Sunday, July 28, 2019

Paris in July - Week 5

Paris is always a good idea! Haven't we been having fun? I'm wrapping up week 4 and putting up week 5 because I know there's more to come... you've got more to share haven't you? For me, I'm 40% through the only book I was likely to read, I haven't had a chance to cook something, and I had another guest to interview, but time is running out... I'm sure my extra posts will pop up in the next couple of weeks...

This past week has been a week of fun, but also a week of learning...

Fun stuff for me - Mae found Paris inspired Art in Detroit, Jeanies B&W images of Paris, Kwarkito's personal stories of being in Paris, Deb Nance's favourite settings in Paris for books, junkboattravels walk through paris and restaurants and cafes, Mae's review of French style and Carola Bartz' memories of la vie douce a paris - images of pastries and icecreams... Erin @CrackerCrumbLife also posted about books read including the cat who walked across France!

Things to learn - Mae read a book mostly about death and loss, and Mel U read many books, one about G Steins Cook, the Lover by Dumas, short stories translated from Yiddish, and also shared with us some good info about Natalie Clifford Barney. In Fact Mel U proposed Natalie should host our Post Paris in July Party!. Lisbeth posted about Paris Salons of an era past. And there were books set in wartime eras.

I hope I didn't miss visiting anyone's post this week but there were many - thank you for sharing all of these insights into different elements of Paris.

This week, share your posts here. I'll do one further wrap up next weekend. And, here's to Paris and the Champs Elysees for the final of the Tour de France!

Friday, July 26, 2019

We're heading into Paris this weekend! (Tour de France)

This has been this most read book in our house this month. Its the most loved magazine in many Australian TdF homes, because it has everything you ever want to know about the tour.
Articles with a strong focus on the teams all Aussies love...
And all the other teams. 

The magazine guide comes with a wall map of each stage outlined. We might be the only household that actually hangs it up, but we refer to this most nights. We liked to check if we've been there before, and where each stage is heading. Its also a conversation starter with guests... 

What can I say.... 
The editors know their audience!

 And when the race is quiet (rarely), theres many other articles of interest..
And rider profiles...
And here is Caleb... so far, hes won two stages this year. 

Who would like a copy of this? Im happy to send a copy to 2 Paris in July participants. If you're interested, comment below, naming either your favourite team or rider. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Paris in July - Week 4

Button Created by Mel U @ The Reading Life
Wow, Week 3 was a whirlwind of visiting Paris in July. I cant believe we're about to enter Week 4 - but the good news is, we will have a week 5 (even though only have a week)....

I am sorry I have been very busy this week, and didn't get a chance to visit many of your blogs until today, but today I've had a ball. I have been overwhelmed with the variety of posts this week, but I've also become a bit jealous. Some of you have amazing and beautiful photo's capturing your memories of Paris and France. My holiday snaps never turn out that great. Carola Bartz posted some gorgeous images of a fountain in Tricolour for her post on La Fete Nationale and also another post title 'Sur La Table' with enticing images of cafes and Bistro's of France. Kwarkito posted some gorgeous images also - in particular a B&W of the Seine - Reminded me of my parents photos from the early 70s. Jeanie's images of the old and new in Paris were also a strong reminder of the iconic images in Paris.

Reading through all the posts today awakened in me a desire to visit Paris sooner than I was planning. Jackie at Junkboattravels posted on the Atelier des lumieres, an interactive art musee which I certainly hope is still around if I get back to France soon. 

In the book reviews space, Mel U posted on some really interesting short stories, including Cheri by Colette and a song about reading Colette in Summer (so Paris in July!)... Deb @ Readerbuzz did another fun post, which I'm sure all of us can relate to, where she reveals she's a sucker for any book with a typically french image on the cover!.

