Sunday, 25 July 2010

Update, Cassoulet and TDF Final - Part 100

What a fitting day to have my 100th blog, the final day of the Tour de France! As from now, I will not be numbering on line, but that of course does not mean I don’t know where I've got to!

We have had a very busy week with entertaining on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, both provided and received. For Wednesday, we had planned to go to see a local village named Tusson, (TDF rest day) but this was the only day we had rain, so we ended up staying at home.

By the time the next blog is on line, it will be back to ‘One of us’ yet again, as Nigel flies back to the UK early on Tuesday morning. I have another barbeque to go to on Wednesday night, an event which Nigel will sadly miss.

Returning to Monday night, we had David and family around for dinner.
We started out with melon followed by paté and French bread.  Not forgetting, of course, a choice of red or white wine. We then had my Cassoulet dish, which I have mentioned a couple of times on the blog before, but with only a link to my Recipe web site. I will now put it on the site in full.


Total time - 4 hours plus soaking of beans but well worth the effort.
Serves 8-10

800g/28oz Dried white haricot beans, pre-soaked overnight and drained
2 tbsp Goose or duck fat
1kg/2.2lb Belly of pork (with rind)
225g/8oz Tomatoes, chopped
2 stalks of Celery cut into ½ inch pieces
200g/7oz Carrots, sliced
2 Onions, each studded with 6 whole cloves
1 Bouquet Garni
4 Garlic cloves, halved
Salt and ground black pepper
8 pieces Preserved duck or goose (Confit) ( )
675g/1½lb Toulouse sausages
500 gr/1.1 lb lamb cut into pieces (optional- but this improves the flavour)

1. Place the soaked beans in a large saucepan, cover with fresh cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat the goose fat or lard in a large flameproof casserole, add the pork and lamb which has been cut into cubes and brown on all sides. Separate and set aside the pork rind.
3. Add the carrots, celery and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
4. Add the drained beans, bouquet garni, garlic, salt, pepper, onions and reserved pork rind which has been cut into strips ( I browned the rind first to remove some of the fat). Cover with cold water, bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and cook over a low heat for about 1-1/2 hours.
5. Preheat the oven to 170C, (325F, Gas Mark 3) and brown the sausages in a little fat.
6. Add the duck or goose confit and the browned sausages cut in ½ to the casserole, pushing them down into the beans, then transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for a further 2 hours, uncovered, pushing the brown crust which will form, back down into the beans with a wooden spoon several times during the cooking period (traditionally six times). Serve hot, making sure each diner gets a piece of all the meats. A meal in itself. Needs perhaps only salad to accompany.
This dish can be prepared well in advance and reheated or frozen for future use.
We finished off with cheese,  followed by a Baked Cherry Custard, which, in my enthusiasm, I forgot to take a photo of!!! 

Cherry Custard, Baked
1 tbsp butter
12 oz pitted fresh cherries, (I used my pitted frozen cherries)
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup milk
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla 
pinch of salt
Icing Sugar to sprinkle over the finished tart.

Pour the cherries into a buttered 4 pint baking dish. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl to form a light, thin batter. Pour over the cherries and place in a preheated 180C (350 F) oven for 45 minutes, or until cherry custard is browned and puffed around the edges, and the center is set. Allow to cool to warm or room temperature before serving. Sprinkle with icing sugar.
Serve plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Stage 19 - Bordeaux - Pauillac 52 km - 24 July - Time Trial

Andy Schleck (Sax) Luxembourg  eventually finished 31” behind Alberto Contador (AST) Spain in the stage. The Spaniard has effectively earned his third victory in the Tour de France at the age of 27 with a lead of 39 seconds – the fifth closest Tour in history. If only Andy Schleck’s chain had not come off in the mountains, it would have possibly been a dead heat!

The stage win went to the Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara (Sax) which was no surprise as he is at his best in time trials. Seventeen seconds behind was the German, Tony Martin (THR), and third yet another German, B Grabsch from the same team.

Stage 20 - Longjumeau - Paris Champs-Élysées 102.5 km - Sunday 25 July
The traditional fairly relaxed run-in from the suburbs into central Paris for eight laps of 7km around the central district and primarily on the cobbles of the Champs Elysees.

The stage win goes to:-
1. Mark Cavendish (THR) England (Four stage wins in 2008, six in 2009 and five in 2010 )
2. Allesandro Petacchi (LAM) Italy
3. Julian Dean (GRM) New Zealand

The final overall winner of the Tour de France is:-
Alberto Contador (AST) Spain (yellow jersey)
This is now his third win of the TDF

The young rider was won by:- Andy Schleck (Sax) Luxembourg (white jersey)
The points winner is:- Alessandro Petacchi (LAM) (green jersey)
The King of the Mountains goes to Anthony Charteau (BTL) France (red polka dot jersey)
The team award was won by Team Radio Shack.  Lance Armstrong's team was out in front for this award  yesterday morning, and the time trial results of yesterday wrote them into the history books. What will happen next year without Armstrong's participation in the TDF, we will have to wait and see!


