Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The best French Kitchens

Without a doubt, Hélène Darroze is the best. She has held two Michelin stars at one time or another in each of her two restaurants, Hélène Darroze at the Connaught in London and Restaurant Hélène Darroze in Paris.

Her restaurant is so fabulous and the homemade candy trolley after your meal has to be seen to be believed.

photos from Laissez Fare

From beginning to end the food is outstanding and sometimes I wish I could start with dessert to be sure I have room for it.  You will not be disappointed.

I have been eating at Lasarre for thirty years and am always excited to go there.

Lasserre’s rich history is definitely a part of the dining experience: notables like Audrey Hepburn, André Malraux and Salvador Dali were regulars; it harboured Resistance fighters during the war; and it was while dining with Malraux that Marc Chagall decided to paint the ceiling for the Opera Garnier. But its illustrious past is nothing next to the food: chef Christophe Moret (ex-Plaza Athénée) and his pastry chef Claire Heitzler (ex-Ritz) create lip-smacking delicacies to die for. The upstairs dining room, accessed by a bellboy-operated lift, is a sumptuous affair in taupe and white, with solid silver table decorations, and a retracting roof, which at night opens just enough for you to see the stars.

I think this is the most romantic restaurant in the world, especially when the roof slides open and you can drink your champagne under the stars.

Of course both of the above restaurants are for special occasions.  I eat out all the time when I am in Paris, even when I have an apartment there.  Why cook?

I find this link excellent as it gives you wonderful restaurants that serve healthy and artisinal food. This article is about the 7th arrondissement. Click on it and see if you agree.

Healthy food choices in Paris

I do love cooking and collecting French cuisine items for my kitchen.  When I am at my home in country France or in Dallas I cook most of  the time.  I would love to share my favourite recipes and cooking aids with you.

Very easy slow roasted chicken.....

In a heavy roasting pan on top of the stove, brown the pieces of chicken, bone on.  Season with spices you like, salt, pepper, thyme, paprika, mediterranean spice mix or anything to give it lots of flavour. To the browned chicken pieces add carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes ( any root vegetables you like) and enough chicken broth to come half way up the side of the pan.  Roast in a very slow oven for 2-3 hours.  Add more liquid if necessary.  I cook mine at around 200 degrees.  The chicken will fall off the bone.

I am very partial to the French kitchen towels, called Torchon.  They really dry your dishes and glassware beautifully.  I have several of them on my web site http://www.frenchvintagehome.com
Check out the linens.

Eton Mess


Eton mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue, and whip cream, which is traditionally served at Eton College's annual cricket game against the pupils of Harrow School. The dish has been known by this name since the 19th century, I love the name.

Easy, easy.  Just clean and quarter strawberries, add lots of whipped whipping cream and broken up store bought meringues.  That's it.  You can add other things but I love it just this way.  Actually it is a Pavlova broken up and much easier to make.

Another cute decorative item for your French kitchen.  This, too, can be found on the web site
www.frenchvintagehome.com under Kitchen Accessories.

I cannot close without mentioning Street Food in Paris.

Berthillon Ice Cream.  I have never tasted any better ice cream.  Walking around L'ile Saint Louis with a salted caramel Berthillon ice cream cone is my idea of heaven.

L'As de Fallafel in the Marais.
I've never thought of Parisians as patient and I've certainly never thought of them as the kind of people who'd wait in line for much, but the other day, there they were, waiting in line for elegant macarons from Pierre Herme, and then, there they were again, waiting for a pita stuffed to within a millimeter of bursting with falafel and all its messy fixings.
The falafel worth the wait was from L'As de Fallafel, the most famous, most written about falafel joint in Paris - which might not say much to some of you, but then that's probably because you've never walked down the rue des Rosiers and seen just how many falafel places there are!

Last but certainly not least of Paris street food is the Crepe, especially at the Creperie Josselin.

The star crêperie of the 14th arrondissement, and the one with the longest queues, is the prettily decorated Josselin, where the speciality is the Couple - two layers of galette with the filling in the middle. The savoury galette is followed by the dessert Crêpe de Froment, which comes in three varieties: classic (honey and lemon or wonderful caramel beurre salé); flambéed with calvados; or a fantasy creation oozing with chocolate, banana, ice cream and whipped cream. Wash it all down with bowls of cider, of which the brut is far better than the sweet. You'll be surprised how full you feel at the end and the bill should come to no more than €20 a head, a buckwheat bargain by Paris standards.

Bon appétit mes amis


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