vendredi, août 31, 2007

Mee Siam

Mee Siam with Prawns, Clams...

Hubby is away team building in some luxurious hotel in Torino. Followed by some VIP dinner on Saturday evening that I couldn't attend because of the kids. But then I get to sleep with Baby Boy (love of my life) and eat all the smelly things that I enjoy and which dear Hubby doesn't.

Since I had some prawns and clams in tomato sauce left over from the day before, the Mee Siam lightbulb was switched on. Besides I had a craving for Bee Hoon (rice vermicelli) and happened to have most of the ingredients on hand, so voilà.

The Fried Vermicelli

Basically just soak and soften rice vermicelli then drain and set aside. Heat up wok with some oil, brown some sliced onions and a bit of diced garlic, some dried shrimps (if you have them), the chilli paste (sugar, salt, dried chillis, shallots and shrimp paste mixed or pounded into a paste), the vermicelli, light soy sauce and tomato purée and stir fry till the bee hoon's cooked. Then add in some bean sprouts and a bit of water and mix well. Set aside.

Before the gravy

For the gravy, you'll need :
Preserved Soy Beans (taucheo)
Tamarind Juice
Chilli paste (same as for the vermicelli)
Prawn heads (optional)

Fry the chilli paste till fragrant and then add in the rest and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes. Arrange the rice vermicelli on a plate with the cooked prawns, fried tofu, hard boiled eggs, chives and lime. Pour the gravy over it and serve hot.

Steak and Raviolis

Unfortunately the kids were not too hot about Mee Siam and I had to cook them a separate meal : Porcini Mushroom Raviolis with Pepper Steak and Peppercorn Sauce. They didn't know what they were missing. Myself, see any more Italian pasta and I'll probably vomit.

jeudi, août 30, 2007

Chicken Katsu and Pepper Beef Don

Chicken Katsu Don

I have a thing for Japanese rice. Though the price can be quite dissuasive at times. But I have half a bag of very good and very expensive Hokkaido rice left (from a Japanese curry and sushi-making experiment a year ago) and have been fearing that if I didn't do anything about it soon the rice bugs will join the spiders and scorpions in the house.

But of course expensive Japanese rice doesn't grow bugs. Should have known. All the better since it's no-rinse rice and I don't intend to rinse it if it says that I don't have to do so on the packet. Never one for extra work if I can help it.

And what to go with the rice? I don't eat sushi and I don't really fancy sweet Jap curry. Then I remembered that I had 2 breaded chicken cutlets (fresh from the butcher) and a few beef controfiletos. So voilà just had to make my own Tonkatsu sauce and we could all have Chicken Katsu and Pepper Beef Don for lunch!

Tonkatsu Sauce :

80ml (or 1 Avent baby bottle cover) Ketchup
40ml Worcestershire Sauce
20ml Japanese Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp ground Ginger
1 clove diced Garlic
40ml Sake (I used white wine)
20g Sugar
20ml Mirin (I used Sherry with honey)
Basically just bring everything to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

I served the rice in a bowl, arranged a sunny-side-up egg on it, some shredded iceberg cabbage, chicken katsu, some beef (just grilled very quickly on a very hot grill with crushed black pepper and coarse sea salt), some of the Tonkatsu sauce, a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of grilled white sesame seeds and that's a one-dish meal.

On the Japanese food theme, I finally had a quick meal just before my movie at Umami-An in Paris (recommended by Umami) and it was as she said, umami :-). It's a really small restaurant in a street off the Champs Elysées run by real Japanese and the clients when we were there were also all Japanese.

Grilled ScallopsTempura Prawn Udon Soup

Hubby and I shared some grilled Scallops to start and they were really tasty, cooked to perfection, simple yet so delicious. Then we each had a bowl of Tempura Prawn Udon Soup and the broth was nice and delicate, the udon fine and not fat and starchy like the ones served in most Chinese-run Japanese restaurants. Wish we had the time to try their other dishes, they all sounded really interesting (they don't do raw food which suits me real fine), especially the Green Tea Crème Brûlée. Well, maybe the next time.

