Cecilia visits Paris


George flew his toy aeroplane around in the air past Elliana’s head. “Brroom…look Elliana, our cousin Cecilia is coming to visit!” He was very excited.   His cousin Cecilia was coming all the way to Paris from America to visit her cousins. She was a few years older than George and his baby sister, Elliana. They were excitedly waiting for her in their apartment, located on the top floor. As he peered out the large window, he saw the Eiffel tower and the city beneath spreading out into the distance. Suddenly there was a sound at the door.  “It’s them!” exclaimed George. Elliana giggled in glee and clapped her hands.

As the cousins quickly familiarized themselves with each other, they became fast friends. “I’ll show you around, Cecilia.” said George as he led his cousin to his room. “Is this where I will be sleeping?” she asked. “Yes,” replied George, “we’ll share the bedroom.” The two plonked down and started playing with his train set that was laid out upon the floor. “Toot toot!” cried Cecilia as she pushed the engine along the track. Pretty soon they were engrossed in their playtime.

“Time for dinner!” called George’s mother. She had made tomate farce for dinner. As the children dug in, she told them she had a special treat for them after dinner. They were to have mousse au chocolat as dessert! George was excited. Chocolate mousse was his favorite.

The next day, the children wanted to go to the park to play but it began to rain. Soon the rain subsided and the sun started to shine. “Let’s go!” said George. He was ready to head to the park. Cecilia and George eagerly ran towards the playground. They sat on the swings and started to swing. Laughing, they tried to swing higher and higher.

A little poodle ran up to them, barking. Its fur was wet and muddy but it had a collar on it. Cecilia reached her hand slowly forward. It came up to her and sniffed. It was cold and shivering. “Poor little thing.” said Cecilia. She looked at the collar. “The tag on the collar seems to be missing.”
George’s mom looked at the little dog and examined the collar. “I wonder whom it belongs to?” she mused.
“We’d better take it home and give it a bath.” said George.
So they all started to trudge back home. The little poodle followed obediently. As they walked along, they came across a puddle. The poodle splashed in it. “Woof! Woof!” it happily barked. The children started laughing and jumped in the puddle too. They splashed around in their wellies.

When they had made their way back home, all the children were given a good bath. The little poodle also had a bath with George and Cecilia happy to help the grownups. The children sat in the living room and played with the poodle. They rolled a ball towards it, and ran after it when it refused to give them back the ball. There was a lot of laughter in the house that evening.

The next morning, George and Cecilia decided to take the poodle outside. As they headed downstairs from the apartment, suddenly the poodle noticed something and took off!
“Where’s it going?” cried George. The two children ran behind the runaway poodle.

It dodged past people entering the building, and past a couple carrying brown paper bags of groceries.
Cecilia called after it, “Stop, runaway poodle!”

It went past boutique shops and people bustling by. The children almost lost sight of it. Then they would spot its furry little head in the crowd and run in the same direction. The poodle took them a long way, it seemed to George. Both children tired. George came to a stop. Panting, the children looked around. There were crowds of people and a tall steel structure surrounding them. They couldn’t see the little poodle anymore. But they heard of lot of words that were foreign to George’s ears. And then they heard familiar accents. They were surrounded by tourists. They were at the Eiffel Tower! Cecilia and George gazed up at the magnificent structure above their heads. Suddenly they heard a joyful bark! It was their little poodle. But she was jumping up and down around a couple. They looked so happy and were hugging her.  Who could they be?

Cecilia slowly made her way forward. The couple looked up, and smiled. “Are you the little girl who has taken care of our missing poodle?” They had kind eyes. George came forward and stood beside Cecilia.
“Yes.” Cecilia said.
“We gave her a bath yesterday – she was all wet.” added George.
“Thank you so much! We were so worried when she got free from the leash as we were taking her for a walk yesterday.” replied the lady. “And it started to rain heavily and we couldn’t find her.” added the gentleman. “We’re so glad to have her back, and we’re sure you took good care of her.”
“Yes, we played ball with her after dinner and she slept in our bedroom.” said Cecilia.  As she extended her hand, the little poodle licked it.

It was her way of saying thank you.

Tomate Farce
George’s mother made the children a French dish for supper that night: tomate farce. Try the recipe below that George and Cecilia hungrily tucked into.

10 large tomatoes
2 medium sized onions, chopped
1 ½ cups ground beef
2 cups cooked rice
2 Tbsp oil
½ Tbsp curry powder
¼ Tbsp salt
¼ Tbsp pepper
small bunch of parsley, chopped

1.  Slice the tops off the tomatoes and set aside. Scoop out the insides of the tomatoes and place in a separate bowl.
2.  Place tomato shells in a baking tray. Sprinkle salt into shells and tops of tomatoes and set aside.
3.  Place 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. When pan is hot, placed chopped onions and fry until brown. Add ground beef into pan, curry powder, ¼ tablespoon of salt and ¼ tablespoon of pepper as well. Fry until meat is well cooked and brown.
4.  Remove any water from the tomato shells and the tops.
5.  Mix the beef mixture and rice together in a bowl. Add parsley and mix together until well blended. Spoon generous amount of mixture into each tomato shell.
6.  Drizzle a little oil into each tomato. Sprinkle the tomato tops with salt and place on top of each tomato.
7.  Pour some water into the baking tray so it just covers the bottom of the tray, surrounding the tomatoes.
8.  Bake in the oven at 220°C (428°F) for about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.
from: French host family

Mousse au Chocolat
After dinner, the children had George’s favourite dessert: mousse au chocolat or chocolate mousse. The following recipe is a truly decadent dessert.

200g dark chocolate
3 Tbsp coffee
1 or 2 Tbsp butter
5 eggs

1.  Break the chocolate into bite-sized pieces.
2.  Pour 3 tablespoons of coffee into a saucepan, add the chocolate pieces and melt. Stir constantly so that it doesn’t burn, making sure it doesn’t burn. Chocolate can also be melted by placing it in a bowl and then into a saucepan of hot water.
3.  Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter to the melting chocolate and allow it to continue melting. While melted, remove from the stove and set aside.
4.  Meanwhile, separate the 5 egg yolks from the egg whites. Set the egg whites aside.
5.  Add the 5 egg yolks one by one into the pan of melted chocolate. Stir well. Set aside.
6.  Beat the egg whites in a bowl with a pinch of salt, using an egg beater, until they stiffen.
7.  Add the stiff egg whites spoon by spoon gently into the chocolate mixture. Stir gently until smooth. Transfer into individual little bowls or ramekins.
8.  Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Then serve.
from: French host family

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