Friday, 11 January 2008

Beetroot Bonanza

Well yesterday came and went in the blink of an eye. Needless to say, Mr Tibbs didn’t make it to the vets. I picked him up but he was just too strong and wriggly to get into the cat basket and he raced off out of the loft. Before he dived through the gap in the wall he gave me one long look that sort of said ‘but I trusted you’ and disappeared. I thought that would be the last I would see of him but thankfully he was back an hour later and even let me stroke him again. At least he won’t be having kittens so I’m going to try and persuade him to come and live downstairs before trying to get him to the vets again.

The rest of the day was taken up with collecting and preparing more wood with Ann in Regis’s prunery. We’ve more of less finished this one but there are two more larger ones to do still. Next year, the trees will only get a light prune (no pun intended) so there won’t be any burnable branches as there is this year.

The moles have been at work again. I rake the molehills over the hollows in the lawn and it all goes quiet for a time and I think they’ve gone. Then a week or so later, more molehills. Still I suppose it saves having to aerate the lawn.

After finishing the wood yesterday, Regis gave me a beetroot; a big beetroot!

So today was pickle the beetroot day.

Tomorrow Regis and Ann are coming over to help me replace the kitchen window. I need a shorter window as the one currently there goes down below the level of the work surface I will be putting in. I could get away with leaving it if this were the UK but in France, and much of the continent, the windows open inwards – easier to clean and it means that you can have the shutters closed while the window is open, essential in hot weather.

In preparation for that I’ve been moving some things out of the kitchen. This is some of the produce from last year. There are 5 large squashes, 5 spaghetti marrows and a collection of butternut squashes along with the two types of beans I grew and dried. I have to say; the beans are nothing like the commercial beans you buy. These are so soft when you cook them, I suppose it’s because they’ve not been hanging around for ages in a warehouse.


Stew said...

Nice One. I've just made a couple of jars of pickled onions because the french don't seem to do them.
Sure little white ones in amongst the cornichons but I want big muscular onions. Used my home made cider vinegar.
Talking of muscular snacks I made pork scratchings yesterday. I'll blog the process soon.
I'm tinkering with a blogroll of french bloggers.
If you like to be included send me a mail at stewart.paterson@wanadoo."efferre"

Stew said...

I'd love to have your recipe for Rillets. Our daughter loves them, and it would be fun to cook them with her (she's 8)

dND said...

The recipe I use is based on this one - the actual quantities I use depend on what I have to hand at the time. So the recipe goes.
2lb belly pork
3/4lb pork fat
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
sprig parsley
sprig thyme or rosemary
salt and pepper

Cut de-boned and de-rinded belly pork into narrow strips. Finely dice the pork fat. Season meat and fat with crushed garlic, salt and pepper.
Pack into casserole and push herbs into centre of meat. Pour in about 1/4 pt water, cover with foil.
Bake for 4 hours in warm oven, 275F gas mark 1, 140C. Stir occasionally to prevent crust forming.
When meat is tender drain into a sieve placed over a mixing bowl. Remove the herbs and shred the meat using 2 forks (a liquidizer or processor tends to turn it into a pate).
Adjust seasoning and pack meat into bowls or sterilised pots. Pour over enough liquid fat to cover the meat by 1/4 inch and leave in fridge until set.

I add far more herbs and seasoning as I find it rather bland. I also use a slow cooker to cook the meat having no real oven at the moment (usually 10 hours or so on low to medium until the meat is falling apart). I usually use the removed skin to protect the meat while it's cooking. I also tend to make more than one batch so I keep the strained herby fat from one batch to cook the next in. Again this is to boost the flavour. I then use any fat I've cut off during preparation and from other pork I've had to render into unseasoned fat which I use to top the made rillete. Sometimes I also mix some of the strained fat back into the meat mix as if you removed it all, the rilletes is a bit on the dry side

It's really a matter of trial and error to get the mix you want

Good luck