Rabbit with prunes and cider  

Rabbit is relatively lean meat and not expensive. The animals multiply fast and a lot because they have many natural enemies and feature on the menu of various wild animals and birds of prey.

Man has also been catching rabbit for centuries. It easily falls prey to traps and can be blinded with strong lights, and many poor peasant people have eaten rabbit and made recipes with the animal.

The domestication is relatively recent. Rabbits were raised in cages for food and their fur. In France, the “lapin de Garenne” is the main race and the name refers to the wild rabbit running in the fields. Lapin de Clapier is a domestically raised rabbit (clapier is the name of the cage) while most rabbits are now raised in large quantities on industrialised farms.

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Veal kidneys with pasta and cauliflower

I must confess that this dish came together because what I had left in the refrigerator when we wanted to have veal kidney. There was still half a cooked cauliflower waiting for use.

The rognons are popular in France. In the Netherlands, most people would not think about eating it. In England, the kidneys of the adult cows enter in the steak and kidney pie.

The first time I ate kidney it was as a kind of test by my then new boss in France in a restaurant. There I was served a whole kidney with some mustard sauce and I not only passed the test but also started to like it.

Cut-up kidney is easier for frying, what I did with the following dish.

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Spaghetti, clams, coriander and soy paste

I usually stick to one style or one cuisine when I make or change dishes but here the Italian and Japanese traditions where so close that I could not resist to mix and match. So instead of using white wine, olive oil and parsley for spaghetti alle vongole, I used a soybean paste, coriander and some seaweed powder. The result was excellent.

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Fried smelt

I love fried small fish. We often go to a restaurant on the Dordogne river that serves “friture de poisson” and they are great.

Just small river fish and garlic in hot oil.

Civelles is also very nice but I tend to avoid that dish as the small eels will never get big and eels risk to become extinct.
Small fish like smelt, éperlan, never gets bigger than 15 cm, but their catch is regulated too.

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Red Mullet fillets

On the French markets you can find two kinds of reddish fish that look similar apart from their size – the grondin or red gurnard and the rouget barbet or red mullet. The rouget is a small rock fish and is used in Mediterranean fish soups.
With the rising sea temperatures it is also caught in the North Sea.
It has a central bone and is easy to fillet, as long as you take care of the scales.
The reddish pigment in the skin makes that the fish turn brightly coloured in the pan, like shrimp or lobster.
Here I put a little bit of olive oil in a skillet, added some sliced garlic and fried for a minute. Then I added the fillets, cooked for a minute, turned, cooked for another minute and then added some lemon juice and pepper. Serve quickly.

Because food is more than fuel for the body

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