- Biscuits Breton with Lemon Curd
- …topped with whipped cream
- ..meringue in photo but I prefer crème chantilly
- After dieting for 5 months
- ….it is time to bend over the saddle…and let go of the reins!
- This month during #ParisInJuly
- …I want either to
- bake, broil, braise,’buver’ (drink wine or cocktail)
- something French every day!
- I’m using La Petite Cuisine à Paris by R. Khoo. (see Amazon).
- It is time to celebrate the summer and its fruit and fresh veggies
- …..before you know it it will be winter here!
- This is a delightful cake to enjoy
- …as a special treat for 14 juillet!
- I made the lemon curd ( see post July 3)
- Now it is time to make the basic biscuits Breton.
- To assemble, place a generous tablespoon of the lemon curd
- on top of the biscuits, followed by the whipped cream.
- Oven: 170 C (330 F) – 12-15 min
- 3 egg yolks ( in photo 2 yolks…but you must use 3!)
- 125 gr softened butter
- 200 gr flour
- 100 gr sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- zest of 1 lemon
- pinch of salt
- WHISK butter, sugar, salt and zest until a pale yellow color
- … add yolks and continue to WHISK.
- CHANGE to DOUGH utensil
- …add flour and baking powder into batter —> MIX
- Wrap dough in cling foil.
- Chill 4 hrs or overnight
- Roll dough out to a 1/2 inch thickness
- ….and use culinary circle forms to make a perfect round biscuit!
- Don’t remove the biscuit out of the form.
- Bake the biscuit in the form on a cookie sheet
- 170 C (330 F) 12-15 min until golden.
- Ready to roll…!
- Conclusion: this recipe will make shortcakes.
- I used a biscuit cutter to make the rounds
- I cooked the biscuit in the cutter.
- Later I used the cutter again to help me layer the cake with
- lemon curd….topped with whipped cream
- If you let the cake stand…(see photo) the curd will ooze
- and cover the cake giving it an elegant look!
Still very hot in The Netherlands..
…enjoying a Crème de Cassis Spritzer!
This wine is a real treat!
- Blanquette de Limoux is considered to be
- …the first sparkling white wine produced in France.
- It was created long before the Champagne region
- …became world-renowned for the sparkling wine Champagne.
- The first textual mention of “blanquette”,
- ….from the Occitan expression for “the small white”
- appeared in 1531 in papers written by
- …Benedictine monks at an abbey in Saint-Hilaire.
- No one can say it better than the French:
- “Cette blanquette or pâle libère des bulles fines et régulières,
- ainsi que (as well as) des parfums intenses de
- poire williams et de chèvrefeuille.” (honeysuckle)
- I enjoyed this wine with Camembert cheese as aperitif and
- …later with my gratin dauphinois. (La Petite Cuisine à Paris, R. Khoo, pg 34)
- I’m trying to make as many recipes as I can from this cookbook during
- This is the first step on my quest to make tarte au citron.
- I found this recipe in La Petite Cuisine à Paris by R. Khoo.
- I was looking for the right tangy taste.
- This recipe makes about 1 cup of crème de citron.
- When I make the tart I will make dubble or triple this amount.
- You can make this and save it in the fridge for a few days.
- Crème de citron is an elegant touch for a any special desert!
In three easy steps:
- Large bowl: mix zest and juice of one lemon,
- pinch of salt, 40gr sugar, 45 gr butter and
- 2 egg yolks.
- Optional: adding 1/2 tsp cornstarch.
- I want the curd thick to use tarts.
- Warm slowly …keep stirring all the time!
- I warmed the mixture au bain maire.
- For velvety perfection: pour cooked mixture through a sieve.
- Photo: I bought this fine mesh professional cooking sieve years ago
- I use it all the time to sift flour….and sauces
- Important! use a culinary ring to keep the curd in one
- …place otherwise it will be a mess.
- Believe me, I know.
- Cover mixture with thin, clingy plastic wrap
- …and make sure wrap adheres to sauce.
- You want to avoid the formation of a ‘skin’ on the lemon curd.
- Cool in fridge for a few hours or overnight
- Here are the photo’s of all the steps!
01.07.2018 Paris In July!
- I took this photo in front of a pâtisserie on L’ile St.Louis.
- This is my first stop whenever I visit Paris.
- Everything is so delicious but I always choose (lower right)
- …the mini tarte au citron!
- This month is all about Paris and anything French.
- My pâtisserie challenge this week:
- ….bake these little pies and post my results!
- What is your cooking challenge this week?
Bloody hot today in The Netherlands…time for refreshment!
- Bénédictine is an herbal liqueur beverage
- developed by Alexandre Le Grand in the 19th century and produced in France.
- The recipe is a closely guarded trade secret,
- purportedly known to only three people at any given time. #ParisInJuly.
- Oh, is it July already?
