My thoughts and experiences on food and wine and other things

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

C’est la Rentree

In Blablabla, Cutting Edge, Food, Travel, Uncategorized, Wine on October 23, 2012 at 00:27

“C’est la rentree” was started and planned to be “pressed” early September,

for some reason, it has never left my desktop but as a “work in construction”,

It has been  since , not neglected but rather left aside, brewing  or stewing slowly, thus until today’s “Eureka!”

Seeing this “Art Piece” on the shelves of one of our reliable stores , the one you would entrust with the health of your wallet , I knew I had hit the jackpot of all blogs , revering any unnacessible and palatable shenanigan.

If there was a top ten list of all rare and estrange items I have had on my own discovery “channel” this far , although I was kind of expecting it at some point in my life , this one would most definitely top it up.

Because , by respect for my other work sourced way past today’s event and already imprinted into this page, in straight line as per awaiting their turn  , I have decided entertaining you until the very bottom of this A4 draft , prior , at last , and revealing this “monster” of our ages (21st Century) before you…

Letting myself being carried by the nonetheless dramatic notes of “Cannon and Guigue for 3 Violins” , having had all summer gorging my nostrils with the warmth of the grapes harshly battered by the sunrays in the Bordeaux region , the taste of its beverage still rolling in my mouthful leaving its tannin opening to my sense before flowing down my throat now providing me with the refreshing sensation “enivrante”, leaving “Twitts” and “Like” buttons far from view, not denying their useful and entertaining use, but as we would all agree with, there is a time for everything…

I could now easily speak of something new, as for example of something named “An Yanshi’s” or the most expensive tea in the world.

It is produced from organic Panda fertilizer (dung).

Having reached sky high prices, this original tea has indeed created quiet a bit of a stir in the Szechuan county of China where it is being produced.

As tea’s are being considered , treated and venered as equaly as us French do respect our wines , having rare and delicate leafs/picks , “Milesime” and rarities , it is easy for one imagining how a cup of ancient beverage may alleviate one’s pocket.

–     The next chapter will have us all try , despite the wave of campaign against Palm Oil used in so many of our much loved childhood products, everyone of us wishing alternative may be found so to keep our “traditions” if I may call them so , alive  , what we may all remember as spread.

Guiding you through my thoughts and “knowledge” of this discovery about the finger “dipping, although never experienced, I am quiet surprised such idea has not seen our cupboards rather 30 years ago when WE  had (as children that is) all excuses/reason, deep cleaning the side of each and everyone pot of chocolate paste without even feeling guilty, just a touch naughty, forgetting it’s politically incorrect list of ingredients.

Nevertheless the idea probably leaves many of us with a glinch of a smile , getting the idea passing through their front head , for being caught looking at it twice

“Kase Stifte” is a set of three large “pencils” shaped pieces of parmesan, yes the cheese that is , each and everyone of them having its own individual colour/flavor. (Truffle,Chilly & Pesto)

“Cheesy” I realise but , can someone guess how to consume it……..that is right , pure genius is here seen in my view ……shaving its tip with the help of a pencil sharpener!?

As the winter season has knocked on our doors in a very harsh way that is , we may only praise the comfort found into one of the great and numerous warmer dishes of the season often found in a cup or bowl , smelling earthy and gorged with the addition of a smoked meat or even fish , waiting patiently for the spring to return so to try this appealing “Carrot Tartare” as per demonstrated.

Again another bright approach , making a vegetarian dish as elaborated in its “construction” and thought given , with the outmost certainty of an added extra flavor due to its originality….. I cannot wait not forcing myself to try…

Now, as we are approaching the closure of my “today’s exhuberating and fun sharing of thoughts and discovery” I am about posting a picture without any comment so to “accompagne”

Having refered to earlier in my introduction, I am still left perplex as to ways or what sort of thought , as they are currently numerous, I shall share with you….

I’d rather leave you to it while I slowly step backward, generously bowing as per a theatrical entrance, hereby exit as per an escape, polite , usually excited for taking every opportunity in practicing the craft of writing , hereby leaving me with a tiny bit of shame for what we may have come to….

