Sweet pepper and scallop amuse bouche and cloches(bells).

Sometimes things can be so beautiful, they become without purpose.  Their beauty makes them too fragile, too precious. Think of a Fabergé egg. Beautiful, obscenely expensive and without any purpose. Empty…. Oïe..I’m busy shooting myself in the foot here…being an aritist and optimistically hoping my art would be “beautiful” enough to offer nothing else but the sole purpose of bringing pleasure to the world…!

Suggestions:

  • Use a green sweet pepper instead of the green chili for a milder taste, or use strondger chilis for more bite.
  • Peeled tomato can be added.
  • Replace the scallops with mussels or shrimp for variety.
  • To eat as a starter, use the bigger bay scallops.
  • Dry the scallops thoroughly and sauté very quick over high heat to prevent them from becoming rubbery.
  • the preparations can be done earlier and kept covered and cool until just before serving.
  • Assemble just before serving and serve  at room temperature or slightly warmer if preferred.
  • Finish off with dry raosted nuts or seeds like sunflower or pine nuts or pistachios.

Cloches(bells) don’t fall in this aesthetically pleasing but useless category. They are gorgeous in their appearance as well as in their use. They can bring an enchantment to a simple corner, and they add the same magic to a dinner table. Food under a cloche draws you in, makes you bend down and peek closer, stare around and beyond the reflections, wondering about the smell and taste, wanting to touch what is inside the glass cage.

Showing up in trendy styles ands shapes , we can have our cloches throughout the year. In spring, while taking a break from planting herbs, we can unveil an array of cheese and charcuterie(cold meats) olives, tomatoes, whatever you feel like, and sit out, seeking out the shy sun.

Or maybe on a summers day, stretch out in the shade of the old oak tree, hiding from the mischievous sun and indulge in what hides under a  rattan cloche; fruit, juices, a sorbet… And winters find our cloches surrounded by romantic candlelight..

In the garden, cloches have been around forever. They bestow the garden with interest and old worlde  charm while at the same time fulfilling its obligation in protecting young seedlings from the elements.

Small cloches for small still lives in small corners, not forgetting a wire cloche, which can travel from the kitchen to the sitting room to the garden.

A cake cloche, awaiting a platter of  sweetness accompanying teatime, a gouter, as we so aptly call it in french, but in the meantime it is showing off its company of old plates on an old dresser. Hopefully, the gouter might find its place on the weekend…

Use small cloches to serve an amuse bouche at the dinner table, all ready and greeting your guests as they arrive at the table. It is something I always do. A small amuse bouche on each plate. When the guests seat themselves, their eyes are fixed on the little “gift” in front of them. It heightens the expectation and  starts off the dinner on an exciting note.

You don’t need expensive or antique silver cloches to bring a note of style and festivity to your table. Just by looking around your house, you will find many things which can serve as a little cloche.

Little glass bowls, fish bowls, empty yoghurt glass container, wide rimmed glasses turned upside down, flower pots, vases, candle holders… turn them upside down and place a fake “knob” on the top, using a cherry tomato, nuts, fave bean, broccoli flower, radish, crab apple, strawberry, flowers, empty snail shells, sea shells, decorative sugars, sugar cubes, pebbles(with each guest’s name on), steal your son’s marbles for the day… Play around with some self made cloches and bring a bit of fun and tongue-in-cheek elegance to your table!

To clean your inside plant leaves, especially the smooth and shiny ones which accumulate dust and grime  easily, use a cloth soaked in beer  to give them shine.

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15 responses

  1. Ronell….I loved this post! I am going out in a while to look for a lovely cake cloche! I a so inspired now…hmmm…I will first take a trip around my house to see what I can find to serve as a little cloche…!! (We are having guests for dinner on Tuesday…..I am going to surprise the guests by using a cloche serving a bouche!)

    05/03/2010 at 16:31

  2. sue

    Fun! I love cloches, and have a few that are really pretty, for cheeses, etc, but what fun to turn pretty dishes upside down all topsy-turvy to serve as cloches. I’m going to do that–I have some gorgeous pink glass dessert bowls that have a beautiful green ball at the bottom–they would be so pretty turned over–great idea, Ronell. Love your watercolor, and the recipe sounds scrumptious. Must try it, since I like every item on the list of ingredients.

