Birthday Girl : The Day After

iPod Mini

Just like my brand new iPod Mini, I am pink with joy! Thanks to my beloved darling, I am now the proud owner of the petit-four of mp3 players!

Many many thanks for all your birthday wishes, they made me smile and laugh, and they accompanied me throughout the day, making me feel special in an ever-so-pleasing way. So thank you, and here’s a flutter of kisses and hugs for all of you : <flutter of hugs and kisses darting off in all directions in a fizz of glitter and sparks>.

My birthday lunch was great : the weather was beautiful, and Maxence’s mother invited us to the Café Fusion, a restaurant on the rue de la Butte-aux-Cailles which I particularly like — friendly service, excellent food and a large shaded terrace. I had a Tian de Courgettes et Tomates à la Brousse, a sort of individual terrine of zucchini (well, I just had to!) and tomatoes, layered with creamy goat cheese. This was a wonderful starter, flavorful and fresh. Then, I went for the Tartare de Boeuf Poêlé, which is beef tartare (raw meat chopped finely and well-seasoned) that is sauteed for just a few seconds, so that the outside of the tartare is slightly cooked, while the inside stays raw, moist and delicious. This was served with a simple salad and crisp blond fries. Maxence then insisted — rather uncharacteristically — I have some dessert, and we shared a Tarte Tatin, which arrived bearing a little candle and carried by a smiling, singing waitress.

Brigitte, Maxence’s mother, gave me a lovely cookbook with recipes from Poitou-Charentes, a region in the West of France she is very much attached to, and where her family comes from. The author shares the recipes he got from his two grandmothers, and the book, conveniently spiral-bound, has the old-fashioned charm of family cookbooks.

After work (clients don’t seem to realize that some things just take on a lesser importance on your birthday, isn’t that odd?), I rode the bus home to be welcomed by Maxence, who assigned me to the bedroom, while he was cooking me dinner — regularly checking on me, making sure I was comfortable and happy. I took this opportunity to leaf leisurely through cookbooks, dreaming up the menu for my birthday party this Saturday.

When dinner was ready, Maxence called me into the candle-lit living-room, and served me a glass of Crémant d’Alsace, a sparkling white wine which my father had given us. We started the meal with a platter of excellent Italian antipasti (marinated artichokes, stuffed onions and peppers, sun-dried tomatoes), which we ate with slices of Baguette des Prés, the delicious multigrain baguette from our corner boulangerie. The main course was then served : Escalopes de foie gras poêlées — thin slices of fresh foie gras, floured and briefly sauteed, sprinkled with balsamic vinagar — with a side of sauteed mushrooms and onions, and little Noirmoutier potatoes, steamed. This was really fabulous : the slices of foie gras thinly crusted with the flour coating, but moist and melty inside, the mushrooms perfectly seasoned, and the potatoes plump and sweet.

I was then sent back to the bedroom, while he prepared my present. When I was called back in, yet more candles had been lit, and a large present stood on the bar, in silver paper wrapping : when I got closer I started to laugh with delight, as it had the instantly recognizable shape of a cocotte, and a Le creuset cast iron cocotte was very high on my list of possible I-would-just-love-that gifts. I unwrapped the paper carefully, savoring the process, then stopped, puzzled : this was not a new cocotte, this was the one we already had — and loved — which came from Maxence’s grandparents’ country house. Hm. The real present had to be inside! I cut the string that held it closed, opened the lid, and inside was another wrapped present, cube-shaped, on which Maxence had written “Je t’ai bien eue!” (“Gotcha!”). I unwrapped that one, still laughing, thoroughly enjoying the surprise, and shrieked with joy when I discovered this little jewel, pink and pretty and soft to the touch.

Maxence had bought the dessert from Picard, and he had chosen for us the Eclats Chocolat Pistache, which are little cups of chocolate mousse, filled with a pistachio cream, on a disk of chocolate meringue. These were finger-licking good and a great mix of flavors : Picard really makes desserts worthy of the best pâtisseries.

