My butcher usually keeps two special cuts aside when he gets a new carcass — the poire and the merlan — and I have the right of first refusal. I hardy ever refuse.
These are very fine cuts, one is oblong and looks like a fish (merlan being a whiting) and the poire looks like a big pear. They come from near the topside, in English butchery terms. For French butchers, they are near the tranche. It is lean and delicate meat and not so well known because there is just about a pound of it on an entire cow.
Now that it is getting rather hot here in France, it is time to turn to light meals. I used to make Japanese-style soups with miso and seaweed, sometimes also dashi, and while the taste is great, it adds up to a rather salty combination. So, I improvised. I bought some clams and raw langoustines at the fishmonger and some shiitake mushrooms at the greengrocer. […]
There was an offer on veal kidney on the market and I bought some. Two went straight into the freezer and one was for a weekend meal. I had been reading several recipes, and discussed it with my hairdresser as one does in France. What had caught my eye is that in several Italian recipes (for rognoni) the kidneys are first put in a bowl […]
I must confess that this dish came together because what I had left in the refrigerator when we wanted to have veal kidney. There was still half a cooked cauliflower waiting for use. The rognons are popular in France. In the Netherlands, most people would not think about eating it. In England, the kidneys of the adult cows enter in the steak and kidney pie. […]
Sometimes a dish creates itself when you walk around the market. The fishing season for scallops had opened and I wanted to do a simple spaghetti dish with it. The greengrocer’s had some of the last ceps – small brown button mushrooms from the Millevaches plateau in Corrèze, between Limoges and Ussel. I cooked the ceps and scallops separately in butter. Then I brought a […]
The other day I made a grilled chicken with lemon and did not feel like throwing the remains away so I turned it into a chicken stock. Then my wife suggested I made risotto and then I saw nice veal shank at the butcher’s. The ossobuco, “bone with a hole” can be made in advance and is even nicer when reheated. It also takes several […]
For a while I had been keeping a jar of snail in the larder. I had bought them at a food fair from the Bonvalot snail farm in the Jura. They “raise” snail in a natural surrounding and cook them in a herb stock without any added chemicals. I also had a large string of Lautrec garlic bought on the market of Lalbenque when we […]
I was not at home during Christmas and while I assisted in the cooking of meals during those days, I did not have the opportunity to prepare a festive meal. But on New Year’s eve we were at home, alone, and I could prepare a meal for two. Just a one course dinner, after the calorie boost of previous days.
One of the things I love about cooking is they way you can use your inventiveness to make subtle changes to existing recipes and use the seasons and products at hand instead of a list of prescribed ingredients. So it is here. The ceps risotto is a nice savoury dish for cold days to start with. There are still some fresh ceps on the market […]