Saturday, December 12, 2020

Lockdown diaries day forty-four, Advent day twelve, French pizza

French village lockdown diaries day 44 France Trivia advent calendar day 12  beer wine
Advent day 12 IPA and Bordeaux sauvignon blanc

Day forty-four, Saturday 12th December 2020


Advent day twelve

We are halfway through advent (already) and Adrian is happy with the IPA he pulled out from his calendar this morning as it’s his favourite from the eight varieties included. I have a Bordeaux white, which should go nicely with my pizza tonight.

French village lockdown diaries day 44 France Trivia advent calendar day 12  toad in the hole
Toad in the hole, cooked by Ed


Last night I relinquished control of my kitchen and let Ed cook his signature dish, toad in the hole. For those of you who aren’t British, this is an oven cooked dish of sausages in batter and I have no idea where the name originates from, but no toads were harmed in the making of our dinner last night. It was delicious and the perfect comfort food choice for a cold, damp day. Traditionally it is served with an onion gravy, but Ed being my son, added mushrooms, peppers and courgettes to his gravy mix as he felt it would otherwise be lacking in vegetables. That’s my boy. Despite its origins, ours was a good local dish as the sausages came from Noah’s Ark Farm (about ten kilometres away), the eggs for the batter came from Bois Cambert (about three kilometres away) and the shallots were from this week’s Espoir Nature veggie pannier.


French village lockdown diaries day 44 France Trivia advent calendar day 12  patisserie Brioux-sur-Boutonne
The boulangerie treats from today's bike ride

Greedy little piggies

We have been a bit indulgent today, munching our way through five different types of cake. During the first lockdown I slipped easily into the routine of always having a cake in the kitchen. At this time of year, as well as the topless carrot cake that has become our regular favourite (no sickly cream cheese topping here), there are mincepies too, plus the brownies I made yesterday. It was a real treat to have one of each after our healthy soup at lunchtime. 

As the weather was sunny today, although there was quite a strong wind too, we couldn’t resist a bike ride this afternoon and found ourselves outside the boulangerie in Brioux-sur-Boutonne. Our mid ride rest today included a piece of flan and a chocolate chip brioche roll, that we shared on a sunny bench. It was just what I needed having cycled into the wind for eighteen kilometres. I now have less than fifty kilometres to cycle to reach my goal of five thousand for this year.


French village lockdown diaries day 44 France Trivia advent calendar day 12  Alsace tarte flambée
Tarte flambée - Flammenkuche

France Trivia advent calendar, day twelve, French ‘pizzas’

I know the pizza originates from Italy, but did you know there are two French regional dishes that give the pizza a run for its money? 


The first is from the Alsace region in the north east, and one of Ed’s favourites, the tarte flambée or flammenkuche. This thin pizza dough base is layered with crème fraiche, lardons (bacon pieces) and onions before being cooked in a hot oven (or wood fired pizza oven, if possible). 


The second is the pissaladière, from Nice in the south. Here the pizza dough base is covered with a generous layer of caramelised onions before criss-crossing anchovy fillets over the top and dotting on black olives.


They are both a delicious alternative to a more traditional tomato base pizza, but for a country that boasts over a thousand different types of cheeses, I do think it’s a bit odd that neither French ‘pizza’ contains any cheese. 

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