Frantaglais blah-blah...

Why Frantaglais? Well, I came up with this title as my posts, from time to time, will be en français (in French), en anglais (in English), and/or en Tagalog, my mother tongue. In any case, you find my writing weak, just bear with me please or leave. This is my blog after all. No one forces you to read it.

dimanche, janvier 30, 2005

Any thoughts, anyone?

tété d'amour

Our daughter is turning 4 next month. We asked her on what she would like to receive as a birthday present. She said, "I want a white rat with red eyes that can catch a ball. hehe... Where can I find that? A white rat with red eyes, that's easy but I'm not sure if I can find one that has the ability to catch a ball. (eBay perhaps? lol) Then her brother asked, "Why not a dog or a cat?". There, he shouldn't have suggested that. Now she wants a rat, a dog and a cat.

No, she wouldn't have any of these. I love animals but I don't think I want one here. Having an animal at home is a great responsibility. They're not temporary, they're like family members that depend on us to love and care for them...forever.

Also, having one at home could be messy. When our son was only about 7 years old, he asked for a rabbit. I was not so keen about this at first, since at the time, we were still in a very small apartment and to add an animal that requires a cage would require a space. He burst into tears, begging, and said, "If you don't like a rabbit, gerbils would be fine.", (as if twas the solution to the problem) as he saw an ad in his school about gerbils (mouselike rodent with long hind legs and a long tail) being given to those who wish to 'adopt'. So, in the end, after several 'I beg yous' and 'rollings about on the floor', we finally bought a cage, a modified bird cage & its accessories, some toys and vitamins then adopted two, both male. Since gerbils mutiply rapidly, keeping males and females is not recommended. Troubles were, aside from chewing their toys to bits (everything was in plastic), making too much noise especially at night, scattering straws outside their cage and producing a foul smell, they were so aggressive with each other. And although we knew that we had to separate them at this point, we didn't do it for there was no more place for another cage, so we let them there, together... to the point that the one killed the other; the one left didn't last long either for it was badly wounded. Good riddance? Poor gerbils, we had fun watching them sharing the wheel, though. *sniffs*

So I'm crossing out the rat from the list. Then, why not a cat? I know that cats are naturally clean animals but it's still my job to make sure that the litterbox stays clean so that the house remains sanitary. And I should do that as often as possible because of its frequency of getting stinky. Oh, that's gonna be a lot of dirty works. Eeew! Also, cats love to explore, it might jump on tables, on bookshelves, and on cabinets and it might accidentally break or knock over fragile items. Then the cat's hair, I don't want them on beds, nor on our sofa/chairs. And the worst of all, cats love to scratch the furnitures. Oh no, not my buff leather sofa! Why do they do that? Some say, to sharpen their claws. Ok, whatever, I'm crossing out the cat too.

Now, how about a dog? Owning a dog could be a lot of fun, and a lot of work too. hehe... I guess that even a large yard wouldn't be enough for an active dog. We now live in a bigger apartment but dogs unlike cats need long walks everyday and that means that we're obliged to walk him at least 2 times a day. And if we go on vacations, who would look after him? No one in our entourage would be willing to do the task! My! Tsk tsk tsk! There are lots of things to consider so we better think before committing eh? But, but , but... on second thought, I'm sure our daughter will be delighted to have one. But what kind of dog? Actually, I don't know much about dogs races, but I would prefer one with short hair and does not shed a lot, any thoughts? Or do you have any ideas on what makes an ideal apartment dog?

lundi, janvier 24, 2005

Napoléon Bonaparte à Las Vegas

How about a little history and a little escapade afterwards?

In 1804, Napoléon Bonaparte was coronated the Emperor of the French at the Notre-Dame Cathedral. In 2004, still reigning over the rest of the world. Year 2008, a Napoléon casino in Las Vegas.

Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821). Emperor of the French (1804-15). Coming to power after a coup in 1799, he defeated every European coalition against him until, weakened by the Peninsula War and the Russian campaign (1812), he was defeated at Liepzig (1813) and, finally, at Waterloo (1815). The code Napoléon remains the basis of French law.
Napoléon 1er
"He fascinates me, he was such a genius. Do you feel the same way?", wrote Andreas, a 16-year old Berliner in a German forum (napolé, a devoted to the first Empire., it's in Chinese these Napoléonists converse with one another, "Did you know that he was the first to foretell the boom of China?" In Russia, in Japan, same Napoléonic-crazes. In France, he's being praised for one of his signicant achievements, the Code Napoléon or the Civil Code. The year 2004 marked the bicentenaire (200th anniversary) of the Napoléonic Civil Code and was celebrated in 22 countries.

Hats off to the most popular Frenchman in the world. Capitalizing over the popularity of Napoléon Bonaparte, the American investors will be constructing his palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Napoléon Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas
The casino hotel of the future, The Napoléon (foreground, right). This is Green Giant's illustration for ça M'intéresse magazine, giving us an idea on how it would look like. Click here for a much better view.

