Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Eaters in training

Mlle de Tavel is a superb English teacher.  She is also very silly.  She almost always makes a face when she knows she is being photographed.  It is a face to love, though.  Her students are crazy about her.  I love visiting her classes when I am in France.
In January, I was invited to visit with her 6th graders.  They had prepared a couple of activities for me. We warmed up by practicing commands.

Stick out your tongue.

Touch your nose.

And so on.
Then they entertained me with a song they had learned about what they like (yum, yum, yum) and don't like (yuck, yuck, yuck).

Adorable, n'est-ce pas?

They also had a game ready to play with me.  (My reputation for cooking and eating is legendary in that part of France, I suppose.)

The kids had asked their parents and grandparents for recipes.  Saying that a recipe is une recette grand-mère is a high compliment-- grandma's recipe.  I scored two points if I could identify the recipe with only the ingredients given.  One point if I could name the dish after they read the directions. No points if I couldn't get it at all.  They had translated the recipes into English and had to practice numbers, food vocabulary and giving directions.  What a wonderful idea!  And I came away with several recipes.  I did score a few points, but even better, I scored new recipes!  Here's one of them. And I might as well confess... At this very minute, it is the only one I can find.  I've sent an SOS email to Mlle de Tavel asking for the others if she has them handy.  Mon dieu bon dieu.  Let me check to make sure my head is where it is supposed to be.  I will find the recipes eventually...  maybe.  Let's hope Mlle de Tavel checks her email before heading across the ocean to chez moi.

** Yippee!  Mlle de Tavel just came through and sent me all the recipes!  I am so happy!

Can you guess?

1.  For my first recipe, you need the following ingredients:

100 g of sugar
100 g of flour
100 g of butter
3 eggs

Mix well all the ingredients with a spatula.
Put in the oven for 25 minutes at 180˚C (double for F oven).

This is a Quatre-quarts.  Four-fourths literally.  Pound cake-type cake.  I didn't get it.  They didn't give me any points for gâteau.  C'est comme ça.  Haven't ever heard the cake called this.

2.  For my second recipe, you need the following ingredients:

250 g of sugar
250 g of milk or dark chocolate
3 tablespoons of water
250 g of butter
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of flour

Melt the chocolate and the butter.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and the sugar, then add the flour.
Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture.
Tip the batter into an oven dish.
Chill for 20 minutes.
Heat oven to 200˚C and cook for 20 minutes.

I got this one.  Fondant au chocolat.  The recipe I keep trying to perfect.  Not sure what happened to the water?  Must ask.

3.  For my third recipe, you need the following ingredients:

4 eggs
A pinch of salt and pepper
200 g of bacon (lardon in French-- thick cut bacon chopped)
20 cl of cream
10 cl of milk
Short crust pastry

Preheat the oven to 190˚C.
Roll out the pastry and place on a baking tray and bake blind for 20 minutes.
Reduce the temperature of the oven to 180˚C.
Fry the bacon until crisp and sprinkle on the pastry.
Combine the eggs with the milk and cream in a bowl and season well.
Pour over the bacon.
Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Got this one, too.  Quiche lorraine.  Good grief.  I am hungry.  What's for dinner??

4.  For my fourth recipe, you need the following ingredients:

1 kg of potatoes
250 g of bacon (lardons)
1 onion
1 reblochon (a smelly type of cheese- if you can't find this, some websites I looked at suggested brie or camembert- something creamy, or a mixture of one of those and gruyère-- I'd probably try the camembert or brie)
A bit of oil
4 garlic cloves

Preheat oven to 200˚C. 
Peel and part-boil the potatoes, then cut them into thin slices.
Chop the onion and garlic.
Fry the bacon, onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.
In an oven dish, layer the potatoes and the bacon, onion and garlic.
Season with salt and black peper.
Layer the Reblochon slices on top.
Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes.

I guessed gratin de pommes de terre.  I was sure.  Guess again.  Non!  Tartiflette.

5.  For my fifth recipe, you need the following ingredients:

1 litre of milk
100 g of rice
100 g of sugar
A vanilla pod

Put all the ingredients in a pan and cook for 45 minutes.

Got this one--  riz au lait!  One of my favorites since Chef Érick made it for me the first time in Arles.  Kind of a rice pudding but not baked.  Mama Mildred used to make this for us for breakfast (without a vanilla pod, just vanilla extract) when I was growing up.  And I didn't even know it had a French name!

6.  For my sixth recipe, you need the following ingredients:

80 g of butter
75 g of sugar
1 sachet of vanilla sugar (I can actually find this at Harris Teeter)
3 eggs
200 g of flour
5.5 g of baking powder
1/4 litre of milk

Melt the butter and mix with the sugars.
With a fork, whisk 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk and add to the rest.
Whip the egg white until stiff.
Sift the flour and baking powder.
Slowly add the milk and then delicately mix in the egg white.
Grease your "gaufrier" and cook for 2-3 minutes.

After the ingredients were read to me, I guessed crêpes.  Non!  Gaufres vanillées maison.  Homemade vanilla waffles.  A gaufrier is a waffle iron.

Finally for my seventh and last recipe, you need the following ingredients:

1.5 kg of various saltwater fish
500 g of tomatoes
1 big onion
1 leek, (white bit only)
1 small green pepper
4 garlic cloves
1 sprig of dried fennel
1 sprig of dried thyme
2 bay leaves
3 stems of parsley
4 pinches of saffron
4 Tbsp. of olive oil

Scale, empty and clean the fish and wash all the vegetables.  (I would buy my fish ready to go!)
Cut the tomatoes into quarters.
Cut the green pepper into thin slices.
Thinly slice the onion and the leek and peel and chop the garlic.
Heat the oil in a big pan and gently fry the onion, garlic, leek and green pepper.
Add the tomatoes, fennel, thyme, bay leaves, parsley, saffron and fish.
Add salt and pepper.
Mix for 2 minutes, then put a lid on and cook on a very gentle heat for 10 minutes.
Pour 2 litres of boiling water over this and cook for 20 minutes over low heat.

In the meantime, prepare the "rouille" - to do this, you need:

3 garlic cloves
2 fresh chili peppers
10 g bread crumbs
20 cl olive oil
4 pinches of saffron
1/2 tsp. of coarse salt

Peel and chop the garlic.
Cut the chili peppers into halves, scrape out stems and seeds and chop.
Put in a mixer with garlic, saffron and salt.  Mix well.
Add the bread crumbs and mix again.  Finally, slowly pour the oil while mixing until you have a lovely thick sauce of a rusty colour.  

When the soup is ready, put it through a sieve.
Rinse your pan and put the soup back in and heat it up gently.

Serve the soup with toasted bread.  Spread the "rouille" on the toasts and float them on your soup.

Got this one.  Oui, la soupe de poissson.  Fish soup.

All yum, yum, yum.  No yuck, yuck, yuck.

Bon appétit to all eaters, young and old!  See you in one week, Mlle de Tavel!

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