Lurking in my cupboard…

I’m talking about one of the cupboards, in our kitchen, in France.

I was surprised to find this:

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Possibly not the most glamorous piece of kitchen equipment I have ever seen. A Moulinex and not modern by any stretch of the imagination. But do you know what it is?

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I think in modern terminology this is called a citrus juicer but, as you can see from the photo, this piece of equipment is far from modern!

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It does produce excellent fresh orange juice and it very easy to clean. Always a bonus, I reckon.

My family tease me about my love for a gadget. This is true. In the past, I have had a juicer and, more recently, I bought one of these all singing, all dancing ‘nutrient extractors’. I made smoothies and juices and a lot of mess. Some were lovely, some made me feel like vomiting. Apologies if you are of a sensitive nature. I know I should worship at the altar of kale but it just doesn’t do it for me.

My nutrient extractor is languishing in the UK. I’m sure I’ll pass it on to a family member or friend as soon as I can find someone who would like it.

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I also found these bits and pieces…  My research – via EBay – tells me that I might have the remains of a Charlotte 3 or 4.

Are you a fan of gadgets? Do you have a favourite? I’d be interested to know!

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Ce n’est pas Le Pont Des Arts…

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This is a photo I took during my recent holiday in Gran Canaria. Engraved padlocks had been attached to this wire fence which runs along the beach side promenade. The sea was much bluer than it looks in this shot!

Seeeing the padlocks reminded me of the Pont Des Arts, in Paris which is sometimes known as the ‘Bridge of Lovers’. Have you ever been there?

There are many stunning bridges in Paris but this one had a specific romantic meaning for lots of people. Many couples would buy a padlock, engrave it with their names, the date and a short, romantic message. They would then attach it to the bridge and throw the key into the Seine. I must admit this is something I have never done but I have noticed that inscribed padlocks are now appearing all over the place.

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Pixels.com

As today is Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be interesting to tell you more about the Pont des Arts. This bridge connects the Louvre to the Institut de France and is pedestrianised. It’s an iron bridge that became famous for the thousands of padlocks that were attached to the structure. The first love locks started appearing in 2008 but the trend spread very quickly and by 2014 there were about 45 tonnes of padlocks weighing down the bridge. This put a massive strain on the bridge’s infrastructure and eventually one of the railings collapsed.

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Pexels.com

By this time, Parisians had fallen out of love with what was perceived by many locals as a tacky tourist attraction. The authorities were equally concerned about the safety of the bridge and on June 1st 2015 all the padlocks were removed. It has been estimated that over one million padlocks were taken away. The railings have now been replaced with glass panels.

Have you seen lovelocks either in Paris or elsewhere? Do you think they’re a romantic symbol or a bit of an eyesore? I’d love to know! Happy Valentine’s Day !

I am linking with #AllAboutFrance. Do go and have a look if you want to discover lots of interesting blog posts which all have a French theme!

 

Happy National Croissant Day!

I couldn’t miss the opportunity to wish you ‘Happy National Croissant Day’! January 30th is International Croissant Day. This is a new celebration for me. One which comes from the States, apparently.

Although, to be honest, I’m more than happy to celebrate croissants every day. Especially if they happen to be almond croissants!

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The croissant was originally created in Austria. The shape is based on a crescent moon which features on the Turkish flag. Why? Travel back to 1683 when the Ottoman Empire laid siege to Austria. The Turks decided to tunnel beneath the city walls.The Viennese bakers who were working in the basement, heard the sound of digging and alerted the army who defeated the Turks. In celebration, they baked their bread in the shape of a crescent moon—the symbol of the Ottoman Empire – and created the Kipferl. This croissant arrived in France in 1770. Marie Antoinette, who was Austrian, was feeling homesick. The French bakers decided to make her favourite pastry which became known as the “croissant”.

Of course, it’s difficult to know exactly how much of this is fact and how much is fiction!

Are you a croissant lover? Do you have a favourite croissant? Savoury, perhaps? Or are you a purist who prefers a classic, butter croissant? Are you a dunker? I’m definitely not!

 

Les Jaffa Cakes!

Are you a fan of the Great British Bake Off? Even if you don’t live in the UK, this popular television programme has been sold all around the world. So, it’s quite possible that some of you will have seen a version of this much loved show. Do share if you have!

There was some controversy recently when the production company that make the Bake Off sold the programme to Channel 4. Previously, it had been shown on the BBC. There was a huge outcry, especially as three of the (mainly much loved) four presenters/judges were going to be replaced.

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BBC

At this point, I must confess, I was one of the doubters! How would it ever be the same, I wondered.  This didn’t stop me viewing  the first episode on Channel 4 and from then on I was hooked!

