Saturday, March 24, 2012

French kisses

I always fall right back into the habit of the French bises.  It's tricky to know how many kisses to give each cheek, though.  Parisian guide par excellence, M. T, pictured above with moi at the Marché d'Aligre in Paris, preferred only 2 and let me know that up front.  Non, no action shots.  In Provence, with Mme P, it is always three.  Once again, no action shots.  Just this one taken of us fondling merchandise at the Saturday morning market in Uzès.
It is always my goal to visit as many markets as possible while I am in France.
Arles Lucy loved the kissing thing and said she could definitely get used to it.  Not all cheeks are created equally, of course, so you must take the good with the bad.  But that's pretty much life anyway, isn't it?
I just received quatre bises, yes, four kisses, from Laura Florand for my last blog post.  I am feeling the love!  She especially like my almond blossom post.  I guess she has been there, seen them, and smelled them, too.
Mme P will arrive in DC tomorrow with Mme Boop, M. PA, and their 24 charges.  One darling had to drop out because of an emergency appendectomy.  La pauvre.  I anxiously await their arrival here on Tuesday and more bises!  Since the almond trees were in bloom for me while I was there, I hope the cherry blossoms are in bloom for her.
Mme P gave me this lovely book, a Provençal calendar-agenda book, one she says is very traditional.
I love it.  I get the saint's days information from it for my students' homework sheets, I get to read about Provençal customs, and best of all, perhaps, I find new recipes. 
(I am snapping photos this morning with my iPhone.)
The most commonly used word in French, in my humble opinion, is truc.  It is the multi-purpose word for thing/stuff in English.  So, finding the "Words of wisdom and other stuff from Grandma" is a treasure.
I had leftover almonds from the recent macaron-making session, so I decided to put them to good use last night and bake a cake from this week's page.  It thrills me to no end when I find a recipe and actually have all the ingredients on hand.  Vanilla sugar comes in little packets in France and is commonly used in baking.  Baking powder comes in packets, too.  I found some a little while back at Harris Teeter and bought them, well, just because they reminded me of my brioche-baking adventures in Arles.  They came in handy last night.

Gâteau flamand - Flemish Cake

from  Almanach 2012 des Provençaux de du Comté de Nice, Véronique Herman and Hervé Berteaux, Editions CPE, 2012.

4 eggs
250 g flour- 2 cups
250 g sugar- 1 1/3 cups
125 grammes butter- 9 tablespoons, softened
80 g almonds- (I forgot to measure them before I threw them in the batter), I toasted slivers and then ground them in my spice / coffee grinder
1 c. milk
1 envelope baking powder- .5 oz. 1 teaspoon?
2 envelopes vanilla sugar- (each one is .28 ounces- just use liquid vanilla extract- it will work- maybe 1-2 tsp.)

Break the eggs into a bowl, add the sugars, and stir until the sugars melt.
Add the milk, then the flour, the ground almonds, the baking powder and the softened/melted butter.  Stir well.
Pour the mixture into a buttered baking pan.  (I used my springform pan.)
Let it rest for 15 minutes, while the oven preheats.
There are no temperature or times given in the recipe.  (Just like my Mama Mildred bakes!) I baked it at 350˚F for about 40 minutes.

The Ex-Ex just had a slice for breakfast and pronounced it very good.

Bon appétit, les bises!  Et bon voyage, my Frenchies!


Tammy said...

j'adore les vielle photos
ET les bises!
ET la carte-postale...milles merci!

The Sabbatical Chef said...

Arizona Tammy: Just think about all the posts I will write about our July trip!! I am sure y'all will provide me with some great material!
Thanks for reading!