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Sorrel, kiwi and cucumber gazpacho…and April greens in Corréze.

I love sorrel, especially with salmon. This time round, I thought a sorrel gazpacho could be nice too with its slightly sour characteristic. Topped with some apple brunoise and croûtons, it could only be gorgeous. So, why not try it and see if you love it as much as I did and still do. I tried it out on mon chéri and he devoured  two bowls, practically licking them out. A sure winner for this spring and summer.

Sorrel, cucumber and kiwi gazpachoLa recette:

  1. Peel and cut 3/4 cucumber and 5 kiwis in cubes.  Place in mixer/blender.
  2. Wash 1 large handful of green sorrel leaves(or mix of green and red sorrel) and remove the hard stems.  Add to the blender.
  3. Blend together until a puree.
  4. Remove to a bowl.
  5. Season with salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and chopped tarragon.
  6. Cut 1 apple and the other 1/4 cucmber (with peel) into small dice(brunoise). Drizzle with apple cider vinegar.
  7. Cut 3 slices of stale country bread in small cubes, drizzle with olive oil, season with fleur de sel and chopped tarragon and roast in the oven until crisp.
  8. Serve the gazpacho in individual glass bowls, top with the cubes of apple, cucumber, croutons and tarragon.
  9. Drizzle with olive oil and a drop of french mustard and serve at room temperature with extra toppings on the side.

Serves 3-4 people

Pincée de fleur de sel:

  • Use a mix of sorrel and a green with a more peppery taste, like watercress, or even young spinach leaves, some  salad leaves with a pronounced taste, lamb’s ears salad leaves(which are sweet and mild), even radish leaves could be delicious.
  • Add some green tomato(peeled) and for those with strong digestive systems, greenpepper.
  • Stick to crispy toppings which contrast beautifully with the gazpacho.
  • Don’t serve directly from the fridge…too cold a temperature kills the  taste , room temperature or just below is the best.

ingredients gazpacho

The greens in April are quite special with all its new shoots, young leaves and colourful buds, while some trees and branches are still bare. Below some photos of the area with its greens, from dark to yellow to almost white.

April greens April greens-001 April greens-002 April greens-003 April greens-004In the garden, the tulipes dentelle “Snow valley” are in full bloom, my favorite tulip. The bees are back, the Jack Frost is happy with its little blue flowers and the strawberries are plentiful.

Garden April 2015I couldn’t resit playing around with all the greens from the market and the greens from the fields…the greens in April, wild or cultivated, beautiful in their own right.

..asparagus and dandelion seedhead..

asparagus & dandelion seedhead

..avocado and forest fern..

avocado and fern-001

..cucumber and dandelion seed head..

concombre et jonquille

..peas and forget-me-nots..

peapod and forget-me-nots-001

..Until next time, enjoy your last week of April..

Ronelle

Mini cakes “Nantais”..and some spring impressions for Easter.

When I think of spring and Easter, I think of Easter eggs(of course!), roasted lamb, asparagus and petits pois, daffodils, blossoms, new born animals playing on green prairies with yellow dandelions. A beautiful time of year.  For this Easter, we will enjoy some oeufs cocotte, salads, some oven roasted rosemary lamb  and we will probably finish our day with a mini Nantais cake. Made to stand for 2 days, its flavour just gets better and better. It can also be baked as one big cake, but a change is always good, so I made it into individual mini cakes.

Gateau Nantais(recipe from PATISSIER, le Petit Larousse)

La recette.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas 6, 356°F).
  2. Grease a cake tin(20cm diameter), or mini cake molds of your choice.
  3. Beat together 125g soft butter, 125 g castor sugar and 100g ground almonds until creamy.
  4. Add 3 eggs, one at a time. Beat until well mixed.
  5. Add 40g flour, 2 TBSP of apricot jam and 50ml of rum. Mix until the mixture is light and fluffy
  6. Pour the mixture into the greased cake tin of the mini tin. Bake in oven for 40 -50 minutes for the large cake tin, or 30-40 minutes for the mini cakes. If the surface gets too dark, cover with a sheet of tin foil or brown paper. Test with a skewer which need to be dry when pulled out.
  7. Prepare the icing: Mix together 50ml rum with 100g icing sugar. Pour over the cakes and serve.