Est-ce la fin ?


David Sprüngli-Schwarz since 1845

In Blablabla, Food, Travel on March 24, 2012 at 23:05

The way to eat your chocolate is to let it melt , gently and slowly , revealing most of its flavors, if not , a step at a time.

At first , the taste of the wasabi literally kicks in all my sensors , and makes its entry like a penalty ….. but the warmth of this roots is tricky , in fact it does not warn that your teeth will soon be “jailbreaked” from the inside out and that a wave of heat (not uncomfortable I must stress) will come bursting , making sure it is being felt.

Then , because the matter is not yet over , it is turn to my mind to be played with , as the so natural taste noted here confuses it , I suddenly realize my eyes are lurking for sushi’s …. Sushi ?

I thought I was treating myself with 70% of pure delight !?
There are no soft rolling grains of silky rice to be seen here, nor any dark and intriguing sheets of nori.

One may pinch the skin of his harm to very soon realize that Lindt , has launched a brand new line of bars sold over the counter (the sale of these naughty 10 packs slates should be controlled if you ask me) , making my life a dream come true.

In contrary to a few animals , the human body has the advantage of being able to break down and evacuate any form of toxin found in the cocoa bean (Theobromine , from the name of the plant Theobroma also known as “Food for the Gods”) allowing us (next to our favorite pet dog/cat) to consume with excess these dark and old recipe and concoctions , serving in numerous religious traditions , in various forms and shape (chocolate St Nicolas / Easter Eggs / Rabbit …and so on ) & sometimes covering ourselves with it , as consideration of ultimate sensual bliss.

Many thank you to not only the evolution of our race but also to our thinking tanks at Kew Royal botanic garden (amongst many), who have set up a plant and seed bank where everyone is welcome in saving any plant or flower by simply adopting , whether a single item or a whole species

To mention another newly discovered fact , we have all read about the bees and discovered at some point in our lifetime, their importance in the pollination and of the disastrous consequences if they were to disappear.

Not only the roofs of Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason do nowadays hold beehive and produce the nectar made by these laborious , sometimes soldier , but always gardener of our back yards and orchards.

Nicolas Geant in Paris France , has come up with the not so silly idea , of installing at the request of enterprises and particular (Louis Vuiton , La Tour d’Argent , EDF la Defense and Guerlain) , beehives as per floating clouds above their rooftops , providing a clear and delicate honey having the advantage of being produced in larger quantity than in the countryside , Paris having a “decret” of no pesticides allowed , thus providing the ideal environment , plus , having an “atout” of being surrounded with large variety of plants and flowers being cultivated and taken well care of , from the numerous garden of the Capital.

Capital “Bee”

Sparkling or Still , Red , Blue or Green…

In Blablabla, Food, Travel, Uncategorized on March 17, 2012 at 13:25

50 WordPress posts and still so much “blabbing” about to do , what a fab challenge/fun

The French definition of the word “enthousiasme” goes as follows:

enthousiasme (du grec ancien : ἐνθουσιασμός enthousiasmós) signifiait à l’origine inspiration ou possession par le souffle divin ou par la présence d’un dieu.

Would this explain not only the rushing adrenaline pumping in you when a brand new “Eureka” moment not only fills one side of your brain but also the sudden arrival of a heavy load, requesting almost immediately the support from one hand gently laying its palm against the side of ones face , supported by a strong elbow and allowing as if part of a generic , thoughts taking shape and place , helping finding not the right answers but the correct questioning (are you still with me?)

No divinity at my house this weekend but a load to talk about most certainly (grin) although I may just set the cover for two , ones never so shure.

Food and many other goodies have had their justice made on these pages before ,  items coming from all around the world , near and far away , all with their out most intriguing origin , source , fabrication and use.

Well , the use as we may know has mostly been around our mouthful and all kind of eating habits.

