Monday, 21 December 2009


My friend David brought this box back from Montreal on Saturday night, an early birthday present.
According to him macarons are all the rage in Montreal. Well not only in Montreal, it seems these delicious little biscuits (cookies) are finally becoming popular outside France.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Christmas Chocolate

This photo was taken by my friend Robyn in Brugges, en route to visit me in Paris and I couldn't resist taking a copy of it. These goodies are to be found in Verheecke Chocolate store. Brugges bills itself as the world capital of chocolate, a bold claim but with over 49 chocolate stores and a museum of chocolate it might be justified. So if you don't know what to get the man in your life for Christmas and happen to be anywhere near the charming town of Brugges you might consider one these chocolates.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Winter Blaahs

Well it is bitterly cold today. Whoever decided to work out wind chill should be shot. I know it's cold,  and knowing it is - 18C with the wind chill just makes it worse. The days are getting shorter and by 4pm the sun is gone from my apartment and I have to turn the lights on. So to cheer myself up, and anyone else who has had enough of winter already here are two photos.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A day for Rillons

Winter has finally arrived in Toronto and with this view from my window I knew I was spending the day inside. I decided to make rillons the French term for chunks of pork belly browned in lard then slowly cooked in more lard with herbs and spices, a big brother of rillettes and less work.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Do you recognize this piece of animal anatomy? Well I admit that it's pretty new addition to my repertoire. I'll give you a hint  - it's one of a pair and it used to belong to a ram. Yes, it is a sheep's testicle. When I ate these in Paris over a year ago I promised some photos and more information. I keep my promises even if it takes more than a year - sorry I was waylaid.  Last weekend I was testing recipes for my next book and testicles were on the list so here are some thoughts.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

An Appeal for Homemade Peel

Less than a month to Christmas and although I've missed stirring Sunday it isn't too late to begin some Christmas baking. I may let the cake slide this year but I will be making some festive breads and cakes from other countries.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Meat and Book Club

I've been writing, talking and reading about eating meat lately so I couldn't resist posting this photo. Now if that doesn't make you hungry I don't know what will!

One of the books I'm reading is The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability. While I think the book would have been improved with some serious editing it is interesting to read the views of  an avowed vegetarian and now argues the case for meat. She makes many good points. If you believe killing animals is wrong then you must examine how crops like corn and soy are grown. These crops kill many animals  and birds and destroy natural habitats.

Monday, 23 November 2009


In Paris markets you can buy scallops  still in the shell and alive. They don't get much fresher than that Often the price is slightly cheaper if you buy 3 kilos but as it is difficult to work out how much you'll get weight wise once they are shucked and cleaned so I don't even bother. I just buy by number thrilled to be able to buy scallops that haven't seen the inside of a freezer.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Paris à l'italienne part 2

Our discovery of this second Italian store was a lucky accident. We were walking back home and literally stumbled across it. It was the small chalkboard outside declaring that they had white truffles for sale that attracted my attention. Ever since a trip to Alba we have had a passion for very fresh white truffles.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Toussaint and a visit to the cemetry

Toussaint, All Saints Day falls on November 1 the day after Halloween, I'm surprised the French don't have a cake or pastry for Toussaint, as they do for many other saints' days, the Mexicans make pastries and skulls out of sugar.  The next day, November 2, is known as day of the dead, a time to remember those no longer with us. I think it is a wonderful idea to have a special day for the dead.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Paris à l'italienne - part 1

It all began with a quest for grappa. Why my husband couldn't have just bought a good marc? But  no he wanted Italian grappa. His search not only turned up good grappa at our first stop, but also an Aladdin's cave of Italian products at our second stop, the Au Village Italien.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Back in Paris

After 4 days away, 2 of them taken up with planes and airports, I was very glad to return to Paris. Edmonton had a certain charm but given a choice between the two cities I know which one I'd pick. Plus Paris has the advantage of better weather. Right on time for the holidays of Toussaint, the weather here has warmed up. Today it was 18C, with an amazing brilliant clear blue sky. Just look at this -

