Friday, August 23, 2013

MOULES FRITES


Second meatless Friday in a row. I feel so catholic.

With a little bit of training from last Friday  I made mussels again today. This time with fresh french fries. 
How is it possible that In-N-Out Burger can serve such excellent, fresh french fries for a buck and change, but 98% of all full service restaurants serve crappy frozen ones? Things like this baffle me to no end.

Anyway. To mix it up, I made more of a broth than a cream sauce today, which in Victoria's view made it an 8 out of 10 on her perfection scale....will she ever give me a straight ten?? Ever? Last week the bacon was not cut right. What will it be next week!
It's more of a Thai slant with coconut milk, a splash of fish sauce, fresh lime juice, garlic and a couple of spicy chilies. Flavored with almost no salt, just lots of Cilantro. 

If you can get fresh mussels, this is a good recipe. The Lillet, I ended up not putting any in the broth, but I drank a couple of glasses. It starts to grow on me. 




 LILLET (APERO), COCONUT, LIME, CHILI PEPPERS, GARLIC, FISH SAUCE & CILANTRO

ROAST GARLIC AND CHILI IN SOME BUTTER

NOW WITH FRIES

POUR  SOME COCONUT MILK ,  STEAM UP WITH CLOSED LID FOR A FEW MINUTES, ADD LOTS OF CILANTRO

DONE!

Monday, August 19, 2013

GLUTEN FREE RECIPES



I get a lot of emails regarding gluten free recipes for this and that. I think that topic is already sufficiently covered by bloggers who are much better at writing and typing than me.

But, there are a few select recipes on GF PATISSERIE'S website, they are all tried and tested. Brilliant stuff. Here is a link to make some great gluten free meals:




DU BIST EIN WIENER SCHNITZEL

Friday, August 16, 2013

MUSSELS



Very much like the figs and other summer fruits were late this year, so were the mussels. Last year during the Cognac Blues festival we had them a couple of times very early July, but not so this summer. Just since last week have I seen them everywhere, at the stores and in restaurants.

We try to have them frequently during the summer, but I never attempted to make mussels at home. I know how to prepare a trout, but Austria is not really big on shellfish. It's landlocked.
There's a first for everything and today I bought a bag full at the market and thanks to You Tube, I took the Mussels 101 online. 15 minutes worth of videos made the more important points clear. Like where and what to clean and look out for when it comes to those few that are already open before you steam them in a pot. DON'T EAT THESE.

As for flavor, when we order mussels at the resto, we both usually go for the bacon cream sauce, which is easy to make. Actually, the more I think about it, all sauces are easy. Since this was my first attempt, I did not want to have to watch the boiling oil for french fries, the most standard side for mussels, but Victoria's bread made do just fine. Next time, two pots, no sweat.



EVEN MUSSELS WERE LATE THIS YEAR

LEAST ENJOYABLE PART, CLEANING

THAT'S THE PART THAT NEEDS TO BE CLEANED OFF

CREAM, &  CREME FRAICHE, GARLIC, BUTTER, BACON, DRY WHITE, PINEAU, PARSLEY, SALT

BROWN THE BACON AND GARLIC IN SOME BUTTER

TOSS IN THE MUSSELS AND ADD THE WINE & PINEAU

COVER FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES UNTIL THEY OPEN UP

ADD THE CREAM AND CREME FRAICHE

A FEW MORE MINUTES TO REDUCE THE LIQUID

NORMALLY SERVED WITH FRIES, BUT WE WERE HAPPY WITH SOME GF BREAD

MY FAVORITE SIZE. SMALL

TOWARDS THE END, JUST ADD THE BREAD OR FRIES AND EAT IT WITH THE SAUCE

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A LA PLAGE


Nothing says summer like a day (or 14) at the beach. So fairly unplanned and impromptu, Victoria packed some water, towels, a giant blanket and a large umbrella to head off for a good day at the coast. The umbrella was a great idea and it gave us much needed shade in order to be able to spend the day at the beach without getting burnt to a crisp.

From our door in Jarnac to feet in the sand in Royan  it took us one hour and five minutes. Not that far really, about Cochrane to Okotoks. 
We arrived at 11am and for high season, with perfect weather and beach time, we thought it to be very quiet actually. There are people yes, but not packed or even half crowded. Maybe because it's a large beach?  Even parking was a breeze. 

We relaxed all day, Isabella and myself went for a few nice swims and I took Victoria on a walk all the way to the end, where Royan runs into st. George. Thanks to a falling tide we were able to make it all the way past the cliffs before turning around.
I had no idea that ducks are comfortable in salt water as well, we saw a flock of them swimming in and digging into the sand for food. I have no idea what they were after, does anyone know? Algae? 

The only downside to the day was a mediocre lunch, though a great location right at the beach, the restaurant clearly is trying to rake in the dosh inside a short season. So much potential, so little effort. So for next week, we will bring our own.






