Friday, 20 September 2013

Non, je ne regrette rien

Tonight we are (virtually) scurrying through the French countryside.  We were inspired by wanting to try out a full on rabbit dish, and ordered specially from our farm shop.  Rabbit is a really lovely meat but just isn't sold in normal supermarkets in my hood, but the French are more likely to have le lapin.  When I chanced upon a great theme, on an email subscription list, I fluttered my eyelashes at my awesome hubbie and he was similarly enthused.

We are going for a Rustic French meal.  Reading through the elements, it feels nicely authentic, and I am sure we have a French wine knocking about in our collection to have with it.  We recently went to a wine tasting at Laithwaites (their HQ is around the corner) and bought up a number of wines, some wonderfully French.  It was a great evening, there were amuse bouche for each course, and this drove home to us how the right wine and food pairing enhanced the experience of both.  I am not quite at the stage of being smart enough to make pairings, but I am in a place where I can steal the recommendations of others and pass them off as my incredible insight.


Music: Spotify playlist.  I have utilised the French Music page on Wikipedia to guide me through some of the history and genres.  Really interesting.  I learnt that the Village People have French origins; how mad is that?

Cocktail: The French Blonde

Ingredients
½ oz. elderflower liqueur, like St. Germain
1 oz. dry gin
2 oz. White Lillet
2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
A few dashes lemon bitters

Instructions
Vigorously shake together all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker for at least 30 seconds. Strain into a martini glass.

A really lovely cocktail - cheery, fruity, balanced.  He substituted Lillet with Noilly (which is still French, eh), and would like to try again with the 'real' version.  I shall await the second version.

Gougères

I couldn't imagine trying to begin to make these on a Friday evening, sodden with rain and exhaustion of a long work week.  But he scampers about, throwing it all together.  I think he is still on a high from the Cisco exam he passed this morning.  As he makes it, he says he thinks it's a bit of a backwards way to make a roux.  I love that not only does he know how to make a sodding roux, but what it's called.  And all so casual like.  Adore the man!

They are beautifully light.  He thinks they're very good, he says they are like a crazy french version of a Yorkshire pudding, with cheese.  I think they're like profiteroles, but savory.  They are truly lovely.  He has made a load of them from this recipe, and has said he's not sure they would last overnight... he means he's going to eat 'em.


Rabbit in Mustard Sauce and Creamed Onion Gratin

He spoke to a butcher and specially ordered a rabbit to be cut into six pieces.  They were very embarrassed when he picked it up to be told it was in four pieces.  OMG, not four?!?!  This is a weird world of butchery cuts that I don't understand.

It is now ten o'clock and having subsisted on air filled cheese puffs and wine... well... I need to try this exciting main.

And it's lovely, the rabbit is a a great meat, tastier than chicken, but more of a pain to cut up.  I really must have more rabbit in life.  The dish is a bit salty, really quite overly intense.  It needs a tweak for a revisit.  I also would prefer a different meat that time as I think my conclusion is that rabbit should be in stew so you don't have to mess about with bones.  Maybe lamb?  The onion gratin separates and he is glum, but it's really interesting, sweet and tasty, and worth another go.

All in all - an interesting theme and great fun!







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