Posts Tagged ‘Food’

A Walk in the Pilat

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Often when we have visitors we take them on a “Pilat Day”. The Pilat mountains are about 80km away from us, beyond St Etienne, and we have refined our day out to be very enjoyable.

 

We went there on Friday with MiL. My bad back was getting better, thanks to pain killers, and to the fact that I have been doing some walking (very slow but it has definitely helped) so I thought I’d be able to manage the day.

First we drive to Rochetaillée, a small village above St Etienne, and from there to “Le Gouffre d’Enfer” (“The Chasm of Hell”) which is actually a really lovely gorge, which leads to a barrage.

Mr D and MiL were walking faster than I, so they went on ahead while I walked slowly. I thought it would take me longer to reach the bottom of the dam, but I was there in 10 minutes. Feeling okay I decided to climb the steps up the side of this edifice. It was built in 1862 and the resevoir still provides water for St Etienne. It took me about 10 minutes to wend my way to the top, but I was pleased when I got there. It was another 20 minutes or so back to the car, where I sat and read my book, waiting for the others who had walked around the resevoir itself. As I returned to the car I kicked myself (mentally) as I had forgotten to take any photos.

 

After this, we return to Rochetaillée and go to the Auberge de Rochetaillée, for their lovely rapées (a type of rosti) with a chive-and-yoghurt sauce and a glass of chilled beer. We love this place for its 1950s style décor (although looking at pictures, it seems to have been done up a bit) and the amazing view from its windows

Unfortunately it was closed for holidays, so we went to a pizzeria instead. Mr D and I both chose the Pizza du Saison – which had girolle mushrooms, artichoke hearts, parma ham and shavings of parmesan – lush!

 

The next part of our “Pilat Day” takes us to the high ground above Le Bessat, from whence one can often see for miles. Again Mr D and MiL went ahead while I walked at a slower pace, but this time I did remember my camera.

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Mr D & MiL get to the Table d’orientation before me

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I wish I could recreate the scents and sounds – the sun was warm, and the bees were busy in the clover and heather that covered the tops. The constant buzz was overlain by the  sawing noise of the crickets which stopped abruptly as I stepped near one. Every now and then one would leap high out of the grass, or off the path, a rapid movement which just caught the corner of my eye. The scent of warm heather and scrubland herbs wafted in the breeze – it was delicious!

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There had been a sign warning us of Troupeaux en Estival (Herds on sumer pastures) and here I met some of those Troupeaux taking advantage of the shade.

I met up with Mr D and MiL and we went to complete our “Pilat Day” by taking tea and Tarte aux Myrtilles at a restaurant at the Col de la Croix de Chaubouret

Here there is an amazing selection of tea – I chose a black tea, flavoured with red fruits such as myrtille and blackberries, while MiL had a green tea with cherry and raspberry leaves infused in it. The Tarte aux myrtilles came with a myrtille sorbet as well. Delicious!

That brings us to the end of our “Pilat Day” – quite a lot of walking, interspersed with delicious food and drink! This time it was a little different, as the auberge was closed, but we had a lovely time nonetheless!

And as the walking obviously did my back no harm at all, I have to ruefully admit that I need to do more exercise. So I will stop what I’m doing and go out for a 30 minute stroll around the village.

 

A bit of this and a bit of that…

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Hello Peeps!

Today is St George’s Day – perhaps we should have hung out English Cross of St George flag out of the window! Mr FD sometimes wears a red rose on St George’s Day, but this year he’s not left the house, so had no cause to do so.

But today is also the Very Bad Kittens’ birthday! Happy Birthday, George and Millie! Happy (nominal) Birthday Pomme and Bib! We don’t know when Pomme & Bib were born, but round about now would be a good guess for Bib, and Pomme – well, we have no idea! Perhaps we should have a Happy Adoption Day for Bib – she joined the Dormousehold on 1st June 2013, aged about 5-6 weeks.

We bought cakes to celebrate:

and I’ll go to ShCarrefour later on and buy some yummy cat food for the Cats. I have to buy the ingredients for my cheesecake tomorrow, so I’ll indulge the cats a little as well! Here are pictures (already seen, I know!) of our dear kitties:

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I am happy too because I have won a Giveaway. Yay! Ellie over at Silver Scrapper’s Craft Space picked me out of the hat to win a book about crafting ATCs. As I’m trying to create one ATC a month (I’ve made – but not shown – March’s, and still have April’s to do! Maybe tomorrow!) this will give me some inspiration (I hope!)

