Teresa’s Tasty Tea Cup Red Berry Crumbles

I just made a gluten free crumble as I bought lots of gorgeous berries at the local market this morning in Montsoreau.  Packed to the hilt with zinc and omega 3 filled seeds and nuts plus cinnamon to calm your blood sugar levels and ginger with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects this gluten free version of a classic is a nutritious, delicious but also healthy dessert option.  In this particular version I’ve added a few chopped apricots because a) they are scrumptious, b) shades of red and apricot make for an appealing colour combination on the plate and c) apricots are packed with Vitamin E so good for the nourishment of our skin.

Teresa’s Tasty Tea Cup Red Berry Crumbles

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of fresh mixed berries (I prefer raspberries, blueberries and blackberries)
  • plus a few chopped apricots for good measure
  • 1/2 cup of liquid organic honey
  • 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup of rice flour
  • 1 cup of ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • pinch of powdered ginger
  • pinch of powdered cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds and flaked almonds 
  • a generous sprinkle of cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp cold butter (or  dairy free equivalent for vegan)
  • some extra sugar to add to the top of the crumble pre-cooking

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade and butter your baking dish.
  2. Mix the berries with ½ cup of liquid honey. .
  3. Add the fruit directly into the dish and spread until flat.
  4. To a mixing bowl add the brown sugar, ground almonds, rice flour, walnuts, salt and butter. Mix all ingredients with your hands until all of the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  5. Add the powdered ginger and cinnamon
  6. Add the topping mix to the fruit in an even layer.
  7. Sprinkle the sunflower and flaked almonds on the top with a little extra sugar
  8. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the top is crisp and golden.
  9. Enjoy with Greek Yogurt, Creme Fraiche or Vanilla Ice Cream

I served ours with local fresh Angevin live yogurts.  A sensible option to my mind.  Full of protein, Vitamin D and good for your health on a number of levels including good for promoting strong bones and also for good gut bacteria plus such foods are know to engender a sense of well being.  Its the tryptophan so I understand.

According to top nutritionist and medical professionals and authorities such as *Dr. Dalton-Smith, tryptophan contains sleep-inducing nutrients.  So says Dr. Dalton Smith

“Calcium is effective in stress reduction and the stabilization of nerve fibers, including those in the brain.”

8 Apr 2016

Top UK Nutritionist Patrick Holford suggests that our skin is a barometer of our body’s health, and suggests that by improving our internal systems by incorporating such foods as live yoghurt in our diets we can boost considerably enhance our health.

Served alongside today’s crumble were dishes of red berry jam also made this morning.  Packed with Vitamin C and sugar of course…. I do however try to restrict the amount of sugar that I use.

I sometimes think that when we make a small amount of jam it has a more exquisite taste.  This one was just a case of tossing a punnet of raspberries, a punnet of strawberries and a few blackberries – the latter picked from the hedgerows of Fontevraud combined with sugar and lemon juice, brought to boiling point and cooked for 10 minutes…Bliss in a pot

Whether you need to eat gluten free or not this crumble really hits the spot in terms of being deliciously sweet but also dare I say it it might even be good for you.  Good for your skin and good for your tummy…well maybe not the sugar element, but we have to live a little don’t we?  An intelligent dessert on a plate.

Enjoy!

*A practitioner for 18 years, Dr. Dalton Smith graduated from the Meharry Medical College School of Medicine in 1999. She works in Anniston, AL and specializes in Internal Medicine. Dr. Dalton Smith is affiliated with Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center.

 

 

 

Le musée Aux Anciens Commerces, Doué-la-Fontaine

Stepping back in time… is exactly what it felt like the other day when the cousins came over for their annual visit and on one of probably the hottest days in July, we visited the museum in Doué-la-Fontaine which is dedicated to the theme of the French shopping experience of yesteryear.  Mainly focusing on the early to mid part of the 20th century it is crammed with memorabilia and objet d’intérêt from this period.

I suppose because we run a small boutique selling old artifacts and brocante I found it of especial interest.   Some of the mannequin heads on display reminded me of old friends!

If you are interested in hats you will find a milliner..We had great fun trying on lots of different hats from different periods.

Here Tony and cousin Mollie try out some of the latest trends tres debonair..

