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since 21/10/2004


reveals yourself in 100 questions... 18/10/2006

It's me me me me me !

reveals yourself in 100 questions... Ok, I thought that being French it would be easier for me to understand the questions, but I was wrong. And although the way that other people answered to those strange questions made me laugh a lot, I decided that I wanted to know what the original questions were. So I went onto the French Ciao, registered, and found the original questionnaire which I retranslated. It's not so funny anymore, but anyway here it is… 1 - First Names : Joël 2 - Pseudo(s) ? LouPapy: I chose this one Pepe: my university nickname Jojo: when people are trying to irritate me… Joelito: Do not use, for wife use only. Baldy: from those who can't remember any of the others… 3 - girl or boy ? I wish I was a boy again. No no, no operation, I just grew up a bit. So I guess I'm a man. But I do miss to be just a boy… 4 - Towns ? (birthplace and living town) Birth place: Avignon, Provence, France. Beautiful medieval city Living town: Runcorn, Cheshire, England. Beautiful Chemical plant. What the F… am I doing here? 5 - Height ? 5.8. no comment 6 - Age ? 34 But mentally around 21… 7 - Hair colour? Well the few I have left are brownish; with one our two grey ones amongst them. But to simplify, I'm bald. 8 - colour of the eyes ? Blue grey to deep blue, depending on the weather… 9 - Employment / current occupation? I'm an Industrial Chemist, specialised in Paint. So basically I formulate industrial paint. At the moment I do paint like Teflon, ...

Recipes for Starters 14/08/2006

Cherry Tomato and Mustard Tart

Recipes for Starters Right, for those of you who have followed, so far I've done the main dish, the dessert, so here is the starter to complete your three courses meal from south of France. I haven't made one for a while now, but luckily my mum just made one, so I ask my dad to take a few pictures of it for you to look at... Preparation: 1h15 Cooking : 35 min Ingredients for 6 persons: - 1 pâte brisée (pâte brisée is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry see link with recipe below) - Dijon Mustard - Emmental cheese (200g) (I guess a tasty cheddar would do as well) - Cherrie Tomatoes - Thyme - Pepper - Olive oil Preparation: Ok, the first part is a bit awkward, as I have to admit, I have no idea how to make the pastry. In France, you can find in any supermarket some fresh pastry roll; you just have to unroll them in the mould, and job done. So you only have the fun part left. Unfortunately, the closest thing I found in this country, is powder mix, where you just have to add water to make your pastry, but even that is too much hard work for me. So whenever me or my sister go back to France, we make a stock of pastries that we freeze over here. Therefore, I won't be of any help for the pastry. But as I'm not heartless, I've done some research for you and I've found this site where they tell you in English how to do a pate brisee. It's basically what you would call a pie or tart pastry. Here is the site: So can we go ...

Recipes for Desserts 10/08/2006

Roasted peach Kebab

Recipes for Desserts This one is the only thing left from a cooking book that my mum gave me before I moved to England and I lost less than two weeks later. But she doesn't know so it's alright, no hard feeling. That was the easiest recipe in the book therefore the first and only one i did. I was a bit unsure about the taste of Rosemary with the peach, but trust me the result is very nice. Here is what you need for six persons: Ingredients : - 12 small peaches (they are actually quite hard to find other here, in France we call them wine peach, they're half the size and firmer, if you can't find any, just take 6 normal size one) - 50 g of Butter - 80 g of caster sugar -6 long (25-30cm) rosemary sprigs (you won't find them that long in asda or tesco, just do like me, go and nick them in your neighbour's garden) 5 cl of sweet Muscat wine (such as Muscat Beaumes de Venise) You should find some in Asda or tesco. They also have some in Aldi but with a different name that I can't remember. Preparation : Clean and dry the peaches. Cut them in half (and again if they're big) and take off the bone. Pin them on the Rosemary sprigs. Put them in large pan. Powder them with sugar and spread them with small pieces of butter. Place the pan on low fire, cover the pan and let them cook for 10mn. Poor the Muscat wine in the pan, cover and follow to cook for another 20mn. Using a big spoon use the cooking juice to wet them regularly. That's it. Now serve them while they're still hot, with a nice ...