Serve 6 people

Pincée de fleur de sel:

  • Bake the cake about 2 days for a more flavourful cake.
  • Replace the rum with lemon juice of 1 lemon if you don’t want alcohol.
  • Replace the rum in the icing sugar with a few drops of lemon juice.

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Spring impressions

The garden is far from finished – I walk around with a knee brace after hurting it with a fall, the days are filled with rain the ground is soaked…so working is not very apparent. At least the bulbs planted in fall have no problems showing off their splendour. So.. to accompany this Easter posting, here are some images from the garden beginning April.

..Bienvenue dans mon jardin à Pacques..

Garden 20151..Early morning light..

tulipes-006

..A bed of daffodils, tulips and muscaris..

Tulips for Easter-004

..No need to encourage the chickens to go play outside!..

Tulips for Easter-007 Tulips for Easter-008 Tulips for Easter-009 Tulips for Easter-011

..Two chicks, only 3 days old..

Tulips for Easter-014

..daffodils waiting to flower..

tulipes-001..A mix of daffodils, fancy pansies, borage and the last of the Hellebores flowering..

Garden 2015

Ronelles art-watercolor-flower paintings-white tulip

..Have a lovely Easter time..

Ronelle

“Un oeuf cocotte” for Easter.

Easter is coming up pretty fast and everybody is munching on Easter chocolate. So are we. But one can’t live on chocolate alone. An egg every now and then will help. An “oeuf cocotte”. It is easy to make with many variations to suit each taste an ddesire.

Pacques Avril 2015-004 La recette:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. (39°F, gas 6)
  2. Butter 4 ramekins(with volume of 125 ml or 1/2 cup) liberally with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place some shredded spinach on the bottom.
  3. Spoon 1 heaped TBS of créme fraîche onto the spinach and spread it evenly over the spinach.
  4. Break open 1 egg into a little bowl and and slide onto the créme fraîche in each ramekin without breaking the egg yolk.
  5. Drizzle a little cream over the egg yolk to protect it during cooking.
  6. Place in a deep ovenproof dish, fill with boiling water up to half the height of the ramekins and bake at 200°C for 9 minutes for a runny yolk. The egg white should just be coagulated and don’t worry if there is still a little transparent egg white left…while standing the eggs will still continue cooking a bit.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper, some  fried bacon pieces and chopped chives. Serve immediately with toasted  bread fingers to dip into the eggs.

Pincée de fleur de sel:

  • Use any nice containers for the eggs as long as they are ovenproof. Glass looks especially nice with the layers of egg and cream showing through the sides.
  • Place bacon pieces or asparagus tips, frozen creamed spinach, mushrooms, strips of ham… and place at the bottom before filled with créme fraîche. the list is endless.
  • Use small brioche buns instead of ramekins and steady them in muffin pans, fill with eggs and bake…especially popular with children.
  • Infuse cream with saffron, or other spices/herbs of your choice, bring cream to a boil and simmer a few minutes to reduce and use instead of créme fraîche.

Pacques 2015

Pacques Avril 2015-003

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I am not one for a lot of  Easter decoration. But I love having spring flowers in my house and the chickns provide me with a moutain of eggs, which I use simply in bowls to add an Easter flavor.

..Eggs from the poulaillier, rosemary and terracotta in which the eggs end up when stolen from the poullaillier…a winning combination for me..

Pacques Avril 2015

..For a little playfulness – an empty egg carton filled with shredded wooden strips colour green, the egg shells used for the recipe filled with water and holding spring flowers and herbs, some eggs and tiny quail eggs..

Pacques Avril 2015-001

..tulips in hotelsilver, my ink drawing book, a feather pen, feathers from the poullaillier and …some eggs!..

Pacques Avril 2015-002   ..last, but not least..Lindt Easter chocolates, Raffaello and Ferrerro Rocher..Pacques Avril 2015-005

Gallery

Mushrooms filled with St. Moret cheese. (Champignons au St.Moret)..and doors with a view.

This is my daughters’ recipe which they were so kind to give me. I adapted it a little to serve it as a side rather than an  amuse bouche, which is how they serve it. In the suggestions, I will give their recipe. I love this, it is a vegetable and can serve as a meal on its own for vegetarians.

