We arrived in Paris 2 days ago myself, my daughter and my mother. Three blonde girls, one little family. Now we are nearly acclimatised, nearly very French polite shoppers. I have already had more butter and cream than I am accustom. We will be testing the concept of The French Paradox.
After 21 hours in the air, an hour stop-over and 5 rich meals, we are very happy to be nesting in our new apartment in Marais. It is so tiny, I commented to my Mama that it was a little like being in a stylish caravan. I have yet to see a caravan decorated in shabby chic flea market, with parquetry!
Any daughter will tell you it is not easy to be with ones Mother; imagine being in close quarters with your Mother and your teenage Daughter! Yes, I am giving myself a medal, right now. Those of you who don't understand this emotional tight rope im walking ... well, just wait, your day will come!
I gave myself 2 days to get the lay of the land before starting this mission.
The mission: to live for one month in Paris, shopping in local markets for as little as possible, as healthy as possible and as ethically as possible .... So I could buy clothes!
I will be taking my own photos and writing my foodie suggestive recipes for a book. The title is still a work in process. "3 women in a French shoe box with a frying pan"maybe not?
In a state of jet lag to be delirium we wandered amazed through Bon Marche, marvelling at the tiny morsels in aspic, the piled display, the packaging, the practicalities and the endless choice.
My little wheat eaters ordered their first croissant and I my cafe au late, relatively confidently.
I have started to take the occasional sneer of a Parisian as a compliment and make most of my waiters laugh, at me I think?
My daughter Bella has had her first traditional bistro meal, all important to a girls education.
For 11 Euro we had 3 very simple courses. For rather a lot more Euro we went to a charming bistro where the Madam knew her patrons by name, taught Bella to eat crevettes with her fingers and patted visiting dogs as other guests arrived. The Skate for main with cappers lemon and of course, butter ... brilliant . My first course of Boudin Noir in a terrine with cooked apple that held fruit and acid balance was divine. That dark rich sweet of blood cooked to custard set with soft white fruit through the centre, all flicked with a balsamic reduction, simply sliced.
Well, being tired and hormonally congested with touches of jet lag, my first meal was to come from the closest Super Market. I did not want to get to much from here; I really wanted to shop at the markets. We Purchased dinner for 3 for about 6 Euros, with the aid of olive oil and Sel de mare left in the apartment. Oh and a few left over dried figs bought on our market wanderings. We where all craving a meal without butter, cream and protein, so it was to be a cauliflower, 5 large white mushrooms and a fennel bulb.
The apartment has a 2 convection burner hot plate and a microwave ... I don't use microwaves (unless heating babies bottles, and thankfully those days are far behind me). As Bella started to hit another jet lag teenage wall dinner was ready : Steamed whole cauliflower with a saute of fennel & mushroom