Minestrone à ma façon
Minestrone in a sweet dessert? Why not?
L’apéritif is a well observed, celebrated time in the French cultural life. We love our apéritif. You are often invited to people’s house to share a drink with amuse-bouches and hors d’oeuvres before a meal, lunch or dinner, and this is commonly referred to “prendre l’apéritif“. Or short l’apéro (in case you heard this word and had no clue what it was).
-Venez prendre l’apéro avec nous! (Come to our house to have a drink)
-Avec plaisir (We would love to)
And so French people spent hours à prendre l’apéro, at people’s house or commonly in bistros , PMU, or bars. In my home village, le bistro was always full of its regular customers who came every day to have their apéro (in France, bistros are places where people drink. Sometimes there is food, but the point is to go to the bistro to have a drink). If you happen to be in the South of France where the sun always shines (because it does, doesn’t it?) you can envision lots of cute and quaint villages where locals take l’apéro en jouant à la pétanque (les boules), outside on the place du village (village square). I would actually be curious to know if anyone has ever run statistics as to finding out how much time is spent à prendre l’apéro. After all, nowadays, there are statistics about any possible thing. I do know that in my family, l’apéro is quite a well-observed time and I have seen many people come to our house for that sole purpose.
Now of course, the word apéritif exists in the English language, and I am certainly not teaching you anything here, as you already knew what it was I am sure.
So what is the point you are thinking?
Did you know Lillet?
If so, do you, like me, love Lillet?
Some people say that it is a girl’s drink, and the truth is that I am a girl and I am very fond of it! So they might be right. But maybe not. And it does not make any difference because I think that, in case you do not know the drink, you should definitely try it.
Lillet is an apéritif from Bordeaux, which exists in two flavours.
White Lillet = golden colour, shimmery, floral nose, honey, candied orange, pine resin, lime, fresh mint, distinct taste, generous, intense, aromatic long.
Red Lillet = ruby colour, raspberry nose, blackberry, cherry, vanilla, cinnamom, cardamom, ginger, powerful palate, aromatic, solid.
I particularly like the white one, as opposed to the red. Served chilled, on the rocks with a slice of lemon or orange, some people also drink it with ginger and fresh mint.
To participate in the Sugar High Friday event organized by Lick the Spoon, I decided to make a dessert using Lillet.
Very fresh and simple, just seasonal for the coming days. I found the recipe in Cuisine et Vins de France, and was very pleased with it.
(for 4 people)
- 600 g strawberries
- 50 cl Lillet
- 250 g fresh ricotta
- 20 cl cold heavy whipping cream
- 6 cardamom pods
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- A few basil or mint leaves
- Crush the cardamom pods and put them in a pot with the Lillet.
- Bring to a boil and then immediately remove from the heat.
- Cover and let infuse for 15 mns.
- Remove the pods by filtering the syrup and let cool down.
- Wash the strawberries and slice them.
- Whip the cream until you have chantilly (add the sugar just before it gets firm).
- Add the essence of vanilla.
- Carefully fold in the ricotta cheese.
- Place in the fridge until ready to use.
- Take bowls and split the strawberries between the servings.
- Pour some cold Lillet syrup around.
- Then in the middle, add a spoon of cream/ricotta (use two spoons or an ice-cream spoon to make a nice oval shape).
- Add basil or mint leaves and serve.