22 July 2013

Bonjour! Home Sweet Home

Eve 21/07/13


How are you? Well, I'm good and very tanned. For the past two weeks, I have been on holiday in Brittany, France and have been staying on a dairy farm, moo! Throughout my time in France, I have tried many cakes, pastries and local delicacies as well as eating plenty of fresh, artisan bread. Everyday, we bought two to three types of bread. Now I understand why the french buy bread everyday, since the boulangeries offer such an amazing array of breads.  

Also, I visited Quimper, the home of the first ever Macaronier in France. Cool! While walking down one street, there were 4 macaron shops in a row! Heaven! So, being me, I went into each shop and purchased a macaron, my favourite flavour was the "Citron" - Lemon. After the macaron eating, I am soon going to publish a basic macaron recipe and lets hope they don't look like my Raspberry Macarons and I'll hopefully redeem myself! 

Yum Alert

Lemon, my favourite!

Nearly everyday, there would be a market in the villages close by. The market would sell super fresh fruit and veg, beautiful cuts of fresh meat from the local butchers and bread and pastries from the patisseries and boulangeries. Just after a light breakfast, I went to the market in Pont Croix and was drawn a van selling different types of bakery product which you wouldn't really see in the boulangeries. I bought a "Coco Rocher" a big, dense coconut truffle/ cake which was lightly baked, kinda like the french take in the coconut macaron; very heavy but absolutely delicious, here's a picture.

Coco Rocher
During my time in Brittany, I discovered many fresh, wild and tasty ingredient and some were even free! So, here is a list of the most memorable things I have made and ate during my gastronomic adventure.

                                                    *                          *                            *

Mussels Aniseed - On a lovely beach called "Pointe du Millier. I was walking on the rocks and there were so many fresh, big mussels. I decided to pick a few (discretely) and shove them in my pocket. As soon as I got back to the gite where we were staying, I fried some garlic in olive oil and added some aniseed liquor.  I flambeed the mix and added my mussels. They cooked in a matter of seconds in the steam. The flesh of the mussels was so, so orange and they were sweet and packed with flavour!

Pea and Lardon Pasta - After a lovely day at Douarnenez, we arrived home to our gite with only a tin of petit pois, a piece of pork belly/ lardon and a box of pasta, ta dah! Pea and lardon pasta.  Slowly sweat down a shallot in fresh Breton butter with some garlic. Add the lardon and turn up the heat to crisp it up. Add the peas and cook until hot and saucy. Cook the pasta to packet instructions and reserve a tablespoon of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and add to the peas. Mix well and add the water. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the sauce! 

Kouign Amann/ Kouignette - One of Brittany's nation cakes/pastries, Kouign Amann translates in to "butter cake" which it truly is! Kouignettes are smaller versions, looking like a pinwheel of pastry. The cake is made by making a dough with flour, water and yeast. Made a bit like a croissant or puff pastry, you fold in a heck of a lot of Breton butter and sugar. Roll the dough thin and roll up like a sticky bun. Once baked, they are so sticky and sugary and yummy and extremely buttery. You can also get different flavours, my flavour is pistachio but my sister's is caramel apple. Not for the faint hearted or dieter!   

Cajun-style Barbecue steak - Local "entrecote" steak from the butchers, marinated in olive oil, garlic and Cajun seasoning. Barbecued until rare and juicy.

Far  Breton/ Farz Fourn - Another Breton delicacy.  A baked custard with the addition of flour and prunes soaked in brandy. Looks like a big cold Yorkshire pudding. When arriving at the gite, we found a Far Breton on the kitchen counter, baked by the owner of the gite for us. Lovely idea!

Crepes - Of course, the wonderful Crepe. Thin, sweet pancake which you can fill with just about anything; butter, sugar, ice cream, nutella (mmmm...),  anything goes! I love mine with sugar and lemon juice, yum!

Samphire - When walking above a beautiful beach, I spotted some samphire, it was delicious  so fresh and salty. Blanch, shock, dry and fry for a restaurant-worthy garnish.

Rotisserie Pork - At the market in Pont Croix, one of the stalls was selling the most delicious looking rotisserie pork, we had to buy it. We heated it up for diner and the meat was so tender and juicy, definitely would have it again!

Plenty of Bread - What can I say... Amazing!

Tapanade - At the market in Pont Croix (again). The tapanade was so fresh

Bruchetta - Lunch time! Using local bread, gently toast until golden, rub with garlic and top with fresh tomatoes and olive oil.

Freshly Ground Flour - Next to the beach, hidden away in the trees was a flour mill powered by water. You got to see all of the processes of making flour; the grinding, milling and bagging  Also, I purchased some fresh white flour and that will hopefully appear in a post soon!

 Just back yesterday morning and happy to be home. Hopefully, it will be hot! What about you, have you gone anywhere or are you going anywhere? Tell me by leaving a comment.

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