Friday night P&J invited us down to Southampton to pick up some food they bought us in France, as usual we were treated to a superb homecooked French meal. We started with rillette and a loaf of bread that Philip baked (his best yet in my opinion) and delicious crab cakes, the main dish was paupiettes de veau from Macsen's French grandmother's recipe book, which she used to cook often. They have two books with the recipe in, one written in the 1800's which simply calls for veal stuffed with farce and tied with fat to impart more flavour and to keep it moist and then cooked in its own juices; the later version of the book published in the 1930's calls for herbs, butter, and mushrooms to be added -- it's interesting to see the evolution of one of the most traditional dishes. Endive with juniper berries was alongside and much excellent wine with 3-year-aged cantal which was salty and crumbly (aged for so long it was almost like parmesan) with a nutty flavour and more bread to finish. I paid attention to every part of the cooking; I believe I am good in the kitchen, but it takes of years of practice to become as perfect at it as they are which is a reason to look forward to becoming older. For Sunday lunch Macsen cooked a boeuf bourguignon with beef they brought back from the butcher in Luçon and we returned home late last night with our gastronomic goods: fleur de sel de guérande, pain d'epices au miel, merguez (lamb sausages), vendéen honey (forêt), chorizo fort, gros sel, beurre demi-sel (from a small producer, pretty fleur-de-lys design printed into the butter), danette, chocolate, shallots, dijon, cornichon, 21-month aged comté, 3yr cantal, and fresh chilies from their garden.
On a sadder note Jackie has been suffering terribly from the side-effects of her cancer meds, they have been leeching the calcium from her bones so she's enduring constant pain and has difficulty walking. At first they weren't sure what was causing it, but when they went to France for 5 days she forgot her medication in the UK so she went to a pharmacist in France to replace what she could; she couldn't remember the name of one of the meds, only that it started with an "A" so the pharmacist told her to come behind the counter to browse the medications to see if anything looked familiar (I can't imagine them doing that in the UK or America!) One of the meds was going to cost €150, but the pharmacist said she would be able to get through 5 days without it so she didn't purchase it. Suddenly once the meds were out of her system she was able to walk with ease and without pain so when she returned to the UK she made the doctor change her medication to one that was less debilitating. Unfortunately, just today she was diagnosed with a degenerative hip disorder and will have to have a hip replacement surgery. It seems that her afflictions are relentless lately, I wish more than anything that I could take her pain away.
paupiettes de veau
preparing the crab cakes
the old french cookbook, 1800's version I believe
yummy crab cakes
endive with juniper berries
cutting the strings on the paupiettes de veau
3-year aged cantal, mmm.
margaux. so good.
cantal and Philip's homemade bread. you can tell it's a real French household when the cheese isn't even
taken out of the wrapper before people start cutting pieces off.
roquefort and cantal
after more glasses of wine than I can remember I checked my gmail before bed and posted to
twitter about my unusual competence at writing on a French keyboard.. maybe drinking French wine
enhances French keyboard ability.
Macsen's boeuf bourguignon
we won't use purple potatoes again, they were too floury.