Saturday, 27 August 2016

Apologies to my readers

The last few weeks I have been pre-occupied: first going to the UK, then losing George and having my mother to stay.

Mum has gone home.
George has not come home.

We are sad, and I cannot bring myself to write cheery posts about food and so on. Later I will tell you about my beautiful niece's wedding, and our short trip to the Cantal; later I will return to giving you recipes and menus.

But for now we are still pre-occupied by George's disappearance and fearing we won't ever see our lovely boy again.


Friday, 19 August 2016

Still Chat Perdu

Nothing yet.

You can read the story so far at The Teapot

We are all so sad without George.Millie is particularly missing her brother...


Saturday, 6 August 2016

Cleaning 'n' tidying

I am all tidied out! Because mum is coming back with me when I return from the UK, I wanted to give the house a really good clean - this is something that isn't undertaken lightly!! So the order of events has been...



Monday - my study got a tidy and vacuum and  the spare bedreoom got tidied, vacuumed, cleaned. Then used as a dumping ground (d'oh!) so I still have to give it a bit of a going over. Maybe.
Tuesday: Our bedroom really got sorted. All the books off the shelves, dusted, moved, polished, vaccumed. Oh the dust and fluff! I could have knitted another cat from the cat hair that was flying around!!!


Wednesday: The bathroom got done today.
Thursday - I had to go to Roanne for various appointments and the shopping, so no cleaning today.
Friday - all the kitchen cupboards were emptied, wiped, cleaned, tidied...The top of the fridge...The most DISGUSTING cupboard-under-the-sink ever got cleaned, wiped, reorganised. I got severely poked by the bristles of a very vicious scrubbing brush that I didn't know was in there.
Saturday (today) - The dining room cupboards were emptied of crockery, glasses, etc and cleaned and reorganised...Sentiment had no part here and various things that I'd kept because they reminded me of someone/some time got thrown out. Jars of jam that had mouldy tops went out. I may have wasted some that was still okay to eat, but I wasn't sure about it, and I knew Mr FD (the main jam eater) wouldn't touch it. Meanwhile Mr FD did a bit of vacuuming and washed the floors.



Tomorrow I'm ironing, packing, printing off tickets etc, so no cleaning then. Mr FD has instructions to clean stairs and landings and the downstairs salon before we get back on the 15th. And to give the houise a final vacuum. As I've done every other bloody room I don't feel a bit guilty about asking him to do that, especially as he's at home for two days of that week (Yes, he has some work to do, but it's still officially holiday for him) The one room I haven't touched is Mr FD's study - his study, his mess.

As I'm leaving on Monday I've not really planned much food...I am missing an ingredient for the planned bulghar wheat salad tonight so I'm going to do jacket potatoes with a vegetarian chilli (topped with bacon bits, sour cream and cheese)  instead. Just as healthy (yeah right!!).

There are various things in the freezer that Mr FD can have during the week, so he doesn't need to think about cooking when he gets back from work, just dinging in the microwave. It means he won't have to go shopping either.

So I'm off-line for one week definitely, and then maybe for the weeks after when mum is here. I may have time to pop in, but don't worry if I don't.




Wednesday, 3 August 2016

For Cat Lovers...


Aril, over at Wonderings & Wanderings from Gnat Bottomed Towers posted this. I wanted to share it with you  in case you hadn't seen it!


I'm not sure how much I approve of using cats in this way - but I love it!

I like this Ikea one too...

And if you follow this link there's an explanation of how they made that advert, and here's a rather amusing parody of that explanation...



Yes, okay, so Cats aren't exactly "Food" related, but I've just posted something else over at The Teapot so I came here with the cat videos!

Sunday, 31 July 2016

What we are going to eat...




This week I don't have any work. In fact I have practically nothing in August, but that's okay, as I am going to the UK next Monday for a week, and then my mum is coming back here for 10 days or so. Mr FD is staying here as he is working for part of the time. We are going to take mum away for one night to Salers, to what looks like a very nice B&B, called Aux Berges du Lac


It looks rather lovely and peaceful. 