    05/03/2010 at 17:44

  3. What a great way to use cloches, toutes sortes de cloches! and your pictures are always so fresh, crisp and just beautiful. Simple scallop dish are always the best.

    05/03/2010 at 17:50

  4. Ronelle dear,

    I adore cloches and saw two I desperately wanted when we were traveling in Provence, but then how to get them home??? I have one antique cloche from New England and I really use it to force artichokes into quicker growth.

    My “mermaid’s tears,” are the sea glass I pick up on my walks in Maine. One island in particular has so much sea glass on one side of it. It is a treasure trove. Some of my best jewelry is made of island sea glass.

    Love, love and always love the posts,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

    05/03/2010 at 22:35

  5. Oooh..I am over the moon over the eclectic charm of your post! I love cloches:)

    Poor Jacques.. broke 2 this year..:(

    J’aime celles en osier..:) They are so pretty!

    I think it’s fun to get lost in beauty..

    Like today.. sun.. 5 Celcius!!! Tomorrow 9! Unheard of usually here..
    Beau!! Beau!!

    You’re the icing on my pretty day today..

    The recipe looks great too:) Et la carte recette aquarelle..

    Bonsoir!

    06/03/2010 at 00:39

  6. I’ve always loved cloches. They just look special. Thanks very much for your suggestions to use other things, like glasses. Somehow I’ve never thought of it. (not an artistic mind, this one)

    06/03/2010 at 02:08

  7. First of all, your art DOES bring beauty to the world! You know how much I adore your art!!

    ..and second, oh how I love cloches! I have them in all sizes and shapes, but now you have give me some real uses for them! I did start out using them in the garden, but it goes from freezing cold here – to hot summer all of a sudden, so my little seedlings would burn. I love the idea of using them at the table and have done that some, but will incorporate your ideas of the little “gifts” at each place.

    I love stopping by here for my weekly dose of inspiration.

    Have a lovely weekend, Ronelle.
    ~Dana

    06/03/2010 at 05:35

  8. Dear Ronelle !

    J’ai passé hier soir un long moment sur ton blog et me suis régalée dans tous les sens du terme. Quelle artiste ! Tes aquarelles sont superbes ! J’en ai vu une qui représentait une tablette de chocolat et qui m’a immédiatement mise en appétit … ;o))

    Visiting your blog, I loved your paintings, but also your “atelier”, your photos … and your recipes, of course … A really eclectic and lovely blog !

    And this post about “cloches” is extraordinary too … You have wonderful ones ! A cloche makes everything it covers so precious ! I love that too …

    Have a very nice day !

    Hélène

    06/03/2010 at 07:14

  9. sab

    I love cloches too and your photos are splendid

    06/03/2010 at 15:46

  10. Merci a tous!
    Thanks for the visits and all the delightful stories of your own…I enjoyed every one!
    And thank you for the constant encouragement and support!
    Ronelle

    06/03/2010 at 16:03

  11. Beatiful posts, I always love to read your posts. I love the old ones, they are beautiful but heavy from the thick glass. I have a cake cover that would work for inside, fun, thanks

    06/03/2010 at 17:40

  12. There is a lot of beauty in this post-so refreshing! Bravo Ronelle!

    Nisrine

    06/03/2010 at 23:21

  13. Hello Ronelle,

    What a lovely read this was!! A tasty dish as well!

    Beautiful!

    07/03/2010 at 08:43

  14. Colette

    dankie vir lusmaak met jou resep..en mooi “bell jars”
    my gunsteling is die in die tuin..begeer sulkes.volgende keer dra ek een op my kop huis toe!
    groete
    Colx

    07/03/2010 at 15:02

  15. Oh I LOVE cloches – although my husband views them as a waste of space ;-) I love the idea of using glasses etc as makeshift cloches, although I am never organised enough to have an amse bouche waiting on the table when guests arrive – more likely I will be greet them standing, makeup-less & shoeless, in front of the stove, still cooking ;-)

    17/03/2010 at 19:00

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