Countrybread with panfried strawberries and basil…and apron fun!

Can we ever get enough of strawberries? Of course not! Right off the vine, directly out of the basket, sliced with cream, sorbet, panacotta, tarts, salads…every which way. And as a lunch with fresh country bread, goats cheese  and basil? Simply delicious.

Suggestions:

  • The strawberries can be used fresh instead of sautéed, o cut and marinated in some white balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Add a bit of olive oil to the marinade and use as a vinaigrette.
  • Use some soft cottage cheese instead of the goats cheese with freshly chopped chives and basil the and salt and pepper mixed into the cottage cheese.
  • Omit the cheese completely and make a sandwich of fresh strawberries, basil, chopped chives and add a drizzle of maple syrup.
  • Another version could be to top the bread with strawberries and lastly add some goats cheese, put under the gril for two to three minutes and add the basil and a drizzle of honey just before serving.
  • Use other sliced fruit in season instead of the strawberries.

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We stopped our restoration here at Coin Perdu for a day of fun. With aprons. And three delightful, playful models. They chopped and chirped, giggled and grated, peeled and pestered,  mocked and mixed, all the while performing with an apron chosen from the heap. So.. can an apron be fun? Judge for yourself…

 

I grew up seeing my mother in her apron every day. While she was doing her morning’s work; the washing, ironing, cleaning, kitchen work, she faithfully wore her apron. And after lunch, it would be removed until dinner time, when preparing dinner and cleaning up would demand an apron again.

Unlike those days, when aprons at home were more of a necessity to protect the small wardrobe of clothes, we have a multitude of aprons today for adding to that special ambiance of an occasion or activity. It partially serves to also  show our domain of expertise as well as our our fun loving side. But some habits haven’t changes over the years…the butcher still wears his butcher’s apron/outfit, the boulanger(baker) is still clearly recognized by his apron, the fishmonger wears his proudly, the blacksmith is never without his leather aprons, the “garcon” serving your “panache” at the bar wears his with French  flair… an apron is there for our barbecues and for our kitchens , our gardens,  for playgrounds, yes, it is fun equally for men, women and children.

So, do you have a fun loving side…?


à bientôt

Ronelle


Celeriac salad with pears and pomegranate and a special parcel.

A refreshing salad..full of crunch and texture…a delight on the taste buds with the soft sweetness of the pears and the tart exploding sweetness of the pomegranate seeds. Fitting for a special parcel…

Suggestions:

  • Red cabbage ribbons can be added for more colour.
  • Add the pomegranate seeds last if you want you salad to be “unstained”.
  • A yoghurt dressing with lemon and honey is great too.
  • If you want a more “sustainable ” salad, add some coarsely grated hard  cheese of your choice.
  • Good with fish.
  • Can be served on its own as a starter or accompaniment as a side.
  • A good salad for losing weight  and/or detox.

Some days are sometimes unexpectedly special. Like a Tuesday when the post lady knocks on your door and with a broad smile hands you a parcel: “Voilá! Toujours Noël!” (still christmas for you!)

A lovely surprise from the extraordinary Monique at A la table de Nana. After opening up the very well wrapped outer box and fixing my eyes upon the beautiful first layer, I found myself working softer and more delicate with each unwrapping;  lingering, feathering and stroking my fingers deliberately over each wrapping, wonder what hides underneath, trying to prolong the seconds to minutes, enjoying the feeling of excitement and yielding to the pleasure of feeling special.

…opening up onto creative bookmarks and cards...

…then a next surprise…

…even more delicate and beautifully wrapped…

…so many unfolding surprises in such a small box…

…a notebook, beautiful chcolate transfers, even more beautiful cookie transfers…

Few things in life give us that warmth around the heart than caring, attention, a spontaneous compliment…a little act of some kind making you feel special. This little parcel did exactly that. It had something of everything…

…a little bit of romance, a touch of personal creativity, a hint of refinement, a sprinkling of originality, a taste of beauty…finished off with drizzlings of warmth and  presented with care and delicate attention…

Have you sent a small parcel to someone? Wrapped with care and attention to small détail, adding a little note here and a chocolate there, a smile, a giggle, a wish…not a Christmas gift. Not a birthday gift. Just something to say someone else is special. No? So…let’s just do it!

Trucs et astuces de nos grands-mères:

To substitute for crème fraîche to make whipped cream, beat an egg white to meringue phase(stiff) and add in 1 teaspoon of melted butter.

Lentil salad with apples and red onion and a vitamin boost.

We all know our list of vitamins and minerals, but it is especially in this stretch of witer here in the North, that we need to dig it out again and check our daily nutrient intake. Like so many people in the North, I am also overcome by a bad fatigue. So I am turning to nutrients even more to boost my energy and morale. Anti-fatigue foods. Like lentils and apples and kiwis, loaded with vitamin C. And many short walks during the day.  It is the getting out, getting the metabolism going and feeling the cold, which revives the mind and the body.

