French Week

Today a new English speaking newspaper is launched in France, called French Week.
Here is my piece from the first edition.

Summer Time – And The Eating Is Easy.

As the summer soars to its zenith, French cooking down shifts and moves outdoors. To enjoy seasonal food with a minimum of effort, there are some basic rules of engagement when organising meals: Keep cooking time short, and enjoy the best and freshest your region has to offer.

Markets such as the one at Thouars in the Poitou Charentes is a fine example of locally produced food that can minimize effort in the kitchen while still being able to eat like a king. Sprawling over the Place Lavault every Friday, it exudes a national enthusiasm for the French love of food, convivial conversation with the prospect of a good meal to follow.

This month Charentais melon, grown a few kilometres away is the jewel in the market’s crown. Goats’ cheese, in a myriad of guises is another regional speciality, and can be combined with other locally produced ingredients such as honey and walnuts to produce a meal in moments to be taken to your favourite picnic spot. Specialist items, such as rosewater and walnut oil, often only available at the market can add an extra dimension to these simply prepared feasts.

Walnut And Goat’s Cheese Salad.

Ingredients

1small lettuce
1 small cucumber
4 tomatoes
200g goats’ cheese
100 g fresh shelled walnuts
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp walnut oil
1 tbsp white wine or honey vinegar
1 tspn mustard
1 tspn honey
Salt to taste.

Method

To make the vinaigrette, place oils, vinegar, mustard, honey and salt into a screw top jar.
Shake jar to combine.
Wash salad vegetables.
Slice cucumber and tomatoes.
Combine vegetables in a large bowl.
Crumble or cube goats’ cheese.
Gently brown walnuts in a dry frying pan and add to bowl.
Pour over vinaigrette.
Toss ingredients together before serving.

Rosewater Fruit Salad.

Ingredients

1 ripe Charentias melon
300g strawberries
2 tbsp rosewater

Method

Cut melon into four.
Slice flesh from each segment and cut into cubes.
Wash and hull strawberries and cut in half
Cover bowl and leave for at least an hour before serving at room temperature.
Combine fruits in a bowl and sprinkle over rosewater.
Mix fruit to incorporate rosewater.

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