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Message started by Admin on Nov 14th, 2004 at 2:56am

Title: Paint Fox, Biarritz View
Post by Admin on Nov 14th, 2004 at 2:56am
"Let's make an omelette on Saturday," I said to Michel, at the restaurant Wednesday.  We brought him a truffle from our trip to the Basque country -- just 2.50 Euros at the duty free store at the frontier between Spain and France.

Geuthary is a village just south of Biarritz, France - a region we'd not visited before.  Formerly, When I thought of Biarritz I thought of the Cadillac (indicative of my age).  You can't imagine our surprise at just how wonderful it was.  The apartment where we stayed was set at the edge of the ocean.  In fact, one stormy night, we could feel the waves hitting the building; we were only one story up.

There was a decided Basque style to the area:  big stucco houses with wood shutters, and three triangular forms above the door.  Painted a crisp white, it was usual in our short time there to see someone touching up with a brush.  Trims were most often a deep red.  All the homes had names, in a handsome Basque script; we learned that formerly there were no numbers to streets, only building names.

At quarter to two on Saturday, just before we were about to commence cooking with the truffle, Bruno arrived.  He's a regular at the restaurant. "Could you please make me an omelette?" he asked Nicole.  There are no omelettes on the menu, but Bruno can ask for special food.  We signalled Nicole. Would he like to participate in our omelette?

Biarritz is a big city, famous for its casinos and thlasso therapy.  The architecture is a delightful mishmash of old, new, splendid, spare.  The city surrounds a cove.  It is possible to dine at a restaurant, and step out for a swim immediately afterward.  Today's painting is of the old port, where fisherman's shacks are built into the walls of the city.

We decided on twelve eggs.  I heated up some steamed potatoes.  Earlier in the day, Blair had bought Cepes, AKA fresh Porcini mushrooms.  He'd cooked them up in butter and oil.

A short distance away, herds of free-range sheep walk along the mountain roads of the Pyrenees.  We stop our car to take pictures.  A man coming in the other direction shouts "Idio(t)".  At Espelette, a city famous for its spices, six-inch long red peppers hang outside the houses (white, of course).  The Basque country is an extremely fertile region.  We saw banana trees growing amidst the palms and conifers.

We drove the hairy switchbacks to find traces of Roland.  The "Song of Roland" is one of my all-time favorite pieces of literature.  We were able to walk through the channel where he "clove" the stone with his trusty sword Durendal.  Thrilling.

The poem, or song of Roland, was not formally written up until the 11th century, a propaganda film, of sorts, to encourage men to sign up for the Crusades.  In fact, it was not the Saracens who killed Roland, but the Basques.

I used the 16 inch diameter fry pan, with high sides.  I melted butter and an equal amount of olive oil in the pan, so the butter wouldn't burn.  Nicole did the salt and peppering of the eggs, my weak suit.  I poured in the eggs.  Just then, we got an order for duck breast with pommes sarladaises, and a brandade de morue.  She filled the orders, I made the omelette.

San Sebastian is a beautiful Spanish city, the summer home of the former President Franco.  We drove the 30 minutes there, and parked the car to walk around.  The city is situated around a turquoise bay, waves crashing into the beige stone wall that surrounds.  We saw Spanish Baroque churches, fishing boats and ate the most delicious tapas I have every tasted.

I set the potatoes on top of the egg; then the mushrooms, and finally the truffle and parsley.  We brought out the great big pan, with a knife and a spatula.  It was almost too beautiful to eat.  Pamplemousse barked wildly at the scent.

Unlike Roland, we took the highway back to France, stopping at the frontier to stock up on cheap liquor and peppers.  And a truffle.

Laurie (text) and Blair (painting) Pessemier
Fishing Boats, Biarritz   oil on linen  15 x 18 inches
laurie111304biarritzweb.jpg (89 KB | )

Title: Re: Paint Fox, Biarritz View
Post by Admin on Nov 14th, 2004 at 3:10am
Your amazing. I wish I could cook. Soap in a can, a pre-cooked chicken and cerial. That's a normal menu for me.
Today I did cook though, I made a batch of Maroger media for oils. Litharge from Kioa, linseed from Sweden and litharge from Italy. That's an hour and a half sweating over a hot stove :)

Title: Re: Paint Fox, Biarritz View
Post by LennieJo on Nov 14th, 2004 at 3:40am
Sounds like a heavenly vacation.  Wish I could go too.

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