Spread Some Joy

I am a devout devourer of jam, marmalade, jellies, confiture, and all other kind of preserves. First, because they all taste so very good, second you can eat them on/with almost everything, orange marmalade especially. Lately, I tried it on French pâté which looks like German leberwurst but is in fact some fine pâté, some ducks died for it, which always makes me sad as I love ducks, but every once in a while somebody brings duck confit or pâté de canard in order to amuse my taste buds and instead makes me mourn and cry out loud for the poor creatures. But since I don’t want them to have died in vain, I spread the pâté on baguette or German bread and always eat it up, every last bit of it—call me a hypocrite. Anyway, whatever concerns you might have, you should forget all about them and try some pâté with some (or even lots of) fine orange marmalade, it’s just too yummy. I understand, they make pâté from less lovely creatures, too…

Messy Mystic Pizza

What was that film called again? The one with Julia Roberts and all these pizzas? Mystic Pizza? It was Mystic, wasn’t it? Not Messy Pizza? Well, the one I ordered today was both in a way, mystic and messy. Messy, because it made me think of some sort of midcentury action painting, as if Willem de Kooning was responsible for the topping, heavy white brushstrokes of buffalo mozzarella, counteracted by frantic splashes of basil. Mystic, because the blend of aromas was quite intriguing, it tasted quite unexpectedly vegetarian despite all the salami, actually, it didn’t taste like pizza at all. I’ve been trying to come up with a description of what it tasted like since noon, but I failed… Messy and mystic, that’s all I could come up with.

Julia, Meryl and I make Boeuf Bourguignon.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Julia Child, that marvelous home cooking enthousiast, taught us how to cook bœuf bourguignon, and all the other great French recipes, Meryl Streep did some sort of re-editing in 2009 with Julie & Julia, and although I had known about bœuf bourguignon before, I must admit that both Julia Child and Meryl Streep are to blame for my constant trying of making the perfect (let’s shorten it) b.b. ever since I first saw the picture. This Easter Sunday, however, when making b.b. at my parents’ place, I was left to my very own devices, meaning I had neither a cook book nor a DVD at hand, and so I had to put all my beef in one basket, and to rely on my not too trustworthy memory. Well, I could have done better, my b.b. was certainly not a price winning dish, but it wasn’t too bad, either—as a matter of fact, there were no leftovers…

Good Friday’s Good Fish

Actually, we had planned to have dorados for dinner on this Good Friday, but then all of a sudden our gardener came over, telling us he knew somebody who knew somebody who knew some trouts and as he knew we loved fish, he didn’t tell none of all these somebodies that he doesn’t like fish at all, not even on Good Friday, and brought us his share of the trouts that used to know somebody who knows somebody who knows our gardener. It was all very mysterious, but as one isn’t supposed to look a gift fish in the mouth, we took a rain check on our dorados. A rain check, we did not regret at all: Boy, these trouts were ever so good!

The Snack Who Came In From The Cold

I ran out of chips and anything crunchy to snack while watching TV, supermarkets were already closed, so I had to come up with something else. What’s crunchy, I asked myself, what’s crunchy and salty and yummy? Nuts! Roasted almonds! Stupid idea though, as I had none at home. So, I asked myself, what’s crunchy and salty and yummy and available? I opened the fridge so that a bottle of beer could give me a leg up, when a cucumber caught my eye. Well, you’re crunchy, but you’re not salty at all, and, quite frankly, not that yummy either. But then I got inspired by divine intervention, or the Irish flag, who knows, and put together trout caviar, cream cheese, and sliced cucumber! Very crunchy, very salty, and, most importantly, very yummy. Now, what’s on TV? Jeanne Moreau? Great!

A Greek God’s Breakfast

Actually, it’s a very common dessert in most Greek restaurants, but lately I found out that for somebody into Swiss müeslis it’s also very nice a dish when served for breakfast. Yoghurt, nuts and honey—what more could you ask for to stay slim and fit? I’m pretty sure all these nutrients on a daily basis is what turned Greek people into gods and goddesses. As for my version, it’s a politically most absurd blend of origins: the yoghurt’s Greek, the walnuts are from California, and the chestnut honey is produce of Turkish bees. The country who first came up with democracy blended with two others that have been mocking it ever since their current leaders came into power. But I was talking health benefits, not politics…

Blueberry Blues

In the summer of 1999, I remember the date vividly, it was the year I was having the best lunchbreaks ever with my colleague and friend Andrea, our agency was wildly overstaffed, so from Monday to Friday, we had lavish, long extended luncheons all over town, our lunch budget was always overdrawn by Tuesday, but we didn’t care at all, anyway, it was also the summer, blueberry producers from all over the world published the result of some health research, claiming the blue colouring of blueberries was extremely healthy a stuff. Something in the chemical composition seemed to protect you from all sorts of diseases, conveying the impression blueberries made you live happily for hundreds of years. I was immediately sold. So, for the last twenty years I’ve been eating lots and lots of blueberries, muffins mostly, but also lots and lots of blueberry müeslis, and haven’t aged at all (so my doctor tells me). I added some raspberries for colour, though…

Save The Rich and Sugar!

Sugar is the most opposed achievement in modern society, when you admit putting sugar in your coffee, you’re as politically suspect as if you opposed putting taxes on the rich. So, unless you’re already wearing a t-shirt that says Save the Rich, don’t ever quit sugar! You might lose what life’s all about, where there’s nothing sweet to experience, there’s only bitterness to endure, so believe you me, you don’t want to live without any contrasts, you need them just as much as the day needs the night, and the week its weekend, and whatever they tell you about the danger of sugar or carbohydrates altogether, slow or fast, think of what you’d have to give up once you’ve renounced sugar: the rigid bitterness of orange marmalade, mine is imported from a weekly market in Versailles and amère as hell, needs some sweetness to soothe your tastebuds, otherwise you end up with a twisted tongue. And if this necessity doesn’t convince you, just think of that: citrus fruit and sugar cane have the same origin, God—and you don’t want to contradict God, do you?

When Strawberry met Cheesecake

Since the beginning of time, we’ve met with many a famous couple: Adam and Eve, Caesar and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Harry and Sally, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Yves Saint Laurent and Victoire Doutreleau, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, James Bond and an endless row of girls, Miss Marple and Mr Stringer, Tintin and Captain Haddock, but the most successful couple to me is a strawberry and the cheesecake she’s just been introduced to. Admittedly, their love affair won’t last long, a fork will be their hangman, my stomach their grave, but neither did Romeo and Juliet’s, and so I will continue to help any strawberry meet the love of her life, my cheesecake. Short live the happy couple!

I Am Pasta

Pasta e basta! To me, a much more fitting maxim to act on than Louis XIV’s l’état, c’est moi, maybe because I don’t have a state to call my own and reign in as I please, but mainly because I love to eat, and if I ever were to become the King of France, they probably would call me Le Roi Cuisine instead of Le Roi Soleil. Anyway, pasta is the best there is. If a pasta dish is properly done, you cannot top it, not with the best recipes in the world. Fine pasta, no matter how easily it is to prepare, puts any cook to shame, no matter how highly decorated. Tonight, I put them all to bitter shame with penne rigate, black olives, tomatoes, anchovis (grinded in a mortar to make it almost dissolve in the sauce), olive oil, chillies, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and some sauteed prosciutto crudo. Yum! The state of pasta, c’est moi!