Chicken pesto traybake
January has finally hit us. I was away in Scotland for New Year and returning later softened the blues a little but, in what has been a very grey week up until today, I’ve now got a touch of early spring fever. It won’t last of course, it’s just the weather playing a little trick with this mildly spring-like day but it has made me think of brightness and beauty and that… well it’s good for the soul. Continue reading All things bright and beautiful
There were these 2 plums…how I love plums, they are so pretty as well as juicy and delicious. I picked one of them out of the fruit basket and I saw there a couple of apples, we wouldn’t eat them as we constantly forget to take food items to work with us… Continue reading Nothing but the fruit…
Postcards from the Pyrenees, encore.
Driving up the winding lane, alongside the fields that will soon burst with maize and sunflowers, I’m struck by the variety of livestock in our small village. A gathering of 250 inhabitants and a myriad of small farms, in every other home the obligatory well-tended kitchen garden. There are cows, sheep, ducks, pigs, chickens, guinea fowl, geese (of course, we are in Gascony after all) and goats – well they are the ones I have seen anyway, there may well be others! Continue reading Meadows and Pastures
Postcards from the Pyrenees…again
The Mountains form a natural border between France and Spain, but more than that they traverse the historical regions with their distinctive traditions, culinary and otherwise. To the west on both sides of the peaks is the Basque country, wonderful people who are rightly proud of their traditions, food studded with Pimentón, and an incomprehensible language with lots of X’s and J’s. From the beautiful Atlantic towns to the tiny coves that pepper the northern coastline, semi-sparkling crisp white wines like Txacoli (you see, it is unpronounceable but very drinkable!) and dishes that ooze with the warmth of spiced sausage alongside classics such as bacalao (salt cod). Continue reading The borderlands
More postcards from the Pyrenees
I have an interesting relationship with Oysters, in that I love them but I am allergic to them. My enjoyment these days being derived vicariously, beside my love.
As he pops the shells open to receive the milky pearlessence within, my mouth waters, for I know the ozone freshness there. Continue reading Mers et Montagnes
Sea Bream with peperonata
I thought I’d write a bit about the region of southern France in which we have spent so much time these past 14 years – not enough time, never enough. We’ve recently returned from our home there and through the medium of food I shall attempt to share a sense of the place we so love, through a series of posts. Continue reading Postcards from the Pyrenees
Crab gougères, smoked salmon and scrambled egg gougères.
It’s true to say that food has the power to evoke memories. I was thinking about a lovely canapé to do at this time of year, and I keep coming back to something often served with an aperitif in France, something we had for the first time many years ago in a Chateau in Bourgogne. I won’t name check the Chateau as everything about it was bizarre and not that good with the exception of the delicious glass of local Crémant (sparkling wine) served with Gougère. A delicious light and cheesy choux pastry, served warm and with something chilled they are a simple delight. Continue reading Santé Santa!
Cabbage with potatoes, bread and cheese
Looking out into the misty London morning, makes me think of and long for the Mountains near our home in the Pyrenees. There is something magnetic, I find, about proximity to those majestic peaks, peaceful, ethereal and magnificent…
Some time ago, I was watching Antonio Carluccio cooking up a soup, whilst on a misty mountain, it looked fabulous, in the tradition of the best peasant dishes and on this day, it was the only thing that would would do. Continue reading Before the mayhem, a little goodness
Green Tomato Chutney
On the way back from France last spring, driving north from our place in the Pyrenees, we stumbled on a village fair filled with local people and businesses proudly peddling their wares.
We had stopped off hoping to find a bakery where we could get a pastry to eat in the car but we got more than we bargained for. The place was packed with everything from wonderful produce, breads, cheeses and meats to a flea market area and and lots of farming type equipment for sale. Continue reading You say tomato, I say tomate
Pan fried Sea bass, chervil roots, Mediterranean vegetables
Sea bass is something of a British favourite these days, it seems to me. I guess the soft white flesh that lends itself so well when filleted is fairly ‘user friendly’.
For me, fillets such as these are just the ultimate fast food and give a delicious but quick meal. Continue reading Curious roots
I know it’s a cliché that France has an abundance of cheese and I also feel strongly that UK cheeses are exceptional too, but having spent the last week at our home in France the quality and selection on offer really smacks you in the face. Continue reading C’est Cheese
It is fair to say that we enjoy poking around in French markets when we are down in the Pyrenees and that our menu, when for the two of us, is dictated by what we find in those spectacular places filled with local seasonal produce. I make the distinction of the ‘two of us’ as often we are catering for masses of friends and family staying with us and that is a different kind of planning process! Continue reading Conceived in La Boqueria, Born in Borough…
There aren’t really words to adequately describe the events in Paris this weekend, except to say that those carrying out these attacks are not doing their deeds in the name of any religion I recognise and that in fact they are quite simply insane.
The repercussions of such things reverberate through the lives of people who have been close to such events, making you question your safety and that of loved ones in new and unpleasant ways, it leaves a legacy which is hard to shake and that lasts, as does the grief for those who have been lost. Continue reading We’ll always have Paris