I would like for you to meet my French sister, Fanny. We have been friends since we were introduced by Olivier in… let’s see, March 2010 (thank you, Google photos!). Fanny was Olivier’s son’s English teacher at the collège (middle school in France) in Villeneueve-lez-Avignon. Olivier and I became friends through a website called French in New York. Fanny came to stay with me here in Durham when we began our student exchange in 2011. Back then, I wrote about having Frenchies in my kitchen. Olivier came along to help with the trip as well.
This morning, I started thinking about Fanny and missing her. So, I decided to ask her if I could use some of her photos in a post today. And if she would give me a new recipe. I love technology because I can instantly be in touch with her across the 4,268 miles between us.
Fanny is a very talented Française. She is an amazing cook- we have this dream of writing a cookbook together as La Brune et la Blonde. It would require me living there through the different seasons so that we could visit the local marchés, cook, photograph and write down her recipes. Not what I would consider a problem.
Fanny is also an excellent photographer. She has an “eye” for beauty, as we say en anglais. C’est la même expression en français, madame? She gave me permission to post photos. So, let’s go to the south of France, shall we?
First, chez Fanny. Pull up a chair and sit on the patio with Cookie.
Sunset? Le couché du soleil?
More photos du chat? Pourquoi pas?
Lavender from her garden just for moi.
Cicada anyone? These critters are not easy to find. They make quite a racket in Provence, but it’s hard to actually spot one. (And as I write this in my living room, I can hear the cicadas singing in the trees behind my house. It must be our “year” for them.)
Now, let’s follow those shoes to Roussillon, the land of red dirt.
This summer, she also went to Sète, a beach town I actually visited my first time in France, in 1978. Wow. Le temps passe vite… I remember eating eel in a spicy sauce the color of that dirt- la rouille à la sétoise it was called. Rust from Sète. I didn’t photograph my food back in those days, the days of cameras, film and developing the pictures at the drugstore or mailing them off.
Fanny sent a photo of one of my favorite dishes, moules-frites. Merci, mon amie. J’ai tellement faim.
Now, how about a little trip to the Camargue, a place that Fanny and I love. Oh! But first let’s stop by the Pont Van Gogh, as it in known around Arles. Vincent painted it in 1888.
Then on to the white horses and pink flamingoes.
Before we return to Chez Fanny, here are a few more of her photos.
And now, back to her lovely jardin at night. She recently hosted her daughter’s wedding here. I so wish I could have been there. Félicitations, A et B! Happy New Year! (I haven’t forgotten.)
What a lovely day spent traipsing around with those red Converse shoes.
Now, for my new recipe à la Fanny.
In her words–
Cet été j’ai créé un gratin de pommes de terre, légumes et poisson, ma foi délicieux.
This summer I created a baked dish of potatoes, vegetables and fish, my goodness delicious.
I am about to find out because it is baking in my oven this very minute.
Baked fish with potatoes and summer vegetables
4 pommes de terre, épluchées et coupées en rondelles
4 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 onion, minced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 fennel, cut in 4 pieces (I couldn’t find this so I substituted dried fennel)
1 citron jaune
1 lemon, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
3 morceaux de poisson blanc type cabillaud
3 pieces of white fish, such as cod (had to google it… have forgotten my fish words)
Sel et poivre
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dans un plat à gratin profond tu mets une couche de patates, sel, poivre, l’oignon émincé et le fenouil coupé en 4, au four jusqu’à 3/4 cuisson à 200 degrés celcius (fais le calcul en Fahrenheit ) en couvrant de papier alu
In a deep baking dish, layer potatoes, salt, pepper, the minced onion and the fennel. Place in oven, preheated to 400˚F (calculate that – laughing face), covering with aluminum foil. Bake until about 3/4 done (I figured about 15 minutes).
Puis rondelles tomate, courgette, citron, sel poivre et huile d’olives et poisson on top. Re four avec toujours papier.
Then add slices of tomato, zucchini, lemon, salt, pepper, olive oil and fish on top. Cover with the aluminum and put back in the oven. (About 10 minutes this time)
Quand c’est presque cuit tu enlèves papier pour faire un peu dorer
Tu peux rajouter un filet d’huile si trop sec.
When it is almost done, remove the aluminum foil so that it will brown a bit. Add a few drops of olive oil if it is too dry. (I left it in for about 15 more minutes.)
Et tu sers avec un blanc bien frais! (Il y en a un nouveau à la Cave de Pujaut just fine!)
Serve with a nice chilled white wine! (There is a new one at the wine shop in Pujaut that is… just fine!) She is teasing me again. Shame on you, Fanny. (Only kidding- I wouldn’t have it any other way!)
Et voilà. À table!
Bon appétit! Merci, Fanny. Je t’embrasse très fort et je te dis à bientôt (j’espère). Keep up with your friends. It is so easy these days.