Shop, cook and eat in a Parisian neighborhood page 4

fruit tarte with almond cream.

This all turns out to be not as complicated as it sounds. “I’m not interested in making elaborate recipes that you won’t make at home,” says Madame Paule, “with ingredients you can’t find.”

The lamb does not go immediately into the refrigerator. Madame Paule likes the meat to be room temperature, “at least a couple of hours out of the fridge because it’s delicate.”

I’m surprised to learn that the French normally “seed” their tomatoes. “The seeds don’t add, they take away,” she announces. “They have no flavor and they have an unpleasant texture.” However, she says this step won’t be necessary because in the lamb dish the tomatoes will be baked.

“One of my rules: no unnecessary steps because there are enough necessary steps.”

While we are slicing eggplant, tomatoes, red onions and fennel, our culinary guide educates us: “There are three food cultures in France, determined by region. In the north it is butter and cream. Southwest of Bordeaux, in the areas including Dordogne and Perigord, it is red wine. In the southern Catalonia region, close to Spain, it is olive oil and   READ MORE