I am wondering if I should change my blog to Food Magpie in France?
Like many other people, I apply my own experience to my cooking…making the most of ingredients where I am, maybe applying them in a slightly different way…or taking particular techniques and adapting to different ingredients. For example, cassoulet….I suppose I could wax poetic about that dish for ages, but using that as starting point and bringing in my food experience: black beans instead of the traditional white haricot beans, short rib instead of duck confit, chorizo instead of Toulouse sausage…..and then sneak in a bit of ancho chili and toasted cumin. No longer cassoulet of course, but still something very good. Alternatively, take local ingredients and put them in other recipes- duck confit and Cabécou (local goats cheese) lasagne anyone?
And of course, I very thoroughly embrace the full local food traditions….and love to learn the history and discover ‘new’ dishes. I was recently told about the tradition of ‘duck bones’. I am still not entirely sure, but here it goes. In this area most ducks are ‘fat ducks’ and are raised for their pieces….liver (foie gras) breast (magret) leg-thigh (for confit) neck (cou farci…kind of a sausage, but different, and yummy), gizzards for salads and general munching. The rest of the meat is used for things like rillettes and friton (chunky bits you get either as a pâté kind of dish or if you need something a bit naughty – fried, think pork scratchings taken to a whole new level). Oddly – you don’t often see a whole duck for roasting or ‘non confit’ bits of duck to cook. So – in the French spirit of using everything, the last remaining bits are ‘the bones’, and I have been told these are very very good. I think I am supposed to go to my butcher and ask for ‘des os de canard’ and then I get a pile of bones…either ready to roast or already roasted. Then you eat them…which I believe means suck all the remaining meat off the roasted bones. I’ll see how that goes, sounds good to me.