• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

Dave Hatfield

eG Foodblog - Dave Hatfield, La France Profonde

117 posts in this topic

Well, here I am again. It’s been just over 5 years since I last did a food blog. I’m excited and looking forward to doing this one just as I was in 2007!

First, an update in general:

We’re all well; Linda, Rupert and I. I’ve had a couple of minor strokes, but the magnificent French medical system saw me through those with no permanent damage. We’re still living in France and still loving it. We have moved though; all of about 6 miles.

Our farmhouse was just too big and too expensive to run so we sold it. Linda & I now dance a little jig when the energy bills come in. It makes up for the lousy exchange rates! Our ‘new’ house is modern and somewhat smaller than the farmhouse. We still have 1 ½ acres, a pool and plenty of room. We are extremely happy with the move.

Our ‘new’ village is just great very friendly. It’s unusual in that it’s actually laid out on a square grid. 400 year old town planning in action. We have a good village shop/ bakery. They made a really nice whole grain loaf in addition to all the normal sizes & shapes of French loaves. We also have small restaurant. Not likely to get any Michelin stars, but one can get a nice meal. They make a wonderful bread pudding. Our newest addition is a small food boutique, only open two days a week. They sell only local produce, fruits, vegetables, sun flower oil, pates, fois gras, a bit of wine and a few herbs. Local enterprise at its most local. I make a point of going in every week. More later, but let’s talk about food.

I’ll start by going to the Sunday market in Saint Antonin Noble Val. St Antonin is a very old, very beautiful town right on the Aveyron river about 15 minutes away. Their Sunday market is great, but to be avoided during the summer months due to the crowds and lack of parking. Once we get to October the crowds thin out and the locals return to shop & to gossip. Gossiping being the great French pastime as it is in most countries.

I’ll post about the market visit with pictures separately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thought I'd quickly explain the teaser photos for you;

- The tomatoes were ready to go into the oven to become oven-dried. I made a lot of them as once they were put into jars with olive oil, garlic, H de P and chili they were to be sold at a local charity event. Made nearly $100 for Cancer Research.

- The duck as several of you guessed. This was a demonstration by a local duck farmer showing how one could use all parts of the duck. It was held in the Salle des Fetes and attended by about 50 people.

- The casoulette. Not too hard to spot. I thought it was very clever for somebody to try & spot me by the type of granite counter top. Wouldn't have worked as we've moved so the counter top is different.

- It's a tatin, but nobody guessed that it is a pear tatin. Worth trying in place of the traditional apple veriety.

- The wines were a dead giveaway weren't they? Cahouzac-sur-Vere is a village in the Gaillac region which is not far away from us. They make some great wine. This isn't one of them. The 11 refers to the alcohol content. 11% is low which is one reason why the price is low. Wine is taxed on alcohol content.

- Well, anybody in eGullet who likes cheeses probably know that I'm a cheese fanatic. The other picture is of Albi, not far away and a great place.

- The view out our front gate then a picture of our village. You can actually see our house. Its the highest one towards the top right of the picture.

Judging from the response to my last food blog a number of you will have questions about France that aren't strictly food related. I'd be happy to answer those if you send me a PM or pose them on my normal blog.

Market later today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had planned to go to St Antonin market today, take pictures and do a bit of cooking; all for this blog.

Instead I got persuaded to go to Monesties and then to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. This took us past Cordes and some beautiful wine country. Here's the story:

What's in Monesties? Let's see

.horses group.JPG. A horse show! Lots of very nice horses.

naughty boy.JPG. This naughty boy was chewing & eating his rope.

Of course there were ponies for the children to ride.

ponies.JPG.

And saddles & other tack for sale. tack.JPG

This wouldn't be France if there wasn't food!

tables.JPG

repas.JPG sausage.JPG

Toulouse sausage & sauteed potatoes with herbs & garlic plus I'm sure there would be cheese & a desert not to mention wine all making a nice meal. We were tempted, but our restaurant beckoned.

We left Monesties and headed for Cordes.

cordes.JPG.

Cordes is a terrific hill top village with spectacular views across the countryside. No stopping today though, we pressed onward.

We did stop to see if the vendange (grape harvest) was still going on, but fortunately it had finished. I say fortunately because we had light rain today.

In any case after passing lots of vineyards we reached our destination, Cestayrols, where we had booked lunch.

Our lunch will be the topic of my next post which will follow shortly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cestayrols is a small village, maybe 500 people if its lucky. It's pretty and is located smack in the middle of the Gaillac wine region. This is one of the oldest wine making regions in France dating from at least Roman times if not earlier. Gaillac has over 6,000 acres of vines under cultivation.

