July 16, 2017
Through your mind’s-eye take a walk with me. Put on a pair of comfy runners and let your eyes feast on the streets of Paris. This visual palette just might tempt you (if you’ve never been to France) to imagine yourself there, to make a French treat, or to remind you of what you miss and love about Paris.
Several years ago, my sudden and solo trip to Paris had me taking walks along Saint Severin. I’d gaze and stop in front of shop windows exhibiting an array of orange, rose-pink, pistachio-green macarons. It was here, on these Parisian streets that I felt the first craving for a cherry clafoutis. I learned what it meant to yearn for the flavor and the fragrance of those multi-layered, flaky croissants that hit the streets before the May sun dried the clean water off St. Michel’s dirty sidewalks.
I imagine browsing the bookstalls along the walkway of the Seine. Rummaging through stacks of used books, I flip pages yellow with age. The book is some leather bound, sewn-at-the-spine title: It is a forgotten story, written by an obscure author, whom I can’t resist.
I find myself passing Lovers Bridge. Run my fingers across a line of padlocks dangling off the railings. Each lock clacking one against the other with a lover’s name halfway inscribed.
Sundays at the Louvre, beneath the glass cathedral ceilings of the sculpture garden, I find refuge in the silence, in the company of these humanly inspired works of art. This marble garden becomes my haven. It provides consolation from the hectic Paris city, her crowded streets and constant noise.
After spending hours at the Louvre, I parade the city streets that pulse with community. I listen to sidewalk musicians; smile at Buddhist monks; stroll and view all levels of art displayed by photographers, painters, portraitists – soon to be reminded of the pleasures of youth at the site of children enjoying their meringues.
My feet ache from this lengthy excursion. My belly growling for something to eat as I imagine heading uptown towards the underground, meeting up with a hundred other individuals; some students, families, locals, a pinch of tourists all boarding the Metro to Porte de Clignancourt.
Having arrived, I aim for the open market with its food stands, fruit stalls, and flea market vendors. Here I’m reminded that the streets belong to the homeless, the beggars, and the working-class folk: the people who feed their hunger on the action that happens on the streets of Paris.
Imagine a mix of races and cultures. Some shoving. Some smiling. But most of us eating our figs, slurping hot noddles from a bowl of steaming oriental-style soup, chewing on that spicy Italian sauage, biting into a chunk of baguette downed with a cup of noisette and a few drops of cream.
Paris, what is there to love?
Surely, you can think of something…
A Simple Recipe for Tarte Tatin (read before making)
Preheat oven 180°c
Cut 100grams of unsalted butter into slices, scatter in a 9” baking pan
Core and peel a dozen Gala apples
Cut apples into quarters
Arrange apples in the pan on top of the slices of butter
Sprinkle 2-3 teaspoons of brown sugar over apples (can add currants or raisins)
Place pan on stovetop burner turn flame on
Let mixture boil for a few minutes until butter melts and sugar browns
Remove pan from stovetop burner and allow apples to cool
Sprinkle powdered cinnamon and/or bourbon vanilla over apples
Meanwhile roll out puff pastry dough
Over cooled apples place dough over pan
With a knife cut along the rim of the pan the dough to fit and cover the apples
Poke the tip of your knife through the center of the dough
Reduce oven heat to 140°c
Place pan in oven and slow bake
Bake1hour and using potholders remove the pan from the oven
Allow pan to cool slightly before gently turning pan over and onto a serving plate
Brush entire tarte with a little apricot jam
Serve it warm with crème fresh, and enjoy a taste of Paris!
Photo-Montages by Ivette Ebaen