Weekly Newsletter World earth hour 29March 20h30 -Music in the city – Fromage frais – Recipe beignets au puree de pommes de terre et marrons a l’emmental

Hullo French Market Shoppers and welcome to Autumn,
We have just travelled through the Equinox and are experiencing our first winter snap this week. I notice the change in food patterns as lots of people have been coming in to buy cheeses that you can melt such as Reblochon, Raclette and Emmental. These cheeses are traditionally served around the fireplaces in the French Alps in winter time when the snow is piled up outside the windows. I do realise that our temperatures are only just going below 20 degrees but for most of us Capetonians that is the equivalent of nearly freezing. I can see the change in the climate just by looking at the shop windows and shoppers in the centre, the woolly hats, winter jackets and boots are out in force, I think we have a long winter ahead of us.
Luckily this weekend is predicted to be dry and mainly sunny so you can still enjoy the outdoors. This Saturday is World Earth Hour when people around the globe, who care about our environment, are asked to switch off their electricity for one hour, that is at 20.30 in Cape Town. Our lovely city has been declared Earth Hour capital of South Africa. Can you imagine sitting out in the open (weather permitting) and looking at the stars in the dark for an hour while you have a beautiful picnic of French cheese and pates accompanied by a wonderful Cape wine. If you happen to be in the Northern Cape you can celebrate the completion of the first MeerKAT antenna for the SKA project, which I understand will be so powerful it will help us to see if outer space residents also eat cheese at their picnics.
Lots of interesting events are happening in the city this weekend including the Sounds Fringe Festival with over 40 artists performing in different venues, the Cape Town Jazz Festival at the CTICC and the inaugural Eco film festival at the Labia. All the info is on the internet. I shall be heading off to the Viva Vivaldi concert performed by Tinta Barocca  Camerata on Friday (tomorrow) evening at 8pm at the little church on the corner of Buitengracht and Somerset Road.
I am getting in about 150kgs of cheese tomorrow from Paris. There will be plenty to suit all your different tastes from soft runny Bries and Camemberts, strong flavoured Comtes and Morbier, pungent Epoisses and Munster to name just a few to tantalise your taste buds. All being well I will also have some fromage frais 0% fat content and petits suisse.
I will also be getting a new stock of the delicious Mousse de canard – a pure duck liver pate made with port that is a treat to spread on a crisp baguette.
I have a stock of Saucisson sec arriving. These are the small salami style, air dried sausages, their flavour has a hint of traditional French spices. These are often served thinly sliced, to accompany your “apero” . My new range of French coffee beans, Cafe de Paris which are 100% Arabica are selling well. Their flavour reminds me of sitting in a little French sidewalk cafe on the Champs Elysees watching the world go by.
This week I wanted to make something to keep the chill out and I felt like some deep fried food like Beignets. I had some puree of potatoes and chestnuts left from my gourmet meal last week so I played with the mixture and coated chunks of Emmental with it, deep fried them and Voila! a new style of Beignets with gooey Emmental inside. See my recipe page.
As you know some of my stock can be limited, such as the Fromage Frais – so if you would like me to keep some for you just email me or text me.
I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy Earth Hour
Regards
Suzanne

Weekly newsletter Human Rights Day – Ripe Brie and Camembert – Recipe Cuisses de canard au cassis – Duck legs in blackcurrant sauce

