Saturday, May 15, 2010

Montemartre & Cookin with Class

Shopping for your meals in France is an adventure.  The walk through the streets, edged with vendors selling their fresh wares is wonderful.  The colours, the smells, the sounds all adds to the event.  For us at home it is often just a chore to be done once a week.  Get in and out as fast as possible, and hopefully not forget anything so you don't have to make another trip before week ends.  Here at least for the older people shopping is a social event.  Today we took our French Cooking Class with Cookin with Class.  The first thing we did was meet Pino our teacher at the metro station.  His lime green wheeled shopping trolley was our sign that he had arrived.  Typically French looking, he was a delight.  He has been back in France for several years now having married a New Yorker and spent 10 years there.

We chose our meal as we were shown through the stores.  We would certainly have a cheese plate after the main dish and before our desert.  The choices are endless.  Cow milk, goats milk, sheeps milk and buffalo.  How to decide ooh la la!


Escargot, would we try them Pino asked.  Well you have read about my experience with snails a few posts back, but I thought well why not, let's have another go and see how they are this time.  Adrian all the while shaking his head an ardent no!!!!

So don't ask me how this happened, we are both eating them.  I thought it would be a breeze this time having only done it a few days ago, only this time it's the middle of the day and I can see the little guy on the skewer.  Greyish, brown and looking for all it could like something I flicked off a plant a few weeks back.  Oh my it was harder to get it in my mouth this time that's for sure.

The cooking room itself is a lovely space.  Very handy to our apartment on Rue Francoeur in Rue Custine, just a short walk.  Only 6 students at a time so really hands on which is fantastic.

Our starter was a beautiful prawn and fennel,orange salad and roasted bream with herbs and seafood sauce.  The sauce was made from the heads and shells of the fresh prawns.  Oh it was delicious.

Main was fois grais (fattened duck liver)  for those that wanted, we didn't and for us a beautifully cooked piece of duck breast.  This was served with caramelised onions.  Again delicious.

Fois Grais served on spiced bread and with the onions.

The perfectly cooked duck and caramelised onions.

Cheese plate was next, the most unusual, some stinky, some blue, some hard and mature, some soft and melting on the plate, one walnut and so delicious, one washed in wine for fermentation.  So many delicious tastes, so new and what an adventure.

My favourite part of the meal until now has been dessert.  Now I am enjoying everything, all of it is important and to be relished and savoured.  Three hour meals are the norm here.  Starting at no earlier than 7.30pm, so foreign to me and ending as late as midnight.  This is normal it seems. 

We did make dessert today and I am making this as soon as I get home, my girls will love this. 

Chocolate Lava cake with strawberries.

This cake is mostly chocolate only 3ounces of flour and it must be set in the refrigerator before cooking.  This ensures that the middle stays soft and gooey.  The tartness of the strawberries, even though they were deliciously sweet takes the edge off the incredibly sweet gooeyness of the cake.  To die for truly.

So with lunch over and the dishes done by a wonderful helper inthe kitchen, we needed a little exercise.  Off we headed for the highest point in Paris.  The beautiful Sacre-Coeur.


This street entertainer was fantastic.  He stood on a pillar and tossed his ball round and then climbed this light pole very brave or silly, I'm not sure which.

Beautiful old wrought iron railings at the church, all of these things are Paris.
We wondered how we would manage here, with so little French and honestly the people here have been nothing but helpful to us.  From the little lady in the boulangerie to the young girl in the pharmacy.  France we love you.


  1. snails for me. nope...and no liver. LOL i think i could not survive - you're a better woman than me.

  2. You had me with the cheese, but the lava cake truly made me gasp! What amazing pictures of the food, the city, the class - the whole experience! Thank you so much!

  3. Char i am with you i didn't even contemplate the fois grais yukky the snails were passable but not by the look on my face

    marion the cheese is amazing and that cake omgoodness to die for

  4. Oh lucky you haven't heard the news here about a guy who now is life threateningly ill because he ate a slug..... the slug at rat dropping and the rat has rat worm which this man has now contacted.

    Your braver than me .. I would eat snails but all that cheese looks wonderful


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