This is a very pleasant and nutritious soup for when you are trying to lose weight after spending some nice holidays. I found some interesting beef shank at the supermarket – my butcher’s is closed for a few weeks – and started by making a beef broth. The next day I removed the (little) fat from the stock and added vegetables, chervil and pasta. The chervil gives it a nice anise-like flavour.
Fresh peas are in season and I like to use them as a vegetable side-dish. It is a bit of work to get them out of the pods. I usually leave the peas like they come but in gastronomic restaurants they remove the outer skin and use the two inner halves. At least that is what I learned at the cooking school of Alain Ducasse. That is a job for a patient person in the kitchen as it takes a lot of time.
At the moment you can buy fresh garlic in France. They look a bit like spring onions. The bulb has not developed much yet and there is a long green stem. Over the next few months the bulbs will grow and the stems will dry out and lather either be cut off or be used to string the bulbs together.
It is Monday and the butcher’s is closed because they open on Sunday morning. Go figure.
I had abandoned buying meat at the supermarket because it is better from the butcher and, surprisingly, often even cheaper. However, when I saw a kilo of beef at the supermarket at 5 euros, with the mention “Limousin” for the provenance, I fell for the offer.
At first I thought I would make a stew, but the weather was too warm for that (and that explained perhaps the discount price as the central meat buying department had misjudged the weather). I opted for a beef soup and bought some organic vegetables.
Here we have a culinary and national identity conundrum. Let’s start by saying that oxtail soup is a hearty winter dish using relatively cheap ingredients. Personally, I always associate oxtail soup with England, so my French version replaced the porto with a Banyuls and added some root vegetables that do not enter in the original recipe. But what is the original recipe?
This soup is delicious in itself but it is also a very good remedy against hangovers. Perhaps it is an idea to have some ready that you can simply warm up the morning after the evening in the festive season…
There are several versions of garlic soup, especially from the southwest of France where they have the tourin – with onions and eggs – or, in the southeast, in the aigo boulido of the Provence, with sage.
A hearty soup is a great dish for Autumn. This is a variation on a recipe for a clear beef soup with kale, principally because there was no kale available on the market. After making the broth, I was supposed to dispose of the beef. Instead, I used it for another preparation.
In France, there is no Halloween apart from among expatriates. Perhaps the Celts in Brittany celebrated the evening of Oct 31 as the start of the year but in the rest of France the catholic church has decreed Nov. 1 as All Saints’ day (Toussaint) and even the non-religious enjoy a day off, this year even an extended weekend break.
Many French people will visit cemeteries and put flowers and plants on the graves of their families. If you want to visit a French churchyard, do it the day after and they will be nicely spruced up.
The supermarkets and markets are full with potted plants for the occasion.
Other seasonal guests are the pumpkin (potimarron) and chestnuts and with the temperature falling, these combine nicely in a creamy soup.
The last of my three recipes with one lobster. Okay, I had a relatively large lobster but this also works with smaller ones. After you have eaten, or presented, a lobster, you are left with a lot of broken shells as well as the soft parts in the head that not many people like to eat. You could throw it away, or use it for another preparation.
Few things are as simple to make and pleasant to eat as garlic soup, provided you like garlic. In French cuisine there are many recipes for this soup family that includes the tourin blanchi from the Bordeaux area which is served to newlyweds to re-invigorate them. In the south of France, people add ingredients like … Read more