I want to talk about food today for a change. One of the activities I love doing in France is going to farmers markets and gawking at the delicious food, fresh and seasonal fruit and vegetables, a variety of free range or wild game meats and pates, fresh and dried herb, cheese, and so much more.
I can spend a whole day at an open-air market. They do care about herbs, fresh or dried, and it’s lovely to smell each one of them.
The fruit and vegetables are so fresh and tasty here, too and especially the tomatoes, called ‘Tomate Rebellion’, have incredibly rich, sweet and fruity flavours, much more than “coeur de boeuf”, the one that looks like a bull’s heart. These are called “rebels” probably because their unusually tough skin and the level of sweetness, wanting to be treated as fruit.
My mentor and I go to the same market every second day to buy fresh ingredients for lunch and dinner. We only buy what is fresh daily and, seeing fresh mackerel, he couldn’t resist the temptation to buy. The way he cooked the mackerel was very new to my culinary world and I found it fascinating. You won’t find any packets of dried herbs in his cupboard, nor any bottles or jars of premade sauce and condiment. Instead, it has over ten jars of strawberry jam he made.
He put the fish in a pot filled with water and some vegetables and herbs, bay leaves and a small bunch of dried thyme filled, and wine – always white wine , but this time it was red wine since I chose to drink red wine. The important thing here is to watch the pot so that it doesn’t boil. You take the pot off the heat just before the liquid comes to the boiling point and let the fish rest in the pot for 2-3 mins before taking it out to bone it. Mackerel fish is thought to be oily and smelly, but this fish had no fishy odour and was so fresh and delicious without any seasonings. It would be a nice simple way to prepare ready-to-go fish meat for daily omega-3 intake and for a quick lunch instead of canned mackerel or tuna.
This is my usual everyday lunch; tomatoes, avocados, olives, pate, jambon, blanched spinach or steamed broccoli or raw cauliflower, followed by an array of raw milk CHEESE!
This time it was Valencay, Crottin de Chavignol,
Chevre de Gabas (?), La Gabarre du Port d’Aubry, the long one, whose original shape is a big rectangular which is originally a big boat-shaped slab with a mast and weighs 2 kilos.
This new cheese, which is local so not well-known, was dense and creamy, so creamy that it sticks to the teeth, and tangy in comparison to Valencay’s nutty creaminess. It was a very special cheese to discover.
Now I’m filing photos from more wine tastings but I am busy eating instead of cooking. As I mentioned before, coming to France is like an escape from all the cooking I do everyday back home. Everything is so fresh that it doesn’t need any complicated cooking, plus all I need to live in France is only cheese, some jambon or sausage and wine with good crusty chewy artisan bread.
Ma vie du fromage et du vin continue …