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eG Foodblog - Dave Hatfield, La France Profonde

Foodblog French

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#61 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:47 PM

Dave - are you using fresh herbs in the herbs de Provence, or are they a dried mix, as is typically sold?

You make reference to garlic granules - same question - fresh or dried garlic?



I use dried HdeP. I buy them in small quantities at a time from a Lady who comes to the local markets. She has the turnover to insure that they are reasonably fresh. She sells an amazing range of herbs, spices and herbal cures.

The garlic granules are also dried. These I buy from the Hypermarket. I use them a lot so my supply never goes stale. How fresh they are from the store is anybody's guess.

For the salad dressing you can use fresh garlic if you are making a small quantity and will be using it quickly. It doesn't keep that long. I prefer to make a large batch using the granules as then the dressing will keep longer.

I can't tell the difference in taste.

#62 MaryLA

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:03 AM

New here and I'm really enjoying your blog posts Dave -- made up some of the cream dressing using fresh garlic because I don't expect it to last very long!

#63 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 02:47 AM

New here and I'm really enjoying your blog posts Dave -- made up some of the cream dressing using fresh garlic because I don't expect it to last very long!


Mary - Welcome to eGullet. I'm flattered that my blog has motivated your first post. I'll look forward to many more.

Hope you liked the dressing. I've been making it for so long that I've forgotten where I originally got the recipe.

It's my favorite although a really good blue cheese dressing runs it a close second.

#64 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:53 AM

My promised trip to the market today was somewhat fraught, but, I think, turned out OK in the end.

The Thursday market at Villefranche de Rouergue is a large regional one. Thus it offers not only food, but most household items. Everything from tools to used clothing to cloth by the yard. As usual parking can be an issue, but I was lucky today and found a legal place quickly and close in.


street view.JPG This is a view looking down the street. As you go down this street you get into all the non-food stalls. Needless to say I didn't go that way. Instead I cut over to the main town square where the main action takes place.

main square.JPG As you can see the square is completely filled. All food stands.

herbs.JPG This is my favorite herb & spice stand. Its nearly 50 feet long. Just about any herb or spice you can think of. If she doesn't have it she'll get it. One day we wanted garam masala, but she didn't have any. Out came her little black book with the proportions of the spices to make it up and she then proceeded to mix it up for us on the spot.


sausage.JPG Dried sausages. I didn't realize that that lady was also taking a picture. I think my angle was better.


cheese.JPG Just a few cheeses.



At this point my camera went dead on me. I'd checked the battery before leaving home and thought it was charged. Either I'm getting senile or the battery is starting to fail to hold a charge. I had planned on taking many more pictures. Its a shame as there were lots of nice things.. Quell dommage, mais c'est la vie!

The good news is that I then focused upon buying some food for dinner tonight. I've been putting recipes on this blog that I think are cook-able in the States or the UK. As a result none of them have been particularly French. Tonight I'm going to do a proper French dinner.

All three items of our main course will be very typically French. I think you can either get or make all of them outside France, but they're not something you see all that often.

You're welcome to guess what they might be in the meantime between now and this evening.

#65 koen

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 05:18 AM

I guess it's wine and views :(

#66 Simon_S

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 06:07 AM

Escargots? Frogs' legs?

Dave, I've been enjoying your blog very much. We were holidaying near Montguyon a few weeks ago, and your photos are making me very nostalgic. The problem with such a holiday is that the brief glimpse into this attractive way of life makes it difficult to return to normality. You're not helping at all!

#67 rotuts

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 06:14 AM

ditto all of the above. What a pleasure having a weekly market in town where eating is very very serious.

I lived in FR. for two years growing up and have made visits in the past and the markets were very memorable, esp. what i could do a little cooking with their stuff!

lucky You!

Edited by rotuts, 11 October 2012 - 06:14 AM.


#68 Kerry Beal

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:00 AM

Nicoise salad? Pan Bagnet?

#69 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:23 AM

Lots of great guesses, but no prizes as of yet.

A hint. Once you have made foie gras you have a lot left over. What do you do with certain parts of it?

Second hint. What sounds like truffle, but isn't the same at all.

Can't think of a good hint fpr the third item.

#70 rotuts

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:45 AM

goose confit?

#71 Kerry Beal

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:47 AM

Is there a french version of Beef Wellington? Foie, duxelle (sounds sorta like tuffle)...

#72 Simon_S

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:58 AM

Magret?

(We actually brought home some supermarket magret after our recent trip. Both in terms of quality and price it was a bit ahead of what we can get easily here.)