27 rue Colisée
75008 Paris
Tel : 01 45 61 09 79

Stéphane Derbord

Pre-Coffee Sweets

On our way back to Italy, we made a special detour at Dijon (in Burgundy) and lunched at Stéphane Derbord. We have been following the rise of this restaurant since it started in 2001. Since then, the Chef has won his 1st Michelin Star and in June this year, he was named a Maître Cuisinier de France. Those of you who attended my wedding at the Château de Beaulieu (but it was sold in 2003 and is now just a hotel) a few years ago will perhaps remember the quality of the meals prepared by the Chef who's also a Maître Cuisinier de France. It is what we would call a Label Sûr.

Amuse-bouche Part 1

Back to Derbord, his prices have flambéed over the years, but the pleasure of dining at his restaurant allowed us to overlook just that. His is the kind of restaurant where you pay not just for the food but for the service (the staff turnover is almost zero and the first thing they said when they saw us was, "My, how your children have grown!"), the decoration (lovely plates, for example) and the ambiance. And the inspiration that his inventive cuisine would provide us when we return to our own much more humble kitchen.

Amuse-bouche Part 2 (Tuna, Cream of Tomato, Beef Tartare)

He experiments quite a bit, the Chef. Seasonal fruits and vegetables, certes. But also spices and other goodies taken from shores further away. That is what I really appreciate about French cuisine. What they do traditionally they always do it well. At the same time they are in perpetual search for innovation, invention and perfection. You can walk into a French restaurant anywhere and ask for a Steak and it may not always be served the way it was served in the last restaurant you ate in. They understand how the vegetables or just potatoes they serve the steak with could make or break the meat, for instance.

Les Escalopes de Foie Gras de Canard Poêlées
Croustillant de Betteraves Rouges

Citron Confit à la Coriandre

Les Queues de Langoustines de Loctucdy
Sandwich de Légumes Grillés

Jus Réduit à l’Orange et Basilic

Amazing Cheese Trolley
My Dessert (Strawberry, Chocolate, Peach, Orange-Verveine)

So this last time we each took the 62-Euro Gourmet Gourmand (starter, main course, cheese and dessert) Menu, while the kids had the Menu Enfant at a really affordable 18 Euros (Duck Liver and Smoked Salmon Salad to start, followed by a choice of either Charolais Beef or Grilled Salmon, 3 scoops of ice cream to finish) per head. With the wines (a white St Aubin 1er cru and a red Ladoix 1er cru - both very good), our total bill came up to about 270 Euros.

Kids' Salad

Kids' Salmon (delicious sauce)

Kids' Dessert

After lunch we went straight to our hotel Balladins Nuits St Georges. It has a little pool, small playground and all twin rooms come with an en-suite bath tub. All that for just 35 Euros per room!
Hubby's Salmon Main Course

The next day we lunched at a pretty good restaurant Le Pré d'Antoine at Pont de Fillings near the Swiss border that we came across really quite by chance most restaurants being closed on Sunday. They had a dessert trolley full of different cakes and fruit, yummy!

Stéphane Derbord
10, place Wilson

21000 Dijon

Tel : 03 80 67 74 64

Le Pré d'Antoine
Pont de Fillings

74250 Fillinges

Tel : 04 50 36 45 06

Venus Clams and Prawns in Rich Spicy Tomato Sauce

We get venus clams easily here in Italy so they are part of our staple diet. Usually cook it in a garlic wine sauce, but decided last evening to have it in a tomato sauce for a change. And I called it "rich" because I threw in a nice beef bone to enrich the sauce - courtesy of my neighbourhood supermarket butcher.

Ze Sauce

For the tomato sauce : Put peeled ripe fresh Tomatoes together with garlic, onions and red chillis in a mixer and mix into a purée. In a casserole, put bone in water and bring it to a boil. Remove bone, drain the water, clean bone and casserole of the floating impurities. Heat up the casserole with a little olive oil, add in the tomato purée and then the bone. Pour in a little white wine, add in some chopped herbs like parsley, basilic, estragon. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce for an hour to work the bone, adjusting the liquid if necessary.

