Wednesday, 2 October 2013

It's Cyclamen Season Again

This year, for the second year in a row, our annual cyclamen photos come from the grounds of the chateau-hotel la Domaine de la Tortinière at Veigné just outside of Tours. Their park has the best display of anywhere we know of in the area. It must be a real treat for guests who are lucky enough to stay at this time of year.
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Orchard News: I picked Reine de Reinette and Melrose apples, Black Hamburg grapes and hazelnuts. The grapes are absolutely perfectly ripe and you can smell them when you approach the vine. The bunches are small but the grape berries are the largest we have ever had. I dug some baby leeks, picked a few herbs and a few straggler tomatoes and strawberries.
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A la cuisine hier: Pickled Pears, a mixture of our own Doyenne de Comice and Louise Bonne d'Avranches from the potager gardens at the Chateau of Villandry. The quartered unpeeled pears are cooked in a pickling liquor of red wine, red wine vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, bay leaves, pimento and orange peel, bottled and sealed when hot. They can be served with game, charcuterie or strong cheese.

Fruit Cobbler, made with a luscious mixture of apples, pears, strawberries and blueberries and topped with a sort of sloppy scone dough. All the fruit is homegrown except the blueberries, which came from my excursion to pick blueberries in the Sologne a couple of months ago.

11 comments:

  1. As I made my way home through the wood from "le gymnastique" in our salle polyvalente last week by torchlight, I had difficulty finding somewhere to put my feet without treading on these beautiful plants! This week I went by car...

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  2. Wow! now that's a carpet. I've told ours to grow harder!

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  3. And just about a mile away the park at Montbazon, in the same woods and with the same lush carpet of fall cyclamen, is free.

    You and Chez Charnizay are both giving us beautiful cyclamen photos this week.


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  4. Carolyn: That's true. The park at Montbazon must just about back on to the grounds of la Tortinière.

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  5. Oh those cyclamens are just too gorgeous!
    I went to a kale promotion do last night. Do you grow it? It seems that it has every property under the sun and is easy to cultivate as well.

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  6. Fraussie: No I don't grow it, but Villandry usually has some in the potager, so it clearly thrives here. Simon doesn't really like it and my digestive system can only tolerate it in small quantities. I was reading just the other day about the Kale Project. I forget the name of the woman promoting it though.

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  7. Nobody mentioned that it could cause digestive problems! The Americans are very big fans apparently. The promoter is called Kristen. I met her through the Paris blog scene initially. I tried some raw last night and then a cooked dish but it was a tiny amount smothered in lemon and chillis and didn't seem to have any real taste.

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  8. Fraussie: Blimey! I would never eat it raw!! I can't cope with the strong mustardy substances it contains when it's cooked, much less raw. If I cook it I usually use the Italian style of sweating with a little chili, garlic and lemon. Believe me, proper kale has a very strong taste, both the curly and the cavalo nero varieties.

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  9. Kale is actually not at all popular in the US, though I've seen that claim on other French websites too. But if someone wants to persuade the French to eat more kale with this exaggeration, I'm not going to out them.

    You can find big bags of kale in some supermarkets, washed and cut up, but we are the only people I personally know who eat it. It's not even popular with us! Well, roasted kale is okay.

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  10. Just goes to show, doesn't it! Several people told me last night how popular it is. I think I might stick with spinach ...

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  11. I grew up on kale...the 'hungry gap' plant....and could do without ever eating it again.
    The young shoots are fine, but that's it.
    American expats in Costa Rica are buzzing about kale as well...

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