Wednesday, July 1, 2009

vin de noix

Now that I'm able to type without my fingers blundering all over the keyboard in a series of false-starts I can report that the BBQ was a huge success. Having been put in charge, I delegated most of the tricky stuff tout de suite to my 'Operations Manager' BB, leaving him to work out how to get all that stuff up the mountain. In the end, it turned into a Top Gear-style challenge, with two battered old C15s fighting it out to get as far up the steep rutted goat track and as close to the cabane as possible - which they managed to do to within a short distance, but not without the loss of an exhaust pipe.

Despite having agreed the menu in advance, everyone turned up bearing a little something of their own. So, to the already groaning table - sausages stuffed with apples and onions, tranches de gigot d'agneau (slices of leg of lamb) marinated in fresh mint and olive oil, giant crevettes the size of baby lobsters, bruschetta, tomato and red onion salad, corn on the cob with lemon and garlic - was added little bouquets of parsley, a jar of pickled wild mushrooms, fingers of courgettes, new red wispy-skinned potatoes still covered in damp soil, a creamy blue cheese dressing, griottes, fresh raspberries, a bottle of walnut wine and a goats' cheese.

After lunch some of us played boules, while others (me) went for an (involuntary) dip in the fountain or sat on the grass drinking wine and admiring the snow-covered peaks of Mont Blanc in the distance.

Roquin brought along a bag of green walnuts for me - smooth husked, like an unripe pear, with a sharp clean astringent smell - since we no longer have our own walnut tree. It's the time of year to make vin de noix (walnut wine) which is drunk as an apéro. I use the 40/40/40 recipe, used by everyone round here - 40 nuts, 40 spoonfuls of sugar (about 1 kg) and leave for 40 days. This year I'm going to add some cloves, cinnamon and lemon peel.

Vin de noix
40 green walnuts, quartered
5 litres red wine
1 litre gnole (or pure alcohol)
1 kg sugar

Place all the ingredients in a container and leave for 40 days in a cool dark place. Strain and bottle.

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