Weekly Newsletter-Tree walks -Hout Bay wildlife- Xmas Stocking filler ideas -Recipe – Petites Brioches

Dear French Market shoppers,

Thank you for your interest in the progress of my French Market site on Google ranking, I am pleased to say that my site is now sitting at the top of Google’s first page for the search term “french market”. It is taking turns with the Chicago French Market site.

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For those of you who enjoy the beauty of De Waal Park, next door to our Gardens Shopping centre, you may be interested to note that Tielman Haumann, who is a volunteer tree adviser and responsible for the labelling of trees in the park, is offering a free tour of the park’s trees this Sunday 16th November from 3.00 to 4.30 pm. It is a wonderful way to learn the interesting history of this park and to find out more about the trees. The tour starts at the fountain in De Waal Park at 3pm. For more info email Tielman on chaumann@gmail.com

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Talking about nature, I never really considered Hout Bay a particularly “wild” environment. Much to my surprise I recently had a rather large scorpion visit me late one evening via my interleading garage door. With Bella being a very inquisitive cat my first thought was to shut her away safely. The second was to put on large boots and locate this “monster” which had scuttled back into the garage. After a few minutes I discovered it and dispatched it forthwith. After getting lots of advice on the internet it would appear the scorpions might have nested in the old wood in my garage, so the next day armed with every conceivable idea for getting rid of them I attacked the garage with fumigation sprays, anti-ant powder as scorpions eat ants and kilos of powdered cinnamon which they apparently don’t like. By the end, not only was my garage covered in powders but so was I, from head to toe. At least I hope the message got out in the scorpion community not to mess with that crazy woman again as I have not seen any more of them.

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Several of you have asked for more details of my Champagne tasting on the 3rd of December for which I do still have some places. This will be an exceptional tasting which I am really looking forward to doing. Just to tempt you here are the champagnes that we will taste: a Marguet Père et Fils Brut Rose Grand Cru from Ambonnay; from the House of Pol Roger a Brut non-vintage, a “Rich”off dry non-vintage, a Blanc de Blanc vintage 2004 and a Brut vintage 2004; from Vilmart the Grand Cellier d’Or Premier Cru vintage 2009 and from Larmandier–Bernier Vieille Vigne de Cramant Extra Brut Grand Cru vintage 2006. We will close with a tasting of Hine “Rare” VSOP Cognac. Do let me know if you would like more details. If you would like to order any of these Champagnes you can see the details on the price list click here.

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briochettes 006 (400x340)There is nothing more rewarding to me than successfully making a dish that appears difficult because it involves leavening and good temperature control. I have an old, temperamental oven so I approached the making of small Brioches with trepidation this week. This was a recipe that I wished to master because I love to eat them at breakfast time. Brioche is another famous product of the French cooks of old. The earliest mention is in the 1400s in Normandy where the access to plenty of butter and eggs allowed the local farmers’ wives to elaborate on their traditional dough recipe used for bread. The name derives from the ancient Norman verb “ Brier” which was a tool used to knead the dough. I found the best results are by using my hands to knead the dough. The recipe was not too difficult except I find the kneading is really messy as the dough sticks to everything, so remember to remove all jewellery, roll up your sleeves and wear an apron. When I opened the oven on my first attempt at Brioche last night, my heart warmed in pleasure as I looked at the well risen, golden topped little cakes. If you serve them as a light snack you can accompany them with a delicious glass of Champagne Brut Rosé Grand Cru from Marguet Pere et Fils at Ambonnay. You can find the recipe on my recipe 

This week, apart from my delicious French cheeses, I have several different cheeses in stock including Tete de Moine, (Monk’s Head) a strong flavoured Swiss cheese which is cut with a Girolle, (a rotating blade). The cut cheese looks like the frilly tonsure on the monk’s head. A walnut filled camembert-style raw milk cheese from Austria and the strong flavoured 16 month old Siebratsgefeller from the Bregenz forest area.

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Christmas is approaching fast and people are starting to come in for their stocking filler presents and special cakes. An idea that a client put together was to combine a small Pannettone (100g) plus a dinky bottle of Prosecco, the combined cost is under R120 and it makes a great little gift. I have also received more large panetonne including an unusual one with a Grand Marnier filling. Do come in and browse to see the new stock. The full details of all the products are listed on my price list on the website. There will be a Gifting Fair in the Gardens Shopping centre from 2 – 6 December to give you lots of ideas.

I hope that you have a great weekend and look forward to helping you choose some delicious French cheeses and wines soon.

Regards

Suzanne

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