BOUSSAC – A gentle place, where time stands still
What is it about Boussac? … I have asked myself and others this question so often. Boussac is a small market town in the Creuse – a rural Department slap bang in the middle of France. It is a town that is difficult to get to. There are numerous ways to get here, by train and plane, but there is always a drive involved and it does become tedious! We have been wondering whether the TGV will, in fact, be routed nearby as was once suggested… Of course, this also ensures that Boussac remains in some sort of time warp as tourists seldom choose Boussac as their destination.
We have loved our quiet holidays here and this time was no exception. I love to cook when I am in France. There are the markets where locally grown fresh produce is beautifully displayed in colourful wooden crates. I love Thursdays in Boussac when the markets come to town. I normally sling the basket over my shoulder and take the short walk up to the square where the hustle and bustle of the stalls going up begins at 6.00 in the morning.
My first stop is usually the mobile Poulet Roti van where I buy a farm reared, roasted chicken or poulet fermier. There is usually a queue and it is always good to get there early! Predictably, Thursday lunch is cold chicken and a salad!
Poulet au Pot, seen below, is one of my favourite things to cook in Boussac as the chickens in France are so delicious, always tasting like ‘old-fashioned’ chickens! This dish is so easy to prepare, so hearty and comforting on a chilly evening.
This year, we arrived in Boussac just in time to catch the last of the white asparagus season. I adore the subtle flavour of these ivory spears. The photo below was taken just before I cooked them. I usually add the white spears to a salad or alternatively, serve them with lashings of butter and lemon juice!
Although I love cooking in France, I also like to prepare dishes that are easy and summery. Loads of roasted capsicum, grilled zucchini, green salads, gently saute’ed fennel and new potatoes, always accompanied by plenty of fresh herbs. Duck breasts, cooked on the BBQ, beef fillets, veal cutlets and fresh fish are our favourites.
The warm sunlit evenings means eating in the garden which is such a pleasure. We have an old Tulip tree sitting in the middle of the parterre garden and the table beneath is in the shade all day.