Oven-roasted pigeon with broad beans and cherries

I recently found a website through which you can order fresh products from selected small producers. It works like a kind of market, you have a deadline by which you have to place your orders, the products get prepared and packaged and delivered at your doorstep. Even when you order at several producers, it arrives … Read more

Lemon and lime jam

I was in a jam mood, I nearly bought a real copper confiture basin but it would not have worked on my induction stove. Most jams are sweet, but this one is more sweet and sour, and very refreshing.

Of course I made a huge mistake. While it is the high season for jams made from red fruits, it is not the season for lemon or lime at all. The best lemons in France, the Menton lemons, are sold in the first quarter of the year and the lime from November to March.

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Veal roast with apples and cider

I am lucky to have a good, well-provided and reasonably priced butcher’s. Sometimes, however, I run into something even better when I have the possibility to buy directly from the producer.

In France you can go and visit a farm, you can order online or you can find them on producers’ markets and that is how I got to know the people of the Ferme du Grémonval – François and Fabienne Demarais – who rear boar, dear and cows on their large farm grounds near Neufchatel in Normandy, best know for its cheese.

We’ve met them at several markets and we have been twice to their farm. The last time they were in our neighbourhood I had bought some veal.

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Canard à l’Orange (Duck with oranges)

This is one of those French classical recipes that have many variations and of which the roots are not clear. Chef René Lasserre made it famous in his Paris restaurant in 1945, but the dish can have been brought to France by the cooks of Catherine de Medicis , who brought several refinements to the French court of Henry II, not least the usage of forks.

The sweet and sour taste combination, still used in Chinese cooking, was popular in the late Middle Ages as several recipe collection books can attest.

There are apparently also traces of the recipe in Seville, where bitter oranges grew after Arabs took them to there from east Asia.

The French current version uses sweet oranges and sugar as well as vinegar.

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Guinea fowl on a bed of vegetables and fruit

Guinea fowl is widely available in France and I find slightly more tasty than chicken and also belief their production is less intensive. I could be wrong of course as the one I bought for this recipe came from a leading supermarket poultry brand (Loué). But it is supposed to be less fat than a chicken and have more vitamins and minerals.

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Lemon jam (marmalade)

The other day we walked around on the Saturday market in Dieppe and there was a stall with great-looking lemons. They were from Menton, which is at the Mediterranean while Dieppe lies at the English Channel. Nevertheless, Menton lemons are known for their quality and for being non-treated (that means they have not been sprayed with chemicals to make them look nice and resist insects) and therefore you can use their skin as zest.

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Pears in sugar and spice syrup

On our Sunday market there is a vegetable stall run by four ladies and one man. They are a family, the youngest is in her fifties and the eldest, well, she could be well in her eighties.
They come to the market to sell produce of their own grounds in the area, and other assorted fruits and vegetables from wholesalers. This Sunday they had crates full of pears from their trees. They were smallish pears, no particular marketable brand (like Comice or William), and not expensive. I bought some for this recipe.

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Apricot soup with rosemary

The apricot season is drawing to a close and that is a good reason to try out some recipes before it is too late. At a recent visit to Granville, a great coastal town in Normandy and the Manche department, a restaurant suggested apricot soup with rosemary as dessert. I was intrigued by the combination and conquered by the result.

Back home, I wanted to try it myself.

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Apricot and almond pie

I made several jars of apricot jam last month and was looking for uses.
So when I heard a good friend of ours was giving a birthday party dinner, I offered to bring along an apricot pie.
Here in France, people like to have a sweet dessert after the cheese course at the end of a dinner, before the coffee and brandy. People here arrive relatively late for dinner so it was nearly midnight when the group of twelve reached the pie stage, but it went down very well.

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