Drinks are part of any table setting , any type of beverage that is , whether made of water melted from imported Iceberg blocs , wines slowly ageing  in a secretly located 200 years old cellar , crushed grapes between bare toes or even squeezed fermented “Amarula” fruit producing its liqueur , making not only monkeys tipsy but also bringing us joy , another nature original not element but “product” , all needless to mention in need of honoring , talking about , in other words speaking out loud their respective mark of elevation amongst a world of “taken for granted” attitude

All kind of drinks are being found in the Alsace region (not “par hazard”as you may well know my origins by now)

Beer of all sorts and kind , mineral water , cordial , liqueur and eau de vie , wine …etc

Just to name a few: Schutz , Adelshoffen , Ancre , Fisher , Kronenbourg , Meteor , Gruber , CK Perle , Freysz , Prieur , Klotz , Tigre Bock , Colmar Pils , Mutzig , Nain d’Alsace for the beers.

Riesling , Klevner , Gewurtztraminer , Pinot noir …etc for the wines.

Carola , Soulzmatt , Celtique Springs… you have guessed these are mineral water

For some such as the Jouvence de Wattviller , a pedigree is often attached dating back the Roman times.

What’s not to talk about …

My love for simple dishes is as strong and dedicated as for any plate of food where a modernist touch will have been needed so for to create an elegant , light and up to trend and date dish , of course all origins are welcome , Alsace being my “anchor” , this dedication to my land is no chauvinism , in fact , this same love is spread and shared and experienced as per below one of London’s oldest Eel shop.

M. Manze pie ‘n’ mash in South London has been using the exact same recipe of pies and liquor since 1902

Why would anyone want to change or even lose traditions , values as such that are the essence of what any attachment is about , a certain amount of pride as per any recipe , ingredients and the love given to the dish at the time of its fabrication , all making it what it is at its final stage

… this is cooking

Bringing new , original and rare items is also a choice of mine , being put forward to search and experiment so for to allow my work development of some kind , so I will along the way , pick up original designs

or  fancy ideas , all that may well be of some kind of interest

Finding a logo on your toast for example may sound very … almost annoying  by the arrogance the idea is producing , by facts that no boundaries are hereby respected and forcing you consuming advertisement while eating breakfast or a plate of smoked salmon with freshly grated horseradish and caper berries and a turn of your favorite Szechuan pepper , but the good news is that a crack , an opening to new forms of art and ideas has now been opened.

Let’s free this imagination.

Reading back this page one may only get confused by the changes , passing from classic recipes used for the jellied eel or mash served at M.Manze pie shop to the above “toaster/scanner” that will leave your imprint as early engraved in your memory as the first smell of coffee of the morning , but all are well related and by reminding ourselves that passing from comfort to extravagant is a very easy task for some of us , we may only conclude/assume , this page is a not so extraordinary exercise ….. for an ordinary person.

Mangez des pommes !

In Blablabla, Food, Travel on February 9, 2012 at 21:48

Bag for “Life” !

In Blablabla, Cutting Edge, Food, Travel on January 27, 2012 at 23:23

Entitled “Eco Cooker with bags of potential”………. is a report , not an article.

Not one I wrote nor witnessed but One I read , One I felt and long (enough) thought about.

Named the “Wonderbag” , this kitchen utensil build and created by Sarah Collins , is formed around hundreds of balls of recycled polystyrene and will allow oneself bringing a stew to boiling point before wrapping it with the “device” or insulated “bag” that will permit the aliment a continuous slow cooking without the need of any further gas or electricity use….. that’s right , imagine?!

£5 , that is all it cost.

Not a mere saving on any energy bills , thus of course without the mention of the care and love , provided in all parallel to the sweetest mother of them all ……. Mother nature.

(risky , I know , I may from now be deprived from all my favourite dishes every other opportunity I may visit my family , but I am prepared placing such highly “essential need” that my love for my mother’s food consumption is to me , aside……… hoping that in return , her maternal love for her very hungry and gourmand son will have been forgiven , “pardoned”)

Dramatic ?

Cryptic ?

I do not care , no one touches Planet Earth!

And of course as my thoughtful mind does usually takes me to places where only questions are asked , this strange but wonderful land of “why’s” and “how’s” , sunshine and rain , melodies and cranky noises , I do not see “me” without alternative requesting reply from this invisible force , this stranger of a man on bicycle , running errand in my cranial box … whoops, slippery around here , where am I going with this ?!

