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

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ossobuco Milanese

My first ever encounter with ossobuco was on my first visit with the parents of my first 'serious' boyfriend. Lots of 'firsts' in that sentence. That was 36 years ago (where has time gone ?). My then boyfriend's mum, Nadine cooked this delectable, succulent, fall apart meat dish. 
When finished all four of the family where looking at my plate. "Don't you eat the marrow ?" Ready to pounce. "Oh, you eat that ? Okay, I'll eat it too then. " That's when I was completely sold.

It's been on the menu regularly since then in my own home, whenever I can get my hands on veal shin, that is. And that was a while ago now, until Sophie gave me some, from their own rosé veal the other day.

Ingredients for 2
  • 2 to 4 disks of veal shin (2 to 3 cm thick)
  • flour to coat the meat (seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • olive oil (a glug)
  • 50 gr butter
  • 1 or 2 carrots, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 2 celery sticks, washed and chopped finely
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and grated or finely chopped
  • 5 sage leaves
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • a few shavings of unwaxed lemon peel
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 200 ml veal or chicken stock
  • seasoning and chopped parsley for finishing


  • Give the meat a dust bath in the flour. I usually do this by putting flour and seasoning in a freezer bag, drop in some meat and shake it around while closing off the bag with your hand. You don't want to give yourself a dust bath, do you ?
  • On the hob heat the olive oil in a deep and wide enough frying pan to place the meat in one layer. Brown the meat crusty on both sides. Put them on a plate and set aside.
  • Turn down the heat and melt the butter. Add the vegetables (carrot, onion, celery) together with the lemon zest, garlic, thyme and sage. Sautee until soft.
  • Turn the heat back on high, place the meat on top of vegetables and pour in the white wine. Let it bubble until the wine has reduced by half.
  • Add the stock and return the heat to the lowest setting, cover with lid and simmer until the meat is tender.
  • Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper.
  • Sprinkle over the chopped parsely.
Serve this with creamy polenta, risotto or plain rice. We went for cappellini.

A year or so after the first visit with the boyfriend's parents, his mother made this again. It seems like we came full circle. He broke it off with me after that.
Oh well, I added a great dish to my repertoire and I've since met my wonderful husband, Bert. 

Patricia xxx...x

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