A Selection of Fruits

To have a balanced diet or metabolism one must eat some Fruits. I have yet to meet someone who disliked all Fruits. May be if shuch a person did exist, that precise individual is now extinct. For the precise reason that Fruits do provide a wide range of Vitamins, Nutriants and Minerals to our bodies to function properly.


One example are Citrus Fruits packed full of Vitamin C, like the Orange.

Oranges are so useful to give us a boost of Vitamin C. This probably why having a good glass of Orange Juice in the morning with one's Breakfast is almost an institution. 

There is also the good old expression that 'An Apple a day keeps the Doctor at bay'. The reason is because Fruits are good for you. Also Doctors in general recommand that we do have a healthy diet by eating the colour of the Rainbow. It is easily done with Fruits.


There are multiple Fruits out there for us to follow that advice fairly easily.

Let us start with Indigo or Purple: The Plum.

The Plum is deliciously sweet and juicy. Tucking into one is refreshing to say the least. I had the chance in one of the properties I lived in, to have a garden with a bountiful Plum tree which was a joy to watch Season by Season. I was making lots of Jams and Chutneys with the Plums. This method of preserving Fruits makes them last for an entire cold Season. It is handy but also comforting to have a nice Home Made Jam. When I left for my House I live in now, the fate of that tree was unfortunate because the Landlord although he did buy the house with that tree in the garden decided to cut it down to concrete the entire Garden over. To be honest with you what happened in that London Garden was a crying shame. The man had Crocus, Daffodils, Lily of the Valley, Raspberry, Strawberries and the Plum tree. I told him that it was a huge mistake what he wanted to do and he replied that the tree staid that long alive because I was making Jams with the Plums which his Mother did enjoy. But with me outside of that property, and as he was not inclined to do Jam for his Mother, the tree had to go and the garden to be a concrete patio all the way through for his Wife and his Mother to not pester him to mown the grass... Sometimes it is just a go figure out the sensitivity of one's logistic. 

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 I still do make my Plum and Cinnamon Jam at the end of every Summer.

Now we arrive at Blue: Blueberries. Of course I do like my Blueberries for I grow three varieties in my Garden. This was my Logistic to enjoy them by planting the cultivars Duke, Elliot and Bluecrop. I had all the flowers, year upon year, saw the Fruits growing year upon year, did let them to ripen on the bush year upon year and on the very day I knew they were ripe and ready to be collected I was always piped to the line by my Blackbird. He scooped it all at dawn so at ten in the morning I didn't even stand a chance to have my harvest of 'Bluebs'. Like me the bird was waiting patiently in his tree for the right/ripe moment, like me he knew the When.

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My Black Bird, I love hearing his early morning Sing Song. As we feed the Birds and as we know he likes Blueberries, he does get a special treatment when it is not the Blueberry Season, we are getting him his own little punnet of them with our shopping every week.

So although I do grow my Blueberries I give them to the Birds to enjoy and buy my own when needed. With Blueberries my temptaption is always to make my Home Made Blueberry Muffins. But the same is usually happening here, I get piped to the line by my Man, I am lucky if I get one or two Muffins from a batch I made.

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However one has to forgive her Man, when he was worried all night because of a Seizure I had the evening before my 45th Birthday. I spent the night in hospital. He brought me back home from hospital  around three-ish in the afternoon of my Birthday and I barely took my coat off when he came to my desk and presented to me my Birthday Cake: A Blueberry Muffin. He knew he couldn't cook but he also knew I couldn't eat lots that day, and he was desperately waiting for the call that I could go home again. He got the Blueberry Muffin on the way to get me. It was so tender and bespoke as a gesture that it brought tears to my eyes. 

So I made it back home for my Birthday to that sweet welcome. It is nice and comforting to know when someone knows you by heart. I must say that when I realised that my batches of Blueberry Muffins were always gone very fast, I decided to make Cake instead with Blueberries, less easily portable but still enjoyable for all...

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  Blueberry and Pear Upside Down Cake. A tea time treat usually very demanded in this House. One which I have time to enjoy as well as the others.

