Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Buried in the Forest


On Tuesday 18 June Simon and I, Gaynor and Tim, and Bob did a 7.5 kilometre walk in the Forest of Preuilly. The highlight was going to see the Resistance encampment, with its graves and remains of their mobile kitchen, deep in the forest. We already knew the graves at Péchoire, but none of us except Simon had ever been to the other site connected with the World War II skirmish of 23 July 1944. 

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Goldsmith beetle Carabus auratus (Fr. le Jardinière) on one of the forestry tracks. It sat like this for at least a minute -- amazing for a beetle that hitherto I only have blurry photos of one disappearing.

The day of the walk started of cool, but after lunch the humidity and heat soared. Later, in the middle of the night we had a very energetic summer storm. All of us picked up quite a few minute ticks from the long grass on the unmown forest rides (the record was Tim, with 16!), and horse fly season has started, so no more walks in the forest are advisable for a couple of months. 

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Female Moustached Darter Sympetrum vulgatum (Fr. Sympétrum vulgaire).

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The graves of three of the eight Resistance fighters killed in the forest by the Germans on 24 July 1944. Arrested at the nearby Chateau de Bossée they were brought here to their encampment in the forest, tortured and finally shot. They are buried more or less where they fell. 

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Photograph of Sergeant Gaston Goblet on the cross marking his grave.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The remains of a mobile military cantine at the Resistance encampment site. Meals for the maquis troupes Carol and Epernon were prepared on it and it marked the central bivouac for both groups. The Germans used explosives to render it useless, and the wheels and stockpots were later stolen.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
One of a number of old pollarded Hornbeam trees in the area of the Resistance encampment.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Wild native Foxgloves Digitalis purpurea (Fr. Digitale pourprée) in a glade.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Bundles of firewood awaiting collection.

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Monday, 24 June 2019

Feather Steak


This is a reworking of a post I wrote ten years ago and has always been one of the most popular posts on the blog.

Feather steak goes by a number of names -- paleron in France, flat iron steak in America. It's also called top blade and patio steak. The name 'feather' comes because there is a large nerve running through the meat, with many smaller nerves branching off in a feathery pattern.

Cut thin and flash fried, feather steak makes a very tasty and economical meal. It is a cut of beef you can nearly always get in France, but not seen so much in anglophone countries.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

It is from the less well regarded front end of the beast, and if cut thicker and used as a stewing steak, it is known as blade (as in shoulder blade, which is more or less where it comes from on the animal).

Depending on how it is cut, it will currently range in price from €7/kilo (for blade) to €10 (for feather) at one of the large supermarket chains. What's more, the label will inform you that the beast the meat came from was born and raised in France, killed and butchered in France (with a reference number so you can check exactly where and by whom). Perhaps most interesting of all, the label will say that this meat came from a cow (vache), as opposed to a steer, and she was not a beef breed, but a dairy cow (laitier).

It may seem odd to clearly label meat as not from a breed specifically developed for meat production, but take a look at the type of hefty heifer that these steaks probably came from, and you will understand that we are not talking about the sort of gaunt mobile bags of milk that modern intensive dairy farming demands. Strictly speaking, these Normandes are a dual purpose breed.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The big nerve down the middle of feather steak is most off-putting looking and often mistaken for gristle, but if the meat is cooked extremely quickly and not allowed to cool before being eaten, the nerve does not toughen but is more like firm jelly. You do need to check that all the gristle around the edges is trimmed off though, as that is like leather.

Pat the steak dry, smear with oil, season generously with a pepper blend (I use Ducros 5 Baies) and a little sea salt then sizzle for no more than a minute a side on a dry cast iron pan that has been heated until it is smoking. Pull off the heat and stir a little crème fraîche into the pan juices. Serve immediately with fried potatoes of some sort.

According to a commenter on the original post:
The cut: It sits on the side of the shoulder blade and when sliced looks like a feather with the nerve like the quill. Cut like this it is good for casseroles. However, if the nerve is removed it gives two flat muscles that are very lean with a good flavour and firm texture. These are also good for daubes and casseroles but also for flash frying. Excellent value for money.