SETTING UP THE SPOT

RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE KIDS CLUB


VERY QUIET FOR AUGUST

SHARK!!!

NO SHARK

BIG FOOT

A FAMILY PICTURE

ALL RELAXED

THE VIEW FROM HERE

AND HERE

LOOKING UP

POTTER BOMB

NOT THE BEST FOOD

FISHING SHACK

AT THE ST. GEORGE END OF THE BEACH

THE DUCKS FROM JARNAC FOLLOWED US|?

WHAT ARE THEY EATING?

MMMMMHHH, SALTY!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

WHAT I ATE FOR LUNCH TODAY


A sandwich, a big slice of Gugelhupf, a nectarine (Victoria makes me eat fruit) and iced tea.  Most of it home made (bread, mayo, cake, iced tea) and all gluten free, a lot of the stuff bought at the local market. I almost did not write this post and am even contemplating to stop blogging about food and bore you with homeless kitten stories from now on.

It was not a good week in reading other people's food Blogs so far. One Blogger giving up sugar (at least there is a partial personal point to that post), a bipolar gluten (avoiding) dude ranting about Twinkies wanting to go gluten free, then today the food babe knocking Trader Joe's for not doing enough about GMO labeling in their store. And to make it all more personal, Victoria is telling me there are too many Nitrates in my cold cuts.
Vhat? Are we in a majorly challenging moon phase, or am I missing something.  Food is good. It makes us happy. Even if not everything is always 100% perfect and good for us. Most of the times it's just fine to eat. I venture to bet that more business is getting done over a good meal than at the golf course.

I grew up roman catholic and that organization made me feel guilty enough by the time I was 13 to last me a life time. I do not want to feel guilty when I eat. If consumed in moderation, what is so bad about our food intake? Any of it. Please tell me. 

My father left us at 84 and up to his early 80's was healthy despite having grown up with poor nutrition and once he could afford to eat the finer things in life (butter in his case), he ate it with much gusto. Never refused to eat anything. Never read a label in his life . Went to the farm for milk until the very end. Raw milk, which is against the law to be sold in North America. Though it's all natural???
Victoria who was diagnosed with Celiacs disease at 27, never had a bigger weight fluctuation in her life than 6lbs. That's less than a head of cabbage. As long as it's gluten free,  not too full of E numbers and Nitrates, Victoria will eat with me.  (She does read her labels though and stays away from most mass produced things. ) Victoria eats much less of a serving than me of course, but short of roasted bone marrow she will try anything that's home cooked and she is aware of all ingredients being safe for her. She has such will power, I should borrow some.
My mother went to a symposium about healthy eating recently and when she was told that milk causes osteoporosis (it was a Vegan event) she pointed out that her bones are fine at her advanced age despite having drunk a lot of milk all her life. She was shot down with the "good genes" argument...... 

Food Nazis need to go away.  For every pro there is a con. For every thesis there is an anti thesis. Here is my summary. Short of a medical condition (Celiacs, Diabetes, shot kidneys), eat it if you want it. Keep moderation on your mind and don't listen to anyone telling you otherwise. 
Well, I don't want to argue with your doctor, but you get the idea. Food is good.





A LOT OF HOME MADE STUFF

ITALIAN FLAT BREAD - GLUTEN FREE
 

OUT OF HOME MADE MAYO

I USED  BUTTER INSTEAD.  MADE FROM RAW MILK (ILLEGAL IN THE US)

LATER ON, GLUTEN FREE PEACH GALETTES

AND THESE ARE FOR DINNER. GARLIC ROASTED PEPPERS

Monday, August 05, 2013

DER GUGELHUPF




If the Wiener Schnitzel would be a cake, it would be called Gugelhupf. That's how authentically Austrian this cake is. And as with anything authentic, every bakery, restaurant, hotel and Hausfrau in Austria will offer this Bundt cake to a guest or visitor. From their own favorite, many times secret recipe.

Personally I have memories from way back in early childhood of this cake being made by my mother on weekends. And the way my father would enjoy it most.  With a cup of coffee. Half eaten, half dipped into the coffee first. As a kid I would mirror his behavior with my hot cocoa and nowadays I love eating this cake with coffee, half dipped as well. 

I went to school in Bad Ischl, a famous resort town and there the story being told about the Gugelhupf is that our Emperor Franz Jospeh had a lover in that town. And that lady made him one cake every day when he was there to visit. Just goes to show that you can hook anyone with a good cake.....even the Emperor. Keep that in mind ladies. "Liebe geht durch den Magen", we say in German. (google it)
There are some theories about it's origins, but in the end it's an Austrian cake. The French may want to claim some fame, but fuhgeddaboudit. We don't tell everybody that your Croissant is from Vienna.....this Blogger writes some more about the history of cakes: http://bakingwithmarianne.blogspot.fr/2013/07/the-story-behind-gugelhupf-and.html


Anyway. Victoria has made this cake in her bakery before, but mostly in loaf form And by my continued nagging, she started to make it again. In a proper Gugelhupf shape. Icing sugar and all,
GLUTEN FREE to boot. As usual, she is talking about "perfecting" it, but listen to the Austrian here, it's fantastic already. 









