I could never find real (or fake) maple syrup in Andorra or Ireland.
But I found it in France: Canadian Maple Syrup.
I didn’t puzzle over it too much; I was just happy with my good fortune.
Then, one year at a Christmas market, I saw a big pavilion featuring the foods and products of Quebec.
Sometimes I am amazed at my own lack of perception…..
If you don’t have maple syrup you can use honey, or even brown sugar.
It just won’t be the same.
Pork Chops with Maple Syrup and Mustard
Total time: 30 minutes
- 2 – 4 pork pork chops, depending on size, 12oz (350gr) total weight
2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) beef stock
- 1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) white wine
- 1 tbs maple syrup (or honey)
1 tbs whole grained mustard (or Dijon-style mustard)
2 tbs dried sage
- 2 tsp cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 1 tbs water
- In medium nonstick skillet heat oil over medium heat.
- Add pork chops and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes each.
- Add beef stock, wine, maple syrup, mustard and sage.
- Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
- Uncover and remove chops to small platter. Cover to keep warm.
- Increase heat under skillet. Dissolve cornstarch in water and stir into simmering sauce.
- Spoon some sauce over chops and serve, remaining sauce on the side.
Speaking of perceptions…
We had an interesting conversation in my French class the other day regarding ‘Hostess Gifts’.
First, let me give you my opinion on hostess gifts. For a typical dinner party there are three choices for hostess gifts:
- Wine: This is a gift. One should not expect it to be served either with, before or after the meal.
- Chocolates or other fancy sweets: This is also a gift. One should not expect to have them served (so one can taste them) with coffee.
- Flowers or plants: Again, a gift. Do not expect the flowers to replace whatever centerpiece is already gracing the dinner table.
One has to remember, always, that the hosts have carefully planned a dinner party for your enjoyment. They have chosen wines to compliment the food that has been carefully selected and prepared. The table has been set and arranged for your pleasure. It is presumptive on the part of the guests to expect that to be disrupted. (minor rant, there…)
Of course, if one knows the hosts very, very well there are many more options – and it can be more fun.
I had a friend bring me a small flat of primroses for my garden.
I gave a friend a collection of fancy wine corks.
But back to the conversation in my French class….
The class consisted of Brits, our French teacher and me, the American.
When the question was asked, I answerd with the standard three gifts.
All of the Brits were horrified!
They said one should never, never take a bottle of wine to a French host. (We were only talking about French dinners / dining) They said it would be extremely insulting, implying that your hosts were incapable of selecting appropriate wine for the dinner.
But it’s a gift! I argued. It’s not meant to be opened.
They continued to be horrified and give me dire warnings of being accused of bad behavior.
I finally turned to our teacher (who is French, of course) and asked her what, in her opinion, the traditional hostess gifts are.
Flowers. Chocolates. And wine.
She went on to say that dessert was also traditional among friends…. With the caveat being that one must ask the hostess if she would like to have a dessert, and, if the answer is yes, to ask how many people it needs to serve.
IMHO, if you choose this option, you should either be an extremely accomplished baker or be prepared to spend serious money at the local patisserie. French desserts are in a class of their own.
Any opinions on any of this?
Any opinions from my fellow expats?
Oh, yes….. You don’t get to take your gift back home with you, either.