There is a famous French dessert called Tarte Tatin, which I love.I wondered about its origins?
Apparently it was named after two sisters, who ran a hotel in the 1880’s and within it a fine restaurant.It was called Hotel Tatin about 100 miles South of Paris.
One day it was allegedly said that Stephanie, one of the sisters who was the cook, was so busy that the apple pie she was making started to burn so she decided to put some pastry on top to retrieve it.
She then finished by turning the whole thing upside down.Beautifully caramelized, the apples smelt and tasted divine.The upside down cake was born!
A French author and culinary expert of that time came and tasted it. He was entranced and asked for the recipe. He brought it back and sold it to one of the most historic restaurants in Paris, Maxim’s, where it was named Tarte Tatin after the two sisters Tatin.
Here is the recipe.For 6 to 8 people
12 large Golden Delicious apples
1 vanilla pod
250 g shortcrust pastry
Peel the apples and then cut them in two
In a deep round baking tin,melt the butter and sugar. Let it caramelise. Add the sliced vanilla seeds. Place each halved apple side by side, squashing them tightly together.
Let the apples caramelise too. Cover it all with the pastry. Cook at 180% C (6) for 20 minutes.
Take out of oven, put a plate on top,and turn it upside down. Leave to cool and then enjoy! Serve with either vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche. Bon appetit!
Sacha and the Good Life
I remember liking the good looking French singer Sacha Distel when I was young. He sang in his very accented English. and he looked the very epitome of Gallic charm.
His background was a mixture of Russian, French and Jewish. His uncle, Ray Ventura was a jazz promoter, who was noted for introducing Swing style in France. It was with him and his orchestra “Les Collegiens” that the young Sacha first made his appearance playing guitar.He quickly developed into a fine jazz musician and would later work with Dizzy Gillespie and Tony Bennett .He wrote the lovely song La Belle Vie, which Bennett would record as The Good Life.
He even had his own TV show ‘Sacha and Friends’ which attracted big stars and also big viewing audiences. He was a popular guest on many UK variety shows such as Val Doonican.
He had an affair with Brigitte Bardot and their rendition of the song in French of ‘You are the Sunshine of My Life’ was a great hit.
However he later married Olympic skier Francine Breaud and they would have two sons and a long marriage.
He was always working both in France and the UK but died in 2004 after suffering a long battle with cancer. A sad loss of a musician as he called himself rather than the French heartthrob.
A Snail Tail
We have had a great number of snails here recently almost coming to the door! This photo is taken in a neighbour’s garden, I have never seen so many. Mainly because it has been damp and humid they have made their trail here. There seems to be whole families and babies too.
Favourites though with French cuisine, cleaned out of their shells and cooked gently in a garlic, butter and parsley sauce – they are a sure delight.
What else are snails used for I wondered? Apparently, the residue trail can be used in wounds and skin treatments and I read that in the days of the plague in the 1880’s they were very widely used.
I love the expressions we use of course, at a snail’s pace ie going slowly and snail mail which is by post and is it longer perhaps? By the way they have Une journée des Escargots on the 24th of May in France. I never knew it!
That’s it from rural France, take care of yourselves.Until the next time.
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