Tag Archives: côte de boeuf

Fried Onion Rings on a 5:2 fast diet feast day

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Apparently fried onion rings are an important part of Thanksgiving in America but most people buy them in cans which I can’t even begin to imagine. It would be like buying tinned battered fish surely. But I checked it out on the Internet and would you believe it, one of the popular brands is called French’s and they are called French fried onions which I have never seen in France …


I got the Thanksgiving information from the Bread is Pain Food blog but more importantly, I also learnt how to make them. Now in the past, this is not the sort of thing I would have even thought about making because of the calories. However, now that we practise intermittent fasting, I don’t have any qualms.

I want to give Jean Michel a surprise which is easier in a large house than in an apartment. He’s in the workshop trying to flush out the sludge from our in-floor heating system which has not been working very well this winter.


I’ve already prepared the baked vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, sliced green pepper, parsnips,  butternut pumpkin and beetroot. Yes, beetroot, bought raw and baked. I’d never heard of it until I had lunch at Susan and Simon’s from Days on the Claise. Delicious.

I’ve sliced the onion (you only need one for two people) and beaten the egg yolk and milk together in a soup plate. Bread is Pain’s recipe helpfully says “a little milk” so I put the equivalent of an egg yolk. I’ve put flour in another plate.


As soon as I hear Jean Michel raking the embers in the fireplace upstairs  in order to grill the côte de bœuf, I put a centimeter of oil in a deep frypan (sauteuse) and turn on the heat.  I dip the onions in the egg mixture and then roll them in flour after which I put everything in a zip lock bag and shake to get rid of any surplus flour as per Bread in Pain’s recipe.

When the oil is hot (I test with a small onion ring to see if it sizzles), I add a layer of rings to the pan. I turn them over and start to get a bit worried. They do not look like the photo in the recipe. I turn them again and lo and behold, they are starting to be golden. I had turned them too soon.


I scoop them all out when they’re done and put them on a paper towel then proceed with the next batch. This time, I am more expert. I try one. Out of this world! When they are all done, I take them triumphantly upstairs to an amazed Jean Michel. He doesn’t know they are onions and it takes him a couple to identify what they are!

I had thought they would be a bit greasy and heavy but they’re not. The taste is actually quite delicate. I’m going to make them for Christmas and stun the kids as well.

I love the 5:2 fast diet!

Meeting the Neighbours in Blois Part 2

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Each time we’ve come down to Blois since we signed the final papers in April, most of our waking hours have been spent getting the gîte ready and planting potatoes in the rain. So this time, we decided we’d have a holiday. Yesterday was our first “work-free” day so after a côte de bœuf cooked on the barbecue in the garden, admiring our reflowering wisteria, we cleared the table and set off for a walk in the twilight. These are the longest days in the year when it doesn’t get completely dark until 11 pm!

As we were walking up our road on the way back from a long ramble at about 10.30, we saw two couples about our age in front of a house whose ivy-covered front façade gives directly onto the road and could hear them laughing and saying, “Shh, not so loud. Don’t be so noisy” – in French of course. So as we got closer, I said, “Who are these people making so much noise in our street?”. Everyone laughed and I introduced us as their new neighbours. Relationnel chipped in, describing the house. “Oh, yes, then you must be the Australian!” came the reply! Once again, my fame had gone before me. Mr Previous Owner had obviously been paving the way for us.

We chatted and joked for a few minutes, then Françoise suggested we all come inside for a digestif, explaining that they had been celebrating her husband’s birthday. We accepted with alacrity. Françoise and Paul arrived in Blois 24 years ago from the Paris area and found intergration into the local community difficult at first. Since Françoise has a degree in English and Paul works for an American company, they have hosted many English speakers over the years, mainly youngsters, but Françoise told us a very funny story about a 74-year old American who came to stay and was surprised at the lack of air-conditioning. She even wanted to change host families but in the end, Françoise was able to get her into the local bridge club and, from then on, things improved considerably.

Their neighbours from just a couple of doors down, Liliane and Alain, are real locals. Well, not quite. Lilian is, as she, her parents and grandparents were born in Les Grouets, which is the name of our neighbourhood. She knows all the local history and was able to fill us in on the area. I had noticed Alain’s accent but didn’t like to ask where he was from. Not that he would have minded. He’s a great wit and obviously the life and soul of any party.

It turns out he’s Solognot from the region called La Sologne, between the Loire and Cher rivers and only a stone’s throw from here. It’s known for its forests and lakes and was a favourite hunting ground of kings and princes. Its most famous châteaux are Chambord and Cheverny. You may remember that we went to a huge brocante at Chambord in May.

We learnt from Paul, who’s in IT, that we’ll be getting a fibre connection in 2014, which is wonderful news. Françoise brought out her iPad (oh, wasn’t I jealous!) and took photos so I told them about the blog and the Loire Connexion community for anglophones masterminded by Summer Jauneaud. Françoise was delighted because she doesn’t have a lot of opportunities these days to speak English.

The time slipped by incredibly quickly, no doubt helped along by some sort of mint on the rocks digestif and we didn’t leave until well after midnight! What a wonderful start to our holiday ! And very encouraging for our future life at Closerie Falaiseau.

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