Cucumber cups filled with shrimp and goats cheese…and a life around bicyles.

As said before, I’m not fond of cucumber. But it is a handy vegetable to use as a basis for a cold summer soup, or a summer sorbet or as in this case, here in a European winter…a cup with a filling. The combination of shrimp and goat’s cheese , dill and capers, seasons the watery cucumber. And even though cucumber is not in season at the moment, I feel like fresh foods after the heavy holidays.

Suggestions:

  • The quantities are only approximate, use to your own taste.
  • The filling can be varied to your taste too.
  • Decorate the skin of the cucumber by scraping shavings off with a peeler, or use a fork or a small lemon scoop to scrape off strips..
  • Use sardines instead of shrimps, or shredded white fish or chopped smoked salmon.
  • Use fromage frais with chopped herbs or diced seasonal vegetables.
  • Add mustard or pesto to ricotta and mix with shredded ham.
  • Consider chopped almonds with a finely chopped chicken filling.
  • Serve with a vinaigrette of your choice.

…a life around bicycles…

Do you remember all the times we got pulled over by the policemen for me carrying you on the handles of my bicycle? “, he asked.

She laughed. “Oh yes! … such fun and carefree, irresponsible years!”

That happened of course in the university years of this couple. They relived these moments while reminiscing over past times and paging through all the old photo albums. They remebered the times when they both grew up in their childhood homes, each with their bicycle, driving to different schools in different towns. Then they met at university and continued cycling everywhere  together…to class, to tennis matches, to university functions, to town, to the movies, to dances, to river picnics. Those years, most of the student population owned bicycles rather than cars. It was cheaper. And easier. And if yours got “borrowed”, you would just “borrow” the next one. Then after a while it got more romantic for the guy to carry his girl in front of him on the bicycle handles…his ox, as his bike was called…that way he could smell her hair waving in his face and have her close to him, and she enjoyed her Titanic-moment in front on the handles, with her guy doing all the pedalling work. So it happened many times that study hours were to be spent at “the dam”.She would ride in front on the handles, carrying their books and he would pedal for death to reach the top of the bridge crossing the rail road track  so they could free down on the other side at an exhilirating speed. Suddenly a siren would honk beside them, forcing them to stop at the foot of the bridge and obediently and humbly they listened to the policemen’s rant about their criminal act of lifting on the bike handles. But when the stern officer of law disappeared in the distance, they continued on their course, unperturbed by the mean little piece of paper in the pocket.  It is just what a student does in a university town. Laws don’t apply to students of course…which is why they carry student cards..

When this guy finally married this girl and entered the professional career world, they continued their cycling ways for a while, until they couldn’t hide behind their student faces any more.the fines started burning a hoole in their pocket, so they decided it would be cheaper for the girl, now a grown-up wife, to pedal her own bike again. Gone were the carefree riding on bicycle handles.

..the first cycles..

When two daughters enriched their lives, the tricycles and bicycles started taking up more and more space in the garage… The young guy was now a father and he trained his girls on thier bikes in the garage where it was safe, thenmoved into the garden andfinally he pedalled beside them to pre school across the big, scary main road. And on their firm demand, he watched them pedal the last two metres to school, where they turned and waved a proud little hand back at him. It continued for many years, and they enjoyed every minute on their bikes… doing their tricks, racing their father, chasing the dog, racing around the pool, falling into the pool…where the safety net proved its worth by allowing only their behinds to get soaking wet.


As young students, the girls too depended on their bicycles to get around and now, as young adults, they race their bicycles up and down mountains and in the challenging traffic of Paris and Toulouse. And the young student-couple of years ago, still ride their bicycles too…of which one is still a black ox and the other a cute pink velo with a basket for fruit and a flask of coffee and two old leather bags for art stuff. And like in their student years, the guy still holds the back line, and although he can’t feel  her hair waving in his face as he did so long ago, he can now appreciate  her cute derriére as she pedals frantically in front of him.

..riding my bicycle..

Bonne 2011 et à la prochaine fois!
Ronelle
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22 responses

  1. I actually do like fresh summer cucumbers and like using them as “holders” The combo of the fish and the goat cheese makes me think of summer warmth – just the thing for a winter lunch.

    We have gone full circle with our bicycles. After riding bicycle trails as a family all over MN, we now get them out as soon as the ice fades. Son and husband do the MS 150 bike ride for charity and I – just happily pedal watching spring turn to summer and then to fall. You can see things on a bicycle.

    03/01/2011 at 14:30

  2. Hi Ronelle,

    I am not a lover of cucumbers either, but I do grow them in my summer garden. The home grown taste so much better than the ones I buy during the winter.