So on a scale of 1 to 10, this birthday rated a good gazillion! But, um… do I really have to wait for a whole year before the next one? Can’t we try to figure out something?

Things Clotilde Loves

Japanese Mandoline Slicer
Japanese Mandoline Slicer

The indispensable utensil for paper-thin vegetable slices

  • $23
Kuvings Slow Juicer
Kuvings Cold Press Juicer

Fresh cold-press juices made easy!

  • $429.99 / 435€
  • Cheers to your loving and thoughtful prince, Clotilde!

    I always assure people that they are welcome to treat me anytime within six months before and after my real b-day! ;)

  • Josephine

    Wow, an ipod! I want to turn 25, too! ;-)

  • meg

    i want an ipod too! and it’s almost my birthday..i wish someone would do the same to me…anyway that has got to be the sweetest birthday surprise :)

  • now that you are a the proud owner of the petit ipod, i look forward to your suggestions for the perfect matches of food, wine and music during preparation and consumption of your culinary treats!

    what was the first tune that you plaid on your new baby?

  • What a lovely gift! *covets*

    Happy birthday, Clotilde!

  • Bonne anniversaire! Sorry I missed your birthday and couldn’t post… and what a wonderful day it sounds like you had. Wishing you all the best this upcoming year, and always.

  • What a fabulous birthday! I was going to leave you a birthday greeting yesterday, but there were already nearly 70 greetings, and I didn’t want you to get tired of them! I love the pink mini iPods. They remind me of cake and candy!

  • Happy belated birthday you beautiful girl! And I love that Maxence was continually checking in on you to see that you were ‘happy and comfortable’, sigh, young love. A pink IPOD with what looks like painted nails to match — Yippee, Yay, Yahoo. Glad you had a splendid day. After all, on what other day can you claim for it to be all about you!

  • rsh

    happy belated bday! sounds like it was a pretty great day…

  • happy belated birthday to you, miss clotilde!

    my goodness, how long have you had the iPod and already you’re at quarter-battery level? ;-)
    and your nail varnish matches it perfectly!

  • Sher

    Oh, you are going to love your iPod. I got mine last year, and it’s assumed enormous importance in my life. Rather scary actually. Yours is so pretty. Mine is just plain white. Oops, I shouldn’t talk behind it’s back, it might get mad.


  • hey, belated happy birthday! an awesome gift for a gifted person :) love your blog! (i want an ipod tooo! gaaah!)

  • happy belated birthday! =)

  • serena

    that could be a great idea actually, pairings of food & music ideas. i’m sure everyone would love to know what you listen to! i, for one, always have my ipod with me when i’m baking – especially when kneading is involved :) sounds like you had a great birthday!

  • Tanguy

    Wish you a happy birthday (or hanuka, or christmas, whatever). It startles me to see how people this age have but the same tastes. Caus’ I turn 25 on tuesday, I do live Paris too, I’m totaly fond of food (except I enjoy restaurants a bit more than mine cooking) and the iPod kicks me too. Blazing glory!!
    Well anyway, I renew my wishes to you and hopes you’ll resist the desire to have a bite in your brand new player (non, ça ne se mange pas dit la vieille tante)

  • pipstar

    Oh what a lovely day! I’m so glad that you were treated like a princess by maxence -what a lovely boy and what a fabulous gift.

    I *know* you must have fallen asleep with a big smile on your face last night :-)

  • stephanie

    Happy Birthday! What a great surprise of a present for you and the dessert to die for!
    Here’s to many more blessed years!

  • Rickosss

    Owwww the iPod mini is great! Have a lot of fun with it! I myself ordered a new white iPod 4th generation 20 gb nearly two weeks ago. But it still isn’t here :'( .

  • Monkey – The first tune I graced my iPod with was “Cosmic Bird”, a song by Air and Jean-Jacques Perry, and an absolute favorite tune of mine. Impossible not to dance to it!

    And the idea of food/music pairing suggestions is an awesome one, I’ll keep it in mind!

    Santos – Actually, the picture was taken while the baby was charging up… :)

    All – Again, many thanks for your kind well wishes!

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