Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Satisfying Morning.

   Rain, wind and cold temperatures have been the norm for the past few days. Tant pis. (All-purpose French expression with many possibly translations depending on the context.)
   Yesterday, I was writing all day so what happened outdoors didn't concern me. Today, I had an enormous list of chores. Not as bad as it sounds as most were food-related. 
   Backing up a bit, last Friday I bought two kilos of beef at Lavelanet market. I can't remember what cut it was but it was deep red, muscular and obviously meant for braising. It had been sitting in the fridge for 24 hours (at least) imbibing the better part of a bottle of Libertin, a wine from Fronton near Toulouse, one of those big reds, along with Madiran and Buzet, that we start to drink a lot of as winter approaches. So, the meat and the wine and some bay leaves and garlic had been the base for a daube which I cooked very, very slowly for several hours yesterday in between word-tinkering. 
    Also in there was half a packet of lardons whose fat, I knew, would rise to the top of the daube if left overnight. It did, I got rid of it, and froze the daube for future cold nights. That was one job this morning.
   The next was to peel and chop a large number of onions to freeze. Almost every recipe uses chopped onions and, purists might disagree, but I've discovered it makes very little difference if you use frozen or fresh onions in your mirepoix
   I also made apple sauce. My English neighbour, Bea, gave us a large bag of apples some weeks ago. Our French neighbours, Jeannine and Jean-Louis keep us supplied with walnuts they find when they're out foraging. (Great quote from Jean-Louis: "I don't use the Internet. I go for walks in the forest.") So I cooked those plus the apples, and some raisins, and it's all destined to go on our breakfast yogurts. Not quite porridge season yet. 
   The final dish I made was soup for lunch. A bag of carrots was losing its sprightliness so I looked up recipes (on the Internet) and found one on the BBC web site for carrot and coriander soup. You hardly need a recipe because all you do is chop a pound of carrots, slice an onion and soften both in a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add a teaspoon of ground coriander seeds, salt and pepper. Pour in, well, the recipe said vegetable stock but I didn't have any so I used plain old tap water. Cook until the vegetables are soft, whizz with a handheld blender, and, just before you dish it up, mix in a good handful of chopped fresh coriander. Delicious. 
   I also prepped ingredients for supper tonight but I'll save that for another post.

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