Monday, January 11, 2010

highs and lows and chicken caesar salad

Yesterday morning began on a high when I received an email with some photos of a beautiful bijou apartment in the 1st arrondissement attached. This was in reply to an ad I'd placed in Craigslist Paris looking for somewhere to rent when I go to Le Cordon Bleu. The super-tasteful one-bedroom apartment next to the Louvre had stripped wooden floors, a marble tiled bathroom, galley kitchen with cherry wood units and granite worktops, and a beautiful arched window in the living room with French doors opening out to a wrought iron balcony with views across the Paris rooftops. All for €600 a month. I know what you're thinking - scam - and I came to the same conclusion myself pretty quickly, but I was smitten and the optimist in me said to BB: "not everyone's driven by money you know" - to which he snorted in response.

To cut a long story short, the guy couldn't provide a utility bill and the name of his (alleged) employer in London wasn't listed in the Yellow Pages, so I didn't part with any cash. No harm done you might think, but the images of that apartment were tattooed on my retina and I spent a miserable afternoon trawling through Craigslist looking at ghastly "cozy studios" with vertiginous swirly carpets, puce-coloured walls and lumpy linoleum floors. In one, you had to leap-frog over the loo to get in the shower and in another, the loo was in the kitchenette - I don't mean in a cubicle in the kitchenette, I mean the actual loo was in the kitchenette, right next to the electric plates. I've never seen anything like that before and it made me feel quite queasy. That's just a tad too "cozy" for my liking. And the starting price for these little gems: €750 a month!

I felt so deflated and unsociable that when someone came to the door, I hid by lying down on the kitchen floor so I wouldn't be spotted through the window.

It's minus 11 degrees C outside and we have snow (finally) - not exactly salad weather, but we try to eat salad every day and chicken caesar salad is BB's favourite: succulent breast of chicken atop snappy salad leaves with a snip of anchovies, slivers of parmesan and homemade crispy croutons. It always astounds me when I'm served packaged croutons in restaurants - those vile perfectly-formed cuboids flecked with bits that look like they've been picked from between someone's teeth. I mean how difficult is it to cut up some bread, toss it in olive oil and place in the oven for 10 minutes?

Serves 2
1 chicken breast
crisp salad leaves, such as little gem, cos/romaine or iceberg
shavings of parmesan
2 or 3 anchovies, snipped
homemade croutons
tbsp mayonnaise
juice of half a lemon
½ clove of garlic, crushed

Cook the chicken breast whole on a griddle pan until just cooked and cut into slices. Make the dressing by combining the mayonnaise with the lemon juice and crushed garlic. Toss the salad leaves in the dressing and serve with the chicken slices, snipped anchovies, parmesan shavings and croutons.


Dirndle said...

It is high time you started writing
a book!

Hils said...

I spend a lot of time lying down on kitchen floor trying to avoid my bottom from the smell of your vegetarian eggs!

Bronia said...

Hi! Your blog is beautiful - I'd love to exchange links. I'm a bit new to this game but I'll try and figure out how to do that tonight! Your photos are gorgeous - you must tell me what camera you use!

Guinea Fowl on my menu tonight...


Christina said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog! I love yours and have subscribed.

Marci Johnson said...

Hey, thanks for visiting my blog. I'd be happy to exchange links. Your recipes look fabulous!!

Anonymous said...

Your caesar Salad looks Great but If I served it to AJD at -11 I'd be lying on the floor too!!!
Where does Hils get her eggs from? and where do you? that yolk was darker than any of my hens lay.

No Blue Food said...

I love your blog as well, I spent a good portion of the time I was supposed to be working today reading it! I'd love to exchange links, as soon as I figure out how exactly to do that..

Sarah said...

Thanks all for your comments!

Anonymous - Knowing Hils I think she was probably exaggerating! But I get my eggs from Mini-B's uncle who keeps chickens. They are nothing like supermarket eggs.

Anonymous said...

I just happen to know Sarah owns a small syringe and bottle of orange
food colouring!
I`m only jealous cos all my chooks et mort!