Friday Freebie a la Francois


I’ve learned so much this week at Chateau Ventenac. We all have. And it all seemed to come together over last night’s dinner prep. What was supposed to be a leisurely afternoon of cooking turned into a wonderfully mad explosion of food-inspired energy.

A morning at Narbonne’s covered market resulted in a sudden influx of food, some familiar (peppers, asparagus, peas), others not so much (celeriac, turnip, kumquats). Our creative juices went on overdrive and from 2 to 8pm we cooked nonstop: podding peas, grating veggies, making paella, and a whole lot of chopping. When the boulangerie was closed, I typically volunteered to make Fougasse (it’s not only easy, but it’s a very quick bread to make when there’s only an hour or two to spare before dinner).

In the end, the dinner menu was epic: two types of paella, zucchini with bechemel sauce, celeriac slaw, turnip salad, cornbread, cucumber yogurt dip, aubergine “fondue”, strawberries, stuffed kumquats, cheese and of course, the Fougasse. It was fantastic. The beauty of these multi-day cooking courses is that you have a few days to warm up, and by the end, everyone’s has the confidence to take on their own creations and share it with the rest of the group.

Crazy in the kitchen

A phenomenal evening, topped off with lots of wine and conversation, mostly about food, including some of our favourite chefs and cookbooks. David Liebowitz, Mark Bittman, Heidi Swanson, and Clotilde Dusoulier were mentioned, to name a few. And I thought – what better time to giveaway a cookbook inspired by this week’s generous author, Rachel Demuth?

Today I’m giving away Rachel Demuth‘s latest book, Green Seasons, filled with fabulous recipes for Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring.

To win the cookbook, all you have to do is leave a comment and I’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, May 14th.

For a preview of what you’ll find, check out some of these recipes on Rachel’s website, or pop on over to mangocheeks’ blog and check out her recent go at Celeriac and Horseradish burgers, inspired by the same book.

16 thoughts on “Friday Freebie a la Francois

  1. Dottie

    Ooooohhhh Monica, what a wonderful experience you and your fellow cooks enjoyed! My mouth waters just to look at the meal items you prepared… I hope it was a leisurely dinner, where each item was allowed to linger a moment on the tongue …. Sounds like a GREAT cookbook, what a giveaway! Fingers and toes crossed…. 🙂

  2. Alison

    All of this food looks amazing! I’m jealous of your trip and her cooking and cookbook sound inspiring. I can’t wait until it warms up here and we have fresh local produce again, winter greens are getting a bit boring 😛

  3. peggy

    Lucky you for being able to enjoy an incredible travel experience! This cookbook looks healthy and fabulous. Thank you!

  4. Jo

    I’ve just popped over from Mangocheeks blog. It sounds like you had a wonderful time, and created a meal fit for a king. The book looks interesting, fingers crossed.

  5. Jacqueline

    Sounds like a wonderful course and the food sounds divine. Mangocheeks told me to have a look at your blog. I am off to have a look now. Nice to meet you.

  6. Monica

    Mangocheeks is the best for telling you all about my humble blog. And thanks to EVERYONE for visiting and commenting. So many readers I didn’t know I had! I am tingling not unpleasantly.

  7. SSheilah

    Thanks for the great post and for the opportunity to win Rachel Demuth’s Green Seasons. Cooking seasonally satisfies in so many different ways – locally, environmentally, and flavorfully – and finding great new recipes like the Celeriac and Horseradish burgers makes it even better. BTW, I really enjoyed your posts about your travels – thanks for taking us with you through your blog!

  8. Monica

    Welcome all and thanks again for the kind words. SSheila, I’m glad you enjoyed the travel posts. I enjoyed writing them!

  9. Sarah

    Nom nom nom. What an absolutely amazing trip! Thanks for sharing the pics and posts (and maybe a book! *fingers crossed* :).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *