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, September 09, 2016

Warning ! Meat !

This was Tuesday, at our friends, Sophie and Ruud's place.

They had decided not to keep their two calves till next spring, which would mean they'd had to feed them all winter at an extra financial cost. The calves had been weaned and were grazing over the summer months. The meat of such calves is called rosé veal.

The actual slaughter is done by the local butcher, but I wanted to give them a hand with de-boning and cutting up the meat. Ruud and Sophie have helped us so often and given us so much over the last few years. It was totally my pleasure. To top it off they are both exhausted after a full spring and summer looking after their homestead and growing veg for the local pubs and restaurants.

At the end of the day, I took home the bones and pulled a fantastic stock.

I picked the meat off the bones , which got divided into 1.5 kg meat for veal croquettes which Sophie likes to make and more than 1 kg went for a veal terrine in aspic. 

Which is basically the meat with stock and extra gelatin.
When firmed up completely, slices can be cut and eaten between a sandwich or roll. A chunk of it would go well as part of a ploughman's lunch.

The lesser meat I kept for the dogs.

The fat that surrounds the kidneys (suet) I rendered down to tallow, excellent for frying chips/French fries.

Everything is now packed and ready to deliver the goodies back to these dear friends.

From experience I know that keeping and butchering animals is an Herculean task, and to move all the meat in one day needs an army of people ideally. And then there is the clean up ! 

Heh heh (that's a contended sigh in Dutch/Flemish), I think I missed my calling. I should have been a butcher. ;-)

Have a grand weekend !
Patricia xxx...x


  1. All that meat will keep them going for a while x

    1. You'd think that but they have 6 kids of which 5 strapping young lads with a great appetite. ;)

  2. How nice that you were able to return a favour. It always surprises me to see how much meat you can get off one carcass.


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