Home Grown Edamame

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Needless to say,  Japanese restaurants are a rarity in the French countryside.  When I came across a packet of organic SOJA BEANS it took me a minute to put two and two together in my head to conjure up the image of a bowl of freshly steamed  EDAMAME pods sitting in front of me in my own home !!  I even have the bottle of Japanese Whiskey (merci Gianni 😉 ) to accompany this delightfully fresh “aperitif”.

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Once cooled, I toss those gorgeous little pods in coarse sea salt and serve up a bowl.  How to eat?  Pick up a pod and pop the beans directly into your mouth (careful they are jumpy little guys).

So now I can have a slightly “sushi bar” experience in my own garden, and the quality of the whiskey is better 😉

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Oeufs Cocotte or Baked Eggs

We have been experiencing exceptionally warm and often sunny weather this winter, encouraging us to get the solar oven out !  Here is a great simple recipe we like to make in the Solar oven but works great in your normal oven as well 🙂

eoufs cocotteThis is a very versatile recipe, with little “rules”…  All you need is individual ramekin dishes, nice fresh farm eggs, butter, cream (is optional) and then let your imagination take over and tuck some leftover meat, cooked veg and loads of herbs in the ramekin before cracking in the egg.

Our latest Oeufs Cocotte creation (above) was simply some little bits of cooked lardons or crumbled bacon, lots of chopped fresh parsley and chives at the bottom of the buttered ramekins.  Crack in your eggs (we made 4 little pots) and top with a couple slices of nice fresh “raw” butter and some sea salt and freshly ground pepper….

Place the ramekins into a warm water bath then bake in the oven (or solar oven) until the egg is set to your liking.  This should take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes (the latter when using a solar oven.  For a normal oven 180°C should do it.

Serve with nice crusty bread for dipping and a lovely salad.  1 or 2 ramekins per person makes a lovely lunch …

Nice additions for Oeufs Cocotte:
Chopped herbs such as parsley, chervil, coriander or chives
Leftover cooked meat
Shredded duck confit
Leftover cooked veg
Crumbled bacon or pancetta
Chopped and cooked chorizo & chopped grilled peppers
Chopped artichoke hearts
Sun-dried tomatoes
Top with a bit of nice cream instead of butter
The list goes on and on . . .

Bon Appétit  !

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Beetroot and Simplicity at its Best …

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OK, I know what you are thinking….  Nothing new here !  Everyone knows the lovelyness you get when you pair Beetroot and Chèvre together.

But I just had one of those moments when its quite hard to speak due to moaning about how good the thing in your mouth is, so thought I would share.  I even had 11 yr old daughter begging me for more BEETROOT !

This evenings meal was just a pure example of what can be created with incredibly perfect ingredients …. and …  Simplicity.

The baby beetroot were plucked from the garden, scrubbed then “poached” in a small amount of water with salt and fresh herbs until knife tender.  Once cool enough to handle, their skins were slipped off.

On the plate…..  Slices of cooled beetroot, very very fresh goats cheese, and a lovely mixed salad with whatever you have at its best to put in it !  I had some gorgeous crunchy cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions and garlic and some toasted pumpkin, sunflower seeds and almonds.

LOTS of freshly ground pepper, fleur de sel (we have a producer just 15 minutes from us), fruity olive oil from Provence and a drizzle of good quality balsamic.   A slice of bread from our beloved baker (see previous post for a video about him)

MERCI to all of the wonderful farmers that make this type of meal possible ! AND to beautiful Eva (11 yr old beetroot lover) for taking these pics 😉

Not to forget, the “sulphite” free glass of chilled Jurançon wine…..

HEAVEN on a plate !

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Bon Appetît !