Saturday, August 1, 2015

Paris in July - Poached Pears

Paris in July has officially ended - however, I've been so busy reading the amazing posts from all the Paris in July participants, I haven't posted my own Paris in July posts. So I've decided I'll just post these over the next week or so... [and the official Paris in July summary post will come soon too].

This is a brief post, because I didn’t get a lot of photo’s – but earlier in July I was invited to a friend’s place for a French Dinner. My friend and I have been attending the same French class for a few years now, and we wanted to celebrate Quatorze Julliet in a simple way this year, as she was heading off for holidays the next day. 

In simple and elegant style, the menu included
  • Special French Cheeses – a Goats Cheese like a Brie, a classic Blue, and a French hard cheese with cows milk (cant remember the name)....
  • Beef Bourgogne with seasonal herbed vegetables and steamed rice
  • Beautifully poached pears and guava, done in a caramelised red wine
  • All served with a light pinot noir, biodynamic
I thought I'd share two recipes for poached pears (because I just love this simple low fat dessert option) – one from Aussie Chef Maggie Beer, re known for her love of fresh from the garden produce, and the other from American born bus France Based Chef, David Lebovitz, because I’m reading him now.

·         1 quart water (1 l)
·         1 1/3 cup Sugar
·         4 Bosc Pears peeled, cored and quartered

Additions could include: one cinnamon stick, 2 teaspoons whole cloves, black peppercorns or allspice berries, one lemon half, one spilt vanilla bean, 2-3 star anise, 6-8 fresh ginger slices.

Check the recipe out here

Pears Poached in Sparkling Ruby Cabernet, by Maggie Bear, 
4 medium pears
400ml Sparkling Ruby Cabernet
2 tbsp caster sugar
1/3 cup crème fraîche
3 tbsp roasted pistachio nuts crushed

Peel the pears and set aside.

Place the Sparkling Ruby Cabernet and sugar into a small pot, which is just big enough for the pears to fit in snugly.
Place over a high heat and bring to the boil, then add he pears and reduce the heat to a gently simmer. Place a lid on the pot and allow to poach for 30 to 40 minutes or until the pears have cooked through and have taken on good colour.
Remove the pears from the pot and set aside. Turn the heat up and reduce the Sparkling Ruby Cabernet to approximately ¼ cup, which will create a beautiful red syrup.
Pour the syrup over the pears and allow to sit and come to room temperature.
Sprinkle with the pistachio and serve with the Crème Fraiche on the side.

I love poached pears, the flavour of Cinnamon and cloves, and a dollop of double king island cream. Followed by a sweet spicy dessert wine.

If you have a favourite Poached Pear recipe, let me know - I'm up for trying some new ones.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Paris in July - the final week - Link in here

Je ne peux pas crois qu'il est presque termine! I just cant believe July is passing so fast - just when we're having so much fun here. So, we need to make the most of what is left. Link you Paris in July posts here at this Mr Linky. Visit other bloggers posts, share idea's, start discussions, pose new conversations...

For those who are interested in a little extra focus - I propose a little gift for someone. I asked Patti Miller in the interview I posted last week, "What’s your earliest memory of being captured by Paris". Now I ask you - what's your earliest memory of being captured by Paris?" Link your I love Paris Post here too.. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Paris in July - Week 3 Wrap up

I have been preparing this post all day, but you have continued to post new reviews and stories - it's so hard to keep up with it all. I spend so much time reading so many posts, I've been challenged to get my own Paris in July reading done. It's been a real joy to do this job, reviewing posts... I'm learning so much and really loving the variety. 

This week in Paris in July, we've had more great book reviews, but we've also got a few film reviews, and more memories and experiences as well. Enjoy the summary. 
Book Reviews

