Monday, 29 September 2014

The Paris Gourmet



I knew that I would buy this book as soon as I saw it on Carol Gillot's amazing Parisbreakfasts blog last year. If Trish Deseine could teach Carol a thing or two about Paris- then I knew she could teach me too. So I bought it quickly and took my time to read it.

I can't get enough of this sort of book. Sweet Paris. The Sweet Life in Paris. A Family in ParisParis, My Sweet. They make terrific guidebooks. I even did my own Paris, My Sweet Challenge last year. But Paris is vast and always changing, there's always something new, or old, to find.

Trish Deseine is Irish, but has lived in Paris for nearly thirty years. She is a cookbook author, publishing in French and English, and restaurant reviewer. She has invaluable tips for any first time visitor or old hand alike.

Paris has always offered itself up as the perfect playground for exploring all these avenues: you can eat in opulent temples of haute cuisine; cafés littéraires, resonating with history; hearty bistros; modern, world trend-leading restaurants; or romantic bars and cafes. Indoor and outdoor markets and the best food and artisan shops in the world are endless sources of knowledge, inspiration- and ingredients, for cooking at home. 

Ten chapters offer up Trish's recommendations for her favourite restaurants, shops, markets, palace hotels, food blogs and tours. You could dine out and shop on Trish's suggestions for months without needing to double up. The restaurants that Trish recommends range from simple neighbourhood bistros to the most elegant (and expensive) of Parisian three star extravagances. There is a two page spread about how to book and make the most of your Parisian restaurant experience.

I'm yet to eat my way through
La Patisserie des Reves
One Paris-Brest coming up!

Patisseries, bakeries and chocolate shops are some of my very favourite places in Paris. A whole chapter lists many emporiums of delight, most are already my favourites too- La Patisseries des Reves, Pierre Hermé, Patrick Roger. There are many more that I haven't tried yet- Jacques Genin, really I still can't believe it- three trips to Paris and I haven't managed to visit him yet, and Du Pain et des Idées where "everything is unbelievably good" . These droughts will break on my next visit.

Even though I read Paris blogs and sites almost constantly Trish also included some bakery suggestions that were new to me- Boulangerie Secco in the 15th for their tarte au citron lined with white chocolate, and Gontran Cherrier in the 17th and 18th for squid ink baguettes and "genius rye flour flaky pastry on his galette des rois". Trish is not afraid to speak her mind - she says of one famous patissier- "his chocolates look more exquisite than they taste"- and I do agree. And I almost squealed with delight when she said that Christmas buche display starts around the end of October. Carol has been tasting these on my behalf at Parisbreakfasts for far too long.

We went to Carl Marletti last trip
sadly it was Monday,
and the shop was ferme/shut

Another item on my hit list for my next foray to Paris will be the "gooey loveliness" of the "incomparable salted caramel" crepe at Breizh Cafe in the 3rd. We'll be staying in the Marais for part of this trip and I will be very interested to see another side of Paris- I'll try to take her tips on Marché des Enfants Rouges, Popelini at 29 rue Debelleyme, or stop off for Tartines at Cuisine de Bar de Poilane, 38 rue Debelleyme.

Books on France, a great 2014 challenge
 from Emma at 
Words and Peace

Dreaming of France is a wonderful Monday meme
from Paulita aAn Accidental Blog

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Rue René Goscinny

There are so many unexpected highlights to any trip to Paris. Last year on one of my morning walks I took the Metro to the rather remote 13th in search of Rue René Goscinny.

René Goscinny is a French icon- creator of the enduringly popular Asterix, amongst other things. I wasn't sure what Rue René Goscinny would have to offer. But was suitably delighted with how he is commemorated.



At first glance, it looks like an ordinary street
on a quiet Sunday morning

But there is something special going on here

Bollards are everywhere in Paris,
and in a few areas they are decorated

Some I thought were surprisingly Anglo



 

Clearly, the Simpsons are big


Betty Boop seems more Parisian

Astro Boy?
I'm not sure who this verdant green vixen is 

Naturally this was ferme on Sunday morning
You can take a video walk down
Rue Rene Goscinny here
I can't wait to find out wait unanticipated delights await me next time.

