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Rocket, goat cheese and fig salad

For a week the weather has been really amazing. Autumn is my favorite part of the year anyway, but the beginning of the season is incredible. It is still warm, the leaves on the trees just started turning yellow and red, and you can detect that autumny smell in the air – decay and crispy, foggy morning smell. For some unknown reason to me, it makes me feel really optimistic and whole. It makes me want to dine outside in fading warmth of the sun. It also makes me think of my favorite French director – Eric Rohmer. Especially two of his films – A Tale of Autumn and The Green Ray. One reason is because there are so many beautiful scenes of people dining outside but also because of the atmosphere of his films.

Rohmer’s films make me feel really nostalgic. I became obsessed with his work as a teenager. Many years later I was introduced to one of my (now) best friends and first conversation we had was a heated argument about Rohmer. He changed his mind after a few years and started admiring my favorite director. At some point when A Tale of Autumn was released he bought two tickets and said to me: ‘ You, me, dark cinema and Rohmer…what can be better’. That cinema doesn’t exist anymore in my university town, but I remember every single film I watched there…

The Green Ray is my favorite because I feel close to the main character who’s a vegetarian (most of the time) and a bit bonkers. The way she cries randomly and unexpectedly makes her even more amusing but honest.

What I also love about Rohmer is his philosophical references. His characters discuss Pascal or Rousseau, girl from A Tale of Springtime makes a point that people constantly confuse meaning of transcendent with transcendental, something that anyone who studied philosophy finds quite amusing. And no one in film history, maybe apart from Woody Allen, could make an interesting film about people ‘walking and talking’. He had an ear for the way people talk but also knew how to make an interesting, intelligent film. Maybe because he wasn’t treating his audience like idiots, he had faith in them.

So, what would one like to serve while having a little Rohmer session? Well, it has to be something light but elegant, like his films.

Goat cheese and fig salad

rocket, goat cheese and figs salad

rocket, goat cheese and figs salad

200-300 grams rocket, washed

4-5 figs

200 grams soft goat cheese

shavings of vegetarian parmesan

walnuts or pecans

For the dressing:

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2tbsp lemon juice

4 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

1. Cut figs in half, spread them on a baking tray, bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

2. In a dry pan or in the oven toast walnuts or pecans (whichever you prefer).

3. Put the rocket in a bowl. Make your dressing by combining all ingredients, pour onto the rocket, mix. Put figs on top, crumble goat cheese, sprinkle your choice of nuts and shavings of parmesan. Serve it with red wine and Eric Rohmer’s film.

rohmer autumn tale

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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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