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eG Foodblog: Dave Hatfield - a food adventure!

French Foodblog

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#91 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:40 AM

The idea behind selling was to downsize. We just didn't need all the expense or the space of a large farmhouse. At the same time we didn't want to leave this beautiful area or our friends here. Having sold we went into heavy duty search mode. Smaller, more modern, no major renovation. We were getting a bit anxious when friends came to our rescue. They were moving back to the UK to be closer to the grandkids. Modern house, nice views, nice garden, only 6 miles from the old house. Perfect! As a private sale we even saved on Real Estate agents fees.

 

The kitchen is OK, I'd prefer bigger and I'd prefer a gas stove, but with granite worktops, pull out drawer type refrigerators, an induction hob (which took some getting used to) and a good range of cabinets it works fine. (There are pictures of this kitchen on my last blog.)
The dining area is smaller than before, seats 10 at a pinch, but this is good thing as Linda tends to just keep inviting more & more people. (For instance our Sunday lunch for 6 tomorrow just grew to lunch for 8)

Cooking wise I've tried my hand at oven dried tomatoes, curing olives, making chutney and inventing new dishes or variations thereof. It continues to be fun. In the last few months I've taken up Chinese cooking. I wouldn't say I'm very good at it as of yet, but I'm learning and I'll be asking questions of eGullet's coterie of Chinese experts.

 

Although I haven't really talked about them our selection of nearby wine making areas is yet another pleasure. We have Cahors, Gaillac, Corbieres, Buzet, Madiran and Bordeaux all within a couple of hours drive. Who could ask for more?

Where else I ask could you play golf on a course owned by a Taiwanese and managed by a Japanese lady who feeds us delicious udon lunches?

 

So, that's me up to date. As I think you can tell I love our life in France and the great opportunities it offers in a culinary sense. We have great set of friends, almost all of whom cook well. We have a range of good restaurants. We can go to a different market each day of the week should we so wish. Life is good!

 

Thanks for reading this. I've enjoyed writing it.

 

Question time!

 

PS: Many thanks for all of your kind remarks. Should you ever be in 'La France Profund' you know where to go for a free meal.


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#92 rotuts

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 09:12 AM

Do people still take their own bottles to places like the Prisuic for 'table-wine' ? you know  from those huge SS vats?



#93 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 10:03 AM

Finally, the confession of a food philistine. Here's a typical weekday lunch. No pretensions of culinary excellence, but I'm semi-addicted to this kind of simple meal.

 

soup_edited reduced.jpg

 

With apologies to my Chinese friends on eG. I just love these little dehydrated soups. 

 

While the soup is cooking I make my sandwich.

 

bread cut reduced.jpg        bread slices reduced.jpg

 

Now that the bread is ready (this bread is the 'cereal' from the local shop.) I can srart construcing.

 

mustard reduced.jpg

 

First a thin coating of Dijon mustard. I got this jar on special offer, Its hard to find the fancy Grey Poupon stuff.

 

cheese  reduced.jpg

 

Next the cheese goes on. Normally Cantal Entre deux. As you can see I buy it in large chunks.

 

Here it is on the bread.

 

on bread reduced.jpg

 

garlic saus reduced.jpg

 

Then the garlic sausage.

 

cornichons reduced.jpg

 

Next the cornichons

 

And here's the final assembly.

 

assembled reduced.jpg

 

finished reduced.jpg

 

And that's it. Delicious in my humble opinion. Sort of mid Atlantic with oriental leanings.

 

I've enjoyed indulging myself all week. I hope this will encourage others to contribute their culinary tales. I'll be watching & waiting. 


Edited by Dave Hatfield, 18 October 2013 - 10:29 AM.

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#94 Anna N

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 10:18 AM

Dave,
It's been great. Thanks for taking the time. Your creamy salad dressing saved my bacon today (maybe not my bacon but certainly my lettuce and tomatoes!). I made it for a salad Kerry and I shared with her med student. Thanks.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#95 gfweb

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:13 AM

One more week!



#96 rotuts

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:57 AM

many thanks DH.  you ( and all bloggers here ) are worth your weight in, say, Domaine de Bresse.


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#97 annabelle

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:11 PM

Thank you, Dave.  I also say one more week!

 

(Tell Linda I am making her moussaka tomorrow.)



#98 andiesenji

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:43 PM

Lovely experience following along with your life-long food odyssey through America, Spain, England, France and other parts of Europe.

 

I happen to have the exact same cream maker (and a couple of others) in my gadget collection and have actually experimented with using it the way the English had to during the post war decade when milk and butter was available but not heavy cream - except on or near dairy farms. 

