My thoughts and experiences on food and wine and other things

Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Ding…Ding…Round Two!

In Blablabla, Food, Travel on February 24, 2011 at 18:40

“J’ai la plume qui me demange” and literally translated this would very nicely give you the following sentence: “I have the feather tickling me” and you would of course and automatically start wondering if I suddenly had gone bonkers. Pas du tout! s’exclame-t-il! As I am receiving from time to time, a pretty little comment about this page , thus motivating and giving me the thirst finding more and more new products and wonky eating items, various habits or rare chocolate with bubbly design….etc.  So I ask, here and there, keeping pictures and saving them for later , building myself a little library until Bam,  Ba-Da-Bing, It is starting with my shoulder and elbow becoming as if they were not attached to the rest of my body (I know, Sci-fi sounding like, but so is Ze mood today) vibrating and pulling my torso toward my keyboard, an attraction, a smile? this would be asking for too much …….gosh I am loving it, I have found myself the best way of expressing myself and here I am , spreading my thought instead of deliberating about food. But , hang on a minute , does the title not say “My Love, thoughts and experiences on food and travel and other things”? Here is you alibi my dear chef, as if you had planned this ahead meticulously, covering every bit of your story telling blog page……..Que Neni! I have indeed pictures and new products I am of course coming across almost every single day….Could you for one second imagine this possible lets say 10 years ago? It is there to be seized and it is moving so fast nowadays!

Lets certainly not forget all our emotions felt while staring at the “Tarte aux Myrtilles” still smoking and warm coming right out of the oven, so are the sensations expressed at the table when breaking loose the pastry on the Backeoffe dish that has been “Lutte” for better sealing before going to be licked by the flames amongst the crackling woods of the baker’s oven “a l’ancienne” for the next few longest but well deserved hours…..not to be seen in every kitchen I am aware but the dream of having such “Festin” is beyond me……this is what bring my hands, arms and everything found afterwards to this set of keys marked as if I was standing before a game of scrabble, shuffled and ready to be put in order , so to speak…

Marmite Cereal Bars is my very first item I would like to bring to the table, ahem, no, beware, not litterally.The idea of combining cereals and the famous paste is something that does not particularly attracts me , however, I have had a few toasts of the devilish black spread in my days  and remembering its taste now revives a few memories, not unpleasant , but certainly not the ones one does not need to accustom himself to, before accepting its taste and letting things go down, lets say , with the same aisance as a toast covered with cream cheese and lovely pinkish Scottish Wild smoked salmon, sprinkled with fresh lemon juice and of course a good turn of black peppercorn over it……..but it is there, original, for the originals? I like seeing it on the shelves, it is a legacy and belongs exactly there, as I am the foreigner and the odd one in this shop !

Sahlep is my second. Coming from Turkey, its name is a derivative from the Arabic word Sahlap (meaning Orchid) as it is originally produced with the roots of various species of orchid (starch giving smooth and distinctive texture to the drink as well as flavour) which are now becoming rare and protected in the whole of Turkey. The nation has seriously curtailed its exports for this reason hence the finding of its generic abroad made of milk powder and cinnamon as it has fervent consumer in the four corners of the world. As a rapid note, Sahlep was briefly enjoyed in Europe in and around 1600 as a fascination with the Orient took place at that time and rose-water was often added to the hot drink, trend  and fashion it became but rapidly disappeared from our tables until today.

On the same note (ish) we have Kewra, the distilled male flowers of “Pandanus Odoratissimus”, used into various Indian dishes, sweet or savouries such as many pastries like Rasgula or as a substitute to rosewater in Rasmalai but also to flavour basmati rice and found into Nasi Kuning (Indonesia). Its leaf is often “knotted” and placed into the cooking stocks so it pungeant aroma is used to fragrant  dishes and give them what is only known to the cook equiped/skilled with its “secret” knowledge.

I will only and simply end this post by daring anyone taking a bite of the cereal bar mentioned above and to return to me with a comment, not just any comment , it will have to be constructive , it will have to convince me wether you liked it or not. I guess the rethorical “challenge” if I may say, is or may well be taken by anyone , this is one product I will not tuck my teeth into as I would rather bite into a round and juicy apple for my breakfast of course preceeded by a toasted half baguette with the confiture de “Maman” ,very carefully brought back the last travel to my native Alsace, and leave this up for you to dare. Once more, I do consider having done my work by providing you with “rare” and unusual item…………Wether you love them or hate them 🙂

La Langouste de Cuba by Monsieur Jean.

