The weather here is glorious: abundant sunshine, blue sky, not too hot and a cool-warm breeze blowing in from somewhere. Easter Monday is a national holiday, and my employer gave us the Friday off, so I have a 4-day weekend. Hoorah!
I went to my local market and bought fresh flowers, a bottle of white wine (from the Loire region), strawberries from Spain, a slab of Scottish salmon and some asparagus. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I don’t know what to do with white asparagus, I’ve never cooked or eaten it before, only green. How lame is that? They call this “violet” asparagus, but it looks pretty white to me.
I found a video on YouTube. The French chef chopped off the woody ends, peeled each stalk with a vegetable peeler – twice – then tied the stalks into a bundle with string before dropping them into a big pot filled with a simmering bouillon (called a court-bouillon in French.) While the stalks simmered over a gentle heat for ten minutes, he started on the homemade mayonnaise. I won’t do that, I can’t be bothered (I hate whisking for more than 10 seconds.) You could also make a hollandaise sauce, but I won’t do that either. I’m going to make a simple green salad with a homemade vinaigrette sauce and will save some of that sauce for the asparagus.
Today I jumped on the metro and headed over to my old neighborhood in the 15th arrondissement. Starting from Passy metro station (photo below), I walked across the Bir-Hakeim bridge that crosses the river Seine and connects the 15th and 16th arrondissements.
I walked for another ten minutes before I came to the street and the building where I used to live. I liked living in the 15th arrondissement, it’s pretty much close to everything. But the apartment itself – and this is the problem with old Parisian apartments – was badly insulated, freezing cold in winter and heated by electric baseboards. My electricity bill in the winter was astronomical. And those beautiful wooden parquet floors? When the tenants above clomp around in their high-heeled shoes or boots all day, “old world charm” flies out the window.
I visited the lovely public garden across the road, brand new back then, today lush and thriving. Then I wandered the backstreets and just basically enjoyed being outdoors.
I took the metro home at 4 p.m. and, because it’s Easter, bought myself an apricot-pistachio tart for my tea.
For those who are celebrating right now, joyeuses Pâques and joyeuses fêtes de Pessa’h.