Thursday, August 29, 2013

Scary find at Nyons Market

Look what we found at the market in Nyons this morning - looks scary, doesn't it? Nyons in our neighboring departement Drome is mostly known for its excellent  olive oil, but its Provençal market every Thursday morning also offers more exotic fare. Why the fishmongers sell fish from Africa when the Mediterranean is just around the corner is beyond me but it sure makes for interesting viewing.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A real fast Recipe for Apricot Tart

There is nothing better than a Provençal apricot: those rather small, red cheeked fruits are blessed with such an aroma that I use them all the time when they are in season - preparing apricot Clafoutis (which is always a big success at Cuisine de Provence), cooking apricot jam or whipping up a real fast apricot tart.

Red cheeked Provençal apricots

Which is what I did this morning when I found some apricots that were turning rather too ripe. 
All you need is a sheet of puff pastry, 10 or so ripe apricots, 2 tbsp honey, 75 gr (1/2 cup) powdered almonds, 75 gr (1/2 cup) icing sugar,60 gr (4 oz) butter at room temperature, 1 large egg and 1 tbsp Maïzena (corn starch) and 2 tbsp runny honey.

Heat the oven to 200C/400F.
Unroll the puff pastry onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, prick a bit all over with a fork and store in the fridge. 
In a bowl mix almond powder, butter, icing sugar, the egg and the corn starch into a frangipane.
Wash and cut the apricots into halves, discard the stones.
Get the puff pastry out of the fridge, spread the frangipane onto the pastry, decorate the apricot halves on top, drizzle with honey and bake for 30 min. Serve at room temperature as is or with a dollop of whipped cream if you feel like spoiling yourself and your guests. Best about this recipe? It takes all of 40 minutes from start to baked finish!

Apricot Tart

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Medieval Festival in Chateauneuf-du-Pape

We are big fans of all the village fêtes here in Provence. But until recently we had never heard of the "Fête de la Véraison" that has been celebrated  in Chateauneuf-du-Pape for almost 30 years now. Véraison means ripening and denotes the moments when the color of the grapes turns from green to purple. To celebrate this Chateauneuf, probably the most prestigious wine village in Provence, turns into a medieval village complete with knights and damsels, court jesters, shepherds and the plague ridden poor.
But this wouldn't be a proper village fête if you could not also find all kinds of culinary sustenance. We came home having not only tasted the wines of Chateauneuf but with wonderful breads, fresh garlic, onions and shallots, the best because almost non sugary candied fruit we have ever tasted. And truly happy to have shared this very special, joyful festival. 

Truly delicious - our  medieval picknick

Friday, August 2, 2013

Clafoutis Provençal

Susan of The Schnitzel and the Trout, Joyce of Octoberfarm and Michel of Our House in Provence - à table! You very sweetly requested the recipe of my

 Clafoutis Provençal

So here we go. You will need 2 medium sized zucchini, 2 medium sized white onions, a generous handful of green or black olives, a cup of cherry tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, 2 large eggs, 20 cl (3/4 cup) cream, olive oil, a few basil leaves, 40 gr (3 tbsp) grated parmesan and a generous sprinkling of Herbes de Provence.
Top and tail the zucchini and, with a vegetable peeler, shave them into thin tagliatelle. Peel and very finely slice the onions. Peel and crush the garlic. Halve the olives.
In a pan heat a splash of olive oil and gently fry the sliced onions without browning them. Add the cherry tomatoes until they just start to wilt a little bit. Add the zucchini tagliatelle, the crushed garlic and gently fry for just a few minutes, then pour the mixture into a Clafoutis dish (just a normal gratin dish). Tightly roll the basil leaves into a little cigar and very finely slice this cigar into a chiffonade (thin basil strips). Mix the eggs together with the cream and parmesan, add the basil, Herbes de Provence and the olives and pour over the vegetable mixture. Bake at 180C/350F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Bon apetit! And don't forget a glass or two of nice dry Rosé wine....