Family recipes

Bonjour,

I just came back from my annual own “Tour de France”… This year, while I went to many different places to visit friends from Paris and Brittany to Perigord and Provence, I spent most of the time in the very remote region of Aurillac where my family lives: untouched nature, pristine rivers, lush green mountains, which actually sit on the oldest and largest volcano in Europe.

Aurillac, the capital city of Le Cantal.

My great grandmother's house

My great grandmother’s house

Aurillac, where I grew up, is one of the pathways of the Saint-Jacques of Compostelle Pilgrimage, which has become increasingly popular in recent years. Aurillac also gave one of the most influential Pope of the Middle Age, Sylvester II.

It is the capital city of one of the oldest French cheeses, Le Cantal, made of raw milk from cows pasturing all summer in the mountains.

This region is home to nurturing and healing, traditional slow-cooked dishes made using fresh whole foods. La Truffade, made with young Cantal, is to die for. It’s usually served with a home-made sausage and a green salad (see photo below).

If you followed me on Facebook (you can like my page here to get my daily updates on nutrition and the French Art de Vivre), you’ve seen all the mouth-watering dishes I enjoyed over four weeks – all made from family recipes and cooked by my father with love as my mother was unwell. Thank you all so much for your likes, comments and messages!

Art de Vivre, every day.

Every day, we had this very beautiful French Art de Vivre routine:

  • deciding together (my mum, my dad and I) on the menu for lunch and dinner at breakfast and making sure it’s well-balanced, nutritious and most importantly delicious;
  • walking to the local food market to select the best products directly from the producers;
  • having an espresso at one of these beautiful typical cafes where everyone meets after the market, reads the local daily paper or simply watches the passersby (a very French thing to do!);
  • selecting the wine from the cellar; and
  • dressing the table while my father locks himself in the kitchen to have the peace he needs to cook the best meals…

My great grandmother’s garden.

Fresh from my great grandmother's garden

Fresh from my great grandmother’s garden

Part of this daily routine was also to pick up a few fresh and vibrant vegetables in my great-grandmother’s garden, still maintained with love, dedication and passion, by my 86-years old uncle Lucien.

As you know, my great-grandmother Marguerite was a popular cook and a healing practitioner in the 1920s, leaving a legacy that continues today. I’ve inherited her personal practitioner book, full of invaluable family recipes, home remedies and handwritten notes.

So, each year, it’s vital to me to return to my family home and reconnect with my upbringing around the positive attitude of the French to life and food known as Art de Vivre, a healthy diet, and the philosophy of food as medicine.

Cheese AND wine AND bread AND dessert!

In a very traditional French way, all the meals I had were always made of an entree, a main and vegetables, cheese platter, a green salad, dessert, (preservative-free) quality red wine and fresh wholemeal bread. I can already hear you: how can you have cheese AND wine AND bread AND dessert every day, for lunch and dinner … and not putting on weight?

Well, it all comes down to the French Paradox and what I preach for every day with my clients –with results! If you follow a few simple rules, you also can enjoy my motto Real Food + Pleasure = Health©, reclaim your health and stay slim just like most of 60 million French people!

Truffade, hand-made sausage and green salad.

Truffade, hand-made sausage and green salad.

It’s all about eating real products (whole, fresh, local, organic – nothing processed), cooking at home as much as you can (there are many ways to do it in a very efficient, inexpensive, quick and easy way – ask me!), knowing how to manage portion control and how to enjoy each bite (remember, it’s about Art de Vivre – here too, I’ll be happy to help) …

… AND having a green salad at each meal, the best way to get your daily intake of alkalising leafy greens, critical for all body functions and to give you the vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants you need to feel your best. And it can be delicious too – and not boring at all!

 

The list of the recipes of the to-die-for dishes I enjoyed over four weeks is definitely too long to share so I’ve selected three of them… and included a few photos of others of my favourites dishes.

FAMILY RECIPE #1: STUFFED TOMATOES AND POTATOES (4 people)

Ingredients (all organic):

5 big tomatoes, 5 big potatoes, 100 g of brown or wild rice.

