When someone who hasn’t been to Paris in over TWO DECADES comes to stay with you, you really have to give thought to what each day will contain. There’s this place here in Paris called Shakespeare and Company. It is a bookshop that has been around for over 100 hundred years. It is opposite the Notre Dame and therefore if you stand on the pavement outside the bookshop (a.k.a Shakespeare & Co.), you can see Our Lady through leaves and people riding bicycles across the Seine.
This is a favourite shop in Paris. Books are stacked on every wall. They start sitting on the floor and reach right up to the tips of the ceiling. The tiles in the shop are cracked and don’t match. The staircase becomes an awkward place of maneuvering passed people, apologizing for touching them and at the same time trying to remain quiet, as it is a bookshop after all. The only thing that seems to make noise, a part from the flipping of pages and frequent exclaimations in English from tourists passing by, “Oh my gosh would you look at this!” is the piano which is available for anyone to play. I took Mother here, to this place that compelled me to this city, to a reading from a new book complied with prose pieces by mainly English speakers living in Paris.
Earlier on in the day I had stumbled (as we do through other people’s blogs) on a particular salad that consisted of every thing good, especially when all combined. Egg, nuts of some kind, apple for sweetness, herbs and a much loved experience of mine; curry. This inspired salad amalgamation, plus a few additions drawn from my own taste buds; the recent knowledge I had received about a French ice cream pallor on Île de la Cité, an island in Paris; plus the prose reading that evening at Shakespeare & Co., called for the much loved, and always to be embraced, occurrence of picnicking beside the Seine.
Even earlier on that day, I had experienced that all consuming desire to bake a Frangipane Tart with fresh strawberries. This isn’t uncommon and considering it hadn’t happened yet in Paris, I thought it only appropriate to meet this desire in full capacity by going all out and using real French Butter.
I didn’t have a lemon lying around, which is very strange for my home, so instead a used a large pink grapefruit flatmate had left here after her move to London. The result was something to be responded to with only repetition.
And so I got everything together; cutlery, bowls and plates with flowers on them and I packed my bag and took Mother to the best reading I had been to in Paris. After the nine prose writers and taken us through their exerts, Mother followed me over Pont Neuf, passed Our Lady, and into a small park at the end of Saint Louis, the other Island in Paris, for a picnic by the Seine.
Frangipane Tart with Strawberries and Grapefruit
1 sheet of sweet short crust pastry
250g softened butter
1cup caster sugar
250g almond meal
3 Tbsp flour
zest of one grapefruit
7 strawberries pureed/ 4 Tbsp of a berry jam
Pre heat oven till 200° You always do this when working with pastry.
Butter and paper proof your tart tray. Roll out your pastry and line your tart tray with the pastry, carefully leaving the edges in the state you would want them to look like once baked.
Refrigerate for half an hour (very important to chill the butter in the pastry again before cooking. Otherwise you will cause the butter to melt in the pastry before the flour is cooked and your pastry will be soft).
Place in the oven for five or so minutes until your pastry shell is par-baked.
Puree strawberries (or use jam) and spread a layer on the bottom of the pastry.
Then you want to beat your softened butter with your sugar until it is white, nice and fluffy. Add everything else, except the berries, and mix well.
Pour the mixture over your jam and level the frangipane with your spatula. Top with fresh berries, not pressing them in too far as they will sink on their own.
Place in the oven and bake for half an hour (perhaps more) until the tart is golden and firm to the touch. If the frangipane is browning too quickly, wrap foil around the tart while it cooks.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Curried Egg and Sweetened Raisin Salad
Adapted from 100 Cookbooks Recipe
2 tsp of good curry powder
¼ cup natural yoghurt
¼ sp salt
¼ cup raisins
½ and apple, diced
¼ red onion, diced
half a bunch of chives, chopped
¼ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Place your eggs in boiling water for ten minutes. Once cooked, remove and run under cold water while you peal them. Roughly chop and add to a bowl.
Meanwhile, place your curry powder, salt and yogurt in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
Add everything to the big bowl and mix well in ensure the curry mixture has coated everything in the salad.
You can eat this as is, or if you want it to seem a little fresher, place a big spoonful on top of a bed of different coloured lettuce leaves and enjoy.