We will conclude here that as much as Blue is one of my favorite Colours so is the Blueberry one of my favourite Fruits. 

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Ripe Blueberries from my Garden.

Then if we follow the colour scheme of a good diet advised by Doctors, we come to Green and then I will say: Pear. Of all the Pears I do like the Conference one the most. When you eat one it feels like your teeth are sinking into sweet soft Butter. Pears are a versatile Fruit as per say. You can eat them just like that, add them in a Fruit Salad, Poach them to a delicious Dessert, add them to a Chutney, make beautiful Cakes with Pears and/ or Juice them up.

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 Conference Pears are ideal to cook with. However drizzle them with Lemon Juice for them to not loose their colour as you deal with them. Just a little tip.

From all of those methods above I tend to eat a juicy Pear just like that by preference. The Cake or Tart Tatin with Pears is a close second. Then I do like to finish a Dinner with Guests with a Poached Pear Dessert. It is a very classic one, yet which is decadently Chic however that leaves you with the freedom to interprete it the way you want: which Alcohol to use or Juice, which decoration or Spices to compliment that dessert... Which Texture to add for a bit of a bite. The little Crunch which says this is seriously good. (I am thinking Hazelnuts, Pistachios, chopped Pecan Nuts...)


Poached Pears with Greek Yogurt, Mint and chopped Pistachios.

For Yellow I will go straight to Banana. Soft, and full of Vitamins, I will share a little anecdote with you all. It happened during the time when I can't tell it for myself but it was told to me by my Mother, my Father and one of my Aunties. 

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When I was a year and a half I stopped eating suddenly. The Family Doctor called it a psychological trauma because my brother was born, so the other child aka 'Me' will not feel wanted any longer, hence deprives herself nutrition to allow more nutrition for the new child. Anyhow, for all his anthropological expertise he told my mum to try anything, mashed up into a purée and to see what I could eat and would not eat...

Nothing could be eaten by me but the humble Banana. The Doctor was happy by my choice and ruled that with Bananas if I can only eat that, I will stay alive. There were enough Vitamins in a Banana and all sorts of Nutrients to keep someone fit. It lasted two to three weeks until I returned to eating normally again. My Dad refered it that I was saved by a Banana. Strangely, ever since I am not very fond of Bananas. Let's just say it is not my favourite fruit. However I do cook with them very often.


Banana and Walnut Loaf Cake. I do another version of it with Chocolate, and a little Rum.

Passing to Orange, I will go to one of my favourite Fruits which is Apricots. My Paternal Grand Parents which I didn't see very often because we lived fairly far from them had a Garden. I would say it was a very wild affair with knee high ferns, grass snakes and brambles. But there were about three or four trees there. One was a Walnut tree, the other an Almond one, an Olive tree and last but not least an Apricot tree. I did relish on the Apricots...

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Apricots. They do grow more in South of France more than in the North, it has to be said.

With their velvety skin and a sweet firm but tender flesh, I was enamoured by that fruit from the get go. I like them just like that, I could eat an entire punnet on my own very happily. However their season is not very long, unfortunatly. To get my fix of Apricots the best thing to do was to make Jam. I love the traditional Apricot Jam with Almond Kernels within it.

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Home Made Apricot Jam with Almonds. This is my special treat. Tip: to have a glistening Glaze upon a Pastry, Cake or Tart,  mix a little Apricot Jam with a drop of Water, and brush it all over the Pastry, Cake or Tart you want to shine in the daylight.

For Red I will go straight to Strawberries. When I go in my Garden and see my first Strawberry flowers I do know that the warm days are on their way, right upon our doorsteps. We do grow a fair few varieties of Strawberries even a very small Wild one which is white called 'Snow White'. To be honest with you all we don't fuss about our Strawberries too much, we just eat them. A bit of Sugar, a bit of Cream and the Strawberry is gone...

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Wild Forest Strawberries from the Garden. I can tell you that as soon as we see one it is gone in the gob.

To finish off our Rainbow trip of the seven colours being eaten with just Fruits, some of my favourite Fruits, I will say find your own Palette, be the Artist of your personal Palate.