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Brain Cancer Bus


Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Whilst in Australia in December 2017 we followed this bus for some time.

Brain cancers are the third biggest killer of Australian children (after congenital abnormalities and land transport accidents). An article in The Conversation gives an overview.

Brain cancer is particularly tricky to treat, because of the blood-brain barrier, meaning that the body has a natural mechanism for blocking the transfer of drugs to the brain.

Buses are a particularly good means of advertising and raising awareness of all sorts of things. They frequently feature creative clever designs and like us, you might spend some time behind a bus, giving you plenty of time to absorb the message. 

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Chimney Sweeper Moth


Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The Chimney Sweeper Odezia atrata (Fr. le Ramoneur) is an upland grassland species. I photographed this one at nearly 2000 metres above sea level in Switzerland. The subtle white leading edge of the upper wing tips is diagnostic on this otherwise sooty brown moth.

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Friday, 21 June 2019

Place du Monstre, Tours


Between the covered market halls and the buzz of Place Plumereau, where everyone hangs out on summer evenings to share a beer and catch up with friends, there is a much more discreet little square in Tours. Officially it's known as Place du Grand Marché, but almost everyone refers to it these days as Place du Monstre. It's a great spot to start the day -- not, I hasten to add, in the McDonald's that has opened at one end, but next door, in the neighbourhood bar, opposite the long established hat shop. Buy yourself a pastry at one of the bakeries along the square and settle down with an excellent coffee on the terrace of le Tourangeau for some people watching.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Further Reading: The Tours Val de Loire Tourist Office page for Place du Monstre is entertaining (and in English).
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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Thursday, 20 June 2019

New Apothecary at Chenonceau


To celebrate the 500 year anniversary of the birth of Catherine de Medici, the Chateau of Chenonceau has recreated the apothecary that once existed in the stable block. The Queen was always surrounded by scientists such as her doctor, Augier Ferrier, and Nostrodamus, her herbalist. The latter was so reknowned that the Queen called him to court in 1555.

A local furniture maker has worked for three years to restore a monumental set of cabinets for the apothecary. It took Fabrice Hulak, who has lived and worked in nearby Azay sur Cher for fifteen years, nearly two years to restore the individual wooden elements before putting the whole thing together, another year's work. He's very aware of how lucky he has been to work on this once in a lifetime project.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Laure Menier, the curator of Chenonceau, has wanted to reinstate the apothecary for a long time. Then three years ago she had the opportunity to buy the apothecary from a Florentine palace. The nine wooden cabinets, 3.8 metres high and 1.8 metres wide, were delivered with four boxes of bits -- a real jigsaw puzzle.

Hulak, and his old apprentice master Patrice Goulon, from Bléré, took on the task in the autumn of 2016. There were no plans, drawings or instructions. There wasn't even a photograph of the apothecary in situ in Italy. As he worked on the cabinets he discovered that they showed the signs of being altered over the course of their life.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The apothecary has been reinstated in the stables, where the original one was. The Florentine cabinets have been adapted to fit the space and the beams in the ceiling. Mouldings have been remade, suitable pieces have been found to fit and later modifications reversed so the apothecary is a Renaissance piece of furniture.

Hulak worked at least three days a week on the project, and sometimes two weeks straight. All the while he was engaged in honouring other commissions too.

The longest task was to take the cupboards apart and remove all the old varnish, then replace or reglue the little carved motifs and the broken acanthus leaves. It was very precise and fastidious work. He had to reconstruct the cupboards, remake 400 metres of mouldings and the doors. It took nearly two years to remake all the elements before he could put it all back together.

Everything was done in the workshop, then reconstructed in the room in the stables. All the carcasses of the cupboards are oak, and the facades walnut. The glass for the doors, artisan blown like in the period, were ordered from Lyon.

Hulak has also done all the other items of furniture in the display, including an enormous Renaissance three metre high by three metre wide buffet in rosewood and walnut. That only took him three months!

