Posts Tagged ‘parisf’

Galette de Rois Returns

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

While often I slap my head and roll my eyes at French processes, procedures and general uselessness, every now and then I really appreciate the French way of doing things. One thing that they do exceptionally well is eat, drink and celebrate as much as possible. Any excuse will do, and they don’t just crack open a few beers and get drunk, they will often invent an entire meal, tradition or delicious layered cake that everyone embraces and enjoys.

The 6 January is Epiphany which apparently celebrates when everyone realised Jesus was God’s son and therefore had a big feast. The French love a good Christian holiday, and celebrate with the Galette de Rois – an amazing puff-pastry round cake filled with frangipane (almond butter.) Every bakery throughout France produces a galette and inside each one is a ‘treasure’ to be found by one of the people eating it. I believe I wrote about this event last year when Ben was still in Paris and we ate two on one day. This year I summoned my friend Jen as my fellow galette consumer. We were to have the galette the day after Epiphany, eat a light soup dinner and then gorge ourselves on butter, sugar, butter, butter and almonds. And more butter.

I purchased the galette from one of Paris’s most prized bakeries and the place considered to sell the best galette in France – Du Pain et Des Idées.

Such a pretty place to buy such a delicious dessert

Such a pretty place to buy such a delicious dessert

It is a gorgeous bakery, not far from my apartment, that sells amazing bread and viennoiseries and is very well known for their pastry. The galettes came in various sizes – I chose le petit which was bigger than my head and really designed for at least four people. At 19 Euros it wasn’t cheap and I hoped it would be worth the money.

So beautiful.

So beautiful.

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH how it was so worth the money. I would go back and spend every last cent I own on these disks of buttery pleasure. Crisp, flaky pastry with the best frangipane filling I have ever tasted. Some frangipane loses its almond quality while in this beast you could still see glints of the almond skins.

By dividing it into eight, it felt like we weren't eating as much!

By dividing it into eight, it felt like we weren’t eating as much!

Jen divided it into eight portions and then, as the youngest guest, I chose who received each portion. I clearly got it wrong as Jen was the winner, discovering a ceramic crocodile inside one of her pieces. La Rein de Galette. And so we ate four pieces of galette each and felt remarkably ok at the end of it. I can feel butter oozing through my pores today and clogging every artery in my body, but if I die from butter-overload I don’t care. It was worth it.

40 Day Challenge

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Lots of changes have been happening recently and I am taking the opportunity to expand my skill set, take up some new challenges and experiment, experiment, experiment. I have become aware that I have put a bit of a self-inflicted roadblock on some of my inner creativity and I think it is time to let it out. Watch out world!

As a result, I am taking up a challenge – to create 40 different ‘pieces’ over a 40 day period. It can be anything – painting, drawing, knitting, découpage (because who doesn’t love découpage?), stencilling, baking etc. Yes, I’m including baking because it is a delicious form of creativity.

Yesterday was Day One of the challenge and to be honest, my creativity levels were not particularly high. I was more inclined to go outside and visit an art gallery (I went and saw an Art Spiegelman exhibition at the Pompidou Centre library) but I was determined to make something. The search was on for inspiration. Come on, Paris!

It was the weather man who eventually delivered – his insistence on producing grey, rainy weather day after day after day for the past two weeks has certainly been the topic of conversation and was now my inspiration.

Cloud

It is kind of a strange looking cloud, but I'll just say it is "French"

Now Gary has a reason to feel it is too wet for ducks as he lives under a cloud. A pretty, stripy cloud, nonetheless. It is a reasonable first attempt but I am keen to add some rain drops that hang from the bottom of it. Call it a work in progress.

Very Confusing.

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

There have been many moments during my time in Paris where I have felt the need to slap myself because that is the only way I could possibly come back to earth and be able to reassess what was happening. One of those moments is right NOW. Allow me to vent.

After having received my Visa to live in Paris for another year, I returned to France and then had to send another stack of paper into the immigration department. Despite fellow Visa-Applicants telling me that I wouldn’t hear back for months, I received a letter in the mail saying they had received my pieces of paper and that they may, or may not, contact me again. Excellent.

Yesterday I was having a really great day – the sun was shining, I had started a new sewing project, everything was oh-so-lovely. I then went to my local indoor markets to buy food for dinner where I am fairly certain the vegetable shop man cursed on me by trying to hit on me while selling me carrots. After he had asked me if I lived far from here and if I lived alone, I then quickly paid and returned home. Upon my return, I checked the mail and discovered two letters – one from Orange, my useless telephone company, and the other from the immigration department. Wow.