Bring water to the boil and prepare to cook the fresh pasta (mine = 4 minutes). Clean and dry the clams and prawns. In my wok, I heated up some olive oil and seared the prawns quickly, adding in some thyme, coarse salt and crushed black pepper. Remove and set aside (keep warm). At the same time, add the venus clams and fresh cherry tomatoes into the tomato sauce. They are cooked when they open up. Everything should more or less come to a finish at around the same time. Put them together, serve hot with Parmesan cheese.

mercredi, août 29, 2007

Les Jardins de Mandchourie

If you happen to chance upon certain Chinese restaurants during their employees' meal times, you may wonder how they could stomach the food being served. Menus in Western countries are often adapted to suit the Western palate, but I honestly wouldn't call canned preserved radish or other similar meat and vegetables a meal home-cooked. At the Jardins de Mandchourie, I was quite amazed to see on one occasion the staff tucking into Choucroute (incidentally originally a Northern Chinese dish adopted by the Huns after their failed conquest of China), braised meats and other interesting delights before service began. I had politely been invited to join the meal, but turned it down equally politely in favour of the main menu. It was an indication of the quality of the dishes to come and I had not been disappointed.

North-eastern Chinese Cuisine is rare in France. Most of its Chinese migrants come from Wenzhou, more known for its matchsticks and leather goods than its cuisine. I am Cantonese and am therefore biased, but then I'm also fond of chilli and spices and fiery N-E Chinese cuisine suits me as such more than fine occasionally.

On my last visit to this restaurant, I arrived to see a big table full of Indians from Hyderabad. Indeed, I know a Singapore Indian family living in the 12ème among its regular clients, craving occasionally for hot Chinese food. Nicely presented hot Chinese food prepared in hygenic conditions, if I may venture.

Scallop Soup

The menu is extensive and different from the usual Chinese restaurant's. Hubby arrived expecting to find his usually ubiquitous Hot and Sour Soup and couldn't find any. He started to interrogate the young owner (incidentally a well-educated Beijing boy, excellent French speaker, History Post-Graduate and Sciences Po Paris Graduate) and finally settled on a Scallop Soup. Very flavourful with generous slices of scallops in it as I was surprised to discover. I wasn't keen on it at first as it looked pretty starchy, but then it probably appeared as such as it didn't have the usual black vinegar and Soy Sauce to camouflage the corn starch.

We were then served a medley of different salads (in special small portions) of which my absolute favourite was the one with shredded 5-spiced Tofu. Hubby enjoyed the Beef Salad with sesame seeds sprinkled all over it. Nicely marinated and braised. We also had freshly-made Pot Stickers and a Spring Onion Pancake (which I found couldn't compare to a good Prata but I prefer it to a Pizza :-)).

Hand-Pulled Noodles with Minced Pork Sauce

I insisted on ordering their fresh hand-pulled noodles with minced meat (pork) sauce. The noodles are prepared only minutes before they are served. This is luxury in the West.

Next came 5 main courses : Chilli Scallops, Chef's Prawns, Leg of Lamb in Cumin, Sichuan Pork and Crunchy Cauliflower.

I would have preferred the dishes to be spicier, more fiery and maybe a little less oily, but then the reason why they were good was because the flavouring was subtle. No MSG, tonnes of Soy Sauce etc. It's really not like most Chinese restaurants. The Chef plays with fresh ingredients and spices and try to present them in harmony. And they serve you a bowl of chilli anyway if you want the dishes to be hotter. Hubby's favourite was the Scallops and mine the Sichuan Pork. I remember that they have a good Water-Cooked Beef but as it was meant for 2, I had to leave it for another time. As it is, we overate and could not bear to eat any dessert.

