Touches of spring, glimpses of fine dining

One of the surest signs of spring’s arrival is the sudden profusion of tulips — my favourite flower. They have been showing up all over, not just in nurseries and florist shops but also as cut flowers in supermarkets.

Recently Jan bought these beauties at Daglan’s own convenience store, which will always be known to us at the 8 à Huit (despite being renamed with the simply awful Proxi). And to brighten your day, here’s a look at the collection on our dining table:

Bursts of colour on our dining table.

On an un-related but equally pleasant note, we have been able to start indulging in the fine dining that we love so much. Yesterday it was lunch at the much-heralded O Moulin (certainly much-heralded by me), in the nearby village of Carsac. My companion yesterday was our good friend Joanne, as Jan was feeling a bit under the weather. And here are some glimpses of the artistry that the chef at O Moulin brings to his food.

First of all, we were served a tray of small amuses bouche. There were small pastry cups filled with a mousse of foie gras, and thin slices of toast that were topped with a stripe of puréed red peppers, among others. Then came this interesting presentation, a nest of cones flavoured by beets and filled with a sweet confit of red onions at the base, and topped with a mousse of goat cheese:

Crunchy cones, with creamy fillings.

For some reason I neglected to photograph my plat principal, a pavé of salmon that was roasted and then served on a small bed of cabbage that had been cooked with smoked lard, plus tender baby carrots, and a Noilly Prat sauce. Trust me: It looked and tasted great.

I did photograph the entrée that both Joanne and I chose: Something called a Baluchon d’oeuf poché à la pancetta, crème de comté affiné12 mois. My translation would be something like “A package of poached egg with tiny shreds of pancetta and a creamy sauce of 12-month old Comté cheese.” Of course the egg was soft-boiled, so that the yellow yolk flowed out as a delicious sauce when you cut into it. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how the tiny bits of pancetta were incorporated into the outer layer of the egg — but I was glad they were there. The whole dish was delicious:

A savoury, creamy start to our lunch.

We closed out the lunch with different desserts — Joanne having chosen the profiteroles, while I had the cheesecake with a déclinaison of pear. The individual cheesecake (at the left in this photo) was lightly coated with an icing; the cylinder in the centre was the pear; and the quenelle on the right was made of a delicious vanilla ice cream:

A study in creamy colours.

We each had a kir to begin, shared a bottle of Sancerre with the meal, and had coffees afterwards. The total cost per person was 65 euros, which I think was more than fair for such a delicious meal in such a pleasant environment.

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