Dear French Market Shoppers,
I do so enjoy listening to the radio on the way to work and the interview with the courageous Public Protector this morning made me realise that I have some gaps in the security around my house. I had no idea I needed a pool for myself and my friends to jump into in the event of fire nor did I realise that a chicken run is an absolute must for anyone in the countryside; presumably in the event of an invasion of hungry foxes. The SABC interviewer even commented that ”chicken runs are quite usual in England”….really? I live and learn – must be because they have banned fox hunting. Just think about all the fun you can have tomorrow while you relax and plan the upgrade of your home security.
Its a long weekend in Cape Town, so lets celebrate our freedom – I love our city for having entertainment and activity for all of us. In celebration of Human Rights Day tomorrow there is the”We are One Colour” Festival on the Grand parade from noon, with local bands and packets of coloured powder to throw around, it should be lots of fun if you like contemporary music and coloured powder all over you. In complete contrast a slightly more peaceful experience can be listening to a recital of Schubert by the Amici quartet at the little church on the corner of Buitengracht and Somerset roads tomorrow evening at 8pm
Tomorrow we will be open from 9 until 2pm, then normal trading on Saturday and Sunday so you can come in and shop up a storm. There is a brand new shop just opened opposite my shop called Liv’in and it has lots of beautiful imported implements for the kitchen which I am looking forward to browsing around. I have plenty of stock of cheese for your weekend parties and picnics. The Bries and Camembert are perfectly ripe and happily oozing away. Do come in and sample some. If you are entertaining friends this weekend then I suggest a selection of French cheeses will round off any meal that you serve and I will be happy to help you with recommendations. I get wonderful feedback from many clients on the selections that I recommend for them.
I have a range of jars of terrines which are ideal for a picnic or outdoor meal. There is a wide variety of flavours including country pork, duck with armagnac, wild Boar, Hare with rosemary,  Quail with grapes to mention just a few….. One of my clients sails around the world and takes a stock of my pates with him so they must be good. They bake bread on the boat then open a terrine somewhere in the middle of the sea and enjoy a taste of France.
For my weekly recipe I usually stick to fairly easy dishes, however this week I had to make the main course for our Gourmet lunch and my friends always turn out such interesting dishes that I knew I had to make a bigger effort. It is true  that the best traditional French sauces have to cook very slowly and include beautiful ingredients. I have some frozen French duck legs at the shopCuisse de canard a la sauce de Cassis and I imagined them slow cooked with a beautiful Cassis sauce which I also stock. I marinated them in red wine for 24 hours then cooked them for 2 and a half  hours before basting them with the Cassis (blackcurrant) sauce from my shop. They were unbelievably tasty and worth the extra work. I served them on a potato, chestnut puree with some carrots glazed with honey. The rest of the cassis sauce tasted even better the day after on top of some mashed potato. This is a great recipe as we go into autumn because it is a rich dish and full of flavour. It took a long time to prepare but was not technically difficult to make. See my recipe page    
I wish you a wonderful weekend and hope to see you soon.
Regards
Suzanne

Weekly newsletter: Autumn is coming? Freshly Ground at De Waal Park – New stock raw goats milk camembert and Bergkase

Dear French Market Shoppers,
The Cycle Tour has come and gone in a whizz of bikes. 34,500 cyclists crossed the line and I was at the Finish to see Nolan arrive in an impressive 2 hours 39seconds ( after 105kms) the look of joy on his face was amazing. The buzz around the Finish tent was tangible with several top SA and international cyclists all congregating after the race and still bubbling with energy. It was interesting to see their age range is up to mid 20s only. On Monday I attended the full prize giving with the winners of the different age groups from 14 to over 80. The older winners prove that age does not have to be restriction and made me think guiltily of my dormant training bike.  I presented the Alain Huchon floating trophy to Norwegian Joachim Pettersson, it was captured by his friend on twitter pic.twitter.com/vBRIgdUh1I
I have a feeling that we may have an early autumn as the last couple of evenings have been cool enough (under 20degrees) to make me hunt for a jersey. I suppose we will just have to uncork the red wine and start hibernating early.. whatever happened to our summer?  This weekend’s forecast is mild and sunny.
On this Saturday from 2pm my many German clients may be interested in the annual “Gardenfest” being held at the German Ambassador’s Residence in Bishopscourt. It is organised by the German speaking Rotary Club Am Kap and the funds raised will go to their community projects. Please email  me if you would like me to send you the e-flyer.
If you are looking for some rousing music, the Last night of the Proms is on at the City Hall on Saturday and Sunday evening. This event is organised by the Rotary Club of Wynberg in support of St Luke’s Hospice. More info can be found on the FMR site. And Freshly Ground are playing at Dewaal Park this Sunday so take a blanket and a picnic of French cheese and pate and relax and enjoy the concert.
cheese straws and garlic dip

cheese straws and garlic dip

I am always interested in the way the French adopt English words into contemporary French vocabulary. For example the culinary word “dip”  is known in French as “le dip” , instead of the translation “la trempette”. The English word is then further franglicised into a verb “Dipper”: to Dip. Personally I prefer the sound of French words, “Dip” sounds so ’MacDos” (franglais for MacDonalds). A Trempette is ideal to serve with an “apero” or as part of a picnic. The accompaniment can be  cheese straws or thin sliced vegetables. In this week’s recipe my “Trempette” is an amazing garlic and fresh cream cheese mixture. I made some cheese straws using Woolies butter puff pastry which rose beautifully. It took just a couple of minutes to prepare everything and the result was delicious. See my recipe page.

