I usually prefer sweet crêpes, but this savory crêpe I made the other morning was definitely one for the [cyber] books! Yum...
It's really such a great feat when I manage to do the grocery shopping on Friday, and get to cook on Saturday! Today I made some fabulous broccoli and camembert cream soup, with sautéed onions, garlic, basil, salt and black pepper. Perfect accompaniment to a night in, a warm sweater, my Uggs, and several Skype dates. Oh, I'm also happy to announce that the mouse, a.k.a. my temporary roommate, has officially left the building. All's well and I can finally sleep in peace...and buy camembert again, because I'm pretty sure it was the very cheesy smell that the mouse initially mistook for a vacancy sign.
I've been obsessed with lavender for more than a year now. It started when I went to Balboa Island, (Newport Beach), and in an olive oil shop, tried lavender balsamic vinegar for the first time. It was love at first taste. I bought a bottle and experimented with it for a few weeks, making savory dishes that the lavender would compliment perfectly. I then went to a spice shop and purchased dried lavender flowers, which I used to make some desserts, like lavender shortbread cookies and such. Of course, I also spent plenty on lavender body sprays and lotions alike, and I always make sure to stop and smell lavender when I spot it while walking.
This morning, as I was rushing down my staircase to catch the tram, I saw right there, next to the window, directly facing the staircase up which I've gone at least a hundred times by now, a small vase, clearly several decades old, set upon a silver tray which had gathered a thin layer of dust. In the vase was a small bouquet of dried lavender. I expect that they were once fresh, perhaps picked by hand outside by my landlord, a very sweet and quiet widower. I immediately got nostalgic, and upset at myself for walking past this subtly beautiful decor for over two and a half months now, and never noticing it. Its smell has gone, and the fragile stems are shedding, but it's the most beautiful lavender I've seen yet.
Finally got to make/try a White Russian (cocktail). Ran into a bar and asked for ice, since no stores are selling any this time of year, and the bartender filled my plastic bag with some. Do you like my pink straw? Aw tenks!
UMMMM......!!! Two words: surprised and smitten.
Splurged, (and how), on this super chic, nude, silk blouse with neon-pink ribbon detail from Maje, a French label, coming to the US soon. In fact, they just opened a store or two in NY! Keep an eye out, mesdames!
Started my birthday morning off with a delicious homemade Earl Grey tea latte. Perfect!
And, of course, a few wishes. :) Thanks to everyone who made my birthday away from home so special!
I am on a mission: to master my madeleine making skills before I'm back in La La Land. I managed to find an eighteen cookie?/cake? madeleine silicone mold here for less than 5€! This was my first attempt at making them with the mold and I am very pleased with the result. Now I have to find the best recipe. I took this picture before I dipped them in chocolate and well, gave them to my landlord because, let's face it, I need to back off the sweets for a bit. Still, I did allow myself one... fine, two... with my tea. So nammy! Nom ommm.
I made dinner at a friend's apartment last night, and after we enjoyed the prosciutto wrapped asparagus, garlic and mozzarella stuffed wantons, and morally horrible but delicious foie gras, we sat around with a guitar and harmonized some melodies until I had to catch the last tram home. I've realized that all of my favorite nights here in Bordeaux have had three main componants: good food, good people, and good music.
Alas, I've lost track of my self-assigned budget. Life is simply more expensive here, especially when your once existent income used to be in dollars. But you learn to make the best of it. You use a few student loans for books and groceries, and come Sunday, when your refrigerator is next to empty, you make pasta with it's remaining ingredients. This time around, it was zucchini, sausage, and spinach, with a sauce made from tomato paste, red wine vinegar, oregano, and this very delicious, very melty cream cheese, (no, nothing like Philadelphia.) And of course, a bottle of German beer to accompany my culinary adventures. Cheers, friends.
It's hard to believe, I know, but I had my very first macaroon this weekend. Yes, yes, the girl that was nicknamed "Frenchie" in her senior yearbook, who's been in Bordeaux for two months now, had never had the privilege of eating the famously-French dessert until this past weekend in Paris. So, when in
Rome Paris... do as, [I'm sure a very small percentage of] the Parisians [actually] do: Spend the afternoon enjoying a simple, fresh, delicious, fairly over-priced (but no one's complaining!) breakfast at Ladurée.
On the Champs-Élysées, the aesthetically flawless pastry shop/tea room/restaurant/bar is always packed, with good reason, and the shop is filled with equally beautiful delicacies and treats! The best visual reference I can provide you with is Sofia Coppola's film starring Kirsten Dunst, Marie Antoinette, for which Ladurée provided all of the pastries for.
The breakfast included an assortment of gourmandises, bread, jam, butter, orange juice and very good coffee. We finished the visit off with our macarons, to go, which we enjoyed by the Seine river. Must I say it? They were AMAZING. I'd chosen my four, of which my favorite was caramel and salted butter. But each one left me with eyes closed, feeling so lucky to be able to splurge on such delicacies. The shells of the cookies were perfectly firm and the cookies were perfectly soft within, with divine ganache in between. Unfortunately, I have no photographs of the macaroons themselves. It was one of those days when you sit down by the Seine, the Eiffel Tower in sight, and you enjoy the moment without remembering to document it. I guess I'll just have to go back and take pictures, soon!
When you travel, you learn to compromise, let go of familiarity, and adapt to the flavors around you. But when faced with a bottle of Sriracha in a land of essentially no spicy foods whatsoever, one can't help but hope to find in it some bit of comfort -- hot comfort. Alas, my friends, do not let your eyes deceive you. That bottle of Sriracha is an impostor, a result of some impressive false reproduction, reminiscent of that one movie with Leo -- Catch Me If You Can.
I got this kebab from a small vendor on my street and generously smothered it in with what I thought was Sriracha, and although it was delicious, (my theory is that a meal with bread, meat, and potatoes will forever be bulletproof, no matter which corner of the earth you find yourself), it was NOT SPICY. I think I speak for the other Californians here when I say that that's one thing I genuinely miss in food. Mom, if you're reading this, it would be so great if you sent me some real Sriracha in the mail.
My groceries this week: milk, zucchini, Madeleine cookies, and earrings. Okay, so the earrings weren't initially on my list, but while I was walking to the grocery store, I came across this very lovely little vintage boutique called Démarquez Vous, (meaning "stand out") on my street. After trying on some gorgeous lace dresses out of my price range, I spotted these earrings, and couldn't get my eyes off of them. With the same fear and hesitation I would feel when I would walk down the Village 3 dorm halls three weeks ago, I approached the price tag. To my pleasant surprise, it said 12€ -- and when you're expecting 50€, that's a good deal! So I opted to buy them and skip a few grocery items. (Anyone who knows me well enough knows I have a sporadic glamour-complex.) I say, if I'm malnourished, (and let's face it, all college students abroad are), at least I'll still be fabulous!
I decided, last night, that after weeks of complaining about my apartment and it's very orange walls, it was time to try and bond with my kitchen. And bond, I did. I cooked myself a lovely dinner: sweet potato fries with ginger, (and an unidentified spice from my cupboard), a yogurt dipping sauce with lemon and herbs from Provence, and my version of bruschetta with smoked salmon. It was good enough for me to love my kitchen now.