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!

My BBQ Shrimp recipe in a love letter to America

It’s the Brennan recipe for BBQ shrimp except for the amount of butter, the shallot and the type of beer I use. These variations came from a dear dear friend of mine. We worked together at the Ritz on Canal Street. She was a housekeeper, about 60 years old then, and a TRUE born and bred New Orlean. Her name was Miss Catherine. Did I not promise authenticity?!

Something that maybe you didn’t know about France…

The “something that maybe you didn’t know about France” is that, although the modern cars we produce are absolute crap, we used to be number one before the war when it came to luxury cars. The Brits had Rolls and Lagonda, the Americans had Duesenberg. We had Bugatti (yes, FRENCH!), Talbot, Hotchkiss, Delage, Delahaye, Salmson… We even had Facel Vega and Alpine in the 60s!

The real Willy Wonka

There I met the owner of the oldest and most renowned chocolate company in Bordeaux: Cadiot Badie

From Cap Ferret to the Dordogne – Mimi and Gabriella’s visit to My French Heaven

As you all already know, my greatest pleasure in life is to share everything I love about France with my guests and my friends.

My dear friend Mimi (Chef Mimi Blog) came back to visit me last week and brought along one of her dearest friends, Gabriella.

All we did for a week was eat and drink and laugh. Oh we laughed so hard… When people ask me what I do for work, I just tell them I don’t actually work… They always look at me and smile (you know, the “oh poor thing” smile. The suckers think I’l kidding. The joke’s on them ;0)

A late celebration of Spring

It seems a little late to celebrate a season that will be over in a matter of days, but I found some photos of my first picnic of the year and thought I would share them with you.

Martin and the invisible moon

We had a four day weekend this past week and my friends Quitterie and Laurent invited me to join them at their beach house in Cap Ferret. Cap Ferret is located on the coast, West of Bordeaux. It feels a lot like the Hamptons without the crazy ass mansions…

About thoughtfulness

I have never been superstitious, but I truly believe in the awesome power of thoughtfulness. And therefore, this one tradition I love! On the French labor day (May 1st every year), you will see many people with little flower stands on the side of the roads, selling lilies of the valley… It is said to…

The awesome power of greed and gluttony… and story telling

It’s quite simple really, if you want the people you love to get together (come together), all you have to do is promise to give away presents and really good food. Loads of it. An orgy of food! You can cut through people’s ego and pride quite easily – “Oh, I don’t know if we…