I have plenty of beautiful French cheese in stock this week and I have received some Chevrette, small raw goat’s milk camembert which are handmade by Edwin, an Austrian cheese maker.
raw goat;s milk with camembert style crust handmade by Edwin

raw goat;s milk with camembert style crust handmade by Edwin

Some are plain and some are rolled in dried herbs. I have also received more stock of Edwin’s 14 months Bergkase which has so much flavour due to its maturity. You are always welcome to come along and taste the cheeses

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Regards
Suzanne

Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour carbo loading with Creme de Marron – Alain Huchon floating trophy

Dear French Market Shoppers,
It is the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour (the official name is getting longer and longer) this weekend and the City is literally buzzing with activity as we get ready for 35,000 cyclists taking part in the largest individually timed race in the world. Already we are well into “Cycle TourWeek” and the Expo opened this morning. The benefit is enormous for our city, apart from the large amount of money spent on hotels and restaurants by these visitors and their families, my Rotary  International organisation is the beneficiary of a large amount of funding which goes into community projects.
trophy 012 (400x383)I have a special duty at this year’s finish as I shall be handing over the Alain Huchon floating trophy to the fastest international, non-professional cyclist. I conceptualised the trophy with the agreement of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust who own the event, in memory of my late partner and his contribution to this event as a Trustee. The trophy was designed for me by John Klynsmith. The Penny farthing cycle is made out of solid silver with over 50 handmade pieces. It is mounted on a piece of ironwood, a wood which is unique to  Africa. The plinth is made from a piece of African Mahogany driftwood which was originally part of an 80 year old harbour bollard. There are 2 silver plaques on either end of the plinth which read as follows:

Plaque about Alain on one end of the trophy reads “Alain Huchon, Knight of the French National Order of Merit and Paul Harris Fellow; dedicated much of his life to community service through his voluntary work as a Trustee of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, President of the Rotary Club of Claremont and President of the World Council of Young Mens’ Service Clubs”

 Plaque about the Penny-Farthing on the other end of the trophy reads “Penny Farthing history: In 1869 Frenchman Eugene Meyer patented an individually adjustable wire-spoke tension wheel for his classic high-wheel bicycle design. Englishman James Starley added the tangent spokes for his Ariel bicycle. Its popularity coincided with the birth of cycling as a sport.The nickname comes from a large and small British coin.”

I believe this unique trophy will attract more international cyclists to compete in the Cycle Tour and will give recognition to Alain’s contribution to the event and keep his name alive every year that the trophy is awarded.

For my recipe this week I wanted to find something that could be useful for all those carbo loading cyclists. Galettes d’Avoine, Oatcakes, are a really good source of energy and easy to make and apparently oats can help reduce cholesterol. Oatcakes are also good as a replacement for bread with cheese. I tried to find a French connection to give me a reason for making them my recipe of the week for the cyclists but to no avail, they are definitely of Scottish origin. In the 14th century during long marches, Scottish soldiers would mix some oatmeal with a bit of fat and water and cook these little cakes on their shields over a fire. So to add a French connection I baked some and added Petit Suisse (fresh cream cheese) on top, plus various decorations such as recently harvested green grapes and anchovies. I also baked some with grated, 24 months old parmigiano reggiano, these can be packed and taken in a back pocket on the Cycle Tour to eat as a snack. See my recipes page for full details.
For all of you who will be cycling I can recommend that you also put a couple of tubes of Crème de Marron in your back pocket to give you energy during the race, this is what the French cyclists do as the mixture is made of ground cooked chestnuts, vanilla and sugar. I have stocked up with them at the shop.
For those of you who will be entertaining friends over this weekend, an easy picnic can be made with some of my delicious pate that has just arrived from Paris this morning and a French cheese board. I also received a large Rosette de Lyon today. The difference between this French salami and Italian salami is the subtle taste of spices such as nutmeg and peppers that you find in the French cured meats.
I wish all you cyclist out there a safe and enjoyable race. I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Regards
Suzanne