Suggestions:

  • Make enough lentils for a salad the next day to take to work for lunch.
  • cook lentils until tender, but still with a bite.
  • See how to make a bouquet garni at Velouté de topinambours.(Jerusalem artichokes)
  • Add walnuts for some protein.
  • Use kiwis for vitamin C and add pumpkin seeds for crunch.
  • Use the lentils warm in winter for a feeling of comfort and cold in summer for coolness.
  • soak the red onion in luke warm water for 5 minutes to remove some of the pungency.
  • Use whole grain rice if you don’t like lentils.

Tips to fight fatigue

Choose food containing vitamin C, which is the main energy stimulating vitamin. It is active in the production of energy in the cells, it protects the cells agains free radicals and it assists in the absorption of iron and calcium.

Vitamin E diminishes the feeling of fatigue. Along with vitamin C and A, it acts against free radicals and protects agains the effect of pollution.

Vit B group facilitates the transformation of proteins into energy, they regulate mood and intellectual energy and they improve the absorption of iron, assists with carrying oxygen in the blood.

Foods high in vitamin C: kiwi, parsley, cassis, raw red pepper, chercil, watercress, citrus fruits…

Vitmain B1(thiamine): liver, whole grains, seafood…

Vitamin B2(Riboflavin): REd meat, poultry(dark meats)dark green lefy vegetables…

Vit B3(Niacin): Liver, poultry, seafood, seed and nuts…

Vitamin B6(Piridoxine): Meat, fish poultry,legumes,  spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas…

Vitamin B12(cyanocobalamin): oysters, sardines, tuna, turkey chicken, eggs…

Some of the most important minerals to fight fatigue, would be selenium, iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Calcium: Dairy products, dark green vegetables, sardines with bones…

Magnesium:  dark chocolate, almonds, dried beans, walnuts, wholegrain rice, lentils, dark green vegetables, meat, fish poultry, nuts…

Potassium: Meat, fruits, legumes…

Selenium: fish, organ meats, grains…

Good foods to fight fatigue: lentils, brown rice, fennel, sweet potatoes, endives, fish, chicken, petit pois, cauliflower, apples, dates, papaja, citrus fruit, berries…

This is by no means a complete list or complete information on nutrients. There are many complete health books on the subject…this is only an inspiration to get reaquainted with our daily nutrients to give us a boost during the dark and cold days of winter.

Drink eight glasses of water per day. Cut out milk products and wheat to avoid all sorts of allergies. Cut out cafeine and all sodas. Take regular walks during the day and do some exercize. Turn the heating inside your house a little lower during the day, which forces to body to work harder at energizeing itself. Move more during the day, get up often from behind the desk and take a walk, instead of keeping water by your desk, get up and go fetch a glass of water, do some stretching, open the window and breathe in the cold fresh air…

Bibliography: Live longer cookbook – Reader’s digest; New optimum nutrition bible – Patrick holford; La Methode Montignac – Michel Montignac; Ma cuisine anti-fatigue – Marie Borrel; Total health program  – Dr. Mercola; Eating well for optimum health – Andrew Weil, MD.

Be sure to drop in at Kalyn’s kitchen, where you will always find a healthy recipe with fresh ingredients, great ideas loaded with nutrients but light on the hips and with appetizing photos.

Trucs et astuce de grands-meres:

Throw your used coffee grains on youir plants in the garden, it is a good fertilizer for plants.


Tomato salad on Friday.

It is weekend..almost. Time for winding down, letting go, stretching out the body and mind, reading that book you only get to read on weekends, riding that bike you only get to ride on Sundays, visit with friends you only get to do on Saturdays. It is time to do some cooking and fiddling in the kitchen, try new recipes, indulge in trusted ones and most of all…it is time to flirt with the markets and grab up the in season products; plump, healthy and inviting. Like tomatoes of all kinds. Coming into season in September…here in Feance in any case. And elsewhere…maybe the strawberries are rocking in?

You have to love seasonal. You have to love tomatoes. And don’t you just love a weekend?

Have a good weekend!

…tomato mozzarella salad…

tomato mozzarella salad

From Ice cream versus salad:  *make a tomato mozzarella salad, using nice small vine tomatoes, some buffalo mozzarella torn into bite size pieces… stuff some in your mouth while you’re at it. Tear some basil leaves and lastly, sprinkle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and mill some fresh pepper and then add a sprinkling of finely chopped sun dried tomatoes.To finish off, mix gently with your hands and then lick off those fingers, serve on a pretty plate and enjoy with crusty bread.

tomato mozz salad 2tomato basket

…friday sunset…

Friday sunset