You maybe able to make out the vapour trail of a jet in the middle of the photo, some unlucky people were leaving Paris. We decided to go to the Luxembourg Museum, to see the Tiffany exhibition.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


My friends Franck and Lise came for dinner last week - I've either been cooking dinner or eating out every night so I've had no time to blog - with this bag full of goodies from their garden in Champagne. There were fresh walnuts and, individually wrapped in newspaper, my favourite - quinces.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Saucisse or Saucisson - it is still a sausage

I've never been clear as to the difference between a saucisse and a saucisson. I do know that I love to munch on slices of dried cured sausages with a drink, yes more kir, before dinner. There is a vast choice in Paris, butchers, charcutiers and even supermarkets sell them . The first weekends in October are a great time to find regional specialities in Paris, as there are many fairs promoting small regional producers. We stumbled across one at Convention, Terroirs de La France. My husband swooped onto a stand selling wines from Burgundy. We tasted several vintages from Nuits-St-Georges and Beaune, all for free and generously poured. We brought two bottles of 2007 vintage, one of each that we have placed in the back of our cellar for future drinking. With our wine budget blown, why is burgundy so expensive? Next we checked out the saucisse.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Perhaps you thought I didn't get my croissant? Well I did have to wait until Saturday morning but it was worth it. Crisp, flaky and made with enough butter to stain the bag and make my fingers greasy,  it was delicious and the perfect start to the day. Best of all the bakery is a mere five minute walk away, dangerous.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Dans les pas d' Amélie

We don't often go to Montmartre, it is on the opposite side of Paris from our apartment and full of tourists and steps. As the name indicates mont = hill, there are some very steep streets many of which end in stairs. We were meeting friends for dinner so we went early to look around. I thought I was being clever by taking the bus all the way to  the city hall behind Sacré Coeur, then we could walk down hill to the restaurant. Well, we ended up on the other side of the hill so we got lots of exercise wandering up the hills and climbing the stairs. If you visit the church, well worth it for its great view over the city, don't just turn around and go back the same way. Wander around the back streets behind Sacré Coeur and explore.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Bien Arrivée

Our flight was delayed 1 hour, which meant that we didn't land at Roissy until 11am. By the time we picked up our bags, why is mine always the last off the plane? and made it into Paris, it was time for lunch. We drove straight to our friends apartment and were soon on their terrace with a kir, white wine and cassis, in hand.  Perfect.
Our lunch continued the Burgundian theme with sautéed snails and ceps. It was wonderful to eat outside in October.
I'll have to wait until tomorrow for my croissant and cafe au lait!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Bientôt Paris

Tomorrow I'll be sipping a cafe au lait and munching on a delicious croissant from the Le Moulin Vert Boulangerie, just up the street from our apartment. And, as you can guess, I can hardly wait.
This week has been a mess of loose ends to tidy up and now just hours before the flight I think I'm finished. Still no reappearance of the dreaded squirrel, perhaps he's waiting until I leave town? Only 3 green figs left on the tree so he can have them. But, if I find any nuts buried in my planters he'll be history when I return.

I love the autumn and this is a photo of the Luxembourg gardens shows how beautiful it is in Paris. A good walk, or short bus ride from our place this wonderful park is always busy, but there are lots of hidden corners where you can often find yourself alone.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Jennifer 16 - Squirrel still only 3

I am feeling quite smug. The remaining figs are very green and I doubt they will ripen by Thursday.
I've taken off the plastic so far the squirrel hasn't tried to steal another fig. Perhaps it was all the talk of sautéed squirrel brains?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Jennifer 9 Squirrel - still only 3

It seems to be working. I've harvested 4 more figs, so I am way ahead of the squirrel. I've even left my tree outside overnight as the weather has warmed back up to 19 C in the evening. September is always a wacky month for weather.
Now I am just covering one or two figs at a time with the plastic bag. While this leaves the rest of the figs exposed, they are so small, green and hard, that I doubt they will ripen and I am pretty sure they won't before the end of next week when we leave for Paris. I am hoping that if the rodent with a tail does manage to harvest a green one, it will give him such a belly ache that he'll never try again.