    I love your recipe for a wonderful beginning to a luncheon or even the main part of the luncheon with breads and fruit.

    Your bicycle story was very touching as we all remember the way we were.

    Eileen

    03/01/2011 at 14:39

  3. This post could not be any better..

    The watercolors..the photos..the recipe..
    I bet they are your home grown sprouts too:)

    How romantic the 2 seating bike ries w/ the wind in your hair:) The cute pics of the girls and the thought of them waving back.. and the sight of them tumbling on their bottoms in the pool.
    I love kids photos..even my own.
    I look at my face and think.. wow.. not a worry in the world:) That’s the beauty of children..innocence:)

    Love your pink bicyclette too:) And the art bags.. well ok..everything.

    03/01/2011 at 14:56

  4. Wonderful apperitive food! So fresh and flavorful.

    I love bicycles and riding my mountain bike around our beautiful countryside.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    03/01/2011 at 15:04

  5. Your story is as lovely as your cucumber cups. I so appreciate you, Ronelle – it always makes me feel good to visit your blog, read your stories, look at your photos. You truly have the artist’s sense of life.

    Bonne annee!!!

    03/01/2011 at 18:14

  6. I love everything about this post! Beautifully photographed and delicious recipe, the story of your bicycling and love ;) It is evident.

    Happy New Year to you and your family, Ronelle!

    03/01/2011 at 19:41

  7. Awe, this is such a sweet post, Ronelle! I wish my Dad did that for us. Very sweet…
    Oh, and I love cucumber. I can see why one might not though-it is a bit watery. Your cucumber cups sound rich and wonderful though. If I can manage to grow some cucumber down here in South Florida, I’ll try cups like this for sure:)
    p.s. I have two rosemary bushes b/c of you by the way. I don’t know if I ever told you that??
    Happy New Year

    03/01/2011 at 23:18

  8. The cucumber cups filled with shrimp and goats cheese look so refreshing! We had some fresh cucumber tonight and it was delicious…I must say that I also felt like having something fresh and light after all the eating during the festive season.

    I love your bicycle story…my husband mentioned today that we should not get the gym spinning bicycle at home by real bicycles…! I think so too after your lovely story!

    Your photograph of the cucumber cups are stunning!
    Ixx

    04/01/2011 at 01:55

  9. Jo

    I loved reading this post about your bicycle history, seeing your pictures of daughters, and the lovely self portrait of you on your pink bike. Now I need to go to the grocery store to buy some shrimp and goats cheese.

    04/01/2011 at 03:17

  10. Dear Ronelle,

    Well, am I the ONLY one who loves cucumbers? No matter…I SO LOVED this posting that I just shared it on facebook so many more can enjoy it.

    Loved the bicycle story. Lovely, lovely.

    Sending a new year’s greeting to you across the miles,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

    04/01/2011 at 04:45

  11. OOOOOOhhhh la la. A new look to your blog! The presentation of the cucumber cup is indeed a piece of art. A great post! I too, love my bicycle.

    Happy New Year!

    04/01/2011 at 06:09

  12. Hello Ronell,
    ha- at my (our) age…I can add a few laughs about riding a bicycle…in a student town!! like when you land in a ditch by accident, the students rush over to help the elderly (moi)…how times have changed. this middle aged couple are now not only going through the cycle stage with a 8 year old…but with modern add ons of…”J-board” “Rollerblades” and “I pod” in ears while all this is being mastered ..I think it was much easier with only the bicycle and the removing of the little back wheels as the next stage…
    kind regards
    Colette

    04/01/2011 at 06:46

  13. crossthat

    What a lovely idea. This recipe sounds so easy but I’m sure it’ll impress all the guests. Thanks for sharing.

    04/01/2011 at 10:51

  14. rita.

    Ronelle, you vividly brought back memories, long buried through time. Thank You for the trek down memory lane.Rita

    04/01/2011 at 18:29

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  16. Nic

    What a stunning looking dish, very beautiful indeed!

    Great post, my husband is a cyclist riding to work when he can.
    Happy New Year and all the best for 2011!

    10/01/2011 at 17:16

  17. What a beautiful dish-your photograph almost looks like a painting it’s so stunning. And your post -how lovely and romantic-you tell such beautiful stories. I love stopping by your blog.

    11/01/2011 at 01:04

  18. Love it, beautiful pictures.

    11/01/2011 at 21:42

  19. A feast for the eye, mind and tummy!

    13/01/2011 at 17:48

  20. Ronelle, I just realised that I posted my comment for this post under the amarilys So I will repeat….

    “stunning Ronelle, really stunning. I make this canape using thai beef salad. – works very well.

    21/01/2011 at 19:19

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