  • Louise (a strong belief in wicker) - a Paris wedding – how to arrange a wedding in Paris.
  • Deb Nance (A Readerbuzz) posted about  ‘a little Paris bookshop’, ‘between meals: an appetite for Paris’, and ‘Paris by pastry’
  • Jeanie (The Marmalade Gypsy) about some Paris related books – Paris (the Novel), "Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman, Paris, Paris: Journey Into the City of Light, "Death in the City of Light" by David King, and A Town Like Paris" by Bryce Corbett (although  not a favourite).
  • Sharon (Faith hope and cherrytea) shared Le Divin Berger (psaumes 23) in French – also reading A Sweet Life in Paris (David Lebovitz) and the Family Guide to France (eyewitness travel)
  • Mae’s Food Blog – characters of French cooking – Simca and Julia Child, and a review of My Life in France, and Simca’s Cuisine, and Simca’s Tomato Tartlet Filling.
  • JoAnne (lakeside musing) reviewed a graphic novel – In search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way – Marcel Proust.
  • Christine  (the book trunk)-  Elizabeth Bowen’s ‘The House in Paris’
  • Louise (a strong belief in Wicker) posted on My secret guide to Paris (purchase because the cover had an Eiffel tower on it), she also envies a collection of tour de france books – a collection yet to read but look great.
  • Lisbeth  (the content reader) reviewed Marie Antoinette – the Journey by Antonia Fraser
  • Mel U (The Reading Life) posted another great book review about ‘The end of Evil ways’ by Honore de Balzac – inside the Paris Justice System in 1830, Mel continued to review others like David Golder – by Irene Nemirovsky – a story of Jewish white Russians and also Mademoiselle Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History by Rhonda K Garelick , The Ball by Irene Nemirovsky, and the Necklace by Guy de Maupassant.
  • Arabella (The genteel arsenal) The age of desire by Jennie Fields , and also commented on ‘thirty six views of the Eiffel Tower’ and art book.
  • A bookish way of life – the presidents hat by Antoine Laurain (author of a Red Notebook)
  • A novel world - Provence 1970 – sounds like a book full of big characters..

Film Reviews 
  • Audrey (Books as food) posted on Les femmes du 6e étage
  • Monica’s Bookish Life) – three film reviews to consider - Romantics Anonymous, Les Beaux Jours, Little While Lies.
  • Art (Ripple Effects)  Movie version – Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
  • A novel world - Populaire, by Regis Roinsard

Memories, Experiences & History

  • Arabella (the genteel arsenal) -  Had an unexpected discovery visiting Queensland art gallery - Paris, Japonisme and Henri Riviere –and the French artist.
  • Book reviews at Goodreads – Hotel du Lac and a year in Provence
  • Paulita – Review of The Red Notebook (Antoine Laurain)
  • Laura - Fun with This and That – Travel post – the Lavender Festival at mt Hood
  • Chocolate & Croissants posted some personal stories – Les ciens et les chats,  and Writing the French Way ( writing on blackboards)
  • Teddyree shared a post titled ‘a book lovers paradise’ – Sharespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris, and the story of Babar.
  • Deb Nance – a Readerbuzz – memories of Paris – Repas Preferes in French
  • A novel world – made a trip to enjoy the French Bastille day in Santa Barbara
  • Louise  (a strong belief in wicker) shared memories of the air swing at the Fetes des Tuileries – favourite things to do in Paris.
Also, I featured this week an interview with Patti Miller, author of Ransacking Paris. This was a highlight of my Paris in July - it was such a privilege for us that Patti would join us. Please drop by the post and leave a comment - this would mean so much to me - and for Patti who gave up her time for us. 

Mel U has posted a discussion started which I have posted here at Thyme for Tea - join in by telling us your thoughts significant cultural characters in 20th C Paris..

I'll post the Mr Linky tomorrow, because it's now quite late and I really want to go and watch La Course - the women's cycling race in Paris tonight - on the last night of the Tour de France. Also tomorrow, I'm going to post a  new challenge for a little prize - watch this space!  As we move into our final week of Paris in July - I wait with anticipation for what you've got planned for the rest of the month.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Paris in July - a discussion starter

Tonight's stage of Le Tour de France includes this Alpe!
In 2011, my partner and I went to France to watch and ride parts of Le Tour de France. Tonight's race up Alpe d'Huez is a special one for me. This particular stage of the race reminds me just how strong and capable I am - 4 years ago I rode up Alpe d'Huez. Maybe not as fast as the pro's will tonight, but I did it.

Tonight I will be celebrating my love of France by staying up (its on in the middle of the night here) to watch the race, the commentary, the scenery, the crowds - but more importantly - remember the day I stood on the side of this mountain cheering on the Aussies - and specifically Cadel. Tonight, I doubt there will be an Aussie in the top guns, they haven't had a good year, but it will be a great race anyway.

Now back to Paris in July and a discussion starter posed by Mel U from a Reading Life. Mel asked

I was wondering, who do Paris in July participants feel are the three to five most culturally important Parisians of the 20th century?

My pics are Coco Chanel (post coming on The Reading Life), Sarte, and Prous
So post your thoughts in the comments below. Lets see what similarities or differences we find...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Interview with Patti Miller - Author of Ransacking Paris

 Patti Miller - Aussie Author & Memoirist

I was delighted to receive Patti's email agreeing to be interviewed for Paris in July this year, especially after I just devoured her latest book - Ransacking Paris. I chose her book as my first Paris in July dedicated read because she is an Aussie Author, and the main storyline is about living a year in Paris - every one's dream, right? 

