La Fête du Citron à Menton or another Carnival on the French Riviera

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Fête du Citron in Menton is using Dragons and other Chinese symbols for its floats and sculptures.
The official title this year is “Tribulations of a Lemon in China” in hommage to Jules Verne.
It is said that this Fête is competing with the Nice Carnival, which takes place during the same period. Should they really be compared as Nice is all about people in costume, flowers and mimosa in particular and Menton is all about lemons and citrus fruit ? The colour yellow is predominant and with bright sunshine augurs Spring and brings the warmth of the Mediterranean after Winter months.
Over 300 professionals help prepare this unique event which uses over 140 tons of citrus fruit.
No one really mentions what happens to all these citrus fruit when the festival is over. It would be such a shame to waste them.

So, why are those lemons so famous?
After all, lemons also grow nicely in Spain, Sicily, Corsica.
The lemons from Menton possess unique qualities which make them the favourite of the best chefs in the region but they are also found in many specialities, savoury or sweet.
This year, for Valentine Day, little lemon and raspberry heart-shaped macarons made their appearance to the delight of many macarons gourmets.
Carpaccio of crevettes, lemon curds, marmalades, sorbets with limoncello, lemonades, candied peel in chocolate, biscuits with lemon are to be consumed without moderation.

Let’s do a Carpaccio of Crevettes, an easy dish for sea food lovers.

A carpaccio of fish, shellfish or meat means that the flesh is served raw but preserved in a marinade which makes it very tender and preserves it.
If you do not like the thought of this, you can panfry quickly the crevettes in a little olive oil, without having kept them in the marinade.
Use the lemon juice to sprinkle the cooked crevettes just before serving.

Serves 4:

20 crevettes, shelled
Juice of 3 lemons
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
A handful of flat leaf parsley, rinsed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon of ginger, peeled and grated
Cayenne pepper

1. Open the crevettes and remove the black intestine with the point of a knife.
2. Place the crevettes in a shallow dish and cover with the marinade of lemon juice, garlic and ginger.
3. Sprinkle with pepper and parsley and place in the fridge until you want to eat them.


Salade Exotique or Hit Your 5-a-Day in One Dish

It is February and the days are still very cold. What could be better than an exotic salad to escape from Winter?
So, here is a simple and warming salad. If it sounds odd to say it is warming and not cooling it is because of the chillies which flavour the olive oil and of the ginger in the marinade.
The added bonus of this salad is that you can easily reach the target of 5-a-Day in one swoop.
It is not only tasty, it is also pleasing to the eye.
The mixed flavours are sufficient by themselves and I do not use any salt or pepper but this seasoning can be added, if you wish.

First, try to find some green mangoes. If you only find the other variety, choose them not too ripe.
Then some ripe papayas and avocadoes.
Tip: A day or 2 before making the salad, put 6 or 7 chillies in a litre of olive oil.
This preparation will be useful for other dishes either to drizzle or to make a dressing.

Serves 6:

2 ripe papayas
2 green mangoes
2 ripe avocadoes
Juice of 3 limes
Some fresh ginger, peeled and grated *
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 large gherkins, cut into tiny pieces
A handful of coriander leaves, rinsed and finely chopped

1. In a large salad bowl prepare a marinade with the lime juice, the grated ginger, the gherkins,the crushed garlic and the chopped coriander.
2. Peel the avocadoes and cut the flesh into cubes. Toss into the marinade.
3. Do the same with the papayas and the mangoes.
4. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss delicately.
5. Place the salad in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Serve with accras ( see previous post) or any cold meat.

Bon Appétit!

Tip: The easiest way to peel ginger is to use a spoon and scrape the skin with the edge of the spoon.