Rabbit with garlic and sherry

On Thursday’s there is an organic market in Mirepoix where environment conscious farmers peddle their wares to a small group of equally concerned buyers. I usually like the quality of their goods but am not always ready to pay the price. But when you buy direct from the producer, you end up not spending more than in the supermarket while the seller also makes a decent margin. So, when we happened to be in the town on a Thursday, we ran into a man selling poultry and rabbit. We bought a rabbit and a Guinea fowl, heads on.

We were hosting a dinner party one weekend and I took the rabbit out of the freezer to make a Spanish-style recipe. However, the traditional recipe first deep-fries the rabbit parts in a lot of oil. I braised them in a pan, then put them in the oven.

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Fresh garlic in olive oil (Ail nouveau confit)  

This weekend I made several jars of fresh new garlic preserved in olive oil. It is a very tasty condiment that allows you to use healthy garlic all year long.

Garlic is an ingredient that has its fans and fiends. It is a healthy bomb of vitamin, some find it tasty and others hate the smell, in particular afterwards on the breath of others.

I like garlic and use it a lot. The harvest is in June and July and I found a mountain of fresh garlic at a market in Dieppe – not really known for the garlic culture.

In France there are four kinds of garlic, basically either spring or autumn garlic, white, rose or violet, and almost 30 varieties.

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Beef and oyster pie with ginger

Beef and oyster pie is an old English recipe that stems from the times that oysters were so plentiful that they were cheap enough for the poor to eat. Beef was not cheap but the meat used was not a prime cut. Many recipes use a pint of British ale in the broth.

Beef and oyster sauce is a common dish in Asia, and almost always there is garlic and ginger in the preparation. That became my inspiration.

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Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, revisited

The chicken with 40 cloves of garlic is one of those rustic traditional dishes that are a pleasure to make and eat. Forty is just an approximative figure, as in Alibaba and the forty thieves, but there is indeed a lot of garlic in it. You do not peel the garlic but let it cook in oil so that you get a puree that can be spread out on bread. I decided to make a variation and added cubes of raw celery and sweet potato to the garlic in the oil and it was delicious.

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Sole with clams and crushed potatoes

We often go to Dieppe and buy fresh fish there on the quay, walk around the market and have lunch in one of the many restaurants.

A favourite place often serves “crushed potatoes’ as a side dish – cooked potatoes crushed with a fork and some cream for smoothness.

Back home, I tried my version to accompany a dish of small sole with a clam sauce.

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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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Skordalia and escarole mash

I am not a big fan of fusion cuisine and rather stick to a style.
But sometimes the hazards of the seasons, the menu and the larder create interesting cross-cultural combinations.
So it was with this Greco-Dutch dish. It is vegetarian but you can have meat with it, like veal chops.

Skordalia is a Greek potato, garlic and olive oil mixture that you can use as a mash or, by adding more olive oil, as a velvety cream. I had made some to go with lamb.
I also had some leftover escarole after I had made a salad with burratta.

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Slow snail fry

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 were there on our truffle adventure.

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