Adventures with Julia Child: French Crêpes

I really need to get a camera and take my own pictures for these posts because I made crêpes yesterday (curtesy of Julia Child) and they were awesome. It could have only been more awesome if I took pictures.

The actual recipe is called Crêpes Fines Sucrées. This recipe comes from the cookbook I am currently obsessed with,  “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.

There is nothing I enjoy more than making French food for my French love, and really learning and perfecting the technique as I go. This food ordeal is my passion and I want to pursue it. Testing out these recipes is a great way to get my feet wet before I jump in the pool (the pool is France by the way).

The batter was very easy to make (the recipe is posted below). I just put all the ingredients in to a blender, in the order they were listed in the book, and blended. Voila! A yellowish, creamy, sauce-like, batter emerged from the blender, ready to be cooked….Non! The batter actually needed to sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Good thing I made this batter before dinner! It would be ready in perfect timing for dessert.

In the past, I learned interesting things to do with crepes, although I never actually made crepes, I would watch chefs and other cooking fiends crepe up a storm in the kitchen on numerous occasions! If I could recreate their flare for crepes than this night was going to be awesome!

Just as planned, the crepe batter ended up being ready right when dinner was finished. I told my boyfriend that I was going to go make the dessert and he blew me away with a surprising fact. Little did I know that I had a master crepe flipper, with years of experience, on my hands! Oh la la! C’etait bonne chance! (It was good luck!)

As he laddled, buttered, and flipped, I prepared fresh whip cream (3/4 cup 35% cream, a teaspoon or so of sugar, the less sweet the better) and cut a lemon. I heated another pan, threw in some butter (not a literal throw), added some lemon juice (go light on this or your lips will pucker like a fish), a tsp of sugar and a cap full of rum. I quickly tossed the competed crepe in the pan, flipped it, flipped it again out on a plate, added a dollop of whip cream, and served. Délicieux! This topping variation is not a Julia Child recipe, just to let you know.

Mais (but), although this variation was awesome, I would like to let you know that it wasn’t the best way to eat the crepes. My FBF showed me just to sprinkle some sugar on the crepe, and role it up. With a dollop of whip cream, this variation was divine! It was a lot more simple but I was really able to appreciate the taste of the crepe itself. This is the real French way!

All in all in was a complete success. I do recommend, though, that if you are to make these yourself, a personal French boyfriend master crepe flipper will come in handy!

Julia Child goes on to say that the crepes made by that batter are good for Crepe Suzette (and than she provided a recipe). This is not a feat I am ready for yet, but updates will surely come along with my growing kitchen courage.

And now, let me present to you, Julia Child’s Crêpes Fines Sucrées!

Crêpes Fines Sucrées

(Light batter)

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Tb granulated sugar
  • 3 Tb orange liqueur, rum, or brandy (I used rum and it was yummy!)
  • 1 cup flour (scooped and levelled)
  • 5 Tb melted butter
  • A blender
  • A rubber spatula

Place all the ingredients in the blender in the same order they are listed. If ingredients stick to the side of the jar, scrape with the spatula. Blend and leave in fridge for at least two hours.

If you don’t have a blender: Work egg yolks into the flour with a wooden spoon, beat in the liquids by droplets, then strain the batter through a sieve.

Heat up a pan, add some butter, ladle a small amount on to the pan, heat through, flip and heat on other side. You want the edges to be a little crispy. Just repeat this until the batter is finished.

Bon Appétit!

FL 5: Être (to be)

Être (to be) is an extremely useful verb and it is irregular. To refresh your memory, irregular verbs are the verbs that do not follow the usual conjugation rules. Verbs ending in -re are always translated in the same way unless they are irregular, like être.

Basic Conjugation
Je suis (I am)
Tu es (You are)
Il/Elle est (He/She is)
Nous sommes (We are)
Vous êtes [You are (formal or group)]
Ils/Elles sont (The boys/The girls are)

How to use the verb être

  • When you start conversing in French, you will realize that this verb is very common. If you are going to memorize any of the conjugated forms, in the beginning Je suis will most likely be the form you use most often…

Exemples de Je suis:
-Je suis faim. (I am hungry.)
-Je suis très excité! (I am very excited!)
-Je suis une fille. (I am a girl)

If you have any “Je suis…” examples (exemples)  that you would like translated and posted, please let me know in the “comments” section of this post.

  • Être is used commonly in all the other conjugated forms as well!

Exemples de Être:
-Qu’est-ce que c’est? C’est un leçon. (What is this? This is a lesson.)
-Il est un garçon. (He is a boy.)
-Où sont les crayons? Ils sont sur le livre. (Where are the pencils? They are on the book.)

