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This month our man in the Languedoc, Martin Dwyer, shares the wonderful lobster recipe, Homard à l’Américaine and its history - and wishes you all a Joyeux Noel!
This month: Martin continues his reflections on Finding Le Presbytere: Once we had decided that we wanted to settle in the Languedoc we headed back to that area as soon as Sile got her school holidays in 2006. By that time we had a check list of what we needed for our new venture.
This month Martin answers the question most often asked by guests: how did a middle aged Irish couple come to be running a B&B in the Languedoc?
I have been aware of Pissaladière for as long as I have been cooking, certainly I remember producing large quantities in The Wife of Bath in Kent when I worked there in the seventies. I would have regarded it as a sort of French take on the Pizza, made with a less doughy crust but having the ubiquitous tomato topping.
The picture shows some of the staff in Snaffles in 1972, chefs Jack Williams and myself, waiters Hugo, Danny and John. In the sixties and the seventies there was no doubt that the smartest restaurant in Dublin was Snaffles of Leeson Street.
Shopping in France when you have eight guests staying can be an intense, frustrating, long and even dramatic experience as happened one day last week. A family in the village of Thezan produce what is simply the best Asparagus around. They sell this from their garage which they have adapted to a small asparagus production with a washer and a sorting machine.
First let me confess that I am not the gardener in Le Presbytère- that role is certainly taken by my wife Sile. I am called upon from time to time when there is heavy work involved but, after forty three years of marriage, we have discovered our own happiest spaces, mine in the kitchen and hers in the garden.
Martin is adding La Cuisine d'Été ('Summer Kitchen') to his Chambre d'Hôtes
This month Martin tells a curious tale of coincidences bound up with famous chefs, writers, and an unlikely would-be-chef writer...
The French entertain in a different way than us. They do have Dinner Parties as the Irish do from time to time, but much more often they just ask people around for an “Apero”- always called this it is actually short for an Aperitif, that ritual drink the French have to herald in the evening before starting dinner