French Market News-Cider special offer 3 for 2-Gardens Centre Prize–Picnic platters- Recipe 35-2015 Soupe de Betteraves et lardons avec croutons au chevre

Dear French Market Shoppers,

The renovations at the Gardens Centre have just about finished and the centre is looking all glossy and airy with lots of glass and steel finishes. On the outside the walls have been redone and painted in a contemporary design. To celebrate the completion of the new interior décor, the Gardens Centre Management launched a competition for the most interesting and decorative shop window.  We took this challenge seriously and added baskets of hanging flowers to our frontage plus several other little touches. We were delighted yesterday when we were awarded the 2nd prize in the competition. The well deserving winner was our immediate neighbour, The Pause Room, who created a really beautiful decorative display. We won a bottle of bubbly from Graham Beck which we will enjoy.

This week in Cape Town, I am offering a special on the Christian Drouin Brut Cidre from Normandy. The cider is made with 30 different varieties of cider apple which grow prolifically in the Normandy region. The cider is fermented first in a steel tank then a second time in the bottle. This is a natural fermentation and no sugar, yeast or additives have been added. This light and fruity, dry sparkling cider pairs well with fish or white meat dishes, a Camembert or Pont l’Eveque cheese. For every 2 bottles purchased you get a third one for free while stocks last.

With the wonderful hot sunshine last weekend my daughter took herself on a ramble up Lion’s head with a picnic of French cheese. Sitting on top of Lion’s head she sent me pictures of Table Mountain and the spring flowers and told me it was the best picnic ever. We can easily put together picnic trays of cheese and pates for you if you are planning a picnic.

The best accompaniment to our cheese is either a baguette or a light cracker. Many of you have already tried our frozen baguettes and the delicate Doriano crackers most successfully. However I found that I have several clients who are allergic to wheat and other clients who are following a Banting diet. I have now managed to source seed biscuits which are wheat free and gluten free, they are crisp and tasty and pair beautifully with my cheeses.

Our most popular food products this week included the Vacherousse, a very creamy cheese from the Jura with a light orange crust and our matured Brie de Meaux. As this cheese ages, the light blond colour deepens until it goes a dark ivory, definitely an acquired taste. The Saucisson sec have again been flying out the door and the new Duck and green peppercorn terrine has been most appreciated because of its coarse meaty, texture and the crunchy bits of peppercorn.

Spring time in Cape Town is a season of extreme weather changes, one day we are in the upper 20 degrees and everyone rushes outdoors to bask in the glorious sunshine, take long walks on the mountain and beaches or plant seedlings in the garden ( like me). The next day it is pouring with rain and really cold and we all huddle inside again next to the fire. On one such cold evening, this last week, I felt like a tasty hot soup to warm me up.

For this week’s recipe Soupe de Betteraves au lardons avec croutons au chevre. I created a soup combining pureed beetroot, which is quite sweet, with smoky chunky bacon pieces. This combination of flavours worked very well together. To this I added croutons cut from some of my home-made bread topped with a tangy goat’s cheese which I grilled until the cheese turned golden. The flavour of the goat’s cheese changes completely after it has been toasted. Click here to view the recipe on my website.

I recommend pairing this smoky flavoured soup with a shiraz wine from Crozes Hermitage in the Cote du Rhone region which you can find at the French Market in Cape Town.

I apologise for leaving out the link for last week’s recipe, you can click here to see the index for all my recipes so far  this year.
I hope you have an enjoyable weekend and get some of the spring sunshine.


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