It happened on a Tuesday when Lulu was at home with me. It was sunny in a way that made you know Spring was coming and the best thing to do was to be outside. To see nature. To feel connected with it. I wanted this in view of the recent world events. I knew I was in need of it. I knew, too, that Lulu would love it. For her own reasons. Those simple ones of a two-year old who wants to play.
“Tu veux aller à la ferme ?” (Do you want to go to the farm?) I asked her when it became clear that she was not going to go down for her usual afternoon nap. She’s skilfully learned to fight her naps–regretfully–whenever she stays at home with me.
“Moutons, poules !” (Sheep, chicken!) she exclaimed in an enthusiastic voice.
I looked at her, surprised.
Where had she learned that? I wondered. We had not seen sheep and chicken for a while. Maybe the last time was when we traveled to Belle-Ile en mer? Could she have remembered?
She walked to the end of the family room, picked up her toy phone and started to talk cheerfully. The conversation was with her friends: she was telling each one of them individually where she was going to go.
It felt warming to hear her sound happy and innocent in this simple manner.
And so, off to the farm we went.
The afternoon and the time we spent at Drumlin farm, a short 15 minute drive from our house, felt just like that.
I felt lucky to be there with Lulu. We like being at the farm.
We strolled slowly, taking our time to appreciate the quietness and tranquility of the place. The ground was starting to show new grass between patches of snow. Soon, it would all melt away. Finally.
At this time of year, we were able to see baby goats. Soon, baby sheep and piglets will be born as well. I’ve promised Lulu that we’ll come back for that.
“Les poules maman !” she exclaimed again as she pulled me by the hand. She’d realized she liked the sheep we saw when we first arrived, but not from too close.
Of course, chicken would feel more manageable. More to her size.
I wanted to buy fresh eggs but the lady at the entrance told me that I was coming too late and they were out them.
“On achète des pommes de terre à la place ?” I asked Lulu when I spotted a basket full of potatoes on a shelf.
I bought 3 pounds.
But still, I was thinking about eggs. At home, we love eating eggs and we eat a lot of them. Then I remembered about the box of quail eggs I had in the fridge, a snack that Lulu has been enjoying at daycare.
Oeufs en cocotte ! (Baked eggs) I went on thinking.
The truth is that over the last week, I’ve been playing with nice recipe ideas to prepare baked eggs. This one uses quail eggs cooked on a bed of sauteed leek and julienned zucchini, smoked salmon and crème fraiche. It’s simple. It’s earthy.
“You can’t go wrong with any dish that has leeks and quail eggs in it,” P. said after eating the first bite.
He was right. We both feel this way.
About this recipe too: a cute and healthy appetizer to start dinner, whether dressed up or casual.
Tasty and comforting both ways.
And by the way, a very happy St Patrick’s day to my Irish friends & family!
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small zucchini, julienned finely
- 1 small leek, white part only, chopped finely
- Sea salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons crème fraiche
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 3 small slices of smoked salmon, finely diced
- 6 quail eggs
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and have a shallow baking dish ready with 6 ramekins in it.
- In a frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add the leek and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Sweat for 4 minutes, without browning.
- Coat the bottom of each ramekin with 1 teaspoon of crème fraiche.
- Divide the mixture of leek and zucchini between them and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Top with the smoked salmon.
- Break one quail egg carefully in each ramekin and add 1 teaspoon crème fraiche around the yolk. Season with salt and pepper.
- Fill the large baking dish with water, half way to the top of the side of the ramekins, and bake the oeufs cocottes for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the egg white is set but the egg yolk stays runny. Serve them with mouillettes (small sticks of bread) on the side.
- 15 g de beurre non salé
- 1 petite courgette, coupée en julienne
- 1 petit poireau, partie blanche, émincé finement
- Selt de mer et poivre
- 4 càs de crème fraiche
- 1 càs d’estragon haché
- 1 càs de persil haché
- 3 petites tranches de saumon fumé, coupées en dés
- 6 oeufs de caille
- Préchauffez le four à 200 C et disposez 6 ramequins dans un plat allant au four.
- Dans une poêle, faites fondre le beurre. Ajoutez le poireau et la courgette. Salez et poivrez et faites suer pendant 4 minutes.
- Mettez 1 càc de crème fraiche dans chaque ramequin.
- Arrangez la préparation aux poireau/courgette et ajoutez les herbes fraiches. Ajoutez les dés de saumon.
- Cassez délicatement un oeuf dans chaque ramequin et ajoutez 1 càc de crème fraiche autour du jaune. Salez et poivrez.
- Faites cuire les oeufs en cocotte au bain marie au four pendant 10 à 12 minutes, jusqu’à ce que le blanc soit pris mais le jaune reste coulant. Servez les oeufs en cocotte avec des mouillettes.