For the last few days we have had an unexpected visitor to the house – a visitor clearly with a sweet tooth and partying spirit. She has had an absolute ball testing out brioche flour, speculoos biscuits, praline pâtisserie chocolate, mini chocolate Easter eggs and – wait for it – ground almonds! With all my macaron ingredients stashed away in the basement, she came to the right house, this mouse.
I say ‘she’, as the French have given the mouse feminine status, la souris. I wonder why? Souris, or smile as the French also say (from the verb sourir, to smile.) Do you really think I’m smiling?
Well, yes; with extra ganache for chocolate macarons, somebody had to look on the bright side – especially as we spent part of our precious Easter weekend gutting out the basement stocks just looking for her. The poisonous route was out of the question, as was luring her with a bar of praline chocolate on an old-fashioned mouse-trap. Much that she would go nuts for it, that’s good chocolate! Instead our clever Monsieur at the quincaillerie (I always loved that word for the Ironmonger in French class; say “can-cay-eree”) came up with a plug-in chaser that emits a silent human ultrasound but one that has mice racing out the door before they can say cheese.
Why is it that I have the feeling that mice are following me around? I’ve already heard someone say that just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. In Paris, I couldn’t help popping in to one of my favourite boutiques, La Vaissellerie in Rue St-Lazare (just behind Galeries Lafayette, around the corner from Gare St Lazare.) It’s a real bazaar of porcelain serving dishes and heaps of culinary knick-knacks.
Who could resist these cheeseboard accessories? I’m still debating on the little cutlery stands, a typical French dinner table accessory. Antoine will surely think it’s mouse overload for our next dinner guests.
Who would have thought that mice were such chocolate lovers? Should somebody tell the lovely people in the boutique that they should change the cheese to a chocolate set?
Next time you’re making chocolate macarons, why not play around with any leftover ganache and make silly shapes with the piping bag? Gosh, I hope the publishers are not reading this: I should be getting on with that book manuscript. Ahem. Truth be told, I’m going blind with too much computer. Am I becoming French by exaggerating my ailments?
How did that nursery rhyme go again? Let’s give it a new look:
One blind mouse, one blind mouse,
See how she runs, see how she runs,
She poked too much and ate chocolate by the tons,
And ended up on a mac topped in crumbs,
Did you ever see such a thing in your house,
As one blind mouse?