Shopping, Eating and Exploring

Come along with me and discover some off-the beaten paths in Southwest France

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What do I do all day?

One question people always ask me when I have been in France for five or six weeks is, "what do you do all day?" We don't have a TV, and the radio can be a challenge for anything but music. In the Spring, the days are long, with the sun not setting till 10:30pm.

Many days are spent deciding where to go to lunch, then lounging in the garden with a book. There is usually a market to visit (so you can shop for things for dinner). Many evenings I have people over for aperitifs or dinner, or someone invites me. Often, the conversation turns to the garden. What are you growing? What is ripe? What isn't working and what is? Cherries turn ripe in late May and early June and all of Southwest France seems to be awash in red cherry stains. Cherry jam, chutney, ice cream, cherries in eau d'vie, and cherry clafloutis. Clafloutis is a simple desert that can be made with a variety of fruit. Cherry is the classic. A recipe follows at the end of this post.

I helped Gill harvest her cherrys, with a little help from the dog. When Sally (the dog) first started eating the cherrys, they went down whole. By the end of the week, she was spitting out the pits. Beware the pits!!!! In France, a clafloutis, or an olive pizza for that matter probably has unpitted fruit/olives.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 pound cherries, rinsed and dried. Pitting is optional
1 1/2 tablesponns butter

Preheat the oven to 450F (or 230C) Butter a 9 1/2 -inch round tart or cake pan without a removable bottom.
Mix the flour and salt into a large bowl. Whisk in 1 cup of the milk until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, whisking. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla, then the remaining milk.
Place the cherries in the pan. Pour the batter over them, and dot the batter with the butter. Bake until puffed and golden (about 25 minutes) Serve lukewarm.

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