732, Tours

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

October 10, 732 CE is very important in the history of France. School children and French majors alike know that date. Charles was the ‘king’ of Frankia. [actually, he was the ‘Mayor of the Palace’ but he functioned as king] Let’s look at that sentence before we move on. The kingdom was named ‘Frankia’ because it was founded by and run by the Franks, a Germanic Tribe that came to power in the vacuum left by the Romans’ departure. “Frankia” became softened into “France” and so we have a famous king who’s people named a future nation. But in 732 that future nation was far from secure. To the South, in Iberia [modern Spain/Portugal], the Muslims had taken control, establishing a foot-hold in Europe. Having done that, they set their sights on the land over the Pyrenees. Emir Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi Abd al Rahman led his army across and around the mountains, and regrouped in South-Western France. From there they marched North, taking all the country-side before them. Charles had been dealing with border skirmishes in the South for years, including those against a pesky duke, but this was the limit. With the invaders a mere 127 miles from Paris, he took an army of possibly 20,000 soldiers to confront the Muslims. Al Rahman’s army was well armoured and mounted on horses with stirrups. They numbered 25,000 men, and since many of them were out skirmishing, raiding, and scouting, the Emir waited until they returned to start the fight. This gave Charles time to choose his ground to his advantage while Al Rahman gathered his men. By rights the Muslims, with their superior calvary and numbers, should have won the day. But Charles’ army formed a Roman Square and withstood all attacks. At one point in the fighting, part of al Rahman’s army left to guard their supply train. Other units thought it was a retreat, and joined them. As more men left the battlefield, al Rahman was surrounded and killed. By morning, all the Muslims were gone, the battle was over, and Charles earned the moniker “Martel,” “the Hammer.” Some historians call this the victory of Christianity over Islam. Some say it was the moment when France became a sovereign nation capable of defending itself. It did mark the start of the Carolingian Dynasty, but it was not the last time that the Muslims tried to take land in France. One enduring result of the campagne was that some of the army stayed in the region of Aquitaine. These were goat-herders who tended flocks brought along to feed the troops. Today their descendants produce a variety of goat-milk cheeses which are popular in South-Western France. Our favorite is the divine ‘Cabécou,’ little disks of cheese which ripen over four weeks, changing texture and flavour all the while.

The Muslims were from the Levant and then swept through northern Africa, picking up converts among the Berbers and Moors. Our breakfast has Levantine origins. The dinner is a Spanish soup with the French influence of piment d’esplette and ingredients that are more French than Spanish.

Levantine Lamb Bake: 219 calories 14 g fat 1 g fiber 26 g protein 8 g carbs 108.6 mg Calcium   PB GF Let’s take all the popular flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean and bake them with eggs. Great idea!! [If this sounds familiar, it is based on Lamb Gozleme [see 2 February, 2022] , which was featured previously. If you had left-over filling (about 2 Tbsp), you could use it instead of the tomatoes/feta/olive /lamb/spinach in the recipe below.

1 two-oz egg ¼ oz tomatoes, small dice 1/8 oz feta cheese, small dice 1 Kalamata olive, small dice 1/8 oz cooked lamb meat, small dice 1/8 oz spinach, chopped oregano + salt + pepper 2 oz peach or nectarine   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories] Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Prepare all the vegetables, meat, and cheese, and combine them well in a small bowl with the seasonings. Spray an oven-safe dish with non-stick spray and turn the bowl contents into the dish. Whisk the egg and pour over the other ingredients. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes. Plate with the fruit and pour the hot beverage. If I knew how, I’d say ‘delicious!’ in Greek, Turkish, Syrian, Palastinian, Hebrew, and Egyptian.

Green Gazpacho with Shrimp: 279 calories 19 g fat 2 g fiber 13 g protein 11 g carbs 56 mg Calcium  PB GF  Author Martin Walker’s policeman, Bruno, prepares this dish, and you might wish to as well. HINT: The recipe makes 3 cups of soup, to serve three [3] people.

1½ green peppers [9 oz] cut in ½” dice
3 fl oz dry white or rose wine 
Put 1/3 of the peppers in a blender with the wine. Pulse a bit, then add 1/3 more peppers and pulse again. Add remaining peppers and pulse.
½ large cucumber [5 oz] cut in ½” dice Add the chopped cucumber and pulse a few times.
75 ml/4 Tbsp good olive oil
4 tsp white wine vinegar
tarragon sprig
2 cloves garlic, chopped ½ cup onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until the soup is still a little chunky. Pour into another container and chill 30 minutes or more.
Per serving: 2 oz small shrimp piment d’espletteSprinkle shrimp with piment and cook. Pour soup into a serving bowl and top with cooked shrimp.

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