Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Second Supper

A big thank you to all the lovely people that joined us for our second event, their kind words and appetite, it's been very encouraging and reassuring! We were delighted to have you around our tables and excited to feed you ;)) We've met some fantastic people and look forward to seeing them again. Here is an insight of the meal, full menu and few pics, hoping to convince more people to join us and keep the word going...

Lustau Manzanilla Sherry
Caramilized Onions, Margoram & Goat Cheese on Crostini
Deep-fried Pig's Head Terrine with Sauce Gribiche
Mussels, Creme Fraiche, Chives & Capers

Terakihi Tartare with Salmon Caviar, Seaweed Caviar, Chilli & Shallot
Terakihi Consomme with Lime, Chilli & Chervill

Slow Roasted Pork Loin, Stuffed with Black Pudding, Thyme & Cepes
Confit Pork Belly, served with Sauce Soubise with Jerusalem Artichoke & Confit Garlic
Duck Fat Parsnip, with Brussel Sprouts, Sage & Capers

Walnut, Almond, Frangelico & Chocolate Pithivier
Served with Walnut, Pistachio & Frangelico Ice Cream

It was a lovely Sunday lunch... and we are already thinking about our next supper... coming up soon!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Digestives are serious business

I have a long-term affair with digestives, thanks to my grand-mother's "bar". She used to have friends that produced Eaux-de-Vie from their clandestine distillery in Normandy, and every year they will gave her new bottles of prune, pear, strawberry or raspberry alcohols. I will wait patiently to the end of the meal, that she turns to me and says: " would you open the bar and get some digestives on the table?".

Aah, the digestives' time! They were dearly needed, after a huge Sunday lunch, when you have to sit back on your chair and pop your trousers... We had to loosen up and, thanks to all the flavours proposed, we had excuses to have more than one!

Anyway, that's for the little story. My point is, you should never finish a meal without a digestive. It's the only reasonable way to ending a copious meal, that will help you to "digest" (!), yet leave you this comforting feeling that you are full but happy; its warmth protecting you from the cold waiting for you outside, and give you courage to finally stand up and leave the table... knowing that nothing else could be added to the experience.

So pay respect to the table, welcome the digestive at the end of your meal and celebrate life for all its goodness!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Call for artists' proposals

The French House is now welcoming artists' proposals to exhibit in its intimate and comfortable surroundings.

Each month, we will be holding a different exhibition, with an opening party for each new one. Thereafter, the Gallery will be open in the day by appointment only; guests to The French House could enjoy the work in the Gallery at their leisure.

We are also looking for performers and musicians for special cabaret events...

Get in touch at thefrenchhouse@hotmail.co.nz, we want to hear about you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thank you and thank you

First of all, we would like to welcome all new members and friends of The French House, and thank you for your interest and your support. We are really pleased to see the community grow and spread the word... and we are looking forward to meeting you all at our table!

Now, we've posted a question to Fergus Henderson on the guardian's blog, The Word of Mouth, and here is his response:


Dear Fergus,
French girl, ex-waitress at St John, relocated in New Zealand, running a supperclub, The French House (in hommage to both you and the place)... trying to convince them to forget about ethics and macrobiotic, and eat foie gras and offal... any tips?

"Stick with it! Good luck. Don't be disheartened and make sure it's all delicious. Cooking's not about gore or blood-lust, it's about being delicious."

So thank you very much Fergus, it's encouraging, and yes we will stick to it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Second Supper: Sunday 27th June 2010 @ 1.00 pm

We are pleased to announce the second supper hosted by The French House! This time, we have decided to have an early one, so you can take all the time to eat, chat and enjoy, in the tradition of a lazy Sunday lunch...

The supper will consist of an aperitif, followed by a 3 course meal, and finish with coffee and tea (and treats!). Because it's a social event, we encourage sharing tables, dishes and discussions! In time of economic recession we all need comfort, so come and join us for the experience, bring your own bottle of wine, and we will simply ask for a donation to cover costs.

Because of the nature of the event, places are rare and limited, and on the basis of first in first served, so don't wait too long to make a reservation (email thefrenchhouse@hotmail.co.nz)! RSVP's close on Monday 14th June. We will then send you an email few days prior to the event, stating the menu and address, and ask you to confirm your booking and number of guests.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The importance of aperitif

Last night, while discussing the menu for our next event and thinking about canapes and welcome drinks, I was reading Aperitif, Recipes for Simple Pleasures in the French Style by Georgeanne Brennan, day-dreaming about making our own vin maison or seasonal homemade wine, for everyday, that you can find in any given region in France. Aaah, the pleasure and ritual of aperitif, both a beverage and a social activity, where family and friends come together to share conversation before the lunch or dinner hour...

Here is a lovely insight about this social institution: "Just as the converstaion and conviviality of the moment are destined to stimulate the mind and spirit, the drink serves to pique the appetite and the taste buds before the meal."

I got a bit nostalgic after that... until I realized that we should (re)establish the importance of aperitif! It is an essential step before any introduction to the table that open your palate, wake-up your sensations, before calling for a meal. Most importantly, it is about social interaction and the first sign of hospitality that says: welcome to our home, our place, we are delighted to have you with us, relax, grab a drink, a nibble and chat away; to take time and enjoy life...

Rituals are my favourite things when it comes to food. I love the idea that everything is there for a reason, a tradition, and we have to honour and celebrate it. Which is why I never talk about binging but indulging, as nothing can be negative if done with care, love and respect. If you want to drink, drink, but well. If you want to eat, eat, but well. Be genuine, insatiable and thirsty!

Next stop: digestives!

Live chat with Fergus Henderson!

Thursday at 12pm (BST), on wordofmouth's blog, Fergus Henderson, the man at the centre of the nose-to-tail revolution, will be online to answer questions. For those less familiar with his bespectacled presence, he's the chef who revolutionised the way we eat meat by opening a restaurant founded on the principle that if an animal is to be killed for the table, chef and diners ought to do it the courtesy of consuming all of it. In his own words:
"Nose to Tail Eating' means it would be disingenuous to the animal not to make the most of the whole beast; there is a set of delights, textural and flavoursome, which lie beyond the fillet."

While the amount the home cook can learn about the principles and practice of nose to tail eating from such a chef might seem overwhelming, it's worth bearing in mind the last and certainly not least of the four things he thought he should mention in his introduction to Nose to Tail Eating:

"Do not be afraid of cooking, as your ingredients will know, and misbehave. Enjoy your cooking and the food will behave; moreover, it will pass your pleasure on to those who eat it."