I’d rather ask you … where are we heading , are we , are you adapting to these changes?

Could this same love for food amongst other , be at the origin of our need of nowadays playing catch up with nature  ?)

Taking its origin from our ancestor cooking in the ground method , it has not only created over 8000 jobs in South Africa alone but is supported by the UN , Unilever and ……….. no other than Microsoft.

Originally created for the southern continent , demand has made it available in the Uk ,  Asia and South America

Facts are , that (Wonderbag) it has already found home in 150 000 household in Africa alone , wishing not only to expand , but to also reach record sales of up to 100 millions by the year 2015….

And by 2020 ? Everyone on the planet should and WILL use one!

Lets give it the “thumb” (coup de pouce), shall we?!

Not Just Burning Rubber

In Blablabla, Food, Travel, Wine on January 15, 2012 at 16:46

When inspiration does not spring up all by itself  , you may , as the gentle tease tickles your envy of sharing any new discovery which of course will have provided you in the process with a new taste in mouth , a new item to “blab” about and show off as if it was a new-born baby and you had suddenly become a father , simply want to go in search for the “renouveau” , seeking “adventure” , thus without the necessity of going any much further than your own known territory , limits.

The Bordeaux region is new to me and only the beginning of a 1800 miles journey that will take place over the next 6 days , but having a young sister who has recently moved there , is only making sense in not so much forcing myself paying a visit to this blessed by the gods earth fields.

Charente , Dordogne and Gironde all fusing in almost one point where a change of scenery is becoming sudden , going through the green fields , caressing the wonderful cepages , vallons  and other ups and downs all the way through a tiny viaduct where , surprisingly and rapidly , a sign indicating another change , another “culture”, pride and love for its ground and traditions , shows itself , announcing a new name , a new part of this wonderful land.

The Caneles Bordelais appearing in almost every shop windows , hot and still smoking , with the strong flavor of  Vanilla and Rum emaning , all shinning from the bee wax that has been used to line its silvered copper moulds.

12 or 14 , perhaps more , nevertheless it is the number carefully carried in a small box , no one would have thought they would do the journey all the way across the hexagon so to see , as if by mixing the religions of one being , the other side , also surrounded by “Vallons” and forests and plains and grapes fields or vineyards. …. they all would have been so right.

So yummy that a few hundred miles only , as if poaching in this fragrance of comfort , an urgent stop would become a need , a gourmandise agremented with a strong cup of coffee and making this moment in time a marvellous few minutes , all while watching the “Chaîne des Puys” , an idyllic instant.

After the South-West , it is of course place for Alsace , there is here no need to present this “grande Dame” , she has always shown and proved to be so generous , allowing for new discoveries such as cellars and all sorts of delicious and palpable items to be made.

Cleebourg Cooperative is one stop to sample and pick a few bottles of Himmrich Pinot Gris as a perfect example , so is the Niedersteinbach farm where fresh “faisselles” and cheeses are being produced , to be degusted with a light spoon of sugar or honey with an added pinch of cinnamon.

Highland breed are surprisingly to be found grassing in the nearby fields , friendly and all fury , having adopted or been adopted , these giant gentle beast are very common in this valley , well appreciated for its capability in adapting and of course needless to mention , for its absolutely gorgeous meat.

Next … “Les Sources du Heimbach” is a fresh fish farm situated in the Vosges du Nord concentrating on the quality of the products hereby loved and cherished , all this for your mouthful only.

No antibiotics , GM nor unwanted flour are being used in this 100% natural growth family business , placed only less than 2 miles away from the source with no village nor human pollution coming from above , the perfect river flows and come nourishing in minerals all its occupants: Trout , Salmon Trout , Red Leg Crayfish , Ombles Chevalier … a jewel atop its forest already rich in various games (Venison , Roe Deer , Boar & Marcassin and a wide range of wild mushrooms comprising Black Trumpets , Girolles , Morels and many many more) all “jalones” with sawmills leaving the fresh air of the area with the light smell of the sap pouring from all conifers hereby cut , sliced , trimmed and piled , giving it the platform it deserve so to be publicly shared and presented for all of us to hume in full lungs.

