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.