Before we get into the questions, I thought I'd share some of my favourite quotes.
Bees ransack flowers here and flowers there, but then they make a honey which is entirely theirs; it is no longer thyme nor marjoram honey [Michel de Montaigne]. I ransacked all year; I'm not sure if I was the hard working bee or the bee keeper who simply bided her time until the honey was ready.
I don't remember bees as being significant at the time. I can see they come from Montaigne and his metaphorical bees making honey which is entirely theirs... but I don't know why they are multiplying...
Near the end of my childhood the muttering white rabbit and the raging Queen of Hearts still frightened me, but I wanted to be Alice nonetheless. To grow tall, or small, to fit through looking-glasses and tiny doors and rabbit holes into other worlds; how lucky she was. 
I quite enjoyed the theme of the bees ransacking Paris because I remember stumbling across the bee hives in le Jardins du Luxemburg and spending some time considering Bees living in Paris. 
Students enjoying coffee in Paris

Interview with Patti

1.       It’s clear to any reader of ‘Ransacking Paris’ that you love Paris, and that you’ve loved her for a long time. What’s your earliest memory of being captured by Paris? And how significant was that moment in your decision to move to Paris?  

It was a gradual layering of images rather than one specific memory, but when I was first introduced to French when I was twelve years old I was captivated by the language and by the idea of Paris. I think the black-and-white photographs by Doisneau certainly inspired my imagination. And also the Diaries of Anais Nin – she lived in Paris during the thirties – and Hemingway - so my version of Paris was rather old fashioned. All these associations shaped my decision to go and live in Paris – specifically to live in a literary and artistic Paris. For other people it might be Paris fashion or food or films, for me, it’s always been books.
 2.       In your book you introduce us to some classic French authors/memoirists – Montaigne, Madame de Sévigné, and Simone de Beauvoir, who are some of your modern day French literary heroes?

Annie Ernaux, who is introduced in Ransacking Paris, is a contemporary writer whom I admire. She uses the material of her own life as her subject, her working-class provincial background and her marriage and other relationships. I also enjoy the Nobel-prize winning novelist, Patrick Modiano, who writes stories where the characters’ identities are shifting and uncertain. I love the way his characters map the streets of Paris as they traverses the city. And I find Michel Houllebecq interesting, if a little startling...  he often writes about sex and a certain kind of disintegration that comes from our ‘atomised’ society.

3.       These days I understand you facilitate writing workshops and training for memoirists – what did you learn (about yourself or about writing) during your time in Paris that helps you teach others about writing?

 I’ve been giving memoir-writing workshops around Australia since 1991 and in Paris for the last ten years– I teach from my own experience as a writer – and as a reader too, of course. That is an ongoing experience, I learn more with every book I write, but specifically in Paris I learned how we are all made of many influences, not just family and the place we grew up, but other cultures and new experiences. Being open to change is important as a writer, otherwise we do not develop.

In Paris I realized that it was very fruitful to put oneself outside of one’s ordinary life by living in another country for a while because it gives fresh insight and awareness.  I recommend to everyone who wants to write that they regularly take time out to immerse themselves in their writing – and why not do that in Paris?

4.       During your book you describe beautifully where you take your guests when they visit Paris. If you were to host a small group of ‘Paris in July’ fans in Paris this July, where would you take them?

 In July, Paris is very crowded with tourists at all the major sites so I would take the group to places that tourists don’t go to such as the fascinating streets of Belleville in the 20th arrondissement, and the peaceful Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and lesser visited museums such as the Musée Cluny (medieval) and the Carnavalet (history of Paris). I would also take them early in the morning (before the busloads arrived) to St Chapelle, built in 1246, and then leap nearly a thousand years to La Defense, a 21st century quartier so that they could experience a little of the history of Paris firsthand. And I would take them bike-riding on the free Velib bikes along the Seine and up the canals and we’d have a class of wine in the shade.

5.       Do you have any thoughts for Paris in July fans about how to bring ‘Paris’ into your life when you’re not in Paris?

I read books by French writers and books about Paris and France  – both historical and modern. I watch French films – SBS On demand has an excellent selection that keeps me in Paris, or at least in France, for months at a time. I also listen to the French news online every day (France 2) so I’m up-to-date with French events and it keeps my ear tuned to the language. I go to my local French Café, France Douce in Darlinghurst Road in Kings Cross. And I have a baguette - with French cheese - for lunch most days!

Opportunity to join Patti in Paris
Patti facilitates a 17 day memoir writing experience in Paris. in 2016 she will be leading a Spring Memoir course with BookShop Travel. A Writing course that can change your life. Live the writer’s life in Paris. If you want to find out more about the Memoir writing course in Paris check out Bookshop Travel or Australian Writers Centre or drop me a line. 

