My French Heaven

FOOD, PHOTOGRAPHY & JOIE DE VIVRE IN BORDEAUX, FRANCE

Category: Farmers’ Market

Mimi & Emma in My French Heaven

You will please excuse me for this mess of a post. I have so much to share here that I don’t even know where to begin. Too many pictures too, but I didn’t have the heart to split the post…

Mimi from Chef Mimi Blog came to spend a short holiday in My French Heaven with her lovely daughter Emma. We only had 4 days together so I wanted to design the perfect itinerary for them. Mimi had purchased these Foodie Days with me as a Christmas present for herself. So much to see, so much to taste and so much to share… Four farmers’ markets and 8 meals together. We focused on cheese and seafood as they are Emma’s favorites.

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I could write on and on about Mimi and Emma and the kind of women they are. I’ll just say that they are both gorgeous and mad about life, living each moment to the fullest. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone as in love with good food as Mimi is. What an absolute joy to watch her eat the dishes we had prepared together.

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On Thursday we first stopped at my butcher’s shop to get the fresh foie gras I had ordered. We’d prepare a foie gras and Armagnac terrine we would enjoy on Sunday evening. We then went to the market in St André de Cubzac. There we picked up some delicious strawberries and wild sea bass that we cooked in a salt cocoon for lunch. The fish was served with warm potatoes and an olive oil vinaigrette made with capers, pine nuts and dill. That evening we walked through the vineyard to my favorite restaurant and had drinks on the terrace as we watched the sun set.

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On Friday we went to the market in my hometown and got loads of cheese from Pierre as well as super fresh langoustines and a live lobster we would boil for Saturday lunch. We also bought some calamari that we would cook in Cognac and tomato sauce for that evening. We went back to the townhouse for lunch and made a salad with mixed greens, the sea bass left over from the day before, wisteria flowers and a raspberry vinaigrette. That afternoon, we had a tour of the monolitic church in St Emilion and then a private tour and wine tasting at a friend’s château nearby.

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Market again on Saturday morning, but this time in Ste Foy La Grande. Ste Foy is located a little further East and the feel and contents of its market are quite different. We went home and gorged ourselves on langoustines and home made mayo. In the afternoon, I took the lovely ladies to visit the “La Sauve Majeure” abbey and then Le Château de La Brède, where writer Montesquieu lived. Montesquieu wrote L’Esprit des Lois (the spirit of laws) which inspired the French revolution. We ended the afternoon walking though downtown Bordeaux. Our lobster was on the menu that evening. I made it broiled with a garlic, parsley and walnut butter. DELICIOUS!

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Finally on Sunday, we celebrated both Mimi’s birthday and mine by drinking good wines and eating loads of cheese and cakes from my favorite pastry shop in town. We had seafood bouchées à la reine for lunch and duck confit and sauté potatoes with ceps for dinner. We also went to the brocante that afternoon where Mimi bought a stunning vintage lace table cloth and I finally found the seafood silverware I had been looking for for months…

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I can’t tell you how much fun this has all been and I cannot wait for my dear Mimi to come back. Now we have to explore all the meat options…

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Note: I will share all of the recipes for the dishes I mentionned later this month. This post is already way too long…

Of Spring, flowers, color and decadent sweetness…

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Pastries and flowers, bordeaux wine tours, Food and lifestyle photography

First let me apologize for the splash of color today. It is quite loud and quite out of character for My French Heaven. Spring is here and with it the sun, the birds and the primroses on my lawn. I just feel happy and couldn’t resist…

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Pastries and flowers, bordeaux wine tours, Food and lifestyle photography

I also wanted to share with you the incredible work of one of my favorite pastry chefs in town. He worked in New York for many many years and settled here a few years back with his lovely family. I will introduce him to you when you come visit and we go to the market…

Pastries and flowers, bordeaux wine tours, Food and lifestyle photography

Pastries and flowers, bordeaux wine tours, Food and lifestyle photography

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Straight from the Farmers’ Market – Purée de potiron

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I went to the Farmers’ Market as I always do on Sunday (and Tuesday, and Friday and Saturday and…). I found beautiful organic Brussels sprouts and bought a slice of pumpkin… The sprouts were uneven in size and their leaves had a few spots on them. That was the guaranty of organic growth. I also know the vendor and he’d never dare selling me industrial crap.IMG_9656IMG_9643IMG_9614IMG_9635

But what I’d like to focus on today, is the pumpkin purée. It ended up being the highlight of the dish. Plus, boiling sprouts and searing veal is not either hard or very interesting.

