After wnndering through northern France and the coast of Normandy to end up in Le Havre, the Tour started stage 7 in Livarot. That in itself could be a story, but my dear subscribers would have read my story - 12 cheeses, 12 villages quite a while ago, so i will only give you a glimpse of it here.
This is another village in Normandy, not that far from Camembert or Pont l'Eveque.
The Livarot cheese is the oldest in Normandy and is a soft, pungent, washed rind cheese made from cow's milk. It is both beloved and reviled for its earthy aroma. It was also referred in the past as "the meat of the poor" for its good nutritional values and also because it kept itself up to six months. It is quite easy to recognise on a platter with its orange colour and the five rings of straw, which has given its nickname of "le colonel".
A rich red wine like a Pomerol or a Saint-Emilion would be an ideal match.
I believe that some of the Barossa Valley reds would be quite a good match as well.
SAINT-PIERRE AU BEURRE BLANC NANTAIS
My son Grégoire, who is rarely with us on Sundays these days, asked me to make him either turbot or John Dory, "with that butter sauce" for lunch. Lucky me, I found some big, beautiful Saint-Pierre, the French name for it at the Sydney Fish Market this morning, and only had to follow my Mum's recipe for the "beurre blanc" - that butter sauce...
It was also fitting with the passage of the Tour through Brittany where this fish is abundant and Nantes where "beurre blanc" originated, is just on the South bank of the Loire, and Vannes is just a little further North.
I did add a few twists to the recipe, as I wanted to try my new Himalayan Salt Block bought at the Bastille Day Market (don't ask...) from my neighbours Salt Lamp Store, and also prepare some oyster mushrooms - pleurottes - with garlic and basil, a recipe I usually make with Champignons de Paris. Add some miniature Roma tomatoes for flavour and colour and "le tour best joué"...
Ingredients per person:
200 grams of Turbot or John Dory
15-20 grams of rice - I used Randall Organic Long Grain Rice
4 miniature Roma tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1 stalk of basil
25 grams of oyster mushrooms
25 grams of butter - I used a combination of Lurpak unsalted and Pepe Saya Truffle Butter
1 table spoon of white wine vinegar
1 table spoon of white dry wine - I used a Macon Villages Chardonnay
The first thing to do is to heat up your salt block, on a small flame first, until the top is warm to the touch, and then full on to reach the cooking temperature of about 500 degrees Celsius.
Then, boil some water for the rice and peel your shallots and garlic and prepare the mushrooms
The Himalayan Salt Block is been heated on the gas flame and gives us a great show of colours
Now, it is time to start the "beurre blanc". For those of you that can read French - and my Mum's handwriting - then you are on your way. For the others (what's the name of someone who speaks only one language...) then here is the quite simple method "en images"
The month of July is traditionally very busy in France with the Bastille Day celebrations and the Tour de France, as well as a lot of people going on holidays.
On a more personal note, it is also a month full of birthdays for our family: my grandmother was born on the 1st, my wife on the 3rd, my sister on the 7th and my son Gregoire on the 16th, being his 21st this year. Hence why you have not heard much from me recently...
In Australia, we are lucky to have a great coverage of the Tour on SBS, with also some culinary delights, by either our local Gabriel Gate, a Melbourne-based French chef, or the French Food Safari every Thursday night - and obviously the ever present MasterChef competition, which is often French inspired!
Some local restaurants are having a Bastille Day menu all month like "Uncorked" in North Sydney that we will review shortly.
Late last month, as we had my sister-in-law and her partner visiting from Perth on their way to Las Vegas, we had the pleasure to share a dinner at "Tastevin", a gorgeous French bistro in East Sydney, also on the list to be reviewed.
Finally, we have celebrated our son's 21st at Sepia in the Sydney CBD, where the chef is the ex executive chef at the very famous Tetsuya. To give you a glimpse of the place, I will just review the wines we sampled there on our wine page.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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