A Provencal lunch under a chestnut tree, on a Sunday afternoon with friends. The morning had us worried as it rained, down-poured actually, but by nine the sky returned to its glorious blue: Provence! Shutters opened wide, the cigales sang, the river hummed and the aperitif began... pastis, tapenade on small toast. Two friends brought tapenade, a comparison began... both used the same ingredients. Though one used more garlic which brought out the taste of the anchovies. So if you like the taste of anchovies, as French Husband does, then add more garlic. If not follow this recipe... hum... er... as it was given to me:
start with two or three soup spoon worth of olive oil
2 heads of fresh crushed garlic
3 or 4 small anchovies
two or three soup spoons full of small round capers
two hearty pinch full of thyme
The majestic old chestnut tree shaded the garden, the canopy filtered flickers of sunlight as if knowing just what leaves to turn or bend, sparkling golden-ness a perfect crown over our heads.
Admiring its beauty Joyce Kilmer's poem echoed in my thoughts:
And so we sat as the French do, that lovely Sunday afternoon, enjoying each other's company, having lunch. Four hours leisurely passed at the table:
Glazed salmon with soy and ginger
twelve different types of cheese
white, rose and red wine to match the courses
Fresh peach charlotte
Needless to say I rolled from the table dreading the thought of dinner .
Fresh Peach Charlotte
Recipe from my friend Monique, well as far as recipes go amongst those who cook, or bake, or like dabbling in stories of food preparations during a four hour lunch. The exacts aren't important if you know the basics, or are a cook. Talking about food, and listening to the way one prepares such, often leads without meaning to the revelation or a secret ingredient, most often to a certain unknown flair: "how to".
Lady fingers lightly soaked in orange juice and rum, then layer the bottom of a souffle dish, and along the sides.
Add two cups of finely cut peaches
One cup of plain sheep yogurt (any yogurt will do, but my friend used sheep yogurt the taste difference was notable.) with a spoonful of sugar and fresh ground vanilla into the sheep yogurt.
Add the sheep yogurt on top of the peaches.
Add another layer of lady fingers and repeat the above.
Add another layer of lady fingers, then cover the top with plastic, and put a small plate to the opening.
Put the fresh peach Charlotte in the refrigerator for six to eight hours or overnight.
Our friend and hostess of this lovely afternoon meal, our generous friend Anne-Marie who has been our friend for over twenty years.
I met Anne-Marie when she walked by our home overhearing me speaking English to Chelsea and Sacha, she proclaimed, "Your speaking English!" and as she said that to me I uttered, "OH you speak English!" We became friends for life.
Merci Merci Merci