It feels good to be back home! After over 3000 kilometers through the Normandy from Étretat to Mont Saint Michel then over to the Pays D’Auge and ending in Versailles and Paris, we are quite contended to be back home. After a little over two and half weeks of living in a RV the luxury of space is felt in every room but most of all in my kitchen. It was a sensational vacation: we hiked on steep cliffs, we relaxed under gorgeous cornflower blue skies, we swam in the ocean and we ate our weight in mussels, oysters and seafood.
There is a lot to tell and I look forward to sharing my travels with you soon. Back home we’ve eased into our routine but with new fervor and enthusiasm. I’m tackling my projects with a gusto, rolling with ideas and getting quite a bit done. I hope I can maintain this level for a while as it feels so good to be on this high.
The kitchen has been a buzz, probably because I missed it most during the vacation. While we had a nicely equipped little kitchen in the RV – the meals we made were quick, healthy with fresh produce and meats and seafood grilled mostly on the barbecue – or we ate out at the several great cafes, bistros and restaurants. I totally love the French attitude towards food – it’s hassle-free and very positive. The French view eating not just as a neutral act, but as culture.
The cuisine from each region in France differs greatly. The Provence region uses olive oils, tomatoes and herbs in many dishes. The Alps region is known for its cheese dishes, including fondue and raclette, while the Alsace region has a strong German influence which includes beer and sauerkraut. In Normandy, the food is influenced by butter, crème fraiche and apples. In most parts of France it is common for most people to take a two-hour lunch break. Most shops close at 12pm and reopen at 2pm or sometimes even 3pm, much to the surprise of my German husband! And then there is Goûter or quatre-heure, an afternoon snack for French children often made up of crepes, croissants, brioche, cookies or hot chocolate. A new tradition Soeren and I are carrying on back at home!
Did you know that ten billion baguettes are produced each year in France! By law, a traditional baguette can only have three ingredients: flour, yeast and salt, and must weigh 250 grams. We would always get our oven fresh baguettes in the morning with fresh croissants for breakfast and then buy more baguette at one of the several incredible boulangerie on our travels. And when it comes to cheese the French can enjoy a different cheese on almost every day of the year! During our travels through Normandy we indulged in several specialties from the divine Neufchâtel, Pont l'Évêque, Livarot and of course camembert. AOC, Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, is a labeling system for products like cheese, wine, chickens, olive oils, potatoes and even lentils. It serves as a guarantee of the origin of a product and its quality.
Coming back to the afternoon snack, this idea of Goûter which basically means to taste or sample has made us big fans. While Soeren’s favorite idea of Goûter is putting pieces of dark chocolate in a baguette we’re also pampering our tastebuds using the amazing produce available at the markets. From France we brought with us bags of Reine Claude plums. I did not bake with them they were eaten far too quickly. Our Weimar markets are filled with the last of summer fruit and vegetable while the early Fall produce are beginning to make their appearances. Zwetschgen plums are lined next to apricots and nectarines, blackberries share their space with the last of the strawberries, while mushroom varieties look cozy next to summer squash. I am still lingering a little longer in summer even though we’ve just welcomed September.
My galette uses the last of the gooseberry this season – juicy, tart and full-flavored I have combined both the zingier green gooseberries with the sweeter dessert red gooseberries here. Pairing them with ripe juicy nectarines adds an incredible syrupy flavor when baked in the oven. The crust is simply irresistible – flaky and buttery and brings out the aromas of the fruit perfectly.
Oh lala! What can I say - this fruity and flaky galette makes the perfect afternoon snack, dessert or even a naughty midnight treat.
Rustic fruity galettes are so simple and at this time of year when fruit is so plentiful we should be making galettes more often!
Last month I had the pleasure and the total excitement of being on TV again. This time the Deutsche Welle came over to film me, my photography projects and jobs, my recipes and discuss my path through blogging. It was a great afternoon. The show aired worldwide mid-August on the show DW-Shift “Virtual cookery circle”
Hope you enjoy the clip!
Indulge in these afternoon treats from What’s For Lunch, Honey?:
|Apricot Saffron Cake||Chocolate Banana Breads with Pistachios, Pink Praline and Au Naturel||Dimpled Mirabelle Plum Foccacia with Lemon Poppy Seed Butter|
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2013 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First