ATCs 1

The weather has been completely mad recently. Last week was gorgeous, with the thermometer hitting about 26° down in Roanne, then this weekend it was snowing again! Poor Mr D went out with the combined forces of St Just and St Germain Laval Cycle Clubs to do a day’s ride in the Lyonnaise mountains. They didn’t actually do any riding! They holed up for the morning in a Mairie in a small village where our friend Louis’ father was a BigWig, so Louis has some sway in the area. Mr D said he spent the morning failing to understand the rules of Belote. Cathy & I met them (together with other non-cycling members of the club) at a restaurant at the Col de Pavillon

for a set menu meal of salad, chicken in pepper sauce, with pasta & ratatouille, and then chocolate-and-raspberry-mousse-cake. It didn’t stop raining all day, and at some moments, the rain was horizontal, such was the force of the wind. And there was definitely some sleet mixed in!

Despite that, Mr D was (in his words) “vaguely tempted” to ride. But he didn’t!

Not too many lessons today – two cancellations, due to holidays & strikes – and none tomorrow. A bit of a break. Huzzah (not working)! Boo (not earning)! Film night tomorrow up at Cathy’s – I’m taking cheesecake (of the white chocolate and ginger variety) so I’d better trot on down to ShCarrefour to buy the ingredients. And the Sheba!

White Chocolate and Ginger Cheesecake

Friday, April 12th, 2013

…with a toffee chilli sauce

This is a favourite at Wagamamas – very rich but very delicious! A few weeks back, we invited friends for dinner and I chose to cook from my Wagamama cookbook…but it didn’t include the recipe for this dessert-among-desserts.

I searched online and found several recipes, but I followed one that was actually rather vague in its proportions. I’ve neatened it up, and posted it over on my foodie blog Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner

I hope you enjoy it as much as everyone who has tried it!

Spending time with friends

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

I love how a simple evening can be so enjoyable. We were at Cathy’s last night – she has friends staying, and invited us to share a meal and to watch “Skyfall” on the Big Screen. I got home from teaching and we zipped up – taking a quiche I’d made (using half-a-jar of coconut curry sauce in the savoury custard, and a bag of flaked crab-sticks, plus various veggies – it was nicer than it sounds!) and a white-chocolate-and-ginger-cheesecake (which is rapidly becoming my go-to signature dessert, taking over from banoffi pie)

We started with a vegetable soup – very yummy – made by one of Cathy’s visitors, had the quiche with salad (and Cathy had made another veggie quiche as well) and then dessert. We sat with coffee and watched James Bond.

Nothing special, but made special all the same, with good food  and good company. We don’t do it enough…

Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Last week ended on a bit of a do. I’ve had really bad sciatica recently – so that I could hardly walk – and I finally heaved myself to the doctor after my kiné (physiotherapist) said he wanted me to have an MRI scan. She was a little mystified as to why I’d struggled around in huge amounts of pain, self medicating on paracetemol and codeine for a week. Put like that, I kind-of wondered myself. Anyway, she gave me two really strong painkillers (each one a slow release over 12 hours relief) and a prescription for a scan. I dutifully took my painkillers – hey! they worked! – and the next day drove into Clermont for a meeting about the work situation(for those who don’t know, I work in Clermont Ferrand, some 80 km from home). I had lunch and afterwards, started to feel really dopey – my head was full of cotton wool – and so I put my head on the desk and dozed for half an hour.

 

Then we went to the meeting, and I was feeling odder and odder – my head was whirling, I was getting waves of hot sweat, and I couldn’ t concentrate. Finally, it just seemed easier not to bother trying, and I let go – my head went bam onto the table in front of me and panic ensued. I could hear what was going on, apparently  from a great distance away, as everyone rushed round wondering what to do,  and I was vaguely feeling guilty about it all, but again, couldn’t be bothered lifting my head up. It all seemed like too much effort! The emergency doctor was called – he wanted to speak to me before he came out. Yeah, right, as though I was in any state to be talking French! – and he gave me an ECG and said that one of the painkillers was probably the cause, and yes, it affects many people this way. Poor Mr D had to rush round trying to find someone with a car to drive him down so he could pick up me and the car – even I admitted that I couldn’t really drive back in this state!

So on Friday evening I certainly didn’t feel like cooking. I had a slice of bread and went to bed. I slept for 12 hours, and yesterday still felt a bit out-of-it. I’m better today, but I can’t look at computer screens or TV for very long without feeling a bit wierd. (Though I managed the marathon 3 hour Coronation Street omnibus yesterday afternoon!

