“Doctor, Doctor, my arm hurts when I lift it up like this.”
“Don’t do it then.”
One of Matt’s favourite jokes when he was younger. And to be honest, his jokes are no better now. But I do love him for his sense of humour and bonne nature. Matt is our holiday rep: organising the fun activities for adults and children alike. He is also the calm one in any stressful situation.
As we are always away on 15 August, a catholic public holiday – La fête de l’Assomption, we try to join in with the local festivities. Our trip out, whilst on holiday at Montpon- Ménestérol in 2015 nearly ended in disaster, however. Josh, whilst eating a hog roast barm roll, starting choking on a piece of pork. Matt, like a super-hero, calmly swooped in and undertook the Heimlich manoeuvre, saving our son. Dusting him down, Matt turned to Josh and said: “That was a close one. We nearly had to call a hambulance!”
This is one of Matt’s favourite French dishes. This recipe is the closest it gets to chef quality. No joke.
1.4kg (3lb) diced beef * 1 bottle of 750ml red wine * 3 garlic cloves, crushed * bouquet garni * 85g (3oz) butter * 1 onion, chopped * 1 carrot, chopped * 2 tbsp plain flour * 200g (7oz) bacon lardons * 200g (7oz) shallots, peeled but left whole * 200g (7oz) small button mushrooms
Put the meat, wine, garlic and bouguet garni in a large bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. Pre-heat the oven to 165oC/325oF/Gas 3. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade and bouquet garni. Dry the meat on paper towels. Heat 30g (1oz) of butter in a large casserole dish. Add the onion, carrot and bouquet garni and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Heat 30g (1oz) butter in a large frying-pan over a high heat. Fry the meat in batches for 5 minutes or until browned. Add to the casserole dish. Pour the reserved marinade into the frying-pan and boil, stirring for 30 seconds to deglaze the pan. Remove from heat and put to one side. Return the casserole to a high heat and sprinkle the meat and vegetables with flour and cook, stirring constantly. Pour in the marinade from the frying pan and stir well. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly and cover. Cook in the oven for 2 hours.
Then heat the remaining butter in a clean frying-pan and cook the bacon with the shallots for 10 minutes on a low heat. Cover and stir occasionally until the shallots are softened. Increase the heat, then add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes until brown, stirring. Drain on paper towels and add to the casserole. Cover and return back to the oven for 30 minutes until tender. Discard the bouquet garni and serve with Pommes Anna.
Note: Make your own bouquet garni by wrapping string around fresh rosemary, fresh thyme and dried bay leaf.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
There are more recipes in the section THE FRENCH COLLECTION, a selection of authentic French recipes.
Perfect with: click on image