Saturday Snapshot is a wonderful weekly meme
 now hosted by 
WestMetroMommy

Dreaming of France is a wonderful Monday meme
from Paulita aAn Accidental Blog

Friday, 26 September 2014

The Summer Book




The Summer Book is my second read from Scandinavian legend Tove Jansson. I read Comet in Moominland, the first of the Moomin books, a few years ago. I didn't love it, but enjoyed having read it. The Summer Book is not a Moomin book at all, but rather a small family story set on an island off the coast of Finland. Being a child of the 70s  who has never travelled to Finland I imagine all islands off Scandinavia to be like the magical Viggso, where Abba had a writing hut. 

A story of six year old Sophia spending her summer holiday on the island with her father and grandmother. Told in 22 "crystalline vignettes", the writing is lyrical


The sea lay glossy and listless in a shroud of heat, and over the coast towered the usual wall of deceitful clouds. The gulls barely lifted as they drove by.

It’s perhaps a little too gentle and lyrical for me. The story drifts along, with not a lot to hold your attention. There isn’t really a narrative thread. I kept thinking back to the introduction to my New York Review of Books edition:


-on the one hand you could say nothing happens, there is no plot, and on the other hand that everything in the book is driven by a single event, so fleetly mentioned as to be almost occult: “Sophia woke up and remembered that they had come back to the island and that she had a bed to herself because her mother was dead.”

I don’t know that this gentle story would have held my attention as a child, it barely did it now as an adult when I can admire the quality of the writing- which is lovely.  I didn’t like the later chapters much at all. I didn’t feel that I got to know the girl or her grandmother really. I didn’t get a particular sense of either of them. And I certainly didn’t get a feel for the father- perhaps he’s absent and grieving? But if it’s about the death of the mother then why not talk about it? At least sometimes. Not just once. 


247/1001

Thursday, 25 September 2014

27 Awesome Australian Books Every YA Fan Should Read

Buzzfeed has lots of fabulous lists. About all sorts of things, but I do like the book lists. Especially the list I'm sharing with you today. Even if I haven't read all that many of them.

1. Jasper Jones - Craig Silvey

2. On the Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta

3. Picnic at Hanging Rock - Joan Lindsay (see my review)

4. Cinnamon Rain - Emma Cameron



5. Liar - Justine Larbalestier

6. Wildlife - Fiona Wood

7. Good Oil - Laura Buzo

8. Life in Outer Space - Melissa Keil

9. Zac & Mia - A.J Betts

10. Fury - Shirley Marr

11. Tomorrow, When the War Began - John Marsden

12. Graffiti Moon - Cath Crowley (see my review)

13. Stolen  - Lucy Christopher

14. Between the Lives - Jessica Shirvington

15. Obernewtyn - Isobelle Carmody

16. Every Breath - Ellie Marney

17. Puberty Blues - Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

18. Beatle Meets Destiny - Gabrielle Williams

19. This is Shyness - Leanne Hall

20. The Messenger - Markus Zusak (see my review)

21. Girl Defective - Simmone Howell

22. Feeling Sorry for Celia - Jaclyn Moriarty



23. Sabriel - Garth Nix

24. Girl Saves Boy - Steph Bowe

25. Sea Hearts - Margo Lanagan

26. The Simple Gift - Steven Herrick (see my review)

27. Raw Blue - Kirsty Eager

7/27

Rather an abysmal result for me. It is true that I've meant to read many of those books. But sadly that doesn't count.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

I Quit Sugar for Life


I'm doing Sugar Free September this month. I wasn't planning to. Actually I hadn't even heard about it before, but then a friend suggested it on Facebook because she was doing it, and after a brief hesitation I decided to do it too. A bit of acting in haste perhaps, and there has been a little bit of repenting at leisure. But it's been an interesting experiment, I've tried lots of new things this month, and it hasn't really been that hard (most days). Although I did have to miss the Best. Lamingtons. Ever.

I planned on getting I Quit Sugar out from hiding. I read it last year, and had modified a few things, learnt lots, but not really changed all that many behaviours. For the life of me I can't find it in the house, so I bought Sarah Wilson's new title I Quit Sugar for Life. It has a very similar feel to the original I Quit Sugar- very similar layout, font and vibe- which is not a bad thing. The content is quite different, and there are 148 new sugar free recipes to try.

