Like French Fashion, French cuisine has held itself up as the Creme de la creme, but in recent times, its star has fallen. Throughout France far too many of the restaurants serve basically the same food, some better than others but innovation seems to have gone out of the window. Too many of them are now “buying in” food that is made elsewhere whether it be the charcuterie or the patisserie or even the mains. And so it is with delight to know that somewhere some chefs are still being a chef and that the words “Fait Maison” really mean something.
This is true in our bit of France. Claire in our Hamlet at her little La Ratelli, doesn’t have a clue, which is a shame as we welcomed her when she opened, but her prices are high and her food really not very good. Whereas, in town a young Anglo French couple have really made a go of La Grange. Fred is in the Kitchen and Alex is front of house and 11 years on they are still in business. My only complaint is that the food is very much Savoyard, but then that is what tourists want, I guess!
My favourite, there is the oft mentioned Tarte de l’Abondance. On a recent visit here, I found out that a couple of other cheeses were involved in the making of this delicious tarts, one of which I have never found. So now I use predominantly Abondance, with Beaufort and Comté added to the mix. On my first use of Watts Farm ( Kent) they had as one of their weekly specials, Comté at a ridiculously low price of £9.00 a kilo! ( normally would cost upwards of £35 a kilo). It said ” short shelf life”. I immediately bought 2 kilos of it, cut it into the requisite size for my tart, wrapped and froze. The down side of this of course, is that now two drawers of my freezer are now full of cheese!
Meanwhile grandkids have been busy, a crumble, Rhubarb of course and Banana cake/ bread ! I have been showing them joys of All In One Baking. This came into being in the early 1970’s and I taught in East London schools, back then, I am still surprised that in modern recipes it is rarely used.
We have had so far, Slow roasted pork, with the Rub/ marinade done by Alfie, Singapore Laksa, a noodle and coconut / soup dish, often made with seafood, but we used turkey breast, made by Popi ( Himself), Turkey Fajitas, not truly Mexican but the Salsa and Guacamole made by Willowy blond were, well almost, we were missing the Coriander ( cilantro).
Willowy blond has also been making a yummy salad for lunch. Easy peasy, watermelon, mint and Feta cheese. What could be easier. Of course, mint also is not always available.
Today, is another Ice Lolly day, the 3 oldest grandchildren have been boating, swimming and water fighting with the three kids also visiting their grandparents next door. Language with water guns, is not a problem!