Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dehors ou dedans - outside or inside?

A couple of years ago Joe came down from England to the house on his own and stumbled on what is an annual event in many communities around here, the repas quartier - or the community meal. It is a simple bring and share supper which gives the local community the opportunity to get together socially. He enjoyed the evening very much and I was really looking forward to this year's event - and had been thinking about what food to make and take. Did I go for English food, French food???????

We got a slip of paper in the letterbox announcing that this year's meal would be on 29th June - bring food and perhaps a song or poem...

I thought about our Jubilee tea party and decided to make coronation chicken and put it on slices of baguette. Then I had some sausages and some flaky pastry so decided to make sausage rolls. That was a total nightmare, the pastry was so soft that I found it really hard. I managed 18 then popped them in the oven and looked at the rest of the pastry - what could I do with it? I had grated cheese in the fridge and mixed it in with the pastry, sliced it and made cheese straws - very yummy! I also made a Victoria Sandwich. That was it - variety  - nibbly stuff and cake! We waited and watched - the forecast was not very good and sp it might not be outside the lavoir after all - and we did not know where else it would be.

The meal was advertised for 7pm start but we knew that rarely soes anything start on time and this proved the case!

After realising that nothing was happening outside the lavoir  - and it was quite cloudy - we asked our next door neighbours where we were going - "follow our car " he said so we loaded up our car and off we went. We arrived at the edge of the village and parked on the roadside. Already people were arriving with plates of food which they were putting in the barn.

We stood around a little uncertainly then a table was carried out and glasses of cremant poured and some nibbles put out. The meal was starting!

Melon pieces were put on the table and some slices of bread with pate on them, then came a quiche and I decided that this would be a good moment to put out the Coronation Chicken and the cheese straws. I need not have worried! THey went down a  treat! Someone assumed that our Swiss neighbour Heidi had produced these. I was really proud as she is a fantastic cook so I was pleased to have my food mistaken for hers!
I explained about the recipe - the ingredients and how it had been invented for the meal that took place after the coronation in 1953. Apparently this was one of the few meals that could be eaten by all the international multi-religious guests.
The sausage rolls also came out and disappeared very fast!
Marie Antoinette runs a local b and b around the corner from us and she organised for the tables to be carried out so we could sit outside in the evening air to complete the meal. In the meantime the foods were divided into savoury and sweet and laid out in the barn then we were invited to "servez vous" - help yourself.
The food and the wine flowed on each table!
Our Swiss and Dutch friends were on this one!

And on this table 3 Americans from Ohio joined us!
Desserts to help yourself to!
From the youngest to the oldest everyone joined in.
Even a dog was brought along!
And as the evening went on we realised that this was a great way of meeting our neighbours - some of whom we have never seen before! And there we sat, and chatted as the sun went down and the moon came up!
Thank you to our neighbours - and all who have made us so very welcome in Toury Cortambert!

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