Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another one of those blonde moments ...

Well, I suppose you've got the barbecues out of hibernation and are spending your weekends out on the beach doing your bit to reduce marine diversity and encourage grape-growing: over here in Ole Yurrup we is freezing our arses off (slight exaggeration, it hasn't actually got below zero yet except for one morning a few weeks ago, and I think that was a mistake) in the rain.

I see that I completely forgot to mention something: having fallen upon the link in David Lebowitz's excellent blog (the link's over there somewhere on the right) I thought I'd go have a look for myself at the catalogue of Librarie Gastéréa, in Lausanne, where I came upon this item:

BAUDRICOURT (Le Sire de) Manuel culinaire aphrodisiaque à l'usage des adultes des deux sexes / Paris, Edition photographique, s. d. [vers 1900].
In-12, demi-maroquin olive, dos lisse orné de filets dorés, 124 pp.
EDITION ORIGINALE RARE de ce recueil de 130 recettes "choisies parmi les plus opérantes". Illustrations "galantes" dans le texte. 

So, a cookbook dedicated to supposedly extremely effective aphrodisiac foods, for the use of either sex. (The cookbook, that is.) With naughty pictures. Sounds interesting, but I'm not really ready to shell out 570€ for a bit of soft-core food porn. But it would be nice to have on the shelves, snuggled up next to Escoffier. If anyone wants to get me a belated birthday present ...

Well, today turned out rather better than expected: foggy in the morning, as you can see, but not really too bad, all things considered. I can handle days like that. I should probably say that the day started out well, because there were some (admittedly minor) issues.

All of which were my fault, and totally unrelated to women drivers or anything (and I'm not saying that just to get Margo's hand off my windpipe, honest).

Actually, some were not in fact my fault: like, the midday rosé wasn't perfectly chilled because when I turned up at Sophie's she was out finishing off her shopping and both the brats were apparently sleeping the sleep of the dead behind locked doors, so the rosé had to stay put in the boot of the car rather than go into the freezer for ten minutes, as god intended.

Still, the devil finds work for idle hands, as they say, and without risking my neck too much I managed to pluck the last of the figs.

So anyway, Sophie had to go off and assist (or at least be present) at the flinging of the ashes of an uncle of her soon-to-be ex-husband (the flinging in question being into the Chéran, and it just might explain the taste of the mountain trout), which left me with a whole afternoon free in which to look like an idiot. Which, rising to the challenge, I did not fail to do.

It really was quite simple:  I took off with the intention of taking some photos of the Lac Noir, which is a little lake lost somewhere in the masses of rubble on the flanks of the Granier. So I headed off up the départmentale towards the Col du Granier, and when I got there realised that I'd probably missed the turnoff. What the hell, it was a lovely day, so I thought I'd go back down towards Chapareillan and get some photos that way as well.

How to feel like a prat ...
That's all well and good, but I must have been in brilliant blonde form when I parked (briefly, I thought) on one of the little routes forestières and somehow failed to notice that I'd cunningly backed up so that the right rear wheel was hanging in the air over a metre-deep pit of icy water, and both front wheels sitting in nice greasy mud.

Once Margo had stopped sniggering she kindly agreed to come along and tow me out, which was probably not something she'd planned on doing on her birthday. On the bright side, I now know how to fit the tow-hook onto my car.

The tow-hook lives in the little toolkit which nestles in the spare tyre, in the boot. Which was, of course, still full with that morning's shopping, including ten bottles of wine. Have I mentioned that the arse-end of the car was dangling over a deep pool of water? Yeah, I thought so. Clever old me.

 That was not, unfortunately, the end of it. Having, as one does, some rolled pork shoulder and some apples I decided to roast the one and make tarte Tatin with the other for that night's dinner. As I've said before, I make the caramel directly in the pie dish (helps to use a Pyrex one, I find) and then sprinkle cinnamon over that when it's cooled down a bit.

Fair enough, but I have two little jars of cinnamon in the spice cupboard, one of which contains cinnamon and the other, prominently marked "Not cinnamon", in fact contains cayenne pepper. Luckily I hadn't really got into the spirit of scattering by the time I came to my wits.

Actually, the combination isn't all that bad. The chili, as is its wont, brings out some of the flavours that would otherwise have stood shyly on the sidelines, waiting for a date ... that's why you'll sometimes find the stuff in expensive chocolate. It's still not really something I'd recommend you do on a regular basis, not unless you have a bloody good idea about your chili tolerance.

It must have been a dull week on the El Reg Innuendo and Triple Entendre desk, 'cos they decided to enliven my Friday with the following headlines (just click to get to the articles):

"Crab Shack mock cock cop attack shock"

and the delightfully ambiguous

"Pussy-slurping: You think you understand it but you don't" or, if you prefer, "Boffins in cataclysmic lingual robotics breakthrough". Be warned, there is actually some science in there. 

Anyway, I'm going to take advantage of the fact that it's still alarmingly fine and sunny to go off to the office and get a bit of paperwork done in peace and quiet. Let no-one say that the French fiscal administration is behind the times: I've actually signed up, online, to file our monthly GST declarations via the intertubes. Now once I've printed out the PDF, signed it, posted it, and got the acknowledgement back (probably in a month or two), I will be able to do just that ...

And by the way, turns out I may have been a bit mean-spirited suggesting that Tony was trying his best to be unable to come over. So it seems we will be meeting him at Christmas after all, when Mal turns up with him in tow. A brave lad.

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