We thought we would start introducing you all to dishes associated with specific regions in France. Historically, Picardy stretched from north of Noyon to Calais, via the whole of the Somme department and the north of the Aisne department. The province of Artois (Arras area) separated Picardy from French Flanders. The departement was named Picardy after the Frankish tribe of picards or pike-bearers, but the name was not used until the 12th or 13th century. During this time, the name applied to all lands where the Picard language was spoken, which included all the territories from Paris to the Netherlands. Today, the modern region of Picardy no longer includes the coastline from Berck to Calais, via Boulogne (Boulonais), that is now in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, but does incorporate the pays of Beauvaisis, Valois, Noyonnais, Laonnois, Soissonnais and Omois. So Picardy stretches from the long, sandy beaches of the Somme estuary in the west to the vast forests of the Thiérache in the east and down to the chateaux of Chantilly or Pierrefonds near the Paris Area and the vineyards of Champagne (Champagne picarde) to the south.
Flamiche or flamique is a specialty of Picardy in the north of France. It is a puff pastry tart made with leeks and cream and a brioche type dough for the pastry case. It is considered the Picardy equivalent of a Quiche Lorraine. It is also a speciality of Dinant and of Walloon cuisine, a tart made from a base of low-fat cheese (boulette de Romedenne) butter and eggs, is eaten hot and traditionally accompanied by Savigny, a Burgundy wine. In a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, a grand flamiche eating tournament is held every year in Dinant on the first Saturday in September. The tournament has been kept alive by the brotherhood of the Quarteniers of the Dinant Flamiche, which was created in 1955 to uphold traditions of the region. Today, we are making our flamiche with a shortcrust pastry.
- 300g short crust pastry
- 4 large leeks, cut into chunks
- 2 large eggs
- 1 glass of full cream milk
- 200 ml of Double cream
- 50g butter
- A large pinch of salt
- A large pinch of freshly milled black pepper
- A glug of oil
- Slice the leeks in chunky slices
- Cook them in butter and a splash of olive oil
- Preheat oven 210c/.gas mark 7
- Roll out the pastry into a pie dish, pour over the leeks.
- Beat the eggs, milk, cream, salt and pepper. Cover the leeks with the milk and cream
- Bake for 35 min.
- Serve with salad
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