Tag Archives: rosemary

Rosemary and black olive Fougasse and sausages for officers

Last week Luc admitted to a hunter friend (who has eight obedient beagles) that we had ‘issues’ with our dogs. We hit a new low recently; we have to barricade the doors at night with chairs to send the message that we don’t provide a 24/7 service, and it’s NOT OK to wake us up at random just because you fancy a moonlit stroll in the garden. The friend wasn’t overly sympathetic and seemed to suggest that in our case, the ‘obedience ship’ had set sail long ago. He trains his dogs as puppies (like most sensible people), but I just can’t get my head around the idea of disciplining a puppy. Or any dog, if I’m being absolutely honest.

Léo and five friends celebrated the end of exams last week in true Bordeaux style with copious amounts of food, wine and noise (gatherings of up to six people are allowed in France). They were just tucking in to a second ‘dinner’ at three in the morning when the police knocked at the door. The noise was such that the gendarmes had called in reinforcements, and were accompanied by a heavily armed military squadron. They were rather taken aback when they realised that the impressive commotion was coming from just six boys, although the fact that several of them were Basque went some way to explaining things (Basque fiestas are notoriously loud). Realising there was no pressing need for mob control, they laid down their guns but, slightly bewildered, graciously refused the offer of sausages and chips. Way to avoid a hefty fine.

Fougasse is a flatbread that was traditionally baked in the ashes of the hearth. It is really a primitive form of pizza, without the tomatoes.

Ingredients

250g einkorn flour (normal flour is fine)

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon bread yeast, mixed in a little lukewarm water

8 black olives, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

Fresh rosemary, removed from stem

Water

Sea salt to sprinkle on top

Place the flour in a bowl, add the salt, olive oil, yeast, chopped olives, shallot and rosemary. Add the water, little by little to form a smooth ball. Knead for a couple of minutes and then flatten to form an oval shape a couple of centimetres thick. Decorate with the sea salt.

Leave to rise in a 30°C oven for half an hour, then increase the oven temperature to 200°C and bake for 25 minutes.

Toulouse sausages with Puy lentils and exiled hens

Our hens are in exile; they have been forced from their homeland by an overabundance of horses. Four was fine, desirable even; it created a cosy ‘chicken sandwich’ environment. But the newly-arrived pony was the final straw – she’s a Quadruped Lout Too Far and a tiny bit scornful perhaps at the deference required to lay an egg.

So they’ve set up camp on the fourth-floor shelf of the workshop on some torn-up sheets. Not without much shrill, dyspeptic screeching, I might add. I feel a bit bad that all they found for their nest was old sheets and not pashminas, but such is the life of a hen. I only discovered their new hideout because, reaching for an old sheet to clean my saddle, I unwittingly scrambled an egg at my feet. I assume they think that the workshop is horseproof – I’m afraid they’re in for a surprise 😉

Puy Green Lentils (grown on the vocanic soil of the ‘Massif Central’) are prized above other lentils for their strong peppery flavor and firmness, even after cooking. High in fiber and protein, they also contain dietary fibre, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. As if all that isn’t enough, they also have a very low GI (glycemic index).

Ingredients (serves four)

4 Toulouse sausages

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, peeled and chopped

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

5 mushrooms, peeled and sliced

3 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces

1 tin (400g) of plum tomatoes

200g of Puy lentils

2 sprigs of rosemary

1 bay leaf

250ml chicken stock

seasoning to taste: sea salt, fresh black pepper, paprika

Preheat the oven to 150°C. If you have a griddle pan, griddle the sausages briefly. If not, searing them will do just as well. Gently fry the onions, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil to soften them. Add the griddled/seared sausage, the plum tomatoes and carrots and continue to heat. Add the lentils, chicken stock, herbs and seasoning and bring back to a gentle simmer. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, checking from time to time that there is enough liquid – the lentils absorb an enormous amount.