La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

We started the summer kitchen

As I will be serving evening meals for holiday guests from this summer on, we thought it might be a good idea to turn the stone shed next to the kitchen into an outdoor cooking area.
This means I won't have to be indoors all day, while the weather will be treating us to another beautiful summer.
We started opening up 2 of the 3 'window' openings in the wall all the way to ground level.



I worked on this together with our Norwegian volunteer Aase (pronounce Ose). The stones we took out will be re-used in a wall near the swimming pool. And although Bert (my OH), scratched is hair in disbelief that we were taking on to many projects at once, he served us with some useful tips and advice.

It cannot be denied that this view beats the 4 walls of the indoor kitchen. We will install a gaz BBQ, a sink, a small fridge and work surface.

We'll also have a dining table for when we fancy eating 'semi' al fresco. And I already bought a wisteria to give us lots of blooms in the coming summers.

By the end of May I'm hoping to show you photos of the finished product.

Take care

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

William's Pancetta Wrapped Salmon with Balsamic Lentils


Thanks to William, http://theboydonefood.blogspot.com/2007/03/first-past-post-or-not.html this was our dinner last night. It was absolutely to die for, even my mother, who thought she wasn't to fond of lentils, scoffed it and asked for seconds.
I added asparagus because I still had some that had to be used and it worked well.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Farfalle with Florence Fennel


Ingredients for 3/4 servings
500 gr pasta,
2 big bulbs of Florence fennel,
3 cloves of garlic,
zest & juice of 2 lemons,
1 tbsp sugar,
olive oil, a good gluck,
5 anchovies,
rock salt & cracked black pepper,
handful of black olives,
freshly grated parmesan
Preparation
Chop the garlic fine and add to some oil in a pan. Sautee, but make sure not to burn.
Remove outer leaves of the fennel and discard, rinse the fennel under the tap and cut into rustic chunks. The green herb can be kept to garnish. Put them in with the garlic and add the anchovies and lemon zest. Let it sautee till the fennel is tender (you might want to add a splash of water at some stage)
Add lemon juice and sugar. Season with salt & pepper and throw in the olives.
I hope that you took some initiative and your pasta has been cooked (al dente) at this point, so you can drain it now and stir it into the fennel.
Sprinkle with the chopped greens and parmesan cheese.
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