Purée for 2:

  1. Chop an onion and a slice of pumpkin in small dices (quarter of an inch) and color them lightly in a pan with a tiny bit of canola oil
  2. Add salt, pepper and a dash (half a teaspoon maybe) of Colombo seasoning (curry powder)
  3. Add a tall glass of water and let it simmer over medium heat. When the liquid is gone, add another glass of water and let it evaporate as well. This whole process takes about 10 minutes during which you can take care of your meat.
  4. Crush the pumpkin with a fork (DO NOT USE A BLENDER PLEASE) and serve with any protein you’d like. This goes best (to my taste) with poultry and white meats such as veal or pork.

Note: I deglazed the bottom of the pan in which I had seared the veal with 3 tablespoons of Port and a small glass of veal stock. I poured this lovely gravy all over the purée and meat.

Note: I would not serve this purée with beef or any kind of fish. It is a little too sweet for that.

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J’ai trouvé de beaux choux de Bruxelles et une belle tranche de potiron au marché… Les choux étaient tous de tailles différentes et leurs feuilles n’étaient pas de couleur uniforme; preuve qu’ils ne provenaient pas de la culture industrielle. 

Mais la recette que je voudrais partager aujourd’hui, c’est celle de ma purée de potiron. Elle fut en effet la star incontestable de mon plat! De plus, faire bouillir des choux et sauter du veau n’est ni compliqué, ni très intéressant.

Purée pour 2 personnes:

  1. Coupez un oignon et une tranche de potiron en petits dés (1cm de coté environ) et les colorer légèrement dans une poêle avec un petit peu d’huile de colza
  2. Salez, poivrez et ajoutez 2 ou 3 grosses pincées de Colombo 
  3. Ajoutez un grand verre d’eau et laissez mijoter à feu moyen. Lorsque le liquide est évaporé, ajoutez un second verre d’eau et laisser le s’évaporer à nouveau. Ce processus prend environ 10 minutes au cours desquelles vous pouvez prendre soin de votre viande .
  4. Ecrasez le potiron avec une fourchette (NE PAS UTILISER LE ROBOT S’IL VOUS PLAÎT) et servir avec de la volaille ou une viande blanche de votre choix. que vous souhaitez . 

Note: J’ai déglacé le fond de la poêle dans laquelle j’avais cuit le veau avec 3 cuillères à soupe de Porto et un petit verre de fond de veau. J’ai versé cette belle sauce sur la purée juste avant de servir.

Note: Je ne conseille pas de servir cette purée avec du boeuf ou du poisson . Elle est un peu trop sucrée pour cela…IMG_9551_2

Heart and Soul – Coeur et âme

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(In English below)

J’ai toujours pensé qu’un marché traditionnel représentait le coeur et l’âme d’un pays:

  • Le marché et toujours au centre du village ou de la ville. Il est au centre de la communauté.
  • Le marché se tient souvent le samedi ou le dimanche. On ne fait pas ses courses (à la course), on fait son marché. On peut prendre son temps!
  • C’est un lieu ou les gens se rencontrent, se parlent, plaisantent, partagent
  • Les vrais producteurs présents connaissent bien leurs produits et son heureux de vous les venter. Passion, conseil et service qu’on ne peut pas retrouver sous les néons d’un supermarché
  • Les produits sont locaux, de saisons et bios pour la plupart

Chers amis, allez au marché! Soutenez votre région et vos producteurs. Plus cher? Peut être, mais rapport qualité prix toujours au rendez-vous!!sbsbsfb

I always thought that traditional Farmers’ markets represented the heart and soul of a country. Weather you are in France, in India or in Vietnam:

  • The market is at the center of the village or town. It is at the center of the community.
  • The market is often held on Saturday or Sunday (in France at least). You can take your time!
  • This is a place where people of all walks of life meet, talk, joke, share…
  • TMost vendors are really passionate about their products and are always very eager and excited to talk about them. Passion, advice and service that can not be found under the neon lights of a supermarket
  • The products are local, in season, fresh and mostly organic

Dear friends, do visit and promote your local Farmers’ market! Support your farmers, fishermen, cheesemongers… 

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