#73 Hassouni

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:58 AM

paté and trifle (not that the last is French...)?

#74 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:31 AM

One of the latest queses is very close to one of the item, not quite there. If combined with another guess it would work.

No faux French dishes; these are the real deal.

I did think of a hint for #3: Why do you call an Italian in France? And no its not a slur or bad joke.

#75 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:25 AM

One of the latest queses is very close to one of the item, not quite there. If combined with another guess it would work.

No faux French dishes; these are the real deal.

I did think of a hint for #3: Why do you call an Italian in France? And no its not a slur or bad joke.

For #1 ("Once you have made foie gras you have a lot left over. What do you do with certain parts of it?") - It could be pâté grand-père which is made with chunks of foie gras. It could also be Tournedos Rossini.
#2 ("What sounds like truffle, but isn't the same at all") - mussels? waffles?
#3 ("[What] do you call an Italian in France? ") - "rital" comes to mind but I can't associate it with any French dish.

This is really tough... I think we need more clues.

#76 rotuts

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:33 AM

FP: best guess yet!

#77 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:36 AM

FP: best guess yet!

Doing my best!

Actually I have a feeling that #2 is actually OFFAL.

#78 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:38 AM

And I think I just got #3. We also call Italians "Latins" and therefore dessert will be Tarte Tatin.

#79 rotuts

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:39 AM

well .... does it have to sound in FR. similar to FR truffle? if so , you might want to retract you mussels. Moooooole

see I did live in FR.

but is it what FR. call Italians?

Edited by rotuts, 11 October 2012 - 11:41 AM.


#80 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:50 AM

I thought that surely someone would get at least one of my French ingredients. The closest was goose comfit since I was actually using duck comfit. (Goose is almost impossible to find anymore.)

In any case here are the three main ingredients,

mise.JPG


Duck comfit from a can. We've found that this is the best way to buy comfit. We've tried it from the market, farms & friends and the canned stuff always wins. I used to make comfit when we last lived in the UK & the States, but this stuff is better than I could make.

Truffade. This is a classic potato dish from the Auvergne with cantal, cream, lardons, garlic and herbs. I bought this from a stand at the market then only had to reheat it in the oven.

Cepes. The first I've seen this season, but then we've had our first decent rains. The stall holder assured me that these were local, she's there every week & knows me by sight so I trusted her. At 25€ per kilo they weren't cheap, but nothings too good for my eG pals.


early comfit.JPG Here's a couple of pieces of comfit in the pan.


mush chopped.JPG I've cut off the heads of the cepes then chopped the stems.


comfit cooking.JPG Here's the comfit about half way through.


caps in pan.JPG The capes cap in the pan with butter.


mush chopped pan.JPG I've taken out the caps & put in the chopped stems with garlic & a mix of shallots & gorlic.


pdt out.JPG Here's the truffade just coming out of the oven.


plate.JPG Finally everything on the plate. It was really good.


With a glass or two of red wine this was a very satisfying dinner and very French. We don't eat this stuff every night nor do the French, too many calories. When they were on the farms all these calories made sense, but they don't today.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Tomorrow will be easier as we're going out to lunch.

#81 rotuts

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 12:03 PM

the pieces of duck in your saute pan came out of a can? wouldnt have a pic of that can would you?

BTW I get 1/2 point. just to be square about it.

#82 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 12:27 PM

With a glass or two of red wine this was a very satisfying dinner and very French. We don't eat this stuff every night nor do the French, too many calories. When they were on the farms all these calories made sense, but they don't today.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Tomorrow will be easier as we're going out to lunch.

Dinner looks great, Dave. Duck confit and truffade are some of my favorite things - French comfort food!

I am still trying to figure out that third clue though (cèpes/porcini) - even with the answer I still don't get it! :unsure:

#83 janeer

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:58 PM

I have just eaten dinner but this is all making me hungry--the truffade, the sausage. What a beautiful view you have from your home while you drink wine.

#84 Kent Wang

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:09 PM

Are there many foreigners in the countryside? Would it be difficult to get by speaking only English?

#85 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 01:00 AM

Rotuts - I think I'd give you 3/4 actually.

FrogPrincesse - Comforting for sure. The problem was mine. I'm a lousy typist. The question should have read "What do you call an Italian in France". Thus the porcini to Cepe reference.

Janeer - Thanks for the kind words. Being a Steinbeck fan I always think of 'The Pastures of Heaven'. This is just a great area.

