Sometimes when I'm annoyed on the metro or complaining about the millionth thing a French person did to annoy me (but is seemingly normal to them) I pinch myself and have a 'holy sh*t girl, you live in Paris and that's crazy' moment. Usually after the 'holy sh*t' moment of slight smugness and satisfaction subsidies, a mild momentary freakout begins. Although, at this point it's more along the lines of 'holy sh*t, fu*k I live in Paris! What the hell ?!?!?!'. During those few minutes of full-on Virgo induced terror I think that the jig is up and I won't be able to stay here any longer.
Before starting this podcast I didn't really think about my time in Paris post The big D. I was on auto pilot/survival mode so my main concern was building a life in Paris. I wasn't in a very reflective mode, but this podcast changed that. Since starting this podcast I had to think more about my time here so far and what this entire experience has meant so far, and how it will affect me in the future.
Now, instead of 'holy sh*t, fu*k I live in Paris! What the hell ?!?!?!' I ask myself 'How did I do it? What is pushing me to keep going?'
Obviously there was the desire and drive to stay in Paris, but it's more than that. I realized that the desire and drive would be dead, motionless, words and concepts without my fearlessness propelling them into action. Being fearless in my desire and drive to stay here wasn't a conscious decision, it was just something I did.
When I say I was/am fearless I mean that I find myself being bolder, asking/demanding what I want, and I find that I am more confident. I am overall just accepting of who I am, my needs, desires and I'm not afraid to just be me. Instinctively, deep down I knew the only way I would be successful and fulfilled in living abroad alone would be if I embraced myself. By embracing myself I mean, hold steadfast to the belief that I do belong here and that my life is mine to design. I have given myself no other alternatives than for my life in Paris to work and I am not in the business of letting myself down, so I have no choice really except to bloom where I've been planted by any means necessary.
Voilà, c'est tout.
The Fearless Tarte recipe
I decided to make this tarte for this episode because 1 year ago I would have been afraid to make it. It's a simple vegetable tarte, but I would have felt pressure to make it perfect. I would've wanted to recreate the French simplicity and elegance to perfection. If I forgot an ingredient I probably would've had a meltdown before just going to the supermarket and buying whatever I was missing. As I've become more fearless and embracing myself I am realizing that perfection isn't possible because everyone's idea of perfection is different. So, here is my recipe for a fearless vegetable tarte.
1 meduim sized eggplant
1 small shallot
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 puff pastry (homemade or store bought, as you want)
Feta (1 had a package of 200 grams)
Ground black pepper
Cut the zucchini and eggplant into semi thin circles
Add salt, pepper paprika and olive oil to the zucchini and eggplant and put to the side
Add olive oil to your pan and add thinly chopped shallots and garlic until softened
Once the shallots and garlic are soft add the zucchini first until
Remove the light brown zucchini from the pan
If needed, add more olive oil to the pan if no additional oil is needed just start to cook the eggplant until lightly brown like the zucchini
Remove the eggplant and let everything cool
While the vegetables are cooling, roll the pastry onto a tarte pan and start to layer the ingredients, I started with the eggplant since the circles were quite big. Then add some crumbled feta then the zucchini and repeat until everything was in the pan.
When the veggies and cheese are layered, in a separate bowl mix two eggs and the cream. Add a bit more salt and pepper. Whisk together until everything is blended and the mixture is smooth then pour over the layered veggies
Pop into the oven at 350 degrees or gas mark 4 for about 20 mins.
Shaved asparagus and fennel salad
5 asparagus stalks
1/2 fennel bulb
1 fresh lemon
A pinch of lemon zest
Ground black pepper
Blanche the asparagus by placing them in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes then immediately transfer to ice cold water to stop the cooking. Let it sit in the water for about 1 minute or so until it is fully cooled down then remove and let it dry a bit
While asparagus is cooling, shave the fennel. If you don't know how to do that you can simply cut it lengthwise into medium slices
Once the asparagus is cooled you can start to shave it using a peeler, again, if you don't know how to do that you can just cut it lengthwise into fairly thin slices. I remove the top bits before peeling/cutting because I use it to decorate the dish.
Mix the asparagus and fennel together
Sprinkle feta on top
To make the addressing add olive oil, salt, pepper and juice from half of a fresh lemon and the lemon zest to a bowl and aggressively whisk together. Depending on how thick you like your dressing you can add more olive oil. But not too much because you don't want the olive oil taste to overpower the lemon citrus-y flavor
Once the dressing is finished drizzle over your salad and mix
The Fearless Tarte Playlist