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Cities in the southwest France: history, tourist sites, activities.

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Eight suggestions for touring the southwest of France.

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Traditional dish recipes from southwest part of France.

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French Southwest Recipes

Chicken Liver Salad


Ingredients for 4 people:
200g or half pound of chicken liver, 3 small shallots, 1 big Granny Smith apple, olive oil, Sherry Vinegar, Espelette pepper of paprika and 200g or half pound of arugula salad, salt.

Cooking Instructions :
Peel shallots and chop them finely.
Cut the apple Granny Smith into thin sticks without peeling.
Remove the nerves of chicken livers.
Drizzle a pan with olive oil, place in it the chicken livers, season with salt and start to fry stirring frequently so the livers are uniformly cooked.
When nicely browned, reduce heat and add the shallots to the pan and sauté with the livers. Continue coking on slow fire for around 5 minutes. Season with Espelette pepper and sprinkle with sherry vinegar.
Serve warm by starting with a bed of arugula on the dinning plate. Place the livers on top of the arugula and finish by topping with the apple sticks.

Lentil and Foie Gras Salad


Lentil and Foie Gras Salad Ingredients for 2 persons :
2 pieces of foie gras, 200g or 7 oz of lentils, 1 clove of garlic, 1medium shallot, 1 carrot, some chives, 2 cl or 0.7 oz olive oil, salt, pepper.

Cooking Instructions:
Wash lentils. Peel the carrot and the shallot and finely chop them into small cubes. Wash chives and finely chop them.
In a large skillet, stir fry for around 5 minutes the carrots, garlic and shallots with a pinch of salt and half the olive oil. Add lentils and 2 times their volume in water, then slowly bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes (stir regularly to ensure that cooking is homogeneous) or until the lentils are soft.
After cooking, season the lentils with salt and pepper and add the chopped chives.
Put the foie gras in a hot frying pan and season with salt, and then cook for 1 min on each side. Turn the fire down and continue to slow cook for 5 minutes on each side. Remove foie gras from the pan, pat dry and set aside.
Put the lentils on the dinner plates and top them with the foie gras.

Les cèpes a la perigourdine


Les cèpes a la perigourdine Cépes are big mushrooms known as penny bun, porcino or cep. Very expensive - around 25 Euros for 1 kilo or a little over 2 pounds - are very appreciated in France. The recipe can be done with portabello mushrooms as well

1 kg of mushrooms (medium size, very firm),4 table spoons of goose fat or healthier olive oil, 6 cloves of garlic, 2 table spoons of choped parsley leaves, salt and pepper.

Cooking Instructions:
Clean the mushrooms (preferably without washing!, to let them keep all their scent).
Cut the stems and chop coarsely diced hats.
Stir fry the choped hats for 4 or 4 minutes.
Add salt and pepper, turn the head down, cover and let slow cook for around 1 hour.
Meantime chop the rest of the mushrooms, the garlic and the parsley leaves.
When the "hats" are almost cooked add the rest of the ingredients.
Continue cooking for 15 minutes.

Potatoes Gratin with Gizzards


This is a super easy dish that has to be enjoyed in small portions being very filling.
Ingredients (4 persons):
4 medium potatoes, 200g or 1/2 pound of confit of duck gizzards, 1 medium onion, shredded (mozzarella) cheese, 2 table spoons of sunflower or olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cooking Instructions :
Peel and cut potatoes in thin slices. Arrange the potatoes in a layer on the bottom of a previously oiled baking dish.
Chop onion and whisk it in a bowl together with the oil, salt and pepper.
Season the layer with the above prepared sauce. Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Meanwile, fry the duck confit.
When the potatoes are ready remove the baking dish from the oven and add on top of the potatoes the duck confit (I scoop the gizzards and place them on the potatoes avoiding to add their grease to the dish!). Sprinkle the shredded cheese and bake again for around 15 minutes.

Salade Landaise


Salade Landaise Ingredients: several slices of smoked duck breast, 300g duck gizzards confit(or fried), handfull of pine nuts, several cherry tomatoes,green salad (batavia, iceberg or simple lettuce), balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and peper.

Instructions: Blend oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and peper together to make the dressing.
In a frying pan, lightly toast without oil the pine nuts.
Put some leaves of salad in a plate and surround it with cherry tomatoes. Add slices of smocked duck breast and the gizzards.
Toss the pine nuts and add drizzle the dressing.

