Sunday, 31 January 2010
Thursday, 28 January 2010
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
I am not much further on in my quest but it isn't for want of trying. I've just got to get out and about, do more searching and MAKE A DECISION!
Marmalade has been made and is being made. That's an easy decision to make each year. Two batches down and maybe three to go to ensure I have supplies for the year. David groans when I open a 5 year old jar which is sumptious! He thinks I should sell it at Harrods or somewhere better... It was hand-sliced! This year though I thought I would hand slice the peel the machine zapped the two batches! I have reduced the number of sweet oranges and sugar in my recipe and method followed during 40 years of loving MY marmalade. The result is a wakey-wakey, sharper, brighter taste. But of course, the flavour changes as it matures in the jar! I managed to buy 60 Seville oranges, then became seduced by the lemons, limes, grapefruit and sweet oranges. However, the latter have been eaten. They were delicious. Normally I don't like eating raw oranges unless I am in Valencia.
Captain Sensible has had his birthday ...see previous posting on this year's marvellous magical mystery tour. Are we both eligible for train or bus passes in France? Must investigate. However, I know because I tried it just before Christmas, we can get reduced costs at the cinema! My daughter's family is off to Mexico. Lucky treat for the three of them. My son is trying to get the sandschool completed, repair burst water pipes and find daily paid work. My partner is making photographic slideshows. Cleaning the house, tackling my muddles, becoming engrossed with computer activities, and cooking, appear to absorb my energies. We recommenced walking with the group. My piano lessons require practice at the keyboard. I have also started a new venture of pottery lessons. FUN! as I get to learn French. Likewise at our TEFL lessons.
This week I managed to persevere with a telephone call, speaking French to an administrative officer when she insisted I should telephone another number where they could speak perfect English because my French was "not perfect!" I stuck to my guns 'in French' and explained that we had conversed several times before Christmas without too many communication difficulties, and that despite the 'reputation' that some Brits have of not trying to speak French, I AM trying. She then became extremely helpful, even speaking English. Voila! it was a Friday afternoon so I think I will excuse her!
Each day brings something new ... but the days are passing too quickly!
Saturday, 23 January 2010
The Soup before the main meal was 'Broccoli, Lemon and Sweet Potato' but I won't serve soup again before a casserole even if it is Winter! Never mind.. the cheeses were good ... a Valençay in peak condition which was the most popular. Some Cheddar and Blue Stilton from England that friends collected for us graced the platter. We rarely succumb as we love French cheeses!
A very Citrusy Lemon and Lime pudding was delicious, but I got my timing wrong... it should have been served when the little puddies had risen and not fallen! This we served with a dessert wine called Coteaux de L'Aubance which also goes well with chocolate! This wine was a gift from out TEFL friends. It is a wine we had never heard of ... and we will definitely seek it out again. A trip to Anjou is forecast!!
The best part of the evening was the convivial GandL company ... it was good to see friends that we had not seen for some time.
Saturday, 16 January 2010
1. Chop the half leg of lamb or more or of other joint into cubes ...ish ...
2. Chop 2 onions and 2 cloves of garlic as finely as possible without becoming manic and sauté in olive oil.
3. Combine the meat, onions and garlic and add 4 large teaspoons of tagine spices to include cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, parsley, curcuma, salt and pepper.
4. Cover with plastic film and marinade in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
5. Heat a frying pan, brown the meat mixture to seal in the juices. Use extra olive oil if you wish.
6. Add some saffron stamens, paprika, meat or vegetable stock or water. You can pre-soak the saffron in water if you wish. We certainly don't use stock cubes so I added some leftover-efforts of wine-making from several years ago which was made from elderflowers from a cemetery cycle ride visit. It became halfway between a wine and a vinegar because it was not fermented at a stable temperature ...... so waste not, want not.... I used it as a cooking wine and I think it was the last bottle from 6 years ago!!!!!!