For whatever reason Cestayrols has a really nice restaurant. You's almost never find it if you didn't know it was there. In fact I did pass it by for a long time as I did drive almost past it on my way to my favorite golf course. We finally saw it, tried it & loved it. Here's their web address: http://restaurant.loucantoun.fr/.

restaurant.JPG rest sign.JPG

menu.JPG

The menus are clearer on their website than in my picture.

Some of you may recall that I'm vehemently opposed to taking pictures in restaurants so I didn't take any inside this time even though I'm doing this blog. I'll do my best to describe our meal.

We started with a little amuse of rounds of toast topped in one case by aubergine (eggplant) caviar and in the other case by foie gras. Very nice and just the thing to get the taste buds going.

We both had the Coquilles St Jacques (scallop) as our entre. These were lightly grilled, served on their shells and accompanied by finely diced vegetables. The flavors blended well and they went well with the house white wine. (We'd just ordered a glass each as we did have to drive home.)

Our plat (main course) was roasted pigeon. Its been a long time since I've had pigeon so it was a real treat. The pigeon was served over creamed potatoes & a melange of vegetables. The baby fresh garlic in the mix was a nice & tasty touch. With this course we'd ordered a half bottle of Galian from Domaine Chanade, 2004. This local and one of our favorite wineries.

We then had a plate of three cheeses. Linda particularly liked the homemade onion comfit that come with the cheese.

We parted company at desert. I had a lemon tart which was square & served with very thin dried lemon slices in addition to the lemon cream. I'm a lemon pie freak and rated this one as about 7 out of 10. Linda had the profiteroles. Spectacularly good in her opinion! She claimed they were the best she'd ever had. She graciously let me have a bite & I must say they were super.

All in all a very satisfying lunch and a satisfying Sunday.

I may do another post later if I can stay awake that is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is gonna be good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for blogging Dave. Those huge almost flat pans of sausage and of potatoes certainly look inviting. Is that a common cooking vessel for street fair food? Butane? Your meal sounds lovely and inviting. I am sure we would enjoy some kitchen shots as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, some quick & easy recipes before I go to bed.

The fall is an interesting timer for soups. The weather can be either hot or cold, but the nice thing about these soups is that they too can be served hot or cold.

All three require a good quality stock as a base. Chicken stock for those who eat meats or vegetable stock for those who don't.

They all also require that one chop up an onion and sweat it gently in butter (oil if you must).

#! is leek and celeriac. Chop up the white & some of the green parts of several leeks. Sweat the leeks with the butter & onion. Meanwhile peel the celeriac and cut it into about 1/2 inch chunks.

Add the stock to the onion & leek mixture then add the celeriac chunks. Simmer until the celeriac is soft (about 10-15 minutes). Turn off the heat & let the soup cool for a bit then puree it using a blender. I use my stick blender so the clean up is easier.

Serve the soup hot or put it in the fridge for several hours or overnight to serve cold. In either case stir in a dollop of cream just before serving. This one is Linda's favorite.

#2 is courgette (zucchini) and watercress. Again sweat the onion, add the stock then put in the courgette which you've chopped into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook until the courgette is just soft (about 5 minutes). Let cool for 10-15 minutes then add the chopped up watercress. Puree the lot & serve hot or cold.with a swirl of cream added. This is a great way to use up all those courgettes you grew & can't even give away.

#3 is cucumber & avocado. This one really is best cold. Anyway, same deal sweat the onion, add the stock, simmer the cucumbers briefly, just enough to soften them. Let cool then add the avocado which you've cut into chunks. This soup benefits from having quite a lot of cream added. Its my favorite and is a must try.

There you go. Some simple recipes to get you going.Its not too late to try one of them today given the time differential. Brownie points for anyone who does try.

I'm off to bed. More in the morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heidih

Quick answers. The big flat pans of common for such events. More normally in this area they use them for making paella.

Yes, the meal was great. And, yes, you're certainly going to get some kitchen shots. Both of them in fact; thet's kitchens not shots.

You might even get some pictorial recipes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. very wonderful. I appreciate your reluctance to take pics of your food in the restaurant setting. Should you go into other restaurants or food shops would you consider some pics of the places themselves? with permission of course?

Much appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a lovely surprise - I go away for almost a week and come back to find Dave blogging! I'm thrilled and can't wait for all of it to unfold!

Ditto.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm looking forward to this. Seems like the euro crisis isn't really making itself felt in La France Profonde or am I missing something?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm feeling like booking a trip already. Thanks for doing this and all the photos. Where are the "teaser photos"? I want to see that tatin and your village!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the kind words. I'll do my best to live up to them

The 'teaser photos' are over in food blogs, coming attractions.

