Archive

Paris

It almost seems unreal to me, that now I am lying on my bed at home all the way in Vancouver, Canada, trying everything to fight my jet lag, while just what feels like minutes ago, I was holding my lover’s hand, strolling down those charming little streets in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, settling down in the Jardin luxembourg for a picnic, some reading, and cuddling…

  Let’s see…  It has only been 5 or 6 hours since I’ve arrived vancouver. I was exciting to see my family and eat amazing sushi again, but after all that is over and which took 2,3 hours, I am back on the Paris mode. I feel like my heart is still at Paris… That’s probably why I forgot my phone in the apt. in Paris, where I stay for the past 3 months. I subconsciously wanted Paris to keep a part of me… ??

Jardin Luxembourg – where we made our last memory in Paris… before we return again.

At Jardin Luxembourg, a public concert on the sunday afternoon. Free entrance! How lovable!

Paris Paris… Thank you for everything. It had been beautiful. We will be back.

It is our last two days in Paris. I am already tearing in my heart. These three months in Paris has to be one of the most precious period in my life. This city has taught me so much… even changed my life value.

The weather in Paris for the past few days has been especially strange and moody, as if it is also sad that we are leaving it behind. But we still feel the obligation to explore, to explore the very last bit of Paris, and the very best.

With the up and down gloomy weather, we found ourselves lining up in front of the Sainte Chapelle. This humble little church, located within le Palais de Justice, erected by Louis XI, king of France.  Though little, Sainte Chapelle is the most outstanding example of the Rayonnant Style of Gothic architecture. The masonry structure of the church is reduced to the bare minimum, leaving the seemingly fragile skeleton to support 6,456 Sq ft of delicate traceried glass imbedded in all facades of the church.

Lower Chambre of Sainte Chapelle

Upper Chambre of Sainte Chapelle

We did not visit the church at the best time because they were doing renovation on the glass work on the some of the window facades. At least a quarter of the traceried worked were covered up with a gigantic ugly white box. Hence a less majestic view of the church interior. But it was still an absolutely gorgeous space – light, intricate and colorful.

Architects:  Viollet-le-Duc, Peter of Montereau

Address:  Palais de la Cité, 4 boulevard du palais

Getting There: Metro:  Cité, St-Michel, or Chatelet-Les Halles / RER: St-Michel

I visited this brilliant work of Corbusier awhile ago, but I didn’t have time to put it up. And its my day off wednesday today, I managed to organize my pictures folder and hence another post for beautiful architecture. But you have to excuse  me for such poor quality pictures because I was smart enough to forgot about taking my camera with me when visiting such gorgeous piece.

Raoul La Roche and Albert Jeanneret were the commissioners and owners of La Maison Roche. It was constructed in 1923. La Maison Roche sparks characters that vividly demonstrate Corbusiers “five point” composition, like the long horizontal windows, free open space, and roof garden. But the difference from his other works of the time is the over lapping additional space perpendicular to one and other, creating an L shape structure as a whole, instead of the simple regular volume, like Villa Savoy. The design of the curve face is also a different approach of the house from most of his signature pieces.

 

I have to say I really really like the interior space of La Maison Roche. Knowing Corbusier’s moto for his design as “machine for living,” this machine is a very attentive one. Compare to Villa Savoye, I think that Roche is less “harsh” in many aspects. I could see how the family was living and utilizing the space just walking around the house. Like most of his work, the interior of the space is simple and clean, with the maximum attention of details.

La Maison Roche is a house consisting two parts, the first with the curvature facade is a gallery where the owner display his art collections, and a library leading from the ramp of the gallery.

 

The second part of the house, the living area for the family, can be accessed through a bridge connecting from the library above the gallery space. one side of the bridge is a huge window facade and the other looks down to the 3 storey atrium.

 

The composition between spaces is very interesting throughout the house. Most public areas were interconnect in different ways with walk ways or views to other sections. It is like a modern magic box with peeks to different areas.

This is La Maison Roche by Le Corbusier.

Writing about other people’s home made me thought of my own. We had been property hunting in London for awhile for a place to rent. There was not much luck to find our perfect dream apartment until yesterday! In the pictures, it looked like it is everything we dreamed for. My dear friend went to the viewing for us just now and we are gonna hear some real feedbacks from her in 20 min! So far her comment about the place has been pretty AWESOME. I am excited. 🙂

Cheers, for beautiful homes!

 

Long time. We were in London last weekend for apartment hunting. It didn’t go so well after being stood up by some irresponsible agents. We arranged for 10 properties to view and eventually only viewed 3. So apparently we didn’t find the home we were hoping for. Interestingly, after being extremely discouraged for finding a suitable home, we found an apt. just came to the market today (actually it was only on the market for 4 hours until I spot it on the web), and we made an offer without viewing the apt. in person! Yes, we loved it that much and it is THE dream home! It literally is VERY close to the home that appeared in my dream when I was stressing out by all these property hunts. So now, finally, I can relax some and celebrate for our home sweet home to be.

Super easy rosemary butter roast d’agneau

Rinse lamb, pat dry, season with salt and pepper. Cut up rosemary butter, place on top of each piece of lamb. Sprinkle onions and whole cloves garlic with skin in the pan. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top. Place in oven 160 F for approx. 17-20 min.

Meat should be still tender. If your pieces are smaller, put in the oven for less time to avoid over cooking.

White Asparagus, peell skin. Saute asparagus in medium heat pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Till part skin turn light gold, chop in herbs if you like, squeeze half lemon juice to asparagus, quick toss then take away from heat.