A breathe that makes this area so special , so fresh and my god …. so good.

Something for the Week-End ,Take “2

In Blablabla, Cutting Edge, Food, Travel on December 9, 2011 at 13:03

“La Papillotheque”, as Guy Savoy has described his feelings anchored within him , having had a gardener for father and a mother knowing how to combine the result of this great skill and making good use of it by taking care in a good fashion way that is , of preparing and cooking  the abundance of the subtiles ingredients harvested in the family garden through the year , is something we could all easily feel related to.

I know that too well myself having had the chance to witness the growing of the “Endive” , slowly popping through the cool sand (helping the leafs keeping tight instead of opening up) that was there , in a corner of the cellar , held by large planks of wood , forming this frame containing the pale coloured bulbs (Leaf Chicory) , all in this “dark room” as per avoiding any chance for chlorophyl developing , refraining them from turning green as any type of leafy vegetable would .

The discovery of this growing method is known to have been discovered in the late 17th Century , for me it was more like 1975 (ish)

But , why am I telling you this , is it this sudden urge (again) , having collected a few ideas and photos taken along the way , put together making my inner thoughts bubbling as a Marmite of good stock embauming the kitchen , clearly showing that life is taking place within these walls and that love is being spread by ways of nourishing one appetite ?

Yes , simply as it sounds , this goes all the way since my first , not attempt but blab” that took me on a journey since this day of summer 2010.

As a contrast to the direction my thought above are going towards to , as opposite to my deeply rooted love for my “Classic” training , thus coming way back from the time I grew up , the food I was used to taste and see stewing gently , smelling its variant of flavors while passing below the kitchen window of my Grand-Mother’s house , all this thinking it was playtime.

I believe in a fun kind of way , that I was groomed , shaped into nowadays “myself” , loving … I mean really loving having the ability to turn back the clock and enjoy all these wonderful moments engraved forever  (please do not take me wrong as no pretention is allowed hereby that would therefore be tarnishing my thinking), and then being able to switch back and forth , bringing (after discovering myself) items I am finding exceptional for some, intriguing for others , but nevertheless interesting in all kind of ways and if I may stress , I am finding this ability so rewarding I am considering myself to be lucky having this in me.

In 2010 (ish) a Japanese firm created a Chocolate Sparkling Water. Heston Blumenthal and the alike have all extracted and created similar concoctions out of what we all know very well (I have much faith in you), as bars of chocolate of different origins , so to please the palates.

Our mind being now set to accept all chocolate tasting food items coming as creamy and rich whether under the form of a “Moelleux” or “Pot” , “Brulee” or “Panacota” , running and oozing out of a hard shell spreading onto one’s plate , sexy and masculine , though very much-loved by all genders , right? a warm and cosy cup of deliciously thick milky drink …etc , is now being tricked into accepting this texture rather lacking “un je ne sais quoi”, flowing so rapidly but surprisingly pushing us on our back heels , bringing all kind of words into our vocal cords , not shying away but rather screaming out for this surprisingly chocolaty drink , sounding more like “Wow” and “Yum” …. I dare you!

My play with contrasts has yet not been totally exhausted , “Que Neni”  in fact it is now taking me , taking you , to the high-end of the of Chilean cooking  , brushing closely with nature in this nonetheless ecological baking , grilling method.

Sun Rays generated oven reflected onto mirrors so to provide sufficient energy to cook , (slowly I leave it to you ), bake , grill and fry a variety of traditional , simple and modest , but cooked dishes , are being used in this part of the world and somehow are making the talk for some , on our part of the world.

Their originality having brought them to the social media mainstream we nowadays browse on a not so ecological electricity powered battery computers ourselves. Ahem,ahem!

(although Apple vision of the Macbook , was made by living space for thoughts around more ecological encasing …etc , that is a fact!)

Our planet population’s recently reached 7Billion inhabitant.

That is 7 millions of millions of persons

We are prone to expect , see and learn on a daily basis , not only what our neighbor way of thinking is (are) but also to accept the way they would call “Happy Cooking”, why not enjoying it.

