Staying at Home with Tony Goodman

Bonne année

Xmas and the New Year are done and dusted. It was in its own way quite delightful to have a quiet Xmas, just the two of us for the first time. Quiet  conversation, a modest well thought out menu. Small glasses of wine retrieved from the very back of the corner cupboard. Face time and Zoom sessions with friends and family. Background music from  Kings College, jazz and blues favourites and  the live broadcast from Notre Dame Cathedral on NYE. Enough sun to occasionally sit outside for an hour of so. We agreed we could get used to it.

Notre Dame Cathedral

There are varying views about the speed funds were found to restore this absolute symbol of Paris and France. Looking from afar or up close or personal, regardless where you stand, seeing it returning is quite satisfying, one of the very few bright spots in what will be recorded as a very uninspiring 2020. The brief Noel recital from an eight handed hard hatted choir was quite satisfying.

Théâtre de l’Archipel

Following last week’s postponement due to problems with the heating system, the theatre presented its live on-line concert. An interesting exercise it invited viewers to select which pieces to play for a quite large selection. Normally programs are decided and rehearsed until the orchestra is pitch and tempo perfect. One can only assume they rehearsed all the items on the menu. While no substitute for being there it went well. Often on line sound lacks texture, in this instance it was quite vibrant. Next live event, Friday 22nd January, 12h30.

Seeking spiritual guidance

Over the Xmas break, I enjoyed a long-distance discussion over the question of single malt and blended scotch for Burns Night. During the discussion I was pleasantly surprised to learn that apparently there are an increasing number of top end whisky producers in France! Thinking it could be a possible subject for some humble jottings, I’m seeking recommendations on where to start my research.  Any and all suggestions, links and comments gratefully accepted. Please send them to

Tender midday minute steak

During the lockdowns, I’ve been trying to improve my cooking skills. Under the Xmas tree I found a rather vicious looking small spiked hammer. A meat tenderiser. It’s proved quite useful.

Cut and trim any cheaper cut of beef or veal. Remove as many tendrils of sinew and gristle pockets as possible. Once done, dry and lightly flour, season and then taking a meat tenderiser hammer the meat until it’s uniformly thin. Don’t be shy, it’s surprising how much pounding it can endure.

Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so then give it a fresh dust of flour and perhaps a final light once over with the tenderiser.

Heat a heavy pan and add a decent amount of butter and a dash of sunflower oil. Get it sizzling before adding the meat, take care as it will spit. Turn it over almost immediately. Don’t wander off, don’t let it overcook. It should only take around a  minute before its done. While cooking baste with the butter and oil.

Remove the steak and add a teaspoon of finely chopped shallot. Fry the shallot just for a moment or three, then deglaze the pan with a dash of white wine, whisk and allow the flour to thicken the juice into a sauce. If so inclined, add a good grind of black pepper, a sprig of fresh thyme and a dash of crème.

Plate up by pouring a small amount of sauce in the centre of the plate. Place the steak on top then drizzle a small amount of the sauce on top of the steak. Decorate with finely chopped parsley.

Serve with a green salad and one or two small whole boiled potatoes. Accompany with a light red such as pinot noir

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