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Snow White Wild Forest Strawberries from the Garden. They do have a talking point appeal when we finish a Dinner upon a Dessert with them.

A Selection of Berries
Citrus Fruits
A Selection of Citrus Fruits.
Cored Fruits
A Selection of Cored Fruits.
Dried Fruits
A Selection of Dried Fruits
Pitted Fruits
A Selection of Pitted Fruits
A Selection of Grapes
A Selection of Melons
Tropical Fruits
A Selection of Tropical Fruits
Used as Fruits
A Selection of Plants and Vegetables used as Fruits

Dare I say that one of the first things I did learn to cook was a Fried Egg. My ones are always sunny side up. I also like them a little crispy around the edges to know that the white has been rendered properly. But the Eggs still need to have that exquisite runny yellow yolk at the centre to run free upon the plate. It is a little magical moment of bliss: A little like singing along to the song "My favourite things" from the Sound of Music Film with Julie Andrews.


The Breakfast Fry Up with fried Bread, Bacon and Eggs. It is simple yet fulfilling. It is the fuel to start the day or at least one's day. An Egg takes roughly four to five minutes to fry depending on its size, sometimes more, sometimes less.

There is one thing I will confess, which is, to like a Fried Egg with rough edges. When they are done within a ring or device so they do look neat, I think it kills the charm of the good old Egg coming from a proper Farm, from a Farm where the Chicken are roaming outdoors. My Grand Parents (RIP) lived most of their lives in Bourg en Bresse and there in the Bresse area of France the Chicken graze the grass, the green green grass, and you can taste the difference with the Chicken from a battery Chicken and from a Farm Egg from a battery Egg.


A Poulet de Bresse, de Bourg en Bresse, happy roaming in a field of clovers.

There are a variety of Eggs to be pan fried but being rather conventional I tend to stay in the realm of Chicken Eggs. However I venture very often in the kingdom of the rich Duck Egg with that bountiful dark yellow Yolk. If I do poach a Duck Egg more than I do fry it, I am still doing it often for the ratio between the white and the yolk. There is less white in a Duck Egg. The star there is truly and simply the luscious Yolk. A Duck Egg is full of proteins and different vitamins which is a plus. 


 Duck Eggs are of course larger than Hen's Eggs. 

If Duck Eggs may be harder to get because they are not the normal standard Egg, they are still worth the while to have and eat. The Fried Duck Egg add a touch of luxury upon an Easter Breakfast of Grilled Asparagus, and Shaved Truffles. Garnish with a little Chives, Black Pepper and Sea Salt as a finish then now we are talking simply of very simple lush Brunch.


Pan Fried Duck Egg upon Chips served with a good dollop of Lemon Mayonnaise, seasonned and garnished with chopped Parsley. This is a satisfying simple Lunch.

However I tried my hand to cook Quail Eggs as well. Sometimes it was successful and sometimes it was not. Is it that they are too small for my clumsy fingers...? Or is it that the matter of time is seriously reduced when cooking them? Hence you do need to keep an eye upon the clock and upon the Egg. This is a balancing act which one might crack: May it be the Quail Egg or you with a smile upon your face? But Fried Quail Eggs are quaint and definitely suitable to create Canapés and Appetizers.


Home Made Crostinis with Fried Quail Eggs topped with red Herrring Roe. It is simple and a rustic Canapé to be enjoyed.

They are plenty of ways to taste Fried Quail Eggs. I would say they are dainty but nice; that it is a taste the difference matter. Fried Quail Eggs can make a Bruschetta sing a little bit more for a nice Brunch or even Starter for Dinner time. With very little imagination, you can cover your Olive Oil oven toasted slice of Bread (Sourdough, Ciabatta or Baguette), with a Cream Cheese which is seasoned with added Ingredients of your choice (Chilli Flakes or a little pinch of Cayenne Pepper or a little Chive, or a little Dill, or a little shredded Basil, or a little chopped and roasted Garlic). On top of the whisked Cream Cheese, you can build a layer with a cured or smoked Ham (Prosciutto, Serrano, Parma Ham...even Bacon rashers). But you can also use Fish freshly cooked, smoked or cured. Then add your fried Quail Egg on top. This is an all so simple treat.


