I am the lucky beneficiary of at least two daily updates on our ever-expanding pigeon family. Today I know more about pigeons and pigeon lifestyle than at any time in my life. If you need to know anything whatsoever pigeon-related, I’m your girl. Our original four birds have become eight and, despite a very shabby start, the flyabout father pigeon has evolved into The Father to Beat. His days are spent sitting on eggs, or afterwards sitting on the featherless babies to keep them warm. He then alternates food distribution and baby-sitting the young pigeons’ clumsy first attempts to fly. Luc takes full credit for this transformation from carefree yobbo to devoted father and husband.
Meanwhile, Léo is in Bordeaux torturing his landlady, who is a masochist. If you were someone who preached and worshipped at the alter of ‘Neat as a Pin’, would you say to yourself: ‘Oh I’ve got a good idea, I’m going to rent the apartment right next to my house to two 18-year-old boys’? Although strictly-speaking she shouldn’t, Madame and her masochism go and check the state of the apartment about once a week (her nerves couldn’t take any more). Every time there is a little surprise waiting to inflame; the no smoking sign turned upsidedown, a strategically placed pile of dust in a cupboard, a single sock as a tap glove… (I know this because she sends me rambling text messages, detailing how my son is driving her insane). Last week, Léo’s flatmate had stuck a message to Léo on the fridge door along the lines ‘don’t touch my fajitas mate!’. Her rampant OCD got the better of her – she actually corrected the spelling mistake with a red pen!
I’m daydreaming about freedom in the snow-clad pyrenees, and organising a cross-country skiing trip, as the downhill ski resorts are closed. Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that my plans will be scuppered by another imminent lockdown.
This hearty dish would make perfect après-ski fare. There’s no harm in dreaming!
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 chicken thighs
4 Toulouse sausages, cut into rounds
1 tin of peeled tomatoes (or homemade if possible)
White beans, precooked
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 red peppers
A sprig of rosemary
1 glass of white wine
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon (or more) paprika, chilli powder or Espelette pepper
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Chop the onions and garlic and add to the olive oil in an oven-proof casserole dish. Cook until golden and then add the chicken and sausages until golden-brown on both sides. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, then add the beans, carrots and red peppers. Last of all, add the anchovies, rosemary and white wine, then season to taste and cook for about an hour, making sure during cooking that there is sufficient liquid.