this week was bitter sweet… my grandaunt (if that’s what the relationship grade really is) hedi died at the age of 91. she was a fabulous, sweet, funny, loving lady – with the right amount of cheek to her. i probably didn’t know her well enough, though now i wish i did… but i’m glad i spent a couple of holidays in the south of france with her through the years. she was a woman with a great sense of humour; she didn’t always talk but when she said something it was usually spot on, sometimes witty, sometimes sarcastic, always bright and sharp. my heart reaches out to my uncle and aunt who miss her terribly now. the funeral was good to bid our goodbies – but then again, there is only time to help with the imminent loss of someone’s presence. and although it was a sad moment, the funeral, the nice words being said about her, it was also kind of a nice event. see, at 91, you can possibly let someone go (though i’m not saying it’s ever easy…) eventually, especially if the person led a life so full and happily. so for me it was also a reminder to live in the here and now, to make the most of it, to enjoy family and friends that we have, to be grateful for the good things in life, and to not dream our dreams but to actually live them.
also, my sister in law is nearing the end of her chemo therapy, which is lifting my spirt immensely. i wanted to tell you that she’s feeling much better and that we’re all very grateful for her, the healing, her strength. i’m impressed by her viking like strength and courage – it’s something i’m entirely grateful to witness, as it relativates our own tiny downs sometimes. she encouraged me to be a better, stronger version of myself. as much as bad health sucks, there are also some positive aspects. through her disease, i got to spend more time with my two little nephews, and they’re such a source of joy. little hairballs of fun, really. last wednesday, felix said to me ‘you know i love you – it’s just so sad that you’re such an old lady’. haha, did i smile at that? yes. felix, i will try to stay forever young at heart for you, so we’ll always have some crazy fun together, okay?
evoked by all these deep and meaningful events (and i swear i’m putting a stop to the seriousness, immediately), i made my mind up about a couple of things and dreams that i have. there are certain things on my mind regarding my future, my life. some involve a family and a garden (lots of peonies and wild things, good wild things), maybe. yeah, i know, you hadn’t anticipated that, right? since i’m not really the baby person (everyone knows that, and, well, although it’s probably not very ‘female’ of me to admit this, it’s also just who i am). so i guess some of you are shocked – as you probably know me as the ‘i’m not sure about wanting my own kids…’. but turns out i probably am at a point in my life where i wouldn’t mind kids. make it a couple, golden haired, freckled little monsters? okay, maybe not monsters, i’d prefer the angelic version, thank you. definitely those who sleep through the night and can be potty trained at the age of 2 (uhm, months, of course). and okay, not today or tomorrow. not this year and not next year. but in due time? if i’m lucky, i think. some other dreams involve starting my own business, something food and entertaining related, hosting guests, serving food, giving people my time and care and devotion, create something for them to enjoy. maybe a tiny b&b in the mountains? it’s forever a dream. and lately, i’ve been thinking i need to work more towards that dream. dreams don’t just fall off the tree like ripe fruit; you’ve got to cherish them, invest into them, build them slowly. it’s okay if they never really turn real in the end. it won’t bring me down if they don’t. but at least i want to die trying to achieve them. to be lead by dreams, is there anything bigger in life? anything more worthy of our time? i intend to daydream as much as possible and plan, plan, plan…
btw i will be off to some milano shallow but blissful happiness shopping tomorrow (remember this?), with the besties (those women are wonderful and sometimes i think they saved me from myself and dark places, altogether). we’ll possibly buy shoes (we won’t mix up ‘ballerine’ and ‘scarpe ballerine’ again, this time, ahem) by the truckload. and stuff our faces with ice cream, then mozzarella, then some more ice cream. and sunday… will be a lazy, loungey, late summer sunday spent doing nothing and eating more ice cream. happy weekend, loves. thank you for stopping by, sharing my life and stories with me.
oh, and the foodie in me wants me to write something about this dish, too. so, i’ve always wanted to tap into eggs so-and-so. you know, the bénedicts and florentines of this (brunch) world? they sound and look and taste so sophisticated! sure, i’ve tried (and succeeded!) at poached eggs before, but to create a whole meal out of them is different. timing is crucial! i’ve experienced that at the modern pantry kitchen internship last year. and they’re, like, basically the gods of brunch and eggs so-and-so! and the chefs there had a constant sweaty brow during breakfast shift, believe me. but strangely, and honestly, i don’t like béchamel or holondaise sauce, so much… so that actually limits the classic options. when in provence, however, we just decided it’s time for some poached eggs on toasted baguettes with some quick fried greens – so we made these and dubbed them ‘eggs provençale’ – our nice, individual little twist on the classic version. you like?
eggs provençale – poached egg on swiss chard, heirloom tomato and toasted baguette
4 bread slices (baguettes or other)
1 large heirloom tomato
1 bunch swiss chard (in all colors)
1 garlic clove
1 cm peperoncino
1 small white onion
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. fleur de sel
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
start with the chard. clean it and separate the stems from the leaves. heat a saucepan with water, then quickly blanch the stems (for about a minute), then add the leaves to let them fall together briefly, and remove immediately. drain and cool under the running cold water. put aside, pat dry. heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the onion, peperoncino and garlic and sweat for a minute. add the chard and fry for a couple of minutes. season with fleur de sel, honey and lemon juice.
in a separate saucepan, heat water, then add the white wine vinegar. carefully crack the eggs and with a quick move pour them into the (hot, not boiling) water. stir the water carefully so that the egg ‘swirls’ together (word? sorry, haha, it just sounded so nice). proceed with other eggs. let cook for 3 to 4 minutes. remove with a sieve, drain from excess water.
slice the heirloom tomato. if you want, quickly fry it in a pan for a minute on each side to make it warm. toast the bread, drizzle with some olive oil. arrange the bread on the plates, arrange a tomato slice on the bread, add some of the chard and put the egg on top, you can cut it open so that the yolk pours out and creates a divine mess. sprinkle with some fleur de sel. pepper if you like (i never). serve hot (it’s a challenge, yes).