This project is estimated at over $3 billions. The complex (here, modelled in its real décor) will accomodate, in the structure of 100 meters high in the form of bicorne (cocked hat), a hotel with 3000 rooms, a 10,000 square meters casino, a spa named after Joséphine**, a phantom train that will serve its guests discover the great battles of the Empire and a lot more. The facade is decorated with l'Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel du Louvre (Carrousel of Louvre's triumphal arch) and a replica of la colonne Vendôme (Vendôme pillar).

As for their business plan, the investors/entrepreneurs have estimated 40-million Napoléon admirers in the world. So for all Napoléonic enthusiasts out there and for those who simply adore being in a far-out place like Vegas, check this out!

**Empress. Previous name Joséphine de Beauharnais; real name Marie-Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie. 1763-1814, empress of France as wife (1769-1809) of Napoléon Bonaparte.

mercredi, janvier 19, 2005

Couscous Royale

It's been a month since we had couscous for dinner. The giant hubby had a craving for this for the past two days and asked me if we could have it for tonight's dinner. So, this morning, after taking our giantess daughter to school, I went to the supermarket and bought the necessary ingredients.

If you look at my previous post, Giving It A Try, my first real entry actually, I talked about couscous and promised to post the recipe when I have the time. Trouble is, I forgot about it. But who cares anyway? Who would care about Bokbok's couscous recipe? You have no choice, I'm posting it anyways, hehe...

Oopps, for the ones visiting this blog for the first time, no, this is not a food blog. I'll leave it to the experts. It's just that I feel obliged to post it. I'm not a cordon bleu (an exceptional cook). But at least I try and I guess I'm progressing. CRITICS are WELCOME. ^_^

Not long ago, I would take even the most simple recipe from a cookbook, carefully following the instructions, cautiously measuring the ingredients and the dish would turn out bland. But now I guess I'm doing better. The Green Giant and I have been married for 8 years now. So having a voracious husband plus two voracious kids, and with a little flick of my magic wand in the kitchen, I think I'm ready to show off some of Philippines' culinary treasures to my in-laws.

So, what is couscous royale? Well, Its a North African dish consisting of semoule (semolina) served with a meat stew.

Couscous is yellow granules of semoule (semolina) made from durum wheat. It is for the North Africans what rice and pasta are for the Filipinos and Italians. The key to preparing an authentic couscous is patience and care. It's too much work, I assure you. Experience will prove the best guide. But there are instant couscous (pre-cooked) available in the supermarkets and the directions will only require you to boil it for 1-2 minutes, drain and serve. That easy and it's as good as the one authentically prepared.

...Royale, when it is served with different kinds of meat and vegetables. Like our very own kare-kare (a meat stew with a rich nutty sauce served with a variety of vegetables) in which bagoong (a salty paste made from fermented fish or shrimp) is traditionally served with, couscous royale is served with hot sauce called harissa.

harissa hot sauce

couscous royale
This is how it's usually presented. I don't know if it will affect your appetite but it's how I managed to present it. This is good for one person.

Couscous Royale (for approx. 4 persons)

2 x packs of 250 gms. 'instant' couscous
1 kg. lamb ribs/shoulder
-- cut into serving pieces
4 chicken legs-- cut the drumsticks off from the thighs, fried till golden brown (half-cooked), set aside
8 merguez sausages--grilled, set aside (2 sausages /person)
500 gms. zucchini--peeled (most of the skin left on) and cut into 2-inch chunks
300 gms. carrots--peeled, cut into quarters
2 bell peppers(red & green)--cored, seeded and diced
3 turnips--cut into wedges
300 gms. cooked garbanzo beans
1-2 tbsp. Ras el Hanout or 4-spice powder
2 tbsp. tomato paste
paprika-- optional

Place lamb ribs/shoulder pieces in a large casserole and cover with water. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Removes scums. Add the ras el hanout or 4-spice powder, salt and all the vegetables except bell peppers. Dissolve the tomato paste in the stock and add to the casserole. Simmer for 30 minutes. Next, add the chicken pieces and let simmer for 1 hour. Then add the diced bell peppers and simmer for about 15 minutes. Lastly, put grilled merguez and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Cook the couscous according to package directions.
Serve with harissa sauce dissolved in 1-2 tbsp. of stock.

Done. Whew!

jeudi, janvier 13, 2005

The Sale Mania

Image 1

Yesterday, January 12, marked the first day of the countrywide's 6-week winter solde (sale). Everything is up for grabs! The dates of the beginning of the sale are fixed in each department by the prefects, after consultations from the professional organizations and from the consumers, their authorized maximum duration is six weeks. And we got four weeks in the suburbs of Paris, where we live. So we have all the time in the world to take advantage of this.

