Easter snail tales

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Although lamb is automatically associated with Easter food, snails too, are also a Paschal preference in France, having also been given the green light by the Catholic Church through Lent, when all other ‘meat’ is forbidden.Read more

Cheese and onion with a Burgundian twist

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Epoisses is a fairly pungent cheese from Burgundy, which you'll find in any cheese shop and, indeed, most supermarkets.
It is said that Napoleon was particularly partial to Epoisses, washed down with Chambertin wine - and it is true that it tastes excellent with red - and, perhaps, more surprisingly - also white Burgundian wines.Read more

Detox the Provencal way

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Apparently sales of garlic worldwide have shot up in the past year, alongside the Swine Flu scare, and the price of what Alexander Dumas called "this mystically refined bulb" has risen commensurately.
The "stinking rose" may not be able to fight off Grippe A on its own, yet garlic has certainly been known for centuries to have antiseptic properties. Indeed, it was grown extensively for this reason during both World Wars, encouraged by government grants.Read more

Valentine’s Day massacre

I moved to France 18 months ago and have to admit that by now I thought I would be so immersed in the culture I would have trouble pro-nouncing my own name without a French accent. I would have several lovers called Pascal and Pierre and, most importantly, I would have mastered the art of French cooking, whipping up a Bouillabaisse like it was nothing, and all the local market vendors would know me by name.Read more

A crackling good idea

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After our venture into the Orient with last month’s Chinese Duck recipe, we are coming home with a crunch (again), as after managing to get their duck crispy, several readers asked how to achieve proper crackling on pork in France.Read more

Happy Chinese New Year my little Valentine

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This year Valentine’s Day falls on the start of the new Chinese year, Year of the Tiger. So for a change why not celebrate it by sharing the world's most intimate of finger meals, a crispy duck rolled in spicy plum sauce and pancakes? Although I have never found authentic Hoi Sin sauce in France, you can make your own with very little work.Read more

Truffles galore at two markets this weekend

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Everything you’ve always wanted to know about truffles but were afraid to ask can be found at the 14th "Marché de la Truffe" (truffle market) which is on this weekend in the Alpes-Maritimes at the Bastide Saint Antoine near Grasse on Saturday, and the village of Le Rouret on Sunday.Read more

Top chef salutes Dior’s secret passion

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A partnership between the Fairmont Monte Carlo hotel and Dior has captured the imagination of one of the Principality’s most creative - dare one say theatrical - chefs. Taking inspiration from Christian Dior’s epicurean passion for haute cuisine, Maryan Gandon and his team have taken a fresh approach to festive traditions.Read more

Know your onions

Autumn is the time we start to see the new season's onions arriving in our markets and shops - in different shapes, sheens and colours, and all beautifully sweet, crisp and easy to peel. So, away with those tasteless Spanish onions strung into orange netting, and start experimenting with our more locally grown purple shallots, pretty, aromatic reds (rouge-de-florence or rosé-de-roscoff, for example) or, best of all, the sweet yellow doux-de-Cevennes.Read more

Farcis - one of this season’s most edible delights, and how to make it!

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Maydays and sunshine days. This month heralds the start of long summer lunches in the shade, relaxing and gossiping with friends.
The last thing you want is to be busying to-and-fro kitchen-to-terrace, so the ideal meal is one you can prepare in advance. Which, presumably, is why Petits Farcis Niçois were invented. The perfect ‘pick and mix’ summer buffet dish.Read more