Tuesday, 4 August 2015


My friend Margaret gave me one of these last Autumn. She also gave me strict instructions to save some of the seeds for sowing this Spring; which I did. 

It's called 'Delicata', and is probably the finest Squash I've tasted to date.

I usually grow Butternut Squashes, which I've always considered to be the very best of the Squash family, but since tasting Delicata I've changed my mind.

Last night I roasted a chicken, with which I also roasted a few spuds and the Squash above. I peeled (not necessary), quartered, and de-seeded it, then tucked it in and around the chicken. It was really delicious; a little like eating savoury thick clotted cream.

I recommend that all gardeners should buy one, save the seeds, and do as I did. Of course you may already have done exactly that, in which case I'd like to know why you didn't tell me about it!

These are just a couple, still growing at Haddock's.

Monday, 3 August 2015

More boot-sale stuff.

Don't ask me why, but I've always wanted one of these gigot holding devices (with the bone handle), it always seems a very sophisticated accessory for a roasted leg of Lamb. I shall buy a gigot, specially, when I next go to my butcher. 

Otherwise, I bought a heavy silver plated soup ladle, and a nice big preserving pan for sterilising my jars of vegs and paté. 

Not a bad morning's work.

p.s. I negotiated a price of €8 for the big preserving pan. I gave the lady a €20 note and she gave me €14 change..... I walked away as quickly as was decent. Naughty Cro.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Preserving for winter.

It's mess, I know; but dear old Haddock's has been feeding us for quite some while, and is producing in such quantities that I have now started my 2015 bottling campaign.

For the moment I shall mostly do 500 gm bottles of 'TCP' (Tomatoes, Courgettes, and Peppers), I find these the most useful during the winter months. A good stock of TCP is essential.

Damn it; I only had 4 capsules (the special tops for Le Parfait bottles), so I ended up with a smaller production than I'd intended. I shall buy two packs on Monday, and do a load more.

Anyway, here are the four bottles that I did manage to do. The capsules are underneath the screw tops.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

La France au mois d'Août.

As soon as the month of August appears on a Frenchman's calendar, he closes the shutters and goes on holiday.

The major supermarkets, train services, and hotels remain open for business, but don't try to get a plumber or an electrician to come to your aid; he'll just say NO.

Signs saying Congé Annuel suddenly appear everywhere. Doors are bolted, and that white camping van that's been parked behind the house for the past eleven months becomes conspicuous by its absence. They're all on holiday, and they won't be back before the 1st of September.

It's the same every year, and it's bloody, bloody, annoying.

Happy Lammas. I hope you all remembered to say 'White Rabbit, White Rabbit' this morning. I did.

I also made a point of getting up before midnight to see the Blue Moon; well, they do only appear once in a Blue Moo......

Friday, 31 July 2015

The new barn kitchen.

When I look at all this my only thought is 'thank goodness it's not me doing it'.

Wills bought all the units from Ikea, and is now assembling them; whilst friend D fixes the rods onto which they will be secured. So far everything is going OK, and all problems soon find a solution.

By lunchtime most of the wall units were up, but we've now realised that there's still space for one more 60 cm unit on the right (below). We'll pop down to Toulouse to pick that up later; no point in wasting possible storage space.

He's also just realised that the floor-tiling needs to be done before the final positioning of all the appliances, so another panic trip. 

Still plenty to do; I'll post pictures of the finished job, as soon as possible. Never a dull moment here!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Kimbo on The Amalfi Coast.

   Photo © Mrs Kimbo (I imagine).

OK, I've almost got over the fact that Kimbo isn't holidaying here with us this year, but sending us this picture really was a bit much.

He could at least have pretended that he's having an awful time (as Rachel recently did so stalwartly), and shown himself leaning over the bog; clutching his stomach.

He looks a bit Noel Coward-ish to me (The sun is far too sultry, and one must avoid its ultry violet ray). 

The picture also looks remarkably similar to this one of his younger brother...


Ah, my two lovely boys.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Etymology Corner.

                                   The entry of Russian troops in Paris

When on March 31st 1814 the Russians entered Paris, they quite naturally needed to eat-n-drink (fighting the French had been a hungry/thirsty business).

So, after ensuring that the white flags were correctly fluttering, the ravenous Cossacks went in search of anywhere that sold food; apparently shouting the word 'Bistro'. As they were still 'on duty' they didn't want to hang about waiting.

'Bistro' (быстро in Russian) means 'Fast'.... and so fast-food was born. The small eateries that provided the food became known as 'Bistros'.

Amazing the things you learn when you have Russians in the family.

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