Category Archives: france

Soupe à l’oignon au bleu d’Auvergne – Onion soup with blue cheese

“A classic and comforting recipe from the French countryside that will please your palate during winter, especially after an outdoor walk in the biting cold.”

Ingredients:

 For 4 people:

 • 400 g onions

 • 2 liters of chicken stock

 • 70 g unsalted butter

 • 150 g of Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese)

 • 4 slices of country bread

 • Salt

 • Coarse salt

 • Ground black pepper

Method:

 • Peel and chop the onions.

 • Melt the butter in a large saucepan add the onions and gently brown over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula.

 • Then add the chicken stock, seasoned with a pinch of coarse salt.

 • Stir and bring to a boil and allow to simmer about 1 hour over low heat. Stir from time to time during cooking.

 • Meanwhile mash the Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese) in a bowl with a fork until you obtain a creamy texture.

 • Lightly toast the slices of country bread and while still warm, spread the cheese on the top of them.

• Once the soup is cooked, remove half of the volume of onions with a skimmer or a slotted spoon. Let the mixture cool down and put it in the blender to obtain an onion puree.

 • Then put the onion puree back into the saucepan, mix, adjust seasoning to taste adding salt and pepper and mix well again.

Presentation: 

Serve this traditional dish in preheated soup plates. Place the toasted bread spread with bleu d’Auvergne on the side ready to be immersed in the soup.

Top tip:

A little trick to avoid ” crying ” while mincing onions: use a sharp knife! Actually a bad knife crushes the pulp of onion instead of slicing it – it spreads a fine mist of onion juice in the air followed by a river of tears!

If you can’t find Bleu d’Auvergne, you can use a local blue cheese as well, in that case choose a creamy and flavourful one.

Bon appétit 🙂

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Kellie, who is the North Adelaide Community Centre coordinator, asked me to take part to a good cause by writing a recipe from France. The idea was to create a “City Community – favourite soup recipes” book in order to raise money for the Welcome Centre of South Australia – http://www.welcometoaustralia.org.au/ – so they can replace a trailer which was recently stolen from them! The goal was to obtain a collection of recipes that reflect a little bit about our family and heritage. I really liked the initiative and I was happy I could help! I chose to translate this recipe into English because I originally come from Auvergne and I liked the idea that  “Bleu d’Auvergne” (a typical blue cheese from this region) was part of this comforting dish. My favourites French cheese are: Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert (another blue cheese), Cantal, Saint-Nectaire, Salers and Gaperon – all made in Auvergne haha! Luckily some of them can be found at the Adelaide Central Market which is good when I am missing French cheese.

My favorite natural beauty products

Every girl has a beauty routine, products and brands she trusts because she knows it works well on her skin. No matter what people say or think: it is not that easy to find the equivalent version when living abroad. Nobody wants to risk an  allergy or to look like a “beautiful” red lobster. Every wise girl knows best that it is better to pack in your suitcase the beauty products you cherish the most to pamper yourself! It will save you time, money and stress, so you can explore then at your own pace local brands and find what works best for you!

Speaking of that I recently posted about a popular French beauty brand called L’Occitane as I think it is part of the routine of many women.  Actually the article received many likes so today I thought I could  share with you MY favorite French brands that I make sure to pack in my suitcase when moving abroad  😉

First I have to confess that I have tried in the past famous brands such as Chanel, Dior, Clarins… they were good but in my opinion not spectacular considering the price. Furthermore I have realised I was more into organic cosmetics so my selection is natural products orientated.

“Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction” – E.O. Wilson

So here is my top 3 ❤

1.  Senteurs de fée Paris

I absolutely adore this brand. I am a huge fan of all their products and I have been using them for many years. I am in love with the rose fragrance and a lot of their products contain this amazing ingredient! I find them extremely effective at keeping my skin nice and moisturized. They are absolutely perfect! There is only one shop and it is in Paris (Le Marais). When you enter the shop, the magic happens: the colors, the lovely smells, the atmosphere. I had the chance to meet Katia (the creator of this amazing brand) and she is as splendid and lively as her products! My favorites are:

  • Nectar de rose: an aromatic hydratating face care. It is actually an oil texture composed with apricot, macadamia nut and bulgaria rose. It is perfect for my sensitive skin since I can not possibly use cream.  If I could only bring one beauty product on a desert island, I will definitely choose “Nectar de rose” because it is the best product ever!
  • Rose huile vraie: a non greasy body oil which smells divine and makes your skin so soft… I just love it! The bottle looks so nice with a kind of retro look. Like I said I am fond of all their products.

If you travel to France, make sure to pop by this lovely shop, it is in a nice area in Paris and it is totally worth it.  They also ship worldwide, look for the English version! http://www.senteursdefee.com/index.php

 

2. Douces angevines

I like this brand and their products smell amazing (if you like the  smell of plants). I have read in the press that the French actress Marion Cotillard loves them too. One day, I was in a changing room in Paris trying some clothes on. When I handed back the clothes to the shop keeper, she asked me what my body lotion was. She said it smelt so good on the clothes. I actually was wearing Douces angevines’Baobab oil! On the other hand, one day I was at my parents place and my father came into the bathroom because of the smell. He said that it reminded him some kind of medication you use to breathe better and found awkward it was part of my beauty routine (men…). So I guess it is a matter of taste… I personally like it. My favorites are:

  • Fantômette: A non greasy plant fluid to remove make-up and clean the skin. I find it very effective on the eyelids especially when you are wearing waterproof make-up.
  • Berbere: A pre-shampoo fluid to protect and repair your hair. It smells very nice and when using it I find that my hair is more shiny, soft and beautiful with a nice glow!

You can find those products in organic shops in France or you can place an order via their website and take the opportunity to learn more about them:  http://en.doucesangevines.com/s/10843_beauty-of-the-face

 

3. Couleur caramel

Organic and natural make up range. The products are high quality, easy to use, look pretty all day long! I have been using this brand for many years and I am pretty happy with the results. Products last long so it is a plus! Furthermore the packaging is so cute! I really like this brand! My favorites products are:

Eyeshadows: silky, velvety made with micronized powder… they have a full range of beautiful colors! It is perfect for a natural make-up.

Mascaras: water based formula, will protect your eyelids and it is perfect for sensitive eyes! It is very easy to remove it and I like the natural smell.

Have a look at their website, there is a good selection and I particularly enjoy their special collections/editions for summer, valentine’s day, christmas… they are very creative! http://www.couleurcaramel.com.au

 

I hope you like my selection and as I said these are definitely nice natural French brands that you have to test when you go to France.  I am sure you will fall in love with them! What about you? What is your beauty routine? Do you pack also your favorite products in your suitcase when going abroad? What are your essentials?

As for me, after 5 months living in Australia, I am at this crossroad where I need to start buying local because now I am living here and I have to embrace my new lifestyle and I want to…  But I have been so busy these past few months that I did not have a real chance to explore and test Australian beauty brands. Shame on me!

So if you happen to live in this wonderful country (or New Zealand) and have amazing natural/organic brands to recommend me I would be really thankful!

SMILE 🙂 You are beautiful ❤

5 French films to watch with your in-laws!

I am always amazed when abroad to meet people who absolutely adore French cinema. France is such a small country, you would think you could hardly notice it on a map! In the other hand, it is a country appreciated for its history ,culture, gastronomy, fashion and of course passion!

I love when my foreigners friends tell me « Paris, oui l’amour ! », this is so charming! I enjoy seing my country through their eyes, listening to their favorite spots in Paris and their impressions about the Frenchies or the « sacré français ». I feel bad they know so much about my country when sometimes I know so little about theirs but I am willing to learn and to keep exploring the world!

