When The Tour de France Comes To Town

The mighty Tour de France sweeps across the country once a year, and the excitement is palpable.  Not to mention the traffic jams, which are monumental, and the TV coverage, which is virtually uninterrupted.

Certain of us have been dreaming about the Tour de France for lo these many months.  To have it pass close to home is a cyclist’s dream.

For that reason TV watching has been at an all-time high around here, although I have to admit that some of us get more out of it than others.

When not glued to the tube, Shel was plotting a way to get to the Tour without getting stuck in traffic for hours.  This in fact did require some rather extensive advance planning

since his idea was to avoid parking woes by riding on the back of a friend’s motorcycle, which necessitated the purchase of some protective gear in a hard-to-find size on account of his, er, large brain.

Now, for those of you that have been complaining that this blog contains too many pictures of Shel and none of me, let me just say this about that:

Voila!  But me, I was plotting something completely different, since you’d never actually catch me on the back of a motorcycle no matter how cute I look in a helmet.

What I was cooking up was a dîner Maillot Jaune, a yellow jersey dinner, by which I mean that I invited some friends to come to dinner on Friday for a meal of the national cuisine of whoever was wearing the yellow jersey on Friday morning.  And guess what?  It was Cadel Evans, an Australian.

A quick look at Google revealed that a sizeable portion of Australian cuisine involves cooking either kangaroo, wallaby, emu, ostrich, crocodile, or wichity grubs, none of which are widely available in France.  For which, in the case of wichity grubs, I am deeply thankful.  Fortunately, they also eat a lot of lamb.  So, meat being the order of the day, we started with

Australian meat pie, which was surprisingly delicious, with an Aussie rosé.

For the main course there were Lamb Burgers with Goat Cheese and Beetroot Salsa,

a salad made with just watermelon, sweet onion, and shredded mint that was one of the most refreshing things I’ve ever tasted,

and a nice potato salad with mint and bacon.  There was an Aussie Shiraz-Cab to go with this that was, let’s just say, much appreciated by the guys.  If you’ve ever described a wine as macho, you probably know what I mean.  I must have been wussified by French reds, because this one was way too hot and heavy for me.

And for dessert, Sticky Date Pudding that was apparently ecstasy-inducing, judging by the sounds emanating from our guests.

If you want to try this at home, the lamb burger recipe is here, the meat pie is based on this one, although I added some Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and Viandox to the meat filling, and the date pudding is here.  I did add a spoonful of molasses to the pudding, because the French brown sugar is quite pale.

Let me also say that someone’s large brain forgot to take the camera along to the Tour’s departure from Nîmes, which is why you’re looking at pictures of meat pie instead of biker beefcake, but hey, we have to think about food sometimes.  There’s more to life than incredibly strong and buff guys on bikes, although you’d never know it these days.

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8 Comments on “When The Tour de France Comes To Town”


  1. we love your blog.


  2. … a sizeable portion of Australian cuisine involves cooking either kangaroo, wallaby, emu, ostrich, crocodile, or wichity grubs, none of which are widely available in France.

    This is just not true on several counts: Firstly roo, wallaby and emu are available in France and many restaurants serve these meats. Wholesalers such as Austral Gourmet and France Autruche even employ French chefs to come up with appropriate dishes for the French palate.

    Next, there is no reason for ostrich to be part of Australian cuisine as it is an African bird.

    And lastly, Australian cuisine is really all about the fruits, herbs, spices, seeds and nuts which are indigenous to Australia. Then there are the flavour oils like Paperbark smoke oil and Bluegum smoke oil, extracts and seasonings, sauces, syrups and more – all uniquely Australian and absolutely delicious!

    If you are interested in learning more, please refer to http://www.cherikoff.net and gain an understanding how the food resources of the world’s longest living culture are becoming the basis of our authentic Australian food style.

  3. Abra Says:

    Thanks for your perspective, Vic. Of course, since I’m not a restaurant I don’t have access to those meats, and the fact that I find a zillion recipes on the web using them certainly can’t be taken to mean that they’re the basis of Australian cuisine. I’ve had a few indigenous products that are delicious, but that are completely unavailable here. As always, with any cuisine, one does the best one can with what one has. I’m glad to hear that Australian cuisine is alive and flourishing.

  4. Rocky Says:

    As a fellow member of the Huge Noggin Club, I can appreciate Shel’s difficulty.

  5. Debra Lane Says:

    It all looks great Abra and add me to the list of people who is glad to see your smiling face!

  6. queenie Says:

    Watermelon in France? Does not compute (though it looks wonderful)!


  7. Bacon Bookmarks…

    Remmrit.com user has just tagged your post as bacon!…

  8. LA Says:

    Whilst native game mates are eaten in Australia especially Kangaroo, we are famous for our beef, lamb and seafood.

    The Aussie BBQ is a huge part of our culture and is as much about the social event as the food.

    My BBQ would typically consist of various cuts and of beef and lamb and seafood, BBQ’d over Australian Ironbark wood and seasoned with Australian Herbs and spices and condiments, bastes and marinades, flavoured with Australian herbs, spices, fruits and oils such macadamaia oil.

    Of course the traditional meat pie and Sunday Roast Lamb is also a staple and deserts such as Pavlova and the lamington are uniquely Australian.

    Some other dishes of note- Carpetbag Steak and Apricot Chicken.

    Unfurtunately there isnt much to go by on the web and I noticed wikipedia is completely incorrect.

    Your meat pie looks fantastic!

    Cheers,

    LA


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