French Market newsletter- Comte 10 months – Pont l Eveque – Camembert de Normandie – Petit Suisse – Cantal – Recipe Pates au steak et Beurre au truffe blanche

Dear French Market Shoppers,
With the recent Opening of Parliament there have been a lot of receptions at different embassies and I was honoured that the French Embassy selected my cheeses to serve at their functions. It is good to know that the quality of my cheese is appreciated by the most discerning of clients.
This year is flying by and we are into March this weekend.  Our weather is still very hot but I notice sunset seems to come earlier and it is often dark by the time I get home. Please watch out for all the cyclists on the roads training for next weekend’s Argus. We need to make the most of our summer weather with lots of outdoor entertainment and wonderful meals. The Proteas will be playing the an exciting 3rd test match at Newlands this weekend so I am sure you will have friends arriving for parties and picnics. This Sunday the UCT Big band will be playing at the De Waal Park so if you are not watching the cricket then take a picnic of delicious French cheese and enjoy the music.
My new cheese stock arrived this afternoon from France and will be in the shop tomorrow morning. I will have plenty of Camembert from Normandie, the mature Comte Bleu, the 6 months old Cantal Entre Deux, fresh cream cheese Petit Suisse and some  Pont l Eveque AOC which many of you have asked for. This lovely washed rind cheese has been is  made in the small town of the same name since the 12th century and is recognised as one of the oldest in Normandie. It has a distinctive pungent aroma and a nutty flavour. Pont l Eveque is ranked in popularity alongside Camembert and Brie.
I will also be getting in some of the very popular Duck mousse and Pate d’Ardennes again on Sunday morning.
When I return home after a day’s work, I am often looking for a quick, easy meal for supper. One of my favorite dishes is tagliatelle with a sauce. As an elderly Italian client said to me recently all you need is good ingredients for the sauce, it does not have to be a complicated recipe. So this week I made one of my easy recipes, I used slices of sirloin steak (you could also use fillet steak). The porcini mushrooms are readily available and I buy fresh tagliatelle which I deep freeze and use when needed. It is the topping of white truffle butter that creates a delicious aroma and makes this dish special. See my recipe.
I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Regards
Suzanne

French Market newsletter- French coffee beans – Frozen Moulards de Canard (Duck legs)

Dear French Market Shoppers,
The cooler air has brought a bit of relief this week after the record heat of last weekend. For the first time this summer I was pleased to see some clouds and feel the rain. I hope you all enjoyed your Valentine’s Day dinners, I was delighted to see many of my male clients coming in to get ingredients for their celebration meals with their close ones, just goes to show that lots of guys enjoy cooking in Cape Town.
I hear that there is a great concert this Sunday at Kirstenbosch with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and some excellent performers, definitely not to be missed. So come and get some beautiful cheeses and pates for a picnic from my shop, La Crémerie.
At La Crémerie I try to offer a range of cheese flavours across a spectrum of strength of taste, creaminess and maturity. I have often been asked for a really hard cheese to grate over dishes. So I have managed to source some delicious 24 months matured Parmegiani Reggiano. ( I know, I know, its not French but this is in a class of its own) It has a beautiful depth of flavour and melts over hot food. It is perfect grated or thinly sliced over hot dishes, salads, carpaccio etc. I used it in my recipe this week, see details below, and it was beautiful. I also have my usual spread of delicious French cheeses including tangy Brie de Meaux, creamy Delice, tart Buche de Chevre, fudgy Cantal, pongy St Nectaire, smokey Morbier and taste exploding Epoisses to name just a few. Please refer to the full price list page.
And now I have something else that is totally new. in my effort to source French products I have managed to get some Quotidien fresh coffee beans “Cafe de Paris” Quotidien has been a Torrefactor since 1894. The Cafe de Paris beans are 100% Arabica and the taste is fruity with a fine aroma.The beans come in 1kg bags however, as with my cheese, I sell the coffee beans by the 100gs so that you can try them out.
I have also sourced some raw,  frozen duck legs: Moulards. The meat is of a high quality and they are ideal for typical French country recipes. please note I keep a small stock so please order in advance.
Lentilles vertes du Puy aux Oeufs mollets et parmesan

