Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Stagier Who Once Stared At Goats

Now playing: Jim Croce - Photographs & Memories
via FoxyTunes

There was a surprise in the post! A book from my niece Becky! One of her fellow author friends wrote a cookbook and it was delivered signed by the author. Well, this sent memories flooding back, of my time in France. While I am a raging Anglophile, I'm going to sometimes do a bit of Franco reminiscing on the blog. I already highlighted Rugis in a previous blog. During culinary school our class spent a month in Provence, the rest of the class each had a stage at a restaurant. In my case though, I had a stage at a goat cheese farm. I got to view and help in the making of Frommage de Chevre. Living on site of the small farm was a delight and insightful. Besides helping to manage the goats and making the cheese; I cooked for the family, babysat a grandchild, refinished a chair to conform with regulations from a then recent inspection, collected herbs to adorn the cheese for market, delivered to market, helped plant the garden, etc. The dairy is connected to the farmhouse, the first thing I noticed is the smell of milk and developing cheese as I walked in the front door. A hop, skip and head-butt away from the house was the goat barn. All around was the grasses that the goats frequently grazed. A flavour that came out in the cheese. The buildings were built stone by stone, by the man of the house. Yes, this was quite hands on! There must be a picture of this farm in a dictionary entry for terroir.

La Ferme les Billiardes

“Put silk on a goat and it is still a goat” -Irish saying

....But if life throws goats at you, make cheese!

Different goat cheese styles ready for delivery to market: (One of my favourites is the ash coated cheese on the top right. There is a version in England, Kidderton Ash, can't wait to taste that again!)

A speciality of the area, Banon cheese. There was a hired lady that comes by to the farm kitchen table, after the cheese has matured, about 8 weeks. This lady has the cheese lined up and her job is to, at great speed, spray the cheese with brandy and wrap the cheese in Chestnut leaves in a nice neat bundle with the farm's label. This cheese is not available in the United States.

Back to the book I mentioned at the start. This book is for showcasing and making available the food of French housewives. I recommend this book to anyone that wants elegant, everyday food put together in easy recipes. After a quick peruse, I looked up goat cheese in the index. I was delighted to find this recipe for goat cheese broiled onto bread. I can attest that it is in fact, a recipe well used in restaurants, as well. Every restaurant I have worked at has had a version of this.

It is really nice with the honey drizzled at the end.

Another good thing to do is use local ingredients when possible. I was happy to use local Chevre' and honey.

This wouldn't be my blog without a twist to the recipe. This time it comes in the form of roquette pesto. A basic pesto, but made with roquette and the nuts used are almonds in this particular recipe.

I have to show off my goat bowl. I bought it at a St. Remy market. St. Remy was just one of the wonderful markets our class shopped at on a regular basis in France.


“Don't approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side.” - Yiddish proverb

No comments:

Post a Comment