Do remember that he will be spending his time in a chateau perched on a frikkin' great rock with vineyards as far as the eye can see, and you apparently have to make your own fun. Probably using only bits of string and whatever root vegetables are conveniently to hand.
Yes, I know, I have a smartphone which is GPS-capable but apparently as part of the deal with Bouygues, Samsung zapped the Garmin satnav app that was one reason I actually got the bloody thing, and the only one that seems to be available I cannot download for it tells me that the 4Gb available on the memory card is insufficient for the 400K it requires.
Our slightly deranged friend Karen is off to Tunisia for a while: managed to land some sort of financial-wizardry job with a Spanish company that has an outpost there. It all seems a bit odd, maybe even too good to be true, but as she said - even if it is only a three month trial and she gets the boot at the end, it's still three months at €3000 the month.
Just looked up on ViaMichelin, and it's probably a good thing too: there are in fact two Rochegudes down south. Confusingly enough they're both accessible from the same autoroute exit, just that once you get off at Bollène they're in diametrically opposed directions. And one thing I so do not want to do is to find myself in the wrong place and be faced with a 100km backtrack through the departementales of rural France on a Sunday with no map.
Case in point: not so long ago our friend Stacey (not being the most experienced of cooks) rang to ask how you made pancakes. After a bit of stunned-mullet silence Margo gave the traditional recipe, which involves far too much butter, flour, an egg and - I quote - "as much milk as you need for it to be right", and we left it at that.
If that's not a casus belli, buggered if I know what would count as one.
In case you're wondering, I did in fact get around to making the Chickeninnabun™ recipe I mentioned last time, and it was indeed not too bad at all.
Smelt heavenly as it cooked (really does need at least 90 minutes, mind you), and I managed to slice the top off the bread, extract the chicken without massacring it too much, carve it and stick it all back in for serving without too much hassle. On reflection, I could probably have got away with sprinkling a little persillade (don't worry, that's just finely chopped parsley and garlic) over the top before sticking the lid back on and putting it back in the oven for a few minutes, but that might count as gilding the lily.
I think that's another recipe that I'll put on my little list of things to do again, some time when I want to impress guests without working too hard.
And as you can probably tell, we made it down to Rochegude (and back again, fairly obviously) to leave our firstborn son to the tender ministrations of the kitchen staff there.
As luck would have it, the weather chose today to turn to rain, which is a bit of a bugger - at least from a photographic point of view. Didn't really make the trip any more pleasant either, and having to have the picnic actually in the car rather than on the grass in the sun is also a bit of a downer. Too bad.
The head chef very kindly took us on a tour of the place, and I have to admit it does look rather classy. The kitchens are pretty tiny though, I should think they'd be rather cramped with the full staff of five in there.
I get the feeling Jerry will enjoy himself: it's a small team, the chef de cuisine seems very nice, and apparently they do everything - with the exception of the bread, which they do buy ready to be baked - on the premises. So if fish, for instance, is on the menu, it gets gutted, peeled and dissected in the kitchen. It'll make a change from reheating anonymous packets in the microwave.
With any luck it'll be fine when we go back in six week's time to reclaim the prodigal, and we can spend a bit of time wandering in the 10-hectare park that comes with the place. And doubtless spending a bit of cash in the boutique, where they have wine (as you might expect), truffled balsamic vinegar, little flasks of lavendar essence and other little gew-gaws. I think I'll be a sucker for the vinegar.
And for a main course, roast quasi de veau (go look it up in Larousse, I can't be arsed) studded with truffles and served with its ecrasée des legumes oubliées? (Which is no more than a purée of what some people will rather annoyingly and somewhat pretentiously call "heirloom" vegetables: my personal opinion is that if they've been forgotten, as the French name suggests, it's for bloody good reasons, like they're too much trouble to prepare and/or they taste absolutely foul.)
Still, I could think of worse surroundings in which to eat them.