Lentilles vertes du Puy aux Oeufs mollets et parmesan

There are certain unique foods produced in France which I love. One of these is the green lentil from Puy. These are my favourite lentils because they have a lovely peppery flavour, they don’t go mushy when cooked and they make me feel healthy because they are rich in protein.  Their uniqueness comes from the valley where they have been grown since pre-Roman times, Le-Puy-en-Velay in the Haute Loire, which has a micro climate with low humidity due to the surrounding old volcanoes. They are naturally cultivated without extra watering or fertilisers. Unlike other lentils their skin is very thin due to the lack of humidity so they do not need to be soaked beforehand. Smaller than most lentils, their colour is a dark green to steel blue due to anthocyanin, a pigment, which is also present in blueberries and red grapes. Because their uniqueness is due to their origin they are certified both AOC and AOP.  

There are lots of recipes for Puy Lentils, both hot and cold, this week I decided to do a really simple country dish with fresh herbs and topped it with grated parmesan and medium soft eggs (mollet). See my recipe page.
I hope that you have a cooler weekend than the  last one. I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Regards
Suzanne

French Market Newsletter- Happy Valentine’s Day – Tomme Noire des Pyrenees – Lentilles de Puy – Recipe Quiche au blanc de volaille et truffe blanche- Chicken breast and white truffle quiche

Dear French Market Shoppers,
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you who are celebrating. I hope that you are spoilt and have a wonderful tête a tête dinner with some good French cheese this evening. For those of you who are still looking for something to do tonight, I hear there is a concert under the stars at the Castle of Good Hope with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra who are celebrating their 100th birthday this month. For those who want something completely different you can visit De Waal Park to listen to the free concert on Sunday at 4pm which features the Rudimentals, an Afro-Ska band and the urban rockers band the Rescu.I must admit to looking up the definition of Ska music, as I had no clue – apparently it originated in Jamaica in  the 50s and is a combination of calypso with Jazz and rhythm & blues – should be interesting. 
With the opening of parliament yesterday traffic was chaotic with jams all over the city. I was riveted to my seat last night as I watched enthralled, every sound and expression held me captive, and no, I was not talking about the SONA address by the current SA President, but someone far more appealing to the ears an eyes, a young Russian pianist, Boris Kusnezow, playing a sonata by Schubert from memory, in the beautiful setting of the German Residence. This was one of the unique Cape Classic concerts, the quality is outstanding and I strongly recommend you check out their programme which ends on 22 February.
Vacherin-style-Mont-d-Or-cheese

Vacherin style Mont d Or cheese

My new cheese stock is selling well particularly the Coeur de Neufchatel and Fromage frais which sold out quickly. If you are looking for something really special I still  have a couple of Mont D’or which are vacherin style cheeses.

I have received a large Tomme Noire de Pyrenees Vache. This black rind wheel of cow’s milk cheese comes from the

Tomme-noire-des-Pyrenees-lait-de-vache

Tomme Noire des Pyrenees buttery cow’s milk cheese

mountains on the western edge of France. The cheese texture is medium firm and light cream coloured with a delicate but distinctive buttery flavour. Please refer to the attached price list for the full details of all cheeses available.

