Friday, May 30, 2014

FRESH FISH FRIDAY


A catholic thing from times past. No meat on Friday. Not that I adhere to it all that much....
I am including seafood in the topic since I made scallops and not fish. My experience in cooking fish is pretty limited and it's a new goal to change that. I made fresh Calamari the other day, fresh Solethese Rougies and Mussels  a while ago and now plan to eat more fresh fish this summer.

Today I prepared fresh scallops in a Pineau Lime Sauce and they turned out as good as any I had in restaurants. It's the initial concern of screwing them up that made me not cook them before. Shouldn't have.
You Tube really has a video for everything, including inside tips how not to do anything.

All I used was some butter, Lime, Pineau and Creme Fraiche. Salt yes, but not too much. Literally done in a few minutes. I did not want them to get cold while I took some images for this Blog, so my presentation is lacking here......but you get the idea. Fresh seafood is good. And not difficult to cook.








Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MERGUEZ



It does not take much to make me a satisfied diner. Sausages are pretty much on top of my happy food list. Looking back on this Blog (six years???), I mentioned my favorite kind of sausage a few times already, so I added some links on top of a few images. In case you have not read those posts....

Rooted in north African cuisine, the french made this lamb based sausage one of their own I think. When in bigger cities, you'll find many street vendors offering a Merguez sandwich. But even here in Jarnac, it's readily available and I had some great varieties in Las Vegas and Calgary. So pretty much it's become a global sausage. The quality does vary and today's came from a butcher who uses natural sheep casing. And they are porc free. Naturally. 

Today's lunch of Merguez came with roasted red peppers  and some spicy mustard. 
As I said, simple stuff makes me happy.

SPICY MERGUEZ AND ROASTED RED PEPPERS

VEGETABLE CANDY





Tuesday, May 27, 2014

TWENTY FIVE PERCENT



Just in case you missed it, Europe held elections last weekend. For the European Parliament located in Bruxelles, Belgium. It's a bloated affair with over 500 delegates from all European Union nations, who in the end really have no executive powers. These lay with the European commission, a much smaller body.
Quite frankly, I have not yet fully understood how it all works in Europe, there seems a third body, the European Council. I will read up on it to be better informed for sure.

The result that gets biggest headlines obviously, is that 25% of all voters who went to the polls in France, gave their vote to Marine Le Pen, the current leader of Front National. The FN is at the fairly right spectrum of politics, though Le Pen has toned down her father's racist rhetoric quite a bit, but nobody really knows what's going on behind their closed doors.
Charismatic, telegenic and of course a very populist approach to topics that seem to matter inside France, Le Pen hit a home run. The hapless Socialists around Hollande received less than 15% of the votes. Outch.

Now. With the next general election in France an eternity of three years out, people start to wonder if Hollande will be a sitting duck from now on. He will be pummeled from every direction going forward and just maybe the socialists have to resign and call early elections. Exciting times. Jean Francois CopĂ© already stepping down from leading the UMP, paving the way for a possible comeback for  Sarkozy, who stands a better chance to beat down Le Pen on her own turf.








Sunday, May 25, 2014

FOIRE DE BORDEAUX



Bordeaux is simply my favorite day trip destination now. Leave at 9 in the morning get there for a late coffee and a good city walk, have a leisurely 2 hour lunch, drive back to Jarnac in time for the evening news. Not that I am watching them....

This weekend kicked off the largest "Home and Garden show" the FOIRE DEBORDEAUX. A perfect reason for a day trip to that city with a side of IKEA, which is is the same area as the Expo. I was surprised to see a sign at the admissions booth that enabled me as a foreigner to get in for free. How cool is that! I would have gladly paid the 8.00 to get in this massive fair, but no line up to get in for free? That sets the mood in my impatient eyes......

As you walk into the grounds the first thing you experience is a sea of Camping and RV vehicles. None of those ginormous American trucks, but all nice little camper vans. Things are smaller in Europe, including roads I guess.

What really drew me to the show this year was an advertised New York section, spanning 5000m2. I was hoping for a taste America, maybe they even brought a box of Cronuts with them? It turned out to be more of a museum exhibit of Immigration age New York, with a faux street facade, shop windows and informational posters. Not a bad idea, just not what I'd hoped for. At the exit of this exhibit they installed an "Amercian Diner" but again, the highlights were not worth it to stop and have lunch there. 
In fact, most of the 5000 m2 New yorkexhibit was taken up by french youth' that love American culture. Very entertaining to see them try to be American in their Roller Derby outfits and dance to hip hop music......

The rest of the show is your usual, but much larger mix of food, life style and everything else you may or may not need at home. In the past few years since we arrived here, we visited a number of these Foires, so most cheese and sausage vendors do get repetitive. 
On the upside and if you look for them, you'll find new exhibitors, as I did this time around.

The 8th generation Basque walking stick/weapons maker was my personal favorite. If the average generation spans 35 years, this family made these really great looking tools since a long time ago! Here is a better description of these things.

Another favorite find was this lady from Madagascar, with all things from that island nation off the African coast. I think I may have been her first customer of the show and she was very glad to tell me all about the spice trade there. She offered her wild peppercorns to taste and though I do not need any more black pepper, but these kernels tasted very different and I ended up buying some along with a very good green Chile paste from her. I am thinking of putting Madagascar on my "places to visit" list now. 

There are lots of other interesting things to see, so if you read this in this region, make it a trip before June 1.

COVERED  PARKING WITH SOLAR PANELS


LINE UP

NO LINE UP

IT'S A BIG EXHIBITION


OUTDOOR FURNITURE


MODERN MOBILE HOME

LOTS OF CAMPERS IN FRANCE

THE NEW YORK EXHIBIT





ENJOY YOUR MEAL 



NICE BASQUE HIKER

MEAN BASQUE HUNTER

THE ARTIST PRINCE HAS A FEW OF THESE.....

ALL THINGS MADAGASCAR






GREAT IDEA



PERFUM BOOTH

ANOTHER COOL IDEA



ARTIST

MEDIEVAL EXPERIENCE 

IT'S ORGANIC......

FOOD BLING


WHAT WOULD A SHOW BE WITHOUT FRESH BREAD....

TAPENADES

JAMBON

A PILE OF SUN DRIED TOMATOES

GREAT FRENCH PRODUCT, NOT SO GOOD AT MARKETING

PRICEY CHEESE

NOT CHEESE

VINTAGE BOARD GAMES


BEAUCOUP DES VINS

WHATEVER IT IS

FIVE EURO PHOTO OP....NOW THATS A GREAT IDEA FOR FUND RAISING