I Quit Sugar helped people go through Sarah's 8 week sugar detox program. It's been wildly successful, and over 250, 000 people have done the 8 week program so far (the current one started today). I Quit Sugar for Life is designed to be the next stage. It's not as prescriptive as the first book, and I think could easily act as a standalone piece. I Quit Sugar for Life offers The I Quit Sugar Wellness Codes, a series of 9 mantras to help us live a sugar free, healthy life.

Keep on Keeping Off Sugar
Eat Fat and Protein
Ditch the Diets
Maximise Your Nutrition
Have a Morning Routine
Exercise Less
Cut Snacking
Shop Differently
Cook Differently

I really like what Sarah offers with these codes. They're not just about food, they're about lifestyle too. She cares about the environment, food wastage, getting us organised and healthy. And she's not afraid to speak her mind. She's a confirmed omnivore and not at all convinced about vegan diets, but gives suggestions for many other forms of modern eating- paleo, gluten free, vegetarian. Her suggestions are very creative, perhaps too much for some people, but she encourages us to get more vegetables into our diet every day with lots of great ideas- there must be something there for everyone I think.

There are plenty of delicious sounding recipes- Carrot Cake Porridge Whip, Paleo Choc-coco Muggin, Spiced Pumpkin Granola Bars, Festive Popcorn (flavoured with raw el hangout- one of my very favourite spice blends), Fennel Tarte Tatin, Vietnamese Chicken Curry. There are many suggestions too- the one that intrigues me the most (but I haven't tried yet) is to stave off snack attacks by eating a tablespoon of coconut oil. I'm not sure that I ready for that, but will give it a go- one day when I work up the courage.

I am still not intending to do sugar free for life, being sugar free for September is perhaps enough- but it's an interesting experience that I will extend somewhat in October, and I do enjoy thinking more about the food we eat and the life we live. News today that Sarah is hard at work on her next cookbook.

Foodies Read 2014!

australianwomenwriters.com

Monday, 22 September 2014

10 Books to Read Before You Go To Paris

I do love a good book list, and a good Paris book list is always special. This list from Fodors was offered up to me on Facebook recently. As always there's some books I've read, books I've been meaning to read for ages, and books I've never heard of but would now love to read immediately. Sadly I don't think I'll be reading any of these before my next trip to Paris-it's coming up too soon!

1. The Dud Avocado - Elaine Dundy

Deserves to be read
just for the title really


2. The Sweet Life in Paris - David Lebovitz (see my review)

3. A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway

4. The Flaneur - Edmund White (see my review)

5. Paris Journal 1956 - 1964 - Janet Flanner (Genet)

6. Paris France - Gertrude Stein

7. Paris to the Moon - Adam Gopnik

I have been meaning to read this
for ever

8. My Life in France - Julia Child

9. Flowers of Evil - Charles Baudelaire

10. Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris - A.J. Liebling

Books on France, a great 2014 challenge
 from Emma at 
Words and Peace

Dreaming of France is a wonderful Monday meme
from Paulita aAn Accidental Blog

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Holes


I'm so glad to have finally read this rather extraordinary book. Holes won the Newbery Medal in 1999  and if you even casually glance at pretty much any list of kids books Holes will be somewhere up near the top- lists like the 50 Best Books for Kids or SLJs Top 100 Children's Novel List, or even What Kiwi Kids Read. Of course it is one of my 1001 books too.

It's an extremely improbable story. Teenager Stanley Yelnats is overweight and unpopular at school, after he is convicted of stealing a pair of shoes he is sent to a work camp in Texas for reform.

Stanley was not a bad kid. He was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. He'd just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

We know that Stanley is a good kid, and feel for him from the start.

It occurred to him that he couldn't remember the last time he felt happiness. It wasn't just being sent to Camp Green Lake that he made his life miserable. Before that he'd been unhappy at school, where he had no friends, and bullies like Derrick Dunne picked on him. No one liked him, and the truth was, he didn't especially like himself. 

An original, highly bizarre story, Holes is a very enjoyable read. I read it in just a few days. I like quirky books as a rule, but this is beyond quirky, it's downright odd. I would never have thought that onions, holes, yellow-spotted lizards, racial tensions past and present, smelly feet and a group of juvenile delinquents would make for a good story- but they certainly do. At least in Louis Sachar's hands. I hope to read more of his books.

246/1001