If you want a translation of any sentences using the verb être just comment to this post!

Coming soon… “FL 6: A French Resume”

Also…Please check out the links on the right side panel for a verb conjugator and a french accent typing website.

Welcome back (from Easter)

Hi everyone! I hope you had as awesome of an Easter as I had.

I finally received my copy of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child (volume 1). And a review will be coming shortly. If you remember, the movie  “Julie and Julia” was based on a young woman making every single recipe from this book and blogging from it. I quickly browsed through the book last night and I am eager to get started on these recipes!

FL: être later today…

Stay tooned today for another French language lesson on the verb être (to be). This verb is extremely important and heavily used in French (as well as all languages).

Another Great Blog…

I have also found an awesome blog here on wordpress that has many posts related to French things. There are a lot of videos to check out I now have a long list of French movies to watch because of the info provided.

The blog is called French Stage and here is the link:  http://frenchstage.wordpress.com/

Until later mes amis!

Travel Anxiety Turns Into Excitement

Traveling can bring on great anxiety. This can be true for any trip, even if the trip will only last one week long.

I remember very clearly the stress my parents would always have a week before going on vacation. By the end of that week, they really proved the need for the vacation! I, myself, have traveled too and I always have that pre-trip anxiety. My mind jumps to all of the worse case scenarios: What if I forget something, what if I get stopped at the border, I don’t want to be late for the flight, did I print all the right documents? What if the airplane has a problem, what if I hate the place I am going…and more. Each thought glimpses through my mind for a few split seconds before I get distracted by another fleeting thought. Now imagine planning to go away for an entire year! This trip has the potential of bringing me great anxiety.

Tangent: Manifestation

I am choosing to go on a little tangent now, I want to talk about my little obsession with manifestation. New age pop culture has infested my mind with the idea of manifestation. I looked this word up to explain it to my FB (French boyfriend) but the dictionary definition proved unsatisfactory.

The dictionary says, “Manifest (verb): 1) to make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding; show plainly: He manifested his approval with a hearty laugh. 2) to prove; put beyond doubt or question: The evidence manifests the guilt of the defendant. 3) to record in a ship’s manifest. (Thank you dictionary.com)

I am clearly not talking about recording a ship’s manifest. Making something clear and evident to the eye seems more accurate. I am talking about physically manifesting a situation. Thinking and feeling something so often that it comes true (literally making something evident). Creating from nothing! In the negative terms, this can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Shakespeare's version of self-fulfilling prophecy in Macbeth

So, on top of all the normal anxiety I was having for the trip, I was also worried about being worried, afraid that I could physically manifest all of my worries. Until my FB said something that really changed my thinking. “If you are afraid of manifesting, why don’t you just manifest what you want instead, like a great flight and an easy travel.” It is so true! If  (and that is a strong if) I can manifest scenarios with my thoughts and feelings, than I might as well manifest good things. Positive thinking, in simpler words.

Anxiety is the same as excitement!

I have struggled with anxiety for a while and what really changed my perspective on the anxiety is when I was told that anxiety and excitement are located in the same part of the brain (do not quote me on this, I have no clue if it is true). The body’s physical response to these two feelings is identical: sweating, fast heart rate, etc. And what is so great about this little fact tidbit is that when I simply choose to switch that one negative traveling thought into a happier one, my body’s reaction is instantaneous. I feel excited!

I love feeling excited!

The idea of having to go through this challenge is now starting to really excite me. The idea of flying 30,000 feet over the Earth’s surface (going so fast!) is kind of cool. And going through the whole experience of settling for a year in a new country seems like it will be satisfying not impossible!

If my thoughts can really manifest something from nothing, than I will have a flight on the clearest day of the year, with no turbulence, arriving an hour early. I will have a job within the first two months in France, the French will love me, the visa will be handed to me no problem and all will be well.



My French Man

My love (mon amour) is a French gentleman.

I realize that many woman dream of being whisked off their feet by a romantic French lover, being fed great food, having romantic, loving sex, French phrases being whispered in their ears. I am one of the lucky few North American woman who has a French man for myself. In this post I will tell you all the Frenchy things I love about my French Man (his name is Max!) for you to decide if you want one for yourself.

There are billions of things I love about my man but the icing on the cake is really his Frenchiness. I suppose I could if I tried, but I doubt that I would find these same qualities in a Canadian man. Tell me if I am wrong.

So with no further ado, here is the icing on the cake. Hopefully after you read it, all your hesitation will dissolve and you will meet the French lover of your dreams too!