I want to say a HUGE thank you to Patti for sharing with us for Paris in July, and I encourage all lovers of Paris, Parisian Authors and travel, to find your own copy of Ransacking Paris - I'm sure you'll devour it also.
 Many photo's in this post were supplied by Patti herself from her travels.
This post was my contribution to 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Paris in July - Week 3 Links

Welcome to week 3 of 2015's Paris in July. This is the 6th year I've been involved in hosting this event, and every year we experience a virtual journey through Paris via book reviews, films, memories and photo's, theatre, history, music reviews, recipes and food reviews, and many other experiences of all things French and Parisian.

Each week, I post the weekly Mr Linky - so you can leave us a link to what you're posting.... then each week I also try and post a summary post of everything happening during the event. If you haven't signed is as a participant - please do so here.. Then post your links here...

Paris in July - Second Summary of Posts

What a fantastic collection of posts we've seen this week for Paris in July. Thank you to all our wonderful contributors. I'm sorry I couldn't have done a more thorough review this week - but I'm traveling for work at the moment and it's difficult to keep up with this huge amount of Paris in July acitivity. However, I have had a chance to visit most of the blogs and have been inspired, challenged, reminded, informed and motivated by all of the posts linked in this week.
We've been treated to a wide variety of different book reviews, posts about Bastille Day/Quatorze Julliet, things that remind us of Paris, and dinners and receipes...

Book reviews:

Paulita  reviewed ‘Paris – he said’. 

Mel U read
  • "Baum, Gabriel, 1935" by Mavis Gilbert - A wonderful set in Paris short story
  • "Two Friends" by Guy de Maupassant- Paris in July # 6. Requires reading de Maupassant!
  • "Mildred Larson" by George Moore- What Paris Meant to the Irish
  •  "The Parisian Stage" by Henry James - an illuminating essay
  • "The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls" by Marcel Aymé- a new to me writer I will return to
  •  Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris, 1932 by Francine Prose - interesting 
  • Shocking Paris Soutine, Chagall and the Outlaw Art of Montaparrne by Stanley Meisler – a well done account of Yiddish emigre artists in Paris 
  • Short Stories about Cats by Three Classic French authors
  • And  Suite Francaise by Iréne Némirovsky 
Nadia (Bookish way of life) – the presidents hat (the original book of the author of the red notebook).

Lisbeth  (content reader)  – the book of salt – Vietnamese chef to G stein

Guiltless Reading –The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King: New York Times bestselling 
 author Laurie R. King and has posted short reviews on
Molly  (my cozy book nook)  - installing a love of Paris in the next generation through books like the Madeline Series, Madame Marine by Sarah Brannen and other recommendations like Happy Birthday Madamme Chapeau, Julie, child..., Bon Appetit: the delicious life of Julia Child, A Lion in Paris, and Lately Lily: the adventures of a travelling girl. (I'll post soon on the Armadilo in Paris too).

JoAnne (Lakeside Musing) posted on Bonjour Tristesse and she reports ‘A near perfect summer read, it's hard to believe the author was only eighteen years old when she wrote this novella in 1954’.

Monicas bookish life – Indiana by George Sand

Teddyree  (Eclectic Reader)– Audio book review – The Little Paris Bookshop – Nina George – main character calls himself a literary apothecary.

Arabella (the genteel arsenal) –The moon and the sixpence by Somerset Maughan –

Esme  (Chocolate and Croissants) – Paris I love you but you’re bringing  me down.

History, Travel and other fascinating posts on Paris...

Louise (a strong belief in Wicker)
  • Paris for Tourists – take a bus and the bus APP
  • L'Hôtel-Dieu de Paris
Mae (Mae’s food blog) -  G Stein and Alice B. Toklas

Sim Carter– Storming the Bastille – summer of 1989 – the 200th anniversary – memories and photo's

Esme  (chocolate and croissants) posted on the little things that remind her of Paris.

Jeanie (A marmalade gypsy)– the colours of Paris – gorgeous photos of beautiful things from Paris.

Lisbeth ( content reader) posted about her French dinner party with photo's and menu ideas.

Ally  (snow feathers) – a recipe for ‘pain perdu’ with cherry and basil compote from Rachel Khoo’s Book.

Christine Harding (the book trunk) – French Connections – a veritable melange of topics – from French bingo, colouring books of Paris, wonderful colouring book: Tomislav Tomic’s A Walk Through Paris, DVD Edith Piaf, Emile Zola’s The Fat and Thin,, he House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen and more.... Links to other French blogging memes..

Week 3 Mr Linky is coming very soon.... So stay tuned for links to the amazing collection of posts from more Paris in July...