For tea I had Chysanthemum while Hubby had Jasmine. Such a long time since I last had the flowers. And a pleasure to have them in pretty tea pots with matching cups. The decoration is simple, warm orange and brown tones (the boss' wife is a trained Architect) and much lacking in chinoiseries (thank heavens). And on a good day, you can have your meal outside, the street being rather quiet, flanked by other nice restaurants, greenery and a few buildings.

In less than 3 years since its existence Les Jardins de Mandchourie has managed to find itself recommended in several guides e.g. Fooding, L'Internaute, Mmmm,, Cityvox, Petit Futé...Most of the clients are regulars and new ones often there through word of mouth. It is a pleasure to witness the restaurant perpetually improving and evolving, a testimony to the owners' love for a job well-done.

Les Jardins de Mandchourie
34 allée Vivaldi
75012 Paris
Tél. 01 43 45 58 88

Les Chiens Rouges

You would say that it isn't of much use blogging about a restaurant situated in some village an hour or so north of Paris. But then life is made of surprises and you never know when you may, for some reason, end up somewhere in the Vallée du Matx, in Mélicocq near Compiègne, hungry and looking for a place to rest the bum and fill the stomach. Then mayhaps you will recall Beau Lotus and her entry on this little restaurant Les Chiens Rouges and exclaim, "God Bless her (not so) little person!"

Actually we got to know the restaurant via MIL who got to know it via E whose ex sister-in-law is Head Waitress in said establishment. Anyway, it is a typical simple and good French restaurant, working with seasonal ingredients, reinventing classical dishes from time to time, having a good time in the kitchen quoi.

And of course very good value for money. Fixed price menu at 20 Euros with starter, main course, cheese or dessert.

I started with Duck Liver over a Green Bean Salad (yummy vinaigrette), followed by Lamb Chops served with a Ratatouille Purée. For dessert I had the Red Fruit Millefeuille. I saw the folks at the next table enjoying a very nice-looking Gratin de Fruits de Mer, which reminded me that I would really like to have my oven fixed so that I may bake and grill once again. MIL, Hubby and the kids all had different dishes (quite a varied menu) but none of the pictures turned out so I'll not mention them. For those with kids, do not hesitate to ask your waiter if they have a Kids' Menu even if none could be found on the main menu. Most restaurants in France would be more than willing to come up with one upon request, usually pretty decent stuff like freshly prepared Steaks, Salmon or Chicken breasts. None of those industrial chicken nuggets rubbish.
Hubby chose a very good bottle of red wine and took away half of it at the end of the meal. Many restaurants now encourage you to do so as you may then be more inclined to order good bottles (half bottles are often limited in quality and variety) and not have to worry about drunken driving afterwards.
Les Chiens Rouges
10 rue Emerson White
60150 Melicocq
Tel : 03 44 96 08 44

Le Pain chez Moisan

If you happen to be at Place Denfert-Rochereau (where the Catacombs are in the 14th) in Paris, do not forget to grab some bread or pastry from the marvelous Bio Bakery MOISAN. Probably the best bread in the world. My favourites include the St Jean and the Marchand de Bière. And their puff pastry will not leave you indifferent.
How I have missed them. Bread here in Italy sucks in general.

Red Bean Prata

What is crispy and salty, soft and sweet, easy to make and better than the average junk food?

I have frozen Prata and leftover sweetened Red Bean paste and so Red Bean Prata was born.

Surprisingly light, fluffy and tasty, I had to resist making myself another one immediately...

It pays at times to be lazy and desperate.

Pan-Seared Scallops with Ginger and Spring Onions

Haven't had scallops in ages. So when I saw them at the supermarket near MIL's house the other day, I just had to have them. Hubby usually does it simply seared and then flambeed with some Poire Williams Eau de Vie and occasionally we grill and then serve them in a light Lemongrass broth. There must be at least 2 other scallop recipes in this blog. Anyway there are a thousand ways to cook scallops and this will just be another one.

