Friday, May 25, 2012

Pere LaChaise Paris

Pere LaChaise is the most famous cemetery in the world.  There are no "if, ands or buts" about it!  More famous people are buried here that in any other cemetery on the globe.  I live blog my Fridays, so I'm not intending a scholarly piece here, and the Wikipedia page gives the absolutely insane list of people of note buried there.  What I would like to do is present some of the photographs of the this strangely peaceful place, despite that it really should be scary as hell.  There is also an older section that is somewhat is disrepair that rarely gets much attention.  There are a few rare photographs.  Most are by Mark Ballogg.  This is the cemetery (along with Catacombs) that the vampire lair in Interview With The Vampire is supposed to lie beneath.  In truth, all that really lies beneath it are subway tunnels, sewage systems and, well, catacombs.  But since the last movie of this Friday is said Interview, here are a few photos

France Film 9: The Ninth Gate (1999)

Trailer provided by Video Detective

As English language films go, they don't come more French than this one.  Roman Polanski's occult thriller from 1999 not only takes place mostly in France, it delves into France's deepest, darkest past.  There is something about this movie that invokes not just the Crusades and the Knights Templar (without ever mentioning either one even once), it brings up all sorts of occult ephemera without mentioning it, not least which is Alistair Crowley, the (in)famous British "occultist" with a strange and seriously weird wit.  From some reason, for me personally (yeah...and I guess the above is personal too, since who writes about Crowley off the top of their head?), it also brings up the spectre of Gilles de Rais.  Possibly because he was said to have spent time in the 1530's studying or attempting to study the occult; but, probably more so because Crowley was one of the people who though de Rais was framed by the Catholic Church.  It is also because de Rais had a Chateau (aka Castle) that (now in ruins) looked a great deal like the place where Corso (Johnny Depp) ends up in the movie.  Gilles de Rais was hanged (over a pyre) in 1540 for killing and dismembering children.  He was reportedly the inspiration for the Bluebeard story.  He was also a military cohort of Joan of Arc.  You can read about him here in Wikipedia.  The remains of his castle, where these ghastly acts were carried out, are creepy as hell!

France Film 8: The Crimson Rivers (2000)

Going from one of my favorite bank robbery films to one of my favorite murder mysteries, Les Rivieres Pourpres centers on the attempts of two police officers in France, who do not know each other at first, to solve aspects of crimes that wind up being perpetrated by the same person(s).  Eventually the two collide and things get really, really weird.  There is no way that a France Fright Night would be any good without at least one appearance by Vincent Cassel!  This is take two for Jean Reno today.

Theme Recipe: Vegetable Casserole

This is from last week.  I had internet gremlins last week and just gave up trying to blog after a while.  

About the recipe choice:  I thought since we were celebrated Endangered Species Day with a Friday full of cryptids and potential monsters of just wouldn't be sporting but to post anything other than a vegetarian dish.  So I figured I would go all out and post an entree.  We do Meatless Monday's, so though I have not had an opportunity to try this particular recipe yet, I'm sure I will have in the very near future. 

Being from the South, I grew up with all manner of vegetable casseroles, but they were always served with something like fried chicken or roasts.  It wasn't until I got older that I started finding recipes for full casseroles that would serve as a main course, and not just a side dish.  So, here's to all the endangered animals out there:  let them keep living.  I'm sure later on I'll do something awful that vegetarians won't approve of, such as French Frogs Legs or Braised Rabbit...


This comes from a really good basic book that it edited, not just written, on the basic of vegetarian cooking.  It's really like a how to book and comes from Reader's Digest, simply entitled Vegetarian Cooking.  Contributing editor is Sarah Brown.


2/3 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp. brown rice flour
1/2 cup finely chopped cashews
2 tbsp. sunflower oil
1 tsp. dried rosemary.


2 lbs root vegetable of your choice (suggests:  carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, turnip)


2 tsp. sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. cashews
2 tbsp. brown rice flour
2/3 cup skim milk (cold)
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp. dried rosemary
Salt to taste (or substitute gomasio)
Black Pepper

1.  For the topping:  add the first 3 ingredients and pour in the sunflower oil.  Sprinkle in the rosemary and mix well with your fingers.

2.  For the filling:  scrub the roots and cut into bite sized pieces.  Steam for 10 to 12 minutes, until just tender.  Reserve the steaming water for the stock.

3.  Preheat 375 degrees

4.  For the sauce:  heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and cook until soft, around 2 minutes.  Add in the cashews and very light brown.

5.  Meanwhile mix the brown rice flour with the milk, and stir to make a slurry (no lumps).

6.  Pour this, along with the reserved vegetable steam water (1 1/4 cups) into the saucepan.  Add in the dried rosemary.  Bring to boil and stir constantly.  When thick, season with salt (or gomasio) and pepper.  Let cool and the puree (a submergable blender works great for this).

7.  Lightly grease a baking dish with oil, then add in the steamed vegetables.  Cover with sauce, the sprinkle on the topping.  Bake for 30 minutes and serve hot.


Of course the vegetable can be changes out and do not need to be root vegetables.

The vegetables can be peeled (in this case they probably should be roots) and the peels can be used to make and even stronger stock by adding them to the steaming water while the vegetables are cooking.

The book is low fat, I don't generally go low fat.  It's really not a good idea to go low fat if a vegetarian diet is being followed anyway--use whole milk by all means.

Change the nuts out for some other nut.  Also regular rice flour or even wheat flour can be used.

Add in some garlic and change the rosemary out for other herbs.

Of course, if you want to make this for a Friday Fright Night...or just Halloween, do what these guys did above and make some eyeballs with mozzarella and sliced olives.

France Film 7: Killing Zoe (1993)

This is one of my favorite bank heist flicks!  Set in Paris, most of the action takes place on Bastille day, when a rather motley crew attempt to rob, in ultra violent but disorganized fashion, the only bank open on the national holiday (it's a Swiss bank of course).  A lot, in fact most, of the posters make it look like it was directed by Quentin Tarantino, when he was the enthusiastic producer instead; the film was actually directed by Roger Avary, who is mostly known by his writing (he has provided dialog in at least two Tarantino movies).