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Mademoiselle qui mange*

Salut mes amis!

So to earn my keep / pie / wine / foie gras while  here in France, I’ve been redesigning the website of this petit French paradise. It’s now back up, so go look! http://kitchen-at-camont.com

Bisous x

* The nickname given to me by Dominique the pig butcher, who invited us to lunch last week

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pie and animals

Alors mes amis, the deuxieme post.

Since we last spoke, I have had a lot of pie. Specifically: a plum tart, a swiss chard tart, a French apple pie, an American apple pie… possibly there are more. The lady who owns this petit french paradise makes pastry like you and I make toast; indeed, I found her making a batch at half seven this morning (i know! up so early!). Apparently, all those rules I have followed religiously – use fridge-cold butter and ice-cold water, don’t overwork the dough, don’t get it too wet… – all irrelevant. Still not sure what the key is with that, but the revelation has been the creamy fillings: fresh goat curd with the plums, creme fraiche & nutmeg for the chard

ARGH SOMETHING JUST FLEW INTO THE CARAVAN AND I JUMPED OUT THE WINDOW AND TORE MY SHORTS

ok, pretty pie pictures to follow tomorrow; i’m going to bed because SOMETHING IS SCRABBLING AROUND and there is a mosquito whining in my ear and something flitting against my leg and my bum is out. damn countryside.

(by the way, kate (pie-mistress) is looking for another volunteer asap, so if anyone wants a week or two free holiday in the sunny south of france with all the pie you can eat and the rose you can drink included, plus fresh eggs and raspberries and figs and a sheep called margo and a giant dog, just 4h train from paris, then let me know. night. x)

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France: le premier post de blog

Alors mes amis, today we go up another level in smug blog tediousness. Je suis in France, and thus maintenant we are a smug food travel blog. Bœuf.

You may all not believe this, mais mes amis, I sleep these days in a caravan sans running water. Mainly though, je mange. Je mange, je pick the fruit, je go to the market, je say bonjour to the chickens, je drink le rosé.

Et aujourd’hui, because my hostess is American, we had a 4th July party. I sat next to a Californian lady who had Joni Mitchell play at her wedding.

We must take time to consider the awesomeness of this fact.

Bon.

Here for you is our table:

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We had un peu de foie gras, quelques olives and then un barbecue d’hot dogs francais: saucisse in baguette with homemade chilli plum sauce (picked and stoned par moi). Voila, mes amis, my work these days:

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I go now to sit in a hammock. Bon.

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Prawn, fennel, almond

Recently, this blog has taught me that I eat lots of 1) eggs and 2) warm salad. The first is me avoiding meat in a combined attempt to be frugal and save the planet; the second is down to laziness and anxiety. Having only one dish to put together is so much easier than trying to get three different things all ready at the same time, timing being a particular kitchen weakness of mine.

Tonight’s combo – after the sad last-minute cancellation of a trip to my favourite restaurant –  sounds strange, but was inspired by a revelatorily(?) brilliant Allegra McEvedy pasta recipe in the Guardian last year: linguini with prawns, almonds and tomato. I think, frankly, that the tomatoes in my dinner were an ingredient too far, but otherwise, I’m feeling quite smug about this one.

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Slice a garlic clove thinly, cut half a thumb of ginger into matchsticks and finely chop some green chilli. Heat oil in a frying pan and sweat all three for a few minutes. Meanwhile, cut a bulb of fennel in half and then into thin wedges, then add to the pan. Cook on a low heat until just tender. Spread a handful of flaked almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven until lightly golden. Add raw, peeled, deveined prawns to the frying pan, squeeze in the juice of half a lime, season with salt, and partially cover with a lid to steam cook the prawns. Once they turn pink, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the almonds and a scattering of fennel fronds.

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The Penelope Cruz of gazpacho

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A Spanish beauty.

The

Pug

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The final brunch / Mastering the art of French sauces part III: Hollandaise

After making mum French toast on Mothers’ Day, I thought it would be nice to make dad his favourite, Eggs Benedict, on his corresponding day of parental appreciation. But then last week, after three months in the diary, my own parents cancelled on me in favour of friends. Thus it was Eggs Florentine (cheaper, vegetarian) with my Bethnal Green family this morning instead.

I won’t lie, it’s a bloody arse to make. Everything needs to be done at the last minute and everything needs a pan of simmering water and everything is only ever a few seconds from going irreparably wrong. For an already-anxious person and cook, it’s not in the least bit fun. But somehow, it all worked. Thanks to posh housemate P for taking over on the egg-poaching front and happy housemate R and saintly-patient M for their toast-buttering and tea-making services. The hollandaise was great, and while I wish I could offer some insight into why it didn’t curdle or scramble or split, I just don’t know.

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It’s just occurred to me that this blog makes my life seem like one long brunch of eggs.

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Pasta with broad beans, bacon, leek & almonds


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First, put

some pasta

on. Meanwhile: boil

two large handfuls of broad beans

for a couple of minutes until tender. Drain and cool under the cold tap. Turn on the oven – temperature doesn’t matter – and slide in a baking tray scattered with

sliced almonds

– they’ll take maybe five minutes to lightly toast. Chop and fry

four rashers of smoked bacon (or pancetta)

in olive oil. Remove from pan. Add a bit more oil,

a finely chopped garlic clove

for a minute on its own, then add and fry

two sliced leeks

gently until soft. Season, but easy on the salt because of the cured pig.  Now to assemble: stir the beans and bacon into the leeks, squeeze over

some lemon juice

and warm through for a minute or so. Finally, stir in

a dollop of creme fraiche

the toasted almonds and the drained pasta with a bit of its cooking water. Taste seasoning and finish with

parsley

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