Sarlat Style Potatoes


Ingredients (4 servings):
5 medium potatoes, duck fat (or if you prefer olive oil!), 3 cloves garlic, parsley, salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions:
Peel and cut potatoes into thick slices. Wash and place them on absorbent paper. Peel the garlic cloves, set aside. Heat a tablespoon of duck fat in a skillet. Add potatoes and cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often until brown on all sides. When cooked add salt and pepper. Crush garlic and mix in a bowl with parsley. Add the chopped garlic to the potatoes, Cover the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes on slow fire.

Walnut Cake


 Walnut Cake Ingredients:
150 g walnuts 150 g powdered sugar, 100 g butter, 3 eggs, salt, 50 g flour, 100g chocolate for baking

Cooking Instructions:
Grind 150 g of kernels, add 75 grams of sugar.
Mix 100g of butter and 75 g of sugar.
Combine the two mixtures, add the eggs one by one, a pinch of salt and the flour. Mix well until you get a creamy paste.
Butter and flour a cake pan, pour the batter.
Bake in the oven at around 180 degrees C or 350F
Garnish with grated chocolate .

Chicken with Dried Tomatoes and Basil


2 chicken breasts, 8 tomatoes marinated in olive oil, 1/2 bunch basil , 2 tablespoon of olive oil , 5 cl dry white wine , salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions:
Drain the tomatoes on a sheet of absorbent paper. Thin out the basil and chop it coarsely.
Cut on the long side the chicken breasts , without completely separating the two sides. Fill the incisions with the tomatoes and basil. Salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil over high heat in a pan, place the breasts and let them brown gently 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Pour in the white wine, let boil 1 minute, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook, covered, about 20 minutes, turning the breasts once or twice.

Cannelés Bordelais


Cannelés Bordelais "Cannels" are traditional cookies made in the Aquitaine region.

For about a dozen cannels:
1 vanilla stick, 50 cl or 2 oz of milk, 2 whole eggs + 2 yolks, 250 gr. or 9 oz powdered sugar, 50 gr. or 1.5 oz Butter, 1 tablespoon orange blossom water or rum, 100gr.or 3.5 Oz flour, butter for padding the molds

Cooking Instructions:
The day before:
Split the vanilla stick, scrape well the beans.
Put the beans in a saucepan with the milk and bring to boil.
Remove from heat and let steep overnight in the refrigerator.
On the same day:
Whisk the eggs and yolks with the sugar and thin with just melted butter and orange blossom water, add flour , and finally dilute the milk with vanilla.
Pour into the buttered molds (0.5 cm from the edge) and bake for 45 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees celsius (around 400 Degrees F) until the cakes are well browned.
Sources: Aquitaine: local products and traditional recipes / [ed. J. Pants, M. Hyman, Ph.D. Hyman ... et al.]

Medoc Style Cod


Ingredients for 4 people :
4 slices of cod (preferably from the back of the cod), 100 g (3.5 oz) of goat cheese, 100g (3.5 oz) of bread crumbs, 100g (3.5 oz) of unsalted butter, 250 ml (8 oz) of Bordeaux red wine, 2 shalots, 1 tea of flour, 1 tea spoon of unsalted butter, salt, pepper.

Cooking Instructions :
Take the 100g (3.5 oz) of unsalted butter from the fridge and keep 1/2 hour of room temperature in order for it to softer.
The sauce:
Pour the wine in a saucepan and bring to boil. While the wine is heating finely chop shallots and add to the boiling wine. Add some salt and let simmer for around 5 minutes on a slow fire.
In a different sauce pan melt 1 tea spoon of butter and mix it together with one teaspoon of flour. Stir gently to avoid any lumps.
When the wine is reduced by 1/3 add to it the mixture of butter and flour and stir - still on fire - until the consistency is even and syrupy. Remove from the heat.
The fish:
Place the slices of cod in a buttered oven dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little oil.
Place the dish in a 180C (350F) heated oven. Let bake for around 5 minutes.
The crust:
In a bowl mix well the goat cheese, with the bread crumbs and with the softened butter. Place the mixture on a board, cover it with some plastic wrap and spread it with a rolling pin until around 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Remove the plastic wrap and cut in 4 pieces of the shape of the cod slices.
Remove the fish from the oven and top each portion with a piece of the above cheese mixture.
Replace in the oven for around 10 minutes.
Serve immediately with the sauce.
The inspiration of this recipe comes from

