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Published: September 19th 2015
Eating with Skippy
Thank you for your various comments on this blog.
A question I get from time to time is about the standard of cuisine on board Skippy.
Well here is an answer that will hopefully dispel your fears that I have forgotten how to cook. I can assure you hat I still like my tucker, and the environment en la belle Francais is as inspirational as it is rewarding.
So what did we have for din dins tonight?
Answer: Fish and Chips of course
When we were at the market we saw a poissonnier and bought some fillets.
Then I coated the fillets in flour ready for a quick fry.
With a few spuds peeled and cut lengthways an some carottes and haricots prepped up, and we are ready to turn on the gas.
The pommes de terre crisp fast and so do the pieces of carotte. In the meantime a dipper of eau is hotting to boiling point. Dunk the haricots and remove from the heat and start warming the second
pan for the sea perch and hit it with super hot flame to form a crust on the flour dunked fillets. ( Skippy has a super fast Smev gas stove- but that’s another story).
So in a very short time here we are with lightly seasoned fish fillets and crispy potato wedges and some carottes and haricots in support roles.
What would you sip with that?
Well of course from the cave, a 2004 bubbly Thiercelin Carte Noir Brut that we picked up a few days back in up in Epernay (Champagne region). The range of vinos is extraordinary. Stuff like Moet & Chandon commands a premium here in France for no particular reason than the fact that they are one of the bigger producers and they have a good export market. Champagne’s best selling label is Mercier. Moet and Chandon export 80% of their product. But overall the French consume 62% of their champagne wine. What this means is that excellent drops - arguably as good as the stuff that gets exported - are consumed in France. One place we visited had stock form over 350 Champagne region producers. Most
of the stock (say 90+%) was priced at around E20. While the hot shot mentioned above might command higher prices, M Jean and Ms Claudine average French drinker is not prepared to pay E30+ for the high profiler and prefers equally good Champagne at half that price. I am sure if you were local and on the ball that really good well aged champagne from top quality grapes and made in exacting facilities might be bought for under say E15 a bottle. We often see top shelf champagne in ordinary supermarkets at around E17.
Vino is fantastic here and good quaffing rouge vino ordinaire can be bought for about 1E20 a litre or say 80 euro cents per bottle.
Back to the bottle of Champagne.
Of course we did not drink it the day we bought it. Ageing is supposed to improve it, so we kept it for 3 days. Lovely drop- a bead that lasted right to the last sip and an almost creamy after taste - not that I left much time between sips to savour the lingering bits.
But other days we have stuff like
Steak and vegies
Chicken and fried rice ( Chicken is invariably tender and juicy)
Pork ( hey you have to try the pok here – its so tender and cut so fine) and vegies
Basically - we eat well.
In the mornings we usually get a fresh baguette from a local boulongerie ( every little village has one or two) for brekkie with du cafe.
Morning tea is with local gateau and cafe and maybe some fruit.
Peaches and nectarines are still in good supply ( September ) along with grapes pears etc. Grade this produce on juicyness, taste and texture and at a bit over 2E50 a kg its top value.
Lunch might be another fresh baguette and jambon ( ham) fromage ( cheese ) and tea. Decent tea has been hard to find. But we keep trying. Everything else is available everywhere and so cheap –
it's like they pay us to eat and drink
So if you have been reading attentively you will note that by lunch time we have knocked over 2 baguettes – what a pain.
Bread varies from one country to another. Most European baker artisans do a really good job of bread. I am not going to comment on boring bread. But I earnestly suggest that everyone except the French artisans stop pretending to make bread immediately. While French bread might go stale by early afternoon and a new stick needs to be purchased for le midi, their pain is never dull, boring or painful .
In the evenings after the bountiful main course I have described above we scrounge a bit more fromage and crisp tost or some gateau.
But life was never meant to be easy .
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