 

I am especially envious of the cheeses that are available to you in such abundance, even though I have had to reduce my consumption of this ambrosial food on orders from my doctor.

The outdoor market photos are lovely. 

 

Thanks for the virtual trip to your part of France.  I wish I could join you.


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#99 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:46 PM

 

 

(Tell Linda I am making her moussaka tomorrow.)

Linda is delighted and asks that you please take some better pictures than I did.

 

Also, as a final thought/recommendation. One of the best set of books I know of about true country French cooking is a series of books by Martin Walker who lives in the Dordogne. They're available on Amazon and are all about Bruno the chief of  police in a small village. Give them a try.



#100 rotuts

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:07 PM

""""  Bruno the chief of  police in a small village  """

 

I love these books!  I discovered them by chance and they do give a glimpse of Rural FR Life.  at least the ones I remember.



#101 annabelle

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:01 PM

I'll take pictures, but no promises on the quality.



#102 djyee100

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:49 PM

Wine and cheese, wine and cheese, are a great deal on my mind lately. I'm thinking of another cheese-shopping foray to the Cheese Board in Berkeley. Meanwhile, I've already acquired some new bottles of wine from my long-time vendor.

 

I wonder why that is, Dave. :wink:

 

thanks for a great blog. :smile:



#103 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 06:28 PM

Thanks for the blog Dave - thoroughly enjoyed it!  



#104 Smithy

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:57 PM

This has been lovely, Dave, and it's over entirely too soon. Thanks very much for talking about your life before now as well as your life now. If I may be permitted another question - I'll try to keep it easy :-) - is there a big difference between what one might consider Paris cookery (or perhaps big French city cookery) and what you get in the southwest of France? Or would the bistros and brasseries in your region serve more or less the same as their big-city counterparts?

Thank you so much for sharing with us! It's a big job and you've done it beautifully.
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#105 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:46 AM

This has been lovely, Dave, and it's over entirely too soon. Thanks very much for talking about your life before now as well as your life now. If I may be permitted another question - I'll try to keep it easy :-) - is there a big difference between what one might consider Paris cookery (or perhaps big French city cookery) and what you get in the southwest of France? Or would the bistros and brasseries in your region serve more or less the same as their big-city counterparts?

Thank you so much for sharing with us! It's a big job and you've done it beautifully.

Yet another interesting question. First you must bear in mind that a large proportion of the Chefs in Paris come from the SW of France.

 

There are considerable differences between 'town' and country. Although many of the bistro dishes are fundamentally the same they will be more refined in Paris and, many times, have an innovative twist to them. This is, I think, because of two major things, Competition & price. Paris abounds in restaurants so you have to be good to survive thus innovation. Country folks have less money & tend to want what they're familiar with thus lower prices and not much innovation. Many of our local restaurants only serve lunch (except on Sunday) & cater for the 'artisans'  many of whom are buying lunch with vouchers paid for by their employers, thus the price has to fit those amounts. Vouchers in Paris have a higher monetary value.

At the higher end of the market as one gets into Michelin listed places the differences tend to disappear. The quality of food & service are similar, but the prices somewhat less in the country places. For instance our favourite Le Vieux Pont is a Michelin one star where we can get the full menu for 49€. A similar meal at a Paris one star would be quite a bit more. Higher overheads & larger clientèle.

 

 

I'll take pictures, but no promises on the quality.

Hey, you've had to suffer a week of my dismal photography. I'm sure you pictures will be better.

 

A final final thought. I'm going to start a new thread I'll call "Food Anecdotes". This will be open to any member to post a short food story whether it be a restaurant experience, a cooking triumph or disaster or whatever else you'd like to share pertaining to food & cooking.

I'll start it off with stories I didn't have time and/or space for on this blog, but I'd really really like to hear everyone else's anecdotes.


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#106 liuzhou

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 04:14 AM

No need to apologise for the instant Chinese noodle soup. Chinese people eat it all the time. Restaurants even sell it!



#107 C. sapidus

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 06:27 AM

Dave - I always enjoy hearing about your history and your life in France, so thank you for this week. Very nicely done!

 

Now that the eG Foodblog momentum is rolling again  :rolleyes: I will say that there are quite a few folks on here about whose food lives I would love to learn more.


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#108 nickrey

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 01:08 PM

Thanks Dave, your blog was very interesting and informative. As for the cheese close-up, I'm sure we could take it. What I miss most is unpasteurized soft cheese. It's banned here in Australia. Possibly the easiest place to get it close to here is Hong Kong, which makes it an expensive item when you include travel.

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#109 heidih

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 03:52 PM

Thanks Dave!





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