Tag Archives: le canard

Surprise banana bread

Hay que destacar bien la melodía [You have to bring out the melody]
~ Emilio Pujol, Catalán guitarist

I have rewritten my first paragraph of this post about 10 times now, and it’s still not coming together. I guess I don’t know what to write. There has been so much going on inside of and around me, and I can’t even tell if I’m happy or if I’m sad… and right now… I’m just tired.

I think I know why babies cry all the time – it’s easier, when you don’t know how to make sense of things. Lately, I’ve been doing so much of that. Crying when I’m happy, tired, inspired, grieving – my feelings have been parading through my being like a carnival, gushing like a fountain from deep within my soul. I’ll admit that right now, as I type this, I’m kind of crying. I know, it’s utterly ridiculous. If I didn’t have a deeper feeling that this is the final burst of heavy rain before the sunshine, I’d be freaking out even more.

Who knows what it really is. I don’t know the answers. I’m just in a process of growing, learning and being stretched, and I don’t want to fight it – I want to learn, discover and sit calm while a million different things stir within and burst out of me, because I have a strange feeling that the season after this crazy time will be clearer and better.

Well, that’s enough for now about feelings. I don’t really want to lose all my readers right now (as you read with fear and suspicion at my apparent craziness, widen your eyes and delete me from your blogroll!), so moving on…

It’s been a busy few days, and I haven’t had the chance to blog about everything I’ve wanted to write about, so the rest of this post will be a little jumbled and random.

1. I miss Nish very much. Not just because she and Claire celebrated my birthday with me at Le Canard the other day… but now that she’s left, she leaves behind an empty Nish-shaped vacuum that can’t be filled by anyone. So I am thoroughly happy & excited for her as she leaves on a jetplane to pursue her dreams & further studies… but still, it’s hard to imagine that we’ll just have to contend with using the phone/email to stay in touch for now. Woe…!

2. One of the sweetest and most memorable giftwraps EVER for me is this one: my dear friend Haidee wrapped my birthday gift in a printout of one of my blog entries! Oh, my…

3. Last night, to celebrate Paul’s visit this weekend – we all had lamb with lemon, mascarpone and herb sauce, with carrots & broccoli roasted with orange juice & spices. THEN we sat next to the heat pump and played Spy Alley, yes a real actual board game… amusement!

4. This morning, Paul & I had our customary breakfast which I don’t really eat with anyone else – indomee! Salty, savoury, spicy, unhealthy instant noodles topped with fried eggs. :-) That, coupled with humorous, snort-inducing conversation is one of my favourite things to do with Paul!

5. In a bit of a spontaneous mood this morning, I made banana bread without much method to my madness… throwing things together without measuring them properly. Fork-mashed bananas, a squeeze of mascarpone, dribbles of cream and milk, some eggs, slivers of leftover chocolate & almonds, a splash of vanilla galliano…

…and to my surprise, it worked!!

This bread had a slightly crispy crust, which gave way to a light yet hearty loaf with just the right amount of sweet chocolate and almond bits scattered throughout. I feel this loaf had balance, combining the sensible nature of bread with the warm, indulgent feel of cake. Very, very good if you ask me – especially with a cup of tea!

(I’m omitting the recipe in this post as I really don’t know the exact quantities of ingredients used!)

6. Paul then patiently attempted to teach me some basic merengue dance steps in the kitchen; oh, it was hilarious! I could hardly move in a straight line from laughing so much. I’m so proud of how far he has come in his dancing though… it was inspirational and fantastic to watch, and that short time of getting up to dance again made me yearn to start dancing regularly again.

It’s joy, to feel the music, sense the rhythms, and yield to it all with movement. I can’t describe it. It’s like a revelation, a beautiful thing, a reason to live.


To market, to market

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
~ J. R. R. Tolkien

Visiting City Market this morning was a delicious experience. Haidee and I went around sampling some tasty things (especially loved the unique thyme-infused chocolate from Esque Chocolate), chatting with the lovely stall-holders about their produce and (unfortunately secret) recipes, and I also bought some fresh duck rillette which made for a delightful afternoon snack today.