AXOA - Ground Veal Dish

Basque Country

1kg of ground veal (pork or tuna), 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 1 clove of garlic, Olive oil,Bay leaves, Parsley, Thyme, Salt,Hot Paprika or Piment d'Espelette

Cooking Instructions:
Slice thinly the onion, the garlic and the pepper. Stir fry them or 10 minutes in the olive oil. Add the meat to the pan together with herbs and the paprika (or the piment d'Espelette). Add salt. Stir fry for another 10 minutes then add 1 cup of water, cover and let it simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. 10 minutes before the end of the cooking remove the lid so that the water excess evaporates.
Serve warm with boiled or baked potatoes.

Basque Salad

Basque Country

Basque Salad Ingredients for 4 servings :
"Spring Mix" or tossed green salad (lettuce, arugula, chicory, escarole, mache, radicchio), 2 medium size red onions, 4 tomatoes, 400g green beans already cooked, 2 red peppers, 4 slices of Bayonne ham (or other dried salted ham like Prosciutto or Serrano), Espelette pepper (or paprika powder), 1/4 cup of Olive oil, 1/4 cup wine vinegar, salt and black pepper.
Cooking Instructions :
Dice the onion, the tomatoes and the red peppers.
In a bowl toss them together with the green salad, and the cooked green beans.
In a separate small bowl whisk together the olive oil, the vinegar, the salt, the pepper and the Espelette pepper.
Add the dressing to the salad
At serving time place the salad in 4 separate bowls and add on top of each bowl small slices of ham.

Basque Style Mussels

Basque Country

Basque Style Mussels Ingredients :
1 kg of mussels, 4 tomatoes, 2,3 cloves fresh garlic, minced, ,1 finely chopped onion, 1 glass of white wine, Espellete pepper (or paprika), 2,3 table spoons of bread crumbs (or oat bran) some parsley, salt, pepper.

Cooking Instructions :
In a casserole that will accommodate all the ingredients sauté the onion and the garlic in the olive oil until onion is translucent.
Add diced tomatoes and pour the white wine.
Bring this sauce to boil. When the sauce is boiling add the cleaned mussels. Let them cook just until all of them are open.
Add the bread crumbs to thicken the sauce.
Season with the Espelette pepper, salt, pepper and the chopped parsley.


Basque Country

Ingredients (4 servings):
2 medium sized red peppers, 2 medium sized green peppers, 1 small onion, 4 medium sized cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, Espellete pepper (or paprika), olive oil.

Cooking Instructions :
Peel the onion and chop it.
Cut peppers in two and remove seeds, then cut in thin slices. Cut the garlic in very thin slices
Drizzle olive oil in a pan and stir fry the onions with a pinch of salt until translucent. Add the sliced peppers, salt, the sliced garlic, covered, and cook for 20 min on slow fire (or until the peppers are soft) stirring occasionally. Add Espelette pepper. Serve hot.

Ttorro - Fish Soup

Basque Country

Ttorro is the Basque Country fish soup. Ingredients:
4 slices of ling, 4 scampies, 4 medium pieces of monkfish, 4 slices of rockfish, 500g of mussels, 1gurnard cut in 4 pieces, 1 glass of white wine, 4 soup spoones of olive oil, Piment d'Espelette or paprika.

Cooking Instructions:
Heat the olive oil in a pressure cooker and add all the fish.Sautee the fish and add the mussels the wine and a pinch of piment of paprika. Add enough water to cover the content, close the cooker and let cook for 10 minutes. Serve with garlic croutons.

"Merlu au piment d’Espelette"

Basque Country

Ingredients (for 2 people):
500g (around 1 pound) fillet of hake , 10 cl dry white wine, 50 g of cream, 150 g butter, 40 g of shallots, salt, Olive oil, Espelette pepper or paprika

Cooking Instructions:
The sauce:
Reduce the white wine and shallots by cooking over low heat.
Add the cream let simmer for 4, 5 minutes.
Add the butter, salt, add the Espelette pepper (paprika).
Let cooking for 4 or 5 inutes.
Meantime place the fish fillets in a oven dish. Brush the oil, salt and the Espelette paper on it and place in the heated (170 degrees C or 300 degrees F) oven.
When ready place on the plate and pour on the sauce.