And for those of you thinking of eating or shooting squirrels you may want to read this or this.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

This little piggy left the market

Almost every time we pass Wayne in the St Lawrence market and spy his suckling pigs hanging, my husband says, "We should buy one and cook it ".  I nod and keep walking,  so up until last weekend, despite having cooked almost every cut of pork I've never roasted a whole pig. My oven is big enough, a wonderful beast, a commercial Garland range. There is nothing high-tech about it, just knobs to turn the gas on or off. What had stopped me was a pan.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Jennifer v's Squirrel

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I have a fig tree. It doesn't grow much but it repays all the care we give it with a bounty of figs. This year there are another two dozen and with the cold, rainy summer we've had, they are big but are ripening slowly. The tree sits against the concrete wall of our building facing west to get the maximum dose of sunshine and heat. And while September has been beautiful, with warm sunny days, it is cool at night, down to 10C already.
I watch the figs turn deep purple and soften, then I pluck them. Our first harvest was two figs and there was another ripening.

Monday, 14 September 2009


Here is a close up shot elderberries. This is the first year I've seen them in the farmer's market so I snatched them up. In the spring I am forever searching for elderberry blossoms to cook with my gooseberries so I asked the grower selling them if he sold the blossoms in the spring.
"No", he said.
"I just need a few to go with my gooseberries, " I replied.
"No", was the answer again.
Perhaps he thinks if he sells me a few blossoms he won't have any fruit?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Dinner in Detroit

I first met Brian Polcyn at the Epicurean Classic in 2006. I was getting a glass of ice water when he walked into the room. I recognized him from his photo on the dust jacket of Charcuteriethe book that he wrote with Michael Ruhlman. Our exchange was "Charcuterie man?" "Bones woman?" and so our friendship began. He invited me to Detroit, to his restaurant and to sit in on his classes, he teaches butchery and charcuterie, the two of the great arts. However Detroit was never a place I visited. I kept in contact by email and saw him in 2008 and again this year at the Classic.

Monday, 7 September 2009

St Joseph Mexican Style

As well as meeting other cookbook authors in St Joseph I also met many dedicated food lovers. One of them, Dave, is a man passionate about good food and full of local knowledge. As my demos were right at lunchtime I was starving by 3pm so Dave suggested a Mexican place, open all hours. He sketched a very detailed map for our journey across town.

Friday, 4 September 2009

More Good News

I returned from my trip to Huron County and Michigan exhausted. I’ve been napping during the day, unheard of for me, instead of blogging.
Back in Toronto there was a royalty cheque from the UK edition of Bones waiting for me and some the wonderful news. Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes is nominated in Cuisine Canada and the University of Guelph’s Canadian Culinary Book Awards.
The Epicurean Classic is great event, not only do you get to meet people genuinely interested in food but best of all, other cookbook authors. I caught up with old friends and made new ones, more Facebook friends. Kitchen Aid was the main sponsor and I discovered their 90th anniversary edition stand mixer. I love Kitchen Aid mixers, I have one in Toronto and Paris. What is so special about this anniversary model? It has a glass mixing bowl – perfect for demonstrating how to make butter.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Still Alive

Yes I'm still here. I've been in southwestern Ontario and southern Michigan promoting FAT at two food events. It's been fun but very tiring so I haven't posted. I will catch you up on all my experiences very soon.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

What ever happened to gazpacho?

