Cooking challenge...!

... or more like a creative challenge...

we love to cook, we love to eat, we have the time. we have a fantastic larder on our doorstep and suppliers who are passionate (crazy?) about food.

i spent some time working as a cook - in a shooting lodge, in a stately home - cooking for hungry workers, difficult children, picky 'ladies'. I can pretty much cook anything - but I'm not a chef

now we have the time and inclination to cook for ourselves, and it's often the unavailable, and the unknown. 'breakfast' sausages, white pudding, pikelets, soda bread,pretzels - not readily available in provence!, pot stickers, pierogi, spaetzle, pitta bread. Chinese food - steamed dumplings, spring rolls... all great fun. some perfect - most a work in progress. PLUS the things we've not eaten before - cardons, sea urchins (no cooking!) black radishes... we've made pancetta, smoked salmon, and fired up some perfect pizzas...

you get the idea!

what i'm asking is - what's your challenge? what did you find? what did you cook that's not readily available anywhere outside your kitchen??!!

ideas, recettes, all welcome

x teresa

Got that right,think I have put on a few pounds I blame on the excellent bread,wine and cheese

Bryan, you are so right about the French not having cakes. Every time we visit the UK I MUST have some carrot cake, my favourite. Having said that it's probably not such a bad thing for my figure that the French don't do it. :)

I make cakes too, everything from Christmas cake to millionaire’s shortbread, cup cakes to ginger Parkin. There has to be a “little something” to have with our afternoon cuppa at 5pm.

thanks Jane... we have a really good patisserie in Vaison and it's such a treat to buy their cakes - so i leave puddings to them

but demi-glace is a brilliant idea - just the sort of thing to try and attempt in the freezing snowy weather we have now!

I am a chef ( retired) over the years I have worked the likes of Albert Roux and a few other well known chefs. Since being in France I miss a good curry or a nice plain cake. The french probily make the best pastries in the world what they don’t make are cakes like lemon drizzle,ginger,good old Dundee,Ss that’s my Sunday job a cake a week. The ingredients can be pricey though like glacé cherries or mixed peel.lucky our lemon tree has produced well this year so lemon drizzle has come out oven a good few times. As for curry about once a month I have a good old cook up we have an Asia super market close so the ingredients are easy and cheap.

I love making desserts. We had our neighbours round for dinner the other night and I was extremely pleased with my Bakewell Tart(pudding). It looked as though it had come from a French patisserie and was pronounced delicious.
Like you I used to cook professionally, but we live in southern Burgundy, so I cannot cook seafood as often as I would like.
My real challenge would be to devote the time to making demi-glace and freezing it. I used to do it, but if you are mostly cooking for two, it is rather an effort.