Last Monday, I was lucky enough to travel all the way to sunny Provence (through the medium of food and drink) for ‘a celebration of Summer in Provence’ at French restaurant, patisserie and boulangerie Aubaine.
I was invited by fellow food blogger and Indian food extraordinaire Binny, of Binny’s Kitchen. One of my favourite Indian inspagrammers (inspirational instagrammer!), her website has recipes for the most delicious, homecooked Indian dishes you’ve ever seen. We only met recently at a Find Your Feet charity event, where I picked her brains about her own food blogging and supper club experience. I love meeting like-minded foodies at foodie events, over conversations about food – it’s a topic I will never be bored of!
We were introduced to loads of different little tasters that bursted with the flavours of summer. From brioche buns filled with mushroom duxelles (like a creamy mushroom pate), steak and chips on skewers, chicken terrine wrapped in ham and plenty of fine French wines. Below are some of my personal favourites from the night, and some ideas I will definitely be taking home with me.
It’s one of those flavours that can make or break a dish, so you’ve got to be really careful with measurements! These cocktails had the perfect flowery hint, without that same lavender scent wafting from the potpourri in your Nan’s en suite. A cocktail mixing deck offered a choice of lavender or lemon thyme flavoured syrups to flavour gin, vodka or rum-based cocktails. Finished with fresh summer fruits, these went down a treat. My favourite was gin and tonic with lavender, apricot and red berries. I’ve already order the lavender plant for my own homemade cordial (recipe coming soon)
This stole the show. Perfectly soft mussles and squid, and light chunks of white fish bobbed up and down happily in a tomato and cream-based soup, which was indulgently creamy, yet still light and fresh from clever seasoning. I scoffed a bowl in under a minute and was forced to circle the room like a hungry shark until waitresses appeared with more tasters.
Brioche-based cakes filled with pistachio, raspberry and orange blossom creme patissiere
At the dessert counter lay three piping bags filled with green, pink and bright yellow custard. I reached out my hands to pick up the piping backs, and got ready to tip my head upside down and squirt the contents of each into my gob. Alas, noticing the sophistocated ladies in cocktails dresses before me, I snapped out of my trance and instead took a tiny plate and a tiny napkin, and popped three tiny cakes on top, to eat slowly, like a lady. Orange blossom was the favourite; such a fantastic addition to creme pat (or ‘posh’ French custard.) I thought how amazing it would be mixed into the homemade custard in a trifle. Or even better swirled into an Italian custard mixture before making your own icecream.
What a fantastic start to the week, which was finished off with an aromatic packet of lavender cookies for the way home! I would highly recommend a visit to any of Aubaine’s London restaurants to try out their Summery dishes. When the weather in London is doing its usual moody thing, what a fantastic way to trick your body, and your nose and mouth, into believing you’re on a picnic rug in France, in the blazing sun, in a field full of fresh flowers.