French Friday

Provencal Roasted Shitakes with Basil Oil

Shitake mushrooms have a great flavour and texture, so therefore a good choice of mushroom to use in this dish.

French Tarte Bourdaloue

Here we have a French, pear, custard and almond tart. It was first created by a celebrated patissier in 1909 and is still, to this day, one of the classic tarts sold throughout France.

It is easiest to use a bought puff pastry. In Europe there is a pastry which you can buy, somewhere between a puff and a short crust pastry. Because we can’t buy that particular pastry here, a puff is the closest pastry I can find.

Roasted Figs with Blue Cheese

Figs grow well in Provence with it’s perfect conditions for growing almost any fruit. The fig’s subtle but rich flavour pairs wonderfully with something a little salty. For those who enjoy figs, they are great in a salad. They can be roasted , sprinkled with fresh thyme and a drizzle of honey, in the oven (for a different flavour), for about ten minutes before adding to a salad of rocket, along with shaved parmesan, a few walnuts and sliced pear. If you have an abundance of figs you can be ambitious and try something different.

These are a nice surprise as an appetizer, with drinks or with a cheese course.

Lemon Mousse

There are a number of recipes for lemon mousse around, but this one does not require gelatine, and I found it to be the least complicated to put together.

Fig Tarte with Goat Cheese

The French often use figs as a feature in salads, along with a sharp tasting cheese; very often paired with goat cheese. The best figs in France come from around the village of Sollliès. This fig has a violet coloured skin with a rich red flesh. Remember that figs do not ripen after they are picked from the tree, so it’s important to choose the ripeness of the fig at the time of picking.

Here we have a simple tart which can be served with rocket or a light salad as a lunch.

Provencal Zucchini Tart

This Provencal tart is packed with flavour, thanks to the beautiful herbs used. It can be served warm, or at room temperature with a green salad. You can use a bought sheet pastry, but I made a quick shortcrust pasty which I prefer to make myself.

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