Basque Chicken

Basque Country

1 Chicken of about 1.5 kg, 50g of Butter, 2 soup spoons of olive oil, 5 sliced green peppers, 250ml white wine, 125ml cognac, 1 onion, 150g Jambon de Bayonne French or Prosciutto, 4 diced tomatoes, Piment d'Espelette or hot paprika, salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions:
Cut the chicken into pieces - breast, legs, wings etc. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put them into a pan and sautee them with the butter.When light brown remove from the pan. In the same pan put the prosciutto and sautee it. Remove the ham from the pan. In the same pan put the onions and the green peppers and … sautee them for 5 minutes. After 5 min pour the wine and the cognac and add the chicken the ham and the diced tomatoes. Add salt and pepper.Cover the pan and let it simmer during 20 minutes. Add the Piment d'Espalete (or hot paprika) and serve warm with rice of baked potatoes.

Basque Style Stuffed Tomatoes

Basque Country

Basque Style Stuffed Tomatoes Ingredients (6 servings):
6 tomatoes, 4 slices of Bayonne ham (or prosciuto), 2 bell peppers, 1 onion, 3 eggs, 3 garlic cloves, salt, pepper, oil

Cooking Instructions :
Cut the top of the tomatoes and scoop out their the interior.
Salt the interior of the tomatoes and brush them inside and out with some oil. Put the tomatoes on a oiled backing sheet and place it in a heated oven (165C or 320F) for around 10 minutes. After 10 minutes take the tomatoes out of the oven.
Meantime dice the onion, the garlic, the peppers and the ham and in a bowl mix them together. Add the 3 eggs, some salt (the ha mis already salted!) and some black pepper.
Mix all together until obtaining a smooth filling.
Fill the oven softened tomatoes with the filling and replace them in the oven for around 20 minutes.
The inspiration of this recipe comes from:

Garbure (Basque Soup)

Basque Country

Garbure (Basque Soup) Garbure is a very popular soup in the Basque Country and the surrounding regions.
To promote this traditional dish, once considered the soup of the poor, there are several … brotherhoods each promoting its own local recipes, Garbure festivals and even a « Garbure » world championship.
There are several dozen of recipes of Garbure that differ from one geographical area to another
Garbure can be cooked any time of the year with seasonal vegetables. The only constants are the ham, the cabbage and the beans and the long time of around 4 hours of preparation.
Ingredients for 6-8 servings
A heel of Bayonne ham (or a piece of Bayonne ham or prosciutto of around 500g/1 pound),400 g/1 pound dried beans (preferably bean "Tarbes"), 1kg/2 pounds of potatoes, A cabbage, 1 onion , 6-7 cm of celery, 1 branch of thyme, 1 bay leaf, 6 carrots, 4 turnips, 2 leeks (only the white part to be used), A glove of garlic, A Espelette pepper of 1/2 teaspoon of Espelette pepper powder or paprika, some pepper beans

Cooking instructions:
The night before cooking soak beans overnight in cold water.
The cooking day.
In a large pot with 4 liters of water, place the heel of ham, the pepper, the Espelette pepper or paprika, the onion, celery, thyme, bay leaf. Bring to boil and then turn down the heat to allow it to slow cook for 1 hour and a half.
Meantime clean and cut the carrots and the turnips in big chuncks and slice the leeks. Stir fry them in a pan with a little bit of oil.
When the 1 ½ hour of ham cooking has elapsed add the carrots, the turnip and the leeks and drained beans. Continue slow cooking for 2 hours.
After 2 hours add the cleaned cabbage cut in big chunks and continues cooking for another ½ hour. After ½ hour add the cleaned and cut potatoes and continue cooking for another ½ hour!

Basque Traditional Cake

Basque Country

Basque Traditional Cake Ingredients(6 portions):

1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 lemon, 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk, 2 egg yolks, 1 egg, 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon butter, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla(beans or vanilla extract)

Cooking Instructions:
Grate the zest from the lemon.
Mix lemon zest, eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt in a bowl for the pastry.
Beat the mixture. Incorporate slowly the butter, then the flour.
Work the pastry with your hands. Roll it into a ball and rest in a fridge for at least one hour.
Combine the milk and the vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Beat the sugar and egg yolks.
Stir in the flour.
Add slowly the hot milk. Bring the cream back into the saucepan and cook over very low heat.
Stir the mixture and Remove from the heat when the cream begins to boil
Mix in the butter. Let the cream cool.
When everything is done:
Preheat the oven at 360 F (190 C).
Butter a round cake pan.
Roll out two third of the pastry.
Fill with the cream. Cover with the remaining pastry.
Beat an egg. Brush it the top of the cake.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.