Recipes for Main Courses 08/08/2006

Lamb Cutlets caramelised with herbs

Recipes for Main Courses I love cooking and I love eating even more, but I'm not very patient, and I am very lazy, so all of my cooking is simple and quick but it doesn't stop it to be succulent and will impress your guest. This is the first recipie I put on Ciao, but I have plenty other, so please tell me if the format I chose is a good one, or if you expect something different. This one I learned from my mum, and if you can find good quality lamb cutlet, you're in for a treat.... Preparation : 10 min Rest : 30 min Cooking: 20 min Ingredients : For 6 persons 12 Lamb Cutlets 2 sprigs of fresh basil (4-5 leaves) 2 sprigs of fresh parsely 2 sprigs of chervil 1 tea spoon of thyme 6 table spoon of olive oil 3 table spoon of liquid honey Salt, Pepper Preparation : Wash, dry, and chop the herbs together, you want to obtain very fine cut, you can even put them for a quick turn in a blender, but be careful not to over do it, it still need to look like herbs at the end, not soup; By hand, mix the oil, honey and the herbs together. Add Salt and peper. Put the cutlets in a dish, poor the herbs and honey mix on top and let marinate for 30 min regularly turning the cutlets. Preheat the oven at 210°C (th.7).Cover the oven plate with aluminium foil and put the cutlet on top. Put in the oven for 20 min and using a small spoon, poor often some of the herbs mix on top of the cutlet. Turn the cutlet over after 10mn. Serve straight from the oven. As side dish, mash potato and a fresh ...

Da Buffetto, Rome 08/08/2006

So that's what a pizza should look like....

Da Buffetto, Rome When it comes to pizza, you're either Roman (thin base) or Napolitan (thick base). I enjoy both but with a strong preference for thin base Pizza. I've learned the differences between the two when last February, my wife and I went to visit some Friends who live in Rome. It was my first time in Italy and I realised that when it comes to food, the Italians are even worse than the French. (Yes it's possible). You have to be careful about what you say, especially when it come to Pizza. Try ordering a thick base Pizza in a Roman pizzeria, and you could end up finishing your meal earlier than expected, probably even before you've seen any food on your table. Same thing if you order a thin Base pizza in Napoli. I exaggerate a bit of course, but there is a strong feeling between the two region about which of the two make the real Pizzas. Luckily for me, as I prefer thin based Pizza, I was in Rome, so I was not going to offend anyone. My Italian friends we were visiting told us they were going to take us to eat the best Pizza in Rome (that's when I noticed the difference between the Italians and the French, The French would have said the best Pizza in the world). So it was a Monday evening at the end of February, the weather was fresh but bearable. After a few buses and a bit of walking, we arrived to Piazza Navona, which is a beautiful place, shape like a boat, situated in the old Rome. You can not go to Rome without going there. And once you're there, you're only a few yards ...

Jokes 08/08/2006

Chili Cook-off

Jokes I couldn't chek all the jokes publish on Ciao, so sorry if this one has already been posted. I really pissed myself laughing when I read it. But other people I know didn't find it so funny. I guess it depends if you have a good imagination or not... Note: Please take time to read this slowly. If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better. For those of you who have lived in Texas, you know how true this is. They actually have a Chili Cook-off About the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the San Antonio City Park. Judge #3 was an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank,who was visiting from Springfield, IL. Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a Chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted". Here are the scorecard notes from the event: CHILI # 1 - MIKE'S MANIAC MONSTER CHILI Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick. Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild. Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You Could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to ...

Ambassador Restaurant, Liverpool 03/08/2006

A very good French Bistro.

Ambassador Restaurant, Liverpool The receptionist at my previous job recommended me this restaurant. She actually wanted me to go, to tell her if it was proper French food or not. She told me it was fairly cheap and that they served big portion, those words are music to my ears, so I didn't hesitated. Especially when the only other French restaurant I've tried in Liverpool, "L'alouette" was emptying your wallet 5 times faster than it was filling your stomach... I found the place fairly easily. As it's on a small shopping precinct, there is a big parking in front which is convenient. The outside was not very inviting, I had the feeling I was going to enter in a dodgy local pub. Once inside some of this feeling stayed a bit. Nothing dodgy about the place really, but when you enter the bar/reception area, it does look like a low end pub. Two out of the three times I've been there, the place was fairly empty and booking was not necessary, saying that, the third time we had to wait 45mn before we could get a table, so just in case it's worth giving them a call before showing up. The restaurant it self is basic but clean, and although it doesn't look like most of the French restaurant in this country (posh) it did remind me the French Bistros you can find in the outskirt of French cities, specially with the 70's deco. The Staff didn't look either like in other French restaurant, they looked like "scouser". Some might think it's an insult to call them like that but it's not. What I meant, is that ...

Millon Tandoori, Liverpool 01/08/2006

Best Indian in Liverpool?

