Friday, October 29, 2010

Teaching Kids and Adults to Bake at the Alliance Francaise in Providence

Over the past several months Susie has developed quite a relationship with the people at the Providence Chapter of Alliance Francaise, the worldwide network of Francophiles. She has moved from taking classes to giving them; well, at least baking classes.

This past weekend she taught a kid's baking class on Saturday, and together they produced a vast number of chocolate diamants and lemony madeleines:

On Sunday she teamed up with local French chef Alain Hugard and his collegae Lucien Arsac to do the pastry portion of AF's Gourmet Club. The club meets several times a year to learn French cooking techniques and benefit from their efforts by eating the lessons. The savory portion consisted of salmon presented three different ways, while the pastry course focused on Sabayon and the infinite variety of ways it can be used in desserts. (Susie paired hers up with an incredible pear almond tart.)

Alain, Lucien and Susie:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Columbus Day and a Road Trip to Maine

It's been beautiful here in the Ocean State. The past week or so has seen fall-like temps and rapidly changing colors, at least in our neighborhood.

So, we didn't need much prodding to take a road trip to see more autumn color and spend some time with family in the bargain. With Columbus Day being a major holiday here in New England - even though Columbus never technically came to New England -- I had Monday off. Susie and I took off Friday afternoon for Orono, Maine, up to the North woods to see her sister Joyce and her husband Carl.

The day was fine, sky clear-blue and traffic light as we pulled out of downtown Providence onto I-95 and headed north. Less than 5 hours later we were pulling into the driveway on Cromwell Street. before we knew it, wine was opened, potatoes in the oven and marinated chicken on the grill.

It was a quiet weekend spent relaxing with family in the Maine North Woods. Aside from being with Susie's sister and her husband, the highlight was a trip to Mt Hope cemetery in Bangor on a gorgeous fall afternoon:

We left Sunday to stay ahead of Monday traffic returning to the banality of city life. A quick stop at one of the many outlets in Kittery, Maine, just a mile or so short of the New Hampshire border -- plates was the objective, safely fulfilled thank you very much -- and we were soon back on I-95 heading south for Providence and home.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Party for French Interns at Alliance Francaise

Last Saturday Susie and I held a small dinner party for the two French interns, Camille and Mickael, working at Alliance Francaise here in Providence.

Friends Andrea and Barbara, with their friend John from Vancouver came as did Dick and Dorothy and Magali, Executive Director of AF along with her husband Gary and daughter Melodie. Camille, or "Cammie" as she's known at AF, was joined by her sister Marin who recently arrived from France to study English in Boston, and Marin's friend Pierre Alexandre.

Grilled flank steak, delicious home-grown potatoes, a wonderful salad, great apps and sparkling wine flowed throughout the evening, the food and wine outmatched only by the fascinating conversation and warm stories passed around the table.