“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast,” said the great Ernest Hemingway, once.
Paris, the city of lights! I was lucky to spend the year of 2010, mainly in Paris. I studied cuisine and patisserie in Le Cordon Bleu. Oh, boy! was it a magical time. Visiting Paris on holidays with my family is another side and world of Paris. Whereas studying and living there is an entirely different view. People often say the French are rude or one is expected to speak in the local language. During my time living there, I was always welcomed with great warmth, even with my grammatically incorrect french, everywhere. A smile goes a long way—the most accurate and subtle form of communication.
This city gave me some of my closest friends, who happened to be studying with me from different parts of the world. This city is naturally vibrant with people from different walks of life. Sometimes a couple of metro rides away, you exit the station and find a whole different world! But more about that soon. I stayed in a loft overlooking the Eiffel tower. I remember on Bastille day, the night was filled with colourful fireworks with the tower lit up in sync. The colours of the French flag!
Between our classes, which started sharp at 8.25 am, we would often go to the Cafe Madame, right around the corner from where Le Cordon Bleu was, back then. The owner of this quaint cafe is a jovial man, who was always ever so happy to serve me a 75cl rose house wine & my favourite salad — The Chèvre Chaud salad. This was my regular lunch, on some days with the perfect french fries. Cafe Madame is a typical cafe with beautiful old mosaic tile floorings. Much of the seating was outside, in an ‘L’ shape, around the cafe, on the sidewalk. A perfect shot from the movies. The overcast skies added to the magic.
Here is the recipe for Chèvre Chaud. It is a delicious classical French dish made with hot (chaud) goat cheese (Chèvre), often served with a bed of salad greens, nuts & olive oil or balsamic vinegar.
Ingredients for 4
- ½ cup Goat cheese (or 1 roll of goat cheese)
- 4-5 slices of bread
- Green Salad
- ⅓ pound (150g) Walnuts
- 4 pieces of Parma ham (if you like)
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Toast the walnuts and chop coarsely
- Bake parma ham in a 390°F (200°C) warm oven, until golden and crispy
- Cooldown and crumble coarsely
- Lather the Goat cheese over the bread slices, well, or cut slices to fit the bread.
- Grill in the oven in approximately 5 minutes (200°C)
- Mix the dressing – be sure to whip it good.
- Toss the salad with an appropriate amount of the dressing
- Place on a plate, and sprinkle with the walnuts and the parma crumble
- Top with the Goat cheese toast.
I’m going to share a little trick with you to make almost any leafy salad very tasty. Use these 4 flavour & texture elements in any salad, and you will fix yourself a delicious meal.
Salt — You may use actual salt, soya sauce or any salty, soft cheese like feta, goat or cream cheese. Halloumi is another favourite. The list is endless. Balance your salt if required accordingly.
Sweet —Honey, treacle, sugar, jaggery, monk fruit- Go wild!
Sour — Lemon, kinds of vinegar, tamarind, berries, rhubarb amongst some.
Crunch —Seeds, nuts, croutons. Even a nice toasted slice of sourdough bread.
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