Marie Lou’s Paupiettes

Chicken Paupiette

My mother passed away in 1997 this month, only three years after I had moved to Ireland, an untimely and very quick November harvest as she was only three weeks in her 50th birthday. In these short years, I visited a couple of times, in the summer of 96 and April 97. I would always ring a couple of days before sailing, to build up the excitement on both sides I guess and the question from the Gallic side of the channel, and like a good French mother, was always the same: “ What would you like to eat?”… The answer came out bizarrely honest that it even surprised me: “Paupiettes please!” a dish made of sausage meat wrapped in a thin layer of veal or chicken escalope. It is stewed in a mushrooms, white wine and tomato sauce and served with rice. A comforting classic in our house; it wasn’t “cupboard love”, I was never that kind of a young lad, too proud maybe? But my friends, when your Ma asks you what do you want to eat, you better think fast and tell her nice, as I think in the 25 years we’ve known each other, she only popped the question twice…

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Choice 1

She used to come to my place

Every Saturday after lunch,

While I was at work…

Roaming the rooms like a ghost

Touching the dusty furniture

With her long lanky fingers…

She used to fix the picture frames,

As she hovered down the hall.

I had told her it was over

Six months ago, as I recall…

No one but she, had lost.

Under her cashmere scarf

 She kept a key “just in case”

Haunting my place

Smoking blond tobacco

By the wet sooty fireplace…

Choice 5

Every Saturday after lunch,

Her ghostly frame roamed the rooms,

While I was at work,

Like a looser,

A looser… Who had lost!


Butcher Street

Choice 12
Beaujolais Nouveau Night

I can’t recall anything scarier than being twenty… Seriously, it has to be the most over rated age apart from the fact that you are pretty much completely free from any commitments, bills, jobs… You’re broke, but you’re free. You need to find a place to exercise this freedom, a place of paradox, where one can reflect on ideals, but yet requires the company of similar frightened comrades putting on a brave face, a safe house for your music gigs, a place to drink a few beers at the weekend, a waiting room to that big ugly world out there, and it’s you and your likes that will make a difference, that will change all of this, you know it… Just maybe not right now, perhaps after another coffee at the bar…

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I fell head first into the snow,
Exhausted by a three day hike.
Ingrid grabbed me by the elbow,
With her skinny hands wrapped in mittens.
She sat me in her Dad’s canoe,
An Iroquois from Quebec.
He had named it after her.
I held my head between my frozen knuckles,
Despair sank in,
As dark and murky as the mud stuck on my boots.
I guess the St Lawrence wouldn’t let go of me,
As much as I wanted to let go of it
This Godforsaken land
Let go, farewell, the end.
Ingrid whispered in my ear
That my time wasn’t up yet,
That an owl one night
Will call my name
Not until then,
Not until then…

November light in Ireland
November light in Ireland

Soup ‘n’ Groux

Soup and Groux
Soup and Groux

Bleedin’ wet and windy here today in Co. Meath, it hasn’t stopped for the last five days really! Even if Monday was erringly warm as I drove back from Dublin at 10:30 pm with 16c showing on the dashboard, temperatures are sliding back down to its seasonnal self. Time for a nice warming soup and a little something very few of you might know, “The Groux” ( to be pronounced like the loveable-despicable character “Gru”), a traditionnal buckwheat-like bread from north Brittany, oven cooked like polenta and then fried in butter, this time, I decided to bake them mixed with Gruyere cheese, looking like soft savoury biscotti … “Simples”!…Anyhoo, here it goes…

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