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I must apologize, we were away for a couple of days after Christmas so I haven’t been as attentive with responding to comments and commenting; thanks for understanding.

This salad has become a staple in our home and would have been a great alternative to the Paella for our progressive dinner. I had trouble finding the authentic Lentilles du Puy until I spotted them in our Superstore for a fraction of the cost, but they are from Alberta! I read that the soil conditions are similar to that of Du Puys in France, 500g for about $2.75. I have yet to taste them to compare to the French lentils, but as soon as I do, I will update this post.

You have Charles at Five Euro Food to thank for this post. On my last entry for Lentilles du Puy, he mentioned he goes for lunch to a small bistro and they serve this salad with a poached egg on top. Here is his comment verbatim, it was so inspiring: “Hi Eva, this is one of my absolute favourite lentil dishes – the place I eat it serves it with small cubes of raw carrot which provide a lovely texture and… the pièce de résistance on top… a soft poached egg. Seriously, you HAVE to try that. Cracking open the egg so the yolk runs out over the lentils… it’s so lovely!” Of course, you just knew I HAD to have it. And at a risk of making JT SICK TO DEATH of this salad, I made it again (Luv you JT). Unfortunately, the photos are at night so they are crap, but you can certainly see the most deliciousness of the cracked yolk flowing over the lentils…it was very delicious and highly recommended.

PS. This time, I even added the small cubes of carrot to be sure I had the same experience. Thanks again Charles.

Poached Egg on Lentilles du Puy Salad with a Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

What an AMAZING idea Charles, thanks so much!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentilles du Puy (French green lentils) picked over and rinsed
  • 3 cups water (the original recipe has 6 cups but you have to drain the remaining water)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 pancetta slices, chopped (about 3-4 table spoons)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 fresh flat-leafed parsley sprigs plus 1/2 cup leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 carrot, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 4-6 poached eggs

For vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard, or to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp cup EVOO
  • 1 bunch arugula, coarse stems discarded, washed well and spun dry

Directions:

  1. In a heavy saucepan render the pancetta to a crispy consistency. Remove pancetta and add the onions and sweat until transparent. Add the garlic, type and parsley sprigs (reserve the leaves). Cook for about 1 minute.
  2. Add the lentils and sauté for another minute, add the water all at once and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Stir in bells peppers and simmer mixture, covered, until lentils are tender, about 10 minutes. Lentils may be made 2 days ahead and kept covered and chilled. Reheat lentils before proceeding with recipe.

Directions for vinaigrette:

  1. Transfer 2 tablespoons lentil-cooking liquid to a medium bowl and whisk in vinegars, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Add oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk dressing until emulsified.
  2. Drain lentils (if required, I didn’t have to) well in a sieve and discard parsley sprigs. Toss lentils with chopped parsley and vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Just before serving, arrange arugula decoratively around salad, or serve without as is pictured below.

The wonderful yolk breaks into the most luxurious sauce over the tangy lentilles, it is quite a lovely flavour and texture experience

LentilsDuPuys-1

I retook this picture because I really didn’t like the light in the earlier ones. I also folded in baby Arugula into this version and laid it on a Kale salad.

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This is the fallen tree. We have several in our neighbourhood,
all about the same age. I’m hoping they have stronger roots!

I’m on a bit of a lentil kick these days, and that’s rather funny as I have never really like them. My favourite is the Lentilles du Puy that I recently blogged about, but the recipe that inspired my recipe kept creeping into my head so I had to make it. It’s a warm or cold salad; for lunch the following day I had it cold over a bed of arugula and spinach (my favourite) and it was very tasty and filling (or the three F’s Full bodied, Flavourful and Filling). This shall definitely go into my repertoire for weeknight dinners and lunches. It was also very easy to make which is a bonus for everyone.

I found the lentils at Pusatari’s in Yorkville, but they were a bit more expensive than the package I bought in Lyon. I got many great tips on where to find them in Toronto from my readers and I thank you kindly. This recipe is from Epicurious and although I did not change much of it, I did change up the method considerably. Also, this would make a great vegetarian dish if you omit the pancetta, I just couldn’t help myself ;-)!

