Dear French Market Shoppers,
Last night I drove home just as the sun was setting over Camps Bay, with the strong wind blowing streaks of clouds in flaming colours across the sky which was mirrored in the sea. Way out on the horizon I could see 6 huge sails as the Volvo Ocean yachts raced for Abu Dhabi. The view was breath-taking, all along my route people were pulling over and photographing this incredible sight. I pulled in on the cliffs near Llandudno and managed to get some pics with my camera which I normally use for my recipe images. not exactly a long range image taker, but it picked up the yachts and the amazing colours of the sea and sky. This just reinforces why I think Cape Town is the most beautiful place in the world to be.
Hopefully the wind will abate this weekend as we are in for lots of sunshine. I see that the Summer Concerts start again at Kirstenbosch Gardens this Sunday afternoon with a Capella group, Soil, performing. This is a great setting for picnics on the grass so I recommend stocking up on a selection of small French pates in jars, some French cheese and some delicious chilled Prosecco which is really light and frothy and perfect for a picnic. I remember when these concerts started a million years ago and I took my toddler children to listen, on the steps near the old café, we must have been less than 200 people listening – how it has grown as have our children.
So what is gorgeous and tasty this week? Well I have a really pungent Epoisses de Bourgogne, some beautifully runny camembert, pungent Brie de Meaux, salty and strong Roquefort and sublimely creamy Delice to note just a few of my cheeeses. You are always welcome to pop in and taste to discover new cheeses.
New in this week is some Hazelnut oil, this is becoming scarcer, like the Piment d’Espelette because of the impact of global warming on the crops. I still have a couple of sachets of Herbes de Provence left as well.
Christmas decorations start going up in our centre this weekend. If you have started looking for Christmas presents then I can offer you a range of lovely foody gifts that will appeal if you want to give people something a bit different. Then there is my range of older Cognacs, Champagnes, Calvados and Armagnacs which make a great gift for the guys that have absolutely everything doll. There will be a gifting fair in our Gardens Shopping Centre from 2 – 6 December, which will help you, if, like me you are short on ideas and long on the Christmas list. We had a performance from the SAPS band this week in the Centre which really built some community spirit – especially when a little child was allowed to wave the conductors baton to the tune of Stille Nacht (Silent Night)
As we approach the festive season there are many special dishes that will be served. In France duck liver is one of these dishes. I have a naturally-fed duck liver mousse in the shop, the texture is smooth and creamy with plenty of flavour. Duck liver is traditionally served with toasted Brioches (see last week’s Recipe 44) or Pain d’Épice (spiced bread) and Confit d’Oignons a sweet onion jam. For our gourmet lunch last weekend I served a starter with the duck liver as a base, topped with sliced fresh figs from Israel, toasted brioches, confit d’oignons and small squares of jelly made from Pineau des Charentes. This delicious liqueur was created in the Charentes by adding unfermented grape juice to Cognac. I am trying to source some here but no luck so far, the nearest French substitute is a Sauternes, a sweet Bordeaux wine which I expect to get in this week and will be added to my wine list. We paired my starter with a local wine, Sweet Carolyn, from Vondeling which was amazing. My easy recipe this week is for the Gelee de Pineau des Charentes and the Confiture d’Oignons which I based on an onion jam recipe that I found on the site of www.ricardocuisine.com (a rather cute Canadian TV chef)
I do still have a couple of spaces left for the Champagne tasting on the 3rd of December so please contact me if you would like more details.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop again soon. Enjoy your weekend