- Let’s have a glass of wine and
- think of some things to do for…
Paris in July
- Paris in July is a French themed blogging
- …experience running from the 1st – 31st July this year.
- The aim of the month is to celebrate our French experiences through
- actual visits, or through reading, watching, listening,
- observing, cooking and eating all things French!
- For more instructions how to share your posts go to Thyme for Tea.
- There will be no rules or targets …just blog about anything French
- …and you can join in! Some ideas might include;
- reading a French themed book – fiction or non-fiction,
- watching a French movie,
- listening to French music,
- cooking French food,
- experiencing French, art, architecture and travel.
What are my plans?
- Book: Et Soudain, La Liberté by É. Laurent winner Prix Marguerite Duras 2017
- Book: Comment Baptiste est mort by A. Blottière winner Prix Jean Giono 2016
- Cocktails: make, drink, review a surprise French iconic cocktail
- …and on 19th July is National Daiquiri Day….try a French Daiquiri!
- Cooking: Gratin Dauphinois (pg 34) La Petite Cuisine à Paris by R. Khoo.
- Movie: Frantz won Best Actor Pierre Niney César Awards, France 2017.
- Netflix: Dix Pour Cent Season 1 series – nominee International Emmy Awards 2016.
- Art: Berthe Morisot by D. Bona winner Prix Goncourt de la biographie 2000.
- Author: Bruno Pellegrino
- Title: Là-bas, août est un mois d’automne (224 pg)
- Published: 2018
- List of French Books
- Monthly reading planning
- It takes talent to write such a touching and subtle debut novel.
- The book is inspired by the life of
- …poet and photographer Gustave Roud. (1897-1976)
- He is one of Switzerland’s most accomplished poets.
- Pellegrino describes the ‘mouvement de va-et-vient’
- …the daily comings and goings
- …of two 60+’ers, brother and sister, Gustave and Madeleine.
- They have lived a solitary life on their family farm at Carrouge (canton Vaud).
- They both yearn to love and be loved each in their own way.
- Pellegrino has a keen eye for the micro cosmos of the garden.
- It is the world that
- …reflects the changing seasons of the character’s lives.
- Happy or sad, public or secret, healthy or weakening with age,
- …all is given the reader in an almost poetic style.
- This style ‘la belle expression“
- is an adornment and shield
- …it is like the enamel on a tooth.
- Bravo, Bruno Pellegrino!
- I have been looking for
- … reason to use my VSOP Calvados.
- This cocktail originated at the front during WWI in France.
- It was introduced to America by war correspondent Alex Powell.
- The French 75 Cocktail is a tribute to the
- 75mm artillery piece that the French fielded in World War I.
- The French air squadrons in WWI had their drinking rituals.
- The “75,” was inspired by these flyers returning from battle.
- Trivia: The power and efficiency of the French 75mm guns made
- them well trusted among their crews, which earned them
- …a particular affection.
- They were dubbed Mademoiselle Soixante-Quinze (Miss Seventy-five)
- ….and appear on numerous French propaganda cards.
Ingredients: Gin – Calvados brandy – grenadine or absinthe (or both)
- 60 ml VSOP Calvados
- 30 ml gin
- 1/2 TB (7.5 ml) grenadine (no absinthe in my bar…)
- 1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice
- Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice
- Shake, strain into chilled cocktail glass with lime wedge
- Garnish: lemon twist
- Glass: elegant stemmed liquer glass (small)
- I would NEVER serve this cocktail as an aperitif….
- …it would probably be better as a ‘pousse café‘ (after dinner drink).
- This is my own personal advice
- ….because this cocktail can
- be as POWERFUL as the gun it is named after!
- It is a drink meant to be sipped.
- After one of these cocktails French soldiers
- felt the courage to face down disaster in WW I
- …and swear undying love to their sweetheart!
Ingredients: Prichard’s Key Lime rum – tonic
Glass: small wine glass
- 3 fresh mint leaves crushed in the glass
- Add ice and…
- 60 ml Prichard’s Key Lime Rum
- 60 ml Fever-Tree tonic ( I just filled the glass to the top!)
Garnish: spig of fresh mint
- Absolutely delicious!
- The crushed fresh mint leaves give the cocktail a “je ne sais quoi” !
- I added in a second cocktail the juice of 1 lime ( not in orginal recipe)
- It improved the taste with just the ‘tang’ a lime can give.
- I discovered the Fever – Tree tonic by accident!
- It is an An aromatic and pink-tinged tonic.
- A blend of South American angostura bark,
- ….cardamom, pimento berry and ginger.
- This give the cocktail a beautiful pink glow!
- Let’s face it….with just a little creativity you can enjoy
- …an unforgettable aperitif
- …instead of the “same-old, same-old” beer or house wine.
Who pays the bartender?
- I was curious what this cocktail would cost in a bar?
