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eG Foodblog: Dave Hatfield - a food adventure!

French Foodblog

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#61 Smithy

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:02 AM

Excellent story so far. My heart almost stopped when you said you'd continue in French. I'm glad you were joking!
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#62 heidih

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:49 AM

Enjoying the foodography Dave! Those long Sunday lunches are a fond memory of mine. Even at the kid's table, we lingered and laughed; especially when they let us have a sip of the pre-meal apricot schnapps ;)

How would you say your fine dining meals influenced your cooking at home? Did you try to recreate dishes? Do you have a loose collection of repeat meals that you make over perhaps the course of a month, or is the season the prime factor or??

#63 Mjx

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:51 AM

Dave, how much has living in France affected the way you cook, overall? Do earlier patterns determine the underpinnings of how you prepare food, or has lengthy immersion effectively blurred that?


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#64 JeanneCake

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 03:27 PM

I am so enjoying this; thank you for writing!



#65 judiu

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 05:20 PM

Yes, thanks, Dave! A wonderful travel-foodalogue! Picture of Rupert, maybe?
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#66 IowaDee

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 05:49 PM

Blogs like this are exactly the reason I joined this place!  Thank You.



#67 Smithy

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 08:57 PM

Do you and Linda feel more like ex-pats (and, if so, ex-which countries?) or locals? When I lived (for a few months, not years) in Yorkshire I engaged in a lot of good-natured marvelling over the politics and foods of our respective countries. Perhaps if I'd stayed the strangeness would have subsided, and perhaps not. What has been your experience of acceptance in food, customs and politics - particularly since you are in what George Bernard Shaw might have described as a mixed marriage - or at least, one divided by a common language? :-)

Edited by Smithy, 16 October 2013 - 09:00 PM.

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#68 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:16 AM


How would you say your fine dining meals influenced your cooking at home? Did you try to recreate dishes? Do you have a loose collection of repeat meals that you make over perhaps the course of a month, or is the season the prime factor or??

 

I do try to recreate some if the simpler 'fine dining' dishes, not a lot of luck, but I try. And, yes, I do have a collection of meals that I repeat over time. Many of these dishes are based upon seasonal ingredients.

 

 

Dave, how much has living in France affected the way you cook, overall? Do earlier patterns determine the underpinnings of how you prepare food, or has lengthy immersion effectively blurred that?

I think its mainly become blurred. Obviously, some dishes are truly French and pretty much need to be made in the French manner. Others are truly American or English or ??? and need to be a certain way.

Since I really only started cooking on a daily basis after we came to France I do a lot of things in the 'French' manner.

 

 

Do you and Linda feel more like ex-pats (and, if so, ex-which countries?) or locals? When I lived (for a few months, not years) in Yorkshire I engaged in a lot of good-natured marvelling over the politics and foods of our respective countries. Perhaps if I'd stayed the strangeness would have subsided, and perhaps not. What has been your experience of acceptance in food, customs and politics - particularly since you are in what George Bernard Shaw might have described as a mixed marriage - or at least, one divided by a common language? :-)

Smithy, you ask all the easy questions don't you. I'd say that Linda feels as if she's an ex-pat from England. She's still very fond of her Geordie roots. For me it a little more difficult. Deep down I'm still an American, but I lived in England for so long that I feel somewhat English. I don't think I'll ever feel French; the cultural & linguistic differences are just too great. Both George Kennan & Thomas Wolfe wrote very movingly about the difficulty of returning to ones home country after a long absence. 

There's an expression about being 'mid-Atlantic' that somewhat applies.



#69 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:30 AM

Her's the next episode. Life in France.

 

Blog Day 5

 

 

Having decided it was to be France for retirement the question became ; Where in France? We quickly decide that SW France was our best option. A lot of Internet shopping & several trips later we bought our house in Parisot.

 

Even though the kitchen wasn't up to much I started cooking immediately. I learned to cook comfit, how to make Alliade de Toulouse to go with magret and how to make a galantine. Meanwhile we were learning the local restaurants. Most are simple country places, not fancy, but solid. Lunch is the thing to have in this area; a four course meal for less than 10€. (its gone up now to 12-14€) Our absolute favourite is Le Vieux Pont in Belcastel. It has a Michelin star, but manages to be very friendly and inviting. Another favourite is Le Auberge de la Grange a converted barn. No menu, good cooking and a cheese board that's just left on the table.

