I live in France, known for it’s love of food, and there is some of the food that I love (I have to say at this point that I have a lot to try yet!) and some food that I hate.
Let’s start on the positive and look at what I love, moules and frites, sad I know, but I never cook them so therefore nearly always order them in restaurants. I love them especially with Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese all melted into the sauce. Divine! In fact I often buy a baguette and take it with me and break bits off it, when the bread I have been given has run out and, yes, by the end I am stuffed! Recently I have tried the Alsace version with lardons, and oh my! That was good.
I love the pizza, because the base is so thin, I like the aperitifs, the cornichons, (small gerkins) the dried sausage , and of course the olives. I love the cheese, but weirdly, I find that when you live here the novelty wears off, and you don’t eat nearly as much as you do when you come over here on holiday.
Then there are some (and I must emphasise this) of the French casseroles, I have had a few and the flavours are divine; France is meant to really be about the peasant way of cooking, using what you have, and coming up with something wonderful; add to this that some of the French cuts of meat are so tough you have to cook them forever to be able to eat them, that explains all of the casseroles.
I would strongly recommend going to an Auberge and trying the food, very cheap and very tasty, but be careful, avoid the saucissons at all costs, because I have yet to find one that I like.
What can I say about the patisserie? There is nothing to say, they are works of art!
Looking at the bad, it has to start with the sausages, not for me, as you may have guessed!
Then there are the burgers, which are, quite simply, raw in the middle, just like steak hache, blurgh!! I could not eat mine the other day, I like my steak a bit bloody, but not mincemeat. The burgers are the same, they are just formed mincemeat, not for me.
Snails, forget it, in fact the plat de mer is not for me, a big tower of seafood that comes out with numerous implements with which to plow through it, all the seafood being raw and included in this are sea snails and other weird and wonderful creatures that look as if they are aliens, in fact I think that they might be.
But this blog is more about how things change when you make the move to another country. Things that you thought you could not live without, you can.
I always cooked with a curry sauce and then “witchy pood” it up (a term often used by my husband). Now I cook the curry with fresh ingredients in my treasured tagine (again thank you Mary) and have had to add salt to the mix because, of course, not using a curry sauce mix means all that salt has been taken out. We came over here with bags of poppadoms, because I really thought that I could not eat a curry without it but we improvised, as you do, and prawn crackers go really nicely. Rich did not think he could ever eat an Indian without naan bread but now a wheat tortilla suffices. We don’t have the onion bhaji or the samosa (although you can get them out here with pineapple in. Yum!!!!????) things that we thought that we could not live without.
Since being given the tagine I now cook Moroccan dishes in it. I also cook a mean Chinese including salt and pepper chicken, and chicken in black bean sauce. I have found doner kebab meat in Lidl and mix that with some cumin, coriander, and ras al hanout and it tastes just like a kebab. I also cook a chicken kebab for me, and we are so sad we put salad in the pitta and then put the cooked meat on the salad (that Rich has witchy pooed up with lemon and vinegar) and then put it in the oven that is still warm so that it has that “just delivered” wilt!! YUM!!!
I cook a mean dauphinoise and Lyonnaise, using creme fresh, new potatoes roasted with butter and garlic, hasslebacks, and home made chips in our acti-fry. I could bore you now with so many recipes that I have developed, and meat pie has just been added to my repertoire, and I’m just about to add honey chicken which I am going to cook with a chorizo and rocket risotto.
So, having written this I realise that the country that prides itself on it’s food has obviously inspired me.
But I still cannot get my stew tasting right without Oxo cubes, or my chilli tasting right without the Santa Maria sauce that I use as a base, before I add all the hot spices. I cannot live without smoked paprika (dramatic I know!) and you cannot get smoked paprika out here but I have started to improvise in some dishes using BBQ sauce! My Mexican chicken has taken a whole new turn, and that’s what I love, the improvisation that I have had to do and now find myself doing whether I have to or not.
I know some of my friends will say I could cook before, but there are few cheats out here so I am now developing recipes all the time. Last night we had a spicy chicken burger, with bacon and cheese, and chips.
Tonight we’re having a curry.
Perhaps I should have my own app that you can look at for a recipe!!
Please share my blog with others, and your comments are always welcome and exciting,.
Your blog has really made my mouth water, I love to cook but if I live to 100 I dont think I will ever get the real french taste, we are lucky that we have friends who have a holiday home in our village who bring things over for us in exchange for us looking after their garden, curry is our favourite and we get curry paste from super u and I have a recipe for naan bread, I also was not a lover of sausage but I now cook them in a casserole (I cover with foil then put lid on) on a bed of onions with some stock and cook them for 3 hours taking the lid off for last 30 mins and they are so tender even I like them, try them x
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Hello my friend, I might give them a go, can you tell me which type? Rich said can you also give us the recipe for naan bread and I will have a go at keema naan then!! Oooooooooh missus! Xx
Roz also meant to say buy a Tagine, if you don’t have one, and cook your curries in that, the flavours are unbelievable. Also if you go to Aldi look in the section as you go in the door as they often have curry pastes and spices that they are selling off, some for as little as 39 cents xx
Got very hungry reading this, even at 7:00 am. I’m sure your readers would enjoy an occasional recipe, perhaps with pictures, and you could collect them in a categories sidebar. I agree with you about some of the raw “alien” seafood, but do hope you will try snails in a good bistro sometime, if you have not already. Cooked, they really only taste of butter and garlic, like chewy mushrooms. Texture not unlike your beloved moules!
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I think it’s the idea of them being snails! Don’t even like them in the garden! That’s a good idea about the photos and recipes altHough I am not a measure kind of girl, but I’m sure I can get round that. Look out for the photos, might start with my mince and onion pie tomorrow. Love that you’re reading my blog when you are clearly so far away x
We are in California, but plan on moving to France next year when I retire (probably part time in Paris and part time in a small village in Normandy). Learning so much from your experiences, and enjoying your sense of humor. Cooking tips would, perhaps even literally, be the icing on the cake!
Let’s do it!!!