For those uninitiated, this series is about the time I spent cooking on a goat farm in France. It was bonkers. This is part IV which, happily, comes after parts I, II and III. Part IV is about The Sanglier That Came to Tea, and you’ll get a courgette fritter recipe too. I think this is going to be the last instalment because I’d like to go back to writing recipes as badly swung limericks, or pretending to interview more baked goods, just to fill up your already-stressed brains with more unhinged bollocks. Naturally however, I have many more stories about the goat farm so catch me via tin-on-a-string if you fancy going to the pub to hear them. But back to the current blog post:
The Sanglier That Came to Tea
Sanglier is the french word for wild boar, although my favoured cards-against-humanity synonym is ‘feral hog’. Anyway, there are stacks of feral hogs in the Ardèche (the French region I’d essentially abandoned myself in for the week) and as such, one of Greg and Evelyne’s friends made the most fantastic boar pate, which came in one of those squat glass jars with the metal-hinged lids and bright orange seals. It was while heaping this pate onto thin slices of baguette that Greg told about the Sanglier That Came to Tea. I actually had to stop eating while he told this story, because my jaw was hanging open the whole time, and watching half chewed pate is probably worse than reading James Joyce’s love letters, so I ceased masticating (alas, James Joyce did not cease masturbating) and I listened. The story goes something like this.
A few months ago, a feral hog had trotted up the garden path, stopped to admire the craftsmanship of the newly built stone wall, and then invited itself into the farmhouse. At the time, Greg was sitting with a friend and a bottle of red at the table, and couldn’t believe his eyes when the great beast daintily picked its way down the cut granite steps into the basement living room. Apparently the hog had made a determined but unthreatening beeline for Greg, then flopped next to his feet and didn’t move for hours, perfectly contented with cosplaying a dog – only one that was made of pork and had tusks. Even more astoundingly the hog decided to sleep over, curling up peacefully under the bed beneath its newfound hosts, having followed them upstairs late in the evening. Greg even offered to cook the hog breakfast the next day but it politely declined, and saw itself out in the morning like a good house-guest. The hog came back to the garden a few times over the next few weeks, but never ventured into the farmhouse again. Perhaps it had worked out that Greg was married so only allowed itself to watch from a distance, lest the emotional pain of unrequited love become unbearable at any closer proximity.
Obviously I didn’t believe Greg at first when he told me all this. What an absurd tale; a wild animal coming into the house and no-one making a fuss? (I later found out the Evelyne had indeed made quite a fuss when she came in after the milking, but by that time, Greg and the hog were planning a holiday to the Bahamas together, so he wouldn’t let her shoo it away). But the more questions I asked, the more plausible the story became. When, inevitably, I asked if Greg had imagined how delicious house-guest-hog sausages might be, he looked at me like I’d suggested shooting his mother. No, this was a special hog, he said. This hog snored. This hog probably liked listening to Debussy on Sunday mornings. This hog practically smoked a pipe.
There were photos, apparently, but Greg’s iPad was at the repair shop (that’s actually a whole other story concerning an antique sink and a sick Pyrenean Mountain dog) so I couldn’t view them, but Evelyne was there to tell the tale too. I had to belive them. I asked if they’d named the hog at the time, but they said no. I’d have called it Homer.
So, here ends the story of the Sanglier That Came to Tea. You can have a recipe for low-carb courgette fritters now, as a treat.
Low-carb courgette fritters (goes well with wild boar pate)
Makes around 17, possibly 8 if you’re drunk.
- A massive courgette, or like, three normal ones, around 800g
- Two enormous handfuls of grated cheese; cheddar will do but I used emmental last time
- Three eggs
- The zest of a lemming
- A mug of almond flour
- Salt & pepper
- Boar pate, to serve (optional, obviously)
- Fresh tomato salsa, to serve (not optional – you HAVE to have tomato salsa or the pound will actually collapse)
Find a box grater but don’t grate any boxes with it; that’d be silly. Instead, grate your courgettes on the coarse side, then add around half a teaspoon of salt to this and let it sit for 5 minutes so that osmosis can happen and lots of water starts leaking out. You don’t want any of this water, so squeeze as much out as possible. Most recipes will ask you to do it in a clean tea-towel but I’ve never seen a clean tea-towel in my life, so use a sieve and your hands, or a colander and your hands, or simply just your hands. Discard the water. Or freeze it and make courgette ice cubes to make disgustingly salty ‘spa water’. Baha.
To the squeezed courgettes, add in your three eggs and lemon zest, mixing well – I find that using your hands is easier than a spoon here as you don’t destroy any of the courgette’s texture. When I made these fritters on the farm, I actually used warm chicken’s eggs straight from the cloaca, which was an unusual sensory experience under the fingers, to say the least. When everything is nicely incorporated, add the cheese, followed by your almond flour and let this sit for around 5 minutes so that some more of the moisture is absorbed.
Next, get a frying pan hot and pop in some butter or oil to coat the bottom. Grab palm-sized handfuls of the fritter mix, and shape gently into patties before sliding them luxuriously into the oil. They should take around 2 minutes on each side to go a lovely Gordon Brown, but be careful flipping them, as they’re not the most structurally integral of beings. It’s also probably important not to make them too big, as they’re harder to flip if large. When the first batch is done, you can either eat them as they come off the pan, or slide them onto a plate lined with kitchen roll to stay crispy and keep them warm in the oven while you cook the rest.
Serve with boar pate and/or fresh tomato salsa. And don’t think about James Joyce when you’re eating them.