Having bought a modernised stone farmhouse we proceeded to remodel it. We did a much improved kitchen; American fridge, 5 burner stove, 2 ovens, etc. We used the insides of IKEA cabinets, but with custom made fronts. Gerard who made the fronts was a falconer & used to bring us pate from rabbits his birds had caught.

We were fortunate to land in the midst of a covey of cooks. Many of our local friends are superb cooks both in the French style and in what I'd call an International style. After a couple of years we started some food traditions; the first fall cassolulet at about this time of year; an American style Thanksgiving  dinner ( up to 18 people. We made the mistake of allowing our friend Jacques to bring the cheese one year. He turned up with nearly 20 varieties of goats cheese!) and an English style Christmas & Boxing Day. We eat very well indeed.
There were numerous expeditions to try restaurants. Chez Ruffet near Pau was a great 2 star (closed now unfortunately), Le Jardin de Sens in Montpellier (also to see America's rugby team get clobbered by South Africa in the World Cup.) and Michael Bra's in Laguiole. ( a vast disappointment), but generally we tried less prestigious places and were rarely disappointed.

 

After a while I started writing a blog about life in France and my cooking. (French Food Focus) I won't bore you with the details, but the link below will take you to it. The blog is also why I haven't included hardly any recipes in this blog. There are over 50 recipes in the other blog. I don't write it very often now, but I'm thinking of getting more active with it.

 

After about 8 years we decided to sell the farmhouse. It was too big, too expensive to run and like most of these places there were always repairs of some sort to be done. Thus we sold it about three years ago.

 

I'll talk about what happened next tomorrow. 


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#70 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:39 AM

Having showed an outdoor market I though I'd show you a HyperMarket. This one is in Villefranche de Rouergue. 

 

trolley.jpg

 

After parking the first thing ones does is to get a trolley. Note the yellow disc in the handle. This is in place of a 1€ coin, you have to bring the trolley back to get your coin back. Also notice that I've hung my shopping basket on the trolley, no sacks here. Very ECO friendly.

 

entry.jpg

 

Here's the main entrance to the market. As a security measure you can only enter from one end.

 

flowers 1_edited.jpg

 

A flower display. The flowers are all fake. The French use these during the winter months when I real thing gets very expensive.

 

wine 1.jpg          wine 2.jpg

 

wine leC.jpg

 

They do tend to have a large wine department. In addition currently there is a large tent in the parking lot full of wines for their fall wine sale.

 

cheese 1_edited.jpg              cheese 2_edited.jpg

 

cheese leC_edited.jpg

 

Cheese & more cheese. I deliberately didn't take any close ups so as to not drive certain people nuts.

 

veg.jpg Here's part of the fruit & Vegetable section.

 

butcher_edited.jpg

 

The butcher's counter. Now that I look I see that this picture is reversed. 

 

aligot_edited.jpg  Ready made Aligot

 

fish_edited.jpg

 

The fish department. Lots of fish varieties I'd never heard of until I came to France.

 

celery root.jpg   How about some celery root? OR?

 

pork hearts_edited.jpg       brains_edited.jpg

 

Some pork hearts   and some brains.

 

ris de veau _edited.jpg

 

And finally some ris de veau. Note the pigs trotter next to it.

 

As you can see much of the market would be familiar, but as you look there are a few special & uniquely French things.

 

And just to tease you some cans of comfit for 5.30€ each.

 

confit_edited.jpg

 

 

 

 


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#71 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:53 AM

Yes, thanks, Dave! A wonderful travel-foodalogue! Picture of Rupert, maybe?

The best place for pictures of Rupert is on his blog.

 

http://www.adoginfrance.blogspot.fr/

 

Although he's a keen eater he's not much of a cook. Now that our walnuts are falling he's getting fat.