Brandade Ingredients for 4 servings :
500g or around 1 pound of salted cod, 2 garlic cloves, 5 tablespoons of olive oil, 4 tablespoons of milk, juice from 1/2 lemon, ground pepper and optionally some salt.

Cooking Instructions :
The salted cod is usually soaked in cold water for around 12 hours. The time to desalt the cod depends on how salty it is. During the desalting time the water has to be change several times.
Start by putting the fish in a pot and bring it to boil. When the water is boiling turn down the fire and let it cook on slow fire for around 8 minutes. Meantime pealing the garlic and mince it.
When the fish is ready drain the water and take off the skin and the fish bones. Place the cooked fish in blender. Add the garlic, the citron juice, the milk, the oil, some pepper and if the fish is not salty enough some salt. Blend together all the ingredients.
Serve with garlic croutons.

Nime Style Eggplants


Nime Style Eggplants Ingredients for 2 servings :
2 eggplants, 2 tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, 60 grams (2oz) of bread crumbs, 1 table spoon of milk, some parsley, some chives, olive oil, salt, pepper

Cooking instructions :
Cut off bottoms of eggplants and cut them in 2 parts on their length. Salt and fry them in a pan on mild fire for 5 minutes on each side (a total of around 10 minutes of frying time) or until the eggplant inside is tender.
When ready scoop the inside of the eggplant with a spoon placing the eggplant "meat" in a bowl.
Clean the tomatoes and scoop the inside with the spoon.
Chop finely the garlic and mix it with the eggplant "meat", the bread crumbs, the milk, the parsley, chives, salt and pepper.
Fill the eggplant halves and the tomatoes with the above filling.
Place them on a baking pan and brush them with olive oil.
Bake them at 200C (400F) during 25 minutes.
Serve warm.

Spinach Salad with Narbonne Honey


Spinach Salad with Narbonne Honey Ingredients (4 servings):
200g fresh spinach, 4 portion (or slices) of goat cheese, 8 table spoons of honey, 50 grams of pine nuts, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar.

Cooking instructions :
In a bowl mix together the salt, the pepper, the oil and the vinegar to create the dressing.
Wash the spinach and place it on the 4 plates.
Place the sliced goat cheese in the middle of each plate.
Pour the honey and then sprinkle the dressing on the spinach and the cheese.
Serve immediately. Source:"Cuisine gourmande de nos terroirs-Languedoc"

Camargue Salad


Camargue Salad Ingredients for 4 servings :
100 g (3oz) of red rice (from Camargue), 100 g (3oz) of white rice (from the Camargue) , 150 g of squid, 8 prawns, 1 celery stalk, 2 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 medium shallot, 5 tablespoons of tomato sauce, salt, pepper

Cooking Instructions :
Cook rice in boiling salted water as directed on its the package. When cooked, rinse under cold water.
Finely chop the shallot.
Clean the squid and slice it in rings.
Place the shallots and the squid rings in a pan together with a little olive oil. Let them cook over low fire for 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and continue cooking for another 5minutes. When cooking is finished add some salt and pepper.
Slice the celery branch.
In a bowl mix together the cooked rice, the cooked squid and the sliced celery.
Mix the remaining olive oil with the sauce of the cooked squid and add the mixture to the salad.
Serve cold with the prawns.
You can add red bell peppers and/or zucchinis while cooking the squid.