I have also received some Lentilles de Puy AOC. These unique green lentils grow in  the Puy Valley, an old volcanic area, which earth gives the lentils their unique mineral flavour. They are smaller than most green lentils and ideal for a salad as they don’t get mushy. Apparently the harvest has diminished over the last 2 years, presumably due to the changing weather patterns,  therefore there is now a limited stock for export, do let me know if you would like me to keep you a box.
We are in for a hot weekend, Sunday is set to be the hottest so far this summer with a forecast of 39 degrees, just right for some outdoor lunches in the shade or around a pool. I needed to make a main course for a casual supper outdoors on the patio. I always enjoy making quiches as the flavours can be varied and this goes well with a green salad. Everything can be prepared in advance and the quiche popped in the oven just beforehand. I love the aroma of truffles and have been wanting to make a recipe with some of the white truffle products that I have in the shop. One of my customers puts a teaspoon of truffle butter on top of a grilled steak, another adds some to a cream sauce over pasta.  I think the key to success is not to add too much or it becomes too pungent. For my quiche I decided to combine some white truffle butter, truffle oil, and delicate chicken breast meat. The combination worked beautifully and the quiche had a delicate waft of truffles as I served it. See attached recipe for all the details.
 I have just loaded the full price list and am trying to get the images right on the recipe images lay out – so be patient with me. You can also share your comments on the recipes when you try them out.
I am looking for a helper during the week for two weeks at the end of May /early June – if you know of anyone please let me know.
I wish you a relaxed, hot weekend, and look forward to seeing you at La Crémerie, French market shop again soon.
Regards
Suzanne

French Market Newsletter-Valentine’s day is coming soon

Dear French Market Shoppers,

Valentine’s Day is next Friday the 14th and I hear that there are lots of romantic evenings being planned. In France Valentine’s Day is called Le Saint Valentin and is celebrated in the same way as the rest of the globe. Paris has long been perceived as the most romantic capital in the world where lovers walk hand in hand along the Seine whispering “Je t’aime”. However if you just cannot get away next weekend to Paris then you can create a romantic French evening for your beloved here in Cape Town. You can start by writing them a Valentine’s card and use a French phrase telling them how much you love them and giving them some beautiful roses.

Candlelight dinners have to be the most romantic setting for a Valentine’s evening. You can plan a romantic evening at home by creating a beautiful but simple setting either indoors or outdoors: decorate a table with flowers, set out your best china and glasses and of course some candles. Your dinner does not need to be complicated. Here is an idea for a menu which is easy to prepare: Start with a slice of French terrine served with baguette or small toasts, followed by some confit de canard (cooked French duck from my shop) and sauté potatoes. The confit just needs to be heated up and the sauté potatoes just need peeling, slicing and frying in a pan. Follow this by a light green salad dressed with walnut or Hazelnut oil. Then a small platter of some tasty French cheeses and baguette. Finish with a cake from Cassis de Paris or a box of chocolates. All to be accompanied by a bottle of bubbly or some good wine. This is much less stressful than fighting for places in busy restaurants and you can peacefully talk together and enjoy each others company.

Coeur-de-Neufchatel-by Villiers-Cheese-Heart

Coeur de Neufchatel by Villiers-Cheese heart

I am delighted that I will have about 150kgs of cheese arriving tomorrow in time for your Valentine’s dinners, it was delayed 24 hours due to the flights but it should be in the shop by midday today. I will have my gold medal Brie de Meaux , Camembert maxi bocage from Normandie, Cantal entre deux, Tomme de Savoie, Petits Suisse,Mont D’Or vacherin, Morbier and Roquefort to mention just a few.

I expect to get in some more Coeur de Neufchatel (Cheese hearts) which make a wonderful Valentine’s gift, please let me know if you wish to reserve one. I might even receive some Fromage Frais but this has not been confirmed yet.

I always seem to end up with bits and pieces of cheese left over from a meal; I never throw them out as I can use them in a recipe. This weekend I needed to make something for a picnic so I decided to make some savoury muffins. I checked out my food stock to see what I could use. I found some well smoked “lardons” bacon pieces, an onion, some really old, hard Tomme de Savoie and some Fromage frais in the fridge. I reckoned that if I added some Herbes de Provence, this was going to make some tasty muffins. I was delighted by the result, the aroma of the Herbes floated out of the cooked muffins and we enjoyed them while we sipped some bubbles and listened to the Opera in the Garden at Springfield. I froze a few and had them a few days later, heated up with a slice of butter, they were equally delicious. I will try to load the recipe on the site – I am still learning how to do this.

I hope you enjoy your weekend and look forward to seeing you at La Crémerie French market shop again soon.

Regards

Suzanne