Anyway I had a discussion about French movies with my lovely friend Nasim: she is from Iran and she has been living in Adelaide for 8 months. It turned out that her sister and herself enjoy watching French films and they wanted me to recommend a few. The real challenge is that they have already seen a LOT of films. So I have been thinking about it and I made a list covering different years and I thought it could be a nice idea to share it with everybody on my blog!

 

  • Un héros très discret (A Self Made Hero) – 1996 – directed by Jacques Audiard – Starring Matthieu Kassovitz, you have probably seen him in the film: Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (Amelie)

When you are watching this movie based on a novel, keep in mind that «the most beautiful lives are those we invent ».

  • Ridicule (Ridicule) – 1996 – directed by Francis Leconte – Starring many well known French actors.

Decadent Versailles in the 18th century where social status can rise and fall depending on your ability to play with words and demonstrate how cultivated and clever you are!

  • L’ Auberge espagnole (The Spanish apartment) – 2002 – directed by Cedric Klapisch with the famous Romain Duris and Cecile de France

Fun, good feelings, friendship… and how you become a different and a more complete person when living abroad and surrounded by so many different cultures. Hey! does it sound familiar?!

  • De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté (The beat that my heart skipped) – 2005 – directed by Jacques Audiard with the talented French actor Romain Duris.

Human drama, vibrant, vivid, sincere… You will be moved for sure!

  • Molière à bicyclette (Cycling with Moliere) – 2013 – directed by Philippe Le Guay with the very French Fabrice Luchini.

Comedy about friendship and the search of the creative spark! Fun, inspiring and shoot in a beautiful part of France!

 

If you are passionate about French movies, please let me know and I will keep posting from time to time about this topic! I called it “5 French films to watch with your in-laws” because these 5 movies deliver a message, they are powerful and well written so it is a good selection to impress somebody and especially your in laws!

Feel free to give me your feedbacks and maybe I can adapt my selection accordingly.

The next step to fully appreciate the experience would be of course to learn French… haha  « sacré français »  😉

A bientôt!

Once upon a time L’Occitane

Tuesday, after English class I had an interesting conversation with my friend Gabriela. She is from Venezuela (South America) and has been living in Adelaide for 3 years.

Somehow we started to talk about beauty products (ah girls….) and she told me that she was in love with a famous French brand called: L’Occitane

Actually when I was living in London, my friend Joyce (from Brazil) told me exactly the same thing! Each time she had an opportunity to travel to France, she would buy L’Occitane beauty products! I mean they ship worldwide but it is way cheaper to buy the products locally! Although I would not say either that these beauty products are what I would call “cheap” in France.

Anyway, I thought since this brand seems to be pretty successful abroad, let’s write about it!

In my opinion L’Occitane is a good brand and their products have a wonderful fragrance and a good quality.

Now close your eyes and imagine the Lavender fields in Provence in the South of France! Try to picture the local Mediterranean culture, artisanal bakeries,  purple eggplants, ripe tomatoes, grapevines, lavender perfume in the air… Now you start getting a taste of the beautiful Provence in France… L’Occitane beauty products are all made there and also in Corsica (also a beautiful area)! They believe in the art of healing through plants and they use natural ingredients.

My favorite products from this brand are:

  • Aromachologie repairing shampoo: I just love this shampoo, it smells amazing, it makes your hair very shiny and beautiful! Frankly all their shampoos are the best and I always get compliments when using them! I have tested other brands but so far these are my favorites and my hair is very demanding.
  • Shea butter hand cream: again, it smells so good and will leave your hands as soft as a baby skin! This product is so successful it is said that they are selling this hand cream every 3 seconds around the world! For the record, it is so good that when I was living and working in Paris in finance, I was sharing my office with a man. Guess what, he had this shea butter hand cream on his desk (a present from his wife)! Sometimes his male colleagues would have a chat with him at his desk and use the cream too while talking to each other… it was hilarious to see these “macho men” having a little chat while hydrating their hands! Actually it was like watching an episode of ‘Sex and the City” except that in this situation Carrie Bradshaw was a French man named Philippe wearing big black shoes!