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Late May Flowering Orchids in the Orchard


I've had a lot of comments and queries from the public this year about Pyramidal Orchids. They must be having a good year and producing lots of flowers in shocking pink spikes that people notice. Then they get curious about what they are. In other years it has been the Lizard Orchids that people ask me about. They notice them flowering in their lawn and wonder what they are.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 A rather pale Pyramidal Orchid. 
Normally they are bright pink, but every now and then a pale one will turn up.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 A typically coloured Pyramidal Orchid, swarming with Iris Weevils.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 A little group of Pyramidal Orchids.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Lizard Orchid.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Bee Orchid.

Further reading, on Loire Valley Nature:

Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis (Fr. Orchis pyramidal)

Lizard Orchid Himantoglossum hircinum (Fr. Orchis bouc)

Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera (Fr. Ophrys abeille)



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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

A New Staircase for the Donjon


Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The donjon (castle keep) on the Royal Citadel at Loches is getting a new wooden entry staircase. Visitors have to get across the steep deep defensive ditch to enter through Henry II Plantagenet's medieval gatehouse and the old staircase was getting distinctly rickety. The young man working on this long riser was a cheerful soul, interested in what I was telling my clients when we visited and happy to answer questions about his work. He is set up on the roof of the 14th century caponier (a sort of bunker designed to defend the ditches, outside of the curtain wall of a castle).

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Monday, 17 June 2019

Walnut Liqueur

Liqueur de noix, day one.
It's time to start thinking about making walnut liqueur again. Traditionally it is started on the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, which is 24 June. The walnuts need to be green, before any woody shell has developed. Then they are chopped into several pieces and put in the bottom of preserving jars. Add sugar and spices such as vanilla pods, cinnamon sticks, cardamon pods, Szechuan peppercorns and star anise. Other flavour elements such as lemon or orange rind can be included. The jars are topped up with eau de vie, white or red wine and/or vermouth, and the lids  closed but not sealed. Over the next few months the brew will slowly change colour as the tannins from the walnuts migrate into the liquid, some of them transforming into flavour compounds in the same way that red wine matures. The liqueur is supposed to be ready for Christmas but I find that usually it is not yet quite matured enough and is best filtered and bottled at the end of November but left in the cellar for another six months to a year before drinking.

Day two.

Day six.

Day thirteen.

Day one hundred and sixty-three.

Filtered and bottled in December, ready to give away.

I've written about making walnut liqueur, or liqueur de noix as it is known in French, before. See Walnut Witches Brew.

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Travelling the Snowy Mountain Highway


Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Gorgeous views, as you would expect on a mountain highway.

The Snowy Mountains Highway connects the south coast of New South Wales with the Monaro High Plain, crossing the infamous Brown Mountain (1243 metres).

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Yes, it snows in Australia.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
B Double semi-trailer rigs must stop, uncouple their trailer and hand it over to a colleague to bring down the mountain.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Once down they can hitch up again.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A semi-trailer on the road.


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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Alpine Clover


Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

I spent ages trying to identify this plant as a milkvetch (Astragalus sp or Oxytropis sp), but it turns out to be a clover, Trifolium alpinum. I photographed this one in Switzerland in the middle of its range, at just under 2000 metres (it can be found from about 1700 metres to 2800 metres). The species is an important native forage plant for all those charming cows in the mountains, and a good stabiliser of eroded areas. They like cold, damp sunny sites with poor acid soil.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.


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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Friday, 14 June 2019

Repairing the Roof of Saint Ours, Loches


The Romanesque Church of Saint Ours, on the Royal Citadel in Loches, has a very unusual roof, in the form of two octagonal pyramids known as dubes. Made entirely of cut stone, they are unique in France. Unfortunately they seem to have been a bit experimental, and have clearly always leaked. Even after repairs in 1850 they have continued to let water in. Later, during the 20th century, there were several attempts to seal them, all to no avail.