SERVE! Using every single inch of our tiny paris kitchen.

Voila!  It was one satisfying meal.

Cheers and good luck to all who are hunt for apartments.

Roasted vegetable for breakfast, well… or lunch, or dinner, is always favorite. For a veggie addict, what can be better that a whole plate of different kinds of roasted veggies placed right in front of you. Simple and delightful.

Pick your favorite or seasonal vegetable to roast! I have here eggplants, zucchini, yellow bell pepper, and green long pepper, and garlic, my MUST for roasted veggies! Seasoned everything with salt and pepper, then toss with good amount of olive oil, then balsamic vinaigrette. For garlic, I like to leave the skin on so it doesnt get all too smushie.  Roast for about an hour.

 

Meanwhile, cook up your bacon and eggs! Sear bacon first and used the bacon fat for fried egg.

Roasted vegetable with egg and bacon

One of the best thing about being an immigrant is that you can constantly brag about food in your home country. While bragging how unbelievably different and delicious they are, you can also exaggerate the complexity of the cooking techniques for a certain dish that which in fact very simple but no body has ever heard of in this new country that you are now living in. As a Chinese who had lived in Canada, and the States and now Paris, and soon London, I have the privilege to brag with everybody food that I grew up with. Once awhile, I feel obligated to spread the greatest Chinese food culture to the world. But sometime, I just really needed that home dish to keep me going. Such as this night. I really wanted this porc belly braise dish which is the all time fave of the family on my father’s side. We called it “Kou Rou.” I don’t know the translations for that and I also don’t have the family secret recipe for it. I’ve made many different versions of “Kou Rou” myself. It’s not always fabulous but there were glorious times. This night, I just really needed some kou rou. But Chinese ingredients are no where near to find. So I made a not-real-straight-up-chinese-version of kou rou to hold my crave for the night. I replaced a lot of ingredients with what I can find here in a paris home. But also lacked A LOT of very important magics for the dish. Oh well. I did it and it reminded me of home anyway.

First put the cut up pork belly in water, add ginger slices, and cloves, bring to boil.  This process is to get rid of the bad pig smell/taste of the pork.

Drained water after boiling. Rinse under cold water and make sure no white foamy stuff sticking on the pork.

Bring pot/deep pan to high heat with a little bit of oil, sear your pork. Get them brown on the surface.

Add soy sauce, black or sweet vinegar, hot red peppers, brown sugar, a can of coke or sprite, whole cloves of garlics, dry bay leaves, 2 cloves, and ginger slices. add a little bit of water or stock till nearly covers the surface of pork.   Note that even though most of these are not what we normally would use in this dish, you can replace a thing by your creativity but the soy sauce HAS TO be right. Most of the stuff they sell in western super market are no good. Look for Lee Kum Kee brand which is more common to be in big super market. Or at least pick the one with least english on it.

Braise slowly with low heat for two to three hours. Put hard boil eggs in to absorb some juice. Don’t over cook your eggs, as always.

I intended cooked the eggs with a semi runny yolk. I did not do the best just there. But it was still orange and sticky. May be next time I will do better. Serve with rice. Hopefully next time I can find some right ingredients and make you a real version of Kou Rou!

Ok. This museum section of the post is actually a sequel of the last entry. After we visited Musee d’Art Moderne, we continued our adventure to the Palais de Tokyo, which is literally conjoins with the former. But the two museum space/interior is completely different. Almost in the most extreme contrast.  Musee d’Art Moderne has a very clean, clear, minimal space. Palais de Tokyo was very “minimal” but to an extend that it’s almost raw. The artworks houses in this museum are very contemporary. There is also a superb bookstore right at the entrance of the museum. Everything in this museum is exposed, the brick walls, the structures, the columns, and the lighting tracks. Nothing is covered or “refined.” It’s really beautifully raw. Loved it.

I would go back again if I have time. I was more excited about the space then the artworks to be honest.

That’s about it for the day. We are actually off to Berlin in…. 15 min. Just wanted to say good bye to you all. We will have fun.

Time for some l’art moderne eh? Yesterday we visited Musée D’Art Moderne De La Ville De Paris. Heard so much cool things about this museum and  was excited to finally be here. The  museum space itself is very amazing. It is minimal and clean which I learned that it was actually due to running short on financial support, didn’t turn out bad.

Other than the permanent collection, we were also here for the Robert Crumb exhibition. I have never been a fan of comics but the exhibit was beyond fabulous. We spent probably 2 hours just in this one room, it was worth every penny and second!  Crazy person daring work!

Robert Crumb

Alex is in the kitchen for roast whole chicken ce soir. Oh and it’s roasted with a veggie feast!  So Easy! Get Ready!

Start with your vegetables. We’ve got let see… cauliflowers, long green peppers, tomatoes, carrots,   onions, and whole cloves of garlic in here. Season well and put the pot in the over. Start roasting!

Meanwhile rub chicken inside out with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.  Pour in about half cup of vinaigrette (depending on the size of the chickie) in the chicken belly.

Put chicken on top of the veggies. Roast together. Let the juice and fat of the chicken come out slowly and mix with the veggies.

Roast till chicken skin turn golden!

Vegetables are now bathing in a juicy broth.

We actually roasted the chicken 2 times because we didn’t want to over cook the breast. So we cut out the breast first when it was JUST cooked and eat while we wait for the rest of the chicken to be roasted a little more.

Then finally I get my yummy thigh… smooth and juicy!