Every three months I take a trip to see Cyril, my podologue, for a foot service–an essential on a diabetic’s check-up list.
Eyes next month.
It’s a relaxing 45 minutes–he has a naturally calm manner and doesn’t flinch at my halting French.
We chat while he gently works.
He’s signed the French version of our petition au sujet de l’église, he tells me.
“Merci beaucoup, Cyril!“
He told me he and his wife are expecting their second child–a girl–in three weeks time. They are favoring “Rose” as a name.
I booked another session in the first week of April and, stepping lightly on my “new feet”, headed across the road to the car.
I started pondering dinner–before lunch.
(One can never be too prepared….)
“Ah!” I remembered a friendly family butcher (husband and wife) nearby whom I occasionally frequent–and I recalled a one-pot recipe in Delicious Dishes that calls for spare rib chops, white beans and oranges. See recipe below….
Both husband and wife were busy working as I entered.
“Une bouchère, Monsieur!” [One of us is a woman, Sir!]
“Ah–tout a fait!–excusez moi, Madame! Est-ce que vous avez d’ échine de porc?”
“Deux, s’il vous plait–assez fines [not too thick].”
Comfort food again.
I picked up some broccoli at the quiet Tuesday open-air market in Castres and headed home.
A couple of nights ago, I’d mis-timed the broccoli; it was ready too soon–so I drizzled it with olive oil, seasoned it and sautéd it a low flame to keep it warm.
When it came time to serve, one side was slightly charred but it tasted GOOD. I enjoy happenstance in cooking and decided to try it again–deliberately!
It works–and made a nice color contrast to the pork.
This lovely autumn/winter comfort dish is based on one by the talented Frances Bissell.
2 x 400 g/16 oz tins/bottles white beans
4 spare rib chops (echine in France – these are the tastier ones)
1 onion – sliced
1 stick celery – sliced
1 tsp coriander seeds
150 ml/5 fl oz/1⁄2 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper
chopped fresh coriander or parsley
The timing for cooking depends in part on the thickness of the chops.
Heat the oven at 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.
Rinse the bean and pour into the oven proof dish you will serve from.
Brown the chops well in a non-stick frying pan. (No oil needed as the chops are a bit fatty.)
Lay them atop the beans.
Brown the onion and celery in the same frying pan – the fat from the chops will be enough to cook them in.
Lay them on the chops.
Carefully cut some strips of zest from one of the oranges.
Bury these in with the chops and beans.
Squeeze the juice from the two oranges over the chops.
Crush the coriander seeds and sprinkle over. Add the stock.
Cover and cook in the oven for about 2 hours.
Check after an hour to ensure that there is enough liquid–but be careful not to add too much–or the concentrated taste of the sauce will weaken.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Before serving, sprinkle the chopped coriander or parsley over to garnish.