 Mini Pesto Pizza with mini Mozzarella Balls, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Fried Quail Eggs. It can make a nice Starter to an Italian theme Dinner.

Now there is something with most of Eggs you can do to fry them: It is the Scotch Egg. The recipe dates from a long time ago the 1800 plus so has evolved to be ever so different. The principle of it reside, in covering an Egg with Minced Meat then to bread the result in order to Fry it. Initially it was called the scortch Egg because it was fried but enclosed. However it became the Scotch Egg in the end. The history says that it was because Scotland was a big producer of Eggs. 


Scotch Eggs can be very dry but to have a runny yolk centre is part of the pleasure with them.

They can make a good Brunch or Lunch. Scotch Eggs are not as per say fanciful however you have a room to play there in term of cookery. Which Egg you are going to use? A Hen Egg, a large Duck Egg or a small Quail Egg...?

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Quail Scotch Eggs Salad. You can do it with Lambs Lettuce or Pea Shoots. Serve it with or without Pancetta or Lardons.  Decorate the plate with edible Flowers like Viola. A simple French dressing can accompany everything even some chopped woodland Mushrooms to give the feel of Autumn to the plate.

Then with which minced Meat you are going to wrap your Egg? A spiced Mince most certainly, it could be Sausage Meat, Lamb Mince, Beef Mince, Turkey Mince but it can also be from a Fish as well like a Smoked Salmon or Trout.

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Salmon Mousse Scotch Quail Eggs served with pickled Radishes, Lamb Lettuce and Tartare Sauce.

It can be with Black Pudding, or the stuffing for Haggis... There you have the tools to make your Scotch Egg special. Seasoning the Breadcrumbs also does play a part in the entire making of a Scotch Egg. The result of your combinations usually makes a satisfying Lunch or Starter.

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 Black Pudding Scotch Eggs on a bed of peppery Rocket Salad dressed with a grain Mustard Vinaigrette: A Lunch that is packing a punch on a plate.

Speaking of Eggs there is of course the Eggy Bread. It is also called French Toast, French Fried Bread, Pain Perdu, Gypsy Bread. The concept comes from an old tradition to not loose Bread at any cost. Even if the Bread becomes old and stale, you can revive it with a source of life which is the Egg and another Ingredient which nurtures life which is Milk. Hence the Eggy Bread was born. Then it can become a Dish in itself or a base for either Savoury Dishes or Sweet Ones.


Eggy Bread Toasts. The principle relies on mixing Eggs and Milk together in order to revive the Bread. Soaking the Bread, usually overnight (in the old days) then Frying it made it all better.

You can turn the Eggy Bread savoury for a full Brunch experience, like with a Croque Monsieur with Ham and Cheese or a Croque Madame with the addition of the Fried Egg. The Croque Monsieur is in effect a Sandwich but a Fried one. It is a bang bang two slices of fried Bread, enclosing a decent slice of Ham and a Cheese with quality of the like of Gruyére or Emmental or Comté Cheese. A Mustard Sauce is usually applied to perk up everything. It could be Dijon Mustard whisked up with a little Mayo. But the result is licking fingers delish... The history of the Croque Monsieur dates from the 1800's. 

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The Croque Monsieur in all its glorious lushness. Before becoming a Bistro or Gastro Pub Treat, it was seen, regarded as a Gentleman's Club Treat.

From the Croque Monsieur to the Croque Madame there are only a few differences. The main one is the addition of the fried Egg on the Croque Madame. The Egg is meant to represent a Lady's wide brimmed hat. Another difference is that the Sauce Béchamel which can be used for the Croque Monsieur can be élévated to the Sauce Mornay for the Croque Madame. The little stamp is the inclusion of Cheese within the Sauce. The Sauce was créated by Philippe de Mornay who also créated the Sauce Béchamel back in the 1500's.

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 Croque Madame. Croque in French means to actually bite into something that has a crunch: Hence Fried Eggy Bread with a difference. 