Millon Tandoori, Liverpool When I arrived in England almost ten years ago, one of the first things I've learned is that in England, if you want tasty food, you have the choice between Indian or Chinese. It has improved a lot since, but that's how I tasted my first curry, and became addicted. In 1999 I moved from Manchester (where I've tried most of the Curry house of Rusholmes) to Liverpool. So being addicted, my first goal after finding a place to live was to find a good curry house. The first one I tried was the closest to where I lived at the time, in the trendy area of Mossley Hill which is full of bars and restaurants, it was this restaurant called Millon Tandoori. I was not too impressed by the Indian deco or the Indian music playing in the background (although I've seen much worse). I guess some people like that kind of thing, it looks more authentic, but personally I'm not a fan. But I really enjoyed my meal that time, and in the seven years that follow, I must have been at least 20 times to this restaurant, so I know the place quite well. I only recall one occasion when I was disappointed, my Jalfryze was not very spicy, I mentioned it and we all got free round of Sambuca. A part from that it's always been good, and actually better than the "Gulshan" which is suppose to be the best Indian in the area. Now let's go a bit more into the details. The restaurant can accommodate around 70-80 people. When you come in, you are in the bar area, with nice and comfy sofa where you can wait ...

Don Pepe Restaurante, Liverpool 18/07/2006

This Restaurant is now closed

Don Pepe Restaurante, Liverpool Yeah well, I'm starting to understand now the way these Ciao's reviews work. I still don't think that it all makes sense, but I guess I have to go with the flow. I've had some bad ratings for this review, so I deleted what I had written as it was useless. But I am still going to use this space to complain. I'm French I love complaining! Although I have been told that I shouldn't have tried to write a review on a restaurant that is closed, I think you're wrong. I agree that it would have perhaps been cleverer to report this restaurant to Ciao as being closed; nevertheless I still think it was a nice gesture from me to write a review to mention that fact. There was already a review on this restaurant and as this review was a positive one, I think it would have been misleading to Ciao members to leave it like that. I could have understood if people read the review without rating it, as it was not a proper review. But to say that it's not helpful that's just not fair. If I read the first review I could have decided to go there, and waste time and petrol going to a restaurant that is closed and therefore I would have found a review telling me this before I go, very helpful. Right I'm done moaning for today, so I'm going to send an email to Ciao to tell them it's closed and hopefully they will remove my moaning ASAP. Cheerio

Everything that starts with C ... 15/07/2006

Should I say Ciao to Ciao

Everything that starts with C ... I've just started writing reviews on Ciao because I though it was a good idea to share experiences. I appreciate being able to see what people think of a restaurant before I go there, what they think of a book before I read it, what they think of an hotel before I book it. But it seems that a lot of peoples here don't really care what the review is about. It seems that what matter to them is just if it's well written, if there is all the information that should be there. It's a more a journalism event than a sharing of opinion. Once again, I just want to share my experiences. I accept that I'm no food critics, and I miss things. I had some useful comments telling me about it, and I then edited my review. But some people expect you to give them the full menu with all the prices, and why not the daily specials? It's Ok to give a brief description of what kind of food to expect, what sort of price to expect but if you want to know more, personally I'll phone them, or go on their website. All that, you can find it elsewhere. What you want to find here, it's what other people thinks. I'm not writing an advert for the restaurant, I'm not writing a review for the time, I'm sharing my experience, and I though that it was a Ciao was all about, sharing experience. Would you be more interested to read a book after someone told you "read it it's a great book" or after someone told you half of the story in a review? So I'm a bit disappointed, I'm sure it won't affect you too much. ...

Bear & Staff, Liverpool 14/07/2006

Now that's what I call good pub food.

Bear & Staff, Liverpool Right, first let me tell you about myself. I'm French, and I love my food. I've been living in the UK for seven years crying my eyes out because of what people were trying to make me eat in this country. I spend lots of money on petrol going to Costco and town Market were you can still get some descent quality product. I never step a foot in Asda, Tesco or other supermarket, unless it's an emergency. When I don't feel like cooking, I'm willing to drive an hour to fine a place with proper food. Fortunately for The Bear&Staff is only 1/2 hour from my place. I've been there a few times over the years. The first time it was a pub that look like a pub, than it became a pub with a trendy restaurant, and now again it's a pub that look like a pub. A nice typical English pub, with big wooden tables, nice wooden chairs (all different) and nice wood beam all around. What ever the look they choose, they always kept their good food standard. It's not fancy nouvelle cuisine, or an around the world experience, it's a pub that serve pub food. Hamburger, Salads, Chicken, Salmon, fish and chips etc... So what's different between a pub to another? The quality of the ingredient. If you go to bear&staff a have the Aberdeen Angus Burger for example, you will taste one of the best burger you ever had, from the first bite, you can tell that it's not Tesco meat, it's not Asda bread (bun?), it's tasty stuffs, the french fries are home made, not frozen Mc Cain. And you get this quality the ...

