New Year, New Place… New Me?

Hi everyone! It’s been ages since I last updated. Here’s a quick roundup of what just happened during the last few weeks:

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Rocamadour

(please refrain from using my pictures without my permission)

even before living in France, i have always wanted to visit Rocamadour. i have first read about it in a book called, Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong. and the way the author described how wonderful a place it is made me put it in my list of must-visits.

on the way to the Tourism Office to get a map
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How to cook aiguillette de canard

the South of France is famous for its duck. i was not so much a duck person when i was living in Asia. especially since we never usually eat duck in the Philippines. but here, i have learned to appreciate it much, much more than before.

this week, since my husband was on a week-long business trip, i was left to my own devices in the kitchen. and so, having no choice, i decided to try my hand at cooking aiguillette de canard in the same way that my husband cooks them, but with a little bit of my own personal touch.

it’s actually very simple, you just buy it as it is from the supermarket, like this:

aiguillette is the sides of the duck, cut into strips

before throwing it on a non-stick pan, i like to grease it a bit with vegetable oil (i use colza oil, btw). and then just cook it on medium heat until the sides start to brown. and then you can turn it over.

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Menu de Pâques (Easter Menu)

for non-french speakers: all photo captions are in English.

hier midi, on a profité le menu de pâques d’une brasserie qui s’appelle Le Bibent. on se trouve cette brasserie pratiquement au Place du Capitole de Toulouse.

the easter menu of Le Bibent, a famous brasserie of one of France’s top chefs, Christian Constant

le menu q’on avait manque les rilletes de sardines indiqué dans le menu ci-dessus. mais cétait très bon quand même. et j’ai trouvé le reste des plats copieux.

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Un Weekend Aveyronnais

one of the many, many things that i will definitely miss in France is the marché. there is nothing quite like it. as you already know, France is all about food. and all the territories have their own specialties.

this weekend, there is the Marché Aveyronnais at the Place du Capitole. we took the opportunity to go this morning since it was quite a mild winter weather we are having today.

my husband, as you know is of Aveyron origin. for those who do not know where it is, it is still in the south of France and still in the region of Midi-Pyrénées (like Toulouse) but it is a few notches higher up in the map.

image from: http://www.gite-les-pissades.fr/rieupeyroux-aveyron.html

it is a region famous for roquefort cheese (that smelly moldy blue cheese), laguiole knife (we received them as wedding gift from my parents-in-law), and the world’s tallest viaduct (Millau viaduct).

we were greeted with this huge sign of a stall selling farçous upon entering the vicinity
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Lourdes

for non-french speakers: photo captions are in english.

il faisait très beau le weekend dernier. pour profiter le soleil, on a décidé d’aller à Lourdes.

je ne suis pas très catholique mais je trouve les vieux architectures comme les vieilles basiliques et cathédrales vraiment intéressants. et il faut profiter le reste de temps que je suis encore ici dans le sud de la France pour visiter tous les beaux endroits.

en route, dans la voiture, on avait la vue magnifique de la chaine des Pyrénées. ils sont plus magnifiques dans l’hiver avec les glaces partout.

approaching the ice-capped mountains of the Pyrenees
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Shakespeare and Company

if you are ever in Paris, take the time to visit Shakespeare and Company. It’s a really old bookshop along the Seine, right beside the Notre Dame. It was frequented by a lot of famous writers back in the day. If visiting old bookshops is your thing, you wouldn’t want to miss this one.

View of the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral from a park right beside Shakespeare and Company; couldn’t resist taking this pic because it’s so beautiful in this golden winter light.

I was able to drop by when I visited Paris for the second time. All the books inside were English books ranging from the classics to the contemporary. But when you go up the old rickety stairs to the premier étage, you are transported back in time as you find yourself surrounded by old, dusty, hard-bound books, complete with cozy nooks that temptingly invite you to sit down and read. These books are not for sale though.

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Top Chef

it’s the season for Top Chef again. and so also starts the highest high of all drama on French reality TV.

the host and chef judges of the show

everybody knows that France is best known for having the best food in the world. when you say best, first of all, it means the food is fresh, well-grown, and healthy. then, it should also be beautifully presented. lastly, and of course, most importantly, it should taste great.

but to be able to really comprehend the french standard for the “best” food, you have to actually live for a while in France to absorb the culture and the ways of the people here.  and if you have lived here long enough, you will understand that the best food is a product of art, science, mathematics, sweat and blood, and all that drama… and you get to see all of this if you watch Top Chef.

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Au Marché de Noël

If you visit the Place du Capitole de Toulouse during this time of the year, you will find yourself surrounded by various delicacies and produce of Southern France and also from the rest of the world.

You have the famous nougats and candied fruit stands

These candied fruits are oozing with sugary sweetness… gives me toothache just by looking at them
Nougats are extra-soft and chewy here in France, but also extra-expensive
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