She will also have the pleasure of being here while I prepare for (and have!) a colonoscopy. Yay! I'm looking forward to that! Still, needs must.



Anyway, that's all in a weeks' time. Meanwhile, what's planned on the food front this week?

Yesterday our friends took us out for dinner. Mr FD had done lots of work for them on computers and other tech, so this was their way to say thank you. I benefitted because they felt they couldn't just take Mr FD and leave me at home. Huzzah!

We went to La Murette, a Belgian restaurant nearby. 
 I had a mixed tomato salad with anchovies and hard boiled egg - there were lots of different varieties and colour of tomatoes. It was light and refreshing. Then I chose spare ribs - which were delicious and packed with meat! In fact I couldn't finish mine, which was a real shame. This came with a baked potato and spiced cayenne butter, and ratatouille. I was so full that I'd used up my "pudding stomach" and just had a coffee! This morning I haven't wanted much breakfast at all! 

The rest of this week's plans look thusly:

TODAY: Roast beef, yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, carrots, green beans. I'm probably going to church, which is at the inconvenient time of 5.30 during the summer. It means I get back at about 7.45, which is too late to start cooking. So I'll prep everything and Mr FD can put it in the oven. If I go.

MONDAY: Aubergine, mushroom & chickpea curry. I don't have recipe, but I do have curry paste, which I will use. I may throw in some spinach if it hasn't gone slimey.  I think we have some naan bread in the freezer.    

   

TUESDAY: Cold roast beef, chips and salad.

WEDNESDAY: Cheesy pasta and ratatouille. As I've said before with these links to Two Chubby Cubs, the blog post before the recipe can be a bit "racy" but the recipes look good! You can skip direct to the recipe if you prefer.

THURSDAY: TCC's Orange glazed salmon - but I can't get excited by a spicy butterbean salad so we're having it with rice and broccoli.

FRIDAY: Hunters' Chicken, potatoes and vegetables. Probably carrot. This uses a Slimming World barbecue sauce recipe, which may be yucky but may be quite nice. Who knows?! It certainly looks okay...except I won't be using sweetener. Just a pinch of sugar.


Hunters Chicken is basically chicken cooked in the barbecue sauce, with cheese and bacon on top. I'll probably use lardons, as bacon is difficult to get here.  Here's a "proper" recipe.

SATURDAY: Back to the Chubby Cubs, and their Rainbow Bulgur Wheat salad with feta and bacon.
We've had this before and it is delicious!



  • Low calorie cooking spray
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 225g passata
  • 3 tbsp sweetener
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • - See more at: http://www.slimmingworld.co.uk/recipes/barbecue-sauce.aspx#sthash.1UQxGOWS.dpuf



     Thank you, thank you, thank you for comments. I love reading what you write.


    I have my ears forward like in "Happy" mode when I get comments!

    KEZZIE - thank you for your several comments! It's interesting how different people react to the hightened alert. I try to be sanguine like you - if it's going to happen, I can't do much about it. I hope you hads a good time in Sarlat; I really enjoyed our stay in the area, though I agree with you about the lack of veggies - and what there are have probably been cooked in duck fat! We thouyght the peanut noodles were a bit "meh" in the end. Sadly.

    MICHELLE - thank you for your good wishes. As you may have read, we had a lovely trip, despite the rain.

    POMPOM - you're welcome to come and cuddle cats whenever you wish! What day are you coming this week?!



    TRISH - I have seen the Lolcats on your blog. Some excellently relevant ones!! Your kitchen is looking good too.

    MAGGIE - I'm glad your friends enjoyed the concert too. Aix is lovely, and it's worth visiting. And I'd like to have spent more time in Nimes too.