Lentilles du Puy Salad with a Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

LentilsDuPuys-1

I took this photo over again in the summer of 2014 because I really hated the lighting in the original photos. While the lentils were still warm, I folded in a good handful of baby arugula leaves and served it on a massaged Kale salad.

A feast for the eyes as well.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentilles du Puy (French green lentils) picked over and rinsed
  • 3 cups water (the original recipe has 6 cups but you have to drain the remaining water)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 pancetta slices, chopped (about 3-4 table spoons)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 fresh flat-leafed parsley sprigs plus 1/2 cup leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced  (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)

For vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard, or to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp cup EVOO
  • 1 bunch arugula, coarse stems discarded, washed well and spun dry

Directions:

  1. In a heavy saucepan render the pancetta to a crispy consistency. Remove pancetta and add the onions and sweat until transparent. Add the garlic, type and parsley sprigs (reserve the leaves). Cook for about 1 minute.
  2. Add the lentils and sauté for another minute, add the water all at once and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Stir in bells peppers and simmer mixture, covered, until lentils are tender, about 10 minutes. Lentils may be made 2 days ahead and kept covered and chilled. Reheat lentils before proceeding with recipe.

Directions for vinaigrette:

  1. Transfer 2 tablespoons lentil-cooking liquid to a medium bowl and whisk in vinegars, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Add oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk dressing until emulsified.
  2. Drain lentils (if required, I didn’t have to) well in a sieve and discard parsley sprigs. Toss lentils with chopped parsley and vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Just before serving, arrange arugula decoratively around salad, or serve without as is pictured below.

I’m just about to have some, won’t you join me?

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Good day friends, I hope this post finds you all in a good place and bearing the chilly fall temperatures (or the warmer spring temperatures for my friends down under). As promised this is the final installment for my vacation photos and it’s Paris! We traveled to Paris from Lyon via the TGV which is their high speed train. Four years ago we went from Avignon to Paris on the TGV and enjoyed it so much, we thought we’d do it again! Normally this trip would have taken an entire day, but on the TGV it’s only three hours — that’s how fast it goes! Here is a little movie to show the speed.

The trip itself was quiet and uneventful and we arrived at the main train station in Paris on time. Because JT was still hobbling so we took a cab to our apartment which seemed to be on the complete opposite side of town, and was expensive. They have a direct train to the airport but it was a 30 minute walk to the apartment and considering our situation, we decided against it.

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The apartment was on the fourth floor, fifth if you count the ground floor as one (Europeans count it as zero). 88 steps up. 22kg (50lbs) of luggage EACH! Fortunately, our lovely host Jean-François bolted both of our bags up the 88 steps to our beautiful flat. I’ll be the first person to admit it, seven pairs of shoes seemed like a good idea at the time I selected my outfits for the trip, but from here on in, I will change my packing MO, for sure! I will limit myself to three pairs of shoes (knowing full well that I will likely buy a pair or two while away!) Now I just need a long trip to test myself!

Our flat was in the Montmartre district, not very touristy, but that’s a good thing. I like having a simple breakfast because it’s an easy way to control the calories particularly on vacation so we bought some provisions for breakfasts and cocktails and we were good to go!

We didn’t have great weather, these things happen, so we stayed close to home for dinners but we explored like crazy during the daytime — rain or no rain, it’s Paris! In fact, the weather made us choose activities we might not have normally chosen. For example, the Pompidou Centre which is apparently the largest collection of modern art. Not sure about you, but I just don’t get the large rock on a 1970’s fridge as art. Really? But they also have some more interesting pieces that I can relate to. The Pompidou centre has a lovely lookout at the top and if you don’t wish to subject yourself to art: pile of bricks on the floor, you can pay only for the lookout. They also have a restaurant up there too which is supposed to be pretty good bit it was expensive and it was overcast; had it been a sunny day, we would have splurged! Musée de l’Orangerie is another gallery that we visited, it’s not expensive and it’s quite manageable in a couple of hours. It has Monet’s Water Lilies, the really huge paintings — they have two or three large rooms dedicated to 4 works each…they are HUGE!

