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Everything posted by Abra

  1. We actually do have mutton here, if you get it from the halal (Muslim) butchers, and I think that would have been better. Personally I love that strong lamb flavor. In France the lamb is almost as mild as veal, and quite pale as well.
  2. That Don Alfonso meal looks wonderful. I think I see a trip to Positano in our future.
  3. My husband was in a related situation after 5 months with a feeding tube and limited swallowing. Milkshakes were his salvation, and oatmeal porridge with a lot of cream. Either one can have some peanut or almond butter mixed in for additional protein. And there's milk toast - toasted good bread, well buttered, soaked in hot milk, is one of the most delicious things on earth.
  4. I had what I think is one of the word's best salads today for lunch: watermelon cubes, crumbled feta, diced sweet onion, and shredded mint leaves. Nothing else, as the feta make a sort of dressing when you toss it. I use sheep's milk feta because that's what's readily available here in France, but any creamy feta will do. I know, it sounds weird, but try it!
  5. Being tired, hungry, and somewhat desperate, we stopped at Chez Claude, a roadside pizzeria we'd passed several times without paying any attention to it. Now it will be a destination when we're looking for a really good pizza and a really low price on the road between Avignon and Uzès. With a pizza menu of 25-30 choices, all cooked in the wood fire, plus numerous pasta dishes, the place is a casual winner. As with most other pizza places in the region, they have a list of tomato-based pizzas and another list of pizzas based on creme fraiche. I have to say that my Pizza Marco, with creme fraiche, Roquefort, coppa, and figatelli (a Corsican sausage that's especially savory) was the best pizza I've had so far in France. They have a very nice outdoor terrace covered with trellised vines, and two truly enormous pizzas, one coffee and one quarter of wine cost us 26 Euros.
  6. Abra

    Fufu to you too buddy!

    I've always thought that fufu was manioc!
  7. Yep, that's how I'd do it, or if there's a little of the vermouth-broth left you could add it to the cream sauce you make at the end. Don't stress, it'll be good.
  8. You add the mushrooms to the stock that you used to cook the shallots. I'd put the other half of the vermouth in there too when I started the shallots, since they forgot to tell you what to do with it. Clearly they mean a little additional stock, since they tell you to do it "meanwhile" while the chicken is still cooking in its own stock. They really do seem to mean two different bouquets garni, as far as I can tell, but that's easy to do. It's a very badly written recipe, but it's not a demanding one. If you make a little slip or tweak here or there, the dish isn't going to really suffer. Also, when they say "add to the onions" I think they mean add to the shallots, as there are no other onions in the cooked part of the recipe. I hope they didn't pay whoever wrote that one up!
  9. Thanks. I've never been in that shop because people always say "oh, it's not as good as it used to be with the old owner" but now I'll have an excuse to go in there.
  10. The dinner was a great success! I did make the lamb burgers linked to above by Ludja (I wouldn't make them again, though, as the seasoning is quite intense and French lamb is too mild to really stand up to it) and Cadbury's two salads, which were delicious. Pictures and additional details of the meal are here. Thanks to all for the advice and support - it was a fun opportunity to dabble in Australiana. I was just afraid that the guy from Luxembourg would be in the maillot jaune and then, for the cuisine, I'd have been really stranded!
  11. Wow, you were so close to my house and didn't even stop by for a foam-free snack. I would have given you something for no R&G certificates! I've been thinking about your chorizo comment. Was it pata negra pork? I have some pata negra chorizo in the fridge right now that has an awesome nutty mellowness that I think is entirely due to the breed and the acorns they're raised on. I know it's not your intention, but you've spared me a trip to Rabanel's domain. The food looks a little too tricked out to me, like it's way more form than substance. I think it's kind of weird to serve tellines as a starter for one. The only way I've had them is a a big bowl in the center of the table where a group of people drink wine, talk, and pop one or two into their mouths every so often until the bowl is empty. They're more exercise than nourishment. I hope the next thing you're going to say is that you had dinner at La Cabro D'Or!
  12. Abra

