Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cooking Lunch in Paris

Cooking Lunch in Paris
Poulet Basquaise
Oven Grilled Sardines (Sardines Grillées Au Four)
Mussels with white wine and fennel (Moules Marinières)
Chicken and sweet pepper stew (Poulet Basquaise)
Mini Almonds Cakes (Financiers aux Framboises)

Has a meal ever changed your life? That’s the question posed by Elizabeth Bard, US author of Lunch In Paris. It is not a cook book, even if the menu above was “pulled” from its pages.  It is a love story, with lots of food and quite a few recipes.

It begins with a recipe. Or does it?
“This is amazing,” Elisabeth said. “You have to give me the recipe.”
“There is no recipe,” he said, smiling. “I use whatever I have. It never tastes the same way twice.”
She had no way of knowing how this man, and his non recipes, would change her life.

Each chapter follows the twists and turns of the relationship between the American woman and her Breton lover and later the interaction between her American relations and the French family. It has its ups and downs but mostly it brings smiles. Not least because at the end of each chapter there are a few recipes related, in some way, to incidents in the previous pages.
Elizabeth was puzzled for a long while as to how French women, particularly her mother-in-law,  stayed so slim and able to wear bikinis right into old age. She twigged when a gateau Breton was being shared out. “Une petite part ou une normal?” she was asked. “Normale,’ she replied. It was the wrong answer, if you wanted to fit into your bikini. All the other ladies choose the small portion.

Our starter came at the end of that chapter. I had been hoping to do the sardines but was told “they won't be in until Wednesday”.  Neither dish could be regarded as diet food but both could help you get back into the bikini. The mussels (Pat O’Connell) are basically your normal Moules Marinières, with the addition of a half bulb of Fennel (Superfruit). Recommended wine: El Grano Chardonnay (€14.30 Le Caveau)

Not too clear why the Poulet (Chicken Inn), our main dish, came in where it did. It does follow on from her introduction to that very basic French dish, the andouillette, “a peculiar sausage, roughly cut from the stomach and intestines of the pig”. Another French hurdle jumped by the author.
Peppers drying in Espelette

You'll find lots of Poulet Basquaise recipes on the net. Bard includes peppers from Espelette. I failed to get them in the English Market but Mr Bell had a good alternative in smoked paprika. Recommended wine (will also go well with the mussels): Marco Real Corraliza de los Roncaleses 2012, Santacara (Navarra DO), €15.50 Karwig Wines.

The financiers are usually shaped like a gold ingot but these, like the ones in the book, are round. You can do the little rectangular ones if you have the proper mould! Elizabeth and her husband bought their fianciers at the boulangerie, along with croissants. Again, recipes for these addictive mini-almond cakes are easily found on the internet. Speaking of addiction, the recommended wine is: QA Velenosi Visciole NV, 13.5%, 50cl, €18.95 Karwig Wines.

* As you've realised by now, we didn't actually cook a lunch in Paris. Less than 12 months ago though, we did have lunch cooked for us there by a top Chilean chef, Chris Carpentier, who runs his own restaurant in Santiago and is the man who fronts Masterchef in the country. Check it out here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Have you a recipe that will take you to Paris?

Cono Sur Bloggers Competition 2015
Have you a recipe that will take you to Paris? Maybe to Chile!

We won the Irish section of this competition last season and had a ball at the final in Paris, just pipped for the Grand Prize which was a trip to Chile. Cono Sur are doing it all again this year and it looks bigger and better than ever. Entries will open on June 4th, so stay tuned. But you don't have to wait until next week to start thinking up your recipe to match one of their brilliant Single Vineyard wines. In the meantime, take a look at our night on the Seine.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Seine-sational Night on the River. Cono Sur Blogger Competition Finalé

Seine-sational Night on the River

Cono Sur Blogger Competition Finalé

It is midnight in Paris. We are moored on the left bank and the boat is rocking. No! The boat is moored on the left bank and we are rocking.

Finland’s Johanna Koskiranta has just been announced as the winner of the Cono Sur 2014 Blogger Recipe Competition but the celebrations, led by team Cono Sur, are for everyone, the Chileans, the Finns, the Swedish, the Irish, the English, the French, and more, including at least at least one American.

The private boat trip on the Seine was a surprise. We started more or less at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, cruised under the bridges of Paris, the illuminated buildings adding to the magic. A lovely meal and Cono Sur wines enhanced the pleasure. The focus was very much on three reds this evening: the 20 Barrels Syrah and the 20 Barrels Cabernet Sauvignon and, perhaps my favourite, the Ocio Pinot Noir.

