Posts Tagged ‘school’

A Visit From Big Brother

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Last week saw the arrival of my older brother, Ben, visiting his little sis before heading to England to learn how to bake at the School of Artisan Food. Despite being siblings, we tend to get along quite well and have quite a few things in common, including a desire to make things. We went on an exploratory tour of Paris’s sewing and knitting shops and discovered a few new gems that I will return to another time to either undertake courses or buy fun things like knitting needles, wool and cross stitch patterns. We also completed two courses – a macaron baking course and a knitting course. Fun fun!

The macaron course was run by La Cuisine which delivers English courses on a variety of cooking topics. The course consisted of around 10 people and was run by Jenni, the woman who also happens to bake the cakes that I eat at my favourite coffee shop, Kooka Boora. The students were split into two teams – the other group made a chocolate ganache macaron, while Ben, Tom, another student and I worked on a salted butter caramel macaron. Despite the class only going for two hours, it was very hands on and it was up to the students to make everything. Jenni provided clear explanation and assistance while the students made mixtures, piped macaron biscuits and heated sugar.

The end results were quite impressive for a first attempt and everyone left with a box full of macarons to take home. While Jenni suggested we sample a macaron in its fresh state, she also suggested we leave the rest in the fridge over night as macarons are best served a day old. She was right – by leaving them to settle the outside shell becomes crisp while the inside softens and becomes chewy.

Macaron

Salted butter caramel macaron

It was a really fun experience and I want to take some more cooking courses. Soon I might rival my brother in his culinary abilities – it will be France vs England in the battle of the baked goods.

The knitting course Ben and I took was held at Sweat Shop, a local sewing/knitting/craft zone where people go and use sewing machines and learn how to sew. We took a two hour course with a very cool, knitted-sweater-wearing Frenchman called Sebastien who in two hours had taught us how to knit, purl, and knit with two colours. Ben was a bit more advanced than me, having learnt to knit in the past few months, but I managed to progress quite quickly which Sebastien was very happy to see. He showed us some of the other beginner students’ work and they were full of holes and generally useless. Not us. We’re pros. So now I have ordered a bunch of knitting books online and am eager to start a project. I’ll need to find some decent knitting needles but I don’t really know what size to purchase. I will investigate once I have a project to work on. I might knit socks and then turn them into sock creatures. That sounds like a good use of time.

Knitting at Sweat Shop

My knitting is just beginning

If you would like to see some more photos of Paris that actually feature me and you want to see what my brother is up to, check out my brother’s Flickr site and visit his website, abitofbutter.

 

Learning Can Be Fun

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Following my last entry, I have returned home from French class feeling as if I have actually gained something from the experience. Remarkable! Today we covered the subjunctif (a verb tense that I have never learnt) and another pronoun, dont. I love learning new things! It is far more enjoyable to go to a class and to come away feeling like you have learnt something rather than not. Also, I am on double-kissing terms with a Venezuelan girl in my class who is lovely and intelligent and a few of the annoying class members appear to have left (or at least haven’t been there for the last two classes). So I may be sticking with the class for a bit longer. Tomorrow we’re covering another verb tense that I have never officially learnt – the plus-que-parfait.

I love verbs.

We’re Back!

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

You’ll be overwhelmed to hear that we are back in Paris after a few days away in the north west of France. I will write a more detailed account soon and am about to go and upload all of my 600+ photos onto my Flickr site. Tom spent three of our five days lying in bed dying from the flu (I must admit he was sick… he certainly kept (keeps) me awake at night with his coughing) which wasn’t so great but I managed to enjoy myself!

Anyway just wanted to write a quick ‘Hello!’ and to say that I had my first French lesson this morning. I have to say it was a bit disappointing and frustrating. The level of French in my class varies significantly and some people don’t seem to actually want to be there. Lots of people sat and chatted to one another (or across the classroom) and we spent five whole minutes talking about how if you change the first letter in the word ‘vite’ then the meaning changes from ‘quick’ to a very rude word for female genitalia. Sure, amusing at first, but can we move on and learn something now?

I’m hoping it gets better. I learnt a few small things but I’m not sure I am going to become fluent as a result of these classes. Pity. Maybe I’ll make some friends but everyone already seems to have their ‘group’. We shall see.

Ok, off to Flickr.