|Gross Statuary, n° 5 ...|
For lo! there was indeed a problem, the stuff needed to be shipped out that very day: you see, of course, where this is going. So instead of snoring blissfully for a few more hours, I was up and in front of the computer until 14:00, trying to work out just what was going on. Not at all what I had had in mind.
|... and n° 6. Collect the entire set!|
That was probably a mistake, for as I climbed up above the Chateau des Allues and wandered along the little tracks and smelled that wonderful smell of hay baking in the sun, I couldn't but notice that that same baking sun was doing a pretty good job on me. I sweat like a pig anyway at the slightest provocation, and what with its being the first decent walk of the year and me thus a bit out of shape, I swear I lost three litres of - um, liquid - on that little jaunt: rest assured that on arriving back home I lost no time in replacing it.
After ten minutes, when the top was firm, I took it out, spread more strawberries over that and then filled the mould with the rest of the soufflé stuff and put it back in the oven, whilst the baked potatoes cooked. And then, as we sat down to our lamb chops and trimmings, I turned the oven off and forgot about it for a bit.
Soufflés do fall, it's kind of in the nature of the beast, but it unmoulded rather nicely: sad to say, I seem to have produced version 2.00 of the chocolate-strawberry cowpat cake that I once made, to much critical acclaim, for Sophie. No-one will ever like it for its looks - probably just as well - but the taste is sublime. If, of course, you like chocolate, and strawberries.
Some people seem to think that a week is a long time between reading a recipe and putting it into action: cower, mere mortals, for the longest gestation period I have ever had is 27 years. In the way-back-when, at a time when I thought that "disposable income" meant stuffing dollar bills down the toilet (something Larry Ellison still does if rumour can be believed, but it would seem it's mainly to wash the coke off), I strode purposefully out the door one day, only to return with La Technique and La Méthode, by the estimable Jacques Pépin. Who was, apart from being a great chef in his own right, also a close friend of the late and much-lamented Julia Child.
|The epitome of French "good taste"|
Also explains the completely different cuts of meat. English cuts are designed to get the most of the best: in France a beast is cut so that everything gets used, and to hell with the consequences. Hence long, slow stewing. Anyway.
Getting back to the point, in one of those books there is a recipe for bavette farci, aka stuffed skirt steak, and it was one of the first that drew my attention. But somehow I never got around to it; partly, I suppose, because of the difficulty back in NooZild at the time of actually finding a piece of skirt steak that hadn't been promised to the cat.
But for some reason I found myself last night with a thick bit of hampe in the fridge, and most of the necessaries for the stuffing, and a certain urge, so after a quick stagger oop t'village to get a bit of mince (which is, let's face it, so much nicer freshly ground than the unspeakable stuff under nitrogen from the supermarket) I finally took the time to do it. After all these years.
Please do be gentle with it: you do not want your lovingly fried croutons turning into mush.
Pile that lot over the butterflied steak and pull one side over to cover it: personally I tie it, having learnt the trick of doing that neatly and quickly, but do feel free to resort to toothpicks if you wish. Then brown it rapidly all over in butter in one of those handy stainless steel sauteuses you really should have, add some sliced carrots and onions and let them brown too before putting a large chopped tomato into the mix.
At which point you can fish it out, reduce the sauce until thick, slice and serve. I am not going to say that you owe it to yourself to make this, nor that it was worth that 27-year wait, just that it is rather delicious and has the happy side effect of stretching out the meat: good thing in our case as Jeremy appeared unexpectedly for dinner.
And right now I have another urge, which is to make bagels. Godnose why, not as though I'm Jewish, just wanna! wanna! Be good, people.