I have a huge jar of ras el hanout — the well-known North African spice blend – which has been sitting in my cupboard for a little too long. I sometimes use it in couscous and quinoa salads, but for some reason, I always forget it’s a fantastic spice for marinating meat.
When I was planning my weekly menu this Sunday, however, I made a note which read: “make chicken kebabs with ras el hanout (!!!) and serve with couscous”.
My usual lunch is some kind of a salad. Not only are they quick and easy to make, but they are also a great way to make sure you get enough fruits and vegetables. Most of the salads I make are simply the result of whatever I have in my kitchen (or growing in my garden) at that moment.
Writing a regular food column for France magazine En Route is more than work — it’s a real learning experience. For each column I choose a typical French food item, explore its (cultural) history and then write a summary of what I learned. The whole process takes at least a week and is not the easiest of tasks, however enjoyable. Not only because there is usually a sea of information (in France, almost every food item is a BIG deal, often protected by expert organizations and boasting a long and strong history), but also because I’m not writing an article but a column, which means less words and a very different tone.
Market in Chalon, looking out from Le Verre Galant.
How I love French markets like the one in Chalon-sur-Saône, which I can’t wait to see again next month. Stall after stall of beautiful, fresh food; cheeses; meats and charcuterie; local wines offered directly by their producers; fresh herbs and dried exotic spices; the best fruits and vegetables; succulent, tasty olives; and tasty dried sausages in every flavor imaginable! French markets, and the one in Chalon is no exception, are not only bountiful, but also very uplifting for the spirits and senses. While some people shop and taste, others are engaged in conversation or simply choose to watch the spectacle from the sidelines while enjoying a drink at one of the many restaurants and bars in front of the church.