10 fresh Normandy Scallops
Julienned Fresh Ginger
Sliced Spring Onions
Sliced Garlic
1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 Tsp Oyster Sauce
1/2 Tsp Sesame Oil
1 Tsp Raspberry or Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp White Wine
1 Tsp Sugar
Lemon Juice

I heated some oil in a frying pan and when it's hot, added in the scallops to be seared. I usually only cook them on one side at high heat so as to have them nicely browned and yet not over-cooked. Occasionally the scallops will brown badly (depending on the flesh and fire), releasing quite a bit of fluid. At times like this, I will just heat up oil in another pan, brown the ginger, garlic and sugar in it and transfer the scallops to the new pan when the oil's really hot and usually this time around they'll start to really brown. When they're almost cooked through, turn the browned side up, add in the spring onions, mix the sauces with the scallop fluid from the 1st pan and pour over the scallops. Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice over the scallops before serving.

Meeting More Friends

As a general rule, I get along with Hubby's colleagues better than I do most of his friends. Those of you psychological wanabees out there probably would have something to say about this. On my part, let's say that there must be some purple grass on both banks of the river. I'll add in differences in culture and personal habits, added to the fact that many would be expecting a nice docile Asian girl in me, only to discover an unusually aggressive female who has opinions on almost everything and who stands by them.

P and S (lovely, isn't she?)

On this last trip back, we met his long-time friend P and his girlfriend S (1st time I met her) for dinner at the Bistrot du 17eme. One of the best places in Paris for a decently-priced decent meal. Hubby has been going there for more than a decade and is rarely disappointed with the offering. For 34 Euros (fixed price menu), you get an apperitive, starter, main course, dessert, half a bottle of wine per person, coffee or tea. The choice is rather good and large though the portions are not very big. For the red wines, stick to the Bordeaux. If you wish to have a glass of sweet wine, it goes at only 3 Euros, an extra bottle of wine is an affordable 17 Euros. The decoration is classic bourgeois though expect quite a bit of noise as the tables are set pretty near one another. They have a similar restaurant at Porte Maillot (Le St Ferdinand) though for some reason I've always preferred this particular one at Wagram/Pereire.

Crepe Suzette

That evening, I started out with a Duck Liver followed by Prawns with Peas and a Millefeuille. Hubby had Lamb followed by Crepes Suzette. The other couple Prawn Wontons followed by Calf Liver and Kidneys. Always good value for money. Bumped into a Singaporean girl on holiday, she was sitting at the next table but I'll be able to pick out her accent from a mile away anyway.

Bistrot du 17ème
108 av. de Villiers
75017 Paris
Tél : 01 47 63 32 77

Back to P, I rather like the guy actually. He's a dreamer with a sensitive soul and a love for music and astrology. Only he rubbed me up the wrong way when he was going through a bad patch with his now ex-wife (lovely girl), dragging decent married men like my dear Hubby out on bachelor outings till the wee hours of the morning. Hanging out with rude female friends who badmouthed me though they knew me not. Now he's finally divorced, is setting up a new household with a pretty and intelligent female (Scorpio like myself) and hopefully it will work out this time around for him.

Y and A

On another evening, we had dinner in a real Thai restaurant at Edgar-Quinet (near Montparnasse) with Y and A (she's Russian). He's another of Hubby's ex-colleagues, a soft-spoken and intelligent guy who's much tougher than he sounds, full of initiative and so enthusiastic about whatever he's doing. His new fiancée (he's also newly divorced) is brilliant and you can see that he's proud of her and treasures her opinions and ideas. I get along well with men like that, who are not afraid of intelligent women and who allow themselves to be inspired and challenged by them.

Mixed Seafood Salad

The meal was very good, though I fear that I've forgotten the name of the restaurant. Mixed Seafood Salad and Tom Yam Goong to start followed by Prawns in Basilic Sauce. In any case, as a general rule, don't eat in restaurants that claim to serve "Chinese-Thai-Vietnamese" cuisines. Jack of too many cuisines can't be a Master of any. I know of another good Thai restaurant in the rue de Tolbiac named Paradis Thai. It's run by a Chinese couple but with a real Thai Chef imported from Thailand. Very good food, I always start with their Beef Salad followed by the Mixed Seafood Curry in Coconut. And they are one of the rare Thai restaurants in Paris to actually serve decent dessert.

