Thursday 15 December, 2005

soup & the neighbourhood

Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 7:34 pm

Locals tell us 5 years ago it would not of been entirely safe to walk the streets at night where we live. Now the same people couldn’t afford to buy in the area, Jims colleagues are amazed we found such a nice place at affordable rent. They need not of told us as it is all evident on first walking in the neighbourhood that a change has and is taking place. Completely derelict buildings with nothing but a facade and resident pigeons stand attached to magnificently renovated apartments. One day you pass a familiar store front that’s only indication it was once in trade is a faded frais frite sign and the next its doors are open and an array of french floral bouquets are for sell at prices I can not fathom. It would not be an exaggeration to say each week a new store opens, each more opulent than the last.

Last week however a fruit & veggie store opened just around the corner from us that is a very welcome addition. Even before it opened it was evident it was going to be a boutique kind of store. Although I am at first very attracted to these it is always short lived as they are generally run by staff who behave in such a manner as to make you think there must be a Versace label attached to the aubergine you’re wishing to purchase. In this instances the owners are so very friendly, they are a young couple having a bash at starting their own business and they seem very keen on selling lovely produce at reasonable prices. Im very keen on their produce too, as well as their understanding my French without complaint and the little extras that make their way into the paper bag such as clemetines and a fresh bunch of parsley. The locality also fits in well with my current soup making obsession as I try to avail myself of all the vegetables that are familiar to the French but not to me. Though last week after enthusiastically making a celeriac soup and being so curious as to what the taste would be, I could of cried when I realized I had forgotten to take the bay leaf out before I blended it! I swear that awful taste is still with me, Jim kept saying it was fine and that I wasn’t to throw it out he would eat it. I never felt more loved than when I watched him eat that wretched soup, he just kept saying how good it was as he added more and more salt, pepper, parsley, parmesan in vain attempts to disguise the metallic taste. I wrestled it off him (well not literally as that would of been quite a mess) and threw it down the sink, I dont think he ever felt more loved!

I was going to post a photo of the new veggie store but its a blur so as I was talking soup I thought I would take the opportunity of airing the one above. Love to report that the soup is of my creation, but no I can not. Its from Souplounge in Gent, Belgium, yep those fab Belgium’s just keep spoiling us. This time it’s with a huge bowl of soup selected from their menu that reflects what’s best on the day from what’s in season. Its then complimented with extras like small meatballs, fresh herbs and crunchy croutons. Another bonus is 2 bread rolls, butter and a piece of fruit, again seasonal….all this delicious goodness for 3euro!!

Well Jim’s home and he wants me off the computer, he’s keen to head to a Lebanese restaurant he’s heard good reports on. As the beach riot incident has made news over here might be a good idea if we say we’re English!

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