We all need chocolate today!

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:

My French Heaven TV???

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…

The fat Hipster takes a leisurely stroll along the river

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.

Why did the hats have to go?!

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.

Imperfect = perfect

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.

My virtual mentors are my angels: great inspiration for creative minds

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.

Thoughtful and inexpensive Christmas presents

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)

The thanks I want to keep giving

You know I’m a big fan of friends and family reunions. Sadly Easter and Christmas are the last ones we really celebrate in France anymore. No one really cares about Bastille Day and we never even had Thanksgiving. Obviously. Oh how I wish we had Thanksgiving!!! I’d be planning and cooking for days…

From evil to the light: My plans for Christmas

I have already started to build my annual Christmas inspired board. I erase it every year in January so I don’t get stuck with too many of the same ideas from one year to the next. Go check it out here. You’ll find plenty of incredible links with DIY stuff from deco to lights to cookies and trees etc.

The power of love, laughter and… persillade

I simply sear my scallops to a golden brown (about one minute on each side on medium to high heat) and then dump my persillade on top. I also like to add a bit of lemon juice to give it an extra kick. To die for!! Note that scallops are like calamari: they have to be cooked quickly so they don’t feel like rubber in your mouth. Some people slice them in half before cooking them. I don’t because they end up being thoroughly cooked before they have enough time to brown on the outside.

Where are the grandmas when you need one?

I often turn to complete strangers at the farmers’ market or supermarket for cooking advice and inspiration :0) I try to target a lady with a bag full of what I think are interesting ingredients. She would be my nana for the day. That would make for a great business idea: rentanana.com… Don’t you think?

An evening to remember

The guests thought the idea of using the stables was quite fun. Remember that episode of Downton Abbey where they had to improvise an indoor picnic because Mrs. Patmore’s oven was broken? The fact that we all had to stay quite close to each other in these quarters helped the evening be a great success. People had to introduce themselves to other guests they didn’t know and wouldn’t have thought of talking to if we had been outside, free to roam around… This was also the perfect setting for me to take portraits. The light wasn’t great, but practice is always good in photography.

The simplest and fastest lamb recipe you’ll ever come across

Peter just started working on his very own vintage Bentley. All he has right now is a chassis, 4 wheels and the engine. I will document the whole process and post the photos on my car website. Peter’s shop is filled with Riley’s and Salmsons and Bentleys and all he plays in there is prewar music. Walking in there is like turning back time…

Of Bretagne, succulent lobsters and shiny new toys…

The food specialties of Bretagne are crêpes, salty caramel, apple cider and seafood. Eating lobster at sunset on the docks of some remote village, overlooking the ocean is one of my favorite things to do in my French heaven!

How your phone can help you become a better photographer

In fact, the worse the tool (within reason of course) the better. Why? Because it forces you to get creative and to focus on the essential: composition and light.

Yes definition/sharpness will be crap. Yes there will be tons of noise on most pictures. So what?

I believe that everyone can benefit from owning a good camera. A DSLR with a good lens if budget allows. But a good photo is a good photo, regardless of the gear you use to take it. Camera phones have their strengths and their weaknesses, but by emphasizing the good and downplaying the bad, one can create magic with them!

Here are some tips that may help you do just that:

The wonders of the Basque Country

The Basque country (Pays Basque) is well known for its hot peppers (piments d’Espelette) and its incredible cheeses (mostly sheep and/or cow). The “piment d’Espelette” is not very strong, but it is extremely flavorful. I use it on cheese, meats, sauces and vinaigrettes as well as in most marinades. The name Espelette comes from the village around which the peppers are grown. Farmers hang them to dry on the façades of their homes. It is very decorative and gives a great authentic feel to the area.

My market is my church! An Insider’s tips on how to navigate a French Farmers’ Market

Most markets (even here or in Italy), are now the target of con artists. These are people who just buy their products in bulk at the supermarket or in large food factories etc. and try to sell them back to you for two, three or even four times the price. The worst ones in France are those who sell olives, “Herbes de Provence” which actually come from Bulgaria, and cheese. To avoid being taken advantage of, my advice is this:

Amira Willighagen and the red cabbage salad

So, like only she would have the guts to do, Corrine contacted Amira Willighagen’s agent to get her to come down and sing. Amira is a 12 year old opera singer who won Holland’s got talent 2 years ago. Quite the little star in Europe right now!