Posts Tagged ‘France’

Lentil soup with saucisson à l’ail

lentil-soupLast Saturday at the Hilversum market, hubby and I were tempted by the Souvenirs de France stand where they were roasting thick, beautiful sausages. When we asked what they were, the answer was ‘saucisson à l’ail’, a thick, smoked sausage somewhat similar to the Dutch ‘rookworst‘, though coarser in texture and generously flavored with garlic. We were assured, however, that the garlic would not be overpowering and that the smokiness would have the leading role. The sausage can be cooked and served in a multitude of ways: grilled, boiled, sliced and eaten cold as part of an apéro, or used in many dishes.
We had one sliced with a little mustard on Sunday night and it was absolutely delightful.
Yesterday I decided to use the second one in a warming lentil soup, and it was so, SO good! My daughter commented that the soup was somewhat similar to one of her favorite soups, the Dutch pea soup (erwtensoep). Though I am not quite sure I agree, what I can tell you is that I will be making this soup many times in these cold months ahead.
Here’s the recipe!
Oh, and feel free to substitute any other smoked sausage. But, if you’re in Hilversum, you may want to stop by the Souvenirs de France stand for more than just sausage. Beware though — you may leave with more than you intended! PS: Nope. Not sponsored. My opinion is never for sale. 🙂

Lentil soup with saucisson à l’ail
Serves 4-6

  • 2 tbsps mild olive oil
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsps herbes de Provence
  • 250g brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1,2L strong, hot beef stock
  • 1 smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pan and gently sauté the onions and garlic for 6 minutes. Add in the carrots and herbes de Provence and cook for another 6 minutes. Stir in the lentils. Pour in the hot beef stock, bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add in the sliced sausage and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the chopped parsley and serve.

 

Pour moi un kir, s’il vous plaît !

14322645_976255342501039_8657764148315173062_nfullsizerender-14 One of the biggest pleasures of dining out in France is being able to order a proper and simple kir, the most delicious of apéritifs, as far as I’m concerned!
In the latest issue of France magazine En Route — which just hit the newsstands across the Netherlands this week — you can check out my column on page 77 and find out more about the history of the popular drink. It is such a joy to write for this magazine because it gives me the opportunity to research one of the subjects I love most — French food & drink!
Happy reading, happy weekend and tchin-tchin!

Antique Market Finds

I love everything vintage and antique, especially French vintage and antique! Nothing makes me happier than suddenly bumping into a vide-grenier or antique market in the French countryside. It’s almost guaranteed that I’ll walk away with something beautiful and original, sometimes for almost next to nothing. My prettiest plates, glasses, kitchenware and silverware were purchased in France, and that makes them even more dear to me. It’s such a joy to dream away as I set the table or drink my morning coffee from an antique French bowl. Imagine all the meals, conversations and people that are part of their history!
Every year at the end of summer, my city also hosts an antique market. Vendors from all over the country gather in front of the harbor to sell everything from vintage toys and clothes to all kinds of stunning items for the home. For some reason, I missed it the last couple of years, but this year I made sure to plan a few hours in the morning to go in search of new treasures. And I’m so glad I did! Have a look at the lovely things we purchased!
PS: We ended our antique hunt with a plate of fish n’ chips and a cold glass of Chardonnay! How could we not?! Happy Sunday!

antiques

Look how cute that terrine dish is! Enough reason to finally develop a proper terrine recipe of my own! And the small dish next to it is perfect for baked eggs or a small crumble for the three of us.

towel rack

This one caught my husband’s eye first. A lovely tin rack for kitchen towels… and if you look closely, you can see Pastis in the center! 😉

mirror

A convex mirror! It really reminds me of the one in Van Eyck’s ‘Arnolfini Portrait’. What do you think? Now the only questions: where do we put it???

glasses

Three gorgeous glasses with a delicate flower pattern. So pretty!

dish

An oval-shaped serving dish, perfect for asparagus or for slices of French bread to serve with dinner.

