I haven’t done a lot of baking recently: partly due to being away in Brittany and Normandy, in France for a week, and partly because of the heat here in Britain. Our houses are designed to take heat in and keep it there!
I have been using my time wisely, however, making sure to test a lot of French deliciousness. I tried a lot of different breads. There is really no way to compare freshly baked baguette from a good French boulangerie and baguette from a British supermarket. I love bread with jam or cheese and while I’m not particularly into sandwiches I will make an exception for a proper French baguette with butter and ham.
I tried a local Breton bread with walnuts which was absolutely delicious. And two types of fougasse: one topped with olives and the other with grated cheese and lardons (little pieces of bacon). Both were a meal in themselves. Not to mention the little seeded breads and the sourdoughs. And of course the odd croissant, pain aux raisins and pain au chocolat…
All of which I really want to have a go at making sometime soon.
The French are known for their patisserie and it really is amazing. Rows and rows of the most beautiful works of art that look too perfect to eat. Macarons are on my “to-do” list and they have been on my list for years. They are so popular now that it seems everyone knows how to make them. A friend has arranged for a few of us to do a macaron course in September and now I am torn between giving them a go beforehand and waiting to be shown the proper way!
No trip to the French seaside is complete without moules-frîtes; mussels and chips(fries). Slightly more sophisticated than the British seaside speciality, fish and chips. You know they have very few food miles and are totally fresh!
I got to spend some time with my wonderful friends Erika and Rob and their three boys: thank you to them for their amazing hospitality. Erika and Rob moved to Brittany for a simpler life with their then two year old around ten years ago. Simpler doesn’t mean less busy or less hard work, just different! You can read a little about my thoughts on it last year here.
My main aim on my way back from France was to buy a crate of apricots to make some more jam, as I have for the past few years. Homemade apricot jam is my absolute favourite. I managed to find a supermarket that sold them and planned to pick them up on the way to the ferry, along with a crate of nectarines. But failed to remember that France still shuts on a Sunday! Un désastre! I’m still cross about that, but on the upside, at least I haven’t spent the day boiling sugar and making the kitchen even hotter.
So plenty of food for thought, if you’ll pardon the pun. I’ll be back to baking and blogging properly soon and you may well see some of the things I have mentioned above!