Dolls and Toys from times past…

There is also a replica Tabac containing all things smoking related including a fabulous array of old pipes.   Plus an assortment of other shops including an attic of dreams (though the latter might fill your head with nightmares) the museum offers a great deal to those interested in social history and the local economy.

http://www.gite-rural-lespierrines-49.com/photo/gallerylist1/15/musee_aux_anciens_commerces.jpg

The visitor gets the sense of an esplanade here with its sweep of shops galore

At one point I was talking to the cousins about a book I am reading about the French Resistance during WW II, and how particularly at the beginning of the occupation many in particular women tried hard to keep up an appearance of fashionability with their chic attire.  An aspect that was compromised somewhat as the occupation progressed, unless that was they were to collaborate with the occupiers or obtain items on the black market.  This led me to mention Maurice Chevalier and how history has judged him rather unfairly it would seem…or at least there is still some confusion as to what extent he collaborated during the occupation.     It is true that he performed for the Germans but also in prisoner of war camps in Germany where oddly enough he performed but also some communication with French prisoners. It is equally true that he worked to gain the release of such prisoners in exchange for his performances.

Edith Piaf is also sometimes tarnished with a similar brush of collaborateur but she is usually seen in a more sympathetic light.   Like Chevalier, and indeed with him she did perform in Germany during the time of the occupation, but she also insisted on having her photograph taken with french prisoners and it is now believed on good authority* that at least 150 of such images of prisoners of war were then used to produce fake passports and documents enabling them to escape.  I am not sure how any of us can really know how we would behave during an occupation.  It seems to bring out the best and most courageous behaviour in some people, and the worst in others.    The early 1940s were complicated times and none of us can really hand on heart say what we would or would not have done to survive and save our family from such unimaginable brutality.  Anyway just as we turned a corner in the Museum there was an old black and white photograph of Maurice Chevalier wearing his ubiquitous straw boater.  “Goodness, are you psychic?” asked Mollie.. Coincidence more like as I suppose so many of the magasins reminded me of the 1940s.

A still from the 1956 film, Love in the Afternoon in which he plays the role of private detective, complete with the bowler-type hat he is wearing here. Chevalier, with the aid of Audrey Hepburn who plays his daughter in the film, is shown breaking with the past by putting foot and hand into a stock of straw hats he has collected through the years.

Recently at a Vide Grenier, I bought a la mode de Chevalier a stylish straw hat which is currently on display at Chez Teresa.

A fashionable stylist plies his trade and skills on the streets of Paris

Once on this site in Doué-la-Fontaine there was a beautiful chateau with Lord and Ladies in situ.  All that remains today is one large crumbling, moss laden wall and  the stable block where the museum is now housed.  The last occupant was Joseph-François Foullon de Doué, or Foulon de Doué.  He was a French politician and a Controller-General of Finances under Louis XVI.  He was murdered by the mob in Paris during the first French Revolution of 1789.  It was a particular gruesome murder by all accounts so I will remain silent on the specifics except to mention that in a bid to save his own life he staged his own death and even staged a mock funeral.  He was however betrayed and paid the terrible consequences of being a much despised aristocrat with an exceptionally brutal end..    Incidentally another fairly spooky thing is that I have just written this article and today is the 22 July and so it is the anniversary of his death…

A tragic end during tragic times…well yes I know that the revolution has come to symbolise the birth of a democratic republic, but considering the first revolution was followed by Napoleon, then then the return of the Bourbons followed by more Napoleons; it was actually a long road to the Republic.

As we sat in the sunshine enjoying our cool and thoroughly refreshing drinks at the on site cafe we contemplated the lives of the lost families and the generations that might have been..we guessed however that you could apply this “what if” conundrum to so many events throughout history not the least the two world wars.

http://www.ot-saumur.fr/photo/gal/pic/gal-2189996.jpg?v=1372515103

If old fashioned grocery packaging takes your fancy then there is much to see here. 

Le musée Aux Anciens Commerces can be found at 290 Chemin du Lavoir inDoué-la-Fontaine,  Combine it with a visit to the zoo or the glorious chemin de la Rose park.

+33 2 41 52 97 58

Talks given in French and English.

  • The Forgotten Women of the French Resistance, by Anne Sebba, 2016
 

Charles Hair’s studio of pots and more pots galore…

When we visited back in May 2017, the fabulous pottery of Charles Hair in Thizay just along the road from Chez Teresa en route to Chinon it was a revelation in the form of thousands of beautifully crafted pots in various guises – from pots for the kitchen – pots for the table – pots for the garden and of particular interest to me literally hundreds of fabulous tea pots!

One of Charles Hairs fabulous Tea Pots – I adore this particular shade of blue…

The above is the much celebrated kyusu.  Shaped like a kettle this is the Japanese word for Tea Pot.

