Saturday, 17 April 2010

57. It's plancha time again! Ouch!

15th April 2010. It's at this time of the year that I start thinking about lugging the plancha out of the garage, heaving it up the steps of the terrace and rolling it to its resting place for the next 6 months. In 2000 years time, ambitious archeologists will be falling over themselves to publish papers that explain exactly how the Plancha God was moved 20 metres horizontally and then up 5 steps using no artificial aids.. I don't intend to leave any vellum scrolls in the garage with the secret!

Something we discovered only within the last year or so is Sakari Sauce Basque (Forte). It's an intriguingly hot spicy sauce that is very addictive.. Madame sautés vegetables with it and it goes very well with grilled meats, poultry and pasta. If you decide to try some (it's available on the internet), I'd recommend going for the 'Forte' one. It's not cripplingly hot like some Indian curries but it just adds a welcome piquancy to dishes. Here's a clip that shows how it's made:
Watching the above clip, I've just realised that this is the very shop in Saint Etienne de Baïgorry that we used to visit year after year to stock up with tins of Confit de Canard, rillettes, cassoulet, beans in goose fat and all the other good things from the Pays Basque to keep our spirits up during the long dark days of winter. There may be other suppliers as good but I'd be surprised if there are any better.

If you ever find yourself in Saint Etienne de Baïgorry around lunch-time, make your way to the church and then stand on the bridge over the Nive and, after watching the trout holding their position in its crystal clear swiftly flowing waters, look upstream and, if you're anything like us, you'll be tempted by the idyllic setting of the Hôtel Arcé to wander down and, at the very least, study its menu! If it's a hot day, what could be better than lunch on their terrace under the welcome shade of the platanes with the swirling river within touching distance? (Answer: Nothing!) The menu featured Truite au Bleu when we were there. (Needless to say, we have no connection with, or commercial interest in, either the hotel or the shop mentioned here.)
17th April 2010. Since writing the above, the plancha is now in position on the terrace - we cleaned it off yesterday evening so we're all set for summer now.. once I've figured out how to pop that bulging vein in my forehead back into position from shifting the blessed thing!

By the way, I do welcome comments or questions so if you have any, please feel free to use the comment form. Also if there's a topic you'd like to see explored here just ask.. Thanks.  


C00kie said...

I've been reading your blog for some months now. I love it! You write just like you speak. Good to hear all about the real "good life" i.e. good food, good drink good living. I must admit to feeling a bit jealous of you and Madame. It all sounds very rosy. While you're pottering, rowing, cycling etc. what's Madame doing? I can't believe that she's content to sit at home all day. What doe she make of the new fit(ter) you?

Pipérade said...

Still haven't discovered the 'catch' about living here.. (apart from the exchange rate)
It's just as I've described it. It took a good while for it to really sink in that this isn't an extended holiday.