Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cat, Flanked By Rat ...

Sometimes, you really have to wonder. I was looking for a midnight snack (hey, I don't worry that much about my waistline, it's not as though I actually have one anyway), delved into the cupboards and pulled out a packet of Chocolate Cookies! With Delicious Chocolate Chunks!! I mean honestly, who do they think they're fooling? Everyone knows that sales would plummet if they adhered to the truth in advertising standards and proudly announced the presence of Chocolate Chunks That Look & Taste Like Rat Droppings!! (May contain nuts!!!)

(Seriously, they're not that bad. I can tell you they don't look a bit like rats' droppings, and I've eaten seen a few in my time.)

Anyway, right now we is a-decking of the halls with boughs of holly, a-wassailing (a justifiably obscure sport involving a smallish bishop and a sharp pointy stick, and much merriment and a lot of screeching when the balls go into play), and any minute now I'm expecting a Hey-nonny-nonny. Or yet another "humorous" version of "The Partridge Family In A Pear Tree".

For over here in Ole Yurrup Christmas is icumen and the municipal handyman, aided and abetted by the mayor's idiot nephew, has been going around tying bunches of ill-assorted 40W bulbs to trees, buildings, and anything else that neither moves, nor protests too much. Which means that some of our neighbours, elderly folk who are none too nimble, are now nicely illuminated. Although they do tend to spark a bit when they accidentally earth themselves.

It's actually a bit of a bugger because place Carnot at Carcassonne has been invaded by a skating rink for the duration, and the market stalls have been pushed out into the surrounding streets and out in front of les halles. I just start to get used to it, work out where the decent places are, and then they go and shift it all around on me. Bah!, and humbug.

Still, we are trying to get into the proper spirit and to this end will head off on Monday to Richard and Mary's (these are neighbours, not a 70's pop group with long hair and, unfortunately, acoustic guitars) place for a party that will, apparently, go on until the unheard-of hour of 10pm! What are things coming too? (Not, I fear, wild debauchery. Although I may be pleasantly surprised.)

Also, I have been looking for Christmassy menus which involve neither too much excess (I would guess that's an oxymoron) nor oysters. I do not think that this one, from a restaurant during the Paris siege of 1870, would be appreciated around here ...

Hors d'oeuvre
Tête d'âne farcie
Stuffed asses head

Consommé d'éléphant
Elephant consommé

Chameau rôti à l'Anglaise 
Roast camel, English-style
Civet de kangourou
Kangaroo stew
Côtes d'ours rôties sauce poivrade
Roast bear chops in pepper sauce

Cuissot de loup, sauce chevreuil
Haunch of wolf in game sauce
Chat, flanqué de rats
Cat, with rats
Terrine d'antilope aux truffes
Antelope terrine with truffles

... those of you with long memories will recall that 1870 was the year that they ate the contents of the Paris zoo. Due to waking up one fine morning and finding the fridge completely empty.

Actually, for once we shall be relatively restrained. I bought a fresh foie gras and stuck that in the smallest of my terrines with some Banyuls and a dose of medium sherry, left it to soak and then stuck it in the oven to cook for 45 minutes: hope it turns out alright. It's my first time.

Then there's a chicken to be roasted, with as much garlic as I have about the house, for lunch - and some venison steaks, currently marinating in red wine, olive oil, vinegar, juniper berries and crushed peppercorns, destined for dinner. Possibly with baked potatoes, sour cream and chives. But I think that we shall take a good brisk walk between the two meals, just to make sure that we eliminate any surplus.

Sad to say, our woodland friends and extended Playmobil family did not make it down here with us, preferring to stay in Saint-Pierre. So this Christmas, exceptionally, you will not be entertained by their amusing antics.

Just one geeky bit, I promise, and normal service will be resumed until at least the New Year: but this "Smash the toxic Patriarchy inherent in all computer programming languages" was too good to keep to myself. (I assume that I am doing your work for you, by unflinchingly braving the torrents of filth and porn on the interbits and snatching a few golden nuggets for your delectation, selflessly oblivious to the harm it may be doing to my moral fibre. Those of you who do it for yourselves are to be congratulated.)

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays - whatever - to all and sundry. Take care, now.

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