The French Affair

So…my folks are expats! Which means they spend a hell of a lot of their time mixing with folk from all around the world. Great – in many ways, yes! But also difficult in that most of the friends they make and grow to love end up leaving for ‘home’ (wherever that might be) at some stage. And so their colourful and very social lives and also filled with farewells and goodbyes – some permanent and dotted with the customary “we really must stay in touch’es” and others – well, the “goodbye” is replaced with a genuine “see you soon”.

In their case, they are blessed with more of the latter, and they have been lucky to have recently skipped across to France to visit their beloved Francois’ (French Moroccan) married to equally beloved good old Mike (Texan with a penchant for flavoured vodka…dubiously discovered by my husband one memorable New Years’ in the dessert) on a trip to fair France to see their close friends who used to live across from them in their compound in Doha. The first jaunt saw mom walking the ‘El Camino pilgrimage in defiance of grannyhood for the 2nd time (the 1st act of defiance being Mount Kilimanjaro…boast moment, sorry!). Granted, I reckon it’s easier to come up with an excuse to visit friends in France than for example, Kuwait!

And just in time for my little Portuguese blog offering, mom decided she would shed her light on European fare – completely, authentically, entirely locally and lovingly crafted in the vineyards of the village of Puissalicon, France. Thanks mom – this makes our humble, yet inspired Porri Paella look like shade on a cloudy day! Take note of the wine featured in each shot – needless to say, the food was inspired by the gods…

A meal fit for the French (including a Texan, a Pom, a South African and a French-Morrocan), Puissalicon-style, would be as follows~

STARTERS: Verrine Mice en Bouche 


Asparagus  mousse over crushed savoury Tuc biscuits (green pepper flavour) served with fromage blanc and yoghurt, more than beat!

MAINS: Spanish Paella 

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Arborio with pork, rabbit, fresh muscles, calamari and prawns and sliced yellow and red peppers using authentic French paella spice all cooked together with a whole unpeeled garlic head placed centre wok…..delicious to break up and eat.

A quick comparison between the two spices mixes shows that the Eat.Art Paella Spice Mix boasts key ingredients such as paprika (including a smoked variety), garlic, sea salt, onion, black peppercorns, parsley and saffron and seems to owe its flavour more to smokey heat; whereas the French paella spice includes key ingredients such as saffron, sweet pimento, “tomillo”, black pepper, nutmeg and rosemary and is perhaps slightly sweeter than our prized local variety. 

DESSERT: Speculaas 


A crumble covered with stewed apricots topped with yoghurt and cinnamon.

AFTER DINNER FIXTURE (and an excuse to keep drinking): French Cheese Platter 


Including: French Camembert, Lait Cru (small round cheese found only in the Bourgogne region, not even in shops…made from unpasteurised milk). Morbier and Mimolette, aged.

Clearly not an ‘end of the month Salticrax’ sort of meal, nor one for anyone on Weight Watchers…although one we aspire to creating when we visit France soon….via the supper club of course!

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Written for by: Nancy Hoepner  – Magpie Creative

Only slightly exhausted mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner of Magpie Creative. Having worked with the eat-art team before, she is thrilled, and slightly bewildered to have been asked to (take time out from juggling and) add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige. |


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