Showing posts with label Mardi Michels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mardi Michels. Show all posts

Sunday, 12 August 2018

In the French kitchen with kids by Mardi Michels

Opened, unwrapped, studied, a quick flick through and then to the ‘acknowledgements’. I, myself, am not a cook, although I am looking forward to proving myself wrong with a cookbook for ‘…francophiles of all ages’. I am, however, gluttonous for stories and even more so when these stories enable me to meet and learn about people. Thus, straight to the end of ‘in the French kitchen with kids’, where my inkling about this Australian-born, French-loving, Canadian-living lady was proved right. Mardi is also a passionate people person. Her book was created with others, for others and it is clearly important to Mardi that she encourage families, and kids, to cook, discover and learn together. ‘In the French kitchen with kids’ happens to be about French cooking, as France is another of Mardi’s passions, but I sense that it could just as easily have been about any cuisine as long as togetherness was at its heart.

Australian-born, just like Mardi, I took my family to live in France when my children were 6, 9 and 12. At school, a vegemite sandwich, piece of fruit and a treat for recess was no longer the way to go. Instead, the children stayed at school for a generous three-course meal on occasions or came home to enjoy their two-hour lunch break on others. There was a third option; eating at a friend’s house. Only, invitations in meant invitations out… Whilst all of my children’s friends were exceptionally polite and ate whatever we put in front of them, the stress of providing an acceptably French meal was real. If I had been armed with Mardi’s cookbook (which covers actual food eaten by real French children), I would have known what sauce to serve with the pork cutlets, how to prepare a good vinaigrette to mix with salad leaves, that fish fingers could be an acceptable option and how to check when my beans were ready.

I am going to leave the detailed food commentary to those more qualified than me, but make mention of the little tidbits, facts and ‘did-you-knows’ throughout, plus Mardi’s personal anecdotes (why vegetable soup is included being my favourite). These turn the book from a set of instructions into a story – and what kid doesn’t love a story?

Practical details:
Published by appetite by Random House
Length 184 pages
Recipes divided into sections: breakfast, lunch, after-school snacks, dinner, dessert, special occasions and basic pastry recipes along with tips for cooking with kids and lists of equipment.
Available world wide: Amazon for print and ebook copies

PS: As a somewhat impatient cook, when I witnessed a French friend in Australia prepare baguettes in front of me, with minimum fuss and a modicum of waiting (2 hours) for the dough to rise, I determined to see for myself if they required an authentic French touch or just any old (mine) would do. Click here to find out what happened.

choux puff tower - pièce montée

Thank-you, Mardi for generously sending me a copy of your book. It has been a pleasure to get to know you and to witness your enthusiasm for everything that you do. I wish you much success with this, your latest endeavour.

If you would like to find out more about Mardi, the best place to start is here at her eatlivetravelwrite website or in Mardi's own words:

Follow me!
Thanks so much for your support (always!). Please follow me on my various social media channels (and tag me if you make something from the book!)

Like my page on Facebook (this is the best place to keep up to date with book events, signings etc…)
Follow me on Instagram
Follow me on Twitter 
Or to rent Mardi's house in south-west France click here

***Purchase your copy of 'But you are in France, Madame', which takes you with us on our French adventure, at Amazon, here ***

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A circular, culinary blog

I have lived and breathed the French language for a very long time. Yet, every once in a while,  a word comes my way that requires a bit of extra thought. I don't mean the words that are new to me but that I understand because of their context, or words that I have forgotten and that I can jiggle to the surface. I mean words that I know, but that don't seem to make sense in context. Writing about how to make a baguette last blog led me down several cooking related paths including to the salt farms of Brittany and the following:

La Fleur de Sel, Le Guérandais, est délicatement cueillie, selon une méthode traditionnelle millénaire, à la surface de l'eau des oeillets par les paludiers de Guérande. 

But, un oeillet is a carnation (or an eyelet). Of course, a carnation is a flower and the fine salt (La Fleur de Sel) that is being collected is so-called because of the flower-like patterns of the crystals that form in the salt crust as the seawater evaporates. But, this is somewhat of a false path.*

In fact, in the salt harvesting process, sea water passes through a succession of ponds and it is the final set of ponds that are known as the 'œillets'. Is this more related to the winding related to eyelets?

An interview with chef, Jamie Oliver, in which he talked about his mentor, a lady named Rose, came up in conversation. She was strong, kind, clever, someone who, according to Jamie, favoured simplicity and taught him to focus always on what he could do better. A 'salt of the earth' sort of person.

And then, absent-mindedly, I picked up a cook book that I have had on my coffee table for a very long time, but have probably never done anything more than flick through distractedly. I like the idea of cooking. I love the idea of being a good cook. But, sadly that is where the passion seems to start and stop. This time, though, I read the About section of the cookbook; a human story, which is of far more interest to me, and learnt that the writer/chef Patricia Wells and her husband's

" of France grew...Almost before we'd unpacked our bags in Provence, we had more French friends than we had made in all our time in Paris. Within a year, we could no longer even remember life before Provence. For us, it symbolised all the essential elements of happiness we sought in life - friends, family, food, and feasts."

Now, this was something that I could really relate to, and took me on a bigger wander around her book...which led to the Fleur de Sel.

Strangely enough, it was not just me baking last weekend, My FB posts attracted return comments from both Annette at A French Collection and Mardi from who is about to publish a...cookbook.

*as far as I can tell - please do let me know if there is indeed a connection.

***Purchase your copy of 'But you are in France, Madame', which takes you with us on our French adventure, at Amazon, here ***