Ginsters? Pah!

Food and drink wise there’s not much I miss having moved to France.

What I miss most are:

  • Mature Cheddar cheese
  • Samosas
  • Cornish pasties
  • Good bitter

Although you can buy Cheddar here – Wykes Farm and Seriously Strong mainly – it seems to be a tad less strong than back in the UK  and it comes at a price. I’ve found nothing produced in France so far that has the kick or bite of a good strong Cheddar, although Laguiole comes close, but is even pricier than imported Cheddar. However, we’ll be getting a few kilos of Cheddar when my brother-in-law comes over here in a few weeks’ time.

Samosas are a challenge. You can get them here, but they all seem to contain very fine glass noodles and they just don’t taste like samosas. Quite frankly they’re rubbish.

Finding a Cornish pasty here is a wild goose chase – and then some. It’s impossible. That includes your Ginsters crap – all well and good after a gig bought from the motorway services, but not a serious pasty.

Bitter? Well, you can buy bottled Spitfire, Speckled Hen and Bombardier, but it’s about £2.50 a bottle, so it’s an occasional treat. Most of the time I drink biere blonde – ’33’ and Kronenberg are often on offer and cheap too – which is a bit lagerish and sweet but chilled goes down remarkably well. Again, my brother-in-law can remedy the situation with a trip to Majestic Wine in the UK.

So, there’s not too much I can do with regard to Cheddar and bitter, but samosas and Cornish pasties are OK, because I can make them, and have.

Samosas are fine. I buy ‘brick’, a sort of filo pastry, and make my own chicken tikka filling. With brick they don’t need frying which cuts down on mess and although they’re not quite as authentic as I’d like, they taste very good and are a hundred times better than anything you can buy here. My comprehensive herb and spice supply is key.

Cornish pasties are a breeze. I buy ready made shortcrust pastry which is cheap and good and make a simple chunky filling of lean stewing steak, potato and onion seasoned with black pepper and sea salt. No swede – you can’t seem to get it here – and no carrot. I’ve modeled my pasties on some I had many years ago on holiday in Devon and my filling is as I remember it then.

I made a batch of pasties last night – four large ones – and here’s those very self-same bad boys as they looked straight after I whipped them out of the oven:

There you go – 4 very large pasties that cost about 5€ to make, which means the cost per pasty is about a quid – cheaper than a bought pasty and bigger and better too.

Having a better kitchen is going to make a big difference. For a year we had to use a stove that had seen better days with only three burners and an oven that tended to burn things very easily. Now we have a Stoves double oven with all the bells and whistles and cooking has just got a hell of a lot easier. We’ve also been able to unpack and store all our pots, pans and kitchen essentials so that we can have all the right things for various recipes.

This also means that Mrs Shark can get back to making goodies like muffins and other cakes.

Nom nom…

One Response

  1. […] A blogger’s view of life in France deprived of a regular dose of Cornish pasty […]

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