In The City

Les Halles

There are, in my estimation, only two ways to cook: slowly or really fast. Every other way is wasted on me. I love meals that can be thrown into one large pot, put in the oven for 2 to 3, or four hours, and left to do what science intended. Become a veritable feast to the senses. Slow cooking allows all the ingredients to break down and become harmonious in flavour. It is important to understand how this process works on a minimal level and how herbs amplify slow cooking to a whole other degree.

Herbs and slow cooking are synonymous; as are spices and fast cooking.

For me the art of fast cooking, be that either using a wok or frying pan, is knowing what spices work well with whatever cut of meat and or veggies I’m using, to achieve either a subtle, or what I call, explosive dish. Spices that either tickle the tongue with delight. Or spices that all but take your breath away. Not because they are burning your mouth in a nuclear meltdown—heavens no—but because of the flavour explosion.

I’ve spent a great deal of time perfecting these two [art] forms of cooking, understanding the science as best I can to maximise my skill-set. Because, when all said and done, it’s me who’s eating the end result, and what I crave is not plain ordinary, greasy, bland food, but taste, sensation, and that overall mouth-awareness: Umami.

Going hand in hand with my two preferred styles of cooking is the quality of ingredients. Fresh always being best where at all possible. Living in a French-based culture, here in Québec, I’m lucky to have a variety of local Marchés or Halles offering up all things food. They usually include: a fishmonger, butcher, bakery, green grocery, cooked meat deli, cheese shop, coffee shop, chocolatier, sushi bar, well — you name it. These Marchés are located at a convenient spot for the worker who, before going home, stops by to pick up their fresh ingredients for dinner.

I realise life without access to my own les Halles Cartier would be unthinkable, given how reliant I have become on their wares.

Vive les Halles!

2 Comments

  1. Kenny Harrison says

    Oh, yeah, I really like this one, Alexandra. When I read aloud in my head, I can hear your flow of ideas and thoughts expressed in a natural tone. Nice! I hope someday to settle back into writing, if only to share with you. Write on, Alexandra!

    • La Blonde says

      Kind of how I tend to write, Kenny. As a steady stream of consciousness, or, in other words, I tend to babble, or is that, ramble? Either way, I’m glad you found me, and yes, let’s hope the blog is a first stepping stone back into writing on a more regular basis. If for nothing more than a blog post about life.

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