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Well a Happy New Year to all our readers. I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas, I know we did and it was lovely to spend it with friends and family.

We haven’t been very active with our “Globe Trotting” of late, due to December and the Christmas season. However, today we begin our travels again, and for now most or all of our meals are going to be a healthier option as we have a wedding this year to get trim for. Not only myself and Ian but the bride and groom also wish to loose some weight.

France is where our finger landed today so heading West from our last destination we travel back to Europe and one of my favourite countries.

Officially The French Republic, France is a Sovereign State, which encompasses an area in Western Europe and many overseas areas. The part of France in Europe is known as  Metropolitan France and spreads from the Mediterranean to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. France is approximately 640,000 square km and is a population around 67 million. Its capital is Paris and is its largest city and chief commercial and cultural centre.

During the Iron Age, what is now Metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. In 51 BC the Gauls were conquered by the Roman Empire and were held until 486. The Gallo-Romans confronted migration and raids from the Germanic Franks, who controlled the area for hundreds of years, which eventually created eventually the medieval Kingdom of France. In the Late Middle Ages France arose as a major European Power, which included the victory in the Hundred Years’ War (1337 to 1453). There was a huge national development during the Renaissance which saw the start of a global colonial empire then religious civil wars between Catholics and Protestants controlled the 16th century. Under the rule of Louis XIV France became Europe’s leader in political, cultural and military power. France saw the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century and at the back end of the century the monarchy was defeated in the French Revolution… Further reading can be found here

Throughout France’s long history she has been one of the foremost world centres of culture, making considerable contributions to philosophy, art and science. France receives around 84 million tourists on an annual basis, which is apparently more than any other country in the world. it also boasts the 6th largest economy and according to “Credit Suisse” she is the 4th wealthiest nation in the world in relation to collective household wealth. A high standard of living is very much enjoyed by the French and the country also presents well in education, life expectancy,health care,human development and civil liberties.

The French love food and cooking and combines traditions and practices of France. Le Viandier  was one of the earliest recipe collections dating back to medieval France and authored by Guillaume Tirel a court chef known as “Taillevent.”The 17th century saw French cuisine, very, very influenced by Italian cuisine and chefs François Pierre La Varenne and Marie-Antoine Carême fronted movements that saw the shift that French cooking needed and was guided away from its foreign influences and from then on in saw France develop its own native style. For more information please continue reading here

France has many fabulous dishes and we could have picked one of so many. It is only Monday evening though and something simple needed to be prepared and cooked and also the fact we were trying to be healthy and shed a few lbs needed to be considered… Our book shelves are full of cookery books and many low fat or healthy eating, but I already had a low fat version of this recipe that in itself looked simple and also tasty. Chicken Chasseur… Sauce Chasseur can be called and can be known as “Hunter’s sauce” and it is a simple  brown sauce used in French cuisine. It often includes mushrooms and shallots. It may also include tomatoes and a finishing of fine herbs.  The name comes from the French word for “hunter“, referring to the traditional pairings with venison, rabbit, wild fowl, and other game meats. Traditionally, while returning from the hunt, the hunters would pick the mushrooms that they would subsequently use within their dishes. Chasseur is believed to have been invented by Philippe de Mornay, who is also credited with inventing Mornay sauce, Béchamel, sauce Lyonnaise, and sauce Porto. 

Mushrooms, onions, carrots and I use one half of a double pack of lardons, that can be found in the supermarkets. This is around 86gm and shared between the recipe is negligible, in my opinion,of fat..

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Chicken breasts are fried until browned on both sides,using a low fat oil spray, adding lardons and frying until cooked through. On this occasion I left the chicken breast whole, as this was for 8 people, but if you prefer you can chop them into large chunks. The smell of the chicken was beautiful and very mouthwatering…

Once you are happy that the chicken breasts are cooked through add them to an oven proof casserole dish.  Sauté onions and garlic in frying pan for 3-4 minutes until softened then add to the casserole with mushrooms, carrot, tomatoes, tomato puree and parsley.

Pour the stock into the frying pan and bubble it up, stirring to absorb pan juices. Add to casserole and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven and cook for around an hour until chicken is cooked through, stir half way through to allow the other ingredients to be mixed through…

Unfortunately the finished dish reached the table and the smell was wonderful we forgot to take a picture of the finished dish. I am sure most of you have had a chicken chasseur at sometime and know what it is meant to look like, but if you wish try this low fat version to kick off your New Year fitness regime…

I served this with croquette potato and a selection of vegetables. My daughter in law to be and myself opted to just have vegetables and we were full and needed nothing else….If you are calorie counting the approximate calories, I worked out from the WWW is approximately 402Kcal. It could be lessened by leaving out the lardons, but I feel they add flavour.  My daughter in law to be is going to Slimming world and was happy with the contents of this dish and all ingredients were on her free list appart from the lardons. I have used weight watchers in the past and have worked this out to be be 3 points….

Family Verdict: Lovely family meal and very tasty. Chicken flavoursome and great for a Monday evening.

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