- Here are my conclusions:
- 1 lime 58 eurocent
- Pichard’s Key Lime Rum – 12.95 euro 700 ml ( bottle)
- 60 ml rum – 1,11 euro
- 100 ml Fever-tree tonic 69 euro cents (1,39 euro 200 ml bottle)
- total cost cocktail: 2, 38 euro ($2,81)
- No tips (20%) and No employee wages
- 15% of a drink’s price goes to paying for the drink
- 85% goes to employee wages, rent, and other operating expenses.
- Pour cost 15% = 2.38 euro
Gross margin 85% = 13.48 euro
total bar cost: 15,86 euro ($18.70)
Service charge (tip):
- Excellent service or in a swanky bar = 20%
- Average service 1,70 euro ( $2,00)
- TOTAL COST: @home = 2,38 euro ( $2, 80)
- TOTAL COST: @good bar = 19 euro ($22,44)
- = cocktail + 20% service charge
- You can make 6,7 cocktails at home for the
- …price of 1 in a bar!
- OMG !!
Don’t forget…you pay for the view as well! (Park Hayatt Tokyo Bar)
- Author: S. Veil
- Title: Une Vie
- Published: 2007
- Language: French
- Trivia: #20BooksOfSummer Challenge
- Trivia: French Reading Challenge
- The biography of Simone Veil is impressive.
- She survived the Holocaust and rose to the high echelons of
- French judiciary, minister of health in French government,
- President of European Parliament and member of l’Academie française.
- In the book Veil mentions many key French political players in the past:
- Pompidou, Sarkozy, Giscard, Mitterrand, Chirac and Raymond Barre.
- Strong point: Simone Veil tells us about her family, childhood in Nice.
- Her deportation to concentration camps lingers as the most poignant part of the book.
- Veil recalls a Polish Kapo (female guard) saved her life by helping Simone
- and her mother and sister to stay alive.
- This woman who has been a mystery all of Veil’s life told her:
- «Tu es trop belle pour mourir ici…»
- You are to beautiful to die here.
- Simone Veil dedicated the book to her family…
- Yvonne, her mother, died in Bergen-Belsen
- Her father André Jacob and her brother Jean, assassinated in Lithuania.
- I knew nothing about Simone Veil
- …but my first words after finishing the book were;
- “What a woman.”
- The first and last part of the book (childhood, deportation – retirement)
- were the best sections of the book.
- The political references (middle section) will speak to people
- …who have more ‘inside information’…about France’s past governments.
- If I compare this book to Ravensbrück by Germaine Tillion….I would
- have to give Tillion the better marks for writing.
- Un Vie bothered me a little bit….
- Un Vie is sober.
- Veil writes free from exaggeration or speculation.
- She he told us the sober truth…yet plein de tristesse.
- If you want to really experience what life was like for a women
- ….in Hitler’s WW II concentration camps….read Tillion’s book
- Ravensbrück ….plein de vie, plein d’élan, plein de resistance.
- It will haunt you….as it does me.
State funeral for Simone Veil July 2017:
- Ever since I read Les petits chevaux de Tarquinia
- …by Margariet Duras….I’ve have had a bottle of Campari in the house.
- But I don’t know what to do with Campari!
- Duras used the aperitif as a motif in her book.
- Bitter Campari
- The pervasive consumption of alcohol throughout the story
- …Campari is mentioned 50 times…
- sharpens the feeling of boredom, emptiness during the vacation.
- As the character Diana says: “C’est la magique!” (pg 48)
- I finally found a cocktail that I can enjoy this summer with Duras!
- It’s served with a green olive, which is a surprisingly
- delicious partner for the tangy, slightly bitter cocktail.
UPDATE: 28 July 2017
- I increased the Prosecco to 120 ml
- …and did not bother with the club soda!
- This is a delicious summer cocktail!
- 60 ml Prosecco or other sparkling wine
- 30 ml club soda
- 60 ml Campari
- garnish: 1 large green olive, or 3 small olives
- Author: M Duras
- Title: Les petits chevaux de Tarquinia
- Published: 1953
- Language: French
1. Explain the title. In what way is it suitable to the story?
The group wants to visit Les Petits Chevaux de Tarquinia (pg 160 and 166, 217). Some members in the group must decide to ‘stay together’ or refuse to join the trip.
2. What is the predominant element in the story?
Setting: Oppressive heat, no wind, sun burning like a furnace influences the character’s mood.
There is no rain to quench this parched earth. The only escape is the sea.
There is a forest fire creeping slowly towards the village, a river that marks the dividing line for Sara (main character) between staying in a loveless marriage or crossing over to the other side and a new life.
3. Who is the single main character about. whom the story centres?
Sara is the main character.
4. What sort of conflict confronts the leading character or characters?
a. External – Sara is trying to overcome a personal crisis in her marriage.
b. Internal – Sara must choose: love with it’s ups and downs or the thrill of desire.
