La nouvelle année / The new year

January 1st we woke up with a great need for coffee only to find the kettle decided it was out with 2014. So the new year has started with a few minor shifts in the morning routine either boiling pots of water or putting the Nespresso machine to good use. We’ve had Irène with us this week and she’s decided that sleeping alone in the country is a little frightening so instead of being up late toasting the new year with champagne and dancing it was more trying to get one little girl to bed… hence our more-desperate-than-usual need for coffee.

While we may have been tired from a few difficult nights putting her to bed we were fortunate enough to enjoy a great 31st of December. Christmas brought with it two lovely cookbooks mentioned in my previous post so I sunk to a new level and sat on my suitcase to get it shut so I could fit the two beastly sized books into my bag. If there’s one thing I can hope for this new year it’s that I’ll have more time to cook and enjoy this new kitchen, which deserves a post unto itself.

So to send the year out with a bang I proposed a hearty meal together. After a whirlwind shop at the grocery store I dropped Irène and Jérémie off at the park to play while I started the set up in the kitchen. No sooner than he and Irène had arrived home she was digging in the drawer for her apron and Opinel le petit chef knife set that I got her for her 6th birthday (which I would highly recommend, she’s so proud to have her very own knife and is getting better with it all the time) and she was looking for a task! Even if it takes a little longer to get things done I’m happy for her enthusiasm in the kitchen. Together we made a blanquette de veau (veal stew) from Mimi Thorissons cookbook and gougères by Dorie Greenspan

Opinel Le Petit Chefchanterelles and champignons de parisblanquette de veau mimi thorisson

We made a couple adjustments to the blanquette recipe adding a little extra flour to thicken it, a little less lemon and a nice scoop of dijon mustard to add depth. We chose well. The gougères tasted excellent with our champagne and the veal was perfect for the cool winter weather.

As for this new year. Things are getting off to a good start, aside from the kettle, the garlic I planted at the beginning of winter is starting some nice shoots in the garden and the cuttings I made of lavender and rosemary appear to be holding up. I’ve also finally had some success with a sourdough starter that previously gave me trouble from Eric Kaysers Le Larousse de Pain and it’s smelling like one of the best starters I’ve ever made so hopefully there’s some quality bread coming out of this kitchen soon, something I have no problem with in Canada but great difficulty with in France.

Speaking of bread, this morning I braved toast. While Jérémie has asked me before if we need a toaster, I have tried to hold off but the one time I really can’t kick the craving is for a poached egg. I decided to get a little crafty in the kitchen and pulled out the torch and the smell brought me back to an old attachment we had for our coleman stove as kids. While not perfect, at least I got my egg. Next week we’ll spend 4 days in Paris at a hotel in the 15th arrondissement and while he works and attends a conference, I plan to further explore the city and maybe hit up a few galleries or attractions that I usually toss aside because of crowds. I’m excited to see how it all unfolds!
poached egg on toast

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