Catalan Custard


Catalan Custard There is a history and a debate behind this dessert called "Crème Catalane" (Catalane Custard).
According to some historians "Crème Catalane" is the ancestor of the more famous "crème brule". What is not debated is that the creator of crème brule was the famous chef François Massialot who came up with its recipe AFTER his travels to Catalonia in the late 17th century when he was accompanying Vauban there.
Here is the "crème catalane" recipe :
Ingredients :
8 egg yolks, 1.5 liters of milk, 6oz or 170g of sugar, 1 tablespoon of corn starch, 1 lemon, 1 cinnamon bar

Cooking Instructions :
Peel the lemon. Bring milk to boil with the cinnamon bar and the lemon zest.
In a big bowl mix the egg yolks with the sugar and when completely mixed add the corn flour. Mix well again to avoid the lumps.
Remove the cinnamon stick from the boiled milk and pour it on the above mixture and mix well.
When the mixture is homogenous pour it in the casserole and let is simmer, mixing occasionally, until it thickens.
Pour it into small heat-proof serving dishes (ramequins) and allow cooling.
When cooled down sprinkle a generous amount of the unrefined cane sugar on top of each serving dish. Place the dishes in a heated oven (on grill setting) and let the top sugar caramelize.

Marinated Mullet (Rougets à l'escabèche)


Marinated Mullet (Rougets à l'escabèche) This is a traditional dish from the Montpéllier region. It takes 24 hours of marinate time.
Ingredients for 4 servings:
4 mullet fish, 2 carrots, 1 onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 15 tablespoons of olive oil, 5 tablespoons of wine vinegar (we used lemon juice instead), a "bouquet garni" (parsley, thyme and bay leafs), cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
Cooking Instructions :
Clean the mullets. Salt and pepper them. Fry them in 6 tablespoons of oil 2 minutes on each side.
Clean the carrots and cut them into thin slices. Peel the onion and cut it also into thin slices. Peel the garlic and mince it.
When the fish is cooked replace the oil in the frying pan and sauté the carrots, the onion and the garlic.
Add salt and vinegar and two pinches of Cayenne pepper and the "bouquet garni" and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
When everything ready cover the mullets with the marinade and after it cools down put it in the fridge for 24 hours.
Can be served cold or reheated.

Pasta à la Languedoc


Pasta à la Languedoc Ingredients for 2 servings:
2 eggplants, 2 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 sprig of thyme, 200 g (1/2 pound) of white mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of butter, grated cheese, 200g or 1/2 pound of pasta

Cooking Instructions :
Clean the eggplants by cutting the stalk and optionally pealing them. Slice the eggplants.
Peel the tomatoes and dice them.
Stir fry the eggplants and the tomatoes in the olive oil for several minutes. Add the chopped garlic and the crumbled spring of thyme. Add salt and pepper and let it cook on slow fire for around 15 minutes.
Meantime clean the mushrooms and cut them in big chunks.
When the 15 minutes of vegetables have elapsed add the mushrooms and continue cooking on slow fire for 10 minutes.
Meantime cook the pasta "al dente". When pasta is ready strain it and add the butter.
Serve the pasta topped with cooked vegetables and sprinkled with grated cheese.

Crystallized Violet Flowers


20 flowers, 2 egg whites, 25g of icing sugar
Cooking instructions:
Wash the flowers carefully and place them on an paper towel.
Whisk the egg whites but not to the point were it passes the "upside down" test. With a kitchen paintbrush brush attentively each petal of each flower. Sprinkle the sugar evenly and let the flowers this way prepared dry for 2 or 3 days in a clean open air place.
The flowers can be used for several days for cooking decorations.
For a shelf life of several months use Arabic Gum powder with warm water (10ml of Arabic Gum with 60ml of water) to replace the egg whites.

Garlic Dragées


Garlic Dragées This recipe was inspired by the " Dragées d'Ail Rose de Lautrec" recipe found on .
Serves 4: 16 cloves of pink garlic from Lautrec, 1 egg, 50 g oat bran (or breadcrumbs), olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cooking Instructions:
Beat egg and add salt and pepper. Pour bran on a plate.
Peel the cloves of garlic and dip in beaten egg, then in the bran.
Oil a pan and heat it. When the oil is medium hot place the cloves and fry them until brown.
Serve hot as an accompaniment for meats.