Mushrooms filled with St. Moret cheese.-002La recette:

  1. Clean a handful of button mustooms by peeling off the top layuer of the mushrooms
  2. Pull out the stems/feet.
  3. Sauté one shallot along the the chopped up feet/stems of the mushrooms. Add a handful of chopped tarragon.
  4. fill the mushroom cups with the shallot mix.
  5. top with a tsp of mixed creme fraiche, mayonnaise and St. Môret cheese(or Philadelphia).
  6. Add a piece of semi oven dried tomato slice to the top and place in ovenproof dish, drizzled with olive oil.
  7. Bake in a hot oven(200 °C) for about 10 minutes.
  8. Serve as a side dish or main dish for a vegetarian meal.

Pincée de fleur de sel:

  • To serve as an amuse bouche, leave out the creme fraîche and mayonnaise and top only with some Philadelphia St. Môret cheese. It makes for a drier mushroom to take by hand.

Mushrooms filled with St. Moret cheese. Mushrooms filled with St. Moret cheese.-001 Mushrooms filled with cream cheese.NEF

The doors of my house..

As most of my readers will know, we are still living in the barn next to our house which is in the process of restoration. It is taking much longer than anticipated, but that is no news to anybody who has undertaken a similar project before. But we’ll get there. In the meantime we are very comfortable in our barn, so much so that I am almost afraid to leave it!

As I walked around the garden this morning in the lovely winter sun, with the chickens and the geese and the cats following me, I noticed the glorious reflections of the sun and surroundings on my newly fitted glass doors. They have just been installed in the last few weeks by mon cheri, all of them made to measure by him and still far from finished, but already it gives me such a kick to see!

Let’s start with the front door:

I wanted a Provencal doors which is exactly what mon chéri gave me. He salvaged all the oak planks and found the bolts I wanted, burnt them in the fire to rust them and built my front door. If ever there was a solid door, this is it.Cn I be more chuffed with my front door?

..From the outside..

doors of my house.NEF-006

doors of my house.NEF-007

..Front door from the inside..

doors of my house.NEF-002

Front door inside on the book gallery walking towards a glass door facing east(gallery door), which receives the most beautiful morning light.. (ignore the staircase, only for work purposes) doors of my house.NEF-003

..Gallery door from outside..

doors of my house.NEF-008

A view on our private bathroom door from the outside, which was the ONLY door in the original house, into its little kitchen. Not the prettiest of doors, but I want to keep it as it is, as it is part of the history of the house and I can dream up all these stories it has lived through. It still has to be adapted to the lifted floor of the whole house.

doors of my house.NEF-005

..the little bathroom door on the inside looking out.. doors of my house.NEF-004

Once inside the house, I will have this view facing south. I wanted the whole south facing view in glass to let in sun and light and excitement, excitement!! A dark house turns me equally dark. My lifeline is sunlight. To the left is the balcony off our bedroom with doors opening up completely on hinges. I already “live” there with my coffee and just “my being”.

doors of my house.NEF

..view on the balcony from the outside – only a low wrougth iron railing will vbe added on the balcony? I want nothing to disturb my view. We have already sletp there on the balcony under the stars and I fell asleep with this “openness” around me…

doors of my house.NEF-011

..view on the southern face with all its glass windows and doors..

doors of my house.NEF-012

..the door opening onto our outside terrasse – when standing in the front door, one can see straight through the top window above this terrasse door, looking onto the distant hills. The view is magnificent.

doors of my house.NEF-013

The kitchen door opens onto the terrasse as well. It wat was originally the basement below the orignal farmhouse where animals were kept. We changed that whole basement into a large kitchen livingroom/atelier. the original little door in photo below, will be kept as shutters and adapted and mon chéri is busy building my stable door for the kitchen.

..My quaint little kitchen door onto the terrasse..

doors of my house.NEF-010

Last but not least…the doors of our barn which we call home for the moment..mon chéri also installed all the glass doors so I can open up the huge barn doors to get some light as the barn is of course quite dark with only one little window facing south.

..Looking out from inside my grange

doors of my house.NEF-015

..and looking in…

doors of my house.NEF-014

I hope to show you all the doors again this year, all finished, trimmings and all. You can see how Coin Perdu looked in the beginning, some changes it went through on my blog Coin Perdu. I am not keeping it up any more though. From now on all my Coin Perdu postings will continue here on Myfrenchkitchen. I hope you ‘ll join me.

à plus

Ronelle

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