T, T What Begins With T?

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Fixed me up some T-bones this afternoon.  Played T-bone Tetris.  Though, for those who like to match things absolutely perfectly no gaps snap shut click clack snap 2 points … my T-bones won’t resolve that feeling, but they look great.  And they were very tasty.

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We also used some T things to get our Farm Stay ready for guests.  If you want to do the brick tile thing … you need the ‘T’.  Keeps the tiles straight.  I learned a little something about tiling this weekend.

And we fed our friend, who helped with our villa improvements, a T-bone steak.  T for tastebuds.  T for tender. T for thank you.

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Grassfed And Beefier Than Ever

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“What a great year!” says the grass farmer raising cattle.  “When will summer begin?!”  says the lovely residents of Country France.  Wow.  We’ve been here over five years on the farm and I’ve not seen this combination of sun/rain/sun/rain/no freeze deal.

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The grass is so tall ( how tall is it? ) so tall that a photo at tit level, you can’t see the top of the seed heads.  … and I am a tall lady.

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The chickens seem to be establishing camp well.  Though, for the next lot, we’ll mow it down.  Every good chicken loves freshly mowed grass.

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And I cooked up the last sample from our BBQ box.  We’re trying out another type of steak box to see how it scores on flavor and tenderness.  We have tried every piece of meat that we raise.  Scrutinising it.  Adjusting our farming methods.  Then, sampling again.  It’s a slow process.

Remember Chicken?

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Our third lot of chickens have been sold.  We managed to grab one for tasting.  I’ve done a lot of photos of beef and pork while spending very little time with chicken.

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It’s nice to see what you are buying and how it looks in the kitchen just before dinner.  Our chickens are large by French standards.  I used huge potatoes so the scale is a bit off.

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Also working on roasting chicken.  Lucy likes crispy skin.  Otto likes the leg.  Minty likes the white meat.  Zelie likes the mashed potatoes.

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The family was very pleased with the flavor.  This chicken tastes like chicken.  It had the smell of chicken.  The texture of chicken.  Some salt, some pepper and a whole lot of pasture.  I’m excited to keep working on this.

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Guest Chefs

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We have strangers over to help with the farm.   Very cool.  We found each other through a program the matches people who want to work in exchange for interest in your farm, food and a bed.  I’m very selective of those who want to work with us.  I have a very high bar.  Every moment of every day is about this family, this farm, these animals and this business.  So, when these guys contacted to help out, they said, ” I want to work on your farm!”  A few email messages later, I felt they would be a good fit for the farm.  And tonight, we celebrated our countries.

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Two Australians and one American.  Tonight, I handed off my kitchen to our guests to make a meal from their country.

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Though we are from America, America is a very big country.  Our American friend is from the south.  So she rustled up some southern vittles.  Fried Chicken, Brussels Sprouts, Potato Skins.  She was limited to frying in duck fat, which gave her southern cuisine that Gascon touch.

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Our Aussie guests made Pavlova. …. my most favorite dessert ever.

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The girls popped off to the market and found some fresh berries … yep … fresh berries in November.  Pavlova is a treat in late Spring / Summer Australia.  To make it in November in Gascony was challenging.

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American guest showed me how to make buttermilk.  Living in a land without buttermilk, this was a nice thing to learn.

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I’ve only ever made Pavlova as an American-to-Australia newbie.  Watching it being made, I learned that I need to put in a bit more effort in presentation and general smoothing of the cream.

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This gal didn’t realise just how much fried chicken she was to make to feed this crowd.  You can see it with the tong position and side-eye.

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Her potato skins were a huge hit.

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and the fried chicken.  Otto ate and ate, then went to bed.  Five minutes later, ” mom can I have another drumstick?”  Yes, Otto.  Then brush your teeth.

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Pavlova!

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Zelie loved all of it except the mango.

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Without Flake or Tim-Tam, we chucked in a Cadbury Finger to complete our meal.

… and tomorrow, I should capture the work they’ve done.  I love it when work gets done to push the farm forward.

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Hot Bowl Of Food: Cowboy Casserole

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Resident teen and ex-British Public School Girl was given Brent’s favorite cookbook of the year, “School Dinners.”

She picked Cowboy Casserole.  Dominated by baked beans, this sausage-y, potato, tomato, onion sludge faired well in the Curtis household.

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Seeing as the Hot Bowl of Food was edible, the head chef has authorised future trials with teen cook and School Dinners book.

 

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Bedfordshire Clanger

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“We are most of the way there.  Calves are coming.  Mostly smooth, but some need a little special attention.  It was all-on day today, for me.  Not a moment to break.”

I started this post last week, but was arrested by “Bedfordshire Clanger.”  I went back to the computer, as I do because everyone and animal takes me away from sitting on my arse gazing into the interwebs like a zombie that was held hostage in a deep cellar for ten years. …. aaahrg.  Look!  moving pictures with sound!