The Euro's over valuation has definitely had an effect on we ex-pats whose income is in $, £'s or whatever. Things are more expensive in those terms. For the normal population the Euro crisis has helped cause high unemployment and a general tightening of belts. Our area is mainly economically driven by agriculture so things aren't bad.

There will be lots of pictures as the week progresses. Maybe some some of & in shops, but none I'm afraid taken inside restaurants. Sorry!

I'm going to the Hypermarket today & I'll take some pics there.

If anybody wants to follow & cook our main dinner course tonight you'll need some chicken thighs, mushrooms, cream and tarragon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She who must be obeyed hinted that I should do some pictures of my kitchen. Here they are, both of them.

We inhereted kitchen #1 when we bought the house. Fortunately it is a nice kitchen.

k 1-1.JPG Here's our main open plan kitchen. Interestingly the French call this open style of kitchen an American kitchen. No idea why.

k1-2.JPG You can see that our hob is on the right with the sink & dishwasher at the far end. The hob is an induction type which I've learned to use if not love. I'd still prefer gas, but it would have been very difficult to intalll.

k1-3.JPG k1-4.JPG

Here's our drawer type fridge. This is great, but lacks space and has no freezer at all. Because of this and for summer use when I use the BBQ most of the time we've added our second kitchen with the BBQ right outside.

k2-1.JPG k2-2.JPG

k2-3.JPG k2-5.JPG

As you can see there's a fridge/freezer, a two burner hob, a dishwasher, a sink and quite a lot of extra cupboard space. The whole kitchen is from IKEA by the way. It also has the washer and dryer.

k2-4.JPG

The most important function of this fridge is to keep our everyday house wine cool. As you can see its a chardonnay. The region is in the Minervois and is near Carcassonne. Its cheap at 13.20€ for the 5 liter box, but is more then OK.

So, there you have our kitchens. Ideally we would have one larger kitchen, but we did want to downsize. These serve us well. I've cooked for up to 14 people without difficulty.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the photo of the two giant skillets holding sausages and potatoes. And three loud cheers for IKEA kitchens!

Blog on,

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last time I blogged here I gave everybody a small challenge with a Mystery picture. It was fun so I'm going to do it again.

The challenge is to give me the name and function of the object pictured below.

As a hint it is a culinary object.

DSC_0001.JPG

The prize for being the first to give both the name & the function is dinner for you & yours at our house. All you have to do is get here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

glad to see some boxed wine thats more than OK. Too bad Trader Joes does not carry MTOK boxes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last time I blogged here I gave everybody a small challenge with a Mystery picture. It was fun so I'm going to do it again.

The challenge is to give me the name and function of the object pictured below.

As a hint it is a culinary object.

DSC_0001.JPG

The prize for being the first to give both the name & the function is dinner for you & yours at our house. All you have to do is get here.

Mu first thought was that it was a one of those old-fashioned solid burners from an electric stove, then I noticed the handle, which makes it look like it might be a baking surface for some sort of flat bread, a bit like tigelle.


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last time I blogged here I gave everybody a small challenge with a Mystery picture. It was fun so I'm going to do it again.

The challenge is to give me the name and function of the object pictured below.

As a hint it is a culinary object.

DSC_0001.JPG

The prize for being the first to give both the name & the function is dinner for you & yours at our house. All you have to do is get here.

It's a salamander.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gosh, well done! My mystery object turned out to be not much of a mystery.

When can we expect you for dinner?

I'll have to think hard and see what else I can come up with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By stellabella
      My neighbor's sister made a huge cassoulet for my neighbor's birthday dinner last night, and invited me to watch her assemble it on Friday. Sister is married to a Frenchman and spends about half the year in France--this is the technique she learned most recently. It was amazingly non-fussy, quick to assemble, and heart-breakingly delicious served with a light fresh salad and lots of home-made bread & whipped butter.
      For eight folks, four duck thighs, 4 duck legs [in retrospect she said she should've used more duck], 4 Italian sausages, 2 kielbasa, 2 bratwurst, the sausages cut into 2 inch pieces. First she browned 4 slices of salt pork, cut in half, in about 2 T of olive oil on top of the stove in a large roasting pan, then added the rest of the meats to brown. After 10 mins she removed the meat and added 1 minced oinion, a few cloves of garlic [careful, she said, if you have garlic-y sausages], and a couple shallots, all finely minced, and softened in the fat. Then one large carrot cut in chunks, and a couple celery stalks, de-threaded, cut in chunks. Then the meat went back in, along with 2# of small white beans, soaked for about 4 hours--Great Northern beans, because she wasn't able to get the French beans she prefers. Then, she added enough water to cover the beans, and a few sprigs of rosemary and parsley from the yard [she said sage is good, too], and about 1/2 cup strong tomato sauce--she said the best thing to use is the very concentrated tomato paste from a tube--and, she said, ONLY a small amount--this is more for color than anything else. Don't salt it, because the salt pork should be sufficient.
      The roasting pan went covered into a medium low oven for, well, hours, and she checked it periodically to see that the beans were cooking and the water not getting too low--if so, she added more. When she was satisfied it was done, she skimmed off some of the excess liquid--and they like to eat that as a light soup for lunch. Her husband says it's best to reheat the cassoulet a couple times over the next couple days, before serving--to bring the flavors together.
      The result was meats that melted on the tongue like communion wafers, in a flavorful stew of perfectly cooked beans.
    • By sartoric
      We're 50 something Aussies who enjoy travelling, eating, cooking, markets, kitchen shops, cooking utensils, animals & plants (often food related), architecture & photography (both kitchens and food) and exploring different cultures (of which food is a big part). The trip was January 14 - February 6, it was just marvellous. My favourite meal is now masala dosa with sambar, I had many. Here's some highlights of the food.
       