The Immigration department appear to be working in some sort of super-speed power drive because they had already set a date for me to go and have a medical examination, hand in more pieces of paper and be interviewed, and this date is next week. WHAT ON EARTH?! Since when did any sort of bureaucratic process in France happen so quickly? Anyway, the big problem is that I will be in England on the allocated date and therefore cannot have my lungs x-rayed. So today I rode down to the Immigration office to ask whether or not I could change the date.

The office has the appearance of a shelter or squat and is an old, dirty, concrete building that clearly no one cares about. Only foreigners have to go there so why invest money in it? The security man at the door did a thorough check of my bag before asking what I was needing. When I explained that I wanted to change the date of my appointment, he said I have to wait until AFTER my appointment to make a new date. I looked at him like he had just told me the Queen of England is really a man and questioned whether or not I would get in trouble if I didn’t turn up to my appointment. No, it’s fine. Right.

Most of my brain believes that there is no way this can really be true, but there’s part of me that realises I am in France and so there is a high probability something this strange could be the case. I have spent the afternoon trying to call the office and get a second opinion but no one is answering the phone. At first I thought it was just lunch time but now I am thinking it is an exceptionally long lunch. Oh, and their website isn’t working properly so I can’t look at that either. I love France.

Bienvenue, 2012

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Apologies for my recent lack of contact. The last few weeks have been particularly busy with completing my work for the exhibition, playing tour guide for my friend, Rachel, and my brother, Ben, and now Christmas and New Years adventures in Germany and the Netherlands. I am writing this from the loft of my second cousin’s house in Gouda (yes, like the cheese except with the correct Dutch pronunciation – Gcchhhowda.) To my left is a view of apartment blocks surrounded by a Dutch morning sky – grey, foggy and wet. No snow in sight. It seems that all of Europe has been hit by some sort of strange heat wave and snow has been rare this winter. Very disappointing but somewhat expected as I am here and hot weather seems to follow me where ever I go. I have now spent two snowless winters in Europe. I need to work on this.

So today is New Year’s Eve, the day when everyone is supposed to reflect on their past year, examine what they have achieved and what they need to put on their “To Do” list for the next year. We all know I love a good reflection so let’s do it.

This year really started for me in February when I moved to Paris. It is still hard to believe that I only have one month left of my year away. If I hadn’t planned on extending my stay I would now be in a state of complete and utter panic, depression and general Oh-Woe-Is-Me. I am still very nervous about my approaching trip back to Australia and Sydney to visit the French Embassy to ask for a second visa, but at least it is going to happen. I think I can grandly announce that this year has been the best year of my life thus far but how could it not be? I have lived in an amazing city, met awesome people, visited wonderful places and eaten some of the greatest food of my life. What’s not to like?

Next year I plan to continue this current way of living while also endeavouring to put more effort into my writing and ‘stuff’. When I first made my Zaum business cards, I kept my options open by declaring Zaum was a business for “Writing and stuff”. I am still trying to find out what that stuff is and how exactly to do it but my recent sock laboratory adventures have put a few ideas into my head. I have so much I want to do and try – I just need to work out how to do it. According to my horoscope in the Dutch tv magazine, the best time of the year for me to work out what I want to do with my career is from March to June of next year. Sounds like a plan.

So this reflection has become a bit of a pathetic thing but to be honest my stomach is grumbling and I want to go and eat some breakfast. At 10am I am expecting to hear the onslaught of hundreds of fireworks being set off. In the Netherlands, it is legal to purchase fireworks for a few days leading up to New Years and then legal to set them off between 10am and 2am on New Year’s Eve/Day. It is now 9.30am and apparently the existence of sunlight doesn’t put people off. Should be a fun day.

Happy New Year to all – I hope 2012 is exciting and fulfilling for everyone. I highly recommend running away to a foreign country and eating food for an entire year. It has worked out for me rather nicely.

And a special Happy Birthday to two of my most regular readers, Heather and Brendan. I hope people remember to say happy birthday amongst the happy new years.

It Stinks

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

The particularly unpleasant smell of someone cooking French beef in butter is permeating my apartment at the moment. French beef has a lot stronger flavour and smell than Australian and it really smells when you cook it. I wish they would stop.
Meanwhile, there appears to be a concert happening in my backyard (aka. the park behind my apartment.) I’m going to go and check it out this afternoon. At the moment all we have heard are sound checks and fairly average guitar playing. Hopefully things improve or it’ll be a noisy afternoon in Paris.

Park

The sounds are coming from somewhere behind those trees