Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Shelling Peas

I love peas and I love fresh ones still in their green pods.

As a child during my summer holidays at my grandma´s and aunts place I ate almost all the peas out of fresh pods of the plants. I could hide low behind the plants so my Grandma could not see from the kitchen window. I hid the empty pods in my pockets and dropped them on the compost later.
The next year the peas were on an other part of the garden and I needed more sneakiness to eat my fill.
Today I think she planted so many rows of peas that I had always enough when I visited there.

And I remember a holiday in Finland many years ago, were you found empty pea pods everywhere. The people loved their peas and ate them in parks, along rivers, on market places and in the wild nature. It did not take us long to buy a pound of pea pods daily and snacked on them during our trip through the south and the middle of Finland.

I served the lovely peas sauted with some onion in butter and fresh chives on rice and cornfed chicken breast.


A walk along Boulevard St. Germain, Paris

The Boulevard St.Germain is a very long street south of the river Seine. A long part of it, east and west of the church St.Germain des Prets is known for the high class shopping. All the famous well known shops are here and between these you can find high end food.

I went  into Paris by train and Metro and came up back to street level at Metro station St.Germain des Prets. My first way was to the famous Café de Flore. It is an old institution and perfectly kept.

I had a  grand café creme and a pain de raisin and paid € 9,60.  It was worth its price and a good start into the long walk.

After a couple of minutes I found the Maison George Larnicol - a chocolatier and patisier. A shop right after my heart. Lots of different coloured Macarons, Kouign amann with different fillings and chocolate in a vast veriaty. Just pick up a box and start shovel (with small shovels on each tray) the goodies into the box.

Since the Boulevard is long, you reach an other part of the city after the long walk. I came into Latin, Quartier Latin- still Boulevard St.Germain Latin. Here the shops cater more to the regular people, suddenly I found an North African fruit and veg shop and wondered how he could affort the rent for that place, but then I saw the other more common stores around. A place at a road crossing held todays market, local butchers sold their stuff, veggies and lots of fruit and then the other tents were  you could buy regional products from other parts of  France. Such as confit de canard from the Perigord or different mustards from the Bourgogne region.
I left the market with a couple of mustards, some for me, some for my friends.

At the Gare d`Austerlitz I needed lunch to get off my feet. I found a Brasserie selling different Galettes. I love these since I spent 2 weeks driving along the coast of the Bretagne a couple of years ago.
The filling was Savoyarde style, that means lots of Reblochon cheese, sauted onions, boiled small potatoes and bacon. A treat for sore feet.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tomato and Bread Salad

Stale Baguette during a holiday in France is not something rare. I love the smell and the taste of the fresh bread, even eating it the next day is fully ok. But often a piece is left over.

And I am still hunting for some French tomatoes for my friend and found a lovely 4 piece package in different colours from brown, orange, red to yellow. The packaging came even with a lot of information and a QR code. So I am seeding tomatoes again.

Tomatoes and stale Baguette with a ripped Mozzarella cheese sounded so good, that I have thrown some cheese in my grocery cart this morning.

100 g stale Baguette ripped to pieces
2 tomatoes cut into strips
125 g Mozzarella cheese
Thai basil leaves
fresh chives
Olive oil
Sherry vinegar
salt and pepper

The salad with the dressing needs some time to soak through the bread, so prepare it and let it sit at room temperature for minimum 30 minutes.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fresh Mussels from the North of the Picardie

I am in the heartland of the Picardie, but a small part of it reaches to the North Sea. It is mostly the mouth of the river Somme. It is not such a huge one, the river more or less trickles into the sea. There is the town of Saint Valery sur Somme and the Cap Hornu were you are at the end of the river Somme.
A long the coast you can find many small shops just selling "Moules et Huitres" - Mussels and Oysters. They are sold by the kilo. I paid € 3,50  for a kilo. So cheap and so fresh!

When I am doing trips like this, I put my icebox in the car. I never know, what I find on tour that will spoil otherwise.

1 kg fresh mussels
4 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
1 spring onion
1 tbsp olive oil
100 ml double cream
100 ml Noilly Prat
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper

Clean the mussels and knock the open ones against the chopping board, when the close up, they are ok, otherwise discard.
In a pot with a lid heat up the olive oil and add chopped garlic and onions, saute for 4 minutes, add the curry powder and the chili and saute 1 more minute.
Add the mussels and the Noilly Prat.
Close the lidand wait 3 minutes, add the cream and stir well, wait a bit more.
How long it will depend of the size of the mussels. Mine were on the smaller side, it just took me 4 minutes.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Salad with Prawns and beans

When you buy good quality beans it would be a pity to throw away the leftovers. I had 500 g of green beans cooked and used only 200 g for my dish yesterday. I cooked all od them so it was easy to prepare the salad today. I seeded the second tomato for my friend and put the pieces into the salad. A big and a small spring onion for more freshness and a box of precooked ready to eat prawns.
This combination rocked.

I visited the Chateau Chantilly today, famous for the castle surrounded by water and the large park and formal gardens. And famous for Creme Chantilly, a thick whipped cream.
Todays visit left me dissapointed, the huge formal gardens needed proper maintainance and the park was a bit unsatisfying too. I only saw 4 gardeners at work, mowing. I was looking for the kitchen or herb garden that was supposed to be there, not more.
The site opened at 10 AM and lots of busses unloaded tourists, there was nothing to get to drink or have a bit of ice cream or even Chantilly cream before noon or 1 PM. High entrance fees and low customer service are not a good recommondation.

I drove home and during that time I reminded me to buy some baguette and a little sweet treat for the afternoon. Going to the first or second bakery here in town, depending on where to park my car, was the decision I made ahead.
But 8 km before "home" I went into a small town, from one end to the other with speed limit 50kmh you need 90 seconds to pass. I saw many cars brake and stop and people getting out. A bakery!


I stopped too and went inside, number 3 in line and bought the best stuff I had this week! 5 people waited in line behind me. This small village is a part of the community of the town here and so I can finally say:  I found the best bakery in town!


Friday, June 23, 2017

Green Beans with Tomato

Haricot vert á la tomate or green beans are a favourite food in France. Today I bought a package here. "Ancient" tomatoes are sold here too. I am still collecting seeds from Tomatoes for my friend and bought a yellow/orange and a red one.
The yellow/orange one got seeded, I washed the seeds in a fine sieve and dried them on a wooden chopping board for 8 hours on a hot day. With the pic of the tomato whole and cut in half, I give the seeds to my friend for her collection.

To go with the beans I had some pork cutlet and boiled and roasted small potatoes, a very fine meal!

recipe for the beans:
300 g small green beans
2 large spring onions with lots of white onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 medium yellow/orange Tomate Cotelee Aumoniere jaune

2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Top and tail the beans and in a large pot with boiling salted water cook the beans until they are just cooked- better a little undercooked, because they will need some time in the pan. Drain and put them in ice water to keep their green color, drain again.
Slice onions and garlic in strips, cut the tomato in strips too, but take out the wet seed part.

Heat up the oil in a wide pan, add onions and garlic and saute, add the beans and give them 2 minutes before you add the tomatoes. Season well with salt and pepper.

In the water you cook the beans in, cook the potatoes in their skin.
season and bread the cutlet and bake it until done. Add the cooked potatoes to the pan and roast them.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A vegetarian Tatar with Avocado and Courgette

I bought the newest issue of my favourite French food magazine and found a whole lot of Tatars. Except 2, all of them contain some kind of fish or seafood. Just one was with beef and one vegetarian.

The combos of avo and salmon or tuna are very famous, combining it with courgette made me curious. And I found a way to get rid of half of the courgette still sitting in my fridge.

It takes a bit, because you have to blanche the courgette pieces in salted boiling water for a minute to softem them a little, I took the opportunity and have thrown the chopped up spring onion pieces in with the courgette.

recipe for 2:
1 avocado
1/2 yellow courgette
1/2 lemon
1 spring onion
1 hardboiled egg
salt and pepper
dried dill
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Sherry vinegar
1 pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Thai basi leaves

Blanche the courgette pieces and the spring onions, drain and cool down.
Boil an egg and copl it down.
Make the dressing.
Half the avo and get the pit and peel off. Chop into small pieces and cover with lemon juice.
Wash some thai basil.
Bring everything together and eat with some Baguette.