A Taste of Garlic

Haddock in the Kitchen - Poitou-Charentes

poitou charentes  Haddock in the Kitchen   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceHaddock in the Kitchen is a blog that I’ve been following for a long, long time now.

I also follow Helen on Facebook (and one day I’ll work out how to use Facebook properly!)

The author of Haddock in the Kitchen is Helen Aurelius-Haddock who, according to her about page….

“lives in France. I moved here in 2004. Our home is in the Poitou Charentes. I wear many hats – wife, mother, teacher, renovator of old houses, and more recently , blogger and writer. I have wanted to write for some time and blogging has allowed me the accessibility to writing I was looking for. Having a laptop in the corner of my kitchen helps as well. My master plan was to write . I do that, here and other places too.  I want to write a book about my experiences here, as I have a story worth telling to others.”

Helen also writes for Flavour Magazine, French Property NewsHaddock’s Daily on Twitter, The Connexion and The Daily Telegraph.

A busy girl, eh?  But it is Haddock in the Kitchen that I am about to review.

So, bib on, belt loosened… let’s tuck in!




You see, Helen writes mainly about food.  And food is, as I may have mentioned a few times before, one of my passions.  In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that… if I didn’t eat, I’d die!

The Menu…..

It’s probably polite to start with a bowl of soup.  I couldn’t make up my mind whether to choose the Confit of Tomato Soup or Not My Aunty Mary’s Soup so, in the best traditions of A Taste of Garlic, I’m going to tuck in to both!

I then thought about trying the Dressed Crab ( dressed, Helen suggests in “a cheeky little black dress, string of pearls with kitten heels” – but what I want to know is… what are kitten heels?)

Luckily, Helen explains all in Wanted – Dead or Alive: Crab for Supper.

Of course, I’d have to make sure I left enough room for some Confit de Canard!  Now, doesn’t that look scumptiolicious?

In the Garden….

One of the things that the youth of today don’t understand is that food has to come from somewhere.

It isn’t born in a ready to microwave packet or a tin!

Perhaps they would understand more if they read How Many Tomatoes Can A Haddock Grow? or The Vegetable Plot.

And, re-reading what I’ve just written… am I starting to sound like a Grumpy Old Man?

When I were a lad… my mum was an expert at making Supper – Using What is too hand…..

And we were grateful for it too!  It also taught me to hide the hamster cage and not leave Grandpa’s smelly underpants lying around!

After a 25 hour shift down t’pit, we’d walk 15 miles home to a nice bowl of turnip soup (occasionally enlivened with hamster or underpant garnish!)  Oh happy days…

The kids of today just don’t know they’re born!

And to prove that things have moved on… Helen shows us What’s in The Haddock Kitchen? – not a hamster or a pair of sticky underpants in sight!

So, time for my pill and…..

Let’s go shopping…..

As Helen quite rightly says, France is the Land of Specialist Corner Shops.  It’s also the land of produce markets as we can see from the Local Producer’s Market at Argenton Les Vallees and  the Colour Blocks of Flavour at Thouars Weekly Market.

Don’t those radishes look nice?  And those mushrooms?  And the peaches and apricots - to die for?

And other people who cook, a bit….

Helen does write about some other people who like to cook a little bit.  I was impressed by her reviews of Retro Chefs Clarissa DicksonWright and Madhur Jaffrey and agree wholeheartedly with her comment about Clarissa Dickson Wright that…. “Fast food she is not, slow food she most unquestioningly is.Whilst sadly some our cooks in this series are no longer with us, Clarissa remains solidly and boldly elbowing her determined way through the sea of controversy in the food industry!”

Personally, I like a chef to have a waistline that shows they enjoy their work….

And, speaking of rather large waistlines (were we?)… the reviews of Hugh Fearnly-Whatshisname (here and here) were both fun and informative.  Well done Helen; well done St Hugh of Whittingstall!

The other reviews I enjoyed were those of Antonio Carluccio (he knows an awful lot about mushrooms, you know!) and Keith Floyd (I always like it when famous people name themselves after me!)

Moving on….

Eating Out…..

Perhaps a quick visit to La Baleine Bleu – Ile de Re is in order?   Don’t those oysters look nice?

Or, what about Dinner at the Wheatsheaf, Combe Hay?  Scallops served on a slate with a ratatouille and aubergine purée sounds absolutely divine!

L’addition, si vous plait…..

Being a food orientated blog, It’s understandable (but regrettable) that there are no posts about Wild Mushroom Collecting (although the article about Matt Folas at The Wild Garlic is well worth a read), Citroen 2Cvs or Johnny Halliday.

Helen does do her part when it comes to Lingerie, though; with a definitive post on A Million Thongs!

And Helen, don’t worry too much about your male readership;  I’m sure that, not only are we strong enough – we are more than willing and able!

So, if you are feeling hungry, why not loosen your belt, have a good belch and pop over to Haddock in the Kitchen for a three course meal!

Not only will you learn a lot but you’ll also be exceedingly well fed!

And me?  Well, being a man (or so they tell me), I do have some Guilty Pleasures (that give me great pleasure), and so I’ll visit My Friendly Local Butcher (which, after all, is one of my greatest pleasures!) before it’s Time to Unearth The Summer Kitchen!

All the best

poitou charentes  Haddock in the Kitchen   because we all love reading blogs about life in France

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