Yesterday evening we were invited to go to clients of Mr D for aperos. In this part of the world, we’re never quite sure whether aperos is just drinks or more. In fact, on thinking about it, Mr D agreed that possibly Alicia had said “aperos-diner” so we went prepared to eat – so I took my painkillers to have mid meal, as instructed (these are the “good painkillers” not the nasty evil make-you-fall-over painkillers, which I had taken back to the Pharmacy)(where they also said, “Yes, they affect a lot of people that way” – so why the heck are they still being prescribed?!)

I was also relieved that Mr D had brought a pack of creme de marrons back from Shopi-soon-to-be-Carrefour-Contact.

Why? Because I don’t like it…which meant I decided to make a cake to take with us, full of creme de marrons. And I discovered that everyone else who had been invited (another 5 couples) all brought something along -a savoury cake of ham and olives/sliced sausage/little madeleines/apero goats’ cheeses etc. I don’t think this is obligatory…but I was sure glad that I had something to offer as well! We had drinks, and nibbles and then a guided tour around the house that they are restoring to become a very upmarket Chambres d’Hotes. After, Cedric produced some little verrines with a mixture of smoked salmon, cucumber and creme fraiche, then sausages, andouillettes and pancakes full of vegetables. I’ve never been a fan of andouillettes but with a good spoonful of mustard, I managed to swallow them, much to the admiration of other French people who refused them!

Finally, there were two more little verrines, a chocolate mousse in one and a layered dessert of speculoos biscuit, apple and creme fraiche in the other. Very nice. Coffee, and marron cake, and peach-and-almond cake (that someone else brought) . And then out came the liquers …this is where I don’t do very well. I don’t like the strong eau-de-vie type liquers that are very popular after dinner drinks here – mostly homemade! So they were drinking some fairly noxious mix of eau de vie/banana/cinnamon/cumin and then the Poire Willem came out…

It was almost midnight and I was dropping. I could make the excuse of my medicine causing me to drop off – next time I won’t be so lucky! Around here, I’m afraid folk love a late night, chewing the fat over liquers until two, or even three in the morning. I remember a friend’s birthday party that went on until 6.00 am the next day (we’d left a good 5 hours before that, and had missed the cutting of the birthday cake which happened at about 2 am!) We plead the “we’re English light-weights” card, but I always feel it’s rude!

Today, I’m just relaxing and not doing much. We did a bit of cleaning between us (Mr D did the heavier stuff. I just dusted, weilded the vacuum cleaner and then sat down moaning that my leg hurts.

So that’s been my weekend. How’s yours been?


 

 

Food, glorious Food

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Just to remind anyone who might possibly be interested that I’m recording my “Adventures with River Cottage Veg Every Day” over on my other blog…Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner

I received the recipe book for Christmas, and decided to try to cook almost all the recipes in it. I’ve given myself a get-out-of-jail card with beetroot, which Mr D detests, and possibly with goats’ cheese, another of Mr D’s hatreds,  but other than that I’m going to try them all, whether I like the sound of them or not. I’m including links to as many of the recipes as I can, and commenting on their success (or otherwise) So if you like food and want to try some new vegetarian recipes, you might want to pop over…

Happy Belated New Year

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Or should that be Belated Happy New Year?

I’ve read loads of blogs with inspirational New Year messages, and posts looking back over the past year. I’m not very good at that sort of thing – sorry. But I do want to say “Hello” and “Thank You” to those of you who carry on reading this. Your “Happy Christmas” messages were lovely! It’s nice to know that there are one or two readers out there!!

We had a lovely break in the UK. We  had a brilliant evening with Gary and Carlo, an enomous Chinese takeaway, lots of wine and the “Strictly Come Dancing” final; the next day Carlo cut and coloured my hair and then took me out shopping. I bought a dress, a long line cardi, and a tunic, in shades of turquoise/teal. Afterwards I bought some flat “Mary-Jane” style shoes (the only type of “dressy” shoe that I can wear really comfortably) and some turquoise tights. All a bit jazzy for me. He also bought me for a Christmas present, a bagfull of make-up. I’ve never done makeup, except for theatrical productions and nights out, but I’ve promised myself I’ll try to wear a little every day: I can see that it looks quite good. I just need to remember to take it off at night so I don’t wake up with panda eyes and smeared pilow!

