Saturday, April 3, 2021

An Easter Feast


A Taste of France

Bonjour my dears! Lady Caroline Farnsworth at your service. I have news for Amberleigh. So exciting, One simply must share with my fellow villagers. Joseph Farnsworth (Viscount Comely), recently came back from a month long in Paris, and brought home an especially excessive gift – an accompaniment for my kitchens, a gesture so grande that I want you all to enjoy the pleasure of his company this Easter Sunday. So do read on, I have to tell, I simply must!

A genuine French chef, formerly of the lauded Court of Versailles – and trained under a celebrated royal chef. Our new man is Monsieur Anton Leopold de le Brechampe and was apprenticed as a young boy in the lower kitchen, chosen as he shared the same Christian name as his tutor. He spent twelve long and informative years learning his techniques of mastery. This young man is but a few weeks shy of one and twenty years, yet so accomplished with his craft. His utterances of mon dieux and c’est moi! can be heard all over the great kitchen at Comely Hall…which by his tone, is none too pleased with the ingredients he has to work with, I dare say. Ingredients are scarce at this season. But he is an amiable young man, and has endeared himself to the staff and us all in only a few short weeks of employment. Monsieur Anton was deeply saddened to leave his previous royal establishment, but times are changing so rapidly in Paris the change was a timely one. Yet he is greatly appreciative to be in service at the manor, as his singing can be heard as testament, floating out the mullioned windows into the kitchen garden from his vast benches, as he prepares his fancies. He invites one and all to call him simply Anton to make his embarrassment far less painful, as none of us can pronounce the rest of his name with sufficient grace (unless you are Madame d’Avignon or Miss Freyda Gildermann of course). Anton learned his craft exceedingly well indeed! We have been party to elaborate concoctions such as coqovan and vichyssoise and soup de celeriac. The taste magnificent, it is a pleasure to be spoiled at table.

As this weekend is the sobering rite of Easter, we have occasion to invite you all to dine at table in the Great Hall along with our family at Comely Manor this Sunday at 3 of the clock. Anton tells my cook Mrs Lambert, traditionally in his village on the border of Italy and France, they serve a special dish called Coscuiotto di Agnello con Patate. It consists of a generous roasted lamb and potatoes platter that he has added a spectacular gravy & a flourish of local fresh vegetables to suit his sensibilities. We shall also enjoy Mrs Lambert’s Simnel cake that is a local tradition she bakes for our family – but with the welcome input from Anton with a delicate twist to the usual flat top. Eleven balls of marzipan in a circle, representing the 12 apostles, they keep the fallen twelfth in kitchen for staff to sample the sombre occasion with respect. I like this gesture. Anton was most put out that he had not access to saffron to colour his marzipan yellow, and Mrs Lambert tells me, we must endure palid, bland and insipid almond paste! It sits on a cake of creamed honey and butter with eggs and flour and spiced dried plums as that is all that is available in the stores. I am sure we can all endure that sacrifice, with pleasure.

Simnel Cake lightly burnished with flame.

May you enjoy an happy Easter from “Welcome to Amberleigh”.

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