Creamy curd cheese dessert with red berry coulis…and December ambiance 2011

Et voilà! Another year flat on its back and only a few days left for a last effort to check off our 2011 list. And while we do it, we can delight in some December ambiance, eat some dessert and then go for a long walk afterwards to start a new healthy habit. This dessert is extremely easy and quick, loaded with Calcium and can be adapted to your taste and presented in every which way you like it.

Pinch of salt:

  • The cream adds some lightness to the heavier  curd cheese, also called “faisselle”
  • Substitute cream cheese for the curd cheese (fromage blanc.)
  • Use a fruit coulis in season…pineapple, melon, peach, apricot…
  • Use the berries whole, slightly sautéed in sugar  for a warm sauce.
  • In summer, add a drop of rose water instead of the violet syrup.
  • Taste for sweetness and add more or less sugar.

She wakes up in the darkness of the night. Sitting straight up in her bed, she holds her breath, tilts her head…hears it… and falls back on her pillow. The owls are back. With a smile lingering on her face, she drifts off, snug under the warmth of a heavy down duvet.

Outside in the cold of the night, the fog lies thick in the valley, wrapping all sounds in a silent cloak of mystery. All is quiet. The forest is dark and austere and the large oaks stand solemn and still. Unflinching in their guard. Then the  owl calls.  An answer breaks the heavy silence with an echo in the valley.  A twig snaps in the woods.  A deer bellows. Eyes gleam. A snort stifles. Silence. The mist rolls thicker over the hills into the forest, relentless in protecting her womb and the life she hides.

The owl calls. An answer. An echo.  Silence.

Have an atmospheric December!

Ronelle

Artichokes with figs..and a little bit of Paris.

Artichokes filled with red fig and topped with a goats cheese can be served whichever way  you want to…on the side with a meat dish, or as a salad, or a starter, and even as an amuse bouche with a glass of cold white wine. It is truly delicious and even enjoyed by people who find artichokes without taste. If you want to be really gourmet, you will prepare the atichokes yourself, but you can choose the easier but still delicious way, by buying the frozen artichoke hearts, readily available everywhere.


Suggestions:

  • Use frozen artichoke hearts, which is as delicious and fresh and less work. BUT for a special occasion in season , DO put in some effort for some fresh, seasonal artichokes.
  • Feta cheese with ricotta or sour cream  can be used instead of goats cheese and crème fraîche.
  • Yellow figs can be used instead of red figs.
  • Substitue maple syrup or thym honey for the white balsamic syrup.
  • Serve as a starter on a bed of greens, or as a side with duck, or as an amuse bouche, served on small plates.
  • Bake at 200 degrees C for about 10 -15 minutes.
..les coeurs d'atichauts au four..
les figues rouges...la crème de balsamique...les artichauts

************************************************************************

..and a little bit of Paris…

I was in Paris for a quick visit and when passing by Antoine, I couldn’t resist this parapluie for the coming winter and its rains. I never actually use one, because I knock everyone in the eye and over the head or umbrella them off the sidewalk. But I’ve decided everything can be worked at and I want to look chic this winter and for that I need this parapaluie. So I will work at my clumsiness with a parapluie and turn myself into a proper parisienne…just imagine…never again wet hair clinging to my forehead..

I’m almost tempted to say that the elagant Parisienne you see in the following images, is me, but unfortunately my concience won’t allow it! It is my beautiful  friend who was willing to play model for me with my ombrelle! And she knows exactly how, since she had been une Parisienne a few years ago, before she became une Tourangelle.

..la parisienne et le parapluie..

And some scenes from my meanderings in Paris:

…statues always attract me with their wistfull quietness and their frozen stares…

..statues de paris..

…and architecture with  roofs and chimneys, towers and  balcomies, doors and windows…

..architecture de paris..

..and of course, on my way to catch the TGV home, I have to wander through le jardin du Luxembourg where I always stop for a game of chess and delight in the creative chaos of the the Luxembourg chairs…

..jardin du luxembourg..

… in le bois de Vincenne, autumn is a flaming opera with the colours performing the libretto with  extravagant flair…

..l’automne à paris..

..à la prochaine!..

Ronelle