Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nutella-Cherry Sandwich

Were you beginning to think I forgot that I have a food blog? I did get a bit carried away there with the travel photos, didn't I? Sigh... I might go back there... but right now it's time to present you with a serious sugar rush in the form of this sandwich. This isn't really a recipe, but just inspiration to play around with that jar of Nutella you have sitting on your kitchen counter.

Remember that cherry frozen yogurt I made? Remember I strained the cooked cherries? Well, I didn't throw them away. Here's what I did with them: 

I spread two slices of whole-wheat bread with Nutella. Spooned the cherries over one half.

Spread the outsides lightly with margarine, sprayed a non-stick frying pan with cooking spray & grilled lightly on both sides (around 3 mins each).

Nutella has a way of making everything dreamy, doesn't it?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Care to join me for another walk through Paris?

I am not ready to leave Paris behind as yet, so please indulge me a little longer if you will. 

There are so many reasons why this trip was so special to me. I've been meaning to visit Paris for years and gave up an opportunity to be there for a brief visit almost a decade ago. How I regretted that decision for years! Being there now, finally, I was hit with a strong wave of nostalgia: a reminder of many, many good times and lovely friends.  

How could I feel nostalgic about a place I have never been? Because the very first formal job I ever had was at the Alliance Française in my hometown. I worked there for a few years and was immersed in a completely 'French' environment. I made a lot of friends, was exposed to not only the language but also French culture & got to meet a diverse group of artists from France; some of whom became friends that I have kept sporadically in touch with over the years. But sadly, there are many friends that I lost touch with - through my own fault, more than anything else. Being in France gave me the opportunity to look them up and reconnect with a few. And it felt wonderful. 

As we approached Paris and prepared for landing, all I could see below was a bed of thick clouds. It was like descending into nothing - which was a little disconcerting but at the same time reminded me of what Baudelaire (I think it was him) said, " J'aime les nuages.. les nuages qui passent la-bas . . des merveilleux nuages!". That thought came out of nowhere & was the first of a series of random literary references that swam through my head the entire time that I was there. 

After a rainy landing, we were there. 

It took a while for it to sink in that I was really there, I was in France. 

I barely slept that night. After taking a nap for two hours, I was up again because I had to work on an assignment for school. I got over with it around 5 a.m. and then, because I couldn't sleep & because I couldn't stand it any more, I went for a walk at 5:45 a.m. The guy at the front desk of our hotel gave me a very strange look as I was walking out the door and I should have understood why: because the only other people out on the streets at that time were trash-collectors. 

We were close to the Champs Elysees, so I walked down the avenue, down Boulevard Haussmann, and then through winding streets until I reached my hotel after almost two hours. Paris was a very sleepy town, there was little traffic - even at 7 a.m.- and I felt completely wide awake: intoxicated by the beauty of the city. 

I finally managed to take another brief nap before we went out to explore the city later in the morning . . and then I went and got really sick later that night. I think it was just a combination of lack of sleep & jet-lag, but I had to sit around nursing a really bad case of flu for the next two days. All I had energy for, was bus-tours. And while I got really good photos out of the experience, my kids were essentially tortured for two days! 

And then I was back on my feet and walking all over the city again . . 
Or taking little Cafe-breaks and sitting around just watching traffic and passersby. 

Or taking photos of cafes . . 
Or of my other obsession: Parisien Metro signs


And while winding streets are charming . . . 
. . some of them also contain surprises:

 Walking through streets is not all that I did . . among other things we did with the kids, we went to the fantastic Jardin d'Acclimatation & it was hard to tear my kids away at the end of the day .

 I wouldn't mind living in the Jardin d'Acclimatation - it's magical and beautiful, with lots of surprises. Like this little guy who decided to take a walk alongside us:

I felt a bit like this statue upon leaving France . . 

"C'est comme une rêve" remarked a child, sitting in front of me in the plane, as he stared down at the city we were departing from. And he was so right because it really was a dream. . 

Did you enjoy the walk with me? I have lots more photos where these came from and I took them doing what I do best: walking randomly and aimlessly across cities. A friend of mine once asked me in a letter, years and years ago: " fais-tu toujours de grandes promenades?"  (do you still take longs walks?) and I would have to say, yes I do and I love it still. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Baking With Dorie: Summer Fruit Galette

Ever since Elizabeth picked the recipe for this weeks' challenge, I've been constantly dreaming about this galette. I felt it was another very versatile recipe that could be varied in many ways. I dreamed up, in elaborate length, what I would do with it & was meant to bake the galette before I left for our short holiday. But with so many things to do before we left, the galette took a back seat and I had to bake it in a hurry this morning. 

I had already decided, before I left, that I would make it with pineapples. The other recommended fruits are in season (apricots, plums, peaches), but I found the freshly cut rings of pineapples so appealing when I was out grocery shopping one day that I decided right then I'd have to use them in the galette. 

For the jam, I used a thin layer of homemade mandarin marmalade and topped it with a generous amount of crushed Speculoos (my current addiction) & spooned over just a little custard before baking it for the second time.  For those who don't know what Speculoos are: they are traditional Belgian bisuits that are crisp, caramelized and slightly spicy. After eating my way through many, many Speculoos-flavored gelatos and ice creams, I have still not had enough and I felt the slight gingery-spiciness would go really well with the pineapple.

And now I wish I had some ice cream to go along with this galette that is so delicious, warm from the oven. So delicious, in fact, that you'll wish you had made enough dough for a 9" double crust. It made me wish, also, that I had enough time to make the ice cream I had originally planned to go along with it. A summer gallette does seem kind of lonely without ice cream. 
Thanks for choosing this recipe Elizabeth! For a gluten-free version of this dessert, please go over to Elizabeths' blog Gluten-Free Baking 101

Check out what the other BWD bakers have done with this weeks' challenge by checking out the blogroll here or here. For the recipe, please go over to Tina's blog My Domestic Bliss, or pages 366-7 of Baking: From my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan.

If youd' like to join us for our next BWD challenge on July 5 (Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake, pages 264-5), please drop me an email. We'd love to have you bake along with us. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Paris - one last time

I took the train to Paris for the last time yesterday morning, leaving my sleeping family behind so that I could have one last visit. . I got there early in the morning and here's the route I took . .

Rue Montorgueil was sleepy-town when I got there. .

But there were still temptations to be found:

Back near the Quartier Latin

Gotta love Parisien windows

Au revoir Paris

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Que Je T'aime, Paris!

This is why I'm so quiet... No words needed. . Just enjoy the promenade with me . . .


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