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Archive for November, 2008

Halfway the cruising week, two chefs decided to cook a meal for everyone, including all five crew, eightteen people in total.

I thought that was a great idea, although the idea of having all guests running around in my barge kitchen was a little scary, but why not…. 

In order to do this meal we suggested to go to the big covered market in Avignon, Les Halles. An amazing place! There are poissonieres (fish mongers), bouchers (butcheries), fruits et legumes (fruits and vegetables), spices and sweets. Also lots of boulangeries and patisseries, of course. They spent a good hour racing around the open market to find the best ingredients. Tour guide Nico had quite a job to keep track of all thirteen people, but he succeeded to come back on the barge with all of them. They even had the time to tour Avignon town, he brought cold bags to store the shopping.

The first idea of the chefs was to prepare a Salad Nicoise with lots of veggies. I think I looked a bit disappointed, because that is something we often eat ourselves for lunch. There was a lot of discussion going on and then this was their proposal:

 

Jay - One of our Guest-Chefs

Jay - One of our Guest-Chefs

*As a starter a leek and pear soup, followed by Ceviche (Poisson Citron) from three kinds of fresh fish including a beautiful swordfish, with crudités of assorted veggies, salad and citrus-braised Brussels sprouts.
*As the main course BBQ’d Tuscan Ribeye, on the barbeque, marinated in lots of fresh garlic and a good handful of rosemary (from the barge’s herb garden), a potato dish they had learned from a Tuscany adventure.
*As dessert two large apple and pear galette’s

The guests had to cook in both barge kitchens while cruising. That took some coordination. It was very serious cooking. They made their own chicken stock out of carcasses and a fresh stewing hen (purchased complete with feathered head and feet – luckily, they knew at least how to ask the butcher how to cut the head off!) All fish, meat and vegetables fresh and nicely cooked, the dessert was made from scratch. It took some time to convert the measurements, to find all pots and pans they needed, but it worked! It can give some funny things if you do not speak or read the French language, like trying to beat milk into whipped cream, just fun!

It was the first time guests offered us to make a meal and also the first time I’d ever sat eightteen people for dinner on L’Etoile.

It all was absolutely divine!

We were impressed, a big “thank you” to our guests!

With this group we were able to dine outside, on the sundeck of the barge, the weather was still great, although we cruised in October!

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Cruising in tandem

Cruising in Tandem

Cruising in Tandem

About the last cruise in tandem. A lot of fun! A group of 13 people, too many to accommodate on L’Etoile. The idea is to cruise the same itinerary with two barges following each other. We had eight people staying on L’Etoile, five on the other barge.  While cruising, the guests can decide on which boat they want to cruise that day, as long as we have the numbers on each boats. Lunches, although prepared by the two chefs, were mostly served on each barge seperately, to keep the program more flexible. All the dinners took place in L’Etoile. And it did fit! Now you can imagine how great that was! The two chefs divided the work of preparing of the meals, for example, one chef prepared the starter, the other chef the main course, so guests could appreciate the best creations of both chefs! Soon it became clear, that amongst our guests we had several other chefs on board. The second day the idea came up to have the last dinner on board prepared by the guest chefs to give us as ‘barge chefs’ a break What a fantastic idea. Next week I will tell you more about it, it all turned out great!

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