5. How is the conflict resolved?
Sara has difficulty saying what she thinks about her marriage. Finally she has reached a point of no return. Sara and Jacques decide to let each other be ‘free’. If Sara returns to him…then he knows it was her choice.
6. How does the author handle characterisation?
a. Description – all the characters are nameless except for the members in the group. This is done to intensify the reader’s focus on these individuals.
Finally we know name ‘homme’ (Jean, pg 112, 172, 173) and nanny (Jeanne, pg 116) but Duras does not use the names in the rest of the story.
b. Conversation – personalities emerge during the conversation among SJGL.
Half way through the book Sara decides to say the truth for a change to her husband after being seduced by ‘homme’: I feel like cheating (have an affair)….like you do!
Could this be the point of no return for Sara? (pg 114)
7. Who tells the story? What point of view is used?
a. Third person narrator
8. Where does the primary action take place?
Characters have been in the isolated Italian vacation village for two weeks when the book starts. They are lethargic, bored, and desperate for a cool breeze while spinning ice cubes in their drinks.
9. What is the season? time of day?
Torrid heat, sun burning like a furnace, summer vacation in isolated Italian village.
10. How much time does the story cover? timeline?
11. How does the story get started? What is the initial incident?
Sara and Jacques are waiting for their friends to arrive Gina and Ludi.
They always vacation with them.
12. Briefly describe the rising action of the story.
Slowly cracks are showing in this ‘group friendship.’ (pg 97) The tension increases when a mystery man (homme) arrives in the village. He has his eye on Sara. She is swept away by the idea of being a object of desire.
13. What is the high point, or climax, of the story?
After 3 days of seduction ‘homme’ waits for Sara to meet him for their night of love.
14. Discuss the falling action or close of the story.
I’d rather not reveal any information about this because it would spoil the story.
15. Does this story create any special mood?
Boredom of the characters drips off the pages….still I feel a ominous tension.
Friendship (in group) can be just as complicated as love (between partners).
16. Is this story realistic or true to life?
Love: Sara’s situation is universal: by getting what she most desires (the thrill of being object of desire for ‘homme’) she loses more than she gets.
Desire is for the moment, love is for a lifetime.
Friendship: Jacques describes their group think:
We are all fools, but we are endowed with the same stupidity, that’s why we get along well with each other. (pg 77)
17. Are the events presented in flashback or in chronological order? (structure)
The book is divided into four parts representing four chronological days.
There was one strange flashback about the death of Sara’s brother. When he died so did her childhood (pg 54). It never connected to any part of the story. Very strange.
19. What is the general theme of the story?
Allow yourself the possibility of failure (Sara decision to yield to her desire or not).
Only then do you increase your chances of success (keeping her marriage together).
20. Did you identify with any of the characters?
‘l’homme’: I didn’t really have much interest in bored women on vacation (Sara, Diana and Gina).
I did feel an intense interest for ‘homme’. He was 30 yr., nameless throughout the book, no face, no features. But he was a constant threat. Duras used this ‘suspense’ to keep the reader enthralled. Who is he? What is he planning to do?
24. Does the story contain a single effect or impression for the reader?
The main character asks what is love?
“Love is an predetermined misfortune, you can’t escape it.” (pg 72)
25. Name one major personality trait of each leading character.
Sara does not say what she thinks. She conceals her feelings.
26. Does the story have a message? what was the purpose of the author ?
The effect of group membership on individual behavior.
At times it can feel oppressing (just like the hear), yet it can be the support you need at difficult times in your life.
27. Does this story contain any of the following elements?
a. Symbolism: The river: When Sara is kissed for the first time by ‘homme’ she sees the reflection on the river in his eyes. The river represents the freedom Sara can have (leave a loveless marriage) if she only dares to let go and flow with the river.
b. Motif: Bitter Campari. The pervasive consumption of alcohol throughout the story (mentioned 50 x) sharpens the feeling of boredom, emptiness during the vacation. As Diana says:
“C’est la magique!” (pg 48)
c. Irony: Sara refuses an invitation for a boat ride, she wants to consult with the group. (pg 29). Ironically on pg 76 she says ‘l’homme’ should think and do what he wants! This is an important element in the story group vs individual.
There is NO action…only and exchange of thoughts, feelings, desires and fears.
Yet I read every page.
Duras describes the monotonous vacation days of 4 middle age adults.
Each part has these basic scenes: vacation bungalow, swim at the beach, drinks at the hotel and back to the bungalow.
Strong point: the tension Duras created around ‘mystery man, Sara’s eagerness to go on his boat (even though she cannot swim) and her four year old child (mystery man takes a strong interest in the young boy).
Weak point: subplot about an elderly couple who refuse to sign son’s death certificate. This part of the story felt out of place with the rest of the languid mood.