The premise for our original visit was a Springtime exhibition at the studio  dedicated to the theme of le jardin and as such set within Charles Hair’s lovely garden featuring pots and jardinieres for plants.  These pots were in situ on the greenest of lawns with on the day we visited a glorious backdrop of beautiful roses and one brightly coloured azalea that was of such an intense bright almost electric orange I nearly fainted with delight as it reminded me of the azaleas and rhododendrons of Cornwall and my native Kent.

Pots in situ in the garden of Charles Hair

Charles in his garden at his Studio surrounded by his ubiquitous pots!

Charles Hair’s studio is open most days and is at any time an interesting and vibrant place to visit whether you are a tourist or a local.  The garden has however a rather particular and tranquil quality to it and with the current display of Charles’ brilliant pots especially designed for gardens and patios, this is a treat of a place to visit, especially on a warm summers day.

The magic of pottery chimes at the window…..

Potter Charles, is mainly self-taught in his craft, but he also studied for a time in Japan where he learnt a great deal about technique and also says Charles ” about tea ceremonies”.

Initially when you walk through into the main studio space in Thizay (this is also the home of Charles, his partner Stephanie and their children) you will see a floor that looks rather like Jackson Pollock has recently paid a visit and decided to wildly splash vivid colours across it.  If you look closely at this next photograph you will see the Pollock effect floor!

A perfect pot for any occasion and in this instance for a display of glorious tulips

(Charles explained that if and when the tulips droop, the effect in this vase is like a fan)

By contrast the rest of the space is tranquility incarnate, with a large number of ordered pots on display on glass shelves and systematically arranged according to colour and mainly in straight lines.  These are product of an ordered mind I should think…perhaps Charles is a Virgo; I forgot to ask.

Symmetrically lined pots at the atelier of Charles Hair in Thizay

Charles makes his pots on his wheel and then dips them in a solution of mineral powders dipping them for long enough to create the desired colour effect that he wants.   The majority of his work is simple and plain with a wonderful sheen and luster to each pot of every size and hue…..Twenty – thirty years in the making there are literally thousands of pots, bowls and to my delight tea pots and jugs as well as decorated wall plaques.

Charles also creates wall plaques and the sun is a theme on the latter and one can see the influence of the orient on Charles’s work.

The Sun is King at the studio

The pieces are wheel-turned or hand-sculpted and are made using sandstone or porcelain.  What I like about this kind of art and these kind of pieces is the fact that they are decorative, but also useful reminding me of that old William Morris adage of:

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” 

That is my philosophy in life and I think that possibly it might also be the belief of Charles Hair and his family motto.

Pots galore at the studio of Charles Hair in Thizay, just along the road from Chinon

There are pots in the studio, pots in the various lofts and outbuildings; pots in the garden..pots..pots..pots and yet more pots galore…leading me to ask Charles if he could ever imagine himself stopping making pots and wasn’t this passion somewhat of an obsession albeit a glorious one?  He tells me that his wife sometimes poses the same kind of questions.   Pots are clearly his life along with his family of course and as we left I could hear laughter in the garden.  I do urge you to visit soon.

Our homage to Charles Hair and his pottery at Chez Teresa/A Taste d’Angleterre

(if you look closely you can see Charles at his potter’s wheel)

We had a group of 14 artists in for a luncheon this week, and they very much admired the exhibits that we have on display of Charles’s work…in particular they referred to the quality and luster of the glaze on the blue bowl with one of them calling out to Kentucky based artist Mary Neely “Come look at this glaze Mary, it is just wonderful!”

This particular group of artists work as part of a co-operative called Artists Attic and are much respected and celebrated in Kentucky and form part of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.

I have long had a love affair with pottery and recall being enthralled when Tony and I visited the studio of Bernard and Janet Leach back in the late 1970s.

Since then we have loved the work of the Kent Potters and the pottery of Jean McCree in particular.  Check out her studio in Newton Road, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

but when in the Loire Valley please do not hesitate to contact the

ATELIER GALERIE CHARLES HAIR CERAMISTE
1 rue des Marais
37500 THIZAY
LONGITUDE : 0.143406 / LATITUDE : 47.167461

02 47 95 90 01

Portes ouvert for Charles Hair

  • from 02/01/2017 to 30/12/2017 : from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00 (except Monday – Tuesday – Sunday morning)

Earlier on in the year Charles Hair co-hosted an exhibition at the studio of Einav Benzano, our local and very talented maker of original jewellery.  Here she is emerging behind one of Charles Hair’s pots…It was a unique collaboration.  Einav’s studio is next to us at Chez Teresa/A Taste d’Angleterre

The very beautiful Einav behind one of Charles Hair’s fabulous pots…or is she emerging from it?  Who can tell?  I anyway love the luster and pattern on this pot!