We went on up to Liverpool, where my family came to mum’s for lunch on Wednesday – fourteen of us. It was great fun – although I did get a little fraught at one point. I’d spent most of the day before in the kitchen, and had done a fair bit on the day, moving furniture, setting the table etc. My sister turned up, looking lovely in a beautiful purple outfit, and offered to help, but mum said “No” it was all under control, Dormouse was doing a grand job. Then later on, she explained to my brother’s wife how she wouldn’t Sister help “because she looked so lovely!” Implication: but Dormouse was only wearing a bit of tat so she could help. Now, I do know that mum didn’t mean it like that, or rather, didn’t see it as being hurtful, but of course, I was a bit stressed and flustered, and menopausally overheated so I had to rush into the kitchen and weep a bit. But after that it was fine!

Mr D and I went into Liverpool andwent to Wagamamas (num, num) and saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie, which was fun. I had a 45 minute Primark dash (new bag and a pair of leggings) while Mr D browsed the computer/music stores. We caught up with an old school friend over dinner and went to Southport on Christmas Eve, just because we always do. We used to go to The Dutch Chef café, for hot chocolate and cakes, but sadly they’ve closed down; I remember going with Pat and Cynthia, close friends of the family, both now gone, who made it a tradition. But we still go to Southport, and visit the Wayfarer’s Arcade

This year there was an owl display in one of the empty shops: they were fab. Here is a link to  copyrighted photo showing one of the birds.

Christmas Day was really great: very quiet, but I felt quite close to God and to my family. Mr D went out for a bike ride (we’d taken his bike along) while Mum and I went to church, where the message was simple but clear. The minister spoke about his new walking boots – a present from his wife – which would only show how good they were if he used them. He could use them on the easy pathways, but they would come into their own on the paths of the Lake District mountains. The gift of God’s love is like that: we only find out how strong it is when we trust him through the tough times.

But the thing that spoke to me most was a little throw away metaphor: his wife recently rediscovered her slow cooker, put away on a shelf in the house. She started using it again, and they decided it was a good thing, as it cooked wholesome hot casseroles. Is your faith like that, he asked, hidden on a shelf and not being used…? Something to think about.

We had a delicious, long drawn out meal, interspersed with conversation, good wine and present opening. We watched ” Doctor Who” and Strictly, we read new books (including “River Cottage Veg Every Day” ) and I paused to think and ponder. Really lovely.

The next day we went to the cinema again, with mum, to see “Hugo” A great film, which I’d really recommend to families with children over about 10. There were younger children in the cinema, who loudly complained that they wanted to see Alvin & the Chipmunks, and I don’t think they grasped much of the nuances of this beautiful film. Then we drove over to Scunthorpe to see our friends, Steve & Cathy, as well as Andrew’s brother and his family. On the way we stopped off at Comet and bought an extra present for me.

I plan to try to use it for work to show clips to students and so on. But mostly I’ve used it to read blogs and Ship of Fools without having to turn on my computer!

But I’ve just been told our visiting friends are about half an hour away, so I need t go and start mulling the wine and warming up the galette des rois

More tomorrow.

Two Great Weekends

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

I had good intentions of blogging more frequently, but somehow work and general laziness always get in the way! When I get home from teaching, I usually spend half-an-hour reading emails and catching up on the Ship of Fools and blogs that I follow, but I don’t have the inclination or time to blog myself. Well,today is a free day. I could do some preparation work, but I’ve decided to mostly spend today doing “me” stuff – reading blogs, blogging, visiting friends, maybe cooking, and doing a little bit of paperwork too.

When I’ve written this post, I’ll probaly go for a wander around the market as well. It’s not the most interesting of markets, with Big Knicker Stalls being popular, but from time to time there is an interesting stall – melons from Cavaillon (although it’s a bit late for them now), the olive and spice man, or local saucissons. Usually I will treat us to a pain au praline as well – a brioche with lurid pink praline and stickiness galore! The baker’s van maybe sold out of these when I get there, but I’ll take that risk.

So, about our great weekends. The first was at the beginning of the month. Our good friends from the UK, Gary & Carlo, came to stay. Mr D and I have known Gary for quite some time (can it really be almost 20 years?!) and Carlo for a little less. Carlo used to be my hairdresser in the UK, and so I was thrilled to find he’d brought his scissors with him! They arrived on Saturday evening: we met them at Vichy station and we’d planned to go out for a meal there, but Gary wasn’t feeling well, so we came straight home. On Sunday we went for a tour of the local region, having lunch in a great little restaurant I’d not been to before, but will definitely go to again. It serves traditional Lyonnaise food – andouillettes, quennelles, sausages – and it was delicious!