MY FAVORITE WAY TO EAT THE CAKE. WITH A DOUBLE ESPRESSO

Sunday, August 04, 2013

BORDEAUX



We made a day trip to Bordeaux this weekend. While I wanted to leave at an early hour to start exploring the city, reality in this house is different. So by the time we leave, not only is there massive holiday traffic going south, it's almost going to be lunch time by the time we make it....
Anyway. Unlike in the country, bigger cities keep their shops open during lunch hours, so there was no real loss. 

During my years in the cruise industry, on one of my itineraries I visited Bordeaux  a few times in the mid 1980's. And while the cruise passengers usually took a nice day long tour of some famous Chateaux in the area, us the crew, usually only made it into town for a drink or meal.
My impressions back then were not all that good,  it seemed a grimy place, dark and not inviting at all. 

Things have changed obviously, mostly thanks to the current long time mayor, Alain JuppĂ©, who rejuvenated this city of wine and made it to what it is today. A modern transit system, buildings all cleaned up, lots to see and do both cultural and shopping wise, Bordeaux is now a very well visited city in Europe. The wine of course helps. While nothing compares to Paris when it comes to tourism, I'd say we heard a lot of Dutch, German and some Scandinavian languages throughout the day. Air Transat has a seasonal flight from Montreal even. 
We saw some decent looking hotels advertising rates from 60.00/room in the city center.  Inviting enough for a weekend city trip from Frankfurt or Rotterdam it seems. 

While we walked by some very inviting Bistros, we did not feel running the gauntlet of explaining the Celiacs issue during the lunch rush hour and opted for a small Vietnamese restaurant instead. we had mostly good experiences with that cuisine in Calgary and lucked out here too.  The young crew understood the issues and we had a great meal.

In the afternoon we stopped by a wine shop where you can get small tastes of famous Grand Cru wines by the glass. Run by a Sommelier from Vancouver (!), we tasted two reds from the same area, but different growth and years. Yes, there is a huge difference, not just in price, but in flavor, color, smell and all. Lauren bought me a book about wine and I have to reread the Bordeaux chapter now to understand it all. 

On the way out we stopped along the Gironde where old warehouses were converted into shops and restaurants. You can see the new bridge crossing the river, which lifts horizontally when cruise liners arrive in the summer time.
The drive home along the RN 10 was much less busy and we made it to Jarnac in one hour and 15 minutes without speeding. 

Enjoy the images.




BIG BOULEVARDS




A GREAT PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM

RUE ST CATHERINE, A SHOPPING MILE

SOME REALLY NICE SQUARES

LOTS AND LOTS OF RESTAURANTS




BUSY PLACES AT LUNCH

CHURCHES

REVITALIZATION CONTINUES


 EVERY FRENCH CITY HAS AN ARCH

GREAT GREEN SPACES


ANOTHER CHURCH

A COURTYARD

PLACE DE LA BOURSE

SOME KIDS PUT DETERGENT INTO THE WATER



I REALLY LIKE THAT UNDERGROUND GARBAGE COLLECTION SYSTEM

THIS GALLERY NEEDS RENOVATION

 THIS ONE LOOKS NICER


AT THE WATCH REPAIR SHOP

HE'S BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE

APPARENTLY A HOT BRAND IN THE US

EARTH FRIENDLY......

WHILE WE CHOSE VIETNAMESE

GIVEN THEIR HISTORY WITH VIETNAM, 

YOU DON'T FIND A LOT OF THAT CUISINE IN FRANCE

IT'S GLUTEN FREE

ARTIST DURING THE DAY, GRAFFITI  REBEL AT NIGHT?

COOL BIKE

I TAKE THE SCOOTER


NOT AS EXPENSIVE AS OTHER PLACES

TABLE CLOTHES

UP AND COMING LOCAL APERO, RICARD BOUGHT THE BRAND. SOON YOU WILL GET IT IN AMERICA

WINE EVERYWHERE

AND OTHER LOCAL TREATS

A VERY VISUAL STORE



A GREAT WINE CONCEPT

GRAND CRUS BY THE GLASS

YES, 30.00/SIP


THOSE ARE WINE GLASSES HANGING FROM THE CEILING

WITH THESE AMOUNTS OF WINE YOU CAN DRINK AND DRIVE....

A GREAT IDEA REALLY

THE SAME ARTIST WHO DID THE SCULPTURE IN FRONT OF THE BOW IN CALGARY

LES GIRLS

THIS SCULPTURE IS MADE OF LETTERS


A WEDDING

A LAST DRINK ON THE WAY OUT THE CITY

THE NEWEST BRIDGE, LIFTS HORIZONTALLY LIKE AN ELEVATOR

THE ROAD HOME WAS LESS TRAVELLED