More Ceps

October 23, 2006

Well, we’re still awaiting our ceps to arrive from the southwest of France. Monsieur la poste has been very unkind to us and has yet to deliver the goods. Of course, grandma also decided to append various things to our postcode, so that could be part of it as well.

A number of you are looking for ‘where to find ceps in London’. I realise (see previous posts) that this can be frustrating. But do not despair as they have appeared in the farmer’s markets and in Borough Market. Turnips have some (but frankly not many and too dear) as does the fruit and veg shop next to the Monmouth Coffee stall (not the shop) in the market proper.

So, happy cep hunting and eating!


Cep Success!

September 30, 2006

After a bit of hunting around at Borough Market on Friday afternoon, I finally managed to find some ceps! Well, to be fair, I only took half of one given that they were going for £50 a kilo. (Meanwhile, one of the tantes in the southwest of France has been out collecting twice in the past week and has managed to find 250 ceps.)

Together with some diced confit, the Frog (about whom you’ll learn more over time) made the famous tartelettes with ceps and confit covered in puff pastry. They’re then turned out to make a sort of savoury tarte tatin. A recipe to follow!

We had Lawyer Boy (LB) over for dinner, and opened up a magnum of Ch. Haut Batailley 1995. Drinking perfectly now for those of you who have it in the cellar. For those of you who don’t, I recommend talking to Goedhuis & Company, an excellent London based wine merchant that stores its wines with Octavian. They deliver 3 cases or more for free, and they always have the inside line on what is interesting.

After the tartes, I whipped up some veal chops, panfried and then deglazed the pan with some Sancerre in order to make a sauce with girolles and cream. The veal was accompanied by an aligot, the traditional French potato puree with garlic, creme fraiche, and cantal cheese. And to top off the mains, some julienned carrots and small onions, steamed and glazed. For dessert, mini sticky toffee puddings for everyone. Yum!

Today, we’re making some veal stock for future use. And, having found some beautiful English plums at Borough, I’ve made a quick half litre of plum jam.

Ceps? Why are there no ceps?

September 28, 2006

You would think, living in the metropolis, that once mushroom season rolls around that it would be possible to actually find ceps somewhere. Not dried ones, not preserved ones soaked in brine, but proper, juicy, yummy, ceps.

I hear from the southwest of France that the ceps this year are more stalky and less heady than usual, perhaps due to the ‘chaleur’ of this summer. But despite this, I am told that people are enjoying them and that they are delicieuse.

With the idea of making some tarteletes aux cepes et confit I went on a mission around London to find the boletus edulis. My first stop was La Fromagerie in Marylebone, but alas, despite having some delightful, yet random, produce from time to time, no ceps. More worrying was the (ahem) North American non-Francophone service at la Fromagerie. This poor guy, doubtess used to eating the occassional button mushroom out of a Campbell’s soup tin looked around in confusion and then suggested that he had “porcini, but they’re dried.”

The next stop was the organic vegetable stop next door to the Fromagerie. Here, decidedly antipodean service were even more confused, but at least pleasant about it. Then off to Selfridges, no luck. Where next? The Japanese organic shop on the Finchley Road? Borough Market wasn’t open, this being a Tuesday, so no chance to pop by the mushroom seller there.

Ultimately, the ceps were abandonned. Metropolis? One has to wonder…