Bread is my downfall in so many ways. I crave it and would eat almost anything wrapped up inside it… I am my father’s daughter and my brother’s sister in this regard.
Not a natural baker, my style tending toward the casual and approximate and not the precise nature so key in the science of baking. I do a passable chapatti along with the small arsenal of cakes in my repertoire but lately I have had a yearning to spend a little more time on this calming art. Continue reading Bread Head
Postcards from the Pyrenees…again
The Mountains form a natural border between France and Spain, but more than that they traverse the historical regions with their distinctive traditions, culinary and otherwise. To the west on both sides of the peaks is the Basque country, wonderful people who are rightly proud of their traditions, food studded with Pimentón, and an incomprehensible language with lots of X’s and J’s. From the beautiful Atlantic towns to the tiny coves that pepper the northern coastline, semi-sparkling crisp white wines like Txacoli (you see, it is unpronounceable but very drinkable!) and dishes that ooze with the warmth of spiced sausage alongside classics such as bacalao (salt cod). Continue reading The borderlands
Green Tomato Chutney
On the way back from France last spring, driving north from our place in the Pyrenees, we stumbled on a village fair filled with local people and businesses proudly peddling their wares.
We had stopped off hoping to find a bakery where we could get a pastry to eat in the car but we got more than we bargained for. The place was packed with everything from wonderful produce, breads, cheeses and meats to a flea market area and and lots of farming type equipment for sale. Continue reading You say tomato, I say tomate
Look at these beautiful glossy Lemon Sole…. you can always tell a fabulously fresh fish by the slime…which sounds terrible but is really true.
This March has yielded a few really sunny days and although cold, bitingly so at times, there is nothing like tipping your face toward the sun after a long British winter.
So, off we went for an afternoon on the coast, a really good bracing walk along the beach, snack in the mighty fine Old Neptune Pub.
Continue reading Southern Sole
It was the week before Christmas….
Rocket and I do not get much ‘us’ time over the Christmas period, not a complaint but a statement of fact.
This year our nephew, Scouse, was to be married to the delightful Miss Brody right before Christmas (meaning things were even more hectic than usual) still we managed to create one evening in all the madness of Christmas and weddings to have a meal together. Continue reading Lobsterissamas
When we arrived at the shack in France on Sunday, we were aghast at the way the place had become overgrown with weeds. An exceedingly wet spring and early summer have meant that things had got completely out of control.
I’d be the first to say there are pros and cons to having a home overseas, and when all is well there is a huge sense of satisfaction and well being that comes from emersion in another culture and all that brings along with it – but a gardener I am NOT. This coupled with the usual arrival issues, like creepy crawlies everywhere and a distinct lack of hot water, can detract from the experience if you let them.
We have been working now in baking heat since we arrived on Sunday to get the place habitable, and we have just about got to a manageable level, we have storms and rain predicted for tomorrow but that won’t dampen our mood. So this is the moment when I look around and the home is cosy, the outdoor areas are useable, and this is when it’s all worth it. We sat out on the terrace tonight and had the most delightful supper of pan fried whiting (Merlan in French) with some green beans and garlic roast potatoes. Whiting is a great sustainable fish – it has a beautifully clean flavour and makes an excellent alternative to sole or plaice.
Awkward and City arrive with us tomorrow and we will chew the cud over a few beers and enjoy our time together.
I write this blog as an escape, so I write truthfully and from the heart, but that means that I don’t focus on the less great things in life – on purpose. For that reason, it probably sounds at times as if I’m constantly out and about and don’t have a care in the world! I just wanted to say that I love my friends and family very much, and value them beyond measure – all of them, never more so than when they are having difficult times.
Having the place in France has meant we have had an opportunity to spend quality time with those we care about, laugh, drink and laugh some more, a bit of cooking thrown in. So, for all the weeding and bugs to contend with, right here, right now, it has been worth the journey.