Hello. I haven’t written in a long time because I am lazy and fresh produce in France is actually not great and I am lazy. Thus cooking creatively isn’t high on my to do list. I still like food though so don’t worry. I have had a lovely first semester in France, it’s been great, I’ve met great people and the weather has been great. What I have realised mostly this semester is that the French are slim because the food is too expensive. It’s been hard going from Leeds to Montpellier, where sweet potaotes are about 2 € per ‘patate’. Mayynnnn.
Christmas in France is not necessarily the same as Christmas in the UK. I feel they do the façade they do the lights and the Christmas market. BUT IT’S NOT THE SAME. That’s why I am very happy to be back in London and celebrating Christmas here being jolly and eating. It sounds so cliché, but now it feels like Christmas.
If you were ask me how France has changed me, I’d say that I am now a cheese and coffee snob. I nothing-ed coffee before I came to France, but now I have an obsession with good coffee. No instant please. I loved cheese beyond all measure before I came to France, but the obsession has since increased. To share this obsession, I brought back more than 1 kg of French cheeses, including this one, a Brie with a line of 5 berries down the middle. I love cheese.
SO THEREFORE, it only seemed suitable that I made crackers for the cheese. I made poppy seed crackers. And because my sister can’t eat flour I also made oatcakes. Yummy. Everyone please have an amazing Christmas, or enjoy your holidays!
Poppy Seed Crackers-makes 20 crackers-adapted from this
-1 cup of plain flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp sugar
-1 1/2 tbsp cold butter, diced
-1 tbsp poppy seeds
-5 tbsp milk
-Sieve the flour salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl.
-With your fingers, crumble together this mixture with the diced butter until it resembles very fine breadcrumbs.
-Add the poppy seeds and milk, and with your hands, start to knead the mixture together to form a soft dough ball.
-Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least an hour.
-Pre-heat oven to gas mark 2/300f/150 c and line a baking tray or perhaps two with baking parchment.
-After an hour, unwrap dough and lightly dust a surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out dough until about 5 mm thick, then cut shapes. Place shapes on baking sheet, brush lightly with milk and sprinkle salt crystals on top.
-Place in the oven for half an hour, making sure to keep an eye on the crackers. Once browned and the base feels firm, take out and leave to cool.
Oatcakes-makes 20 oatcakes
-200g rolled porridge oats, processed to make oatmeal.
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
-1/4 pint of boiling water
-Mix together the ingredients apart from the water.
-Add the 1/4 pint of boiling water slowly whilst using a spoon to bring the ingredients together to form a moist ball. DONT do what I did, and be abstemious with the water, use all of it otherwise the ball will fall apart.
-Wrap in cling film and place in fridge for at least an hour.
-Preheat oven to gas mark 5/375 f/190 c and line two baking trays with baking sheets.
-After at least an hour, unwrap dough and place on a surface dusted with porridge oats. Using a rolling pin also dusted with oats, roll out the dough as thin as possible, being careful not to break the dough too much.
-Cut your shapes and place on the baking sheet. Brush with milk (if at hand) and place in oven for 30 minutes, or until the cakes are hard and starting to brown a tiny bit. Take out and leave to cool.