Friday, 25 September 2015

Les Carnets de Julie

Julie Andrieu is a French television presenter. She makes a programme called Les Carnets de Julie (Julie's Notebooks) that we really like. In each episode she concentrates on a particular area of France and interviews local cooks and farmers or artisans. They get a chance to show off their special product which is traditional and local usually. At the end everyone gets together for a meal.

Just recently she returned to the Touraine and made a programme based in Chédigny. Our friend Fréd Sanchez appears at the end. He's the chef accompanying the poire tapée producer and he brings a dessert made from faisselle (smooth cottage cheese) and dried pears. He said it was a lot of fun participating. We are very jealous of Julie in this episode, as she gets to drive up to the front door of Chenonceau in her little red classic sports car.

Julie has a natural and unaffected way of presenting that is rare on French TV. She has also clearly done her homework and really enjoys food. Her rapport with the interviewees appears genuine and the show is a great way for us to practice our French. Perhaps the thing we like best of all is that the participants are not an endless stream of the same old same old, but ordinary local people who have a passion for the food and drink of their region.

The programme is an hour long in a magazine format. Half a dozen or so locals get to strut their stuff and it doesn't come across as superficial. For those of you who are now hooked, here is an earlier programme of Julie in the Touraine.

Preuilly Market News: We are getting a new bakery in town. Laurence, a candidate for most beautiful and nicest baker in the world, has decided that she sells so much at the Preuilly market that she might as well open a shop. Her new premises will be at 21 rue de la Croix Blanche, just along from the médiatheque, and will open its doors to customers this Sunday. She is going to open Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 8 am (don't quote me on that -- I might have mis-remembered what she told me).

Other good news is that the Organic Amazon is back. She works for les Jardins Vergers, the organic market garden and orchard just outside of town. She is going to be at Preuilly market with local organic fruit and vegetables on Thursdays for October and November. Then she's back off up into the mountains to work the winter season there.
Au jardin hier: Some unwelcome creature has gnawed the top off my beautiful largest red cabbage. I must harvest all the cabbage I think and do a whopper batch of pickled cabbage. Since this is the first year I have succeeded in growing any sort of brassica I am mightly annoyed.

The grapes have not suffered any further damage in the wet and wild weather, so I must now pick a dozen or so bunches every couple of days until we use them up. I took some over to T&P's yesterday.

The Aged One has erected his walnut cordon, to prevent idle passers by from nicking his walnuts by stretching a rope barrier across the (public!) track. It prompted me to go and check our walnuts. I had assumed they would be a couple more weeks, but in fact several had dropped to the ground, so that's another thing that needs to be checked every few days for a while.

I have two little Autumn Lady's Tresses Spiranthes spirales leaf rosettes appeared, but no flower spikes. On the whole that is good news. My one plant has multiplied into two, and they are not stressing themselves by flowering.
A la cuisine hier: Apple and rhubarb flapjacks, made to Jean's niece's recipe. Anyone who has ever made flapjacks has no excuse if they still think of them as the healthy option. It is clear that the purpose of the rolled oats is not to provide healthy dietary fibre, but to act as a sponge for a considerable quantity of caramel.

On my last supermarket shopping trip I was waylaid by the nice grazier from Aveyron who was there to promote his Label Rouge veal. After chatting with him for several minutes and admitting that I did know his product and when I bought veal that was what I chose I thought it would be churlish not to buy some this time. After a bit more discussion with him I chose a roast, something I have never cooked before. He stressed I must cook it hot and not too long, so it remained pink inside. I served it with a medley of roast veggies cut into 2cm dice and sprinkled with a spice and sea salt mixture given to us by Antoinette and Niall after their recent trip to Ile d'Oléron.
Loire Valley Nature: A new entry for Redstarts Phoenicurus spp has been added. At this stage it is just a stub, but will get added to once I sort out more pictures.


  1. " but to act as a sponge for a considerable quantity of caramel"....
    you've only just realized this?????

    Cabbages keep if cut and hung... BUT do not remove the outermost leaves...
    they will wither first and can be discarded, or will drop naturally...
    which you or the plant would do anyway.
    But if you take them off, the outer leaves of the heart will wither and you will lose these...
    but, by hanging them, you will be able to make the pickles up to the end of November...
    and not be pressed into doing it now.

    And don't forget to make some Red Cabbage and Apple...
    using red wine!
    Excellent scran!!

    Orchard mowing...
    just waiting for me nuts!

    1. Just went to check post...
      me nuts are here...!

    2. Just goes to show how rarely I make flapjacks. I've always found them a bit hard going chewing wise. These ones of Jo's are the nicest I've ever encountered.

      Glad tidings re the nuts. The weather forecast shows a week of fine weather ahead, so can we schedule for a week's time? I'm otherwise engaged until then. See you this arvo when I pick Pauline up.

  2. I know that flapjacks are something entirely different in Britain compared to what we call flapjacks in America (they're pancakes over there). But can you describe what you mean by pickled cabbage? Thanks. Time refers to this as "the pickles" -- what does that mean?

    1. Pickled vegetables generally means cured in either brine or vinegar. In the case of my red cabbage the dish I am actually intending to make is a sort of fake. It has vinegar, sugar and spices in it like a proper pickle would but is actually slow cooked and not intended to keep on the shelf (although I could probably 'can' it as you Americans say). In fact I'm intending to freeze it. To eat it's kind of like sauerkraut but I would serve it as a side dish rather than the main event. It's similar to this recipe.

    2. Thanks Susan. The term "pickle" is confusing to me because in the U.S. "a pickle" is a pickled cucumber, of whatever size -- cornichons, dill pickles, bread & butter pickles, etc. Our "pickle" is not a collective or mass noun, even though we do say when you are in trouble or face a dilemma that you are "in a pickle." Your pickle sounds a little bit like Korean kim chee, which I've made and is very good, whether cooked or uncooked. And yes, it can be "canned."

    3. Apologies to Tim for mangling his name. Tim heals all wounds...

  3. Was the rare or rosé veal roast good? What cut of veal was it? I usually buy veal roasts (épaule or bas de carré) that are braised or made into blanquette. The other cuts of veal are just too expensive.

    1. It was quite good, not a religious experience though. I'm not sure what cut of veal it was. Normally when I cook veal I do blanquette with quite scrappy bits of meat. I said to the guy I was thinking of doing a roast and he said well, there's épaule for pot roasting or there's the other sort which you open roast. It seemed small, only 750g, but it must have been really dense. It took over an hour to cook to an internal temp of 65C and didn't shrink much. It easily served 5.

    2. I buy the veal shoulder roasts "à mijoter" and then undo them to cut the meat up into cubes for blanquette or veau aux olives. I find there's much less fat in the roasts than in the veal that is sold specifically for making stews like blanquette, so I like them better. Some of the cuts of veal for roasting are quasi, noix, and longe. For blanquette, it's often épaule, bas-carré, or poitrine. Collet and jarret can be used in blanquette too but require extra-long cooking.

  4. I think all of Julie Andrieu's Carnets show are on