Galette du Roi & Une Recette/A Recipe

**I will not be posting again until after Epiphany on January 4, 2015, so taking this opportunity to  thank you for your readership and wish you & yours a very healthy & Happy New Year 2015!**

BONNES FETES !

Epiphany:  The Christian holiday when a special cake eaten on or around January 6, called the ‘galette des Rois,’ is well know in France and celebrates the arrival of the three kings in the Bethlehem stable.

galette

There are three different styles of the cake dependent on the area in France. In the north, puff pastry and almond filling; the south’s ‘gâteau des Rois’ is a circular brioche decorated with candied fruit, and galette briochewestern France has a sweetened shortcrust, rather than puff pastry. Both galette and gâteau are widely available – and even variants with chocolate, apple purée and nuts. All come with a cardboard crown and a “fève”, which traditionally used to be a bean before trinkets were introduced, often in the form of a baby Jesus, but today, it is just as likely to be a blue plastic “Schtroumpf” (Smurf). The cake is eaten with friends, family and colleagues, and the person who finds the fève is crowned king or queen for the day (a crown is sold with the cake).

Personal Note: A dried bean can be used in place of a figurine for the fève for a DIY version. In order to make sure the cake is served randomly, the French tradition is for the youngest member of the family to sit under the table (or simply close their eyes) and call out the name of the person to be served the next slice of the cut cake.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup ground almonds
1 stick butter
3 eggs
1/4 cup of sugar
2 sheets puff pastry
powdered sugar

Directions:

Grind almonds in food processor

For the Frangipane filling:

Beat sugar and butter
add two (2) of the eggs and almonds.

Next:

– Butter a flat baking sheet and unfold thawed puff pastries and using a pie pan as a template cut into two circles
– Spread the Frangipane filing in the center of one pastry layer and place a dried fava bean or ceramic figure
– Using the last egg, beat and paint the edges of the dough
– Place the second pastry circle on top and seal the edges
– Brush top with egg.
– Bake for 25-30 min at 375oF

Can serve 12 people.

(Original post Jan, 2014)

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Some French Idioms

Idiomatic expressions cannot be understood from the meanings of the separate words, but have a separate meaning of their own – a great way to sound more French in a conversation and most expressions are already familiar in their English meaning.  Bonne chance!

Un clou chasse l’autre.
Life goes on. (Literally: One nail chases the other.)

Avoir un faim du loup.
To be very hungry. (Literally: Hungry like a wolf.)

Tomber dans les pommes
To faint (Literally: To fall in the apples.)

Quand le chat n’est pas là les souris dansent 
When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

Je ne suis pas dans mon assiette
I don’t feel up to it/well.

C’est dans les vieilles marmites qu’on fait les meilleurs soupes
Literally: With the best methods you get the best results.

Mettre les petits plats dans les grands. (making a special effort to please)

Long comme un jour sans pain. (Interminable)

Comme le petit Jesus en culotte de velours
Something that tastes delicious and smooth. (Literally: Smooth as little Jesus in Velvet shorts)

Pedaler dans la farine.
To get nowhere fast.

Trop de cuisiniers gatent la petite marmite.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Coup de faim.
A small hunger pang.

On ne fait pas d’un âne, un cheval de course même en taillant ses oreilles en pointes. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf.  (Literally: You can’t transform a donkey into a race horse, even by trimming his ears.)

Metro, boulot, dodo.
Same thing everyday. (Literally: train, work, sleep)

Il pleut des cordes. 
It’s raining cats and dogs.  (Literally: It’s raining ropes.)

Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.
We all make our own bed to lie in. (Literally: Little by little, the bird makes its nest.)

Je pourrais manger un curé frotté d’ail
I could eat a horse. (Literally: I could eat a parish priest rubbed with garlic.)

Charbonnier est maître chez soi.
A man’s home is his castle. (Literally: The coal miner is the master of his house.)

L’arbre cache souvent la forêt. 
Can’t see the forest for the trees.

Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir. 
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Ce qui est fait est fait.
There is no use crying over spilt milk.

VOILA!!

 

 

 

St Nicholas… Santa Claus… Father Christmas

HO! HO! HO!

Even though some of the American/British folkloric characters don’t come to France, you’ll be happy to know that the jolly old man in the red suit does. Of course, he goes by a different name: in France he’s known as Père Noël, or Father Christmas.

Read more of this article by Margo Letz HERE

 

24/7 in France wishes each and everyone of you a Happy Holiday season and all the best for love, health, & happiness in 2015

 & Thank you for your readership!

The Curious Rambler

Santa Nast 1881

Even though some of the American/British folkloric characters don’t come to France, you’ll be happy to know that the jolly old man in the red suit does. Of course, he goes by a different name: in France he’s known as Père Noël, or Father Christmas.

History of St Nick
The history of Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, dates back to the 4th century, when a priest from the area that is now Turkey came on the scene. He was known for his generosity, said to have performed miracles and eventually became Saint Nicholas, the protector saint of children. The legend evolved over the centuries that on December 6th, St Nick would descend from the sky on his donkey (or sometimes on a white horse), go into houses by way of the chimney and leave gifts for well-behaved children. The children would leave their shoes by the fireplace with some carrots…

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Cannes Film Festival: A Special Visit

Le Palais des Festivals et des Congres is better known as the site of the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival, and it is only open to the public for attending events (400 per year).  I had the chance to be part of a private guided tour of the building and a chance to sit in the theater where the stars sit for the film festival & walk on the stage – oh, la la!

Some interesting facts:

  • the triangular building consists of 9 floors, two of which are underground with 950 parking spaces; each triangular floor is 1400 m2
  • the total space size is 80,000 m2 & was inagurated in 1982
  • the original casino (see photo gallery) was too small and torn down in 1978 to build a site more modern and harmonious to help highlight the city
  • the building is 20% privately owned and 80% by the city
  • In the smaller Theatre Debussy, with 1068 seats, the wood panels on the walls are made of “bois de poirier” (wood from pear trees) which provides such special acoustics that no microphone is needed on stage
  • the “tapis rouge” (red carpet) that the stars walk up on consists of 24 steps and during the festival is changed (560 m2 middle section only) two times per day
  • otherwise, there are red LED lights in the steps, creating a faux red carpet
  • the film festival is the 3rd largest media event worldwide, behind the Olympics and World Cup
  • there was no film festival in 1948 and 1958 due to lack of sponsor funds and it was stopped mid-way in 1968 out of respect for the demonstrations taking place in Paris
  • there are 8-12 people on the film festival jury, who must view each film at least once and sign as proof – there are around 90 films entered in the competition
  • the goal of the film festival is to help promote unknown films that have not yet been seen by the public
  • there is a special row of seats in the main theater for the actors who are in the film being shown to sit
  • the flat screen is 18 x 10m and is the largest in Europe
  • the sound comes from behind the screen which is perforated to allow sound to pass through – there are “grandes oreilles” who are sound specialists to test the sound in case of needing any adjustments (like “les nez” perfume specialists but for sound)
  • films are sub-titled in French and English only
  • it costs 9,000 Euros to rent the film theater

Who is the largest sponsor for the Cannes Film Festival?  (guess in comments box)

Do you know these stars ?

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PHOTOS: (some photos courtesy of Jean Mellinger)

 

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The view on the ride home on the train was splendid as well!

sunset from the train

sunset from the train