In Association Culinaire Francaise, Blablabla, Uncategorized on February 19, 2011 at 15:26

As we all are  impatiently awaiting  for spring to show us his first signs , starting to gently warm up our face and slowly bringing back smiles after the cold has pulled our skin so tight that not a wrinkle appears and thus keeping us as young as if time had suddenly stopped for the past six months now (Yes I know but the winter is rather long in the Uk) we all anticipate new menus , ideas and how this summer’s first barbecue should take place , which marinade , seasoning or zest will be added to the soaking rib eye, middle neck, or prawns…….did I say prawns? why not shrimps while I am at it……”let’s be extravagant and throw a few lobsters or langouste on the red hot charcoal”, lets dip our lips and surround them with a few tickling bubbles, the recession has hit us all very hard, and we are paying the hard price of it every time we go for our daily trip to the supermarket, at the pump or simply around the corner to our local pub for a moment of “detente” as we all deserve a little time for ourselves.

However, I will try to keep us out of the “rumble” as I would rather talk to you about France and the past few days events that I have come across or was involved with or simply stumbled into it on the streets of north London , that keeps me close to my “people” , my root , my love , as if they were following me without giving me away nor abandoning me for the unknown and unchartered territories , like protecting and keeping a close eye over me. Thinking this way allows me to feel the freedom and being much less vulnerable.

And that is when……….Tataaaaa….I am having a deja vu , right before my eyes, this legend as I have named him was there on the broadway of Muswell Hill, representing “La France” (dans toute sa splendeur) and like Monsieur Jean , who was at the time going from one restaurant of central London to another , riding through the streets of Mayfair, always on time with his seasonal Artichokes or Fresh Garlic  hanging around his neck , his bicycle covered with bunches of the most flavoursome onions , he has never forgotten to take one for the road before heading and rolling through the Michelin Stars of the Capital. For those who have never seen him must have been at least told the great story once in their lifetime and thus not without a cracking joke or laughter to twist your intestine….this is his moment from me, like a dedicace,  as he has always been and always will be with me, riding his bicycle alongside.

“Papa Blanc” was in the Observer Magazine last Sunday ,on the cover as well as inside of course and talking about , I let you guess ,see the clue above pictured… food and France or France and food, whatever order you prefer. Maman Blanc of course was mentioned as well his ex wives but never his mistresses, why? because his fidelity has always been his pride along with his roots and of course his great work ,as Raymond Blanc IS a pillard of nowadays catering industry in the Uk, along with only a few that would be holding in one hand and one hand only and not by the size of their ego that is nor their success . Le Manoir au Quatre Saison ,Oxfordshire  has been Mr Blanc proud and joy for over 25 years now and still carrying the “Bleu, Blanc,Rouge” flag as if the days of running through the fields of  “La Grande Dame” (France that is)had just gone past, still having left behind the delicious smell of the Tarte aux Pommes gently cooling down by the window, attracting the honey bees by its sweet odour of caramelised apples and flan. mmmmmmmm

This month , the first page of the Secours Mutuels was posted on the Association Culinaire Francaise de Londres website and thus for the very good of our members, giving the possibility or the “tool” as this would  be called nowadays, to offer the ACF members the help needed in the case of invalidity or incapacity to work .

Feeling now satisfied that the matter has been put  into place  and in motion , although tweaking or alteration in order to offer a better help and service is continuously needed  , I am now having an urge and cannot stop myself of thinking…

“What’s next” ?

Association Culinaire Francaise de Londres

In Association Culinaire Francaise on February 2, 2011 at 21:50

The Association Culinaire Francaise de Londres was established in 1903 by Emile Fetu and Georges Auguste Escoffier. Under the patronage of His Excellency the French Ambassador , tradition is being perpetrated throughout the numerous events, competitions and fund raising organised alongside with the very hard work of a dedicated team striving for its legacy to be maintained and accomplished.

I hereby present you with its second “Pastry Day”, an event organised to promote patisserie with an English “twist”, avis aux amateurs (Students) et Professionels (Professionals).

The day will be completed with demonstrations by professionals and expositions of chocolate, foie-gras and other fabulous item we all love taking down at the Diner table.

We are welcoming all applicants willing to take this opportunity and fabulous learning curve that the competition brings to one beside the prestige and fabulous price being offered and wishing all the best of luck to the participants as nowadays levels and stakes are high but so much worth the challenge.

Happy cooking ! 🙂

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