  • I was immediately attracted by his style. He wears jeans that fit him, tucks in his shirts (collared shirts are a bonus too!), wears nice shoes and jackets, belts his pants. I know I never have to worry about giving him style advice because he is a stylish man.
  • He has such a sexy accent. What makes this quality even better is when he makes mistakes with English (although there are few) I find it very cute!
  • His mother tongue is nothing other than the Language of Love and I’ll tell you, I may not know everything he is saying but it does sound like love.
  • He eats anything and everything (makes it so easy for me to cook anything I want to!), he appreciates good food, and gets me to appreciate my food with him. He has brought me French food before (melt in your mouth) and it is definitely an appreciative experience. I cannot wait to go to France and taste his mom’s authentic French cooking!

  • He is a natural born wine connoisseur. He knows wine and I’ll tell you, when I need a perfect wine for my dinners, he is my man! Bringing back Champagne for me when he goes home to visit is a great bonus too!

and I saved the best for last…

  • Kisses, kisses, kisses, everywhere, all the time, no matter who is around. Yes! I love this!

Go ladies! Run out! Get yourself a French man!

Coming soon…The French Resume

I know I mentioned a while ago that I would post on the French Resume and language to find a job. I haven’t been around to this task yet because I have been busy and I want a proper lesson from FB which takes a few hours. I will post on this asap!

In the meantime, here is a helpful link…

WRITING A FRENCH RESUME

Again, I will post my version, based on how I learn it, very shortly (one week give or take). Thanks for your patience!

2E (working holiday) Visa Update…

I am almost completely prepared for my appointment with the consulate in Toronto. (Note: To access the consulates website, just click the link on the right side of the site). Of course I still have some major uncertainties though.

I am a very lucky person so I cannot imagine anything going wrong but as someone told me once, luck is simply when preparedness meets timing. There are certainly factors that I cannot control. I cannot control who I have the appointment with or the mood that person is in, and I cannot control how many 2E Visas they have already given out or are still willing to give out. So, besides these two factors, I will dot my I’s and cross my T’s, over and over and over and over and over again…you know, just to make sure. I will leave my house super early so as not to be late, I will bring extra documents and their photocopies just in case, I will learn French sentences that may be useful for the appointment.

So with that said here is the complete update on the documents and requirements:

  • I have enough money. I am continuing to save though because I am assuming that the more money I have saved, the more likely it is that they will approve me. Just because I have the minimum requirement does not mean that my work in this department is done. I will go to the bank just a few days before my appointment to get the letter signed that I have enough money. The later I get that letter, the more money will show up on it.
  • I booked my appointment with the consulate in Toronto. I can not urge you enough to book your appointment well in advance, as there are no immediate openings for appointments. I booked my appointment for June already! I also booked a second appointment one week later just in case everything doesn’t go well the first time around. If I obtain the visa I will cancel the second appointment (It must be cancelled or it can affect your visa!). Just a note: Some provinces do not allow appointments for the attainment of a 2E Visa. In these provinces, you must send it in by mail.
  • My three passport size, colour photos are taken. Please be sure to follow the specific requirement. They have to be professionally taken and I suggest you go to the highest end place possible. The cheaper you pay, the higher the rejection rate of the photos. It cost me about $30 for the three photos.
  • My cover letter is written in French but I will tweak it one more time. I have to be thorough in what I tell them. I will give them a little more detail about my plans, just to be sure.
  • I will purchase my return flight ticket (with an open return date). I suggest you purchase the ticket instead of having proof of the funds.
  • I have the provincial health insurance covering me for my trip. And I will buy travel health insurance asap.
  • I will book an appointment with the insurance company, obtain tenant’s insurance and get the coverage for the personal liability.
  • Other than this, I just need to photocopy everything.

On top of these basic requirements, I will bring and photocopy my birth certificate, give them the information of my boyfriend in France, and show them a copy of my resume and cover letter (both in French, of course).

Attention to detail seems to be the key here!

Thank You + Upcoming Adventures In French Cooking

Thank you everyone for your wonderful support with this blog. You are greatly appreciated by me!

And now on to the post…

As I mentioned not so long ago, I will be hosting my sister’s bridal shower very shortly. I will be making a lot of food for nearly 50 guests and this will be a great challenge! As you know, I love cooking and have an intense desire to learn French cooking. Julia Child, although American, revolutionized cooking by introducing the French way; slow, fresh, and delicious!

For this occasion, I will be making a French recipe from Julia Child, spinach turnovers (spinach twins as she calls them). The spinach turnovers consist of  pastry rolled out into a square, topped with a spinach mixture, ham and mushrooms, more spinach mixture and finally half of the pastry is turned folded over and sealed for baking.

