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simple local vegetables

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Monday, 18 April 2011

Easter....Ostern....Paques...

Easter...another Table Festival...
Paques...encore la fête a table....
Ostern...noch eine Tisch-fest...
                                     
Lent doesn't only mean "slow" in French, but is also the English for some 40 days of supposed fasting. I doubt that many people actually follow it any more, but follow or not, it doesn't stop everybody from "pigging" it again for a long weekend.
Of course eggs play a largish role, but in various countries, fish - lamb - hare - all play their part as well. Here's a link that tells you a bit about these traditions.....
http://www.fireworks.com/easter/easter-traditions.asp
Religious or not, there is often one good reason for using the occasion, namely that a lot of products are available in high quality of freshness and lower than usual price....what more to make a Scottish heart beat faster...?
My own personal favourite is without doubt Roast Spring Lamb, but that's because I can eat lamb at anytime of the year...day and night, and I suppose there are reasons for eating something different..It's just that I get carried away when I see the occasional price offer, and once bought and in the house....well...poor little lamb doesn't really stand a chance!
The Germans, the Poles and other once "Eastern" countries, and to some extent the French as well have   ... their Easter Carp...and sometimes they get carried away. These carp are slaughtered in their millions around this time of year, and in general they are the species of carp called "Spiegelkarpfen" (mirror carp).
They are varied in price and in size, but are not really recognized as being a great delicacy...just something "different" for Easter. In fact, I find them rather more of a pain to eat...the vast majority are "unfriendly", with small bones spread throughout the flesh and you spend most of your time trying to pick them out of your mouth rather than eating!
In general also - the larger the fish, the more "unfriendly" it is, and the flesh more and more "fade" or tasteless, and the smaller it is, then the ratio "flesh to small bones" becomes more and more problematic!
There we are, tradition isn't always the best way to choose! 
In general the Carp should be cooked whole...it isn't really a fish which allows itself to be cut into "darnes" (steaks) and most certainly not filleted. Simply "meunière" (dipped in seasoned flour and fried in butter) is probably the best and simplest way to cook it, although steaming in a bain-marie or poaching are also practical. In all cases, having a cooking pan of the right size is the most difficult thing! There are Carp varieties which allow themselves to be filleted and which do not have the inconveniences of mirror carp, but they are rare and you won't find them at the price of mirror carp. There are also the "Koi" carp, a Japanese variety, but these are mainly and almost uniquely ornamental.
Some places seem to be places to avoid over Easter....


"Costa Rica Easter Traditions
Travel by vehicle is virtually forbidden on Holy Thursday and Good Friday in Costa Rica, as the use of public services and transportation are viewed as sinful at this time and are left idle. Most businesses close during the middle of the week as well."

and in any case - if you've done it all correctly, you won't have time to do much else other than search for eggs in the garden, maybe go to church, maybe watch "Urbi et Orbe" or - as in my usual case, baste the Roast lamb!
For some reason, the Easter Bunny, or Osterhase,  has managed largely to keep himself well clear of the cooking pots...!
Strangely enough, because these are also animals which, like many others, breed extensively in Spring. 
Hasen-rücken
The Germans tend to eat only the filet pieces (Hasenrücken) - that is the piece between the rear leg and the front leg. It is the most tender, and is generally roasted whole, being "larded" with pork fat, since it is a rather dry meat, singularly lacking in natural fats. In fact, most of the other cuts, such as the legs are tough, the hare being an active animal, capable of leaps to astonishing heights, the muscles are very firm and rather inedible.  It is again a dish more commonly consumed for the difference at Eastertime. 
The hare can, of course be cooked in the time honoured fashion for wild Game, generally with the sauce being thickened uniquely by the addition of blood from the same animal, which is more and more difficult to obtain.
One place the Hare or Bunny hasn't been able to keep away from is the sweet and bread ovens...even though it may not actually be the flesh, it is still in the spirit of things!
They are everywhere to be seen, and like eggs, are an integral part of Easter - worldwide...
 
...as bread........with

 eggs, ...as eggs...and of course,  

they suffer the consequences...........!
The other Easter sweeties are innumerable, from buns like these, or, of course, the famous "hot cross buns" eaten, in Britain, over the whole of the Easter period, right through to elaborate cakes and gateaux, generally with some kind of decoration colourfully representing eggs, bunnies or anything remotely having to do with Easter.......I prefer, if at all, to stay nicely traditional with some delicious "Profiteroles"  with hot chocolate sauce.......One thing is certain, Easter - like Christmas - is not a period where most people go hungry....or thirsty... .. so no reason to over indulge......the next Festival is coming up.....!

Bonne Appétit...!

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iwmpop(mrlemarquis)           -                 Vauvert, France          -         Avril 2011







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******* iwmpop (mr le marquis)- Vauvert, France - Janvier 2011