Things I enjoyed: besides the food itself of course, I loved watching a smile flicker slowly across a baker’s face as he talked about what flours he uses in his bread, apologising that he couldn’t disclose details of his partner’s secret recipe… loved it when the lovely lady from Esque Chocolate shyly offered us two exquisite twigs of orange-peel chocolate, asking what we thought… loved seeing the lady selling vegetables obviously enjoying herself while bagging stalks of fragrant fennel and cheery figs for happy customers… loved listening to stall-holders talk about their area of expertise… loved seeing people milling around, taking time to do their grocery shopping…

If you want to read more about City Market, Millie did an excellent two-part review of it – here and here.

This is a snapshot of my duck rillette spread on some nice rye bread :-) Très bonne!

This afternoon, I decided to try my hand at making some pesto from Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries”:
#55 Pistachio & Rucola Pesto – Page 306

Modifications: I used mesclun instead of rocket; and not having a weighing scale, I couldn’t ascertain the weight of my ingredients so I just went by instinct. Our blender isn’t working very well either, so it was pretty interesting shaking it vigorously in trying to get it to run! The result was a full-bodied, garlic-spiced pesto with the distinctive flavours of pistachios and parmesan shining through like a star – I do look forward to stirring this through some pasta on Tuesday night!

I also bought some fennel this afternoon, which I haven’t cooked with before… my poor flatmates John and Jono are going to be guinea pigs yet again for this dinner experiment (which I haven’t quite worked out the details for yet, except that it will involve chicken, cream, fennel, white wine, rosemary and maybe some leek and carrots).

[edit] Below: Tuesday’s pesto-ed pasta… (with leeks, cream, lemon & riesling)


Celebrating with hiding smiles

In the last 24 hours, there’ve been lots of changes.

The feeling of happiness will arrive soon, I am sure, when the smile nestled deep inside me eventually finds its way to my face. Meanwhile though, I was surprised by a rush of emotion last night, an erosion of all the stability and calmness I had felt just a few hours before.

I’m still recovering.

I had planned to share some other things with you today, but the words aren’t coming out. I do want to say Mom and I loved dining at Le Canard last night (an early Mothers’ Day celebration) – the radiant face of our maître d’, the hearty, delicious food and the air fragrant with ribbons of enjoyment all contributed to this – and if you are in Wellington, I hope you don’t deny yourself the pleasure of dining here. Suffice to say, I thought of Julia Child as I brought the first spoonful of fish soup to my mouth – whatever once curled around her soul and enticed her into a permanent love affair with French food/cooking and all, wrapped itself around a corner of my heart last night. This was especially the case as memories of our trip to France a few years ago came rushing back to me…

Mom’s order:

    La Planche du Canard (a trio of duck liver mousse, rillettes and terrine of duck with fig and walnut)
    Poisson du jour (line caught fish of the day with champagne and oyster sauce, leek fondue and oyster gelée)
    Bavarois a la rose, rhubarbe confite (rose flavoured ‘Bavarois’, pistachio meringue and crystallised rhubarb)

My order:

    Soupe basquaise & sa garniture (fish soup from the Basque country with rouille and croûtons)
    Filet de Boeuf, beurre du canard (South Devon organic beef fillet with Le Canard butter and crispy celeriac galette)
    Le Café Canard (espresso coffee with Calvados and sugar cube)

I really loved every morsel of our dinner, almost as much as I enjoyed walking back to the hotel with Mom afterwards in the light drizzle, talking about all sorts beneath the velvety blanket of night…

Now, the rest of this post will be told with pictures… a little glimpse into some parts of my world.


Wellington, New Zealand:

Bonne nuit! (Goodnight!)

Le Canard – 10A Murphy Street, Wellington – Phone: 04 499 5252