Happy Easter from France!
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Friday, March 29, 2013
slang term for French kiss. The things one learns on Wikipedia!
Thursday, March 28, 2013
The mash was then cooked in this copper pot. The best quality nuts required less cooking time than the poorer quality ones.
The cooked mixture was pressed here and collected....
in a bucket.
The first pressing was the finer quality oil and used for cooking. The second time the mash was pressed, the resulting oil was used in oil lamps. The remaining mash was fed to livestock. It took about 10 kilos of nuts to produce 1 liter of oil.
Today walnut oil is still used in cooking and is a regional specialty in this part of France. I buy mine from an old lady at the Saturday afternoon market. It makes a delicious vinaigrette dressing for salad. I mix it with a little walnut-flavored vinegar I found at the grocery store, salt, pepper, and fines herbs. Then I add my secret ingredient...a bit of wild plum jam that I make myself. Yum! Guess the recipe's not so secret anymore, huh?
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
|Bee boxes from the interior of the house|
Vanessa at Life on La Lune blogged about this rare house last year. Click here to see her photos and explanations. Since her visit, the restoration has been completed. All that remains is to hang out the 'for rent' sign and welcome bees to their 19th century home!
If you look closely, you can see at least four bee entrances in this wall. Two are to the left of the window and two are right above it.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Collioure on the Cote Vermeille is the best! Made me remember my trip there in 2009. So, here you are...a couple of memories from the archives.
They're saving a seat for me!
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Lucie and I noticed a few more signs of spring as we made our morning walk through the neighborhood...
Forsythia is blooming in Helen's garden along with pots of....
While Eddy and Helen are away skiing in the Alps this week, Daniel is starting on their house addition.
The Cajarc crew team has begun their spring training.
And Laury's plum tree is looking quite pretty!
Saturday, March 23, 2013
|Mary and the Baby|
Friday, March 22, 2013
After I finished, I treated myself to a nice glass of rose on the terrace. Yeah....okay, so it was only 3 pm, but it's happy hour somewhere in the world, and I figure I deserved it!
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
There's action today in my favorite Cajarc window!
Come to the carousel! Bring all your friends! Animals welcome!
If you have your volume turned 'way up, you'll be able to some sweet Cajarc birds twittering, as well as Lucie panting to continue our walk.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Saturday, March 16, 2013
About a month ago, my village experienced some fairly violent winds that absolutely shredded the thick plastic covering on one of Jackie's greenhouses...
This morning, Yannick and a crew of men pulled a new, heavy-duty cover over the structure.
I hope this means there is salade in my future! Jackie has had none for the past few weeks at the Saturday afternoon market.
Friday, March 15, 2013
|Cemetery in Bidarray|
Thursday, March 14, 2013
These lovelies gathered at the gate of their shed as soon as they saw Lucie and I walking on the road past their farm. I'm sure they thought we were going to let them out. Made me feel just a bit guilty when all I wanted to do was take their picture!
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I came upon this re-purposed piece of furniture up on the causse. It sits on the GR 65, a hiking trail that is also part of the chemin de Santiago de Compostelle. It contains information about a pilgrim dormitory nearby with a map giving directions. Seems like a clever way to advertise your hostel business.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
|The Rusted Bicycle|
Sunday, March 10, 2013
I knew when I looked out the back door and saw this rosy glow on the wall of the Chateau that when I opened the bedroom shutters, this is what I'd see....
I was right!
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Everyone took a carcass and began picking and pulling off the cold meat
Did you know that in France it's good manners to just put your bread directly on the table? The plate you see is for gnawed duck bones and pieces of gristle.
Once the carcasses were picked clean, a big bowl of salad was passed, followed by a cheese course. We finished dinner with a platter of freshly sliced pineapple and some great sticky molasses bars that Helen made.
Here's my take on duck bones: eating them is a lot of effort for not very much meat. I think the fun of the evening is in the camaraderie and the wine!
Many 'merci beaucoups' to Christiane and her faithful helper, Jean-Paul for an enjoyable and very interesting two days of doing ducks!
Friday, March 8, 2013
|Some of the fat and skin|
Once the fat was melted, all the parts including the stripped carcasses were cooked for an hour and a half. We returned at noon to put them all in jars. Christiane added 2 ladles of melted fat to each jar, we sealed them, and they went into the big processing pot to process for another hour.
|Christiane moves so fast it's hard to get a photo of her in action without a blur!|
|Jean-Paul filling the big processing pot with water.|
I picked up my jars today. The three large ones hold the stuffed neck, the legs, and one has mixed pieces...wings, gizzard and parts of the back. Two of the small jars are duck fat for use in frying potatoes, vegetables and meat. The top small jar is pate. I also have a small jar of fritons in the 'fridge. Fritons are bits of duck and some fat that Christiane skimmed out of the melted fat pot and put through a food processor. It's used like pate to spread on bread or crackers.
I have one more piece of the 'doing ducks' story to share. That's for tomorrow, so please come back!
Thursday, March 7, 2013
|Christiane and Greg|
Yesterday was D-Day...as in 'doing ducks' day...at Christiane's. She was gracious enough to allow Greg and I to do ducks with her and learn the process. We processed 5 ducks altogether; two for each of them and one for me. I did posts on making foie gras and confit the first winter I spent here. Click here, here, and here if you're interested in those. I'm not going to repeat the entire process here...just the highlights
|Liver pieces packed in jars for processing.|
|These are duck parts that will become confit. They're cooked in fat, then placed in jars. Christiane then put in two ladles of melted duck fat. They're processing as I write this.|
|Maigrets or duck breasts. Mine are in the freezer.|
We started about 9:30 am and finished for the day at 1:00 pm. I went home and promptly took a nap, exhausted! Let me just say that dismembering a duck is a lot harder work than I thought it would be.Or maybe it was the two glasses of wine we drank when we finished?