October 06, 2008

French Kitchen News- Autumn Cooking Classes

I have, at last, solved the age old question.

What comes first, the chicken or the egg?

Here at Camont, where once all sorts of farm animals roamed at large alongside the canal, there is no doubt. It's the chicken.

Well, actually it not THE chicken, it's SEVEN chickens. So first we got some chickens and THEN we got some eggs. It's that simple. First chickens and THEN eggs.

New to Camont, a simple movable chicken coop placed in one of the garden squares in the potager. Painted woad blue with natural pigment from my friends at Bleu de Lectoure, who also graciously offered the French Kitchen a beautiful pair of black Gascon chooks. They joined a Chilean couple of Araucanas, single White Sussex and two work horse Cou Nu (Naked Necks) laying hens who are doing all the work at present.

It is absoulutely silly how long one can stand and watch the friendly flock scratch and peck. When I can't stand at the stove any longer, just wheel me out to the garden and let me be a chicken voyeur!

So after pulling myself away from the new kids on the farm, I take a stroll around the lower French forty, just to see the changes happening as October takes control.

  • The canal side trees reflect a varied palette in the still water.
  • The mother fig tree is still bent over with hundreds of small but sweet fall fruit.
  • Poplar leaves are beginning to breakdown into compost next to the orchard bridge.
  • Wild watercress is beginning to dominate in the spring run off and promises winter greens.
  • A dozen new raspberry plants have taken hold and offer the promise of jars of next summer confiture.
  • and the beans... the Tarbais beans are heavy with pods drying in this warm fall and have produced just enough beans for this month's Camp Cassoulet cooking classes.
Camp Cassoulet begins October 24 and runs for 5 weekends. For more information click on www.frenchkitchenadventures.com and consult the calender at the bottom of this blog. Authentic original NOT Poterie cassoles will be available for sale beginning November 1.

Now, what does one do with two beautifully fresh eggs? Just ask my good friend Robert Reynolds at the Chef's Studio in Portland Oregon. mmm...oeufs en meurette.

October 02, 2008

Home Sweet Gascon Home

Travel days suck the minutes out of the day and here I am, a month later having returned from la belle NZ still trying to catch up. We've been cooking, cooking, cooking at the French Kitchen nonstop since I returned and there is a several more weeks of Camp Cassoulet and private classes to come.

The fall days color this private corner of my French world with a luminous haze, a golden silver net of spiderwebs and dew, red rosehips and falling leaves. Five new hens are pecking in garden and a tentative crow from a young rooster trails in the morning mist. The Autumn equinox descends on Camont leaving Orion as its calling card hanging above the pigeonnier tower. Pumpkins and mushrooms fill our baskets while the last figs simmer into yet another jar of confiture des figues epices.
This might be my favorite time of year.
In France.
Wish you were here...