Leek & chive flan… & searching for life’s poetry

A few years ago, I read Eat,
pray, love,
and was struck by a Balinese story/tradition she describes in
the book (and I am paraphrasing from memory here): that each one of us is born
with four invisible “brothers” to help us and guide us throughout our life and
whom we need in order to be happy. In any difficult situation, you can call
upon any of these four brothers for help. They are intelligence, friendship,
strength and poetry. 

Children are taught this from an early age, and it’s such an
immense gift, these four essential and amazing resources to get through life’s trials. A toolbox for the soul.  

So, I must admit I have a favorite brother… I have a real
soft spot in my heart for poetry. How
does one practice, or experience, poetry in one’s life? It’s not about reading
Baudelaire cover to cover (as lovely as that may be). It goes further than that. 

I know when I find
something, a moment, a blog, an image, a smell even, poetic, but it’s quite difficult
to describe or define why.  I guess it’s
something I find beauty in, but a grounded, real sort of beauty, with a touch
of lightheartedness. Poetry is soft to me, it’s gentle. It’s warm, like one of
Pablo’s hugs or a kiss in the neck. It’s light, like a child running after a
feather. It’s moving, like a grandfather and grandson holding hands. It’s
embedded in the preciousness of the present moment. It’s the kind of joy you
experience with your eyes closed and a smile on your face. 

A giant breath of poetry came into my life when I had my
son. And another nice warm breeze of it, when I started this blog. I wanted to open up my mind’s eye to the poetry around me, so I could share it with my son and here. It felt like I
started practicing and experiencing poetry on a daily basis. Because
children and food are poetic to me. I realize that’s what I’ve been writing
about here – or trying to. In our busy lives, the kitchen and the table are places where we
can find, and share, poetry. The body feeds on food, the soul feeds on poetry, and cooking,
savoring, enjoying good food can provide both.

When I discovered the world of food blogs less than a year
ago, I fell in love with the blog Cannelle et Vanille. The crisp beautiful
images, the gentle, evocative writing, the very nature of her posts struck me as
so poetic. So enriching. I was just
in awe (and still am) of the beauty Aran Goyoaga creates and shares there.

And her
recipes are not only my favorite kind of recipes (especially the savory ones),
but they have been flawless so far, and I’ve tried many of them and have
learned a lot thanks to her blog. So I was very thrilled to receive her book, Small Plates & Sweet Treats, as a Christmas
gift, and have found so much inspiration there. Today, I’d like to share my
very simple rendition of her amazing leek and chive flan recipe.  

I blogged about a chive and parsley custard, and an artichoke custard, and have been a big fan of vegetable custards recently. They are so
light and delicious. They are awesome for entertaining and never fail to
impress. And they are just great for children. For moms out there trying to
introduce new vegetables or herbs, this is an awesome way to do it. Pablo
always enjoys having his own little cup.

I have to say this particular flan/custard is my favorite so far. The
combination of flavors is just perfect. We served it as our vegetable first course along with watermelon radish, which we eat French-style, sliced with butter, salt & pepper on it.

Do you find poetry to be essential in your life? Where are
you able to find it?

6 thoughts on “Leek & chive flan… & searching for life’s poetry

  1. Yum. These look great and perfect for introducing new veggies, as you said. I want to try this one.
    Also, thanks for the radish pictures. In LeBillion's book she talks about how French kids eat radishes w/ salt and pepper, but I couldn't figure out HOW. Sliced! I just couldn't picture it. Now I get it. Thanks! I'm hoping for radishes from our garden so we can try it. 🙂

    1. Ah yes, glad the radish is helpful. You would slice this type of radish, watermelon or black radish. For the small round red radishes (or breakfast radishes being the kind we get most in France), you just make two incisions half way through the radish at the top, insert a sliver butter inside, sprinkle with salt and pepper and take a bite. I should post a picture of that too one of these days… 🙂

  2. Another beautiful post Helene. I can't believe how grown up Pablo is looking. He isn't a baby any more. They grow up way too fast *sigh*. I am rather excited by that watermelon. I have never seen that before. How goregous! What is the taste and texture like?

    1. Thank you so much, Jacqueline… Yes, I hope you get to try these watermelon radishes, they're very lovely, basically the same consistency as a black radish, less "spicy", on the sweeter side, nice and crunchy, and so pretty 🙂

  3. The pictures lately have been stunning! What is that beautiful blue cup in the first picture? Thanks Helene!

    1. Thank you so very much, my photography and foodstyling are definitely a work in process and I have much to learn! The blue cup is actually a recycled ceramic yogurt container from the French brand "La Fermiere". I happened to find the yogurts in a French store in San Francisco a while ago. Works nicely for custards! 🙂

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