Monday, 20 October 2014

Oh YES!!!!!


At last, we have Cèpes; and they're beauties.

My vigneronne has given me a new recipe for preserving them, which is slightly simpler, and less time consuming, than the usual method.

The mushrooms were cut into reasonable sized chunks (1.5 cm cubes), then plunged into boiling water for 2 mins. They were then transferred into ice cold water to cool, and drained.

I used 250 gm jars, which were filled to the level indicated. I added salt, pepper, parsley, and a small sliver of garlic, they were topped up with water, the capsules and lids put-on, and sterilised for 2 hours.

And here's the result; 7 small jars of the world's most delicious mushrooms, ready for our Winter omelets etc.

Cèpes dry well and freeze reasonably well, but this method is by far the best. Usually, in this area, they are preserved in oil (in much the same way as above, but with 3 hours sterilising), but I must say that these look very good; Winter will have some compensations after all.

I shall be out in the woods again today.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The big local Chestnut (and Cèpe) Fête.

Yesterday was the opening day of our 2 day local Chestnut, AND CÈPE, fête.

So, you can imagine my pleasure when I found my first Cèpe of the season just before leaving for Villefranche; I shall go out again later. Omelet for lunch!

Now, I don't want you to get the impression that we are all TOTALLY OBSESSED with Mr Penny-Bun, but in the growing season it does occupy 99.9% of our waking time.

If people aren't out hunting them; they're making them.

There are life-size hand painted plaster ones (at €12 each).

There are bigger ones made into garlic pots, or salt and pepper pots at various prices. 

And there are giant wooden ones (these ones are relatively small) that are used as stools.

Most of these are no better than garden gnomes, and are not for me. Personally I'd rather the real thing, and will probably be out in the woods for the next few days. I'm hoping to do some preserves.

Right, I'm off to the woods......A suivre.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Silly Political Parties.


Is the UK alone in having a plethora of silly political parties? France doesn't seem to have any!

The above (showing Cameron winning his seat back in 2010) is quite typical of the UK's choice of General Election candidates. A few loonies, plus one or two slightly more mainstream loonies.

Just to give you an idea of some of the UK's more lacklustre parties; here are a few....

No Candidates Deserve My Vote Party.
Revolutionary (Marxist Leninist) Communist Party of Great Britain.
Church Of The Militant Elvis Party.
Fancy Dress Party.
Idle Toad Party.
Miss Great Britain Party.
Rock-n-Roll Loony Party..... There are hundreds.

The Monster Raving Loony Party (candidate far right above) has been a part of UK politics since the early 1980's, and would now be much missed at election time were they to pack-up.

What loony parties do you have where you live (no jokes about Socialists please)?

Friday, 17 October 2014

New Windows.

Things do progress up at the barn; but slowly. We now have pukka windows!

What we don't have are the two bathrooms, a kitchen, interior walls, insulation, and electricity (although the actual cables are now inside).

It's an interesting exercise, taking an old run-down building and making it into a ti-tech modern home. Lots of highs, lots of lows, and plenty of frustration.

With a small child about to take up residence (and hopefully a few more to come) we have chosen windows that not only open sideways but also swing-down open from the top, making them Bunny-proof.

Our carpenter has promised to return this weekend.... we'll see if we can find something for him to do!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

England's, and France's, Favourite Subject.

I never used to take much notice of weather forecasts, but for the past few years I've checked it daily.

Prior to having my new (Windows 8) laptop I used to use a French service called 'La Chaine Meteo', which (I was assured) was used by all French farmers everywhere, and therefore infallible.

Frankly it was bloody useless. In fact, if it said it would rain you could almost guarantee it wouldn't; and vice versa. So it's been DUMPED.

In its stead I now use Microsoft's own system. It is as comprehensive as one could possibly want, and seems to get things spot-on.

It has an hour by hour forecast, a 10 day forecast, several maps including almost-live satellite shots, and a historic view of the month's highs and lows etc.

On the lower picture you might see that at 8am it was to be foggy and 12 C. When I went outside to check, it was exactly that. 

On the top picture, you can probably see that we have roughly 25 C forecast for the next few days; 25 C just happens to be my favourite temperature, another good reason to follow MSN weather.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

One of those 'nothing much happened' days.

This guy came to visit us up at the barn yesterday. No idea what it is, but I presume it's some sort of Cricket. We found another one the same, that had a very long spike protruding from its behind. Looked very nasty. 

(Some time later). I now know what it is. My friend Sami has informed me that it's a Saddle-Backed Bush Cricket, and that the one with the backwards pointing spike was the female. Thanks Sami.

It's one-pot stew season again. This one that I knocked-up yesterday contained Lamb, spuds, carrots, red onions, and butter beans. Very comforting, even if our weather doesn't yet warrant such comfort..... It was HOT yesterday.

What better sign of Autumn than Mrs Tiggy-Winkle off to find some cosy nook to pass the Winter. This gal was found walking up the long drive to the barn, in the middle of the afternoon. Lady Magnon helped her on her way, and deposited her under a nice thick warm hedge. Sleep well, Mrs T.

And whilst we're still waiting for the Cèpes to emerge, I found just one Parasol (that was added to the above stew). Meagre pickings, but it should get better.

A demain.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Facebook. A bit of a moan.

Like so many people, I have a 'facebook' page. And as with so many people it was entered into as a way of keeping in touch with a reasonably small group of family and friends.

As a family we share photos, and tell each other of significant events. We post pictures of places we visit, things we do, and projects we undertake. In some ways not dissimilar to blogging, but with a slightly different angle.

However, I find more and more examples of the above turning up. They are simply 'copied and pasted' from gawd-knows-where, and have nothing in common with whosoever 'shared' them. They seem to be an easy way of filling space, and trying to be associated with whatever sentiment is on offer. I scroll through them by the bloody dozen. 

The other 'facebook' trend which really annoys, is women who show pictures of themselves looking (what I presume they consider) 'glamorous', prompting an outpouring of sickly cooing from admiring female friends. These 'look how beautiful I am' narcissistic postings really get on my nerves.

So what to do about it. Well, I do find 'facebook' a very useful tool; it's free, it works well, and I enjoy most of what I see there. I suppose I'll just have to ignore the borrowed wisdom, and the 'aren't I gorgeous' junkies, and bite my tongue (with difficulty)!  

p.s. I should add that I do have some seriously gorgeous female friends; not one of them would EVER stoop as low as soliciting admiration.

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