Here is a link to the full recipe on an online episode of “The French Chef”. Just click the pic below…

I will let you know how this goes shortly!

Learning French In Everyday Living

I live in Canada and although Canada is a bilingual country, I have yet to hear anyone outside of Quebec speak French. I live in an anglophone society and learning another language when all I hear is English is proving to be challenging.

Living in Canada does have its percs though…3 Francophone television channels (emissions de television), bilingual signage and all product labels are bilingual (although Quebecois not France, French).

Taking French lessons once a week really helps me learn the structure and basics of the language but one hour a week is not that much. When I get to France I will be speaking it 24/7! Having a French boyfriend helps as well, but he insists on speaking English while in Canada.

So as my time to fly over that big blue ocean is approaching very fast (très rapide),  I have no choice but to get creative with my learning!

Here are some great ideas to learn the language très rapide:

  • Watch at least one French television program a day. I just flip my TV on to TV5 (channel 130 where I live) and spend an hour watching. But I do not simply watch passively! I watch with closed captioning (sous-titrage) and repeat after them. And I am not picky in what I watch. The goal is to learn!
  • Watch French movies without sub-titles. The movies are generally very entertaining and fun to hear people speaking in French. It becomes a nice challenge when I have to figure out what is going on. It would be awesome for closed captioning to play on everyone’s shirts as they speak but not the reality so I might as well train myself now!  Here are two movies you must see:   “Le Fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulain” and (et)  “L’auberge espagnole”.
  • Begin writing your important documents and letters in French and get them corrected. I have written my visa cover letter in French and a letter to a French organization. My boyfriend corrects them with me and I learn a TON from it! Soon I will be writing letters to find a job and an apartment so its great practice!
  • Start writing short little assignments and get them corrected by a French person. I have written 200 words on why I want to move to France and the role sports play in my life. I learn a lot of vocab this way!
  • Read popular novel with a dictionary in hand, of course. You most likely won’t be able to translate it word for word but you will get the general story. Compare the French version with the English version to understand how the French language is different from English. After 5 or 6 chapters you will be surprised as to how many words you no longer need to translate! Here are two books with an English version available: “Le Petit Prince” et “L’Alchemiste“.
  • Find some French people and start having conversations even if it just via Skype. Conversation is probably the most important thing one can do to learn the language.

I hope this gives you a few great ideas to make your learning of French a whole lot easier!

Faith

Such a broad topic for so many people. What is faith? For me its belief. Belief that I can accomplish every goal and dream I have and it will happen in the best way, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Most people take faith in something outside of themselves. I choose to take faith in life itself, and more specifically these words “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo“. I have faith that when I chant those words morning and night, that amazing things will happen and I will never be left stuck.

I am Buddhist. Not that that makes a difference in who I am. It is just my cup of tea (the tea being the faith). I practice Buddhism with the SGI, a lay Buddhist organization that follows Nichiren Daishonin‘s teachings on the Lotus Sutra. There is such history behind the Lotus Sutra and the meaning behind those words that I will not go into detail about right now.

I believe that by chanting Nam-Myo-Renge-Kyo in front of my inscribed Gohonzon (a scroll that has many Sanskrit characters on it) that I will be able to unlock my unlimited potential and achieve ANYTHING. I believe that I can be happy, no matter what my circumstances are and more importantly, that I can change my circumstances!

Chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo produces tangible, actual proof in the lives of millions of people. And because of the faith I have in my practice, I am not afraid of what will happen in France. I have faith.

I was told not to count on getting a job in France, but you see, that kind of thinking is unacceptable to me. I will get a job in France. Not only for me, but to give hope to all others in the same situation and to give inspiration to my readers. I will do it for everyone’s happiness. I am not saying it will be easy but it will happen. I know that because of the law of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Chanting these words gives me the life force to make the impossible, possible.

It may take me studying french for hours upon hours a day, plus hours of chanting plus handing out 15 resumes a day. It might take more. It might take patience and it may take putting up with a lot of things that I don’t want to,  but the point is, I am going to France to work. Bottom line.

And to prove the power of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo (as encouraged by all the members) I will write a list of the qualities I want in a job when I go there and I will not stop chanting until I have it. I will report on this again when I am actually in France looking.

My French job will:

-Be at a bakery of some sort
-Be enough pay to pay rent, groceries, transportation, cellphone, credit cards, and OSAP payment and a little extra
-I will have a boss who really is passionate about teaching me the art
-35-40 hours per week
-Close to my place (walking distance)

One thing I really love about the SGI is that it is in 192 countries (including France)! The community is so close, so I know when I go to France, the organization will already be aware of my arrival. I will immediately have a resource to meet people and share my life with.