Celebrating Bastille Day…
Every July 14th, Paris celebrates Bastille Day (La Fête de la Bastille or La Fête Nationale) which marks the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789 and the first major event of the French Revolution of 1789.
The destruction of the Bastille prison in central Paris was chosen as a symbol of France’s first stirrings of democracy, though it would take several reinstated monarchies and bloody revolutions to establish an enduring Republic.
So that’s the very brief history; now photos of my table and setting for my little French lunch today. It was very simple and unconventional but I chose our office space in Hunter Street, Newcastle (currently undergoing renovation) because ‘a french collection’ is going to share this new office space when renovations are completed. I can’t wait to have my own little space to write and create – Yah!!
This selection of fruit tarts, hazelnut Paris brest and chocolate eclairs were handmade by Christian Breton who gives the following history about himself. ‘In the eighties I worked in a traditional patisserie (cake shop) in Bandol in the South of France, followed by formal pastry cooking school in the city of Marseille. These experiences have given me a strong foundation of knowledge in the field of pastry and cake making. Since completing my training I have built on these underlying skills, bringing me to the fine cake chef I am today.’ http://christianspatisserie.com.au/about-me-christian-breton/
Finely sliced smoked ham and intensely favoured French sausage perfectly balance strong cheeses. We paired our meats with Chabichou du Poitou goats cheese, Gorgonzola from Northern Italy, Vintage British Cheddar and Goats Gouda. Read tips on how to get the best from your cheese here and discover which cheese knife to use for which cheese here.
Quiche Lorraine is always a party favourite. Just as nice hot or cold and easy to make. I made these early this morning and they were my only cooking contribution to today’s lunch. Following are my instructions on how to prepare quiches in the style of yesteryear, as found in very old recipe books. That is, exact food quantities are not given and cooking times are vague. It is more about the origin of the produce and the choice of ingredients than the exact process of cooking in old books. It is often assumed the reader has a full knowledge of cooking techniques.
Quiche Lorraine: My version
- Lightly oil 12 mini quiche or tartlet pans with extra virgin olive oil (my pans 1cm deep x 10cm x 5cm)
- Line each pan with defrosted supple shortcrust pastry (I use store purchased sheets when in a hurry)
- Blind bake your quiche cases
- Crack 6 eggs from happy free range hens into a medium sized mixing bowl and beat well
- Add a large dash of creamy full milk to eggs
- Freshly grind a pinch of sea salt and piper nigrum (black pepper) into mixing bowl
- Add finely chopped freshly picked chives grown in full sun
- Grate strong and bitey cheddar cheese and add 2 handfuls to mixing bowl (or use store grated cheese if you must)
- Now add finely chopped sliced triple smoked ham from your favourite delicatessen into the slightly cooled quiche cases. I like to cover the base with the chopped ham
- Pour egg mixture to just below top edge of cases making sure each pan gets it’s even share of grated cheese
- Cook quiches with soft medium heat until mixture is cooked through
What a great excuse to drink Champagne at lunchtime! At lunch my girlfriend was telling me about her tour of the Verve Clicquot Champagne house. This is something on my travel list still to do. Have you toured any of the French Champagne houses? Did you find it interesting or is it something you would not recommend?
So that was my day; did you celebrate Bastille Day? What did you do? Hope it was a good one… Annette Xx