Sunday, March 7, 2021

Moanings ...

 It is sad, but true, that when it comes to buying food I seem to be incapable of moderation. For Margo expressed a wish for a nice roast chicken for the Christmas feast, and with a smile on my lips and a song in my heart off I duly trotted to Maison Bertrand to get a week's worth of protein ... like chunks of pork for which the pig in question no longer has any particular requirement, tail end of beef fillet which apparently nobody but I really want, for they hock it off at - literally - half-price ie 17€/kg and I have no objection to that, rack of lamb, escalopes de veau ...

And they had some grain-fed, free-range chickens: or more to the point, chapons, and not thinking of the downside I bought one. But let it be admitted that 3kg of castrated rooster is a bit much for two ... hence Rick and Mary's presence. Still, given that the purchase was not, for once, a spur of the moment thing for that night's dinner, I had the time to brine it for a day or two and, having hoiked it out of its bath, brush the skin with molasses and leave it to dry. And very nice it was too, after a suitable amount of time in a hot oven: as tender and moist as one could wish, with crispy skin ...

The leftovers - for there were some lots - found their way into chicken and bacon pie, with decent suet pastry just as god intended, and three nights later the dogs were happy beasts because leftover leftover leftovers is just a bit too much.

One might think that this would have served as an object lesson but alas! this turns out not to be the case, for I promptly re-offended a week later, buying 1.5kg of a pork rib rack. Which also spent a few days in the fridge, having been well-rubbed beforehand with gros sel, sugar and loads of pepper ... I boned it out, as one will, before serving with slices of fried and caramelised apple and as luck would have it Caroline and Philippe were around to help demolish the meat and gnaw on the ribs - much appreciated.

... somewhat (a lot) later ...

D'you know, it's kind of hard, under the circumstances, to feel much enthusiasm for writing. Some of you lucky b'stards live in places relatively untouched by COVID: sadly, we do not. Our first lockdown started in March 2019 and lasted three months: then we got June/July off for good behaviour only to go back into another lockdown, and as I write there is still a 6pm-6am curfew which does - as you might think, and as was intended - cut down on social interaction. It is getting to the point where one might reasonably ask if it's not better to possibly die from COVID, or to almost certainly die from ennui. There are friends we've not met up with for four months.

And although I'm not a particularly sociable man - most of my experience with crowds involving the question "how do I get the fuck out of here and onto the periphery?" - let it be said that one of my simple pleasures involved heading off to the excellent boulangerie at Ferrals to pick up a few baguettes and then stopping off on the return trip at the little bar at Fontcouverte for a glass of white vitamins and a cigar on the terrace, under the brilliant blue sky and the shade of the plane trees, watching everyone else enjoy themselves. This is now a distant memory, and it hurts.

Have I mentioned that there are friends I've not seen for a long time?

Also, I've not taken the camera(s) out for yonks?

You take care ...

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