Holding a fresh shark

Holding a fresh shark

I apologize for all the french people out here for not spelling the above  title correctly but it kind of sums up what we are doing here perfectly. I was planning on posting something here yesterday but…. unfortunately the internet connection was lost. The wifi was connected only the day before yesterday and we are sort of in the middle of nowhere (biggest places Gueret is 20 km from here and Limoges is I think about 80 km so not exactly close) so any regular connection is not existing. Rob had a special antenna placed so there is at least a better internet connection then via a telephone line, but it’s still a bit shaky.. 🙂 But if you can read this; that means we had a connection plus it has its charms to be out in the country right?

Yesterday we had planned to go to the market in one of the little places around here but one of the markets was not there and the other was so small that we only bought some goatcheese and nothing else. So we ended up going to the Carrefour again.

We bought loads of fresh produce and then once back we had to come up with a menu to make.

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The menu for yesterday was as follows:

Soup of roasted peppers with creme fraiche and basil

Smoked shark with rocket and lemon mayonaise

Beefstew with red cabbage, pear and mashed potatoes

Pannacotta with mango

Now I don’t know about you guys but I had never had shark before (called saumonette in french and apparently it is sold as sea-eel in some countries)

and I totally totally loved it.

It was first rubbed in seasalt and left to rest for about 30 minutes, cut into portions and patted dry with kitchen towel. Then it was put into the big green egg with Jack Daniels wood for smoking…

Absolutely delicious; the lemon mayonaise it simple. Fresh mayonaise, with some lemon zest and about the juice of half a lemon and you’re good to go. The french mayonaise is quite good, so you can use that as a base or simply make fresh mayonaise from scratch.

The beefstew was maybe my favorite…. We used a large piece of beef (I think it was 2 kilo in total but then we are with 12 people) and first removed the tendons where necessary. The beef (at roomtemperature) was then marinated for about 30 minutes at least in red wine. Briefly sauteed in various portions (if you put all the beef in a pan at the same time, you end up cooking it, instead of frying it. That is not what you want!) and then we put it in the oven with all the marinate. The beef was seasoned with salt and pepper during the sautee part. We added some whole cloves of garlic (including the skin), onion and a little later in the process some mushrooms and crispy bacon bits. In total it simmered in the oven for about 2 hours (in a crockpot) but just check when the beef is done, as you do not want to overcook it.
I seriously think it was the best stew I have ever had and combined with the red cabbage and mashed potatoes it was a delicious meal.

The pannacotta was just big enough. The previous day we had made two cakes (one lemon and one chocolate ) and while delicious it was a bit tooo much after a rather heavy meal! So the pannacotta was a better portion and delicious as well. As a base for the pannacotta I used this recipe and then just substitued the cranberries for the mango. The sugar got reduced to 90 gr (for 3 portions of the recipe) and I mashed some of the leftover mangoes into the cream before pouring into their forms.

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After such a meal it was time for some of us (…) to stretch their legs in a battle of tabletennis. 🙂 And did I already show you our gorgeous sleeping room, which is in an old cowstable and one of the best things is that – while it is pitch dark inside with no windows – it is fabulously cool!! Totally love that… plus… we have no mosquitos!!

Our sleeping quarters in the former stable

Our sleeping quarters in the former stable