I remember when gazpacho was all the rage. Every restaurant, Spanish or not, had a version. Some were good, some were competent while others were just tomato juice in a bowl. Well this summer has been a lousy one for tomatoes, too cold and wet and I am not sure the heat we are experiencing now will help.

Friday, 14 August 2009

More Tongue

Finally summer has arrived in Toronto. I thought it was never coming but I am happy it's finally here. It so humid that drinking a gin & tonic works up a sweat. It's certainly warm enough to eat outside and a good choice for the air conditioning free like us. Here is what we'll be enjoying this weekend - barbecued tongue. Slices of cooked tongue brushed with olive oil and placed on the barbecue for about a couple of minutes a side. My husband and I are still arguing about timing. Medium is enough heat and when they are crispy on the edges they are ready. Brush them with anything from a sweet or spicy barbecue sauce to mustard or horseradish. Here they have a glaze of sugar, vinegar and mustard seeds. The texture of the warm tongue is a revelation.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Tale of Two Tongues

Where have I been? Taking an August vacation like the French? No. I've been cooking tongue. Now that the Canadian part of my North American book deal is finalized and I have a publisher in north and south of the border I am earnestly working on ODDBITS.
Now before you think I am crazy to do a book on offal this is not an offal book, it is a book about underused animal parts, some of which are offal.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Food Stamps

What's happened to post offices? I remember getting a choice of stamps or having a first day cover stamped. Now if you can find the post office tucked into the back of some totally unrelated store usually a pharmacy, you are lucky to even see a stamp. We all just accept the printed sticker indicating the postage paid. I say, "bring back stamps" if we are paying that much to send a letter at least we can have a stamp. Some countries still have interesting stamps and pictured is a wonderful effort from the French post office. Each stamp depicts a square of chocolate and together the sheet of ten stamps represents a block of chocolate sitting in its wrapper. Best of all the sheet is impregnated with the scent of chocolate. No scratch and sniff, the smell of chocolate, admittedly a chocolate one associates with cheap Easter eggs, wafts out all by itself.
Maybe these stamps are too interesting to stick on an envelope?

Saturday, 25 July 2009


For three weeks I've been picking raspberries. There is just a small patch of canes in our garden and each time I pick, often twice a day, I have at least 6 cups of berries, so my refrigerator is filling up fast. I am eating them plain, with delicious sheep's milk yogurt and I’ve made two summer puddings, more about them later. Today I've decided to make a fool. This is perfect dessert when you have an excess of fresh berries and it doesn't matter if they are squished or very ripe as you just crush the fruit and mix it with sugar and cream.

Many people believe that the word fool came from the French fouler meaning to crush or press, but it's not true. Fools are a very English dessert and name is a nonsense name like trifle. Fool suggests a light, frivolous dessert, perfect for a summer evening. Whatever the origin of its name, fool is simple and delicious.
I started with two generous cups of very ripe berries that I mixed with some sugar and let them macerate for an hour or so. Then I put the berries through the finest grill of my moulin (French food mill). You could push them through a fine sieve or just mash them but I like to remove most of the seeds. While edible, the seeds always end up stuck in my teeth, just like poppy seeds. Check the sweetness of your purée and add some icing/confectioner's sugar to sweeten to your taste. The icing sugar has cornflour so it helps thicken the purée. Now add a squeeze of lemon, or a pinch of salt, just to intensify the flavour and chill again. Meanwhile, whip about 325ml (1 1/2 cups) of whipping cream and then gently fold the two together but not too much, you want to a marbled effect. Now spoon the mixture into individual dishes or a serving bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Red Currants

