July 06, 2012

While Searching for Frenchness...

I came back from Paris all fully covered in bubbly amazement. Wrapped into the striking delight for city's glittering magic, its remarkable sophistication and enchanting delicacy hiding in every corner of the smallest street. Even in the heaviest raindrop elegantly smashing into the ground that on any other occasion would be more of the reason for complaint than for the unique pleasure. 

In Paris everything seemed different...

Eiffel under the tree

No wander that  I try to capture every single detail of these magnificent moments for as long as I can. I want to lock them in my already overloaded memory card where they could be safe and protected from being  ruthlessly washed away. For this, I still regularly stride my way back to that bunch of 1600 pictures that I took, every time in each of them noticing a brand new sentiment playing around. It seems that this city keeps on telling its story even if I'm not around anymore. I still can clearly here somebody's high-heels echoing behind my back when I'm slowly pacing into the beautiful evening along the Seine. And I still can feel the warm caress of the Parisian sunset softly landing on my shoulder and filling the white rooftops with lovely rosy red. 

With all these memories still fresh and still in my pocket I once again went back to Frédéric Beigbeder and its Un Roman Français that once again left me deeply emotionally shocked, but absolutely delighted, as always. To be honest, I just don't have enough proper words to describe my love for this French author, cause after finishing either of its novels I could right away start it from the beginning, and it would make nothing else but a whole new story evolving in front of my eyes. Same colors, different picture; don't they say that? His pure and naked irony draws such a true interpretation of the daily-life and the whole very being of a human that there is no one else that could do it better.

When the book was once again over and the last page fully breathed in, in search for some more Frenchness I  ended up watching Woody's Midnight in Paris. For the third time already, which was entirely different compared with the first ones - substantially more real and way more truthful. Now it was not only about the story happening in the exquisite city, but rather the city itself was in the very spotlight independently generating one of its many stories. 

And finally, the last doze of something French, something delicious and something twisted with the excellent humor came from Comme Un Chef - a French movie about two very talented chefs and their life dramas. One of them - very successful proudly carrying his well-established name, the other - still young and still awfully ambitious. When uncontrollably wandering life puts them both in touch with each other, the room gets fully covered in a good doze of humor and a generous amount of cooking in progress. Something definitely worth watching for an irreparable foodie!

Blue Cheese Cookies and Rhubarb Lime Jam

And what kind of delicious movie without a delicious snack on hand? No, yes? That's what I thought too, so I made a great handful of savory blue cheese cookies that together with rhubarb lime jam successfully accompanied the cozy evening in front of the screen. It was not entirely a French taste (even though together with it we were finishing up the very leftovers of Rocamadour cheese brought from Paris), but it suited perfectly in the summer mood and the rhubarb season that's about to take a break. The cookies were crumbling and leaving the fine notes of piquancy while the jam did its excellent job making all the flavors finely come together. Another glass of red wine and, as you can guess, the movie was very well consumed.

Blue Cheese Cookies and Rhubarb Lime Jam

Savory Blue Cheese Cookies with Walnuts

5.3 oz (150 g) butter, at room temperature
5.3 oz (150 g) blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup (120 g) whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
handful of walnuts, chopped

In a bowl, whip the butter. Add the cheese crumbles, flour, salt and mix until smooth. Stir in the walnuts.
Divide the dough into two parts and shape 1-inch diameter sticks. Wrap them into the plastic wrap and let stay in the refrigerator at least for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F (180 C) temperature.
Cut the chilled sticks into half-inch size cookies. Lay them on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

 Rhubarb and Lime Jam

4 lb (2 kg) rhubarbs, cut into small slices
2 medium limes
(700 g) light brown sugar

Grate the peal from both limes and squeeze the juices just from one of them.
In a large pot, mix together the rhubarb slices, sugar, lime peal and juice. Cover with kitchen towel and allow to stand over in order for juices to exude.
Next day, bring the pot to boil, then reduce the heat and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 20-30 minutes. While cooking, skim off foam, if there are some.
Ladle into sterilized jars and seal.
Keep in a dark and cool place.

Blue Cheese Cookies and Rhubarb Lime Jam

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