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Courtesy of Channel 4 Facebook

I first saw the French version of GBBO, a couple of years ago. I found it fascinating and wrote a post about what I had seen. A post that proved to be very popular!

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https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/le-meilleur-ptissier-or-the-great-british-bake-off-french--bake-off-french-style/  

I was delighted to catch up with the latest season of ‘French Bake Off’ recently. I had, inadvertently, tuned in for biscuit week. I love a cup of tea, preferably accompanied by a biscuit. I never really associate biscuits with France. In my head, it’s all about their cakes.

What intrigued me this week was the ‘Technical Challenge’ . The contestants were asked to make 36 Jaffa Cakes. My first thought was: why? I’m not a fan of Jaffa cakes, although you may well tell me that you love them. Plain Chocolate Digestives are another matter…

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As you may be able to guess, the poor bakers had never seen, nor heard of, a Jaffa Cake. One might ask – should they have? Nevertheless, it made for very entertaining viewing. The whole episode lasts for two hours, so I have tried to find the section in which the Jaffa Cakes are judged. It is in French but it is very clear from the expressions of the judges what they think of the various attempts to make a Jaffa Cake!

https://www.rtl.be/tv/rtltvi/replay/06-11-2017-le-jaffa-cake-degustation

I’d love to know if any of my readers saw this episode! Are you a Jaffa Cake fan? And are they cakes or biscuits?…

 

 

Tea and cakes

Sounds very English? Or maybe I should say British? Perhaps not particularly French, either way?

I love tea! Earl Grey or peppermint ( or is that really an infusion?) but, above all, my tea tipple of preference, is good old ‘Builder’s tea’. There are no food or drink items I take to our French home, except for tea bags; not just any brand. For me, it has to be Yorkshire tea bags.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love strong, black coffee, too. We always stock up for our return to the UK. However, I think there is nothing more comforting, thirst quenching and delightful than a cup of tea.

I’ve written of my need for tea before:

Shock, horror, shame…

And the cake?

 

These are some of the cakes sampled by my nieces while staying in Castelnaudary, last week. They don’t drink tea but they certainly appreciated the patisseries!

My sister tried a cake that I had never come across before: un Paris Brest.

 

It is made of choux pastry and a praline flavoured cream. For my taste, it has too much cream but in case you fancy making some, here’s Mary Berry’s recipe from the Great British Bake Off:

http://thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/marys-paris-brest/

Do you have a favourite tea and cake? I’d love to know…

Snack

This was the prompt word that popped up in ‘The Daily Post’ email I received from WordPress the other day. It prompted me to thinking about snacking in France.

When I’m in France, I don’t snack. Conversely, when I’m back in the UK, I find it far too easy to nibble between meals; crisps and biscuits being my usual snacks of choice. Why?

It may be a huge generalisation but, in my experience, the French don’t snack. This may, of course, be changing… Le fast-food, for example.

Such books as ‘French kids everything’ and ‘French women don’t get fat’ exemplify the not eating snacks myth. If it is a myth?
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Certainly, le goûter, which is mainly eaten by children around 4pm, is a French tradition. I remember being quite surprised the first time I came across a chunk of chocolate slapped in the middle of a baguette!

IMG_0130Photo courtesy of Pinterest: http://www.painlaboulangere.com/fr/pains/pain-gouter/gouter-petits-pains-barres-chocolat

The nearest I get to snacking when in France is when I have something to accompany an apéro …

I’ve come to the conclusion that snacking may be a cultural habit? What do you think? I know I have readers from all round the world, as well as France and the UK. So, I ‘d love to know if you’re a snacker! And, if you do snack, what is your snack of preference?

Crisps, chips and French fries…!

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I love language, in the fullest sense. I don’t, particularly, love crisps, chips or French fries! But I do eat them occasionally.
Why, I ask myself, are crisps, in France, called ’les chips’? So, in an attempt to find out, I wasted spent too much time doing some ‘research’.
The word ‘crisps’ is used in the UK and refers to thin slices of potato (or vegetables nowadays) sold as a snack. These are usually called “chips” in America. However, the word “chips” in the UK refers to what in America are called “French fries” or “fries”.

Are you with me?! In Canada, I have read, crisps are often called “croustilles” in French speaking areas. As I yet have to visit Canada, I can’t verify this! Also, in the French speaking parts of Canada and also in Europe, French fries are usually called “frites”…

Have you lost the plot yet…?!
Along the way I have discovered a mad interesting blog all about crisps:

https://ablogaboutcrisps.blogspot.fr/

Although I’m not a crisp fan, I do have a weakness for these:IMG_0112Are you a fan of crisps/chips/fries or do you have other favourites?

This post is linked to:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/Crisp