      A late afternoon snack of Sichuan pepper squid was washed down with a beer at the Ajantha Seaview Hotel on the promenade in Pondicherry. It's a colonial building with a first floor terrace overlooking the colourful display of women in their finest, and the Bay of Bengal. We're here on a Monday public holiday for the Pongal festival, a four day celebration of the harvest, with many different ceremonies and traditions.
       
       

       
      A visual bonus, cows (and sometimes goats) get their horns painted and wear flower garlands or other decorations.

       
    • By Christy Martino
      Ciao!
       
      I'm Christine and I'm a born and bred New Yorker. I’m an Italian by blood (and at heart, of course) since my parents actually came from Italy. My father was from Sciacca, Sicily while my mother was from Sondrio, Lombardy. Despite coming from different regions, or because of it, love for food and cooking has been one of the mainstays in my family home life growing up. And I’ve always loved the dishes my parents prepared during special occasions, and even on regular days.
       
      And of course, I love cooking (and eating) Italian food and I have a few recipes from my mother, but I'd really love to collect some more, especially the traditional ones. And if anyone can contribute some historical background to each dish, that would be really great.
       
      Grazie mille!
    • By Chef Margie
      Hello Everyone!
       
      Happy to join eGullet in hopes to share my passion for culinary and kitchen with others. I have an Instagram account, but I don't think that is enough as I want to learn more, expand, and share my love for food with individuals who share the same passion.
       
      Here is a brief bio about myself: Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA by my Filipino parents. Having no brothers and sisters, I am very independent and surprisingly social with others but also love spending time on my own and with my boyfriend Louis, who is my kitchen partner in crime (this is how we actually met, working BOH at a local Vietnamese restaurant in LA). Having attended college majoring in accounting as an undergrad and grad, I orignally wanted to become a licensed accountant for finance and real estate, but it was not fulfilling and the content honestly bored me to death! I also desired to leave the corporate business world and join the professional kitchen. So I took the leap, graduated culinary school, quit my desk job, and worked in the professional kitchen. Then my health and finances took over, and I had surgery and I needed more money to survive in a city of ridiculous rent prices. I had to leave the kitchen and go back into accounting. Fast forward to 2017, I am currently unemployed having been laid off two days before Christmas the prior year! Using this as a sign and as an opportunity for self growth and realization, I am once again on the culinary path. Not necessarily to work on the line, but to learn more, cook and bake more at home, and expose myself out there to all things food and kitchen. Not also forgetting to mention I am always surrounded by food: Louis is also still in the professional kitchen, and we WILL have that restaurant one day (dreams DO come true, I just know it!).
       
      Anyhow, I am super excited to be posting here and exchanging ideas! See you out there! 
       
      Margie
    • By Loubika
      Hi everyone,
       
      I'm a little pastry chief in France, still learning and really passionate. It's been five months that I did'nt studiy or practise and I miss that so much. I never stop talking about this. I decided to travel in south america to learn everything I can. I'm actually in Central Colombia, and I will travel to Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru, Bolivia and maybe a little bit more if I want to. I have time until march, more or less.
       
      My project is to go in the farms and meet the people who grow up the raw material I use for make my pastries, Talk to them and see the plantation would be really helpfull for me to understand how does it works. If people need, I'm volunteer for work in exchange with accomodation and food for a few days. My spanish is not good yet, but I'm learning and sometimes it's more funny to not speak the same language. I'm interested about everything, exotic fruits, citrus, coffee, cacao, sesame, pepper, spices...
       
      If some of you is, knows or works with farmers or pastry chiefs in those countries, I would be glad to meet you/them and learn everthing about the work. We can exchange good recipe too.
       
      Thank you very much,
      Loubna
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.