Summer is a “comin in loudly sing cuckoo…”

Come in for a cuppa and a chat to Chez Teresa about pottery and the arts anytime…

6, av Rochechouart, Fontevraud l’abbaye

just next to the l’abbaye royale…

For more information about the work of Jean McCree check out the

Kent Potters Association Picture Gallery – Jean McCree

www.kentpotters.co.uk/JeanMcCree/index.html

Jean McCree. I am an established sculptor and potter having worked, exhibited and taught for over 20 years and am an active member of the Kent Potters …

Happy Easter/Joyeuses Pâques

HAPPY EASTER TIME!

Just the quickest of messages to wish all our customers, friends and family a very very Happy Easter time 2017 from Chez Teresa/A Taste d’Angleterre in Fontevraud l’abbaye!

I love the highly painted Easter Eggs from Russia

Years ago we met a lady called Lady Rupert Nevill and visited her home near Lewes.  She collected Fabergé eggs and had quite a collection…..Very beautiful and extremely valuable, these fabulous  jeweled eggs were created by the House of Fabergé and were manufactured under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé at the height of the reign of Czar Nicholas II.  There is something very comforting about the shape of an egg.  I recall as a child blowing eggs with my father, John and painting them in various colours.  

We have just made the hot cross buns for Good Friday and for Easter Weekend, so fingers crossed they have risen!  Mentioning Good Friday..it always strikes me as strange that in a still fairly devout country, most of France does not actually mark Good Friday with a Bank Holiday.   Apparently they do in Alsace Lorraine, but not here in the Loire Valley.  I’ve probably remarked on this before, but it does strike me as a little strange.  Probably some folks do take the day off, but as part of their annual leave.

An Easter Tree meets Cherry Blossom at Chez Teresa

Anyway the hot cross buns have risen and here they are again fresh from the oven……..To my mind Good Friday wouldn’t be the same without one or two toasted for breakfast with lashings of butter.

Asparagus quiche is also on our Easter menu served with a crisp green salad..I always think that there is something very spring like about asparagus which is why I also made a potato, mint, spring onion and asparagus salad which has turned out rather well.  This salad is dressed in a mix of mayonnaise with a smidgen of Dijon mustard.  Especially delicious served warm!

Chez Teresa’s Potato, mint, spring onion and asparagus salad

Simply boil up some new potatoes cook until tender but firm.  Next finely chop a few spring onions, fresh chives, hint of sea salt, black pepper and a sprinkling of chopped mint.  Roughly chop the asparagus and mix with some best quality mayo and a hint of Dijon mustard.   Sprinkle with a few flaked almonds if you want a bit more decor, texture and/or novelty…..This kind of salad is also very tasty spooned into avocado halves and sprinkled with paprika.

 Potato, mint, spring onion and asparagus salad in am avocado

A Veggie Easter Treat!

We have lots of chocolate delights and Easter treats treasures on display this year in our salon and have created a range of Easter themed gateaux for our customers and visitors.

Rustic Easter Cake 2017

A Smartie encrusted chunky chocolate cake also goes down quite well this time of year especially with the children, so we have them to serve.  Bit lop sided this time, but tasty just the same; and when you cut a slice or two who will know?

We’ve gone to town this year with our Easter decorations with painted eggs and even a few illuminated ones and we haven’t forgotten the Easter bunnies and chocolate brownies!

Just noticed this poem on the net which I thought was quite cute:

Something that Easter always brings

Easter duck and Easter chick,
Easter eggs with chocolate thick.

Easter hats for one and all,
Easter Bunny makes a call!

Happy Easter always brings
Such a lot of pleasant things.

–Written by Elsie Parrish

Well, whoever you are Elsie Parrish I thank you for sharing this sweet little ditty: Something that Easter always brings….well for some of us anyway and thankfully this is us!

 

Don’t forget your Easter Bonnet!

In fact my Mother, Joy Irene used to tell me that when she was a child each year all 5 children were bought new Easter hats and outfits.   What a lovely tradition.

We raise our Easter bonnets to you all and we hope that you have a happy and peaceful one!

Bisous!

Chickadees galore…..

Chez Teresa/A Taste d’Angleterre, Fontevraud l’abbaye, 2017

A Madeleine Moment at Chez Teresa

*My mother sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called ’petites madeleines,’ which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell. And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses…..*

This is the moment in Marcel Proust’s  novel À la recherche du temps perdu when his character, Charles Swann bites into the sweet, buttery deliciousness of a cake à la Madeleine dipped in tea and is transported into a revelry of sheer bliss..

