18 of us + an army of kids. Noisy as hell… And the traditional log for dessert of course ! That made it all better for one grumpy uncle high on Zoloft :0)
it will be a terrific vintage in the likes of 2005 and 2009. Great harvest conditions and ideal weather throughout the Summer. A heat wave in August burnt part of the fruit though. Most châteaux in Saint-Emilion had to go through their vineyard twice in order to sort through the grapes. The sugar content was so high on some lots, that it will be chemistry 101 to try and bring the overall harvest down to the usual 13 or 14° (alcohol).
I explained in a previous post the difference in France between a Baker (boulanger) and a Pastry Chef (Pâtissier), but I’ll touch on it again:
The “boulanger” makes bread, croissants, chocolate bread (pain au chocolat), raisin bread (pain au raisin) and some basic pies
The “pâtissier” ONLY makes elaborate cakes (sometimes candy and chocolates)
These are two very different jobs. Different shops also.
The boulanger works with “live dough”. The pâtissier with “dead dough”. Live dough evolves and grows, hense the name…
The boulanger works with a very hot oven and keeps it at the same temperature all day long. He may have a separate oven for croissants…
The pâtissier plays a lot with temperatures and several types of ovens
Boulangers may sell pastries sometimes but they are never as good as the onces you’ll get at a pastry shop
Ahhhh Paulette’s stuffed tomatoes. Nothing to do with the boiled crap they serve with steak (and a nasty attitude) in Paris restaurants. I am talking about delicious, juicy, caramelized balls of pure French heaven!!!
Every Mediterranean country has its own anise based alcoholic beverage. In Greece it’s Uzo, in France it’s Ricard. We call this type of drink “anisette”… It is very popular everywhere in France, but it is an absolute star in Provence! It is also perfect to “flambé” seafood. You can find it almost anywhere in the world.
I realized it’d been a very long time since I had taken you with me to the market. It is always a wonderful place to visit and meet people. I particularly like this time of year because of the wide variety of produce. Tomatoes of all sorts, fresh pink garlic… The first artichokes are finally out! We can find them almost year round, but they come from other countries. These here are the real deal. Artichokes from Britany!
I had so many things to say about the terrorist attack on Nice. I decided to share none of it here. Except maybe for this: THEY WILL NOT GET OUR JOIE DE VIVRE!
So vive la France, vive Nice and vive food and wine and sex and laughter and friendships…
I made salade niçoise for lunch today, following the original recipe from Escofier himself. It couldn’t be more simple and certainly shouldn’t be more complicated (or sophisticated). Provence is all about simple ingredients and authenticity!
After months of waiting, the bouchot mussels are back! Bouchot mussels are the best money can buy in France. They are not very big (about an inch) but they are VERY tasty. The name comes from the wooden posts (bouchots in French) they grow on. These posts are made of oak or chestnut and can be found all along the Atlantic coast. The largest production areas are the Mont Saint Michel Bay and l’Ile-de-ré. We all wait for this time of year to eat them. They are not available before the en or June. You may find some, but they’d be small and not very “full” inside.
I feel I have finally found a good definition for what a cool person is. There are, in my opinion, three prerequisites
People make clafoutis with all sorts of fruits these days. The original is made with cherries! Clafoutis (also called millard) is a specialty of the Auvergne and Limousin regions of France. The name comes from an old Occitan word meaning “filling”.
The recipe is quite simple and is basically the “flan” recipe with cherries added. You are going to think I am obsessed with my grandmothers after so many posts that include their recipes, but this on comes from my great grandmother Manée (in the picture) who was even more of a foodie than me. She is quite a legend in our family.
They will never take away our humanity. If anything, they will make us stronger and teach us to be more kind to one another. That’s the way to victory! That’s my thinking anyway…
So God (or whoever is watching from above) bless America and God bless our brothers and sisters of the LGBTQ community. We love you all very much!
Let’s find a way to make others feel a tiny bit better today. One way to achieve that is to make a lovely cake for everyone to enjoy this evening when they come back from work or school. Here is my recipe for a quick and easy (and delicious) chocolate cake:
Should I start a Youtube channel???? I’ve been thinking about it for years, but I’ve always been petrified at the idea of showing my fat face on screen. Although it’s getting fatter by the day so today might be the thinnest I’ll ever be… And what if people don’t understand a word I say through my French accent? And what if the videos are too long? What if they aren’t long enough? What if…
I don’t know about you, but I have this terrible habit of always wanting to rush through things; and for a perfectionist, it is the definition of hell itself, because I want to get many things done all at once while expecting them to be done well. So basically, I am the French guy preaching the importance of joie de vivre and the importance of slowing down while rushing through my life like the mad hatter from Alice in Wonderland.
Last week, as we celebrated Pentecost (not me, you guys know that although I respect everyone’s beliefs, I don’t care much for organized religion), it reminded me of how special that day used to be in my hometown of Libourne. You see, although Libourne is quite a small town with its 30 000 souls, we used to pride ourselves with a small but very active race track. Of all the races, the one everyone used to attend was the one that took place every year on Pentecost day.
Whether it’s in my photography or in the way I welcome people here for our culinary adventures, I always try to create the best possible sensory experience, but I also make it a point to keep things as casual (OK, casual chic) and authentic as possible.
Film photography has slowed me down in my creative process and has forced me to get out of my own way. I will continue to shoot digital of course, if only for the simplicity of it all, but I have now officially become a diehard film photographer!
Now, as I am in the process of building a new website dedicated to my photography and since I am a Youtube nut, I wanted to share some really inspiring people and videos to you. Coming across this material and “meeting” these people has truly helped me with my creative process.
I decided that I wouldn’t spend too much money on Christmas presents this year. Except on my mom and dad who always get the same thing from me every year. He gets a big basket of candy, chocolates, marmalades and patés. She gets a bottle of Chanel :0)