Monday, 1 October 2012

Where I ate today: Le Terminus, Cruzy

Okay, so I didn't technically eat at Le Terminus today. In fact, it was (sniff) nearly 3 months ago, but skimming through these pictures I was unable to resist a cheeky post.

The meal was delightful; gorgeous food, balmy weather, idyllic setting. The hosts, Gaëlle and Sébastien Caille, are the kind of effortless French chic that renders your carefully put together ensemble immediately frumpy and pedestrian. But the food... moan... the food. Exactly the kind of unpretentious bistro fare that you hope to find in a regional restaurant, with generous portions and a respectful nod to its Spanish neighbours. Every meal we saw come out of the kitchen made us jealous, in particular the diner-style burger which dripped with cheese and avocado, pickles spilling out of its sweet toasted bun.

The restored train station (now bar) next door to the main dining space serves tapas on Friday and Saturday nights, and the restaurant patio offers a grassy backyard playground, with swings, a hopscotch path and some logs for jumping across and balancing on. Even better, this area is behind a screen of plants, far enough away that your fellow childless diners won't be irritated but you can still keep an eye on the little ones.

slow roasted lamb shoulder

prawn fajita

spiced duck breast

fish in a bag with vegetable confit and puy lentils

pistachio parfait

pannacotta with wild strwberries and lemon sorbet

Restaurant Le Terminus - Avenue de la Gare - 34310 - Cruzy

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Le Marche

This is why people move to the south of France. Some images from the markets around Olonzac.

Friday, 6 July 2012

What I ate today: pig's face terrine salad??

After a second failed attempt to eat at the Hotel D'Alibert in Caunes-Minervois (it has been closed for lunch twice so far), we happened upon a little restaurant in Rieux-Minervois, Le Logis de Merinville. It is run by a couple, Cathy and Pierre Morin, who have been there for 35 years. He is the chef and she works front of house. The decor was quirky, the food very authentic and homely. We opted for the Menu de Jour, which included this interesting salad of terrine, cucumber, lettuce and tomato:

We believe the terrine was made from pig's snout, ears and tongue with some aspic to glue it all together. The flavour of the meat was very nice, but personally, I'm not a fan of aspic. It lends everything a gelatinous texture that just quite doesn't work for me with savoury dishes. Perhaps I'm not comfortable enough with traditional French dishes (I don't know how Julie Powell made it all the way through the aspic chapter of Julia Child's book). The flavour of the salad dressing was delicious, though and the vegetables very fresh and crisp.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

What I ate today: Mejillones

Mmm... mussels.

The last time I was travelling through Europe for purely recreational purposes, we calculated that one of my companions had personally made it through at least 500 mussels (not all in one sitting, obviously). Tasting the mussels on the Mediterranean at this time of year, you can understand how this is possible.

I picked up a kilo at the local fish market yesterday (or was it the day before??). We weren't sure that we would get through them all, but like magic, the mussel bowl became emptier and the shell bowl more full.

Steamed mussels in Catalan rosè and garlic

1 kg mussels, scrubbed and debearded
olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1/2 glass of dry rosè
handful parsley, chopped

Heat a large pan or stockpot over a medium heat, and add the olive oil and garlic. Fry for a minute or two, until the garlic is softened but not brown. Throw in the mussels, then the wine and cover. Steam the mussels for around 5 minutes, or until cooked (they will open up like an eager young virgin when they are ready to be devoured). Toss in the parsley and serve immediately, with lots of crusty bread to soak up the delicious liquor.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

What I ate today: Spanish cooking class at Cook & Taste

Frank Camorra was not wrong (of course). This was no beginners guide to Spanish cuisine, but rather an insight into how seasonal ingredients can be used in traditional ways to create exciting, delicious food. The Cook & Taste cooking school is housed in a beautiful old building, just off Placa St Jaume, but the kitchens inside are modern and very clean. Our chef/ teacher, Maria has an infectious enthusiasm for Catalan cuisine, and happily shared both family secrets and insider tips to Barcelona's food scene.

Anchos a la plancha con melon

Chupito de sopa de pimento roja

Paella de marisco

Paella de marisco
paella de marisco

Pana con Tomaquet

Crema Catalana
Crema Catalana

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

What I ate today: Euskal Taberna, Barcelona

Mmm... Pinxtos.

This place was just up the laneway from the Picasso Museum (Placeta Moncada), which we walked right past, headed directly for the tapas (don't worry, we are not completely devoid of culture - we plan to go back). The salt cod croquettas were a highlight; my 6 year old travelling companion also rated the Marguez sausages very highly.

It was tricky to take good pics, as the bar was significantly taller than me, but I gave it a crack.

To Mercat, to Mercat...

In the late afternoon we visited the Mercat le Boqueria. I may have actually jumped up and down with excitement, but I can't be sure, because I think I might have passed out a little bit.

fruit stand La Boqueria
mmm... chocolate... La Boqueria

cherries (for one)

flowers outside Mercat de la Concepcio

oh, the jamonity! (sorry)

Jamon at La Boqueria