Friday, April 24, 2020

Update on Bear under Lockdown

While I've been lolling and loafing on the sofa, BEAR has been one busy bee under Lockdown. First thing, top of the morning he checks to make sure the view hasn't changed. And the weather - its been a study 70+ degrees and sunny.
Next Bear mixes up his Moka-Java - a combo of cocoa and hot chocolate powder + instant coffee with a touch if cinnamon powder (it took me DAYS to find cinnamon in Paris - everyone (still here) is baking babka) stirred into a dollop of creme fraiche.
A little indulgence to get him set up to WALK WITH LESLIE while I observe from the sofa.
Here are some of Bear's old fav French tunes in case you'd like to sing along whilst walk, walk, walking with Leslie. 
aimer jusqu'a l'impossible" by Tina Arena. 
Christophe - Les Mots bleus - Paroles. 
On ne change pas - Céline Dion 
Sables Émouvants - Arcadian 
Je fais de toi mon essentiel — Emmanuel Moire
Bear, fresh out of hibernation, is eating strange things these days for his 'Lockdown breakfast'. Its more like brunch but earlier.
He's added a new dish to his repertoire (upper right) from new crush, darling Greek Akis Petretzikis Kitchen - a chickpea stew to which I added 4 rotisserie chicken legs - a very hearty start of the day if you're a bear.
You asked to see more of Bear's supermarché shopping hauls. This one is from Marks & Spencer's.
Voila! Yes, he bought 2 herb plants. And yes they are not doing well. Bear has no green thumb like some of you Monique knows flower species instantly. The shells on the the lower left are bulots, known as welks in the UK. They are the closest thing I can find that taste vaguely like Jersey Surf City clams of my childhood, so irresisitable. Also full of iron and other nutrients. Bear never ate so well pre-lockdown.
Here Bear is hard at work on the April Paris Map, drawing in bed.
Sometimes Bear dreams of ice cream, which used to be a daily occurrence  pre-Lockdown.
He has been eye-balling Carrefour's fraise (strawberry) glace for days. On Wednesday he succumbed. Sadly the chips were disappointing and got chucked. Thank you dear PBers for your Etsy orders last week which keep Bear in ice cream. Bear just put some new things in our ETSY SHOP (all to be sent out ASAP post-Lockdown). PLEASE 🙏🏻 stay well dear PBers.❤️ Xxx Yours truly, 🐻🌹

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Creating April's Paris letter + Paris Cats

I see things I want to paint on Instagram all the time.The view out @Solli_K 's window is spectacular. Frenchie blue-grey rooftops, bunches of red stubby chimneys. And the Eiffel tower.
I saved it and did a line drawing. Easter thoughts got me thinking what about butterflies and bunnies in the sky? 
But under Lockdown haven't we all become caCats looking out our windows waitingiting..
In 2017, Statista estimated that there were over 13.5 million cats in France. 29% of all French households own a cat!  Voila.
Next step - whether to add PARIS in big letters or not? You tell me😄
This has been a catty week - I just finished Ivan's portrait for Becky. Does your cat need a visit to Paris? 
Cats in art history led me to this essay.
And to this fun, arty cat video.
Do you follow the 
@dailypurr on instagram? Good for a daily giggle.
The 
NEW YORKER did a wonderfully silly video on 'How Cats Tamed Us'. Watch and smile. Next view to paint is out my own window. It was 75 degrees yesterday with the fluffiest clouds...till it rained. My SHOP IS OPEN. All images will be mailed out mid-May🙏🏻 🤞🏼Until then I'll send images by email💌 Quand le chat n'est pas là, les souris dansent. – When the cat's away, the mice will play. Stay well dear PBers ❤️💋🐻

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Notre Dame, this and that

Its hard to believe it was just a year ago that Notre Dame was on fire. Last night they played the bells at 8 pm. Yesterday I went out at 8 am for a short walk and groceries.
The Seine was smooth as silk, full of reflections and the air was crystaline.
The trees have burst into green.
On a wall nearby someone pasted up a photo of another dire time in Paris - the floods of 1910.


