“Simply French” in France

After lunch at L’Ile Saint Martin, Petra gathered our team of culinary adventurists and took us to her B&B.  As the other students had been with Petra since Friday, this was our first visit to La Souqueto, Chambres d’Hotes and the home of Petra’s cooking school in the tiny town of Mirepeisset. It was everything I expected and much, much more.

The white, stone house stood taller than its neighbours and every bit as majestic. We learned later that it was quite uncommon to have a three storied house in this area. The 300 year-old house had quite a storied past, but it’s last days were not kind to it as Petra discovered when she purchased the all but abandoned villa for a song. Rotting walls had to be replaced, as did the floors and roof top. Anyone who has read Peter Mayle “A Year in Provence,” will remember that what poses as quaint and quirky. quickly becomes expensive to bring to quality. Petra left nothing to chance and turned the old house into a elegant, dignified home that fit the community. The only thing that hinted of it’s previous life was a hole in the dining room which was covered by glass. When illuminated, you see down deep into the original well that supplied the home with water for centuries.

La Souqueto Cooking School in Mirepeisset, France, B&B,

La Souqueto Cooking School in Mirepeisset

We entered the centuries-old home from the side door and into the ultra-modern kitchen. Such a contrast from the Medieval village outdoors. We started the cooking class with a wee sip of sherry. My kind of school. As the first lesson on our “Simply French” menu, Petra taught us how to “cure” a duck breast by burying the breast completely in coarse salt and leaving it for 24 hours in the fridge. Here she is with the two breasts that have been dried carefully and resalted.

Petra Preparing Dried Duck Breast

Petra Preparing Dried Duck Breast

When ready, you sprinkle them with coarse black pepper. The duck breast becomes firm and dry. You slice it very thinly and add to your favourite salad recipe. It should last up to a week, if you don’t eat it all first.

"Cured" Duck Breast

“Cured” Duck Breast


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