French Friday

French Easter Bells

In France, one of the main Easter traditions are bells. Legend has it that the Thursday before Easter, church bells across France are silenced to mourn the death of Christ and they remain silent until Easter Sunday. The bells would fly to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. They would then begin their journey back to the French churches, but would pick up eggs along the way before scattering them into the gardens. The bells would then ring on Easter Sunday to announce the Resurrection of Christ and therefore ‘return’. So in France it is the bells rather than the Easter bunny who delivers the Easter eggs.

The French use a lot of fresh herbs for their Easter cooking, so often, Easter eggs are laid out onto a bed of freshly picked herbs from the garden.

Ratatouille Nicoise

This combination of simple vegetables, was originally prepared by the poorer French farmers near Nice, with fresh summer vegetables tossed in vinegar and oil.

Although there is no precise recipe, eggplant and zucchini are always used in this dish.

There are many different versions of Ratatouille, but here we have a basic and simple one for you to try. I found it really satisfying and rewarding to go out and pick everything from my garden, except the red onion which came from a neighbour’s garden.

French Style Zucchini Pickle

Pickled vegetables are traditionally served on appetizer platters in France, so zucchini and cucumber are very popular on those platters.

French Style Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese

Portobello mushrooms are versatile because of their size. They have a "meaty" texture and can be substituted for other proteins.

In France they are grown in huge galleries in underground mushroom farms, stacked in specially designed rooms with controlled temperature and humidity.

Waffle Baskets Filled with French Style Mousse

Here we have shop-brought waffle baskets filled with a French style mousse and topped with fruit which is season.

Watermelon Jelly

When watermelons are in season and you’re wondering how else can this beautiful fruit be prepared, here is another way of presenting a very satisfying dessert.

A light refreshing dessert which is best made the night before serving.

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