We finished the evening with tea at Y's flat (he has a terrace with a view of Paris). I had a chance to dig out my rusty notions of the Communist Soviet Union (I've really left school a long time ago now) and keep up with the discussion. Sometimes the men talked about cars and business but whatever it was, it was kind of weird carrying out our conversations in English with non-English speakers. To tell the truth, half the time I could barely understand what those Frenchmen were saying in their so-called English.
We ran for the last métro. Have not done that for a long time. Saw the Eiffel Tower at past midnight. It was magical.

I belong in Paris :-)

You Belong in Paris

Stylish and expressive, you were meant for Paris.
The art, the fashion, the wine!
Whether you're enjoying the cafe life or a beautiful park...
You'll love living in the most chic place on earth.

Dinner at J's, Lunch at Karena's

J at the Stove

I must have mentioned that our schedule in Paris was tightly packed. Shopping was out though I managed to grab a few items for the kids at Cacharel and Hubby a suit from said boutique. Priority was given to the renovations in our flat, finding a few real estate agencies to help rent it out etc.

We managed to catch a piece of theatre one evening at the Lucernaire with Hubby's former colleague O and his Russian wife J. 3 short pieces by Anton Tchekhov : <<Une demande en mariage>>, <<Tragédien malgré lui>> and <<L'Ours>>.

We also managed to catch 4 movies : Ratatouille, Dialogue avec un Jardinier, Persepolis and The Good Shepherd.

And on one evening, we were invited to dinner at the Chinese restaurant at Chinagora (in Alfortville, in the middle of the river) by my dear Chinese friend Béatrice (we were classmates at Sciences Po). Tough on the diet as you can well imagine.

But the highlight of our short stay in Paris must be our precious few visits to a few friends and our being fed while we were chez eux. Starting with my American friend J.

Hubby tagged along. Much as I love him, J's a Bachelor Girl and BGs usually have interesting tales to share with boring housewife friends and his presence probably caused those tales to be watered down. At one point J had a visit from one of her neighbours, a tall, good looking and nicely proportioned young man, about some boiler problem. But certainly if the occasion had permitted we could have persuaded him to hang around :-). Maybe even lend him her shower hot water. Heh heh.

Anyway, we enjoyed J's new flat in Montrouge and while she slaved over the stove, we sipped red wine, listened to her screaming MP3 and made a point to coo over her cats. We exchanged stories about our sons (they used to do Judo together) and I always win as you can't beat mine in almost every domain, be it bad grades, bad behaviour, complaints from the teachers or pure laziness. Her son M's 1st in class and keeps his own blog. What did I eat wrong during my pregnancy?

Cucumber Soup

Dinner was thoroughly enjoyable. J concocted a cool cold cucumber soup, grilled Beef with Red Peppers and her plat de résistance - Curried Potatoes. I found her flat just by following the smell of the spices.

Grilled Beef and Peppers Curried Potatoes

She also made dessert (Tarte aux Mirabelles), but I am a difficult fruit eater and had to skip it. Hubby loved it though.

Well, J, thanks for dinner once again and see you on the 15th of September in Modena!


Next, we were invited to lunch at Karena's (of the Bibou thru the Years blog). Nice little house in Antony near the famous Parc de Sceaux. And 2 cutie pie little girls the youngest of whom I've only seen on K's blog until this day. And I attest that they are even cuter in person, and the Angel's certainly well-named as she slept through our long lunch, have never seen that in my decade-long motherhood.