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#72 Simon_S

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:05 AM

Hi Dave, I'm enjoying the blog immensely, thank you. When we stayed in France last year (not too far from you) I was especially struck by the quality of the fresh ingredients in the Hyper U, but I found myself wondering whether this will ultimately have the same detrimental effect on smaller local shops and markets as it has had elsewhere. Is there still a strong sense of buying from smaller, specialist shops among the younger generations?

 

Also, I notice you say comfit rather than confit. Are they different things or am I missing something here?

 

I really think I could live happily in rural France!



#73 gfweb

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:29 AM

A supermarket!?  Looks just like a Harris-Teeter (except the brains).

 

French shouldn't have supermarkets, just little shops and markets and guys with a cigarette selling stuff from a push cart.


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#74 annabelle

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:43 AM

Le Supermarche?  How convenient! 



#75 rotuts

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:45 AM

thanks for the pics of the HyperMarket.   i went to one years ago in FR  called Mammouth  ( in Tours )  Ive never seen so much cheese line up in one place !

 

did yours segregate the meat by animal?    Beef /// Lamb /// pig /// horse ///   etc  ?  they had a big paper-mache model of the animal above each section ...

 

R eats Walnuts ?  you shell them for him ?  He still has molars?  or are walnuts  still soft ?



#76 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:59 AM

Hi Dave, I'm enjoying the blog immensely, thank you. When we stayed in France last year (not too far from you) I was especially struck by the quality of the fresh ingredients in the Hyper U, but I found myself wondering whether this will ultimately have the same detrimental effect on smaller local shops and markets as it has had elsewhere. Is there still a strong sense of buying from smaller, specialist shops among the younger generations?

 

Also, I notice you say comfit rather than confit. Are they different things or am I missing something here?

 

I really think I could live happily in rural France!

 

There is strong sense of buying locally. Every fresh food item must be labelled with its place of origion. That helps.

 

My mistake. you're right it should be CONFIT.

 

A supermarket!?  Looks just like a Harris-Teeter (except the brains).

 

French shouldn't have supermarkets, just little shops and markets and guys with a cigarette selling stuff from a push cart.

Don't know what a Harris-Teeter is when its home.

 

They do have lots of little shops & markets. The guys with cigarettes are slowly dying away mores the pity.



#77 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 07:06 AM

thanks for the pics of the HyperMarket.   i went to one years ago in FR  called Mammouth  ( in Tours )  Ive never seen so much cheese line up in one place !

 

did yours segregate the meat by animal?    Beef /// Lamb /// pig /// horse ///   etc  ?  they had a big paper-mache model of the animal above each section ...

 

R eats Walnuts ?  you shell them for him ?  He still has molars?  or are walnuts  still soft ?

Yes, the meat is divided by type. No papier- mâche animals in the markets any more, but we have a plaster of Paris cows head hanging in our kitchen.

 

He loves walnuts and he needs no help in shelling them. He's very good at getting just the meat. The only reason we get any walnuts is because we gather them into a basket & he eats the one at time. He likes hazel nuts as well, but not peanuts.


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#78 rotuts

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 07:14 AM

R. is some connoisseur !



#79 gfweb

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:25 AM

How about that Rupert! My beast in the avatar ignores walnuts unless they hit him while dozing under the tree.

 

Harris -Teeter is a SE US supermarket that looks much like yours in layout.



#80 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:45 AM

This evening's post is going to be about the meeting our wine tasting group last night, but before that I want to introduce you to my mystery object. Here is is:

 

mys 3.jpg                     mys 2.jpg

 

It is a culinary object. Made & patented in England. The question is; what is its purpose in life?

 

 

Anyway on to the wine tasting. First Linda & I had a very simple supper. Just some BBQ'd ribs and a simple salad. The ribs has my patented rub on them & the salad a fresh batch of creamy vinaigrette.

 

vineg end.jpg

 

Off to our friends house for the tasting. We take turn hosting the event each month. We had a good turn  out this month, 6 couples & two guys whose wives were off somewhere. The idea is that each couple bring a bottle. This month it was any favourite wine that cost under 10€.

 

blanquette.jpg

 

A clever choice of Blanquette de Limoux. This pre-dates champaign and is a lot cheaper. Totally dry with nice fruit.

 

chard.jpg

 

Here's a Chardonnay made down  in the Miner-vois, but sold by Paul locally.

