Friday, 24 October 2014

Célestine in the Autumn

Célestine parked at Chenonceau on Tuesday.
A la cuisine hier: Yesterday was our first time attending the Loire Valley Cake Club, set up by Jean and for this meeting hosted by her in her new home. The theme was autumn cakes and Simon made Jamaican Ginger Cake while I made Medieval Pear and Walnut Cake (using our own pears and walnuts). I particularly liked Liz's Jewish Apple Cake and will be making that myself sometime (just search for recipes on the internet -- there are dozens). Simon's gingerbread was much admired and I notice he has sent the recipe to Nick.

Earlier in the day I made blanquette de veau (slow cooked veal casserole). I bought the veal on special at Auchan. It was €10.95/kg with a 20% discount, so I paid $11.97 for 1.37 kg. It was Label Rouge certified, which tells you it was from calves suckled by their mothers in humane non-industrial surroundings. It also had a geographic protection certificate, and came from beef cattle herds in Aveyron and Ségala.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Villandry in the Autumn

Planting spring bulbs ready for next year.
Multi-coloured chillies.
Pulling out spent annuals.
Preparing for a new planting scheme.
The pumpkin vines have died but the pumpkin fruit is placed on terracotta tiles to continue the display.
All photos taken on Monday of this week.
Does Anyone Know?: We would like to know if any of our readers know anything about stove cement caulk. Simon is thinking it might be something we could use on our stove to seal the joins and stop it sucking too much air.
A la cuisine hier: Salmon cakes, made with the last of our homegrown potatoes and a mixture of canned and smoked salmon.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The House at the Sign of the Field of the Cloth of Gold

 La Maison à l'enseigne du Camp du Drap d'Or (the House at the Sign of the Field of the Cloth of Gold).

This house in Poitiers, as you see it today, is the product of successive transformations. Its unusual character is particularly obvious in its recessed facade and cornice in the Louis XVI style. The sculpted sign above the front door is older though. It represents a splendid canvas marquee, which evokes the meeting on the Field of the Cloth of Gold (near Calais) between François I and Henry VIII in 1520.

The purpose of the sign is above all to indicate the nature of the business within. Undoubtedly, this was once a wealthy cloth merchant's premises, with shop below and residence above.

The building, at 27 rue du Marché Notre Dame, in the bustling heart of the pedestrianised centre of Poitiers, is now occupied by the telecoms company Free. Just like the cloth merchant all those centuries ago, they couldn't have chosen a better spot to do business.
Fungi Foray: The Association de Botanique et de Mycologie de Sainte Maure de Touraine has organised a fungi outing to the Forest of Chinon for Sunday 26 October. Meet at the carpark by the church in Saint Benoît la Forêt at 2.00 pm. The fungi gathered will be displayed and identified in the carpark after the outing.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Gobbling Guinea Fowl

Guinea Fowl is a popular bird here for the table. They are considered a tasty alternative to chicken and often used at Christmas time as the festive meal. These ones were photographed the other day at Maillé.
 They rush around the pen, catching any invertebrate unwise enough to enter and continually vocalise, making a gobbling call not unlike turkeys.
In French they are called pintade and birds for roasting are widely available, either from local poulterers or in the supermarket.

France is the largest producer of guinea fowl in the EU, but for all that guinea fowl is only 2% of total French poultry production.