is this the real life or is this just flan-tasy?

Egg, milk, sugar and vanilla mix. Sugar gets caramelized. Done but no taste testing until Thanksgiving!

The main reason I decided to live in an apartment in downtown Bordeaux was to have a kitchen with an oven. It has served me well so far – some nice dinners including Canadian Thanksgiving last month. This week my kitchen has been invaded by a classmate intent on proving that the fourth time is the charm when it comes to making flan and making dessert for our class’ upcoming American Thanksgiving celebration. As I have never made this particular dessert, I’ve been quick to offer up use of my kitchen (key ingredient to a successful flan) so I can hopefully learn a few culinary tricks.

Earlier this year in the Talenti gelato factory, I spent about one minute learning how to scrape the pods out of vanilla beans (more to prove a point about efficiency than anything else). That minute has actually paid off as I find myself dutifully splitting and scraping vanilla beans for the pot.  At first it seems a bit of a wild-mousse chase: my kitchen does not seem to have any measuring cups, and translating the recipe from Dutch to English, volume to weight, imperial to metric, while re-engineering it to consume exactly all the ingredients that were purchased (cooking with the very practical Dutch has its own particular eccentricities: we’re literally pudding all our eggs in one basket) but we manage to create something (two somethings, in fact) that pass the elaborate jiggle, colour, and density tests created by my fellow flantrepreneur.

Some people might say it passes custard; I wouldn’t be one of them… (I mean, it’s a pretty weak joke; that would be quite off-pudding, wouldn’t it?)

Ok, ok, no more jokes!!

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c’est pas graves

…except when it is. The region, that is. I’m about a week behind on posting, so I have TWO weeks to tell you about, plus a teaser about where I am for my week of vacation.

Science, like the internet, is always right.

Science, like the internet, is always right.

Last week brought a whole different kind of school – one focused around the journal club that we’re starting; a class structure that allows each of us to research our own topics and bring our own scientific articles to educate and engage each other in discussion on viticultural issues. Remember that scientific mumbo-jumbo from a few posts back? Yeah, reading articles is tougher than it looks. We start by learning HOW to read articles. The first thing we learn is: don’t believe everything you read.  Sort of. Read More