 

flowers.jpg      Some nice flowers to brighten things up.

 

haut pez.jpg

 

 

Chateau de Haut Pezaud from the Loire, Our only rose . 

 

graves.jpg

 

Château des Places from the Graves area of Bordeaux,

 

gaillian.jpg

 

A Gaillian. This is what we brought, Its from Domaine de Chanade in the nearby Gaillac region,

 

I think I've missed a wine. Its this one!

 

 

montiels.jpg

 

A very nice local wine from a very hospitable winery

 

then:

 

Its a dessert wine to finish off the evening,

 

sweet.jpg

 

Next month?  I'm not sure, but as always it will be a challenge to come up with something that everybody can find within the cost limit,.

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Edited by Dave Hatfield, 17 October 2013 - 10:49 AM.

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#81 Kerry Beal

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:51 AM

Can I cheat and say 'cream maker'?

 

Ah yes - but now I know what it does - you add unsalted butter and milk and it produces cream - can you show it to us in action?


Edited by Kerry Beal, 17 October 2013 - 10:54 AM.


#82 rotuts

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:06 AM

what a wonderful time every one had Im sure.  many thanks for sharing.



#83 Shelby

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:10 AM

Can you share your creamy vinaigrette recipe please?  It looks delicious.



#84 annabelle

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:22 PM

Yes please!  I need a new salad dressing recipe and that one looks tasty.



#85 rotuts

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:29 PM

 """  patented rub  """

 

Id like to enjoy your sharing that Patent  ## with me.

 

now that the Gov.org   (   #RY#(TR&#R+@R&#$# %^@#%% ) fine Congressional Souls That They are:

 

have Gone Back To Work   (    :blink:    :huh:    :wacko:    :laugh:   )

 

Id like to look that number Up!



#86 Smithy

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:13 PM

Lovely, all of it.

I grew up with a walnut-eating dog. She was quite skilled at cracking the shells and delicately extracting all the meats.

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#87 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:08 AM

Can I cheat and say 'cream maker'?

 

Ah yes - but now I know what it does - you add unsalted butter and milk and it produces cream - can you show it to us in action?

Kerry, you got it. I don't know why that's cheating, but perhaps you'll enlighten me. I'll try to see if I can make it work.

 

Can you share your creamy vinaigrette recipe please?  It looks delicious.

 

Yes please!  I need a new salad dressing recipe and that one looks tasty.

The dressing is simplicity itself. Make standard vinaigrette (Mine is 4 parts oil to 1 part white wine vinegar; a good glob of Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and H de P) Having made the vinaigrette add roughly an equal amount of heavy cream & mix very well.

 

 """  patented rub  """

 

 

 

Maybe I should have said secret rub, A search of the patent off ice won't find it.


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#88 CeeCee

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:20 AM

Blogs like this are exactly the reason I joined this place!  Thank You.

 

Me too, really enjoying this one and Kerry's and Anna N's as well.

Thank you so much for all the effort you guys put into this peek into another one's culinary life, it's very much appreciated!



#89 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:43 AM

 

Can I cheat and say 'cream maker'?

 

Ah yes - but now I know what it does - you add unsalted butter and milk and it produces cream - can you show it to us in action?

Kerry, you got it. I don't know why that's cheating, but perhaps you'll enlighten me. I'll try to see if I can make it work.

 

 

 

It's cheating because "Cream Maker" is written quite clearly in raised letters on the handle of the thing!  To wit "BEL cream maker - made in England"

 

I'll second the request to see it in action, if you can get it to work!


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#90 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:33 AM

 

 

Can I cheat and say 'cream maker'?

 

Ah yes - but now I know what it does - you add unsalted butter and milk and it produces cream - can you show it to us in action?

Kerry, you got it. I don't know why that's cheating, but perhaps you'll enlighten me. I'll try to see if I can make it work.

 

 

 

It's cheating because "Cream Maker" is written quite clearly in raised letters on the handle of the thing!  To wit "BEL cream maker - made in England"

 

I'll second the request to see it in action, if you can get it to work!

 

 

Senility is creeping up, possibly fast than I'd like.

I do have the excuse that I don't get my new glasses until next week. :sad:    







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