In early May, most of the local “Course Landaise circuits” are in full swing, battling it out for the best acrobatics, dare-devils and those individuals who are just plain crazy!
What is the Course Landaise? It is a locally adapted, respectful version of the Spanish “Corrida” bullfight, without the blood and glory aspects of its better known spectacle: Man against beast!The Course Landaise is a tribute to both young men and women who dare to stand in the sight of a charging “vache”; usually a bullock or heifer that has had their horns taped. The charging “beast” is then tethered to two handlers to make sure that if the acrobat does not move in time, there will be a “manual adjust”! Thank goodness.
The Course Landaise begins with much local fanfare and those infamous BRASS BANDS — hoompa, hoompa …ing their way through the whole event. All good fun and very enjoyable. The ‘beasts’ aside, where no harm is done or crime committed, it is then up to the bravado of the acrobatists’ and aerialists’ to engage the audience with daring leaps over the oncoming, charging animal or they just might take a dainty side-step and twist in the nick of time. Others bravados with no fear, will put on a blindfold and tether their ankles by a bandana noose and vault over the oncoming ‘beast’ to land very demurely on two feet, surprisingly upright without so much as a scratch to either animal or man/woman! The bravado of the young dare-devil now brings the crowds to their feet with much clapping and cheering, all much appreciated.
Points are scored by officiating judges based on dexterity, ability and sheer brazenness. The participants progress up the summer calendar to a grande finale in the late autumn.
Other variations of the Course Landaise include the Encierra. Of particular note in the GERS is the one in Nogaro during mid-summer. This lively and popular local version of the famous and notorious Pamplona, running of the bulls, is a much anticipated event and a “must see” and must do! A few photos to peek your interest. Yes, even horses can be seen enjoying a beer in the bar escaping the heat of the sun!! More to follow in mid-summer’s Out and About in Gers.
A RECIPE TO PLEASE AND TEMPT YOUR SUMMER GUESTS.
Adapting local culinary delights to suit our much ‘beloved’ must have home foods. Mine is: TEXAS FAJITAS using that marvellous “Magret de Canard”
Ingredients for 6 – 8 persons:
8 – 10 Tortillas (1 -2 per person depending on size)
4 x Magret de Canard (scored for pan frying or grilling)
1 x medium white onion (finely chopped)
2 x large yellow onions (sliced)
2 sweet red peppers (sliced)
2 sweet green peppers (sliced)
1 clove of garlic (minced)
4-5 stems of cilantro (coriander chopped
6 medium tomatoes (chopped)
4 x avocados (mashed)
3 x tbsp Crème fraiche
2 x tbsp Cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
Small jar of sliced pickled Jalapenos (green or red)
Pinch of granulated sugar
2 x fresh squeezed limes or concentrate
½ head of shredded iceberg lettuce
4- 6 oz. grated cheddar cheese
Method Prep and Presentation:
Cook magrets to your desired style. (I prefer rare). Very thinly sliced like a filet mignon and arranged on a large platter.
Sautee the 2 x yellow onions and red and peppers in the residual duck fat. Great taste!
Place the sizzling onions, peppers and onions over the sliced duck.
Extra servings of accompaniments: Bowl of grated cheese: Small bowl of crème fraiche; Small side of Jalapenos: shredded lettuce.
PICO de Gallo:
Add finely chopped tomatoes, 6 – 8 diced jalapeno slices and the finely chopped cilantro and 1 finely chopped white onion, mashed garlic, lime juice, vinegar and pinch of sugar to a bowl. Season to taste with salt and maybe a drizzle of olive oil. I also add a little jalapeno juice for extra kick! Can be prepared 4 – 6 hours in advance. Just drain off excess liquid.
To the mashed avocados add 2 tablespoons lime juice (save the avocado stones), a little salt and pepper, a little chopped tomato is also good, a little chopped garlic (easy on the garlic) and a good two heaped tablespoons of crème fraiche. Fold all the ingredients into each other. A few avocado chunks is good. Adapt the seasoning to taste. Again, I usually add a little Jalapeno juice! Put one or two avocado stones in the guacamole to keep it green and fresh. (Tex/Mex secret). Put in an airtight bowl and refrigrate. Will keep for 4 hours.
Everyone takes a tortilla and piles on the ingredients… Roll up and enjoy!
Two good side dishes are grilled zucchini and eggplant drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.
Serve with frozen margaritas or frosted mug beers!
Best dessert to follow: Crème caramel, Crème Brulée or Croustade with vanilla ice cream.
ENJOY YOUR TEXAS FAJITAS FEAST!
Rosemary is an American-Brit transplant living near NOGARO. She runs a year round hospitality business as well as being involved in keeping her pen to paper, cooking and entertaining for family and friends. She is also an avid cook! You can contact her for any local info at email@example.com
Images: Shutterstock and Rosemary Droxler