    Herbal Desserts

    I love pineapple sage. I like to infuse some leaves in a warm simple syrup, then use that to lightly sweeten a fruit salad. I add torn pineapple sage leaves to the salad, and sprinkle the beautiful flowers on top. It's a really summery treat.
  13. Cadbury, thank you! Your potato and watermelon salads are on the menu now. Cabbage isn't yet really in season here and my husband hates pineapple (are you surprised?) so I think maybe a green or tomato salad is more likely. I also have a nice chutney that I made with apricots and nectarines that I'll offer with the lamb burgers as an alternative to the beetroot salsa. Does sticky date pudding sound ok, or is that really a winter dessert? It's full summer here in France right now, but I think everyone would find it interesting and unusual..
  14. Nice going, Bryan, as usual. Tell us what you're drinking with these meals too, ok?
  15. Abra

    Roasting tomatoes

    I'll add that I've tried roasting non-Romas and you do lose a lot of juice. For my money it's better to use regular and cherry tomatoes in a salsa or some fresh application.
  16. Meat pie - check. Lamington, probably not, because of the hard time to find coconut and the fact that it's not a favorite with my husband. Right now I'm thinking of the lamb burger with beet salsa that ludja suggested, hold the beets for picky eater husband, as a main, with some sort of salad, meat pies as an app, and sticky date pudding. Sounds heavy. For some reason that I've never understood it's practically impossible to get raw shrimp here, they're always already cooked, otherwise it'd be shrimp on the barbie. Any veggie/salad recommendations?
  17. Thanks, you guys, cuz it is definitely Evans and so tomorrow it needs to be an Australian dinner for 5. Not one single actual Australian product is available here to my knowledge, so it's all got to be improv. Plus, rats, no ice cream maker and a husband who gets nauseated at even the sight of a beet.
  18. Abra

    Roasting tomatoes

    Contrary to other techniques described here, I roast them cut side down with a ton of basil and garlic. I have to admit that they've never lasted long enough to freeze, but I see no reason why they wouldn't do fine. The recipe is here. These are totally tomato crack.
  19. We'll be watching the Tour de France come through our region on Friday and Saturday, and I want to make a dinner of the national cuisine of the wearer of the yellow jersey on Friday morning. It might be Evans, and I have no idea about Australian specialties, except to say that there's no kangaroo available here! Can anybody help me plan an Aussie-oriented menu for Friday?
  20. Nah, it's in magazines like Femina and Vie Pratique Gourmande, so I know it still exists as an idea, at least. But then, down here, so does café gourmand. I even order it.
  21. Abra

    Cooking with Perfumes

    I have to say that at first blush it sounds icky. But then, I've made those little incense-perfumed cookies, and they were delicious. I also love rose and lavender as flavorings, and here in France, there's a lot of violet-flavored stuff that I find irresistible. I think the key is that it be a natural-smelling scent of something from the garden, as opposed to that musky patchouli heavier end of the spectrum.
  22. Abra

    Rubs: The Topic

    For our French 4th of July I ended up using the rub from Mark Bittman's recipe for Spiced Winter Ribs, which started in the oven and finished on the grill. Pictures and details are here. This is a great recipe when you have a ton of ribs to make and not enough grill space to really cook them there.
  23. Abra

    Brik Dough

    Here in France it's used for tons of different savory preparations, whatever you might imagine served in a crispy wrapper. The purse presentation is a classic, but it's also often seen in roll form, either baked or fried. It's for sale in every supermarket, thanks to the large population of folks of North African ancestry.
  24. Jeff, is it the baker that has a permanent shop, or someone who was selling on market day?
  25. Wowsers, Brooks. I'm glad to see that even though you've been through it all you've come out sweetly on the other side. Your new life ought to make for lots of good stories to share with us, and I look forward to them.
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