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)
Category: Art de vivre & Design
A late late late harvest…
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).
A very special baker – Boulangerie Marie
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
This week at the Farmers’ Market
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!
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!