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Category Archives: French theme party

Parisian birthday or ‘following the footsteps of Barefoot Contessa’

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Recently I couldn’t be bothered to write any posts. The uncertainty of what is going to happen next after Brexit, attacks and abuse of Brits who ‘wanted to take their country back’ was not only making me feel scared but depressed.

But I am not going to dwell on it here, I never believed in nationalism, I think it only caused wars and violence. And I’d rather be Cosmopolitan than proud to be of one nation.

Anyway, before it all happened, Boyfriend had had his birthday. Very nice.

As a very good girlfriend (but only on special occasions, on every day I am a raging bitch), I’ve decided to take him out for dinner. In Paris.

Before you are mistaken by the nature of this gesture, let me assure you, I had an ulterior motive.

You see, whenever I travel with my sister, we always spend days in museums. Like a whole day. We get up early to avoid queues, get there, and stay until they kick us out. So last time I had been to Paris, I’ve been eating in museums’ restaurants. Not that I am complaining, the one in Musee D’Orsay has a beautiful decor and setting, not to mention a terrace from which you have a panoramic view of Paris. Or the one in Versailles – nice, elegant, great soups. But if you know me, you know I am a huuuuge fan of Ina Garten aka Barefoot Contessa. And I sort of always wanted to follow her footsteps and recommendations while in Paris. So although it was nice to surprise Boyfriend with the Paris trip, it was also nice to have a foodie city break.

So to start with we stayed in St Germaine. As soon as we arrived, we went for breakfast to a Parisian institution – Cafe de Flore.

I have heard horror stories from many Brits about French people being rude (especially waiters). Let me tell you, I have never experienced it, I more often encounter rude Brits than Frenchies. Maybe it is also in your attitude – if you treat other people like they are inferior to you because they aren’t the best nation in the world (and you are), and you think every other country should be colonised, also that it’s a disgrace if natives don’t speak English, maybe you deserve to be treated rudely. Just saying.

Back to Cafe de Flore – the service was implacable, friendly and polite, we even exchanged a few random jokes with our waiter. It can be quite pricey but it is totally worth it – their omelettes are fluffy and cooked to perfection. I always loved the fact that in France and Italy you always get nice bread and water with your meal without asking. 20160607_104010



Cafe de Flore


Cafe de Flore


Cafe de Flore





Birthday Boy

We stopped at a few cafes and had obligatory crepes as you do when in Paris. In the evening we went for diner to a restaurant Ina Garten was raving about called Marco Polo on Rue Saint Sulpice. And oh my, was it worth it….

Our dinner was delicious, Boyfriend opted for spaghetti alle vongole, I went for pasta with grilled courgettes and tomato sauce. We also had tiramisu. I felt like I died and went to heaven. You might be surprised why we went to an Italian restaurant in Paris, but firstly as you remember I was on the Ina Garten wagon and secondly, it is quite difficult to find a veggie dish when you are dinning at the Parisian bistro.


Marco Polo, Paris


Boyfriend’s spaghetti alle vongole

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Marco Polo, Rue Saint-Sulpice

Next day we had decided to try something totally different. We went to an American diner. In Paris. Yes, guilty as charged. The place was called Breakfast in America and it looked like a typical diner.

breakf in america

Portions were truly American as well. I had blueberry pancakes and I could only master half of it, Boyfriend opted for banana pancakes, but unwisely he had a milkshake while waiting, and that was like a meal in itself, so he only had 1/3 of his stack. The owner ( a true Yank) thought that something was not right with our food and was really concerned, we had to assure him that our appetite got used to ‘French portions’.


Breakfast in America, Paris


Breakfast in America, Paris

What I loved the most about the diner was the ‘bottomless mug o’ joe’ – just like in American diners, nice mug of coffee, filled up constantly by a lovely waitress as soon as you  get to the bottom.

I absolutely couldn’t leave Paris without eating Hank’s Vegan Burger.

And let me tell you, I could eat there every day. Boyfriend who is not vegan and tried different burgers in his life decided that Hank’s was the best burger he had tried. The other advantage is the price. You can have a burger of your choice, a drink and either chips or coleslaw for 12 Euros, if you throw in 2 more Euros, you will get dessert as well.


Hank’s Vegan Burger, Paris


Hank’s Vegan Burger

We also had to visit Poilane, a bakery in Saint-Germaine-des-Pres, Ina Garten owns an apartment nearby and is a frequent visitor.

You can read the whole article I based our trip on here.

And here are some random but lovely pictures from the city of lights and love…





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


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


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