Bienvenue Chez Fanny.
It is another chilly day here in North Carolina and I leave for France in just 3 days so I am thinking about Mme P, her lovely home and the pot au feu that I ate there in January. Logical progression of thoughts if you are inside my head.
So, let's take a little tour.
First the gate-
Here's the house- "my" room is on the top floor with the little green shutters. (Merci encore, Audrey!)
The view from "my" window on the side of the house--
Pass by the garden--
Up to the terrasse--
French style... they are just born knowing how to place and arrange things.
Above the door... can you read the year this structure was built?
Come on in. Entrez. Into the kitchen.
A member of the greeting committee--
A family cupboard redone with a chalkboard on the front for shopping lists, reminders, etc. (Is my arrival on there yet??)
Favorite places to visit--
A refrigerator magnet so she will remember that I am close by even though I am 3000 miles away-
A fire in the winter and tea with Mlle de Tavel's carrot cake after a long day at school--
A kitchen chicken to guard the bread. From moi maybe?
The family decided that pot au feu should be my first meal in January. They know me well.
First the meat. Beef. One popular cut is called jarret, the shin, I believe, which is not easy to get here.
A bone for flavor. She uses a couple of different cuts of meat.
Some vegetables, herbs, and water. Carrots, leeks, garlic, celery. She takes an peeled onion and sticks cloves in it-- the secret ingredient, maybe?
Herbs, of course. Thyme, rosemary, bay leaves.
Cover and cook for a couple of hours.
More vegetables are added later so that they do not cook too much. Whole, peeled potatoes are in there, too.
Ready to eat.
(The purple flower is actually on the plate... it just happened to turn out this way for the photo. We noticed it afterwards.)
Bread, of course. Merci, Mme Poule!
A good local red to accompany it.
Délicieux. This is considered une recette de grand-mère-- grandma's recipe, passed down. Lucky me. I get it, too.
The next day, much to her children's delight, Mme P takes the leftovers, puts them through the food processor (her Robot), adds egg, shapes them, dredges them in flour and fries them into croquettes.
Délicieux Part Deux.
There you have it. My favorite meal in France. And the recipe of sorts. If you've ever made beef stew, you know that it's a little of this, some of that, the vegetables you like, long, slow cooking to tenderize the beef, herbs for flavor, beef stock or just water or even some wine, if you wish.
I look forward to seeing you in just 10 days, mon amie!
Bon appétit to all friends and to friendship, even across the ocean!