26 May 2010

Wildlife Encounter – Part 2

Last year I wrote about the hare I’d inadvertently killed when I hit it with my car one night….

Here is Duff holding him, freshly killed, all those months ago …

And here he is on Sunday (the hare, not Duff)...

He’s been kept in Rose-Marie’s freezer all this time, and as le chasseur (hunter) extraordinaire, I was invited to join the group for Sunday lunch at Claude and Ilyette’s.

And not just a nosh-up – it was the full French Sunday lunch affair. The starters/apperos were a treat –

- a fine spread: the local Lucques olives from Claude's olive grove, home-made lucques tapenade, onion tart, dried ham and some marinated artichoke hearts from Claude's garden.

The lucques olives are grown in this region - they are a speciality at the Oulibo Olive Factory two kilometres from Bize. They are absolutely divine - the nicest olives I have ever tasted. In fact, my favourite foodie writer David Lebovitz (whose Paris food blog I have become a great fan of), writes enthusiastically about them here.

And with this lot, no occasion would be complete without starting with the famous blue champagne punch. This batch only used two bottles of champagne. But it disappeared in a flash, and the ensuing discussion arrived at the conclusion that three bottles would have been much better.

Bea, in charge of stirring
Illyette and me - tasters

And the hare? Well, it was eaten with great relish and enjoyed by the 6 who ate it. I only tried a little, and I have to say that I’ll be happy in future to leave it to those who really like it. I find game in general a little strong, and this old fella was stroooooooong. Just look at the colour of it! And the back legs looked disconcertingly the same size as Aston’s which didn’t help a lot with my nearly non-existent appetite.

It was pointed out to me that as the bumper to my car is already broken due to the encounter with the hare, I should keep my eye out for any other wild game that I may be able to bring down when I’m out and about. I'm usually pretty good for a challenge - watch this space for Wildlife Encounter - Part 3.

I would have enjoyed everything a whole lot more had I been feeling better. I picked up a sore throat type thing in Australia 3 weeks ago, and it’s been constantly getting worse. To the point that I actually had to go to the doctor in the village. It’s the first time I’ve had to go in France because of illness – other times just for a referral, immunisation, etc. Anyway I’m on antibiotics for a lung infection – and I have to say after my visit to the pharmacy, I came out feeling just that little bit more ‘integrated’ into life here. I've heard that a lot of French people do like taking medicines, and that doctors in general here are fairly happy to prescribe them. So I came out with 6 boxes of 4 varieties of drugs – nearly a plastic bag full..........

And I have to say I’m enthusiastically taking them all! I’m not good at being ill and I’ve had enough of being off-colour!

It was especially annoying on Sunday as I had to make my apologies and leave at 3pm, when the others were staying on for an afternoon by the pool, followed by dinner. Now, that’s what I call a Sunday afternoon…..

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