The red currants in my garden are ripening fast so I've been picking regularly for the last few days and carefully storing them in my refrigerator. I am waiting until I have enough raspberries that are ripening very slowly, to make a summer pudding. In the meantime I've added a handful of currants to a bowl of strawberries, their acidity enhances the strawberry flavour. Now that I am running out of bowls I decided to make a red currant ice. I followed the method outlined in Harold McGee's The Curious Cook: More Kitchen Science and Lore.
He has a very good chapter explaining fruit ices with tables giving the proportions of sugar and water to add to your fruit. It is an excellent place to start when making ices.I blended about 2 1/4 pounds/1 kg of fruit, stems and all, and ended up with just over 2 cups/500 ml of strained juice. I let the strained juice stand so any debris settled to the bottom and then poured off the clear juice into a clean measuring cup. Then I added 1 cup/200g of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water stirring until the sugar dissolved. I left this mixture in the refrigerator overnight and churned it this morning.
It is exactly the sort of ice I like, tart, refreshing and can be scooped straight from the freezer.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Ne Touchez pas mes dimanches Sarko

I just read this post by Charles Bremner of the London Times. Will France follow us into the destruction of Sundays? Let’s hope not, or else I may have to consider Italy or Spain.
Although there are some advantages to the way of life on this side of the Atlantic there are also disadvantages. M. Sarkozy might want to seriously reconsider his love of all things American and look at what is happening to the health of the younger generation in France as they adopt a North American eating habits.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Ice cream

It was my husband who suggested gooseberry ice cream. Can't think why I hadn't thought of it before, I am always looking for other ways to use my gooseberries. Not enough to bother with jam, plus I don't eat much jam only marmalade so I end up freezing my excess berries and then forgetting about them.
I cooked up about 900 g/2 lbs of berries with about 100g / 1/2 cup sugar and when they were soft I pushed them through a sieve and let it cool.
I made a custard base yesterday
250 ml each of whole milk and whipping cream just bought to a boil.
I whisked together 4 egg yolks, 65 g / 1/3 cup sugar and a pinch of sea salt until light. Whisk in the cream mixture and return to a clean pan and cook over medium heat stirring until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Then strained the custard into bowl set in a larger bowl filled with ice and a little water to cool the custard quickly. As I stirred the custard to cool it I added the chilled gooseberry purée and checked the sweetness. I always refrigerate my ice cream mixtures overnight so the flavours can blend. This morning I poured it into my ice cream maker and churned it while checking out the scenery on this stage of Le Tour de France.Then I put into my freezer to firm up. Here it is -

It was delicious.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

More Gooseberries

There were lots of gooseberries at the market this morning and at $5 a small box I should have opened my own stand! Perhaps gooseberries are finally catching on here, but I am not sure. Most people, even expert foodies, don’t know what to do with them. However,  one of the great things about food is that there is always something new to learn. I topped and tailed my first harvest while watching the BBC news although 30 minutes it wasn’t long enough and I found myself working right through the French news too. So be warned, it will take you a good hour to do 1 kg of gooseberries.
Gooseberries keep well in the refrigerator and also freeze well. I found some in the bottom of my freezer that I’d frozen last year, about 450 g so I put them in a frying pan added 50 g (1/4 cup) of sugar and cooked them gently and till they became very soft. Then I rubbed them through a sieve, I’d been lazy last year and frozen them straight from the bush. This yielded about 250 ml of smooth puree that I'll turn into gooseberry fool by mixing it with about 175 ml of whipping cream, whipped. Check the tartness of your fruit, mine need a little more sweetness so I added some icing sugar, which thickened the puree too. Next on the gooseberry recipe list is ice cream.

Anton Chekhov also loved gooseberries -
“And he would dream of garden-walls, flowers, fruits, nests, carp in the pond, don't you know, and all the rest of it. These fantasies of his used to vary according to the advertisements he found, but somehow there was always a gooseberry-bush in every one. Not a house, not a romantic spot could he imagine without its gooseberry-bush”.

