Dear French Market Shoppers,
In Cape Town I believe that our winter starts right after the Easter weekend, no matter what the date is, I felt the chilly wind sweeping through me as the temperature dropped below 20C Degrees this week. I realise this is considered quite warm in other countries but here we are all starting to our dig out our winter wraps and several clients have been in to buy ingredients for cosy wintry style food such as cauliflower soup with grated Comte cheese. Luckily the sun will shine all this weekend and the day time temperature will be mid 20s so a bit of a reprieve.
I was delighted to read yesterday, that one of our favourite Cape sportsmen, Schalk Burger, won the Laureus World Sports Award for Come Back of the Year in recognition of his courage and determination which helped him to recover from a serious illness and successfully return to the Springbok team.
Many of you have asked me for a fruit preserve to accompany the cheeseboard and I have finally sourced an excellent range from a leading French brand that produces traditional, top quality fruit preserves. They only use natural ingredients without any artificial preservatives. The secret to the taste is in the quality of the fruit that has been carefully selected and in their savoir-faire. I now have the following range of fruit preserves: Fig, Cherry, Raspberry, Bitter Orange, Apricot and Strawberry. They come in 370g glass jars and prices range from R41 to R75 depending on the type of fruit.
Another new product I have brought in is long-life croissants filled with chocolate cream. With wet winter weekends coming soon, these naturally leavened soft croissants have no artificial colouring nor non-hydrogenated fats. They are ideal to have in the cupboard for breakfasts when you don’t feel like going out in the rain to buy fresh ones. They come individually wrapped in a pack of 6 at R55 a packet.
Tomorrow I expect to receive my regular top up of 100kgs + of cheese from Paris, so everything, including the Buche de Chevre will be back in stock by the afternoon. I have also managed to get more stock of the delicious American cream cheese made for a French company – like Philadelphia but better.
I always need to find a new recipe for our regular Gourmet lunch and my turn this time was starters. One of the challenges is that the starter needs to be relatively light as we serve several courses; the other challenge is that it has to be the first time one makes the dish, so it is always an experiment. I decided to make a soufflé style filling for large field mushrooms. Firstly the mushroom base is light to eat and the soufflé filling is also fairly light. The secret is to use large field mushrooms with high sides which curl in a bit, forming a wall, as this helps the soufflé to rise, if the mushrooms are too flat the filling spills out and does not rise much (as I found out) but it still tastes good. It is also important to get the right temperature otherwise it does not rise. I used a lot of garlic in the sauce which gives the filling a pungent, almost truffly flavour. I sprinkled small croutons and crumbly bacon bits over the mushrooms which is not essential but adds an interesting saltiness to it. One advantage of the sauce is that it can be made the day before, then kept refrigerated until the dish is assembled. I paired it with the St Cosme Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge as it has a delicious earthiness which complements the flavours in this dish. You can see the recipe on my website.
Enjoy your weekend and soak up the last of the sun. I hope to see you in the shop again soon.