Monday, June 30, 2008

a girl denied chocolates

g had very sweetly taken me on a walking tour after dinner on saturday to minimize the probability of me getting lost on my way to work. it was very sweet of him. I take after my father, and I have very bad sense of direction – everything looks the same to me (sorry pa – it’s true. mom’s the human compass in our family). i did my best by committing the route to memory along the lines of “walk past the horrendously expensive and pretentious shops, turn left at the humongous horse, walk past the palais royale, see the park and bob’s your uncle.”

g took me back along a different route, lest I get bored of walking past the very grand palais royale. and wisely pointed out where pierre marcolini was as we walked through Sablon. the geography of central Brussels fell into place. I wouldn’t get lost now.

so my first day at work today. and I headed straight for notre dame au sablon and took a sharp right.

I’m sorry madame, we’ve closed the upstairs early today because we need to count the chocolates, you cannot choose which chocolates you want…”

panic. horror.

you don’t understand. I need chocolate – I’ve had a bad day.” wallowing in self pity as I thought of my trip out to the sticks during lunch to pick up my replacement emergency american express card (who no doubt are one of the best credit card companies in the world and they don’t have to pay me to say that).

… you could take one of these boxes which have a selection of chocolates…”

that’s no good. i had planned on filling half the box with those hazelnut ones. I briefly contemplated buying a jar of chocolate spread and eating it with a spoon.

then I remembered. they have a pastry counter. I finally manage to smile at the guy behind the counter, who i now realise is gorgeous. had I not been so hungry I’d have blushed. I choose the Oveido, which is, according to the description given, “Sabayon de chocolat au lait avec des notes de caramel, croustillant de noisettes caramélisées et praliné noisette sur un biscuit vanille aux éclats de noisettes et crème à la vanille fraîche de Tahiti”

or in my dodgy translation - sabayon (fancy french speak for egg yolks with sugar) of milk chocolate with notes of caramel, crust of caramelized hazelnuts and hazelnut flavoured praline on a vanilla biscuit with hazelnut vanilla cream. or something that tasted like that. I’ll let the picture speak its thousand words for itself.

this won’t cure all your troubles, but I hope it makes you feel better” says the gorgeous chocolate man.

I picked up a jar of salty caramel confit too. I couldn’t help myself.

and I’ve joined a gym. as my master slavedriver put it to me before I left for brussels: “how are you going to keep your weight down?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

blue is back

and so am i.

much as I’d like to blame slavedrivers inc and its unyielding yoke, truth is, my extended disappearance from flogosphere simply involves a combination of inertia, laziness and procrastination. oh well, I’m sure you missed me.

smarties advert makes me laugh. every single time. “WE’RE NOT IN” they holler behind the closed door, the sheepish looking yellow smartie sent out to get rid of the blue smartie with that earnest look on his face. it’s hilarious. even now as I am typing this I’m chuckling.

so the blue smartie is back. the press release states that the blue colouring has been derived from some seaweed compound. no more evil e-numbers. okay. bully for the clever smartie makers. I never understood how a blue smartie is appetizing – what’s wrong with just regular chocolate coloured chocolate.

speaking of chocolate. i now find myself in Brussels where I’ll be for the next three months. I promise not to visit and rave about Pierre Marcolini every day even though it looks like it’s just a 10 minute walk from where I’ll be at work. despite all my grand plans to make a beeline for Pierre Marcolini since I arrived early this afternoon, I’ve yet to have been near a chocolate truffle, mostly because the afternoon so far has been spent at a police station with some rather very amusing policemen and on the phone with not so amusing credit card helplines. my only crime was to stop at Quick for a drink and to read the city map where I was duly distracted by a flurry of french while my wallet was extracted from my bag. the annoyance of having to replace my stolen credit cards aside, the whole experience was surreal. a trip in a speeding police car to the station, I was offered and goaded into accepting cigarettes by the two rather dishy policemen as they gave me innumerable tips on protecting personal property and not talking to strangers, quizzed about my dating history and told to hold onto my seat as they sped down the street, deliberately speeding up where there was a speed hump which resulted in the tiny police car being airborne for a few seconds. at the police station, my two police escorts proceeded to greet every male officer in the station with a kiss before handing me a photo album of various male suspects from which I was expected to identify the pickpocketers. my blingberry was made fun of, as was my t-shirt and a slightly filthy joke was made about loaded guns. it was all harmless banter though and for my troubles, I now have a police report in french which names me as the victime and the two policemen have successfully instilled in me a general attitude of paranoia.

oh well. c’est la vie. G’s meeting me for dinner and rescuing me with a stash of emergency cash which will tide me over till my replacement cards come. hopefully the rest of the three months will bode much better than this. I think it’s off to Pierre Marcolini for some cheer up chocolate with my emergency cash.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

to the daisy

With little here to do or see
Of things that in the great world be,
Sweet Daisy! oft I talk to thee,
For thou art worthy,
Thou unassuming commonplace
Of Nature, with that homely face,
And yet with something of a grace
Which Love makes for thee!

- Wordsworth, from “To a Daisy”

little daisy inspired cookies.

am particularly pleased with the green colouring in the icing – I’ll have you know it’s completely e-number free. only because I decided to extract the chlorophyll from spinach using one of rick tramonto’s recipes. and no, the icing does not taste of spinach.