Majorca / Hurlingham via Marseille , only good things may take place.

In Association Culinaire Francaise, Food, Travel on October 18, 2011 at 11:50

At around 8am , the sun is very much appearing as a big bright orange (high up it is scorching although we are soon to be flirting with the winter frosts), sending us all his best kisses , warm and comforting , like bouncing off the surface of mother earth as if by amusement , making his stand up also known as rise , this elegantly , allowing us seeing through the aurora so to ripen the fields of olives , almonds and much more , giving us another wonderful day this time to return to our not so monotonous but different , filled with working days and e-mails of justification , approvals …etc normal life in other terms…

I feel having been away for so long ,as if my travel had included a period through time , I now return to the much larger city of Palma going through the traffic that always leads us to it , as if dragged , sucked in.

I enjoy very much what is then being felt , having loved now and then sipping a fruit cocktail through a straw and being kept apart from much of all reality , but that at time , also is reality.

Sobressada de Majorca made from black pig is “something” to spread on a chunky slice of deliciously toasted bread (wood fired if you still have your BBQ at hand) as this onctuous and rich , red of paprika and spices “paste” is pushed into this not so elegant , rather rustic “tube” (Or its many variant such as Longaniza , Rizada to name a few) made from the pork intestine is delicious either spread onto bread or even slowly melted before adding a rice into the cooking pot , instantly coloring and perfuming the dish in ways real food lovers only may understand , feel and even sometimes smell although my wordings are simple and only describing the reason my mouth is now running its juices made of an excitement I only get from memory , desire but also experience and expectation.

There are a few other items one may squeeze amongst his luggage when travelling so to remind himself the pleasure only recently felt and discovered such as the Crema de Almendra , found to be used (as per recommendations) dissolved into warm milk during the long and cold nights of our winter or used into cakes and various patisseries.

Dulce de Leche or “Milk Jam” beside being local and “tradicional” , has this toffee consistency with the beating powers of “elbow pushing” Nutellas and other lookalike off the markets shelves.

Closer to “our” Mediterranean shores , in the Marseille region , has seen the appearance of what I would describe as subtile creation not only by its ingredients but its presentation being so adequate , so “branche d’Olivier”

L’esperantine de Marseille (avec l’accent s’il vous plait) was created in 1999 for the 2600 years of the city of Marseille and obtained immediately high recognition amongst the great chocolate “haut de gamme”. I must say myself I am loving its down to earth concept  (almond,mint,orange and extra virgin olive oil) but equaling its place amongst my favourite in terms of love , design taste and originality, thus beside the like of Bubble Chocolate Lenotre or its “L7g” cube of 7gr of pure chocolate bliss aspreviously reported.

As the ACF Annual Black Tie Event is just around the corner (Friday 21st October 2011), its purpose in promoting our industry is being constantly worked on , wishing not only its success but also perpetration , a “happy cooking” motto always is in order as has proved its latest competition , having brought together a few professionals of various levels , all brushing shoulder with one another.

Un Gratin de Fruits Arrosés

In Blablabla, Food, Travel on October 1, 2011 at 07:59

Bob Law’s painting from the 70’s , a large 9′ by 7′ foot canvas entitled “Nothing to Be afraid of” is at the summum of the minimalism , the apotheosis of what one may not have as return for his monies….

Considering the art represented hereby , I am trying , and you will understand why this is causing me hardship , into juxtaposing the idea to what would be a plate or dish presented before my eyes at supper time (question mark arising)

But enough for an introduction that could lead us into loosing our mind by pretending to have become suddenly “the” art critics , having had for training only , the right way of peeling a “legume” and its numerous possible cooking methods …. ha

As various project in the pipelines have not just stopped me from adding my words onto these pages but rather given me different perspectives into a chefs life , career and possible choice , I am and endeavour bringing soon to your attention , products picked and noticed along the way as per my long-lasting habit , but also anecdotes and news which I always very much enjoy sharing hereby.

