I was expecting to hear by email, this news that I've been anxiously awaiting for ten days, but it arrived by post, as I was lying on the sofa in a trance, covered in a purring cat fur coat watching the snow falling and listening to St. Paul's cathedral choir singing Christmas carols. Between ding, dong, merrily on high and silent night the post lady gave a toot toot and handed BB a thick white envelope bearing a Paris postmark. For years now I've been talking about doing a cookery course and I finally went ahead and applied to the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in Paris last week and I've been accepted to do the basic cuisine course in March. So I'm off to live in Paris for three months. How good does that sound?
The envelope contained the usual admin stuff - terms and conditions of payment, tuition fees payment form, internal rules of the school, housing information - and a measurement sheet for my uniform. I've never worn a uniform for work before - unless you count the Batman cape I had to wear in court. BB, whilst happy for me, is sad that I'm going away for so long but I can always pop back for the odd weekend (three hours by TGV) to re-stock the freezer with PC dinners. I'm so excited.
To celebrate I made my favourite winter comfort food - tartiflette - and because I was feeling in such a generous mood, I didn't fight BB for the crusty cheese bits stuck to the sides of the (chipped) dish.
2½ lb/1.1 kg potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
½ lb/225 g bacon, diced
½ cup white wine
1 large Reblochin cheese, cut in half horizontally
salt and pepper
1. Boil the potatoes until just cooked. Drain and cut into chunks.
2. Heat the oil in a frying-pan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until golden brown then add the bacon and cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Place the potatoes, onion and bacon in a large ovenproof dish and season with salt and pepper. Place the cheese halves rind side up on top and pour over the wine. Bake in the oven at 350°F/175°C for 20 minutes.