Monday, 29 June 2009


Back in April, before leaving for Paris, I posted about what to eat. Early summer brings vegetables to southern Ontario but there is not much fruit. This year some water logged over ripe strawberries are the only choice until the local stone fruits arrive. The first to plant to fruit in my garden is the gooseberry bush. I don't have to worry about anyone helping themselves because most people aren't familiar with gooseberries and their tart taste sends them scurrying.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Surviving Summer

Sunday was the first official day of summer and pretty much on cue summer arrived in Toronto with a vengeance, 30C and humidity. I like the heat I grew up with it but it's the humidity that is debilitating. It is exhausting moving through air as thick as molasses and constantly sweating. I never expected Toronto to be so humid - where are the palm trees and tropical flowers?
I sit at my computer the windows wide open to let in the cooler morning air and the fan blowing gently to keep it circulating. This works until about 2pm when the cool morning air is exhausted and the sticky air from the street invades the house and my computer is hot to the touch. This would be the idea time for a siesta but I am not good at napping so I attempt to catch up on some reading and think about a gin and tonic - the perfect summer drink beverage. The one pictured here is made with Hendricks gin, distilled in Scotland. As it says on the bottle this is "a most iconoclastic gin - it's not for everyone". Well it is definitely for me I love its taste and drink it with the recommended cucumber slices - it makes the humid Toronto summer bearable.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

What I love about Paris - Sundays

I love Sundays in Paris. In my quartier it is the big market day and my butcher, boulangerie, organic green grocer and small supermarket are all open so I go shopping for Sunday lunch.
I grew up with Sunday lunch. After church we would share lunch with family and friends a tradition all but lost in the Anglo-Saxon world that still thrives in France. By 1pm the market and stores are closed and everybody returns home for lunch. Not a sandwich but a proper meal - first an aperitif perhaps with olives and sausage, then an entree, main course, cheese and dessert, while wine and conversation flow. After lunch a postprandial stroll in the park, like the Luxembourg gardens pictured here, is a popular choice. Luxembourg offers a range activities; tennis for the energetic, boules for the less so and often a local band for those seeking musical entertainment. For the children there are horse rides, playgrounds and a lake where they can sail the wooden sailboats with nothing more than a wooden stick to set them en route.
All this contrasts with the craziness of North American life where Sundays are no longer distinguishable from the rest of the week.
Let's all make a resolution to stop for lunch, a real home cooked lunch, on Sunday and slow down our lives down.
This will probably be my last Sunday post.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Parisian Peonies

I arrived back in Toronto on Sunday to be welcomed by my husband and this wonderful bunch of peonies. Strangely, just before leaving Paris I was walking along the Rue Royale past one of the most amazing florists in that city, and in the window was a huge vase filled with probably 200 peonies exactly this same salmon pink colour. My husband had chosen well, Paris didn't feel quite so far away. To keep it close, I plan to post my list of things I love about Paris, this will cheer me up until I return in October.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

London Notes

I was in London this week doing some promotion for Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes and I spent a lot of time on Marylebone High Street. This is a great street that feels Parisian, it's a popular London location for many French or French-style stores.
La Fromagerie is my favourite, a treasure of a store. If I lived in London it would have to be with in walking distance asit has everything I love, raw milk butter, cheese, charcuterie, wine, coffee and fresh fruit and vegetables. Next door is the Ginger Pig where I could shop for meat.... ahh perfect.

Also on the street is Daunt Books a wonderful Edwardian bookshop filled with natural light from graceful skylights and with oak galleries perfect for browsing. Although they specialize in travel books they have a good selection of all subjects including cookery. When I wasn't eating I'd be here.

