From the Pyrenees to the Charente
Out of my mountain village and into a countryside chateau.
I recently moved up north to a new location for a little summer work. I'm now living in a gorgeous chateau that overlooks the village of La Rochefoucauld. This huge, old home was beautifully restored by a British couple, who for the past 20 years have been running holiday courses in painting, cooking and French lessons. That's right, painting and cooking: my two favourite things.
Every week new guests arrive and enjoy a holiday filled with canvas and paint in the studio (or French lessons outside, or walking tours) while staying in lovely large rooms and being served delicious 4 course meals.
Living at my place of work means that for the majority of my day I am on the job. But when that job includes a lot of time spent in the kitchen, and a lot of time dining with the guests at the table holding a glass of wine, I can't complain.
I am absolutely relishing in the joy of getting to cook and bake for others everyday, learning new techniques, trying recipes I've been wanting to try for years, and having all the possible ingredients I could imagine right at my fingertips.
Every Friday, the last night before the guests leave, the painters host a little show where they get the chance to display their body of work from their time here. It's great getting to see what everyone has been working on, and it's the perfect excuse to drink champagne ;)
It's also an event that calls for a little aperitif, as it takes place just before dinner, and somehow I have become in charge of preparing a selection of amuse bouche.
Totally okay with that!
I love coming up with new ideas and little treats to make at the end of each week to be enjoyed at the studio with a glass of champagne.
Last Friday I made these gazpacho shots. This cold soup makes a great appetizer for the summer months and is fun served in a shot glass or tiny glass!
Tomorrow is Friday (again already?!) and I'll be making chou pastry puffs filled with rosemary and emmental cheese.
A little inspiration from Spain, a little reminiscing, a little missing the food already
Gazpacho Soup Shots
Makes roughly 10 shots
1 can (400g) tomatoes (peeled and in their juice)
1/2 can tomato paste
1 red pepper
2 medium-sized onions
1 garlic clove
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp tabasco sauce
salt & pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
Firstly prepare your ingredients: after removing the skins, chop up finely the cucumber, onions, shallot, garlic and red pepper (this one you can leave the skin on).
Put all of these in a bowl along with the spices.
Add half of the canned tomatoes into a blender along with about 1/3 of the ingredients. Blend for a few seconds until everything is pureed. Keep adding the rest of the ingredients and tomatoes bit by bit until everything is well blended together.
Next blend in the tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste.
Lastly add the olive oil and blend until well incorporated.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve in shot glasses with toasts.