Montparnasse Meets 2nd Avenue

The individual who followed our book club instructions to the letter deserves a gold star for taking her copy of this month's book, Memoirs of Montrparnasse by John Glassco to Paris with her as reading material. Still bleary-eyed from her flight (having just landed hours before) she said she took immense pleasure in retracing Glassco’s steps and visiting some of his favorite haunts. One of the few of members to finish the book - granted she had a few spare hours on the plane - she gave Glassco’s memoirs its most glowing review. We raised our glasses to this dedicated book club member for bringing us such fresh experiences from Paris.
In their review of his book, The UK Independent paints a pretty accurate description. “In 1929 John Glassco was 19 and in Paris. A Canadian expat with no contacts and no resources, except for brains, a colossal dose of chutzpah and the self-confidence of youth, he set about storming the citadels of the literary scene. In a mere 18 months he had met everyone who was anyone. But this is much more than a succession of celebrity vignettes. It is a record of youth lived as it should be lived – a continuous round of debauchery, heavy drinking, frenzied sexual activity and earnest, erudite discussion about literature.”
Naturally, this book generated much heated discussion. The room was divided between those who were enchanted by Glassco’s musings and those slightly put off by what they felt were clearly an older man’s embellishments and romanticising of the past. There’s nothing like a little healthy literary discussion to work up one’s appetite. We started our meal with an appetizer of petites Gougères with Arugula and Apple Smoked Bacon served with an onion relish – gougères are fast becoming a house favourite at the shop. This is a lovely recipe from the classic Zuni Café by Judy Rogers. For the main course guests enjoyed a fall classic from Cooking for Me and Sometimes You, Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Sauce served with roasted root vegetables and followed by a Frisée Salad with Roasted Walnuts and Roquefort Dressing. While it may have lacked the debauchery and excess of one of Glassco's nights on the town, a lovely evening was had by all.

To end the evening on a sweet note, Mark filled our tea cups with a refreshing Fig and Honey Pannacotta (see recipe below) from the Michel Roux's new cookbook,  Michel Roux Desserts.

fig and honey pannacotta
serves 6-8

1 1/2 sheets leaf gelatin
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (200 ml) milk
1/4 cup honey, or 1/2 cup (80 g) sugar
2 vanilla beans split lengthwise
3 ripe fresh figs, sliced into fine circles

Soak the gelatin in cold water to cover for about 5 minutes. Heat the cream, milk, honey or sugar, and vanilla beans in a pan, stirring from time to time until the mixture almost reaches a boil, then remove from heat. Immediately drain the gelatin and squeeze out excess water, then add to the creamy milk, stirring until completely melted. 
Strain the mixture through a fine strainer or chinois into a bowl. Stand in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and a little water to cool quickly, stirring from time to time, until it is nearly cold.
Meanwhile, arrange fig slices around the sides of 6-8 individual glass bowls or cups (measuring @8 cm across), making sure they adhere; save 6 - 8 slices for decoration. Carefully pour in the pannacotta mixture, ensuring it covers the figs. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours, or overnight if preparing ahead. (Note: Since we served our pannacotta in our little tea cups we skipped this step and simply served sliced figs alongside in the saucer.)
Remove from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving. Top each pannacotta with a fig slice to serve.
michel roux desserts, 2011 Quadrille Publishing Ltd.

Don’t miss a wonderful opportunity to meet Michel Roux and get a signed copy of michel roux desserts at our upcoming events on Tuesday, December 6th at the shop and on Wednesday, December 7th at Thiery. Please call us at  604-688-6755 to register.

The Adventure Has Only Just Begun Bob...

Fresh from his taping with Sheryl Mackay for CBC’s North By Northwest (listen in on Sunday, June 26th at 8:00 p.m.), Bob Foulkes is gearing up for another busy week in his latest adventure as an author. This week, Tuesday June 14th Bob joins us at the shop to chat about his adventures in an intense culinary program, while Chef Glenys Morgan adds her perspective as a culinary instructor and demonstrates a classic French dinner for guests. There are just a couple of seats available – nice early Father’s Day treat for Dad.

Fanny Keifer of Studio 4 (Shaw TV) will tackle the interesting question of why an otherwise sane 60 year old man would sign up for a six month culinary school in an interview with Bob. You can watch Bob and Fanny live on Friday, June 17th at 9:00 a.m.

A few choice words from Bob about who would most enjoy his Adventures with Knives…And, for all of you trying to decide on what to get the man in your life for Father's Day.

If you are looking for a gift for your father on father's day, this is for him.

If you have a man in your life who is contemplating retirement, this is for him.

If you have a man in your life who has retired and is driving you crazy, this is for him.

Bob Foulkes, June 2011

GREAT FOOD Series from Penguin Books

We have no shame in admitting that the latest in book design gets our hearts racing at a swifter pace than the latest 'app' and when we received the first books in Penguin's new GREAT FOOD series there was a collective 'ooh, ahh' heard around the shop. This is all that we love about books - tactile, beautiful, little gems of culinary history that sit perfectly in the hand.

We want them all to display at home, face out - they really are that charming. And, there is as much to please our curiousity and literary appetites as there is to please the eye. For example, who knew that as well as being the author of the The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas was also an enthusiastic gourmand and expert cook? His Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, published in 1873, is an encyclopeaedic collection of ingredients, recipes, and anecdotes, from absinthe to zest via cake, frogs' legs, oysters, roguefort and vanilla.

Penguin's description of their new series (20 paperback titles, each one focussing on food writing from the last 400 years) sums it up nicely. "Throughout the history of civilization, food has been more than simple necessity. In countless cultures, it has been livelihood, status symbol, entertainment - and passion. In the GREAT FOOD series, Penguin brings you the finest food writing from the last 400 years, and opens the door to the wonders of every kitchen."

Thank you Penguin for putting new faces on these treasured classics and reminding us why we are lifelong booksellers and booklovers.