I heard from Bonnie in Boston that I can get ice cream from BERTHILLON delivered. I think I'll wait for a single dip. 
Do you find yourself watching endless cooking videos on Youtube? I finally dragged myself away from my tablet and made this easy, savory tuna pasta with capers, garlic, lemon, arugula, plus a few anchovies from GENNARO CONTALDO.
Mine does not look as stunning but it tasted great. 
I also rediscovered WALK AT HOME WITH LESLIE SANSONE on Youtube but its um way too fast. Look for 3 white dots in the upper right corner. Then lower the playback speed setting to .75  
Then Leslie's 'walking' is doable. Don't forget the COOL DOWN
Since I'm now 'working out' (for 2 days so far) I decided I could get some goodies at the supermarket. I may have gone a bit overboard.
My haul yesterday. The oatmeal is for the birds. Popcorn you make on top of the stove. So vintage. All the staff were wearing plastic face shields I'm happy to say. In the past I might have minded the broken cookies
. Now I'm grateful for small mercies. Stay well dear readers 🙏🏻❤️🐻Xxx

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Hector Guimard Paris Map

Every month the subject of the map is a tussle. I sketched at least 2-3 ideas when a book of PARIS ART NOUVEAU fell on the floor. Please click on link
I much prefer drawing curvy lines more than straight ones.
For Art Nouveau immersion I went back to my posts on the fabulous PARIS 1900 exhibit
At Petit Palais in 2014. 
Between 1890 and 1930, HECTOR GUIMARD designed and built some 50 buildings, in addition to 141 subway entrances for the Paris Metro, as well as numerous pieces of furniture and other decorative works.
If you've visited Paris you've surely entered one of his iconic METRO STATIONS. Who can forget?
While researching I discovered a fun way to you can travel anywhere from your armchair..
Put an address into Google search. Click on the square photo labeled STREET VIEW.
Paris is a click away.
I did a little time travel.
Back to where I grew up. This morning I want to Santorini (on Google only)...Bon Voyage A reminder March Paris maps are now being sent out by EMAIL till post-Lockdown. Hang in there PBers 🙏🏻 Stay well ❤️Reston chez nous🐻💋💐

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Easy, Fast Lockdown Chicken Soup

In the past month I've made chicken soup 3 times and its the best and easiest I've made in my life. Every boucherie in Paris has a rotisserie setup out front offering made-daily ready-to-eat whole chickens and parts. Plus the chicken fat drips down onto cutup potatoes if you're so inclined. On March 13th (pre-lockdown) I spotted a nice organic COOKED rotisserie chicken in Monoprix. It was either buy an utterly delish but one-meal salmon sushi roll or the chicken. The chicken won. For reasons unbeknownst to me chicken soup is not the go-to 'panacea for all that ails ya' as it is in the US. La Grand Epicerie does not offer take-away ready-made chicken soup. Chinese takeout shops have shrimp ravioli noodle and Shanghanese(sp) soup(hot and sour) but no chicken soup. It is a mystere especially when it's been noted in some medical circles to clear the upper respiratory passages. In France you simply have to make it yourself. The first recipe to greet you on Google is Martha Stewart's of course.
Thank you Martha ! It works easy peasy.
The big change with a rotisserie/barbecue chicken is you won't  be skimming fat off the top. The fat already landed on those potatoes at the bottom. And you won't have to worry about flavor. And its already COOKED = big time-saver.
I added in a Monop soy sauce and preserved ginger packet for extra oomph (optional). I won't copy out the complete RECIPE here.
Basically add 7-8 cups of cold water + 3-4 smashed garlic CLOVES + a teaspoon of kosher/sea salt. And your cooked chicken. Voila. Put the lid on slightly ajar and let it come to a boil.
Meantime chop up your onions (or 1leek) + 6 carrots.
Add to the pot once the chicken has come to a boil and simmer till fork tender. Leave the lid slightly ajar.
Turn off the heat and let cool a bit before you start removing the meat from the bones PLEASE. Do not go moving a hot pot around either PLEASE. I'm not insured.
Return meat to the pot and serve. A very easy flavorful soup indeed. Bear 🐻liked it👍🏻 Here's my other frequent companion. Stay home please PBers. And MAKE A MASK if you can't buy one which you can't here. Xxx ❤️ PS I ran out of flat leaf parsley and added arugUla as a green.