A very special day and week...

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What a strange week I have just experienced... just like an emotional roller coaster : joy, sorrow, introspection ... I'm not a great writer, I sometimes struggle to express my feelings so may I ask you to forgive in advance the little infelicities of style you will find here and there ...
Joy: For those who follow this blog or who know me personally, you already know that I won the first prize of glamour magazine's recipe contest. The jury member being Mr Jean-François Piège,a very famous French Chef, one of the prizes consisted of having the winning recipe on the menu of the Brasserie Thoumieux. Friday, September 30, was the big day and my family, my dear friends and I had lunch there. I was excited and proud but yet slightly anxious :  what would  my recipe taste like, cooked by others? Would I have the opportunity to see, or even better, talk with Mr Piège ? His recent title of Chef of the Year 2011 left me fearing a media whirlwind that would make him too busy for a chat with one of his guests. Actually, everything went wonderfully smoothly, we enjoyed a wonderful meal (all the details are brilliantly narrated by my friend Lili here in french). For my part, I really enjoyed the veal sweetbreads -perfectly cooked- with baby potatoes and cep mushrooms and a divine sauce! Followed by a regressive dessert: churros to dip in top quality chocolate sauce and  sparkling sugar, accompanied by vanilla ice cream. Regressive and deliciously ... evocative of my few months as a student in Spain. As for my recipe, of course, we ordered it to taste it. Mr Piège made his personal version by preparing a real tempura batter and offering to serve the honey in a separate glass rather than  dipping the fritters into it. A more nutritionally correct version ! I  found it much more crispy than mine  and the taste of honey (with truffles, wow) came out best. I will try  it at home and let my daughters decide which version is their favorite. At the end of the meal, Mr Piège joined us to congratulate me (!), explain why he chose this recipe and give us a glimpse of his vision of Cuisine. Very rewarding. But I must admit that I was quite intimidated and not very talkative ! To sum up : lots of laughter and warmth during this lunch and I could not help thinking that I was lucky to have sucha great support from my family and friends. Besides, my dear friend Laurent wrote a lovely post for me here. Again, thank you! This leads to the second part of this post, which will be less joyful.


 
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Top : Veal sweetbreads with baby potatoes and cep mushrooms. Bottom : churros (Spanish-style fritters)


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 Mr Piège's version of my Spinach Tempuras.

Sorrow : Two days after this special day, I got very bad news:  my maternal grandmother suddenly passed away. I will not dwell on it, you know I rarely do share very personal things on this blog or on social networks in general. I just simply felt shocked and I realized  that I had no more grandparent left ...


Introspection : I can hear you from here. You think there is no relationship between these two events. Well, I'm not so sure. I am firmly convinced that there is no such thing as chance , only what you allow yourself to be receptive to (if I told you how I met my husband, you would not believe a word). First, the dish that was chosen by Mr Piège is a twisted version of a family recipe. My grand-ma cooked this recipe more than once. Secondly, the rabbi at the cemetery made a nice speech about the  transmission of values and traditions and explained that it was the best way to remember the lost loved ones, much better than just fond memories. My grandmother was famous, among other things, for herculinary  talents. And it's true that when I cooked the traditional dishes of Yom Kippur last week, I felt she was with me in my kitchen, smiling knowingly and tasting and re-tasting as well as if it was she who prepared them. I'm sure that, at Thoumieux, a brasserie offering traditional dishes, the Chefs are aware of the importance of  recipes passed down from one generation to another, of dishes shared around large tables, regardless of the passing hours and the added inches around the waist !
In short, a twisted family recipe, celebrated at Thoumieux, a traditional :restaurant, two days before my grandmother passed away ? I told you, there is no such thing as chance !
 

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The iconic" fruit tart to share" by Thoumieux.