Tuesday, 16 June 2015

bastille - take a walk on the quiet side

I'm trying to replace hidden & secret, so let's call this face of Bastille the unknown & quiet one. The Bastille area of Paris, can usually best be described as bustling, very bustling. You will never walk long in order to find a cafe, restaurant, bar or anything that involves food, drinks & people. But there's another side of Bastille too, quiet corners with lovely passages & alleys, right next to all the agitation. Here are three of them.

c o u r  d a m o y e

Hidden and yet right next to Place de la Bastille. Most people walk by without ever noticing & yet all you have to do is take the entrance at number 12, discreetly located between two cafes.

The alley is open to public during daytime, but the gates close in the evening, making it possible for the lucky residents to enjoy this peaceful space all to themselves. I would love to see what it looks like on those beautiful summer nights. I'm sure tables & chairs are pulled out on the cobblestones for intimate dinners.

La Cour Damoye is named after Antoine Pierre Damoye who bought the plot in 1778. At that time it was used as a shooting gallery by the cavalry, but he started building & renting small industrial buildings out to scrap & rag merchants & other craftsmen who established their stores & workshops on the ground floor. Most of the buildings date back to this period of time with stories having been added later on.

Today, you will mostly find communication agencies, design companies & art galleries, with private apartments on the upper floors, all in a quiet village-like atmosphere. And let's not forget the most famous address in cour Damoye : Brulerie Daval, one of the last coffee roasters in Paris where you can buy freshly roasted coffee from Madame D'Amico who opened this shop with her husband some 70 years ago...  that's right.

p a s s a g e  d u  c h e v a l  b l a n c

This passage is quite unique & different from most other passages in Paris with its singular architecture. As you can see, most of the buildings here have beautiful wooden pans. Built in 1824 the name is believed to come from an old signboard, which is quite disappointing I think. I had imagined some crazy story behind it, a legend about a great white horse (cheval blanc means white horse), but it doesn't seem to be the case.

Within the passage you will find a lovely procession of old, paved courtyards named after the first months of the year. There used to be plenty of workshops here for those working with wood; cabinetmakers, carpenters... Today it's mostly offices (I would love to work here!), showrooms & galleries, maintaining the creative vibe of the place. You can enter it at 2, rue de la roquette.

p a s s a g e  l h o m m e

I know I already did a post about this beautiful little passage, but it's really worth mentioning again, or at least show a few more pictures & it's right next to the other two places. Click here for more info on Passage Lhomme

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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

paris hidden courtyards

Yes, I'm well aware of my excessive use of the words hidden & secret, but maybe that's where the most unpretentious places are? Or maybe there's no point in having a blog if I only show you the places you're bound to know. If I ever write a post about the Eiffel Tower, I promise I won't use any of those words.

I used to be shy, but that was before Instagram & before I started blogging. Now I trespass any chance I get to take a peak into all the little courtyards of Paris, & there are some truly beautiful ones. Most of the time, no code is needed to enter. Sometimes, elder ladies will ask me what I'm doing, but mostly, when I tell them I'm just taking a picture, they're fine with it. I've only been kicked out once. 

Here's a little selection of what you can find if you push a few doors, sometimes they're even open, so don't be shy next time you pass by a beautiful door, there's usually a nice reward hiding behind.

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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

gluten free lemon & almond cake with ricotta

f o o d  p o s t 

If you love lemon cakes, this Sicilian recipe is a must. I could really say the same for almond fans, making it pretty much a must, full stop. AND it's gluten free which I don't deliberately aim at, but it's perfect for those of you who are gluten-intolerant. The ricotta makes it deliciously moist and much lighter than most lemon cakes.

What do I need:
-100g softened unsalted butter;
-225g caster sugar;
-2 tsp vanilla sugar;
-Zest from 2 medium lemons & 1 tbsp lemon juice;
-4 eggs, separated;
-250g almond meal;
-300g fresh ricotta cheese;
-Icing sugar for decoration

What do I do:
Preheat the oven on 175 degrees Celcius & line a round springform cake tin (ideally 25 cm) with baking paper & butter the sides. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugars, lemon zest & juice until the mixture takes a creamy appearance. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks one at a time until they are fully incorporated. Add almond meal & beat to combine & repeat the same procedure with the ricotta cheese.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer till they form soft peaks & gently fold half of them into the cake mixture. Once absorbed, repeat with the other half.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. You must allow it to cool down before taking it out or it won't be firm enough due to the ricotta.

Dust with icing sugar before serving (just because it looks so much better).

Inspired by the delicious almond/ricotta/lemon cake of www.brownieboxblog.wordpress.com

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