Friday was Simon's fiftieth birthday, so we had a party in the orchard with about 25 people attending.
The menu was:
Curry Goat with Rice'n'Peas
Australian Truckstop Style Hamburgers
A selection of salads - carottes rapées, salade piemontaise, pickled beetroot, potato salad, lettuce, cucumber
Cheeses - Coulommiers, Cheddar
Build Your Own Pavlova
Much of the conversation during the evening revolved around food, and so we learned that:
- crême crue is different to crême fraîche not just because it is not pasturised, but because it has a higher fat content.
- goat is not widely eaten in France, but is popular in some places at Easter time, when mild flavoured kid meat is prepared with sorrel (oseille) and wild garlic (ail vert).
- Duck à l'Orange is considered by French people to be an Italian dish, made with sweet oranges. The traditional French accompaniment for duck is bigarades, bitter oranges.*
Jean-Pierre gives a botany and entomology lesson to Isabella (out of picture to left), explaining how some insects bite into the 'throat' of a honeysuckle flower to get at the nectar, thus bypassing the pollen on the anthers at the 'mouth' so that the flower does not get pollinated and so does not set seed. In the background (left to right), Simon, Sylvie, Pierre-Yves.
The best thing was that Simon really enjoyed himself and relaxed and had fun with some wonderful friends. We are very lucky.
Thanks are due to Pat, who did all the washing up and tidying away as well as manning the barbie; Geoff, who helped set up and take down; Alex & Nicole, who lent us the barbecue; Tim and Pauline, who lent us a coolbox; Huub and Ingrid, who lent us some chairs; John, who came down the next morning to jump start our car because the battery went flat after being used to power the sound system for 6 hours.
Also everyone who gave Simon wine, cheese, saucisson, beer, books and gift vouchers and their excellent company at the party.
*see Ken's comment below