Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Paris relaxes & poached pears

While the sun was shinning, we had a free day and Quinn was on holiday, so we took the opportunity to make a quick trip to Paris. We spent a glorious afternoon at the Bois de Vincennes, one of the large parks near Emily's place. We visited once before in winter, and enjoyed ourselves, even in the cold, but this time the glorious weather seemed to bring all of Paris out and we shared the park with hundreds of sun-hungry Parisians craving a relaxing afternoon.

At the entrance to the park there are huge cement letters spelling out: Parc Floral de Paris. Kids rested in each nook and cranny. Quinn takes his turn in an 'L'.

A photo of a pond near the entry, with small fish just under the surface and the sun and sky reflected in the water looked to me like an abstract painting.

Everything was lush and all the azaleas were in bloom.

Butterflies enjoyed the weather as well.

There are miles of pathways and inviting lawn, garden corners of every persuasion, cafes and restaurants, music venues and activities for children of all ages. Quinn took full advantage of the giant slide and the zip line.

Zinnie is growing fast, beginning to chatter and understand.


Before we left for home, we helped Emily prepare her garden for the summer by planting her pots and a few new flowers in the ground. Lovely!


At home we're in gardening mode as well. I'm very pleased with my new window box herb garden. We are currently making quite a few client meals, and I use our upstairs kitchen to get everything going, so fresh herbs on hand are essential.


In the atelier I have been keeping up with my daily drawing and at the same time doing a few more crafty projects. I have so much nifty antique French ephemera, as well as buttons, ribbon and the like. I've tried to put together some collages to add to my boutique this year. We were also given a huge set of sterling silver flatware that I have no use for at the table, so I have been wracking my brains about how to honor it in some other way. This wonderful flat serving spoon took only a bend in order to transform into a rather nice "shelf" for a candle.


Poached pears are one of our favorite desserts at the Maison Conti. Easy to make:

Create a white wine poaching sauce:

To 1 bottle of white wine add a cup of sugar and bring to a boil. When the sugar is entirely dissolved, add the juice of a lemon, grated lemon peel, a whole vanilla bean (scrape out the pulp and add that to the pot first) and a cinnamon stick broken into pieces. Peel bosc pears and boil in the white wine sauce until tender (about a half hour).

Serve at room temperature with raspberry coulis (boil raspberries and sugar together and then strain out seeds), candied walnuts (walnut halves coated in caramelized sugar) and a slice of blue cheese. It makes a fantastic melange of flavors, colors and textures,


I leave you with a photo of our friendly goldfinch. He has spent much time sitting on the corner of our roof. I've dropped back the opacity of the buildings in the rest of the photo so that you can see him more clearly. Isn't he a beauty!


  1. I love to read about your life there. It makes me want to go back to France before long!
    The kids are so cute and the poached pears look so delicious!

  2. Quinn grows more adorable by the week! As does Zinny! I want to squeeze them! The collage is stunning and what a great idea with the spoon! The pears are soooo beautiful!