So many great posts this week - you probably didn't even notice that I didn't get one done myself! I hope to post one or two this week.. But now it's time to launch Week 4.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Paris in July - Week 3

As I recover from an afternoon of food and wine at my friends Fete de Quatorze de Juillet, many of you may just be preparing for 14th July, or Bastille Day in another part of the world. I wish you as much joy in the celebrations and I have had today. We had so much cheese & pate, followed by savory tarts, vegitable quiche, then a bouillabaisse (seafood soup),  then we had chocolate tarts, and other amazing french pastry treats. Gosh I am so full right now. It was a beautiful afternoon, bubbles, rose, white and red wine flowing for all the guests. We finished with tea/coffee and Macarons! so frenchy, so chic!  To be honest, it wasn't really about celebrating Bastille Day, although we did have the airshow on the big screen, it was more about catching up with good friends and finding a good reason to do it.
Anyway, it's time to wind up week 2 and start week 3 of Paris in July 2019.
Can I just reflect on what happened during week 2....  there were many links and crossovers this week.

Photo's and memories - le Marche aux Fleurs, Du Jardin de Tuileries, Flaner metro, and the first time trying Macarons!
Art reviews - surrealist photography by Claude Cohen (Lucy), and collections of Mona Lisa around the house. Then there was a post about Parisy-things around the house - memories and souvenirs from past trips and the book about Degas.. Mae reflected on workers in Paris history using art to tell the story.
We had one film review by Arti on A Sunday in the Country. Interestingly, Arti reflected on this film as an expressionistic cinematic painting. Linking this film with other posts that focus on expressionism.
Many books were read and reviewed - about Paris worst neighbourhoods (Mel U), world war II novels, Degas (the artist), novels and classics from Zola.  We also had summary posts about collections relating to french history, famous characters from french books, and a review of the classic french novel Madeline.
While there was one book review about great chefs (The Gourmands Way), we only had one recipe posted (by me) this week.

I couldnt help noticing there were books about art, art used to describe characters of the past, a movie that was more like art, and Zola featured in a few different posts. I wanted to call out Jackie, who recently visited France and tried Macarons for the first time! What a treat Jackie. What I love about Paris in July, is that we each remind the other of things we love, or wish to do and experience. So glad there's one more Macaron lover in the world.

Now, it's time for week 3 - remember to link your new posts in here..

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Paris in July - Learning to cook French Desserts - Guest Post

My friend Megan is an inspirational lady, with an amazing life story. One of her most admirable characteristics, despite being terribly generous, is her willingness to learn new things. She's designed and rebuilt her home, she's learnt chinese, studied law, she's an artist, as well as a senior executive in the public sector. She's been an outside observer of Paris in July for many years, (although she doesn't blog) but she's sat next to me on the train for years when I've been hosting.... Anyway, this year I've convinced her to share some thoughts as a guest blogger! 
Thank you Megan. 

This is not Megan or I, but someone who looks happy to be learning new skills...

Learning to cook French desserts
Over a quarter of a century ago I had the privilege of being taught to cook several desserts by a classically trained French chef.  Even now, I can see myself standing at the stove beside him as he helped me engage with food in a way I have never encountered. 

Like most cooks, I’d become accustomed to the different smells of food, but this was an altogether more sensual experience. I had to use my sense of hearing, sight and touch to actually produce desserts using his recipes.  This whole-of-body experience was epitomised in his recipe book – there was no method, only a list of ingredients.  Crème anglaise, as it cooks goes from a swishing sound to a whooshing one and the movement of the wooden spoon makes deep crevices rather than surface lines. It’s only then you need to start checking if it is thick enough by drawing a line across the wooden spoon.  A sabayon needs to be whisked until your pointer finger can no longer stand to be in the water bath that the mixture is sitting in. 

During that time a diner wrote to a food magazine requesting the recipe to a wonderful chocolate mousse cake we had on the menu.  As an untrained cook, I was pretty chuffed that someone had asked, but we could never provide the recipe as there was no way we could be certain that the diner could make it at home.  For this recipe my sight was the key measuring tool – Denis’ method required me to whisk the egg yolks and sugar until they came up to a dent on the side of a decades old mixing bowl.  On the off chance that one of the readers of this blog is that dis-satisfied diner, here is the recipe.  Oh, and its not a mousse cake any real sense of the word, it’s a flourless chocolate cake that is light (and gluten free) and has a moussey soft centre

This is not Megans image of her recipe, but one I've borrowed from
Chocolate Mousse Cake
360g bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits
½ tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp brandy
50g soft unsalted butter
12 x 65g eggs, separated
50g caster sugar