  1. Yum. Your recipes always make me hungry. Too bad I don't much like to cook or I'd have to try some of these. Do you need a job as a chef? ;)

  2. The baked cherry custard sounds nice. Could you bake it again please so we can see a photograph ?!

  3. Gaelyn, I would be happy to be your chef, not sure that Nigel would approve:) Diane

  4. Jean give it a couple of weeks and I just may do that! Diane

  5. In our 4 trips to France since 2006, we have never had Cassoulet and for that matter not been there for the TdF. Maybe we should try you recipe at home in Melbourne. Bit like watching the TdF here. See more than being there.

  6. Leon the French family that came to dinne had never tried making cassoulet! The first time I made it was in the UK, but getting the duck confit was impossible, so I tried it with chicken. It was pretty good, but did not have the same taste obviously. It also dried out easily in the oven as there is much more fat in it when you use the confit. I drain most of it off but there is still enough to stop it from drying out. If the comments from David and family were anything to go by, I had obviously done a good job:) Diane

  7. We love cassoulet, but ingredients are sometimes hard to find in the USA. I do have a canned duck confit that we bought in the Dordogne which will be perfect. This will be made this winter in Florida. I love your recipe and will try to replicate it. Thanks.

  8. Oh the Black Cherry Custard sounds divine!!

    What a pity Nigel's visits seem to be over so quickly.

  9. What a perfect meal. The cherry custard was a perfect way to end the dinner. Your guests were very fortunate. I hope Nigel has a safe return journey. Blessings...Mary

  10. It was so much fun to watch the riders and the country side.
    Yes, here in the states we are wondering about next year's team.
    Know you will miss Nigel but hope you do enjoy the bar-b-que.
    Love cherry pie and fresh cherries - so I bet this custard is also delicious.

  11. Susan we have the same problem in the UK, but I plan to take some confit back with me this year for winter. We can get the sausage over there, so that is not a problem. Hope you enjoy your cassoulet when winter arrives. Diane

  12. Joan the time has just flown and he does not want to go back:( This will be a long spell as he will only return now in October to help me clear up. Diane

  13. Thanks Mary, it is not a long flight, but an hour to the airport. Then about 1 1/2 hours flying time and then a couple of hours drive home. Then of course he has to go and do all the shopping as there is no food in the house other than frozen. Diane

  14. Mya I hope Radio Shack continues but as you say we shall have to wait and see. I also love looking at the countryside as there is so much we have not seen. Diane

  15. What a lovely table you set. The cassoulet looks amazing and so does the baked cherry custard.

  16. You certainly held a nice dinner party. I love your cherry dessert; it's very similar to our cobbler, although your batter is much thinner. Safe journey to Nigel; when will he return again?

  17. Thanks Pam, it was a good evening all round. thankfully all went as planned. Diane

  18. Marjie thanks for the good wishes for Nigel. Sadly his leave has run out, so he will only fly in for a couple of days in October, this is to help me clear up and drive back with me to the UK for winter:( Diane

  19. Congratulations on your 100th post! The food all looks fantastic. I want to come to your house for dinner.

  20. Hi Linda, Just let me know when you are passing this way and we will make a plan..... Diane

  21. The food and presentation are good. Congrats for posting 100. Looking forward for more! Have a great day!

  22. Thanks Lani for your comments. Diane

  23. I love cassoulet and I've always hesitated making it. Yours looks doable and so good!

  24. Congratulation for your 100th post !

  25. Dedene , it takes time, but the effort is really worthwhile and it is not difficult. Diane

  26. Thanks Sébastien. I cannot believe how fast it has gone!! Diane

  27. I love Cassoulet! The first time I ever had it was when we were on holiday in hour later my then boyfriend (now husband) proposed! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe...I shall make it for him one evening as a surprise :-)

    Great blog...I shall definitely be back!

    C x

  28. Bravo pour votre 100ème publication et un second bravo pour cette recette traditionnelle bien française qu'est le cassoulet!!

  29. Carol it really is so yummy, I hope you enjoy it. The problem is getting the confit in the UK. I am thinking about bringing a whole lot back with me when I return for winter in the UK. Diane

  30. lejardindelucie - Merci beaucoup. Cassoulet est tres bien:) Diane

  31. The entire meal sounded absolutely scrumptious - especially the pudding - yum ! Your table also looked lovely ....

  32. Thanks Lynda for your comments. We had a great evening. Diane


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