I am sitting in my study staring at the monitor in front of me and struggling not with what to write, but how to write it. I have also been playing musical computer chairs with Barney the cat. Every time I get up to go make some tea or lunch or whatever, when I come back he is fast asleep in my chair. This is the sixth time I have had to move him. I started this at 9.44am it is now 14.40pm.
I am listening to Nostalgie on the radio, a french oldies channel and they are playing a Michel Sardou song which my then girlfriend now wife played me in 1976. I had a Citroen 2cv6 back then, bright orange and we drove it during the summer of 76 down to the foothills of the pyrenees. It was my first visit to France, my wife had already spent a year in France for her teacher training. That is when I fell in love, with Margaret and France.
I think a recipe is required, and I apologise in advance that I have no photos to show you unlike my fellow blogger on Food Stories who takes the most incredible pictures of the food she cooks, with time things will be different. So without further ado, 6 hour lamb. I said French country cooking was simple and it does not come simpler than this. You need a decent size hunk of lamb, leg or we used shoulder I think the last time we made it. Put said lamb in slow cooker and add 150ml of dry white wine, 4 carrots quartered if big, garlic to taste;, 2 medium onions quartered, sprigs of thyme, 250 ml of water and slow cook for 6 hours. The smell after a few hours will drive you crazy and when it is ready, the meat will fall off the bone and melt in the mouth. We use the juices for the jus or gravy and serve with my incredibly buttery creamed potatoes, I like cauliflower cheese with 3 cheeses, a recent find, and yorkshire puddings, I know yorkshires are not french but hey I am a yorkshireman so get over it.
Before the next instalment, I would just like to say that I made the move to France sound extremely easyin my first blog, the truth is buying the house in France was a breeze, we found the dream cottage, we put in an offer, the offer was accepted and we had I think 7 days to change our minds. After that we had to pay a 10 per cent deposit and if we failed to go ahead we lost it. Contrast that to the UK experience, the house sold in March, thankfully our buyers stuck to the agreement like glue, but the chain below kept breaking for the most ludicrous reasons, in fact the house had still not gone to final contracts in October when we arrived in France and it was not until November that the nightmare came to an end. End of rant.
Because of the above we had to very hastily organise a removal firm, the catch was that our furniture and clothes were going to be 2 weeks behind. This meant we had only the clothes we were wearing so more expense buying new clothes.
So it was that we started exploring our new home in France. About the time we arrived it was the annual general meeting of the commite de salle de fete, the organisers of the various functions that the commune enjoys throughout the year. These are the loto night, known as bingo in the UK, the entrecote steak evening, the fishing competition as it was known then, more on that in a complete blog of its own. Finally the méchoui, the lamb barbecue in the height of summer.
We decided to attend the meeting because we wanted to be part of the community and I was staggered at the reception we received. We were made to feel welcome and even though we did not vote, the meeting was to elect or re-elect commitee members, we felt it had been well worth while introducing ourselves.
Our community, that is to say the commune of St.Thomas de Courceriers has about 220 people and it has been a revelation to contrast the difference between the attitudes here and in the UK. And on that note I am going to finish. I know I promised entrecote evening but I really seem to have got carried away, but here is a photo of Barney with Omah when they were still friends.