La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France at the time. We chose it while on the road, moving house the first time round, 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 we did and 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, after yet another stint in Ireland, we're back in France @ Le Mas d'Ayen

Friday, November 06, 2015

Smokey Meatloaf

Why do I forget about the existence of meatloaf for yonks on end ? Is it because it has grown out of fashion since, I don't know, the seventies ?  You don't come across recipes in food magazines, on the menu in restaurants, pubs or featured on cooking programs on TV.  Of course you'll find recipes on the internet, if you have had an epiphany all of a sudden and go looking for them.
I had such an epiphany the other day when I had already taken minced beef out of the freezer, meant for burgers. I didn't have an appetite for burgers and then I  noticed our fresh chorizo sausages in the freezer. Meatloaf !  I also grabbed a packet of smoked bacon while I had my head stuck in there.
You can go in so many directions with flavours. It is lovely straight (or after a 5 minute rest) out of the oven as part of your main meal or cold the next day with a salad or between two slices of bread.

Here is my recipe for smokey meatloaf.


  • knob of butter and a gluck of olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup of celery chopped (1 cup, but depending on the size of your hand, I'd say 2 handfuls)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few sprigs of thyme and oregano (woody stalks removed) chopped
  • 800 gr minced beef
  • 600 gr chorizo sausages, skins removed
  • 4 slices of white bread, in pieces, soaked in 100 ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp (or more) smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp proveçal herb mix (I have loads of it so I bung it in whenever or wherever)
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • a good grating of nutmeg, about 1/2 tsp
  • 1 heaped tsp salt
  • 1 heaped tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • smoked bacon, to line the dish. Streaky is better, but I grabbed the back bacon first. 
  • Heat the oil and butter in a pan and sautee the celery, onion, carrots with the garlic, bay leaf, oregano and thyme. Stir regularly and cover with lid. The vegetables need to be translucent and tender.
  • Leave to cool and take out that blimmin' bay leaf.
  • Bring all ingredients (except bacon, of course) together in a bowl (glass or whatever), dive in with your hands and mix well.
  • Line the bottom of an ovenproof dish with bacon and fill with the meat mixture. Press down well and cover with more bacon.

  • Put the dish in a preheated oven 200°C (fan assisted) turn back the temp to 180°C after 15 minutes and bake for a further 45 minutes or until the juices run clear. If you have a thermometer, the internal heat should be around 70°C.
  • Leave to set for 10 minutes and pour off excess fat.
  • Scoff the crispy bacon that is on top quickly. Or put it aside to serve with your meal.
  • I turned the meat upside down on a plate to reveal the 'other' bacon, so no one is any the wiser about the crispy slices.
  • Cut chunky slices and serve however you wish.
The texture of the warm meatloaf is less dense, thus more delicate in comparison with the fridge cold specimen.

I made enough to put some in the freezer to consume at a later date. With the run up to Christmas it is always good to have some food ready to go.

I suggest you do the same. You'll thank me for it later in December. 

Have a grand ol' weekend.
Patricia xxx...x

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