Monday 25 April 2011

Did you know that the film L'affaire Farewell is on at the Watershed in Bristol?

L'affaire Farewell is based on a true story of Cold War ( la guerre froide) espionage. The story is not very well-known but it played an important part in bringing down the Soviet regime.
In 1981, a colonel in the KGB whose name was Vladimir Vetrov became disillusioned in the Soviet regime and decided to leak masses of secret information to the West through a French intermediary. The French gave Vetrov the codename Farewell. All the secret papers were given to François Mitterand who was President at the time. Mitterand passed them to Reagan who described them as one of the most important espionage cases of the 20th century.
The French director ( le réalisateur), Christian Carion, insists that the film is not a documentary ( un documentaire) as there are facts he does not know so he tried to imagine how things were.
The Watershed offers a discount on May 1st at 8.10 pm to people taking French lessons with Alliance Française de Bristol et Bath. Do not hesitate to contact us to find out how to benefit from the concession.
For more info...

Sunday 17 April 2011

Did you know that our next cookery workshop will start on May 5th?

Isabelle, French tutor and French chef, will be demonstrating in her kitchen how to cook typical French dishes of the season. She may show you how to prepare asparagus ( des asperges ) with a sauce mousseline for instance. You will prepare dishes under her supervision and take them home to share with your spouse or partner or friend...
The French workshop is for people with a reasonable GCSE French. There are two places left so hurry up to join and have fun learning French while cooking a delicious dish or two! For more info...

Here is a photo of a very happy student who did the French course with Isabelle before Christmas.

Isabelle has kindly offered one of her recipes for this blog.

Iles Flottantes
I gave this recipe a twist by adding some orange blossom flower essence ( de l'essence de fleur d'oranger) instead of the traditional vanilla flavour. If you prefer to use vanilla ( de la vanille ), you can infuse the seeds of one pod ( une gousse ) in the milk- don’t forget to strain your milk before making your custard.

Preparation time: 30 mn
Cooking time: 10 mn
Will serve 6-8 persons

Custard sauce ( crème anglaise )
125 g of sugar ( sucre )
7 large egg yolks ( jaunes d'œuf )
2 tbsp of corn flour ( farine de maïs )
25 cl of orange blossom flower essence ( essence de fleur d'oranger )

75 g of caster sugar ( sucre semoule )
The juice of one orange ( une orange )

1 l of full fat milk ( lait entier )
4 large egg whites ( blancs d'œuf )
60 g of caster sugar ( sucre semoule )
1 tsp of lemon juice ( jus de citron )

Wisk the egg whites with the lemon juice until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat at high speed until stiff and glossy. Scoop out meringues with a spoon and poach them in the simmering milk for 2 minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and let them drain on a tray. Set aside.

In a bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks with the sugar and the corn flour and pour over the strained milk you used for the meringues. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Cook it, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Pour immediately into a bowl, add the orange blossom flower essence, mix well and let it cool down.

Strain the orange juice and combine it a small sauce pan with the sugar. Place over medium high heat and boil until the mixture becomes a pale caramel.

Ladle some custard in ramekins, arrange one meringue per ramekin and trickle the boiling caramel over the meringues to form a lattice. Serve chilled.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Did you know that the film Les Petits Mouchoirs is at The Watershed in Bristol?

The film by Guillaume Canet, Les Petits Mouchoirs is with us now! Why les Petits Mouchoirs, little handkerchiefs? In English the title is Little White Lies and it is very appropriate as les petits mouchoirs are little lies that we tell ourselves when we don't want to admit something to ourselves.
The film is about eight friends who meet up for their holiday at Le Cap Ferret, in le bassin d'Arcachon, while their nineth friend is in hospital in Paris, after an accident. Guillaume Canet is using his own experience as he happened to be in hospital in Paris, after the success of Ne le dis à personne, Tell no-one, while all his friends were on holiday.

The film shows how a group of friends can get closer to one another when confronted to a tragedy. But can their friendship survive?

If you are on a French course with Alliance Française de Bristol or Bath, you can have a reduction at the Watershed for the showing of 17th April at 8.30pm. To  find out how you can get this concession, please contact us: more info...

Saturday 2 April 2011

From the Berry to the Loir et Cher!

Véronique, one of the French tutors at Alliance Française de Bath asked her students to write about a holiday in France.
Valérie, one of the students, felt like writing her thoughts about her holidays in the Loir et Cher:
Cet été, nous sommes allés dans le Loir et Cher, la région au nord de la Loire, entre la Loire et le Loir, très rurale et très tranquille où nous sommes restés dans un gîte. En comparaison des départements bien connus (comme la Provence par exemple), je le décrirais comme une aquarelle, au côté d'une peinture à l'huile vibrante, en même temps très satisfaisante. Sûrement il y avait beaucoup de châteaux (significatifs et aussi de moindre importance) mais entre eux des hectares de campagne, forestières et cultivées avec beaucoup de vaches (surtout blanches) qui disparaissent de plus en plus en Angleterre.
Heureusement je n'ai pas eu une effraction ni un vol, quelle malchance d'avoir deux incidents dans le groupe en même temps! Quant à moi, le bruit dans la nuit, c'était seulement les hiboux qui chassaient ou le hérisson résidentiel qui mâchait les escargots! ..Quel ennui doux... beaucoup de temps pour lire.

This reminded me of the poem by Joachim Du Bellay,

"Heureux qui comme Ulysse"
" me plaît le séjour qu'ont bâti mes aïeux,...
Plus mon Loir gaulois, que le Tibre latin,
Plus mon petit Liré, que le mont Palatin,
Et plus que l'air marin la doulceur angevine."

And you, is there a region of France that inspires you? Tell us about it.
Contact us about our French courses: more info...