Grease a 26-28cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
Preheat the oven to 150 Degrees C.
Melt the chocolate, butter vanilla and brandy in a bowl over a bain-marie of hot water.  Let it cool
Beat the egg yolks with 30g of the sugar until pale and the mix “ribbons” – which means little rivers of pale yolkiness sit on top of the mix before slowing sinking
Mix the cooled chocolate and yolks together.  The chocolate needs to be cool enough not to cook the yolks but must not have begun to set
Beat the egg whites with the 20gm sugar until soft peaks form – which means that when you lift up the whisk the tips of the egg whites curl over like the top of Mister Curly’s hat (aka Michael Leunig character)
Beat ¼ of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mix – use a large metal spoon and lift the mix up and let it fall softly back into the chocolate. 
Now fold this lightened chocolate mix gently but thoroughly back into the remaining egg white mixture. A big balloon whisk is good for this
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes. It should remain slightly moist in the centre with a thin crustiness on the outside. Remove the ring and base. Leave it to cool completely. The cake will collapse a little.
It needs to be cut with a knife dipped in hot water, otherwise the moist centre will stick to your knife and pull the cake apart.
Serve with whipped cream and raspberries.



Sunday, July 7, 2019

Paris in July - Week 2

Merci mes amis.... what a wonderful first week we've had in this Paris in July. My habit is to try and provide a summary of the weeks posts from across the globe, and launch the 2nd week. So despite being really busy at work at the moment, I've tried to get around and visit you all. I've really enjoyed the excitement, passion and, as we've experienced before, the diversity of posts.

Book reviews filled many of the posts this past week - love stories, world war II stories, crime books, and of course foodie books. But my favourite book post this week was Deb Nance @ ReaderBuzz and her post of favorite french stories from childhood. There were also a couple of reviews that I appreciated because they warned us... Mae posted on a disappointing read of A taste of Paris, and Becky posted on a dark and creepy book called Dark Triumph..

Photo's and Memories of visits past also featured.. I just loved Carola Bartz  post on the City of Lights - gorgeous! Junkboattravels and Kwakito also posted some fantastic images of a city we all love... please share more photos!

Shopping in Paris made it to one post - but dont we all love shopping in Paris. Jeanie went shopping for art supplies and books. What a fun way to turn your artwork into a memory... I challenge more participants to recall their shopping experiences in Paris!

I think I was the only blogger who posted on French food this week, but next week is Bastille Day, or Le Quatorze Juillet, so maybe there'll be more food and wine to post on?

Now, only one of us made mention of La Tour de France - A Strong Belief in Wicker - but I am also a lover of La Tour. We are so lucky here in Australia to have the best commentary on La Tour de France through SBS. I'm sorry those from other countries cant see it. It's just a beautiful presentation of the country of france, the race, the teams, race tastics, and we have our 'taste of the tour' show as well - featuring food of the region the race is travelling through. A strong belief in wicker and I will become a little sleep deprived because the race shows between 11pm and 1:30am on Australian TV.

Here's to Week 2 - where I will feature a post from a guest cook and we'll end with something to celebrate Le Quatorze Juillet.

Friday, July 5, 2019

La Raclette

Paris in July is a blogging event with participants all over the globe celebrating all things Parissienne and French. For me, I love French Food, Wine and especially cheese. This week, my French class had a party, une fete de la Raclette. Oh my did we fill up on cheese... 

Here you can see the little cheese pans under the griller...and potatoes on the top.

If you are the kind of person that indiscriminately put cheese on everything that you eat (aren’t we all, deep down) La Raclette is the lunchtime treat for you. Essentially it’s a hard cheese that grilled ‘til it’s golden and bubbling, then scraped into a delicious gooey mess over potatoes and gherkins or straight into toasties. Pure heaven

Have you ever done this? This device has 2 layers for heating. Under the top tray is the griller. You put your cheese in a little pan under the grill, then when its all melty and yummy, you drizzle it over the plate of chosen items - sliced meat, potatoes, mushrooms, gerkins, capsicum etc..... on the top surface you can heat your other ingredients. We did les champinions et la pomme de terre. 

My other Paris in July intentions include 2 guest posts, a celebration of La Quartoze Juillet, some reflections on french music, a movie, and maybe a  book or parts thereof.. 

For those joining in this blogging event, I'll do a summary post kn sunday and a new mr linky for next week..