Guests in Paris

I’ve been delving in recipe ideas, restaurant reservations and sight lists in preparation for my brother and sister in law’s visit to Paris on Friday. I love to indulge in this type of preparation – appetizer ideas, greasy breakfasts galore and so on. The homemaker in me also desperately wants to take advantage of a 50 roses for 10 euros! promotion at the corner florist… though that’s quite a lot. Fancy a vase of roses in the washroom?

Eiffel tower, Paris

I’ve set my heart on a few things for our guest’s arrival night. We were thinking of welcoming them with a bunch of bites around the kitchen counter and some Champagne (of which you can get a quality bottle for around 15 euros).

I’ll certainly document the whole food making process and share it. For now though, here are my ideas:

  • I’m thinking of preparing warm goat cheese. Think crusted goodness on the outside and warm soft chèvre oozing at every bite on the inside. Though this isn’t a novelty, it is relatively cheap, and it’s easy to prepare in advance, requiring only to be thrown in a steaming oven a few minutes before serving.
  • Salmon tartar on home made filo crackers. This is also an easy thing to prepare in advance, and there is something “refined” about it – even though its dirt simple to put together.  The fresh fish is a little pricier (in Paris, at least), but nothing says “I appreciate you being here” like the creamy freshness of a cool tartar.
  • A platter of jambon de parme and almonds. This imposes a fun visit at la Grande Épicerie de Paris to willingly buy overpriced cured meat, which is absolutely worthwhile for the Epicerie’s fine touristic value.
  • Finally, I plan to top off this #happytizer combination with a nice cheese selection: because we’re in France, and cheese should be a motivation for traveling here in the first place.

Since our guests are sleeping over, I’m also excited to put my recent “perfect brunch” experimentations to use. In turn, I plan on preparing a Cassoulet in advance to use for breakfast – oui oui. Thought this picture isn’t a looker, poached eggs, meat and beans are a terrific mix. The beans in this picture were the leftovers from the previous night’s dinner – an in between of blanquette de veau and cassoulet. The beans had been cooked with veal, a splash of white wine, chopped leek and a tad of cream. The flavours really came together and the mix tasted even better for breakfast the next morning.

A not so fine picture, but good tasting poached egg on dinner beans

Though I should have used a spoon with holes to lose some of the excess juice – apologies for a less than sexy photo – the combination was a winner. I can’t wait to add duck confit and sausages in there.

In the same train of thought, my breakfast obsession has led me to concoct a number of creamy scrambled eggs on toast. My grandfather’s trick to making perfect scrambled eggs always works: use a bit of Dijon mustard (this helps emulsify and adds a little bit of taste), whip well with a fork, add salt and ground pepper (chopped chives are also great though optional), and a touch of milk (or cream if you’re bad). Let sit for about 15-20 minutes so that the mixture takes on room temperature. Heat your pan well before putting anything in it, and whip your eggs vigorously one last time before dunking them into the hot pan.

Use a wooden spatula to turn the eggs continuously as they cook – add any cheese right at the last second and call the shot to serve them before they’re too cooked. I find that great cheese for scrambled eggs are Emmental, Comté, or even a sprinkle of Parmesan…

Some of my favourite experiments of scrambled on toast photographed below were made of caramelised onions and Emmental, as well as fried leek, onion and pancetta with Parmesan.

Scrambled eggs on toast

Scrambled eggs on toast with fried leek, pancetta and onion


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Categories: Food


Aspiring food writer, serious traveler, media enthusiast and communications specialist from Montréal, Canada. Follow me on twitter @aalavoie

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