My only short time in the Alsace region this summer has unfortunately not allowed me to return with more than a few jars of home made jams. As well , regional and home made of course ‘Eau de vie de Mirabelle ” was also to be found in my luggage …..this beverage will allow me to flambé a few gratins of the same fruit before topping with a scoop of a delicious ice cream and covering my bowl with a sabayon ready for gratin. Tucking into this so very annoyingly simple dish will once more allow me and my guest to travel rapidly as if hovering the “plaines” and “valllees” of the area left behind , in fact it is as if I had never returned from its grounds.

Today , to be taken lightly please , as we gently prepare to step onto the sandy beach of the British Isle I may show and testify that perhaps sometime very soon you may come across a bottle of extra virgin olive oil labelled “Product of London”. Indeed , as just around the corner , you will not loose yourself into an “Oliveraie” as found in a modest number only , but the mediterranean tree that has provided us with its nectar for thousands of years is now to be found in the street of London , growing , maturing and proving to be giving the chances it deserve to its fruits as does its Italian , Greek , Tunisian and Spanish cousin from the “basin”. I simply cannot wait …..

Growing your own mushrooms is something that perhaps your patience will allow you to do , whether it is by “recycling” and old book as it is marvellously put or hanging a ” log” made for the purpose and found under the form of a “Kit” , germinated and ready for you to simply await for its fruiting after about 2 to 3 weeks. What may be found in markets stalls is always astonishing me , the never-ending force of renew and creativity ….

Voila, perhaps you will now feel the necessity harvesting your own crop of shitake for your next stir fry , spending you pocket money (a mere £60 000) into a canvas that will probably become the subject of many conversations at the table or giving me a phone call so to taste and feel , in practice , my thoughts and emotions when scooping one of my greatest favourite dessert “arrosed” with my homeland’s blood.

Whatever the butterflies in your stomach are telling you , do not forget to keep them at ease and fed and educated with a number of flavour thus as per our numerous choices we may only find ourselves lucky enough to have to take a pick from.

My Love , whether for Traditional or Upcoming but None Without the Other

In Blablabla, Cutting Edge, Food, Travel, Uncategorized on July 20, 2011 at 09:41

Have you ever found yourself walking through the lemon groves of Menton or scrolling between the perfect lines of Jasmine covering the mounts and hills of Grasse, all taken great care of so for their precious essence to be extracted as if by miracle to provide tiny amount of the well sought after basis of many great perfumers favored ingredients belonging to a long family of nose specialists , ending being adoringly placed onto ones thin long and delicate neck or in a more mechanical way, being sprayed in micro particles as if to change ones identity making her not only the most desirable perfume carrier beside being ravishing , but by also spreading its joy , sharing its richness and deepest secret to anyone lucky and coming close enough so to have a taste of its aroma.

As juicy peaches, watermelon gorged with the summer sweetness , plump apricots , green and velvety fresh almonds shells protecting the delicate milky nut that will with the right amount of time and attended care and process become the thin toasted slices or nibbed kernels found sprinkled over our Paris-Brest so to give crunch to the creamy praline “Diplomate” are all on display on our kitchens table as if they were an “offrande” to the gods, an enjoyment of the rich summer season we must certainly all celebrate with trumpets and tambourines with feasts around Barbecues all with a good chance of ending with dripping Ice-Cream cones , crisp and delicate , crumbling under the bite, because there is no time given for soaking the waffle , there is only one summer per calendar year.

I want Acacia flowers dipped in fluffy batter before being fried, covered with a cloud of icing sugar so for to give it the largest bite that only a certain joy may provide me with , which is in its turn only felt and generously given by the soft smell of sweetness

I want to walk through the early markets found along the coasts , eyes wide shut being able to describe my whereabouts just by its odora , nectarines to my right , morning baked fougasse to my left and coming rapidly to my senses are the fresh goat milk faisselles still hanging in their basket , they are coming fast running towards me , I see and imagine them spread on a slice of crisp bread still warm from the baking stone or covered with a spoon of lavender honey , the lot being sprinkled with shredded “tartuffon”

What does really matters in our life? It is to serve alongside and in harmony with ourselves, our colleagues ,our families…..our elders…. We all have the opportunity of doing what is right , it is our choice and if taken it is a great path to follow, although it is not a gift everyone has. Cutting corners is like messing around with a recipe , dropping down on the cooking time, reducing its ingredients list so to reduce its cost and therefore , often by altering its final result.