So if you happen to find yourself in London you must simply put aside time to walk along the high street. Start at La Fromagerie with some breakfast and plan to return for lunch with a glass of wine then you can wander further afield and explore Regent's Park.
After all that exercise you'll have the perfect excuse to return to La Fromagerie for a spot of afternoon tea.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Beef Fat

I am off to London on Monday to talk about FAT and I have discovered that suet (veal/beef kidney fat) is in short supply. I'm shocked. I think of England as being the home of suet - steak and kidney pudding, jam roly-poly, steamed pudding, mincemeat and so on. Perhaps that is the problem - these are all winter dishes not popular when the weather warms up.
I am not making any of these classics, the suet is for a fruit cobbler, fruit topped with suet biscuits or, as I can finally say since I'll be in England, scones, instead of butter as the fat I use finely grated suet. This was one of my discoveries while writing Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes.
I made scones using all sorts of fat and the suet scones were my favourite -rich but light.
Another favourite beef fat is marrow and roasted marrow bones are easy to make at home. I used to buy my bones cut into pieces cross-wise, now I ask my butcher for large pieces of femur cut lengthwise, just look at these beautiful ones my Paris butcher M Joël Lachable prepared for me.

Simply soak them overnight in salted water to remove the blood then roast them in a very hot oven and serve with fleur de sel and toast. The advantage of cutting the bones this way is that it they cook more quickly and it's easier to remove the marrow, no need for a fancy marrow spoon just a teaspoon or even just your knife.

Of course when I served them I totally forgot about taking a photograph, I was desperate to get at that marrow while it was still warm. However, here is a photo of the same dish at one of my favourite Paris restaurants Ribouldingue. You can read about what else I've eaten there in a previous post.

Mine looked just as good. If you love bone marrow try making this at home. The hardest part is preparing enough warm toast.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Paris Connections

What's my excuse for not blogging for a week? Quite simply - Paris. Being in Paris for anyone who likes to cook is pure joy. There are three traveling markets - that appear on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, on Thursday and Saturday I can shop at the permanent street market on rue Daguerre or walk to the place at Alésia for fish, cheese and vegetables. So you can see that only on Mondays is there any chance of me spending time on my computer.
Yesterday I was planning to blog but we decided to put WiFi,that's French for wireless, in the apartment, the ethernet cable was driving us crazy Paris is a great place for staying connected as almost all the parks have free Internet access. I've tried blogging in the local park, but the sun made it hard to see the screen and I was distracted by the playing children and the beautiful flowers - I know this azalea photo will delight my mother.

Well the addition of WiFi turned into a whole day affair. At the store, taking the advice of the seeming knowledgeable salesman, we selected the device (instructions in English and Mac friendly) and then spent 2 hours trying to set it up! After a particular nasty experience with my internet provider - they are not only unhelpful but rude plus they charge you to talk to them - I called the Airport manufacturer for the price of a local call and found myself talking to a French woman in England who then directed me back to France. The Frenchman was helpful and polite - we'd bought a modem/router instead of just a router. Back to the store to make the exchange, and then back home. It was a breeze to set up but.... why it is never simple? I had to name and lock the signal, which proved beyond me. Another call to the charming Frenchman and all was fixed. By then it was late afternoon leaving just time to do the dishes from last night's dinner before meeting friends for drinks. I'll tell you about Wednesday's dinner soon, for now let's just say I may have a bone marrow addiction.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

More True Love

I am back in Paris where life has been rather hectic, which explains the lack of posts. I am posting a photo that my friend François took on a trip to Huangshan a mountainous region of China. Here, engaged couples celebrate their eternal love by attaching a lock to the chains running up the mountain trails then toss the key into the ravine below. Perhaps there are other places where true love is proclaimed this way.......

Friday, 15 May 2009

Garlic Bread Latvian-Style

Here is a popular snack in Riga, the Latvian version of garlic bread. It's kiploku grauzdini which translates as garlic toasts. Slices of rye bread are fried in butter and then rubbed with a cut garlic clove. They are served with sour cream enhanced with more garlic and the herb of choice in Latvia, dill. They are delicious and addictive, especially with a beer. Their texture is reminiscent of the fried bread we had with our bacon and eggs when I was a kid, crisp on the outside and moist and flavourful on the inside. Sometimes the bread is cut into fingers or soldiers, but the best ones are bigger like those pictured because they allow you to double dip.