Greeting dear readers and friends. I hope you are all safe and well in your corner of the world. It’s certainly been tough to find a moment to write during the ups and downs of summer. We still count ourselves among the lucky ones who have been able to travel around France a bit in July and August – trying to do our best with taking the appropriate precations.
This week we’re in northeastern France visiting the beaux-parents (in-laws) in the Lorraine who we haven’t seen since last Christmas. In this quiet, countryside setting, it’s been nice to take a break from it all and enjoy the simpler things in life.
On a morning walk in a forest near their home, we had a few very pleasant surprises. Perhaps I’ve spent too much time “in the city”, but I felt absolutely amazed to find blackberries growing in the wild. So pretty.
A few more minutes into our balade (stroll), we spotted a deer on the other side of a clearing… as beautiful as could be. Nobody moved for several minutes as she spent as much time staring at us as we did at her. Definitely the highlight of our trip.
Besides our balades in the forest, we’re trying to beat the heatwave that’s hit most of France. We arrived last Sunday to a whopping 97°F – which is a pretty incredible change from the winter 20s and 30s! Flowers are still blooming in the well-tended garden of the grandparents, but things are dry, dry, dry here.
Although that doesn’t stop the harvest of the Lorraine’s most famous product: the mirabelle plum (the golden fruit pictured in the last photo).
And I don’t have enough space here to share all of the excellent cooking of my belle-mère (mother-in-law). I shared one of her favorite apple clafoutis recipes years back, and I’m still savoring everything she makes. Simple, tasteful, and the best French home cooking around.
Below is her famous “mirabelle tart” – which is a small plum as sweet as can be. So delightfully sweet that my belle-mère doesn’t need to use any sugar in her tart recipe. I haven’t heard of anyone being able to find mirabelle plums in the US (please chime in if you know where they are!), so here are two French apricot tart recipes if you’d like to get close to the real thing (apricots being my all-time favorite fruit, truth be told).
Many moons ago, we went to pick mirabelles in a small orchard which is part of a old family-plot. You can see the post about it here – Mirabelles and the Beauty of the North. Many moons ago… but several kilos lighter. Thanks to good, French home cooking. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Best wishes to you and yours from the Lorraine.