Palais des Papes, Avignon, Provence 10/07/2006

The most important gothique palace in the world.

Palais des Papes, Avignon, Provence Background: The "Palais des Papes" was the symbol of the power of the church in the XIV century. Its build was started in 1335 and was finished in less than twenty years. The Pope Benoît XII and its successor Clement VI are the main responsible for this amazing building. It's the most important gothic palace in the world, (15 000 m2 of floor area, the volume of 4 gothic cathedrals). Visitors can admire the private apartments of the Popes and the stunning wall painting from the Italian artist Matteo Giovannetti. Ok so it's a big building with an impressive History. If architecture or history is your thing, don't hesitate. If like me you're not too bothered by them, it's still worth paying the small entrance fees just to be able to admire the view of the beautiful city of Avignon you get from the top of the roof. In my personal opinion the beauty of the palace lies when you are outside, facing this huge and magnificent building. Next to the Palace, there is a smaller building called "Le petit Palais" the small palace, where you can see some nice painting of artist (mainly Italians) from the 12&13th century. Again, if it's not your thing, the "Rocher des doms", behind the Palace, is a very nice park on top of a rock with beautiful views of the Rhone river, the famous Pont d'Avignon. And further away, the beautiful landscapes of Provence. Definitely worth going. Overall, the "Palais des Papes" on its own isn't worth a trip from UK, (the city of Avignon and its beauties ...

La Casa de la Marquesa, Queretaro 07/07/2006

Simply the most beautiful hotel

La Casa de la Marquesa, Queretaro The Casa de la Marquesa is an amazingly beautiful and luxurious hotel. After your first step in the lobby, you have the feeling that you went back in time. And back then, you were very rich and powerfull. Each suites are large and have a different decor and all are beautiful. I haven't seen them all but I got married in Queretaro and most of the room where occupied by friends and family, so I saw most of them.. Despite the luxurious aspect of the hotel, it's a very friendly atmosphere and all the staff make you feel like you belong there. The location is ideal, right in the center of Queretaro (which by the way is an extremly beautiful city and one of the cleanest I've seen.) The price is cheap for the quality you get, but probably not the hotel you're looking for if you're on a tight budget. If it's the case, in the same street, you have the Hotel Hidalgo, which is clean, extremly cheap has a great resaurant and is the friendliest place ever. It's not in the list, so I though I'd mention it. ...

Motorola V3 07/07/2006

Worse Phone I've ever had

Motorola V3 I bought a V3 to replace my samsung D500 that my wife stole from me (typical). So this review is more or less a comparison with the D500. The V3 look good, it's slim and very light. But from my point of vue that's pretty much it. The Keypad is not very user friendly, I guess you can get use to it but you'll never type text as fast as you could with the D500. The screen is nice and bigger than the D500, but the camera is poor and certainly no match to the 1.3m pixel from the samsung. The memory is not expandable is only big enough to hold 1mp3. The menue is quite clear and easy to use but not in the best set up. There is all the application you need on a phone, you ahve plenty of settings to adjust but it's not so easy to find what you want to adjust. Being a popular phone, there is plenty of programs you can use to hack in your phone and modify everything to your liking, but you always take the risk to mess it up. The worse thing I found with this phone is the reception. There is no problem to get a signal, and make a call. But a few times I got messages telling me that I missed call when my phone never rang. I also sent a few messages that never reached their destination. I though it was a problem with my phone, but other people I know told me they had the same problem. Overall, the V3 razr, is a decent phone but you can get much better phone out there for the same price or cheaper.

Samsung SGH D500 07/07/2006

To feel proud of...

Samsung SGH D500 As many people, when I saw the advert on tv, I thought straight away "I want this phone". Of course, as for all new stylish mobile phone, the price was prohibitive, so I had to wait a few month before I could get my hand on one at a reasonable price. I was not dissapointed by the look, I still think it's one of the best looking phone there is. The first time you slide it open, you notice the high build quality. The menu is easy to use, you have all the application you need. The 1.3m pixel camera with flash and a lot of setting is great. The memory although not expandable is big enough to hold a few mp3. The sound quality is good and finaly you can aslo use it to make phone call. Over all if you're looking for a phone that is not too expensive (as it's a bit outdated) and stylish enough to make you look good, it's a great phone. Much much better than the motorola V3.
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