Can we talk?
Mon mari is (so he says) getting tired of listening to my litany of complaints.
I AM trying to be a good sport about all of this.
Really, I am.
But, some days, it just makes me feel better to vent.
So here goes:
We’ll go backwards, starting with this morning.
Sunday morning lie-ins are sacrosanct in France. I’ve been told many, many times, never disturb the French before 11:00 on a Sunday morning. It just isn’t done.
Why then, am I called out of my shower, dripping wet, just after 9:00 by 2 ferociously barking dogs?
Oh joy!!!! It’s the pompiers (fire department) come to deliver their calendar….. And graciously accept my 10 euro contribution to their Christmas fund.
And this isn’t even our house! It’s Vlad’s house!
Now I’ll have to contribute for our own house as well!
I threw on my outer layer of clothes, and ran, still dripping, down the stairs to let them, and the dogs, in. It’s a miserable day, blowing wind and rain, so I can’t very well leave them out on the step.
We shake hands all round (as is done, always); chat about the weather and the dogs.
Then I am formally presented with the calendar… Me, still dripping, barefoot, in our freezing kitchen ’cause mon mari hasn’t come down yet to light the fire.
They point themselves out on the group photo, accept my contribution and are on their way.
I finish getting dressed.
The pompiers didn’t even mention the fact that last night’s dinner was sitting on the stone slab next to the door.
I made a lovely Corsican Beef and Pasta (recipe below).
The beef simmered for hours; it smelled fantastic.
When it came time to cook the pasta I couldn’t keep the burners lit. Any of them.
Vlad’s gas cook top has a regulator that, apparently, doesn’t.
If we turned the knob on the regulator, which, of course is next to the tank below the cook top, I could keep one burner lit. But someone had to hold the knob just so… The minute we let go the flame went out.
I don’t know how to cook pasta in my fancy new Combi Microwave/Convection Oven.
We had Corsican Beef and Pasta sans the pasta.
Sorry about the photo being a bit hazy, but it’s been so cold lately that the steam coming off the food fogs my camera lens before I can snap the picture. Yes, I try blowing the steam away… Then we get cold food.
At least I can spot the dogs from bed without lifting my head up. I just look for the vapor trails.
Since it’s been so cold, last night we decided to plug in one of Vlad’s old space heaters in our bedroom to warm it up a bit.
There’s only one outlet in the bedroom, under the bed, of course, and the heater has a very short cord.
That positioned it perfectly underneath the leaky spot on the ceiling.
Then it started pouring rain, so the whole idea about having a warm bedroom, was rather fleeting.
The icing on my particular cake, is that my jaw hurts from eating too much bread from our local bakery.
Yes, yes, I know. Stop eating the bread. I have no one to blame but myself. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
After the last 12 hours I’ve had, what’s a sharp, shooting pain in the jaw compared to giving up that fantastic bread?
Corsican Beef and Pasta
24oz (750gr) beef, suitable for braising
6oz (180gr) dry-cured ham, Prosciutto, Bayonne, Auvergne, 2 thick slices
15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes with juices
4 cloves garlic
4oz (125gr) mushrooms, forest or ceps
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup (8oz, 250ml) white wine
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 tsp oregano
2 pinches nutmeg
Chop onions, mushrooms and mince garlic. In a heay Dutch oven, sauté onions, mushrooms and garlic in olive oil until starting to brown. Cut beef into 1 – 1 1/2″ (3cm) cubes and ham into smaller cubes. Add both to onion mixture and brown lightly. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes, their juices, wine, herbs and nutmeg. Cover and simmer for 3 hours.
Cook pasta according to package directions. When done, drain and toss with some of the juices from the meat. Arrange on a platter, spoon meat into the center and serve.
I used regular, old button mushrooms, since my local supermarket was out of anything more interesting.
Thank God they had a special on Paddy’s (Old Irish Whiskey). Nothing like a Hot Irish to make everything better!
Or, at least make me better!
Did I mention that I finally decided on a cook top? Electric….