In my mind, all their products smell divine and a lot of my French friends like this brand too. It is quite common in France to offer these beauty products for Christmas or a birthday or any occasion actually… like I said it is popular, it is a good brand and it makes a perfect gift!

Now you are starting to get curious?! Hopefully there are many L’Occitane shops around the world so you don’t have to buy a flight ticket to go to France:  http://www.loccitane.com

What about you? What is your beauty routine? Do you have many L’Occitane products in your bathroom?

As for me, in my twenties I used to be a huge fan of their products and owned many of them (facial care, body care, soap, candles)… Now I only buy their shampoos and hand/foot creams.

Don’t get me wrong I still like them! But now I am getting older, I favour other wonderful natural beauty products to pamper my face, my body and my soul… but this is another story… coming soon 😉

 

Je suis Charlie, I am Charlie, Yo soy Charlie, Ich bin Charlie…

A thunder woke me up early this morning… when I looked through the window the sky was dark and grey and it was raining a lot… I just thought that it did not look like a good day, this kind of weather can be depressing sometimes… I could not imagine how right I was going to be about that…

As usual I checked my messages and realised that many family members and friends from France have posted the same picture « Je suis Charlie » (I am Charlie) so I immediately knew that something had happened in my country… I called my mother and I also checked the news and realised that a tragic terrorist attack took place in Paris at Charlie Hebdo’s office on 7 January morning killing 12 people, among them 10 journalists and 2 policemen !

I was shocked to hear such thing could happen and so sad thinking about the families of these people who had no idea about what would happen to them when they left their homes in the morning to go to work as they do everyday… then I have realised that some of my friends in Australia have heard about it too but were frustrated not to understand the what, the how and mostly the why…. Don’t get me wrong, we do get news here in Adelaide about other countries but it is not very detailed so I thought maybe I could write something about it hoping this will help to have a better understanding of what happened from a french point of view.

Actually, for those who have never heard about Charlie Hebdo : it is a famous French satirical weekly paper, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics and jokes. It was created in 1969 and it is well known for being irreverent and non-conformist since the publication often makes fun of politics, culture and religion… mostly Catholicism, Islam, Judaism… Their style is pretty provocative with a good dose of humour since they are making fun of any kind of subjects with caustic cartoons to illustrate their articles. The success of this paper is also due to a great team composed of famous and talented cartoonists and journalists who are not afraid to speak their minds. As you can imagine many readers are huge fans and absolutely love it, some don’t care and some just hate it and don’t hesitate to let them know by criticizing any publication (which is quite easy nowadays with social media). Charlie Hebdo is used to being insulted, to being sued and to getting a lot of threats (their offices were bombed at night a couple of years ago)… but this has never stopped them to go on and express their opinions ! Afterall France is known to be a free country where the press is free… it is called freedom of expression and french people are very proud of it and so am I!

Unfortunately on 07 January 2015, two well armed men, suspected to be islamic terrorists, decided that Charlie Hebdo paper was going too far by making fun of their prophet. They decided to make their own justice by depriving the staff from the freedom of speech… sentencing them to death! The terrorists intruded the building and took the journalists and the cartoonists by surprise during the weekly editorial board meeting shooting at everybody. Two policemen standing on their way were also killed. It was a very violent attack, very cruel…and everybody is still shocked !

France is sad and mourning the deaths of these 12 people who had lives, families and who died when their only crime was to write, to draw their opinions and to protect the freedom expression ! Who would have ever imagined that a drawing could killed in France?!

France and many countries have expressed their sorrow in the face of tragedy! Trying to shut down a media organization is called terrorism! It is an attack of our values, an attack on the freedom of expression and the press, a core element of our free democratic culture!

You can hide our eyes but we will still see!

You can close our ears but we will still hear!

You can shut our mouth but we will still speak!

You can hold our hands but we will still write!

You can try to shut us down but we will still believe!

Because we are FREE !!! We are all Charlie ❤