I’m composing a shopping list for Stef to help him replenish our shop shelves at the back of the Cafe-Creperie. I know what the popular items were back in the old French Living shop days:
….essential for vinaigrette dressing and when its finished, you’ve got a useful little glass. The French are so quaint….the packaging and logo has looked like this for years. Why change what works? This is the same for so many French brands, giving them this timeless, retro quality.
Here’s a few more vintage grocery items that are kitchen must-haves:
….a mild spicy mustard, delicious as a relish with cold meats and steaks.
Small, pungent, black olives in oil and herbs, the only olive for a perfect Nicoise salad.
Confit de Canard
Preserved duck – moist, succulent and ready to go. Just remove from jar or tin and heat in the oven. This is a French household essential. A French kitchen cupboard will always have a tin or two of confit de canard in case of unexpected, impromptu visits from friends and family.
This is another French ready-made dish – a winter warmer, served with garlic green beans and a crispy fresh salad.
Rouille / Aioli / Tapenade / Pistou
Four French relishes – the ketchups of a French kitchen.
Rouille is a rust-coloured spicy sauce traditionally served with fish soup, but it can spice up any fish dish.
Aioli is a garlicy mayonnaise of Provence, perfect as a starter with crunchy crudites (raw vegetables). Tapenade is another appetiser spread, served on toasts or as a dip with crudites to accompany the aperitif – rich and dark, made with black olives and capers, garlic and anchovies. It can also accompany fish dishes or be spread on rolled cuts of meats such as beef or lamb.
Pistou – named after the local dialet word for the pestle traditionally used to grind it, this garlic and basil paste is most famous in the thick vegetable soup – soupe au pistou – where its pungent flavour enlivens what could well be a simple broth. Pistou is also wonderful on pasta, spread on pizza bases, with fish and lamb, and even as a dressing for salads.
I love these little tins of liquorice sweets that turn your tongue black – an acquired taste – but a fond memory of Toulouse:
French school kids favourite “gouter” – snack after school.
I also want snail tongs and forks
Now this does not sound very appetising – duck gizzards – but this is something you really must try. Sliced thinly and warmed in pan – salade de gesiers in a delicious warm salad, that again reminds me of student days in Toulouse. Please bring some back Stef – if customers don’t buy then I will stock up my kitchen!
OK, this should be fine to get us started again. If you have any requests, please get in touch and let me know.
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