But as expected, yesterday morning, hundreds of people were already in front of the department stores long before the opening time. And when the doors finally opened, they're like an ensemble of little waves joining their forces together, creating a 'tsunami'. During the sale, people tend to be more aggressive, so expect anything. There will be shoving and elbowing, exchanging of cursed words and to the point that the police would intervene to stop a brawl.

don't push! don't push! there's enough for everybody! (a common scene)

I can hardly imagine myself being one of them trying to smash the store's metal shutter or if not, crawling underneath just to be able to get in. What a humiliating scene! Mais oui, malheureusement (But yes, unfortunately) it happened and it always does, either during summer, winter or Christmas sale. These people reveal the animalistic traits in them! Sorry, ce n'est pas très gentil de dire ça (it's not so nice to say that), but can't blame me for I've already experienced being in the middle of one of those flaming stupid fights! That was quite scary! A woman pulled other woman's hair because of 'Barbie, The Bride'! ma God! Why didn't they just content themselves with 'Barbie, The Pregnant'? There were lots of them on the shelves! A scene like this could have been avoided! LOL

There are people who are capable of doing anything just to get hold of the items they want. Like what I saw on the news last night. The management of Galeries La Fayette, one of those chic department stores in France, had a hard time coping with these people. There were women fighting over a jacket... At Darty, an appliance store, there was an intense verbal dispute between two men because of a microwave! The worst thing of all is that they were aware of the presence of the cameras, that they were being filmed, and yet they still went on with their scenes. Cheap, huh?

In the Philippines and in most countries, the most heard saying in the customer service business is, "Customer is always right". Here in France, be wary! With this kind of behaviour, "Customer is always right"? Not anymore! I warn you, the customer service people could be as crude, as aggressive, and as animalistic as you are!

I'm planning to go shopping this Saturday, I don't know what awaits me but surely I'll be prepared. >_<

samedi, janvier 08, 2005

My Favorite Artist


Clémentine, our nearly-4-year old daughter is extremely keen on painting & drawing and she has a good imagination. I get a kick out of watching her paint/draw. She was exactly a year and two months old when she started showing an interest on drawing and that made me buy her first 24-count Crayola crayons set. The problem was she never liked them. Then I eventually bought her her first set of feutres (felt-tipped colored pens). Later on, Green Giant went home with an easel, gouache paint set and a 48-sheet pad of Canson watercolor paper for her. She was just as delighted as we were!

Well, it's not really that surprising, it's the talent I guess she obviously inherited from me (just kidding, can't even draw a duck! haha!). I had never really been an artistic person! De qui then, alors? From his papa, the Green Giant! Well, it's his profession.

One of things that's nice about Cléms is that it never occurred to her to write/draw on the walls. To think that she spends a lot of times drawing/painting ALONE in the living room (while I'm busy cooking, etc.), she's never tempted to do it. Ok, We told her once that it's "not the thing to do" and she understood, because when I was younger (so much younger than today) LOL, being the eldest in the family, my mother would ask me to remove the writings on the kitchen wall my little brother had effectuated. With my son, the same thing, I had rough times scrubbing the walls to the extent that I would be leaving them in a sorry state. But with her, pas de problème.

Voila. Here are some works by my favorite artist.

cléms' rabbit
a rabbit


the swan
barbie, the swan

jolie robe
Mc Bernick's daughter?

petit homme
petit bonhomme

tete's bonhomme

mouse in red dress
fievel's girl

Ses oeuvres d'art (her works of art), give me a happy feeling...her way of expressing herself... she's having fun! ^_^

samedi, janvier 01, 2005

La galette and moi

La galette des rois (a Twelfth Night cake/pastry). In France, it has become a tradition to have or share a piece of it with your family or friends. Also known as a King's cake and originally served only on January 6 (the twelfth day after Christmas), hence, the end of the holiday season. I never heard of someone in my entourage that bothers to bake this. Eversince, the cake is being bought from the supermarket and/or a boulangerie. The pastry's recipe may vary from country to country but the most popular in France is the frangipane (almond-flavoured) and an ingredient far from ordinary that makes the happening interesting is the fève, a trinket (people here usually use ceramic statuettes) or a bean that is baked inside the pastry. And whoever finds it becomes the queen or king of the party and that's why it always comes with a cardboard-made crown.

one of those ceramic statuettes

But since the pastry is often already available in the supermarkets long before Christmas, people don't bother to wait. They could have it whenever they want. It just doesn't make sense, huh?

Just like today, I'm home alone. The Green Giant and the kids just left, for his aunt has invited us to a Twelfth Night cake party (I don't get it, it's only the 7th day after x-mas). Ok, whatever. Well, it's not really a big one, just a little get-together minus the costumes of course (in some countries people dress up in outrageous costumes). Well, I didn't go with them for I'm not feeling well (yes, again). I'm not in the mood to party. It's my migraine. The cacophony of children's and adults' voices would only aggravate the pain. So here I am, tranquil, talking with my lover Mac. *LOL*

It's getting late and something in my stomach is right now executing a somersault. I am extremely hungry. Trouble is, I don't feel like cooking. I might just content myself with a few slices of ham. Poor me. And I guess it's gonna be a long night...*yawn*
Merci et à bientôt! ^_^ eXTReMe Tracker