II may have mentioned in the past that some things are hard to find here.
And, no, I’m not talking about peanut butter and sour cream, the two things that everyone thinks we lack.
Cranberries have been difficult until the last year or two; molasses is always a challenge as is green Tabasco, dark brown sugar and water chestnuts.
Enter the ‘English Store’.
One can find them scattered about, with English proprietors, selling British and American products – for a slight premium, of course.
One of the things that they sell, by special order, and we buy this time of year, is ham.
Not sliced ham, or ham for sandwiches, but big hams for roasting for Christmas. They’re not quite the same as American hams but they’re close enough to make us happy.
And they’re not available in France.
They also sell turkeys.
Turkeys are available in France, but the English think English turkeys are better.
I don’t normally buy turkeys – they’re expensive.
I just can’t bring myself to spend 3 dollars per pound for a turkey…. Think of it – $50.00 for your Thanksgiving bird?
When we first moved here, pumpkins were considered by many to be pig food…..
Not any longer!
These, of course, are from my potager.
Baby Pumpkins Stuffed with Creamy Spinach
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 tiny pumpkins
- 2oz (60gr) fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 slice bacon, roughly chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- Cut the top 1/3 off each pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds
- Place bottoms, cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake, 400F (200C) oven, for 5 minutes.
- While pumpkins bake:
- Sauté the bacon and shallots in olive oil until both are crisp.
- Add paprika, spinach and sauté just until spinach wilts. Remove and set aside.
- Whisk egg and yogurt.
- Add spinach mixture and stir to combine.
- Remove pumpkins and spoon mixture into center, return the filled pumpkins to the oven and bake for 10 minutes
- Remove, add pumpkin tops, flesh side down, and bake for 15 minutes longer..
- Remove and serve with the tops.
As long as I’m telling stories about French food, let me tell you about French school food.
School lunches are more proper here than in the U.S. The students have an entrée, main course and dessert. They are expected to sit and eat properly, use their utensils properly and behave themselves….
The French are proud of their school lunch programs.
In Normandy, for example, there is an annual cooking contest among the school chefs. They’re given certain ingredients and must create a menu that is well-balanced, nutritious, uses local produce, is delicious, an original recipe, and under 2.20 euros per serving.
Last year’s winner created a Fish Pâté with Bacon Bits, Pork in a Cheese Sauce with Cider-Glazed Carrots and Celery, and for dessert – a trio of apple treats. (Normandy is know for it’s apples and ciders.)
Is that how you remember school lunch?
If you want nutrition information for the recipe, try this site: Calorie Count