The Madeleine Moment was beautifully evoked by Marcel Proust

The good news is that we can  recreate such a moment in our own kitchens through baking and sharing such delicious treats and experiences with friends, family and of course for us here at Chez Teresa/A Taste d’Angleterre with our customers.  In a way I see whisking up such sumptuous delights as our own kind of time travel i.e. making and baking tried and tested recipes that have been handed down over the years perhaps from your own family and in some cases since time immemorial.  My Mother enjoyed baking and as a child coming home from school to a sweetly scented kitchen with swirls of sifted flour haloing my Mother’s face heralded the fact that a freshly baked sponge cake was definitely going to be presented for tea.  All the Aunties baked and our Aunt Lydia used to present quite elaborate cake confections including highly decorated cakes topped with Crinoline ladies made of icing sugar adorned with a veritable garden of sugared flowers. 

My Mother’s baking was of a more home spun kind.  In fact when we were children she often made small buttery cakes very like Madeleines which is probably why every time I see them in a Patisserie window here in France my heart skips a little beat and I am transported back to childhood.  Something about the colour I think rather than the shape, though mentioning that the shape is of course a key element of this cake’s identity like to a sea shell scallop.  The shape was possibly because in the 18th century metal moulds began to be used in cooking so suddenly perfectly shaped patisserie was possible in a more exact way than ever before.

A patisserie legend is born…..

It is said that the Madeleine was originally from the town of Commercy in Lorraine and that it was the creation of a local peasant woman called Madeleine. How wonderful to be immortalized in cake….  As the story goes; back in 1755 the then King of Poland, Stanislas Leczinski who happened to be the  father-in-law of Louis XV tasted the little cake then introduced it to the court and launched a fashion at Versailles then when his daughter Marie, wife of Louis XV delighted in the little cake she introduced into Parisian society…

The first recorded recipe for Cakes à la Madeleine comprised:

One pound of flour, one pound of butter, eight egg whites & yolks, three fourths of a pound of fine sugar, a half glass of water, a little grated lime, or preserved lemon rind minced very finely, orange blossom praliné; knead the whole together, & make little cakes, that you will serve iced with sugar.

Source: Menon, Les soupers de la Cour ou L’art de travailler toutes sortes d’aliments, p.282 (1755)

Legendary chef, Antoine Carême, was famous for his ‘grande cuisine’ for kings and queens was also known for his Madeleines and other more elaborate confections.   Carême opened his Pâtisserie de la rue de la Paix, in Paris which he ran from the 1790s until 1813.  The Pâtisserie gained fame for its  pièces montées which were elaborate constructions often inspired by architecture that were displayed in the pâtisserie window.

The elegance of an 18th century drawing room and the partaking of an afternoon tea; part of the ritual of high society life

The passion for Madeleines grew…They were especially popular during the Napoleonic period.  By the 1840s over 20,000 Madeleines were baked every day in Paris alone.  Priced at 30 centimes La Pièce this sounds somewhat très cher to me, but I guess these were rather special little cakes and one of the favoured delicacies of the richer in society at that.

To create your own 24 perfect little Cakes of buttery deliciousness à la Madeleine you will need:

2 large eggs (whisked and frothy
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup self-raising flour
200g unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly

+  Icing sugar (for sprinkling)

Melt the butter in a pan and add the sugar then gently fold in the frothy eggs  Then gradually add the rest of the ingredients until you have created a smooth battery mix.  It should be pale in colour.  Next spoon the mixture into the individual moulds of a buttered Madeleine tin.  Bake in a pre-heated oven (180c) for around 12 minutes or until golden brown and springy to the touch.  Remove the individual Madeleines from the tin and sprinkle with icing sugar.  They are also delicious coated in a layer of melted good quality milk chocolate or alternatively sprinkled with flaked almonds.  For the latter you will need to sprinkle the flaked almonds just before you put them into the oven to bake.  Another tasty topping is to glaze them with a zesty lemon or orange icing.

You will not be disappointed with the aromas wafting through your house as you bake your own Cakes à la Madeleine
For a zesty topping you will need:
3/4 cup (150g) icing sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon, lime or orange juice
a little grated zest of your chosen citrus fruit
2 tablespoons water
Mix and apply to the cooled cakes.
Serve with a pot of light fragrant tea such as a pot of Darjeeling (first flush)
Savour a perfect Madeleine Moment at Chez Teresa/A Taste d’Angleterre in Fontevraud l’abbaye
A combination of chocolate coated and lemon drizzled madeleines