Karena's Chili Dog

It rained, but I die die also went out into their famous garden and veggie patch to snatch a few raspberries. Chris bbqed us a few hot dogs so that Karena could serve us her famous chilli dog and we had rice, salad and yummy wings to go with it. They also made a Tarte aux Prunes that I as usual didn't consume, being the picky fruit eater that I am. Great company, interesting gossip, a wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon. Really happy to meet the d'Arcys after all this while, I have missed them. Hope to see the growing family in Italy soon!

Lo Mai Kai (Glutinous Rice with Chicken)

I had a craving for glutinous rice when I was in France and vowed to make it upon my return.

So on Monday I started to soak my rice and last evening I cooked it.

450g Thai Glutinous Rice
400g Chicken Thighmeat (deboned and skinless)
2 Chinese Sausages
A few Chinese Mushrooms
2 cloves Garlic
Small piece Ginger
Dark Soy Sauce
Light Soy Sauce
Oyster Sauce
Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Sugar
450ml Chicken/Pork Stock
Fresh Chilli
Coriander Leaves
Salt and Pepper

Basically just soak the rice and mushrooms overnight. Drain and set aside. Slice the meat, sausages, mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Marinate the meat for a few hours with the sauces. Heat up wok and fry the sausages, mushrooms, garlic, ginger and sugar in some oil. Add in the chicken and when it's nearly cooked through, stir in the drained glutinous rice. Mix well and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Pour the fragrant rice with its ingredients in a steaming container, add in the meat stock, cover and steam for 20 minutes. Serve hot with some fresh parsley and red chillis. I like to eat it cold too.

Parc Asterix

MIL lives an hour north of Paris and about 30 minutes from Parc Asterix. So visite obligée when you have 3 kids 2 of whom are crazy about rides and anything that moves. The Eldest is the most cowardly of them all, but still found joy in visiting the Park as he is a fan of the comic strip.

It's one of my favourite amusement parks. Well done with a good mix of rides for all ages. But better be at least 1m tall or you'll not be able to do most of the rides. And do read some of the comics before you turn up, you'll enjoy it all the better if you did.
Hubby and I we did this. It's so long the picture couldn't show all of it. But nothing exciting, just headache.

My personal favourite is the Viking Boat. A close second is the Menhir Express. I like it when I slide down from a certain height and can feel my heart being tickled - but in safety, of course.
Dolphine Show (30-min wait for 15-min show)

The queues were long but probably not as long as in Disneyland. And the food sold in the Park is certainly much more edible. 33 Euros for Adults. 25 Euros for children 3-11 years. Slight reduction for Senior citizens and families with at least 3 kids. Check out

And of course we were as usual the rare people who walked out of the park WITHOUT buying any souvenir (unless you consider Eldest Son's comic book purchase). But normal if you're with Hubby and his mother.

Salt and Pepper Prawns (Crevettes Sel et Poivre)

Quick and easy recipe :

400g raw Prawns (headless but unpeeled, just slit on the back and deveined)
2 Star Anises
2 cloves Garlic
A touch of shredded Ginger
1 Shallot
1 Red Chilli
1 Tbsp Fleur de Sel
1 Tbsp finely crushed Black Pepper
2 Tsp Sugar
3 Tbsps Oil

At least 2 ways of cooking the dish though. One would be to heat up a wok till steamy hot, add in the salt, pepper, sugar, star anises, garlic, shallot and ginger and mix them well. When the salt and pepper start to crackle, add in the prawns (washed and dried) and stir fry for a minute till cooked. Then add in the oil and stir fry some more to mix everything well. By the way, replace the oil with butter and you'll get Black Pepper Prawns.

The other would be to marinate (more like dip) the prawns very quickly in the salt and pepper and also 1-2 Tsps of flour. Heat up wok till hot, add in some oil, the star anises, garlic, shallot, ginger and sugar and stir fry till fragrant (30 seconds). Add in the prawns and stir fry till cooked. Serve hot.

PS : The above was made using Method 2, the prawns were a little limper than usual as I marinated the prawns too long (to save time), but otherwise they turned out great. To make a fusion dish, you can also replace the vegetable oil with butter or olive oil.