We also did some old favorites, like the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which gives you a gorgeous view of the Champs Elleyse, the top of Montmartre with the beautiful Sacré-Cœur Bascilica and the lively artists selling their art in the square. We were also up close to the Obelisque in the Place de la Concorde. We tried to get into the crypts at Notre Dame Cathedral but the line up was bad, so we passed; it wasn’t our first trip to Paris and I’m sure it won’t be our last, so it’s on the list for next time.

Food was as good as ever; we had some lovely meals at little ma and pa restaurants in our direct hood! I had a lot of steak tartare…and Caprese salads. One meal in particular was at a place called Le Bistrot Pappillon where I had a tuna tartare, but I loved the crispy rosette of Phylo pastry they garnished the dish with. I snapped a pic to make sure I don’t forget…you’ll be seeing that technique sometime soon!

And last but not least, on our final day in Paris, we had the opportunity to meet up for lunch with fellow blogger Charles, of Five Euro Foods. Charles is gracious, kind, generous and charming…exactly what you would expect from reading his blog. Charles generously treated us to a Korean BBQ luncheon at one of his favourite spots. Neither JT nor I had experienced this wonderful and tasty food before so it seemed apropos to experience it first with Charles. We had a delicious beef BBQ with a variety of toppings and sauces, Shiso leaves or lettuce leaves and steamed rice; he also ordered an interesting soup with tofu. We were very well fed! Thank you Charles for a memorable lunch, it was so lovely to meet you.

Eva and Charles enjoying a Macaron in Paris

Charles recently became a Dad to a lovely young man named William. If you pop over to his blog you can see a photo of William sporting a very chic jumper (if I do say so myself)! You will also see my friend Barb’s (Profiteroles and Ponytails) very first guest post successfully making non-other than the famed Macarons. Barb had asked me to pick up some Macarons for Charles and I to munch on while JT took our photos; what can I say, it’s a tough job, but someone had to do it! We found a perfect little specialty shop in Montmartre called Christophe Roussel (recommended by a blog called Madaboutmacarons that claimed it was the best in Paris and boy, they were TASTY — wish I had bought more of them! Particularly the salted caramel … YUM). Fortunately, our last day in Paris was perfect with warm temperatures and sunny – just right for the photo opp!

So that concludes our European Adventure for 2012. Thank you so much for joining us on our little journey and now we’ll get back into regular programming. Blog on!

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We’re celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and JT and I traditionally head up to my brother’s cottage in the Muskoka’s. We’ve had all sorts of weather during this weekend over the years, from swimming in Lake Rosseau to a little snow. But what ever the weather, there is always lots of food, reconnecting with family and lots of wine. We wish you all a very happy Canadian Thanksgiving and safe travels. Remember, it’s never smart to drink and drive (Hungary has a Zero tolerance rate and France is 0.5!) Just choose a DD and give them lots of dessert instead! Happy holidays friends.

For this post, I’ve had to change my plan and divide Lyon and Paris into two posts so that I don’t bore you too much. I also figured out how to add a slide show (boy, that was painful!) but it’s done. So if you have a moment, please visit with us in Lyon.

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A little history of why we chose Lyon; it is said to the Gastronomic Capital of France. I’ve read that there are over 30 Michelin star restaurants in the city. The people clearly love food and since we do too we thought it would be a perfect match. And it was…for the most part. We had read that we must experience the traditional Bouchon in Lyon and I’ve read many blogs advising that, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately Bouchon’s are generally small places and serve only a fixed menu of three to four courses, and unless you reserve well in advance you simply cannot get in (they only cook for the number of seats in the restaurant, and there is only one seating!). I simply cannot eat three to four courses and feel good, so we decided to just go to a bistro specializing in the cuisine of Lyon and order one course. We did this on night one, the day before our trip to Geneva to meet our friend Ted and his partner Ji. I ordered the andouillette of Lyon (warning…this may be offensive to the ultra sensitive) it is a ‘sausage’ of various ofal particularly some kind of tripe. Now I can eat practically anything, but this dish had an odor (Charles described his experience that he thought someone left the W/C door open, but now I’m getting ahead of myself) I thought it smelled of barn yard, very earthy and very strong. I didn’t take a photo as the lighting was really bad (and I’d rather not be reminded of the experience). It was served in a cream sauce (very rich) and a gratin of potatoes (quite yummy). I could barely eat it, but I persevered and had about a quarter (JT finished the rest). I did not have a good night that night and didn’t recover until lunch the following day! JT had smaller, more traditional sausages that reminded me of bratwurst, without a heavy sauce. Neither were high on my favourite list. But we were entertained for the most part by a street entertainer who was quite funny mimicking people and making rude balloon objects! We figured he could take 100E per set, and given an evening, he probably does 3-4 sets in different neighbourhoods.

