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French themed party

To achieve a successful French theme party you need:

1. to befriend a French person, preferably with a family (so you can have a French person times three = more legitimate French party)

2. miniature Eiffel Tower,

3. A la French menu,

4. lots of wine,

5. no nonsense taking attitude,

6. lots and lots of wine and cheese,

7. stamina…

8.selection of French music.

 Now, it’s definitely not a good idea to start with a little session called ‘two Cosmopolitans drinking two cosmopolitans’…which is me and my ex flatmate (Kamil, mentioned before in this blog) downing two cosmos before the French arrived. Three words of warning – next day hangover.

And try not to delete half of the photographs you had taken (!)

Anyway, setting the table for the French themed party in my case was more like fishing from a basket of clichés. Baguette here, Eiffel tower there, and voila! Sorted.

 french theme party

French theme party

french theme party

french theme party

french theme party

french theme party

 

For dinner I made green bean and goat cheese tart. The inspiration came from Anna Olson’s book ‘Fresh with Anna Olson’, I just turned it into a vegetarian dish.

Green bean and goat cheese tart

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

1 1/2 cups of flour

120 grams of unsalted butter

1/2 cup of grated parmesan

2-3 tablespoons of cold water

Filling:

200-300 grams of green beans, trimmed and blanched

2 eggs

3/4 cup of sour cream

black pepper

pinch of salt

herbes de provence

120 grams of goat cheese

1. For the pastry pulse the flour and butter in a food processor until crumbly (you can do it by hand, just try to be quick so the butter stays cold)

2. Add parmesan and water and pulse again. Turn the dough out, shape into a disk, wrap in a cling foil and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.

3. Preheat the oven to 190 C. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle. Line the tart shell with the dough, trim the edges. Chill for another 30 minutes (trust me, it’s worth it).

4. Stab with a fork a few times (helps letting the air out while baking) and bake till it starts getting golden. Let it cool.

5. Reduce the temperature to 160C. Arrange the green beans, sprinkle herbes de provance.

6. In a small bowl whisk the eggs, sour cream, salt and pepper. Pour this over the tart filling and crumble goat cheese over the top.

7. Bake till the eggs are set. (Don’t engage into a long conversation if you don’t want to burn your tart)

8. Let it cool a bit before slicing.

green bean and goat cheese tart

I served it with a salad made of rocket and watermelon with lemon and olive oil dressing and shaved parmesan on top.

There was also plenty of wine, cheese, baguette, etc.

 Dessert is a different story. I decided not to make a cake but biscuits. There were two : normal shortbread filled with raspberry jam and hazelnut shortbread filled with nutella. Yum!

Vive la France!

shortbread biscuits

shortbread biscuits

shortbread biscuits

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About potatofaces

People who cook always go on about precious memories of childhood food one of their family members cooked, how daddy or nanny taught them the importance of cooking and eating together, and they still remember the comfort food they produced, amazing dishes whipped up by brilliant but humble cooks in their family. Well, let me tell you, it was totally different in my family. My mother’s family – totally useless as cooks, who could survive on bread and butter, cooked once a week a terrible, terrible meal, usually some kind of meat piece with lots of brown sauce. Also, they were never bothered about eating together. That’s maybe why most of them were depressed and suicidal. My mother followed that path and couldn’t really cook, and because I never wanted to eat meat, was warning me that ‘one day I will regret it’. Probably because my mother wasn’t into cooking my sister at the age of 12 took over and started producing amazing dinners and cakes. Well, luckily for me and her we weren’t that genetically doomed because apparently my father’s family were gifted in that compartment. I can only presume it was genes, as my father divorced my mother when my sis and me were little and he strongly believed that he also divorced us. So, we were growing up never having any contact with him and as a result, couldn’t learn how to cook from him. That’s why I believe the love of cooking ( and the ability) was just passed to us genetically. My father, short time before he died, unexpectedly felt an urge to contact us. First he gave my sister a mandolin (that’s another thing I know about him- he played a few instruments). My sister refused to talk to him, he then decided to contact me and wanted to spend some time with me. I didn’t want to, as he was a stranger to me (I was 11 or 12 at the time) but as I was promised I could leave whenever I wanted to, I went to the village he lived in. There I tried his mother’s cooking everyone was raving about. It was simple and amazing, I wish they were as family dedicated as they were at baking, cooking, making pastries, wine, tinctures, you name it. But I ate, drunk, and got bored of strangers who were my family and demanded to be let to go home. One of the last things my father said to me was that I should start learning English because I might need it one day, which I ignored for another 16 years… Because my sister was such a domestic goddess I wasn’t really bothered about cooking. I got hooked properly after my son was born and I wanted him to eat healthy and get everything he needed, especially that it wasn’t his choice to be a vegetarian (yet). And that is how the story begins…

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