On a clear day, you can see Mont Blanc

Mr D shows Carlo the sights from the tower at the Chateau d’Urfé

Three Great Guys

Mr D, Carlo and Gary

Smile!

 

On Monday Gary, Carlo and I went shopping! Actually we didn’t buy much, but it was great fun. Mr D is not a Shopper, so he stayed at home to work. We’d planned to go to the Casino, but by the time Carlo had coloured and cut my hair, done a “Gok Wan” on my wardrobe and thrown out half of my clothes, it was too late! Mr D was a bit grumpy with me, but I think I was forgiven…we had a raclette, and salad instead and drank quite a lot and got squiffy.

We went for a walk in the morning (and Carlo cut my friend’s hair too!) This is the view of the chateau at St Just from the hill above the village.

I dropped them off very early in Clermont Ferrand when I went to work. It was too short a time and I hope they’ll be back soon. I need Carlo to advise me on my wardrobe!!!

Our second great weekend was last weekend. The Divine Comedy was playing at Montpellier International Guitar Festival, and Mr D (who has missed live music since we moved here) had splashed out on a couple of tickets for us. He and two friends had planned to cycle to Montpellier, while me and the WAGs drove the Support Car, stopping at B&Bs on the way and staying at another friend’s B&B (see link on sidebar) near Montpellier. Unfortunately Steve’s dad became seriously ill, so he had to go back to the UK, and so the plan came to nought. However, we were going to the concert, so we drove down on Friday, stayed with Louise & Razaq as planned, and went to the concert on Saturday evening.

So on Saturday, Mr D and I went out on our bikes. He’d planned a long 80 km ride to the sea and back, while I planned a less ambitious route. However, my map was too small a scale and I got lost amidst the vineyards in the area. I had a lovely ride, but at times I had to get off and push, as the tracks were too rough and/or stony and I risked punctures. I came across some sculptures, and some of the crosses that litter the French countryside.

The Sea! The sea!

 

After the ride we went into Pezanas, a pretty little town – but quite busy. I can imagine that in the height of summer it would be horrendous. We found an English bookshop (I bought 3 second hand novels and a jar of mincemeat!) and I could have been tempted in other shops, with such things as earrings, soap and wildly impractical clothing…but all were fripperies and unnecessary. I suppose mincemeat and books aren’t strictly necessary either, but cut me some slack!

Mr D has found a friend!

 

A number 10 for Les Stylos!

 

After an enormous late lunch (duck and creme fraiche pizza for Mr D and a mixed grill of beef, duck and lamb for me – we drove to Montpellier, stopping to see the oyster beds in the Etang.

When we arrived in Montpellier, we had a wander and then sat in the shade a drank orange juice, and then moved onto a large glass of red! No food though, we were still stuffed from lunch! The concert was great, even though Neil Hannon had a cold and had to stop to sneeze or cough occasionally! I really enjoyed myself.

On Sunday, we drove to the coast – but didn’t quite get there! We stopped in Agde to get bread for tea, and were seduced by the market, the folklorique display…

…and the fish restaurants on boats moored at the quai of the Herault River. We finally chose the restaurant run by the only remaining fisherman/restauranteur in the village (or so the lady said!) and had a very enjoyable meal. I had fish soup, (which I adore!) with aioli and croutons, followed by a white fish with a Languedoc sauce – tomatoes, garlic and bits of seafood such as cuttlefish, tiny squiddy things etc. I finished with fresh fruit salad.

On our stroll around the village I came across these amazing murals/ trompes d’oeil

If you look really carefully, you can see that what looks like a cluster of buildings, one behind the other, is really painted on a flat wall. It is fabulous – it is just a shame that some **** seemed to think it was a good idea to graffiti it! Why?! I can understand “tagging” on a bare wall (just!) but on a piece of art work that brightens a dull corner? It is beyond me!

Anyway, after lunch we meandered back home, stopping at St Flour for a stroll and a coffee. We got home to our kitties around 7.00. And here is a kitty from Louise & Razaq’s. Marnie was a very insistent cat: he shared our room one night, but wasn’t the best companion, as he wanted loving all the time. So we were quite relieved when he didn’t make an appearance on Saturday night! But here he is wanting to come home with us:

Look! I could fit in your handbag!

 

Mr D took a picture of me with Marnie. The cat looks cute, but I look blobby and unattractive. So you’re not seeing that!!!