 

Souvenirs de France

Returning home after vacation is never a joyous occasion. Not only because I have to leave my beautiful France behind, or because the two-day trip is exhausting (for some reason, the trip to France less so), but because unpacking, cleaning and piles of laundry await. I am always very intent on making sure everything gets going the moment we walk through the door — never in a million years, no matter how tired I am, could I leave the mess until the next day. That would just make it harder, in my opinion.
There is a best part about coming home, however — unpacking all my French souvenirs! Each item is carefully given a new spot in my kitchen and as I put everything away, I am already dreaming about what I will make, because yes, most of my souvenirs are the edible kind — or the drinkable. Have a look below and see what I took home with me this year!
PS: Not shown: a Caudalie face mask (love that brand!), Les Carnets de Julie: Un voyage gourmand en 140 recettes, and a beautiful bag which was a present from my hubby!

creme anglaise

Yes, yes. I can make this myself, but I have a soft spot for Alsa. The pretty packaging gets me every time!

fondant

Same comment as above. I haven’t tried this mix, but the photo sure looks appetizing!

galettes

The first time I purchased these cookies! I suddenly remembered them at our last stop at a French supermarket in Le Mans and immediately put them in my basket. Why are they so special? Well, these St Michel cookies were served at the local café in Duras this year, Café de la Paix, aka Chez Régine. Edible memories!

condiments

Bouquet garni, pink peppercorns, a mix of Guerande salt and piment d’Espelette (this should be heavenly on a steak!), and a few jars of Amora mustard, which my husband adores.

pudding

Vanilla flan mix. Yep, the retro packaging did it again for me.

alsa

This French baking powder has been a staple at my house for years. You guessed right — the packaging wooed me to begin with. I couldn’t imagine baking without that little Alsatian lady!

sausage

Duck sausage from René Pujol! Beacuse the southwest of France is duck country, and because I LOVE duck. 🙂 PS: I used to bring back tins of confit de canard, but now they’re imported by my local supermarket. Yeah!

confituredelait

My daughter loves this as a special treat on her Sunday croissant — and I can’t say I disagree with her. This stuff is nothing but creamy, sweet goodness! It’s also wonderful on crêpes! I am a big fan of the Reflets de France brand, too.

stock

Call me crazy, but I think the French version of the everday Maggi chicken stock cube is richer than the one I sometimes buy here. Or maybe it’s that special memory of making a chicken casserole on a cold night in Bourgogne years ago. We had arrived late in the afternoon at our lovely farmhouse, and I wanted to make a comforting chicken dinner. While Hans lit the fireplace, I cooked chicken in mustard cream sauce with these cubes. Of course, homemade is better, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Oh, and the herb and olive oil cubes are a new for me. I bought them because they’re made with my favorite olive oil.

garlic

French violet garlic from the Tarn. Because the garlic is tied so beautifully and because those fat cloves are major morsels of flavor!

armagnac

Every once in a while, I love to end a Saturday dinner with my husband (or a dinner party) with a small cup of coffee and an Armagnac. I sometimes order this perfect combo after a dinner out in France. I am not a fan of strong drinks, so this is one tasty exception for me!

oil

Puget olive oil has been another staple at my house for years. I always stock up when I go to France. This one brings memories of cooking summer meals way up high in the mountains of the Ardeche. It was the first time I tried this oil, and I’ve loved it ever since.

pate

I came across these little pots of pâté from Lucien Georgelin at the local Duras supermarket. They had a huge crate not far from the entrance filled with a wide variety of flavors. I’ve never tried any of them, but check out the ones I got: Mediterranean pâté with chicken and lemon, Parisian pâté with ham and mushrooms, and Charentais pâté with champagne de Cognac!

mags

French magazine, for inspiration and to improve my French language skills!

wine

LOTS of wine (I still have a few boxes put away because there was no space on my rack). Most of them are from Duras, a few from Bergerac and some from Cahors. We like to make two wine trips per year: the summer wine haul comes from the southwest and the winter one comes from Bourgogne. Each bottle is saved for Saturday dinner. It’s like taking my taste buds back to the places I love!

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Most of my plates and cutlery come from French antique markets and vide-greniers. They have so much more charm than anything you can buy at a shop. In fact, I’m having my morning coffee from a French bowl right now! I bought these lovely plates from the yearly brocante market in Gensac a few weeks ago. All were purchased from kind, stylish French ladies who were very happy to pass them on to me.

 

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