Today they form a damp halo over the building (the last thing you want in any building, let alone a historic one!). Green and brown algae is thriving and very visible. The stone is crumbling inside and out, leaving deposits in the nave and blocking the gutters.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
View of Saint Ours from the Louis XI tower.

Now, as part of a global restoration of the church which will include the stained glass, organ, belltowers and wall paintings as well as all the structural elements, the local authority is determined to find a permanent solution (which will also meet the International Convention on Conservation of Historic Monuments requirement that any intervention will be reversible).

The plan is to cover the bases of the dubes with lead sheeting. The lead will be shaped to fit all the contours of the stone, including the joints, and will reach up to the top of the buttresses. The lead will then be treated with an acid to age it and make it almost the colour of the stone. At the same time any masonry requiring repair will be dealt with, and the guttering and downpipes on the north side reviewed.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The first of the dubes under scaffolding and being inspected.

The total cost of repairing the dubes inside and out is estimated to be €556 000.

Previous conservation work undertaken as part of this project includes:

Drying Out the Narthex

La Dame de Beauté Gets a Facelift

The church is also an important swift nesting site, so we will be trying to ensure the work is done in as swift friendly way as possible. 

Donations to support the project can be made via the Fondation du Patrimoine.

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Natural Born Killers


During a spell of hot dry weather in late May I photographed a series of flower crab spiders with their victims in the orchard. Here is a selection. I photographed at least twice as many individuals as I'm showing you here.

Photographed by Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Ashy Mining Bee Andrena cinerea captured by a Xysticus sp on Fodder Burnet Sanguisorba minor subsp muricata (Fr. Pimprenelle polygame)

Photographed by Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Glanville Fritillary Melitaea cinxa (Fr. La Mélitée du Plantain) captured by Thomisus onustus (Fr. la Thomise enflée) on Field Scabious Knautia arvensis (Fr. Scabieuse).

Photographed by Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Glanville Fritillary captured by T. onustus on a Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis (Fr. Orchis pyramidal).

Photographed by Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Knapweed Fritillary Melitaea phoebe (Fr. Le Grand Damier) captured by T. onustus on Field Scabious.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Four-spotted moth Tyta luctuosa (Fr. Noctuelle en deuil) caught by T. onustus on Field Scabious.

As you can see from the photos, the flower crab spider Thomisus onustus comes in pink and white or yellow. It also comes in green, and can change colour as necessary for camouflage. Sometimes they are nearly invisible, but having said that, they can be remarkably brazen, and are far less concerned about concealing themselves from a photographer than the Xysticus was.

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Looking for Ludovico


This year's big archaeology project in Loches has been the search for the grave of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, known as Il Moro, and Leonardo da Vinci's great patron. In 2009 geophys of the floor in the church of Saint Ours on the Royal Citadel indicated a cavity, and that has been followed up this year by lifting flagstones and digging down through 800 years of burials. The Regional Department for Cultural Affairs (DRAC) have authorised the dig and the Département d'Indre et Loire has stumped up €30 000 to achieve the work, which took place over four weeks in April-May.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Ludovico Sforza's semi-underground windowless cell in the Martelet Tower, Loches. 
He occupied himself by decorating the walls, having been taught the techique by Leonardo.

Ludovico Sforza died in 1508, having been a captive of Louis XII for the previous eight years. Leonardo had left his service in 1499, but did not come to France at that time, and only arrived to live in Amboise after Ludovico's death. Despite his high status, Ludovico's actual resting place has been a mystery, that this dig hopes to solve. The focus has been on the Church of Saint Ours as that was considered the most likely location and there was some written evidence.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Ludovico Sforza depicted on a painted chest in the Castello Sforzesco, Milan.

Ludovico and Leonardo were born the same year, 1452. Leonardo would go on to achieve superstardom throughout the centuries, but for all that, many people are unaware that he is buried in Amboise in the Loire Valley. Ludovico, although a great Renaissance prince, the man who commissioned The Last Supper, one of Leonardo's most famous works, is a much less known historical character for the general public, and his last years as a prisoner in Loches only known to those who visit the Donjon here, or have a particular interest in the man.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The vaulted ceiling of la Sala delle Asse (the wainscotted room) in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, painted by Leonardo da Vinci for Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan.