People are the same, you take their juice away, what drives them , reduce them to fabricate, robotise them , automate them, and the result will be obvious, not only on our plates but also the service provided will be affected to the point that all love found prior to the crisis will have vanished , like evaporated into thin air no essence recuperator may catch its gist, not even a glimpse.

Good old recipes are the key to success while new waves of cooking methods are flooding our tables bringing along flavors and techniques never thought before, nor sampled nor tasted.

But , Is the result as often as we would want it to be such a victory on cooking? Are these methods the cooking of tomorrow?

Love is not to be found in kitchens as much but is more to be written about and read in cookery blogs  and other social media platforms, that said , nevertheless  it is spreading its wings more than anything else. Not that it is easier but it is a way of expression so natural , something that affects us all so closely as our memories always enclose a special moment where for example the Christmas cookies or the easter Flan” in the shape of a lamb (loudly announcing spring) are being reminded in our long list of lost memories.

It is those traditions that makes us what we are, what we believe in and more than anything else who we are!

For me it has always been doing good and the road that taking these methods  has incurred me has not always been smooth and easy nor without mistakes nor without falling  from time to time, but going back up and bouncing has always helped me understanding this to be the only solution , the perpetual movement of positiveness like good vs evil, light vs darkness.

Negativity is to life what a virus is to flesh, what tyranny is to the people.

Food and culture has indeed helped us getting closer, spreading and sharing our thoughts also have helped understanding each other, creating, building and making use of one another skills, ingredients and recipes sometimes perhaps sacred.

It seems we are far from having seen it all, is that a bad thing? Bring it on I say to that, we may only make our judgment then. This comment is according to human being creativity’s bringing us edgy and various products on daily basis like the “bacon toothpaste”  mentioned earlier or the boomerang wok….created so we just have to seat down and relax instead of collecting baby corn and sprouts from our kitchen floor.

Thanks to our geniuses working overnight, sipping pops from plastic straws , elbow on their computer station , munching on a high energy chocolate bar , but from whom an ingenious idea will always sprout  and affect us.

There is one inconvenient though, classical thoughts are being lost on the way …….?Not so fast . one may say as to my great pleasure I have a few months back discovered like many of us that Grant Achatz from Alinea , Chicago in the Us is reviving the great spirit, having first hunted down a Duck Press so to now orchestrate the Paris 1906 Dinners with all classical dishes from our master Georges August Escoffier.

What a joy, an example for the so many youngsters in our industry who are blinded by the Extremely Modern approach so many kitchen have now adopted as per their daily routines, dropping all foundations and basics skills any good chef would need in his tool box now taken for granted.

Foam of this , emulsion of that , liquid nitrogen clouds elevating most dishes as if  compulsory ingredient to any recipe …..etc

I then ask : Where are the long and slowly bubbling away stock with their reductions of port and paysanne of carrots and shallots with crushed peppercorn ,where is the beautifully crafted bouquet garni usually found alongside, where are the crushed crayfish carcasses roasting , being flambéed with that splash of cognac known for making the difference , I ask ?……instead, hand blenders and siphon are being the tools replacing our “old school” favourite items, “etamine” and “saucieres” and our delicious accompaniments are now emulsions and dried freeze yoghurt and jellied fruit juices. Fresh and lovely flavour though….but often , when not done properly , are to be discovered with a structure or aftertaste leaving us questioning the origin or freshness of what is to be found in our plate providing us instantly with the conclusion that it is at heavy cost to the industry.  But worth it!  I am now saying so as contradictory as it may sound to your ear but as this exercise may only pushes us to question ourselves and therefore always re-elevating basic knowledges left by our ancestors founding our today industry , society , we may want only to improve and seek its perfection.

I am surely not the only one saying  “Merci Mr Achatz”  as my thoughts are so definitely genuine that I have now the sudden feeling I have finally met my God….well, one of them.

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