Also, you can bet a tomato will taste like a tomato in France. They still care.

Note: if you click on the first photo in the gallery below, it will enlarge and you can click through them like a gallery!
Sorry, but it doesn’t work on your iPhone.

Geneva trip 1:

We made arrangements to meet up with our good friend Ted whom we haven’t seen for at least 10 years. He and his partner Ji traveled by train from outside Zurich to make this possible. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch in Geneva’s oldest restaurant/hotel in the historic district. I may have even sat in the same chair as George Clooney; check out their guest book. Geneva is a beautiful city whose population is manly made up of people from somewhere else; there are many company head offices in Geneva as well. We had hoped to meet up with other blogger in Geneva too, but sadly she had to travel for work on the date we could make it. We shall have to return one day.

Geneva trips 2:

We had booked a tour at C.E.R.N laboratories so that we could see what all the fuss was about. This was a very bad weather day; traveling on the highways, it rained so heavily that at times we were unable to see the hood of the car! The tour itself was lead by a physicist and was interesting but we both felt that since we were in Lyon for such a short time, this little side trip could have been avoided without much loss. Plus it was a gorgeous day in Lyon which we missed entirely! And we had to rush back for our cooking class! Not-withstanding the tolls which over the two days were in excess of 100E! Oh well. Live and learn.

Upon our return to Lyon we tried to return the car with the tank empty but they would have charged us 175E to fill it themselves so we opted to find a station and fill it ourselves for 52E. It took over an hour (mainly waiting for people to fill their cars) and return…only minutes to spare for our cooking class. Chef Villard was ready for us waiting in the lobby of our hotel! I barely had time to change and freshen up!

Cooking Class with Chef Jean-Marc Villard

Winemakers notes: “The color is a brilliant light straw. Aromas of intense acacia, yellow peaches and exotic fruits. On the palate the wine is very elegant and harmonious. Its freshness allows the fruit to fully develop. A seductive wine to be enjoyed with appetizers and hors d’oeuvres”.

Our cooking class was amazing and I would definitely recommend it. Chef Villard is fluent in English and is a kind instructor. His kitchen in tidy and calm, but then again there were only two of us. I shall list the menu, but as you can well imagine, I shall be blogging about it in future blog posts! Chef Villard kindly created a little hors d’œuvres of sausages wrapped in home-made brioche (he served the meal with a lovely local wine made with a Viognier grape), we then had a wonderful creamed pumpkin soup fragranced with vanilla bean, drizzled with hazelnut oil (OMG, you MUST smell this!) and served with three seared scallops. Chef Villard mentioned that it depends where you are in France with the fat is that they use…not everyone cooks with butter! Our main course was a Monkfish wrapped in bacon with a delightful veal sauce with green olives (the sweetness of the veal stock and the saltiness of the olives really went well with the fish, and the bacon wrapping was not too salty at all), with olive oil sautéed fingerling potatoes and some lovely snap peas with an arugula (rocket) pesto. For dessert we made a pear and chocolate clafoutis with a glorious caramel sauce. Yes, this will be a dinner for several friends over the next month or so. Of course, I will try to make it marginally healthier (although for a French Chef, he didn’t use as much cream as I thought he might!). This was a very enjoyable dinner. If you are in Lyon, you must try to get into one of his classes, you will not be disappointed. We ate with Chef and Mme Villard and chatted as if we were long-time friends. It was a very enjoyable evening.

We’re off to Paris next on the TGV! See you soon.

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