7. We put the tagine on the woodburner for slow cooking during the day whilst we went out on the MMT! The wood burner is a Nestor Martin and we can cook casseroles on top.
8. After several hours of slow cooking, take one preserved and pickled Moroccan lemon, (make your own about now for next year or buy expensively from the supermarket) cut it in half and remove the flesh and pips ... chop the rind into small pieces and throw into the tagine. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes more or less!. After that when you are almost ready to serve, add however many artichoke hearts out of a jar or can that you would want to eat, and heat and serve with couscous.
PS. If you have the tagine pot you could put this into the oven on a very low heat, escape for the day and return to heaven!
Friday, 15 January 2010
It has been Captain Sensible's birthday and he tells me he is not afraid to be proud for the approach of a 66th year and the achievement of the age of 65.
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Monday, 11 January 2010
Food. Oh joy ... to discover a cheese called Reblochon because a friend had warned us of the perils of Tartiflette. I made my own. I later discovered that the cheese I had bought had a red label and that really I should have sought one with a green label as that would have been made by "le fermier." The history of how this cheese came to be made is fascinating. In order to avoid paying too much rent, the cows were not milked fully so that the milk production appeared to be not very good. When the landowner had left, the cows were milked again and this milk was "hidden" and used to make the cheese. We discovered a white wine called Chignan. Delicious!
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
In France it is time for Les Galettes du Roi - from now until Shrove Tuesday when Les Crêpes supplant them!
When Louis XIV was King he decided it was pagan to indulge in the consummation of such Twelfth Night mediaeval cakes. He banned them. However, the discerning French peoples found a way around this and redefined the reason for baking, saying it was neighbourly to share such cakes and when there were no more "Kings of France" it was renamed a cake of Equality.
I prefer the Brioche galettes des rois because they contain crystallised fruits. These are Provençal. The puff pastry galettes des rois are filled with frangipane but often one cannot detect the marzipan at all! Inside these cakes for 4, 6, 8 persons, there is hidden a fève / a bean, nowadays a ceramic lucky charm. If you have it in your slice of cake then you are the king or queen for the day and can wear the crown. In shops and at vide greniers you can buy the fèves as some are collectable. We have heard one story that says the bean was often swallowed to avoid the winner buying a round of drinks!!! In the childrens' group, whoever won the charm had to bring a cake the following week!
ON A DIFFERENT NOTE
We have in recent days spoken to French people in French and been able to converse, to be understood and to understand. The French person knows how to profit from every day and every occasion. Each day there is a lesson to be learned.
Tuesday, 5 January 2010
Friendly Songs UK is new to Europe. Ideal first time business, limitless possibilities, low cost start up and no selling. Agents required in all areas. For further details go to: www.friendlysongsuk.com
Monday, 4 January 2010
Whatever your business or event we can design, create and host a simple, affordable and appealing website. We offer a complete package including dot com name, photo enhancement and search optimisation of your text. Go to:
Saturday, 2 January 2010
Friday, 1 January 2010
Two days ago I made Tartiflette, which we ate half of and the other half was eaten this evening. To accompany it we bought a white wine we had never heard of: Chignin 2008 from the viticulteur, PASCAL RAVIER. It is a wine from Savoie and the name pertains to the region. The grape is Jacquère de Chignin. It is a pale golden coloured wine, holding its fresh, light, mineral taste in the mouth. We later discovered it is good with seafood and also potato dishes such as Tartiflette. This I had heard of as a recipe but did not know what the ingredients were.
So it is an excellent wintry dish served with a green salad dressed with hazelnut oil.
Layer slices of cooked potato and sauteed onions, with maybe some garlic, and lardons (bacon). As I do not eat pork I added mushrooms instead of bacon. Then a Reblochon cheese is sliced in half horizontally and arranged cut side down onto the top layer of potatoes. Bake in an oven about 180℃ until the cheese has melted and crusted on top.