For the stuffing:

  • 500 to 700g of cooked pork meat (cutlets and belly)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 handful of parsley (can be more if you want a greener stuffing)
  • 2 slices of wholemeal bread marinated in full cream milk
  • 2 eggs
  • natural sea salt and pepper
tomatoes

Stuffed tomatoes and potatoes

Directions:

  • Stuffing: beat the eggs; mince the meat, onions and parsley together; mix with eggs and bread
  • Potatoes and tomatoes: with a tea spoon, make a hole and take the flesh out, leaving around 1 cm of flesh around the skin; keep aside the flesh; fill the vegetables with the stuffing.
  • Put the rice at the bottom of an oven-proof dish, leaving a space of 2cm between the dish and the rice (as the rice swells up when cooking) and add olive oil generously.
  • Put the stuffed tomatoes and potatoes on the rice and fill the gaps with the flesh of the potatoes and tomatoes that you’ve left aside.
  • Put in the oven (180 degrees) for 90 minutes.
  • Serve with a huge green salad with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard dressing and with a good red wine.

FAMILY RECIPE #2: CHOU FARCI (4 to 6 people)

Cabbage is part of the cruciferous or brassica vegetable family, which also includes bok choy, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, daikon, radish. Incredibly nutritious, cabbage has it all: uber-alkalising, very high in fiber, Vit K for bone health, very good amount of iron, calcium or manganese, storehouse of powerful antioxidants to fight free radicals and help protect against breast, colon and prostate cancers. It is recommended to eat several servings of cruciferous vegetables per week. It becomes very easy and enjoyable with the Chou Farci!

Ingredients (all organic):

  • 2 green cabbages
  • 1kg salt pork or other organic salt-cured meat (only from the local butcher)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of small cabbage leaves
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 2 slices of whole meal bread
  • 1 glass of full cream milk
  • 2 organic carrots
  • 1cm thick rasher of smoked bacon
Chou farci about to be put in the oven.

Chou farci about to be put in the oven.

Directions:

  • Remove all leaf central ribs, wash the cabbage leaves, put them in hot salted water for 5 minutes and drain them
  • In a bowl soak the bread in the milk, drain the bread (discard the milk)
  • Mince the meat with the bread, garlic, handful of small leaves and 2 eggs in a blender until you get a nice mixture
  • Cover the bottom of a casserole with slices of carrots and bacon (fat side down)
  • Cover first with the big darker green leaves (don’t use all green leaves at this stage) and then with a layer of mixture (1cm)
  • Then cover with leaves and then with another layer of mixture. Each time pack tightly. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
  • Put a final layer of leaves, using the remaining big darker green ones
  • Put in oven at 180° for 2 hours
  • Once cooked, turn out, discard bacon and serve. You can keep the Chou Farci for a week in the fridge.
  • If you want, you can also make individual Choux Farcis in small casseroles (2nd photo)
  • It’s even better the next day (reheat in a pan with some olive oil.
  • You also can easily freeze it.

FAMILY RECIPE #3: CRÈME CHANTILLY

Creme Chantilly in the local biscuit called Cornet de Salers.

Creme Chantilly in the local biscuit called Cornet de Salers.

Yes, crème Chantilly. The real one. Not the disgusting Chantilly you can get from the supermarkets and quite often in restaurants, loaded with sugar (or even worse high fructose corn syrup) and many nasty artificial ingredients. My family recipe is very light in sugar and is slightly pink as we put a few wild raspberries in to add some flavour and colour. Beautiful!

Ingredients

  • 50cl crème fraiche
  • 5 tbs cold milk
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Whip until you get a firm crème.
  • Serve with berries… To die for!
  • For a super indulgent dessert, we sometimes add it on top of my Chocolate Mousse, quite certainly the most popular of all my family recipes – made of eggs and dark chocolate only (no sugar, no butter)… or simply on top of my coffee. Et voila!

Now… in the kitchen!

Bon appetit and have a delicious end of the week.

Yves

PS. Remember, you can follow me on Facebook every day. Simply like my page HERE.

 

 

 

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