Tortilla De Patatas – memories of Andalucia

Cooling off
Tortilla de patatas

I have eaten tortilla, that ubiquitous Spanish dish made from eggs, onions, and potatoes, hundreds of times in my life. Some were good but a lot were bad, spoiled by being made with pre-cooked potatoes, or too much potato. Like all the simplest dishes, especially the eggy ones like scrambled eggs and omelettes, cooking a good tortilla depends on the method you use. I learned to make tortillas thanks to my first husband who had studied Spanish and spent a year teaching in Galicia. To my mind, his recipe is the best I have come across and it’s one of the few things I still have from my first short-lived marriage… Continue reading “Tortilla De Patatas – memories of Andalucia”

Petits Pots de Creme au Chocolat – memories of summers on the Normandy coast

Les petits pot de creme au chocolat
Les petits pot de creme au chocolat

Nearly half a century ago, I ate the most simple of chocolate puddings. The pudding itself was delicious but what really captured my imagination was what it was served in – a tiny white pot with its own lid, decorated with gold trim. It was 19th century porcelain and part of a set of eight little pots with a matching porcelain tray. Nicole, my French friend who had cooked the pudding, told me they were called “petit pots de crème au chocolat” and were made specifically for ‘crème au chocolat’. Continue reading “Petits Pots de Creme au Chocolat – memories of summers on the Normandy coast”

Foraging In Occitanie – wild green weeds

Respounchous in Albi market
Respounchous in Albi market

Spring time is the season for ‘respounchous’ here in the south west of France. There were a few bunches of them for sale in the market last Saturday but it only takes an hour or two of foraging in the wooded lanes to gather enough respounchous for a light lunch. So, in need of a break from my computer, I decided to go hunting for respounchous… Continue reading “Foraging In Occitanie – wild green weeds”

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter – seasonal rhymes and reasons

Autumn pumpkins

Last week’s Proustian post on asparagus inspired us to come up with our own Proust Quiz on seasons and seasonal food. It’s a theme we are both passionate about, but our answers below reveal that we approach the subject from very different geographical points in the hemisphere… Continue reading “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter – seasonal rhymes and reasons”

Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce – a perfect Proustian combination

Spring asparagus in the market
Spring asparagus in the market

After nearly twenty years of travelling that took my parents from post-war Germany via colonial East Africa to New Zealand, my family finally put down roots in a large ramshackle farmhouse in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by barns, old pigsties, and a huge overgrown  garden. When we moved in – it was the summer of ’68 – the flower beds were rampant with nettles and bindweed except for one, which was filled with the long feathery fronds of summer asparagus plants gone to seed.

I had never seen an asparagus plant, let alone tasted asparagus, but it became one of our favourite spring vegetables. My younger sister and I were fascinated by the curious smell asparagus gave to our pee after eating it, but that didn’t put us off – it was just too delicious! My mother would cook the freshly-picked asparagus in the wire baskets of her pressure cooker (without the lid!) and we’d eat them with a simple mix of  butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Perfection! Or so I thought – until, in my late teens, I ate asparagus served with Hollandaise sauce in France. To this day, it remains one of my favourite ways to serve asparagus.

Continue reading “Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce – a perfect Proustian combination”

A Tale Of Two Restaurants – Sunday in Paris.

It’s not every day that you get invited out to a high profile restaurant in Paris – let alone two! Lunch was at Le Minipalais, a restaurant concealed within the Petit Palais, a stone’s throw from the Pont Alexandre with its stunning gold statues and views of the Seine. Dinner was at Allard, tucked away in the narrow back streets between the Boulevard St Germain and the Quai de Conti. Continue reading “A Tale Of Two Restaurants – Sunday in Paris.”

Welcome and Bienvenue!

Judi Spoor and Fiona Mckenzie - in collaboration mode
Judi Spoor and Fiona Mckenzie – in collaboration mode

This blog is the result of many meals, many conversations, and a strong friendship that has grown over the last fifteen years. We might not agree on everything, but we share a passion for seasonal, simple food and the pleasures of eating.

Between us we’ve clocked up over eighty years of ‘cooking’ experience – in between working and bringing up children! Here in FoodWiseWomen, we’d like to pass on some of the things we’ve learned, and share recipes and memories of some of the meals we’ve cooked and eaten.

Because we now have a foot in two distinctly different ‘culinary’ camps –  in London and in Albi, south west France – we have a wonderful opportunity to discover the differences between the French and English ways of doing things, and to highlight (in a post-Brexit world) the benefits of sharing cultural differences over a good meal and a glass of conviviality – be it wine or beer!

We may be aged, we’re definitely seasoned – but we’re still stirring! We hope you enjoy the read.

Galette des Rois – a traditional French treat for January

Galette des Rois and coffeeIt’s January and the boulangeries and patisseries here in Albi are full of large round tarts, the famous Galette des Rois, which are traditionally eaten to celebrate Epiphany, the visit of the Three Wise Men. Continue reading “Galette des Rois – a traditional French treat for January”