I replied saying that as far as I could tell, people who eat slowly are invariably really boring. I believe this to be almost universally true. I also suggested that next time my friend start stealing bits of food off the other man's plate to hurry him along a bit.
I too find people eating too slowly really irritating. It is surely a sign of some deep seated anality and is the sort of behaviour reserved for deputy headmasters and people who think there's no more fun that can be had on a Sunday than to do some knitting whilst listening to radio 4.
I am not saying everyone should wolf down their food like the Simpsons, but at least you know they are enjoying what they're eating. Chew chew chew chew, if you sit opposite me doing that I'll punch you in the face. Then you'll have an excuse for eating so slowly, a broken jaw.
Anyway. It wasn't my rant originally so I shall stop there.
Today's dinner was one of my favourite things in the whole wide and beautiful world. It's not cheap, one of the ingredients can't be bought in normal shops (I had to go to Harvey Nichols, even Selfridges didn't have any confit de canard) and it takes a while to cook. It is however really fool proof simple and absolutely delicious. Cassoulet, or to be more precise, Cassoulet de Castelnaudary - the only true cassoulet.
I love cassoulet. It must be one of the greatest inventions of all mankind. I used to cook it quite often (before my Nosh-Blog) and would make various types, sometimes tomato flavoured, changing the meat or sausages, trying different herbs and spices but it always comes out great. I have noticed that the real traditional type of cassoulet is a bit much for the British who find it a bit overwhelming. Most people think it's delicious but can't eat more than about half a portion before becoming overpowered by the richness of the thing. In order to overcome this, drink loads of red wine (we had a chateauneuf du pape and a cotes du rhone) and you'll be in heaven.
The cassoulet below is pretty traditional except I used canned beans. I couldn't get any Toulouse sausage
so had to go for some saucisson sec - it was still mighty fine beans, mighty fine beans indeed.
Tarte au Citron: You can't get much better than a tart au citron after a plate of beans.
Cassoulet de Castelnaudary
2 Slices Pork Belly
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Can Haricot Beans
1 Bunch Fresh Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
2 Rashers Bacon
2 Pieces Confit de Canard
50g Saucisson Sec
200ml Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp Duck Fat
*All quantities are very approximate and for two people