The day had started with a cook-off in L’Atelier Beaubourg (close to the Pompidou) with Clare and myself representing Ireland, Anna for Sweden and Johanna for Finland. Some gentle bubbles to ease us into it - loved that Cono Sur rosé - and, with lots of friendly chats going on, there was no pressure.

Our Irish dish, being plated up.
Includes Truly Irish Rashers and
the magical Irish Shellfish Butter by IASC 

Well, maybe a little when the dishes were presented to the judges: Adolfo Hurtado (MD and winemaker at Cono Sur), Jo Mansell (UK) and Christopher Carpentier, the top Chilean Chef (he is the main man on their Masterchef). Christopher too was enjoying the day, helping the various contestants (he helped us get the scallops out of their shells), and then he laid on a lovely lunch dish (duck, pasta and some of that “lovely Irish bacon”, Truly Irish rashers from our supply!).

You may see details of the three dishes here.

Our first international cap!
We left the cookery school about three o’clock and headed back to the hotel. Quite often in France, we end up at a Brocante event. And there was one on close to the hotel, a huge one, stretching all the way up to the Bastille and back down at the other side of the water (Pt. de Plaisance de Paris Arsenal). But we didn't have the car this time so didn't go browsing for bargains.

Instead we strolled up to the nearby Bastille, now a huge roundabout. And then took a walk in the beautiful Place des Vosges. There are some fascinating art galleries in the covered archway around the old square, amazing work inside. Then onto the Marais before coming back to Bastille via Rue St Antoine, a street full of food: restaurants, takeaways, fruit shops, cheese shops, wine shops, full of people, colours and aromas, a lively place as dusk and drizzle descended together.

Chef Chris concentrates as a contestant gives a summary of the dish.
We also had some free time after arriving on Thursday and used that to take a walk along the left bank, stopping at the riverside book stalls, before ending up at magnificent Notre Dame.

Later, we went out to dinner but the restaurant we had picked wasn't opening until 8.00pm. We were hungry, so settled on the nearby all day Tarmac. We had a very enjoyable meal here. I tucked into the Escargots from Burgundy and a Lamb Tagine, lots of fruit with the lamb, while CL had goats cheese with sun-dried tomato and then Cod with a gorgeous piperade sauce.

Back then to the hotel and a glass of St Emilion, relaxing ahead of the busy Friday. It was a busy enough time on the Friday but very enjoyable, all relaxed and informal throughout. If you want to party, get the Chileans to organise it! And do enter the Cono Sur Bloggers Competition next year!

More Paris pics below.

The birdmen of Notre Dame
L'Escargot at Tarmac
Notre Dame detail

Notre Dame under grey clouds

A wee bit of friendly pressure in the kitchen
Dinner at Tarmac, superb Tagine on right.
Evening in Place des Vosges
rue St Antoine. A cheese shop.
Fun and food on board. Chef Chris with winner Johanna
More frolics.

Arriving in Cork, Sat afternoon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Paris Preview

Paris Preview

Bags are packed. Truly Irish Rashers and Irish Atlantic Seafood Butter are coming with us and so too are a bundle of nerves! Paris is the destination and the event is the final of the Cono Sur Bloggers and Foodies Recipe Competition that started back on the summer.

I was among the hopefuls that sent in recipes to the Irish leg; the recipes were intended to match with Cono Sur’s Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir. A shortlist was drawn up and then the public voting started on the internet. Our Scallops and Bacon ended up in the top three. These dishes were vetted by top Chilean chef, Christopher Carpentier,  and the Scallops and Bacon was declared the Irish winner.

Meanwhile, the competition was also going on in Finland and in Sweden and the winners from each of these Nordic countries will also be in Paris for the Friday cook-off. You may see the recipes here.

Each finalist will prepare their dish for a panel of judges, including Cono Sur´s General Manager and Chief Winemaker, Adolfo Hurtado, as well as Chef Carpentier Jo Mansell (UK). After what will surely be three savoury dishes, the panel will then choose the blogger with the best pairing, the winner of a trip for two to Chile.

Not too sure how much time we’ll have for tweeting. But Ross Golden-Bannon will be in Paris to document the proceedings, so it may be worth following him on Twitter at @goldenshots.   Win, lose or draw, I’m sure we’ll enjoy the prize-giving dinner on Friday evening.