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21 February 2007

by Deanna Baynes

I USED to live by the river Lot in Provence. I collected scores of recipes — here are some of them.

Les oeufs brouillés à la Perigourdine
(or Perigord scrambled eggs) (for 4)

10 eggs
2½ozs butter
1 tablespoon chopped truffles
2ozs foie gras or mousse de  foie gras
salt and pepper
chopped parsley

Slice the foie gras into slivers, and chop up your truffles. Mix the eggs as for an omelette. Place the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, and mix in the butter. Keep stirring for about 15 minutes. When the egg mixture sets, season, and incorporate the truffles and foie gras. Serve in little bowls, sprinkled with parsley, with toast.

Poireaux à la Parmentier
(or Leeks with Gruyère cheese) (for 6)
2½lbs leeks — reserve 2 very  green leaves for decoration
10ozs potatoes
2ozs butter
1 small carton cream
small cup of milk
4ozs grated Gruyère cheese
salt and pepper

Wash the leeks, and cut into 3-inch lengths. Blanch them for 2 minutes in a saucepan of boiling water, and include 2 strips of 8- to 10-inch green leaves. Keep the pieces intact; wash under a cold tap, and drain them. Boil the potatoes in a little salted water, drain and purée with 4 of the pieces of leek. Add the milk, cream, and 1oz of butter; and season.

In an ovenproof oblong dish, empty and spread the purée. Melt the remaining butter and brush all over. Lay the leeks down the centre; brush with melted butter. Cover the leeks with foil, spread the Gruyère over the potato and leek purée around the sides of the foil, and grill till golden.

Tie a leek ribbon at the bottom like a tied bouquet, put 2 strips up the centre like gladioli leaves, and serve hot.

La langue de boeuf
(or Ox tongue served hot)

1 ox tongue weighing 3½- 4½lbs
3 tablespoons green peppercorns
2 bottles cheap dry white wine
8½ozs onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 home-made bunches bouquet garni (parsley stalks, fresh thyme, celery sticks, 2 bay leaves, tied in bunches with string)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 diced carrots
1 dessertspoonful cornflour,  mixed with a little water

Wash the ox tongue under cold water. Cut off any of the rough bits.

In a large pan, braise it with the oil until brown. Add the chopped onions, carrots, and garlic. After 3 or 4 minutes, pour in the wine and put in the bouquets garnis. Lower the heat, and add the green peppercorns. Cook slowly for 2 to 3 hours until soft and tender.

Remove the bouquets garnis, take out the tongue, and remove the skin. Keep warm. Take the juices, add the cornflour, stir well, and heat until thickened. Slice the tongue into ½-inches, and pour the sauce over.

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