Kent - There are a fair number of English speakers scattered around. Mainly British, but also Dutch & Belgians plus English speaking French. Very few Americans. So for social life there's not a problem; one gradually meets kindred souls who speak English. My wife is President of a local ladies organization (fifi82.org) with over 100 members all of whom speak English. That's the easy part.
Getting along in shops, with the government and so forth requires at least some French proficiency. Getting into the medical system, paying taxes and so forth are not too difficult, but again require some French. We have a good friend, Jacques, who helps us with the bureaucratic aspects of living here. .
All in all we think it was worth the effort. There's some information on my weblog & you can always PM me and I'll do my best to answer questions.

#86 rgruby

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 07:11 AM

Dave,

Thanks for doing this. I still have fond memories of the last one and can't believe it was five years ago.

At the time I remember thinking, jeez, I hope he does this once a season so we can see how the the produce changes and how that affects what you're cooking/ eating.

Can you tell us a little bit more about that. Do folks around there still tend to cook fairly seasonally? Or has the presence of large, modern supermarkets changed that?

Interesting about goose. Last time I was in France was around this time of year and we were in the southwest and gesiers (I think they were called?) - goose gizzards - were on just about every menu. Can't remember eating actual goose apart from that, but I had those a few times.

Cheers,
Geoff

#87 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 08:47 AM

Dave,

Thanks for doing this. I still have fond memories of the last one and can't believe it was five years ago.

At the time I remember thinking, jeez, I hope he does this once a season so we can see how the the produce changes and how that affects what you're cooking/ eating.

Can you tell us a little bit more about that. Do folks around there still tend to cook fairly seasonally? Or has the presence of large, modern supermarkets changed that?

Interesting about goose. Last time I was in France was around this time of year and we were in the southwest and gesiers (I think they were called?) - goose gizzards - were on just about every menu. Can't remember eating actual goose apart from that, but I had those a few times.

Cheers,
Geoff



The older people still eat very seasonably. The younger ones not so much. Of course this is one of the best times of the year as we can still get most summer vegetables AND the fall typesw are just starting to come in. Witness the cepes I was able to buy yesterday.
Local fruits are also coming in now. Unfortunately we're past the apricot season, but the prunes are starting to appear.

The 'gésiers' are mainly chicken gizzards. They must use goose & duck, but I haven't seen them. They are very popular for use in simple salads.

#88 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 09:25 AM

Today was simple. We went to the local restaurant with our friend John. You've seen it before, but here it is again.


restaurant.JPG


Its called le Seye et Vous and is run by Charlie and his partners. They do both lunch & dinner as well as the cafe side. Lunch is 13€. That for three course & a 1/4 liter of wine & coffee.

Today being Friday they were pretty full, probably serving about 30. Charlie manages to serve everybody on time with grace & charm.

I had the charcutière starter, John had the salad with gesiers and Linda has a plain green salad. We all had the fish pie main course; this was served with creamy rice and was every bit as good as mine although very different. We also all had the 'pain perdu' desert. Pain Perdu literally means lost bread so its s bread pudding. In this case with a few added raisins and run & caramel sauce to die for. Good local wine & bread played their parts.

I normally don't take inside restaurant pictures, but couldn't resist this one taken with our phone.

Photo0103.jpg



You can see that John had enjoyed his bread pudding and wasn't going to let a drop of sauce escape.

#89 rotuts

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 09:39 AM

now that's the way to do it! thanks for the pic!

#90 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 10:36 AM

This is great country for walnuts. The soil & climate seem to be perfect for them. Thus, walnuts (noix) are used a lot in many local dishes. They also make quite a lot of walnut oil in these parts. Somewhere on my normal blog I have a photo essay about this old boy making walnut oil.
Also, I remember going to a local lunch where the main course was Estafinado (Google it!) a component of the dish is to top it with some walnut oil. On our long table we had three different versions done by three different French gentlemen. They were too polite to say, but each was convinced that his was best. All I can say is that all were good & all were different.

We're lucky enough to have a lovely mature walnut tree in our garden just below our house. The walnuts are falling as I type this. Our only problem is Rupert. He loves walnuts and is very good at finding & eating them. If we're not careful he gets fat. He's very good at cracking the shells and extracting the meat. So what we do is go out and collect walnuts every morning. Fortunately Rupert finds one then eats it. He hasn't grasped the concept of gathering a pile of them before eating them. That's lucky for us.

on ground.JPG Here they are on the ground.


drying on table.JPG Drying on a table.


old in bowl.JPG Collected in a bowl.

lindas sock.JPG Stored in one of Linda's old stockings.

They'll just be nice & dry for the holiday season.





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