First of all, happy 2016! After a few days’ break, I really managed to recharge my batteries and am now looking forward to whatever this new year brings — hopefully many good things!
Today was the first day back to work/school for my family and I, and I must admit that it was somewhat difficult. No more waking up at 10:30, or lazy brunches and wine and nibbles as a midday snack (instead of the usual green tea and fruit, which I’m having as I write this blog), no more overindulging and claiming that calories don’t count during the holidays. All good things must come to an end, which makes me think of a Dr. Seuss quote: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
French markets are pure joy for the senses: the dairy stalls with their impressive varieties of cheeses, straight from the farm and one more tempting than the next; the butchers with their thick, rustic hams and sausages enticingly dangling from above; the rainbow displays of fruits and vegetables that mirror the seasons; and of course, the stalls selling a selection of gourmet products such as jams, vinegars, olives and wine.
It’s hard to visit a French market and not leave without a whole lot of inspiration — not to mention a basket nearly bursting at the seams. Cooking and eating well are an art in France, and one of the reasons for that is the availability of excellent products.
I came up with this easy salad recipe after buying a roast chicken at the market in Duras one Monday morning. They are always so hard to resist. You’ll see them slowly roasting on a spit, and with each turn, becoming as succulent and golden as ever. That afternoon, we ate half of it with a side of potatoes (roasted directly under the chickens). Here’s what I did with the leftovers. You won’t need much to serve with this. Except a smooth glass of Merlot, of course.
Eating together as a family has always been a priority. On the rare occasion when hubby has to work late, I make sure to wait with getting dinner on the table. If necessary, I’ll give Kirstie a small snack so she can hold out. But just like family dinnertime is a big deal, so are our Saturday evening dinners for two, at home. Complete with candles, records and wine. We usually go for simple, good food. A nice steak, hubby’s chicken with tomatoes, maybe a platter of assorted antipasti and some bread. Those Saturday dinners (and a million other things) are why still, after nearly eighteen years, we love each other like crazy.
Poulet Basquaise, a specialty of the Basque region, is very simple to make and perfect for a satisfying midweek meal. The main ingredients are chicken, tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic, but as with most ‘traditional’ recipes, everyone has their own variation. Some people like the addition of Bayonne ham, others prefer more heat, and some claim that only fresh tomatoes will do.