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!
1 chicken breast
crisp salad leaves, such as little gem, cos/romaine or iceberg
shavings of parmesan
2 or 3 anchovies, snipped
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.