Fall is around the corner, we already had some cold days and lit the wood stove twice this week, but today is a sunny warm day again, ideal to work in the garden. Our tomato plants are still covered in unripe ones. They don’t taste anything like the sweet juicy red ones, rather acidic and won’t reach full growth or optimum ripeness with the fall temperatures. So instead of admitting defeat, I decided to enjoy them as a tasty green treat: a homemade green tomato chutney. My husband and I are already looking forward to this tasty side dish with its deliciously, sharp, puckering and astringent flavour.
You can’t go out into the forest or the fields and find endives, because they aren’t around in nature but farmed in complete darkness! “Belgian Endives” in the US called “chicons”, in French and Europe, “witloof”, in Belgium (also called white gold), “chicory” in English, is a vegetable low in calories (17kcal per 100g), try to find less calories in other veg! The red-leaved, white veined, varieties are frequently called “radicchio”.
Great was my surprise to find unusual exotic looking vegetables in my weekly local surprise fruit and vegetable pack: hard pear-shaped objects named Chayotes. They are actually a fruit, I was told. The Chayote (Sechium edule), is known as “mirliton/ choko” in the US and “christophene” in France, and obviously sometimes called “vegetable pear”.
Vibrant orange colours pop up near Halloween and so do these charming, tasty, ever so popular here in France as top selling fall crop, miniature pumpkins. With its vigorous vines they are an arts-and-crafter’s dream, just visualise them as the cutest but smallest Jack O’Lanterns.
One of my lovely memories whilst visiting my mother in law in England, was getting a lovely breakfast: a toast buttered and spread with a thin layer of a thick brown spread called Marmite and a boiled egg sliced on top, it made me a forever fan of “Marmite”. This was long before I realized that for me, as a veggie, Marmite is the best B12 provider possible, super food for veggies/ vegans. But then I met Dan and his idea to use Marmite combining it with another food spread I adore…
Fall is prime apple season. The wonderfully warm, crisp scent of harvest apples, their heavenly aroma, makes delicious, healthy and mouthwatering desserts come to mind. Apples loaded with fibre, help preventing type 2 diabetes and protect against Parkinson’s, on top of that they maximise your antioxidant intake.
Every week we pick up a local basket of vegetables and fruit, eggs, a plate of 3 cheeses, an initiative of the farmers here in the South. The advantage of buying locally, straight from the farmers, is that there are hardly any transport costs and you’re sure they aren’t treated with chemicals for preservation in countries that have less strict laws concerning the use of them, than here. Eating what the seasons provides here in our part of the country, often offers us long forgotten vegetables and sometimes a challenge, even if they do come with a recipe! So did the Romanesco broccoli, also known as Roman cauliflower, or here in France “Chou Romanesco”.
The Christmas tree is proudly standing in our living room; cards are on their way, decoration done… What more do I need to do, one could think. Ah, and then comes the main thing: Christmas dinner! With my family arriving after a 12 hour drive from Belgium on Christmas day, us just back from a night in Carcassonne’s loveliest lush hotel after marvelous breakfast (one has to spoil oneself sometimes), it starts to dawn on me, how on earth will I be able to serve a luscious Christmas dinner the way I would like it (perfect that is) and decorate the table… coming home round 12 midday (count 2 veggies for the party!). Ready for some free recipes?
When the French lady at the “vide grenier” (boot fair) explained me her wonderful childhood memories (for many who were children during WWII, they are) of how her gran made exceptionally tasty cookies with this vintage item, I was stunned, as I never heard of these “Rosette” irons. They do have a special place in the history of cooking as I found out later. Tools and recipes, have been passed down over the generations. So of course I had to buy this item for my shop!
A long way from being sold only at the chemist’s, being the poor people’s favourite drink: gin, the spirit of the past, is the newest hype with die-hard fans. Yes, my friends, GIN is IN, it’s the bartender’s favourite! And no, I’m not offering another gin tonic recipe, but a smooth, refreshing gin cocktail for a warm summer day, let me surprise you. (more…)