Our Vacation Rental Homes in Sablet, Provence

Sablet Village, Vaucluse, Provence, France
Maison des Pelerins and La Baume des Pelerins, or "les Pelerins" as we affectionately refer to our dream come true, of owning our own homes in Provence, are located in the heart of the Vaucluse. We thoroughly enjoy hearing from our guests to "les Pelerins" that they feel they are spending time in their own home in Provence. To be a part of village life, Sablet is the perfect place. "Les Pelerins" dates back to the time when the Popes administered the Catholic Church from Avignon, with a Papal Vice-Legat having a residence right here in Sablet. Our neighbor's home was the Vice-Legat's residence. Ours was one of the buildings that housed visitors and pilgrims and was connected to it, as we can see from the internal portals, and the front door of Maison des Pelerins. Hence the name - Pelerins is French for pilgrims. I hope this Blog will help you get to know Provence and live your Provencal Dream.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Entertaining ….. Provençal style ……. Mise en Place!

“….. and there we are Marianne, mise en place!”

Those were the words that finished my first session of cooking with Johannis, our friend, neighbor and Chef extraordinaire at Restaurant Les Abeilles in Sablet.  We had just finished a session in which he taught me how to make puff pastry.  But we didn’t just stop at learning how to make puff pastry, he also showed me how to turn that puff pastry in to ready made hors d’ouvres to always have in the freezer for those times when unexpected guests pop in, or when you are entertaining and want to concentrate on dinner and not have to worry about what happens before.  Since that time, he has shown me how to make Gougères – small savoury puffs made using a base of Choux pastry, and Grissini – the crisp, savory Italian breadsticks that you so often see in gourmet grocery stores.  This was always in addition to whatever it was that  I went there to learn,  All easy to make ahead and have ready in the freezer to just pop in the oven and serve!

Johannis’s  motto  “mise en place”, really came into its own a few weeks ago.  My husband heard from an old friend he had worked with many years  ago, that he and his wife were going  to be in town for the weekend. He invited them for dinner, along with a few of other friends who all  wanted  to see them.  Seventeen to be exact!  It was great fun to have everyone together  again.    As far as dinner was concerned  ………..“don’t worry, we’ll have a barbecue….”  

Fortunately, the hors d’ouvres were already done…….. and ….. very, very  fortunately …… I had two batches of Johannis’s  Nougat Glacé  - a fantastic, creamy nougat ice-cream that I had learned to make last year in Sablet).  That was two courses, which only left  the main course to take care of …… not so hard.  I must say though,  that the Dessert was the star of the show!  Eating  Nougat Glacé is like eating a creamy cool version of one of my favorite candies.  I almost always order it when we visit Les Abeilles.  It is made from a combination of Nougat Noir, confit fruits, rich whipped cream and  Meringue Italienne.   I decided that this should be a truly Provençal dessert, so I  made Tuile cookies to serve with it. The cookies were  filled with raspberries and blueberries coated with a shiny glaze of reduced Beaumes de Venise (from Domaine de la Pigeade), and a Raspberry Coulis drizzled around.    

 ……….  Heaven!               ……….. Can’t wait to get back to Sablet!

         Bubbling sugar, on its way to the golden rich caramel for Nougat Noir

Rich, golden caramel - packed with whole almonds - ready to spread on a cookie sheet - Nougat  Noir!

The Meringue Italienne glistens as the hot sugar and honey syrup is added while the egg whites are whipped.
Voila!  les Abeilles Nougat Glace!  I was busy serving desert and didn't take a picture of my Nougat Glace - so here's a picture of  the delicious desert I  had at Les Abeilles!
Bon Apetit!

Gougeres - start with a base of a quantity of Choux pastry - then add your favorite savory flavors - Dijon mustard, Parmesan Cheese, herbs, toasted caraway seeds or cumin seeds, crumbled bacon bits, chopped olives, small shrimp etc., etc.  Scoop into small balls and place on a cookie sheet in a single layer and freeze.  when frozen, place them in zip lock bags and there we are ..... mis en place!  When you want to serve, preheat oven to 425 degrees, place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, glaze with an egg wash and if you wish sprinkle with a favorite topping. Bake for 10 minutes or until they are golden brown and puffed!  No need to defrost.

Nougat Noir - a rich dark caramel, choc full of whole toasted almonds (unpeeled) spread on a cookie sheet.  When cool, break into bite sized pieces.

Meringue Italienne - stiffly beaten egg whites into which is poured hot sugar syrup whilst beating.  This action cooks the meringue, and is used for recipes that do not call for any further cooking of the meringue.

Tuile Cookies - "tuile" is the French work for tile and these delicate cookies are still pliable when cooked.  The traditional recipe calls for them to be draped over a rolling pin to make the shape of a roof tile, although they are often shaped as cones or draped over a small cup or bowl to make a pretty and delicate cookie container.

Glazes for fruit - in this case, I used Muscat Beaumes de Venise which was gently simmered to reduce it to a thick syrupy glaze - delicious.   I have however, used other "left over" white or rose wines in the same way - especially if you have a sparkling wine that the bubble has gone out of.  Once the glaze is made, it will be last for quite some time in an airthight jar in the refrigerator.

1 comment:

  1. The pictures and descriptions of your food make me feel almost weak with longing. I'm not sure I could survive actually eating one of your dishes. French food is beyond compare!