Wikipedia, pert on my screen, describing the Bedfordshire Clanger.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedfordshire_clanger

The Bedfordshire Clanger gives you these sensations, in one sausage roll.  Only if you eat it from left to right:  Amuse-bouche, entree, fiddly salad, more wank, the real meal deal followed by dessert … and, I assume, coffee.

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It’s a dish for farmers in the field.  Now that I’ve heard of it, I suppose I should give ‘er a go.  Why was it on my screen? I don’t have a clue, ask Brent.

I’m surprised Pizza Hut wasn’t on this.  Think outside the cheese.  Stick it in a bucket … or a roll?!

Otto moved some logs.

And that calf up at the top?  Lust For Life,  Brent had to pull him out.  Quite an effort, but he is great!  and running around like a he-nut.

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The cake that Minty made for the school?  Zelie ate it.  So Zelie had to make a new cake for the school.

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Check Out This Book

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He says.  Well, okay.  I’m always up for a culinary challenge.  Let me randomly pick a recipe.

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Okay, one can of Le Spam.  This could take some time.  … thankfully.  Perhaps a duck confit substitution?  or another random recipe selection.

Brent Spilled The Beans

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Someone, we’ll call him “Joshua,” sent us beans for our new ( used ) coffee grinder.  We gave them a go.  Brent poured them in the hooba-joob.  It went a bit crazy so some beans escaped into the post-grind dispenser.  Don’t worry, we spent a few minutes herding the beans back to their paddock and we carried on.

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Zelie was our barista today.  Sassy, so keep your order straight.  Don’t give her any lip.

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First shot was great in taste, but needed more tweaking with the grind.  After a sip, we tipped it into the coffee ice cream bucket.  Great for coffee ice cream, not perfect for espresso shot drinking. Another tweak with the grind.

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We really love the flavor.  Maybe because it’s from England.  Maybe because it was a gift.  But really, I think the coffee was genuinely lovely.

( partial eclipse of the shot )

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Brent decided it was time to try a latte.  That’s when the crema really shined.  Perfect shot.

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He’s a “flat white” man, but for the camera, he did a bit of froth.  A “flat white” is an Australian coffee for a person who doesn’t want all the sprinkles and froth.

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Brent demonstrates his coffee art.  We never know what he’s going for.  It’s a mystery.

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The final product often ends up as a scorpion or a Shmoo ( I’ll let you look that up ).  It’s like reading tea leaves.  Today was a Shmoo.

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Latte sips and Cadbury chocolate, things are right in this world.  Thanks again, “Joshua!”

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For Christmas Dinner, A Capon

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A cock without balls.  Grows fast because “he” has nothing to defend.  Salmon, mashed potatoes and peas is what we have each year.  But we aren’t in Seattle anymore.  Salmon is not cheap and not available in December.  We tried a chapon this year.  Available everywhere at a good price.

Advised by James Beard, it came out okay.  Juicy and yummy.  I’ll need to try the chapon a few times  before I get my groove.

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Served with mash and peas and veg, things turned out allright.

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Z found Otto’s Nerf glasses

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and she worked it

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and worked it

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she is

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did you notice the mini cans of Coke served with swirly straws?

Meat Delivered Succesfully

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Meat day today.  Brent usually does the run to Narbonne and Toulouse.  A bit tough to juggle the cow move and meat box packing and cows, so I popped out this time.  As I drove out of rainbows towards The Med, the weather improved steadily.  I kept adjusting the cabin temperature from keep-me-warm to cool-me-down.

I was to meet a lady by a gate I’ve not met.  She suggested an alternate place as the meat was to be transported elsewhere.  I met her by a white tent and a solar tribute to The Day of The Triffods.IMG_5282

Beef was off quickly after we met, so I headed back to meet another customer in Toulouse.  As I was leaving, music blaring, I didn’t hear “Aussie Ken,” our GPS system, to take the exit.  I read the signs and had to quickly figure out … do I want to follow the yellow tarmac to The Med or back to rainy country Gers.  What would Keanu do? IMG_5296

So hungry, I pulled off at Corbières for a Gourmet Angus burger.  It had Angus, it had bacon, it had sauce, it had NO flavor.  The sauce carried the meal along.  I was so hungry, a cracker would have done.IMG_5292

Paying for the not so free way, this helicopter hovered like this carrying or supporting or I don’t know what to these power lines.IMG_5297

Home at last.  As the veal burger and chop for our taste test were cooking, Champagne man shows up.  A present from Brent to me.  Speechless.  Champagne is very dear to my heart.  With all these babies and giving my body up for other’s lives.  The only thing I missed was Champagne.  I loves me some Champagne.  And Champagne man makes the best bubbly I’ve ever had.  Amazing.  Even better if it’s pink.  And it was.  I can’t wait to try it on Champagne Saturday.   You can’t drink Champagne in farm wear.  You must wear something nice ( read clean ) and put a little effort in.

… underneath Mr. Pink, we have some spare veal burgers.  Held back on purpose.  Very happy with these burgers.  Pink Champagne may go well with veal burgers.  I’ll let you know.IMG_5295