Jam…and other related stuff

Friday, August 5th, 2011

When we first came to France – and I wasn’t working (oh happy, happy days!) – I really wanted to be the “earth mother” type, collecting, foraging and living off the land. For the first few times I went out for walks I dutifully took along bags, and collected pinecones to burn, or the odd blackberry or two. But a well-instilled fear of “never-eat-a-mushroom-that-you-don’t-recognise” (that’d be everything besides button mushrooms then…) and a terminal laziness has meant that I wasn’t terribly succesful at the foraging lark. Then Mr D resigned from his lucrative job in London (dam’ thoughtless, I say!) (;-) ) and came to live here so I had to get a job. So lack of time plus the aforementioned terminal laziness meant that I really haven’t done quite as well as I might have done on the “earth mother” front.

I made some nut wine a couple of years back, which I like, but don’t drink very often. M-i-L cleaned us out of that, and I meant to make some more this year, but we forgot to collect the green walnuts, and now it’s too late. Sorry, M-i-L, you’ll have to wait until next year! I made a Peach brandy with some past their best peaches last year – it’s OK, but not wonderful. And the peach wine we made with Michel-across-the-road last year has been very nice. I suppose that, as we don’t often have aperos we don’t drink these things that often. Maybe we should drink a bit more!!! The sloes are looking plentiful this year – perhaps I’ll make sloe gin – although, again, I don’t drink much of the stuff. I think I saw a recipe for sloe chutney a couple of years back on t’internet. That might be a better idea!

My biggest success has been jam & chutney making. I don’t think I’ve bought a pot of jam since 2006, and the only chutney I’ve bought has been mango chutney for our rare curries. Mr D’s favourite is Reine Claude (greengage) jam, while I prefer red fruits, either rhubarb & redcurrant or raspberry and redcurrant. We’ve recently eaten a pot of “Freezer Disaster jam” – made from all the soft fruits that were in the freezer when someone who shall remain nameless but wasn’t Mr D left the freezer door open so everything defrosted. It was predominantly myrtille and blackberry, but I think there were some raspberries in there too.

This afternoon I continued the jam making, with 10 pots of plum jam – I bought the plums in the market, but I may speak nicely to our friend Dave who has a plum tree in his holiday home garden. Maybe he needs help clearing the tree!

I also made a joblot of tomato and courgette sauce as Michel-across-the-road gave us a bag of tomatoes and two almost-marrows.

I’ve used one up now, in various guises – grated in sauce, chopped and sautéed with our sweet chilli burgers, chopped in another sauce, and sliced in a Summer Squash gratin. I still have another (the bigger one!) to use. I have plans for a courgette and onion quiche for lunch tomorrow but inspiration is wearing thin. I’m not a fan of courgette soup (though the rest of the summer-squash-gratin-potiron is going to make spicy soup on Sunday) but I may have to resort to that…

And today Mr D and I took a couple of hours out to go wild raspberry picking. We were a bit late, and they were past their best unfortunately, but we gathered about a kilo, mixed with the odd blackberry and myrtille. Mr D wants to make his famous sorbet with them…which is fine by me. I’m not a great sorbet fan, but this is very pleasant.  We’ll probably go on a dedicated myrtille pick next week: not my favourite way of spending an hour, as they are very low down and I get backache. Usually I plump myself down in the undergrowth and pick from a sitting position!

Christmas Baking

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

I found this site by accident. I thought these Christmas cookies looked delicious, and I think I will try making them next week.

Today has been a “Snow Day” – I spent this morning packing up my Ship Of Fools Secret Santa and my gift for my niece in Rwanda. I visited Paul and Daniele too. Paul is looking very weary, but is in good spirits. Daniele was quite bright too – but the strain is showing. I wish I could do more to help… This afternoon I did my Christmas shopping on Amazon. We are sticking to a £5-ish limit this year, which is quite difficult. I found mugs which you can grafitti yourself for my nephews (yes, OK, they’re 22 and 24, but still…you can never have enough mugs!) and foodie stuff for my sister and husband. A book for my brother (QI based!) and a cardigan (not for £5) for mum. I also cracked and bought a couple of Christmas CDs for myself. Including The Carol Symphony [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2sZ26Kv-7Q[/youtube]

Here is a bit of it, with lovely shots of the Lake District.

Tomorrow…we’re having a Goodbye lunch for our friends who are going back to the UK on Saturday. And maybe I’ll write our Christmas round robin letter and send our Christmas cards. But maybe I won’t…!!