Gimblettes d'Albi


Ingredients for 100 cookies:
2kg (4pounds) flour, 10 eggs, 50g (1.5oz) aniseeds, 1 pinch salt, 750g (1pound and a half) sugar, 1 package yeast 2 tsp. of orange blossom water, 1 glass of water, 1 lemon

Cooking Instructions :
Grate the lemon zest. In a bowl, create a "volcano" from 1 kg of flour. In the "crater" add the yeast, put 4 whole eggs + 6 egg yolks (reserve the white), a pinch of salt, orange flower water and sugar. Mix well.
To this mixture add lemon peel, aniseeds and 1/2 glass of water and mix to obtain a homogenous paste, then gradually add the rest of flour and water needed and mix to have a firm dough that will rest a few hours.
Take small pieces of dough and roll, making ends meet to give the shape of a crown, prick with a knife and plunge them in boiling water and take them out as soon as they climb to the surface
Place them on a cloth or absorbing paper.
Arrange them on a buttered baking sheet and brush with egg whites
Bake in hot oven (200 °C) 15 to 20 minutes.

Le petit jeannot


The small triangular jeannot is a cookie flavored with anise, unsweetened and very dry, pale yellow, named after its inventor Jean Barthélémy Portes a baker of Albi*.

Ingredients for around 12 cookies:
500g (1 pound) flour, a pinch of salt, 15 g (1/2 oz)of aniseed, 1/4 liter of water, 1 package yeast

Cooking Instructions :
In a bowl, add flour, salt, baking powder and aniseed.
Mix all these ingredients. Slowly add water and work the mixture until you obtain a hard dough. Continue working the dough on a floured table.
Let the dough stand few hours.
Expand the dough with a rolling pin until around 1cm (1/2 inch) thick and cut into triangles. Prick each triangle with a fork.
Plunge each triangle into boiling salted water. When the triangles start floating on the surface remove them and place them on absorbing paper.
Place them on a oiled baking sheet and bake in hot oven for around 20 minutes.


Tourin (Ail Soup)


Tourin (Ail Soup) Traditional South-West "poor man's" soup!

Ingredients for 2 persons :
6 cloves of garlic, 1 table spoon of olive oil (the traditional recipe calls for duck fat!), 1 table spoon of flour, 1/2 liter of water, 1 egg, a little bit of vinegar, salt and ground pepper

Cut garlic in small pieces and place it with the oil in a soup pan. On a slow fire let it brown a little (around 5 minutes)
When garlic becomes brown sprinkle the flour and mix it immediately as to avoid lumps. Pour the water little by little while mixing.
When all the water is added salt the soup and add ground pepper. Bring to boil and let boil on slow fire for 20 minutes.
Meantime separate the yolk and the white of the egg. Mix the yolk with several drops of vinegar and add 2,3 spoons from the boiling soup.
Add this mixture to the soup, mix and let boil for 5 more minutes (always on slow fire). When the soup is almost ready pour slowly the egg white. Mix well.
Serve warm (with croutons!)

"Saumon en robe lautrécoise"


Ingredients for 4 servings:
4 salmon fillets, 8 medium tomatoes, 2 heads of pink garlic from Lautrec Red Label (or any other garlic if you don't have the pink one), 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper .

Cooking Instructions:
Peel the garlic cloves and cook 3 minutes in boiling water.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 F.
Oil a baking dish. Reserve 4 cloves of garlic and finely chop the rest.
Salt and pepper the salmon fillets and place in dish.
Spread minced garlic over the fillets.
Cut tomatoes in half and separately dice the remaining garlic.
In a bowl add bread crumbs, parsley, the diced garlic, salt and pepper .
Mix well and spread over the chopped tomatoes.
Arrange in the dish around the salmon fillets and sprinkle with remaining olive oil.
Bake for 15 to 20 min.
Serve warm.

Lautrec Style Beef


Lautrec Style Beef Ingredients:
1 kg or 2 pounds of beef, 8 cloves of garlic (preferably pink garlic from Lautrec) 1 onion, ½ liter red wine, 500 g or 1 pound carrots, 200 g or half pound sliced Paris mushrooms, butter, flour, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme.

Cooking Instructions :
Cut meat in cubes. Peel and chop the garlic and the onion. In a pan melt the butter and add the garlic and onion. When the onion becomes translucent add the meat and let it brown nicely. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour and continue to cook for around 5 minutes. Pour the wine and a glass of water and mix well. Add the sliced carrots. Add thyme and chopped parsley. Bring to the boil and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 15 minutes before the end of cooking, add mushrooms. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.



Ingredients :
400 g (1 pound) of flour, 150g (5oz) sugar, 200g (7oz) butter, 2+ 1 eggs, 1/2 dl of rum, 200 g (10oz) ground almonds, powder sugar.