How Ludovico died is also a mystery. Legend has it that he died from the shock of being released into the sunlight after years of being kept in a windowless cell. Others believe he succumbed to an illness or that he was assassinated. Given the period, it is also possible that he was simply allowed to starve to death once no longer useful. 

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The archaeological dig in the church of Saint Ours.

The archaeological dig of 30 metres square in the middle of the church was also looking for evidence of 10th century foundations for the mainly 11th and 12th century building, and for evidence that it stands on the site of a much older church, from the 5th century, as certain records indicate, making it one of the earliest churches in France.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Another view of the archaeology.

Because of the number of burials under the church it is proving very difficult to determine who is who. The archaeologists are looking for a man around sixty years old who died at the beginning of the 16th century. Forensic tests on isotopes in his teeth could prove where he grew up, and DNA matches with known relatives such as his nephew buried at the Abbey of Marmoutier would also establish his identity.

The dig finished on 25 May, and now there will be a wait while the laboratory tests on likely bones are done. If Ludovico Sforza is positively identified there will then be a question of what to do with his remains. The town of Loches will be responsible for them, and it has been suggested that they will ask the town of Pavia if they would like them, to be installed in the grand Italian tomb that Ludovico had constructed for himself but never got to use.


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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Hazel Leaf Roller in the Orchard


Ever since Kew botanist Kaz told me about Hazel Leaf Rollers I've wanted to see one. Well, I've finally succeeded, and it was in the orchard! They are just as weird a little beetle as I'd hoped.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

I was scattering 'wild' flower seeds along the laneway to the orchard, and right in front of me a red beetle with a black head landed on a hazel leaf. I promptly dropped a handful of crimson clover seeds in a pile on the ground and ran to get the camera. Luckily the little beast was still there when I returned a few seconds later.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

I assumed initially by its behaviour that it was a female looking for a suitable leaf to roll around its egg. Later, looking at the photos I decided it must have been male, with its little white velcro pads on the soles of its feet (all the better to grip the female with). It walked up and down the leaf it landed on, then moved to the next leaf, apparently checking carefully for something.  Now, after looking at other people's pictures where they've been lucky enough to capture a female cutting and rolling a leaf, I am back to thinking it was female, who also seem to have the velcro pads. It was still there minutes later after I felt I had sufficient photos and I got on with my seed scattering. Later I found a leaf cigar on another hazel in the orchard, so it looks like I have a breeding population.

Hazel Leaf Roller Apoderus coryli (Fr. L'Apodère du noisetier).

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Monday, 10 June 2019

Rhubarb Flummery


Cooked and photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Creamy and fluffy at the same time, this is a delicious rhubarb season dessert. It is essentially rhubarb fool with added meringue.

Cooked and photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Ingredients
About 5 sticks of rhubarb, washed, trimmed and chopped
2 cm chunk of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
A splash or two of water
A sheet of gelatine
4 egg yolks
6 tbsp sugar
300 g mascarpone, crème fraîche, fromage frais, cream cheese or fromage blanc battu
2 egg whites

Method
  1. Put the rhubarb, ginger and a splash of water in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  2. Stir the rhubarb vigorously to make it fall apart.
  3. Snip the gelatine into pieces and soak in a splash of water for 5 minutes.
  4. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy.
  5. Add the mascarpone and beat vigorously.
  6. Mix the mascarpone and egg yolk mixture into the hot rhubarb, stirring so well blended.
  7. Add the softened gelatine to the rhubarb mixture and stir well.
  8. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the rhubarb mixture.
  9. Spoon into 6 glasses and chill for several hours before serving.
Rhubarb and eggs supplied by our friends Tim and Pauline. The mascarpone I bought at the supermarket, on the 'soon to expire' discount shelf.

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos.