Easter in Uzes is Over Already

The Easter holiday is over but we have had enormous fun in such a short stay.  Le Mas de La Rochelle http://www.lemasdelarochelle.com is so relaxing, so charming, so enjoyable we do not want to leave.

Sadly our time has come, the wine glasses are empty but not our hearts.  Uzes market, picnic in the vines with La Gramiere and dinner chez les Pasquiers.  What bliss.

We miss you but we will be back for more memories of the Garrigues because we love you. 

 

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Cypriat Delicacy With Swiss Ingredients

Wonderful meatballs from Cyprus, where I first tasted them as a young 17 year old on my first overseas posting with the Royal Air Force.   This time I made them with local ingredients (here in our other home in Switzerland) and cooked them on a gas barbecue (sadly).  These cook much better on a charcoal BBQ where the searing heat crisps them up.  Sheftalia uses caul as a covering: *Caul fat is the membrane that surrounds the stomach and is transparent, fragile, and naturally fatty, however as yucky as this sounds when it is finally grilled or barbecued all the fat melts away.

If you ever visit Cyprus, you can find sheftalia almost everywhere, in kebab shops selling souvlakia and sheftalia.  Sheftalia are served in Cypriot pita together with salad – tomato and cucumber or cabbage (slaw), parsley and lemon juice.   I have seen the inside of the pita rubbed with greek yoghurt before being filled with its goodies.

Sheftalia - Cypriat delicacy  made with French ingredients.

Sheftalia – Cypriat delicacy made with French ingredients.

Bourrache Officinale For Dinner

20130610-104642.jpg Bourrache or Borage is a fairly vulgar name that does not lend itself to the wonder that is this plant. A wild herb that tastes of cucumber is oft used in Pimms or in salads. The beautiful flowers decorate desserts across France’s gastronomic landscape despite the claim that they taste of oysters.

A wonderful discovery in our small meditteranean garden.

Wild French Spring Onions or Wild French Wild Leeks?

IMG_1803We have this vegetable in the garden.  They sprout forth from the ground twice a year.  They are very, very strong in flavour.  A pungent oniony, leeky smell that is quite amazing.

Does anybody know what they are?

I believe that they are a wild onions because if we leave the bigger ones to grow to maturity there is a sort of flower that forms…not a traditional flower with petals but an eventual ball of dry spikes (not sharp).   I have picked several of these flowere which we have used in our dried flower arrangements.

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Any help would be appreciated.

By the way we have been bold enough to eat them without knowing if they are edible.  Nobody has become ill and they are very tasty.

Baked French Cheese – Le Mont d’Or

There is a nice tradition in France and that is the baking of a whole cheese such as a Mon d’Or or a Camembere.  This is then consumed with Ham and Potatoes as can be seen at a recent dinner ‘chez des amis’.   This is a winter warmer for sure.

Fresh From the Embers

Fresh From the Embers

Mont d'Or

The Mont d’Or is wrapped in tin-foil and then placed in the embers of the fire.  It melts but more importantly it forms a toasted crust on the extremities of the cheese a bit like the base of the pan of a fondue if you have ever experienced this?IMG_1510

Once baked the cheese is spooned on to warm baked potatoes that can be done in the fire as well.  Simple Table Fare  Serve this with fresh ham, a crisp, fresh salad that has a sharp olive oil and mustard dressing and this makes a very hearty meal.

Not all French Cooking is Haut Cuisine and this proves it, however it is still very French.

What I would like to learn from you all is what wine would best accompany this meal?

Pomelo The Chinese Grapefruit

The skin of the Pomelo was very pithy

The skin of the Pomelo was very pithy

We fell upon this huge fruit in the supermarket in Uzes.  It is a Pomelo or Chinese Grapefruit.  The fruit was fairly dry i.e. not as juicy as expected, and was extremely mild when eaten fresh.  A hint of sweetness, a hint of sourness.  Nothing like we have ever tried before.  The apple is just for size comparison.

I used it in the making of a sauce which resulted in an extremely bitter, grapefruit like flavour once cooked.  Very interesting change!

IMG_1800 Sliced Chinese GrapefruitThis fruit was used with our quail dish sauce to give it some bite but did not add the right flavour.  People that prefer a sour tasting type meal would perhaps like the combination of this.  We found that with the rather strong quail meat it was a very different dish to that our palettes are used to.

What is the most exotic fruit that you have stumbled upon in your local supermarket?