Cooking Instructions :
Make a fountain with the flour and put in the center the sugar, the melted butter, the 2 eggs and the rum and the almonds.
Mix all together in a smooth dough.
Separate the dough into small portion and give each portion the shape of a spindle.
Place the "navettes" on a baking sheet and brush them with a beat egg and powder with sugar.
Bake at 170C (330F) - place the baking sheet when the oven is already hot - for around 1/2 hour.



Cassoulet Ingredients (4 persons): 400g or 1 pound of dry white beans, duck confit canned (2 or 4 legs), 2 medium large onion, 2 cloves of garlic, some smoked bacon, 2 fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce, 2 carrots, 3 cloves, some thyme branches and 2,3 bay leaves, salt pepper.

Cooking Instructions:
Start the day before cooking by soaking the beans for the night in a casserole.
The cooking day change the water of the beans and start cooking them. 1/2 hour into the cooking add 1 cleaned onion poked with the cloves, the thyme, the bay leaves and a little salt.
While the beans are cooking….
In a pan put the duck fat removed from the duck confit can and add finely chopped onion and garlic, the bacon and the diced the carrots. Let them melt on slow fire stirring repeatedly. When onions become little brown add the diced tomatoes or the tomato sauce. Let on slow fire for around 10 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked or the tomato sauce is well integrated with the rest of the ingredients.
When the beans are almost ready (almost soft but not breaking down) remove the onion with the cloves the thyme and the bay leaves from the casserole and add the content of the pan. Mix together. Add the duck confit meat and let on the slow fire for several minutes.
Add salt and pepper.

Goose or Duck "Confit"


You need a fat duck or goose, plucked, emptied, blazed and cut to bits. Put the head aside, the neck, the carcass, the heart and of course the liver which will be treated separately.
Garnish the bottom of a big sandstone pot with salt, pepper in grain, leaves of laurel, thyme, clove.
Place the bit's of meat tightly together and cover it with salt. Put a small board which will carry a weight so as the meat gets packed. – Leave it macerate for 48 hours. Take the grease out, cut it finely and melt it down. You need to add pork grease because animal's grease isn't enough. Sift it. Use a bit of this grease to brown the duck's pieces well wiped. When they re golden, add the rest of hot grease and let it cook in low heat for 2 to 4 hours (in function of the amount of meat). The meat has to be tender enough to be pierced. The meat could dry out and get too hard.
Take the pieces out with a fok and put them in a boiling vase of sandstone. Cover them up with boiling grease; it must cover it by at least 2 cms.
Let i cool down completely before pouring a layer of lard all over it. The confit can be kept, covered with strong paper, for many months in a cool place. Each time one takes one a piece out, do not forget to cover the remaining pieces with fat.
The piece of confit can be eaten cold, after the grease has been wiped off carefully, or hot fried in a pan with some fried potatoes in the meat's grease, freshly picked.

La croustade aux pommes


La croustade aux pommes For 6-8 servings.
Filling :
6 apples, 100g powder sugar +6-8 tablespoons of powder sugar, 10cl Armagnac (or Cognac or Rum), 100g butter

For the dough*:
500 g flour, 1 pinch of salt, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
*You can use also filo pastry

Cooking Instructions:
If you chose to prepare the dough you need to prepare it the day before: Put 500 g of flour and salt in a bowl, dig a well and put the egg and the oil fat. Work the dough by adding 10 to 20 cl of water until you have a light, without lumps dough. Roll into a ball and let stand 4 to 6 hours at least.
Spread a cloth on a large table, flour it lightly, and stretch the dough until it becomes very fine, without holes.
Allow the dough to dry for about 1 to 2 hours, then cut into 6 to 8 pieces (each piece should be a touch larger than the pie dish) .
Prepare the filling by cutting the apples in big chunks. Place the cut apples in a pan and add 100g of sugar and 10cl of Armagnac and boil this mixture on a slow fire until becomes a coarse puree.
When everything is ready for baking, butter the baking dish.
Lay half of the number of sheets you have created into the baking dish. Each sheet should be sprinkled with a spoonful of sugar and some Armagnac.
Pour in the apple puree.
Lay the other half of the number of sheets.
Roll all the edges of the sheet to form a dish dough rim.
Bake in preheated oven at 200 ° C. When ready, sprinkle with Armagnac.
Serve warm.