Then you do have the Croque Mademoiselle: it is an evolution or a variation as per say of the original Croque Monsieur juste like the Croque Madame is a variation as well. This time the main difference is the inclusion of Vegetables within the 'Croque'. It can be totally vegetarian or a bit of a mix. It could be made with the essential Eggy Bread slices but also with sandwiched in between Asparagus, Parma Ham and Parmesan. It could be made with fried Courgettes, melted Mozzarella, Oregano and Espelette Chilli. It is up to the inspiration of the moment. The Croque Mademoiselle is a volatile fried Sandwich. To be blunt it is up to anyone's interpretation apart that it does need to contain a green Veg: Cucumber, Zucchini, Asparagus... For it is the Veg option out of all the Croques.

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Croque Mademoiselle with layers of fried Aubergines, Courgettes, roasted Red Sweet Bell Pepped, Cottage Cheese served with a fried Egg on top just like a Croque Madame. It had a Med Feel to it.

French Toast are not all savoury for some are sweet as well. Different combinations are there to be appreciated. A favourite one is served with fresh Berries: Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries... but also with a Jam or Preserve or Compote which could be made with Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Blueberries and the Eggy Bread will be accompanied with Custard. It is a yummy number.

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Eggy Bread with Berries. It can be a small tea time treat but it is still special. Another version is made with dried Apricot and fresh ones, (It could be done with Nectarines and Peaches too). The addition of Apricot Jam traditionally done with Almond kernels renders everything lush. Toasted Almonds can add to the decoration in that case.

Similarly Bruschetta is a toasted slice of Bread usually it will be made with Pain de Campagne, Sourdough Bread, Ciabatta or Baguette as a base. The slice will be rubed with Garlic but also dipped in Olive Oil. Then it can be fried within a frying Pan or grilled. The toppings of the Bruschetta are up to you. The traditional ones are with chopped Tomatoes. But additional Ingredients can be added like Basil and, or Organo for Herbs, Capers and, or Olives for a little saltiness, even Anchovies could be considered. Chopped Preseved Lemon could be considered as well. Another combination is the chopped Tomatoes, chopped roasted Sweet Bell Peppers, crispy Shallots with the addition of Mozzarella Pearls or even a little slice or cubed Goat Cheese. 


Tomato and Sweet Red Bell Pepper Bruschetta with Basil and a little grated Parmesan. It can be a simple Brunch, an Appetizer or a Starter/Entrée. The addition of Kalamata Olives, or Olives stuffed with Anchovies can bring this Bruschetta to another level.

Concerning Dough you do have plenty which we do Fry which are sweet. During my childhood one of my favourites treats were the Croustillons. They came by 6, the dozen or 24. It was just little balls of Dough fried then sugared. They were ever so nice. We could have them and share between us three kids only on the Thursday and Saturday at the Market in Cherbourg. I can tell you that we were looking out for that Van and the Croustillons. They are from Northern Europe especially the coastal areas, from Holland, Belgium and France. 


Croustillons are like mini Donuts.

Then there is of course the Doughnut also spelled Donut. It feels like Homer Simpson dreaming of Donuts. I must confess to be partial to Sugared Ring Doughnuts. Although I am not a sweet tooth Fried Dough does it for me. For Tyn he loves his Jam Doughnuts. The matter of fact is that Doughnuts are versatile as per say as you can top them up the way you want to but also fill them up the way you like.


Sugared Ring Doughnuts. One Treat I can't escape from.

In France, a similar Fried Dough is called Beignet. They come in different shapes filled up or not. A Popular one is the Apple Beignet: Le Beignet aux Pommes. My Mum used to do them usually on the Saturday afternoon. It was a treat especially since Oil was expensive, it was important to do the most of it. Hence Fritters (Beignets) were the way to go. Beignets (Fritters) are dipped in French culture and the Italian one but also in the USA, from Louisiana (which was colonised by the French back in the days). It goes with the flow. 

The fillings for Beignets or Fritters are rather varied. Apple is a very popular one coming from areas in France who produces a lot of Apples like Normandy. Pineapple Fritters have their origins from Asian countries like Indonesia (Indochina). French colonists can be blamed for it as well. Then in the Créole Cuisine there are the Banana or, and Plantain Beignets/Fritters.