Wednesday 23 August 2023

Special offer

I got a seed/plant catalogue in the post today.   It features, amongst other things, a variety of onions.   As you can see from this page, you can buy a package of 250 grams each of red, white and brown onion sets for just under €15.   Or, for €20, you can get twice as much of each, exactly the same, if you buy them individually.

To be fair, they're not describing it as a special offer.   But I reckon it's pretty special, myself.

Fairy tales

I bought this book for next to nothing (troi fois rien) at a car boot sale recently.   I like books that have proper illustrations, and this one features reproductions of artwork that was published in different story books in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I was reading the Cinderella story, it is well told in the book.  In english, Cinderella loses a slipper made of glass, a material not well suited for this purpose, it has always seemed to me.   In the french book, the slippers are described as being made of vair, which is pronounced the same as verre (glass) but is what was probably a highly luxurious leather made from squiirrel fur.   Makes sense.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Spiced plums in Armagnac

First picture is the plum tree heavy with plums.   The second is the spiced plums in Armagnac, a direct consequence of the first.   Good year for plums, 2023.

Thursday 17 August 2023

Selling crêpes

The 15th August is a public holiday in France, and our village fête is held on that day.  It's becoming quite famous.  There is a street painting competition, and from lunchtime, music, beer and wine, with food from food trucks, and all culminating in the illumination of the village with some 7,000 candles after dark.  The whole thing is run by volunteers from the village, and it makes an important contribution to the coffers of the committee that runs it.

The grandest entrance was from Stephan who drove in his rock band friends on a trailer behind his tractor.

Our contribution to the affair was selling crêpes.  We started at 4pm, taking over from the previous vendors,  and didn't stop until 9.   Crêpes offer an excellent profit margin, and are easy to make.  They were made by local village ladies who were given the ingredeients, the eggs being supplied by a local producer in exchange for publicity.

My french wasn't up to the equivalent of "Roll up, roll up, get your crêpes 'ere, only one euro-fifty each and I'm cutting me own throat", so we sat quietly and the queue formed anyway.  Anita spread the jam/chocolate sauce/sugar and I took the money.  In total, the crêpes contributed a bit over €800 to the revenues from the event.  Nay bad.

Tuesday 15 August 2023

Garlic spread

We still have garlic in the freezer from a bumper crop I grew a couple of years ago.   I got some garlic to plant as part of a job lot of onion sets and other root vegetables this springtime, so the question arose as to what to do with the harvest?

Anita found this fabulous recipe on facebook, and I can confirm that it works very well.   The resulting confit can be eaten on toast or used to season other dishes.   Highly recommended.

100 cloves of garlic, peeled
450 ml olive oil
5 sprigs of thym
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes

You can of course alter the seasoning to suit your taste.  Anita would have preferred a bit less chilli but I thought it was fine.

Basically you throw all the ingredients into a saucepan and cook for half an hour or so until the garlic is soft, let it cool a bit, then decant it into a (warm) sterile jar.   Normal hygiene practices apply.   We're keeping our spread in the fridge now that the jar has been opened.

Sunday 13 August 2023

August veg update

I had a small envelope of Zinnia seeds collected from the flowers last year, and nowhere to put them, so I made a line of them between the potatoes and leeks.   Here they are, just being pretty.   The wind blew down the climbing frame I made for beans, so now I have climbing beans as ground cover.

The aubergines in the makeshift cold frame have produced six decent fruits so far, with more to come, barring accidents.   I let the self-seeded melon in there do its thing; two melons are ripening.   And the squash have decided to invade.

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