Friday, 11 December 2009

37. One to try at home

I'm not sure where this story fits in the overall scheme of things but I'll leave that for you to work out. Down at the rowing club one of the rowers is M.. He used to play scrum half for Aviron Bayonnais (the local top 14 rugby club) and he's a bit of a character. We were all out having a social event somewhere - it was a standard French night out, the red was going down well, everyone was talking, no-one was listening - when he suddenly came out with his patent method of how to return safely to the marital bed in the wee small hours after a late night out on the town.. on his own.

He said what he does, if he wishes to avoid a prolonged stay in the:
is to open the front door of his house ultra quietly, then tiptoe slowly upstairs before getting completely undressed in the spare room. (Been there, done that) Now this is the part that made us all laugh - he then backs slowly into the marital chamber. The idea being that if his wife wakes up and puts the bedside light on, all he has to do is to stop dead and freeze - facing the door - which is when he claims that he's just got up to go for a Nelson*. Works every time apparently! His demo (clothed!) had us all crying with laughter!

Nelson Riddle (Cockney rhyming slang m'lud)

I picked up the new car this evening.. and I must sit down and give the handbook a good read because there's a daunting amount of technology in the thing. Problem is the handbook's in French so the VW dealer said he would order one for us in Anglo-Saxon and give it to us free of charge.. (that has a pleasing ring to it!)

Tonight we're having a real winter's favourite - Potée Auvergnate. This is real comfort food - and it's guaranteed to make you feel better.

It's a French country dish from - well, several regions have staked a claim to it - but the Auvergne probably has the strongest ownership claim. A joint of gammon, sausages various, potatoes, Savoy cabbage, carrots - all braised in a rich stock.. Add a splodge of grainy moutarde à l'ancienne.. and stand well back while I get to work.

This picture is the closest I could find to Madame's version. If you're thinking that I'm spoiled, then you'd be absolutely right! Wonder why we didn't have Savoy cabbage as kids? It's delicious.. We once went to a restaurant in Paris that specialised in country cooking from the Auvergne and Savoy cabbage featured quite heavily. Forget the terminally boiled soggy cabbage of school dinners of days of yore - Savoy cabbage lends itself to all kinds of imaginative and tasty recipes.. not least of which is the one above.

I'm going to drift downstairs now and see if I can get in the way of the chef.. so talk amongst yourselves for a while!

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