    • Low calorie cooking spray
    • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
    • 225g passata
    • 3 tbsp sweetener
    • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • ½ tsp mustard powder

    method

    1. Spray a pan with low calorie cooking spray and sauté the onion and chilli powder over a high heat for 5 minutes until softened.
    2. Stir in the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened. Check the seasoning before serving hot or cold.
    - See more at: http://www.slimmingworld.co.uk/recipes/barbecue-sauce.aspx#sthash.1UQxGOWS.dpuf
    • Low calorie cooking spray
    • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
    • 225g passata
    • 3 tbsp sweetener
    • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • ½ tsp mustard powder

    method

    1. Spray a pan with low calorie cooking spray and sauté the onion and chilli powder over a high heat for 5 minutes until softened.
    2. Stir in the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened. Check the seasoning before serving hot or cold.
    - See more at: http://www.slimmingworld.co.uk/recipes/barbecue-sauce.aspx#sthash.1UQxGOWS.dpuf




    Saturday, 30 July 2016

    What we had for dinner.

    Hello dear Peeps. I know it's been a couple of weeks since I last posted here (but you can read about my cat herding adventures over at TheTeapot). We had a lovely time in Nimes, at the David Gilmour concert, and Aix en Provence.

    THURSDAY - we travelled to Nimes, not using the motorway very much, but pootling through the countryside. We stopped for lunch at one of our favourite spots (Aix & Terra) where I had Terrine Black-and-white (goats' cheese and marscapône with a fig chutney) followed by an enormous salade Niçoise, full of olivey, anchovy-y goodness. In fact it was so big I couldn't finish it! But, of course, I have a "pudding stomach" and managed to fit a tasty little Café Gourmande in - a coffee with a few tasting size desserts. There was a pannacotta, some tiny madeleines and a palmier biscuit smothered in Speculoos/chocolate spread. Miam-miam.

    We reached Isabelle's where we were staying overnight, and hazd a dip in her swimming pool. Then we went into Nimes for our concert. We weren't sure where to park, and of course there was a lot of traffic, so we decided to park about 2 km from the centre (free parking!) and walk in. it only took about 20 minutes so it seemed like a good idea. We bought a sandwich for our tea and then went into the Arena. It was amazing!

    Here is the arena as it was filling up with people


    And here it is during the finale of "Comfortably Numb"



    After the recent events in Nice I felt a little insecure, but really it isn't possible to think like that. There were plenty of police and security in attendance, so I had to trust to that, and remember that, in fact, Europe is a safer place to be now, in regard to terrorist action, than in the 80s.  It was a superb evening, and quite honestly I was so involved in the music that I forgot my misgivings.

    I think our car parking idea paid dividends now, as the Arena seats upward of 16,000 people. Now I know that about a third was taken up with stage, but that still leaves about 10,000  people all leaving (and probably trying to leave the car park) at the same time. We scooted out of the arena as soon as David Gilmour had finished his encore, so we were already ahead of the crowds, (I'm glad about that as I'm not too stable on badly lit, uneven stone steps!) and I think that by parking out of the centre we probably got away before many of those who had parked closer - even after our walk back to the car!

    FRIDAY: The plan was to go for a walk and then have another dip in the pool before leaving, but it poured with rain. Instead we sat and chatted with Danièle (Isabelle's mum, who is a good friend of ours) and then went and bought some wine.

    As you can see, it's not quite swimming weather!
      

    Danièle prepared a lovely meal, of tomato and mozzarella salad, daube with red rice from the Camargue, and then peach sorbet. Very enjoyable.

    We drove down to just outside Aix to the B&B that we had booked. I'd been a bit dubious,as the website wasn't very informative, but in fact it was very comfortable (except for the fact the toilet was in a tiny room that neither of us could stand upright in, and it didn't have a door. There was only a curtain separating it from the bedroom. Not very comfortable.)

    We only wanted a snack for dinner, but actually ended up with something a bit bigger...
    Very yummy though!

    It was at a little shack-like snackbar called Le Boomerang.


     But it was very clean (the toilets were immaculate!) and served good beer

    Here's me!
    (looking like I've had one too many beers!!)

    SATURDAY:
    We went for a walk in the forest around the B&B - it wasn't a great walk, being a bit same-y, but it was good to get a bit of exercise...

     Mr FD looks very severe in this photo!

    The highest village in Bouches-du-Rhone: Mimet

    Get a move on, woman!

    After the walk we drove to Aix, and bought a sandwich for lunch. The plan had been to walk round the town, admiring fountains (there are over 100 in the town) but it started to rain again...


    I liked the wine cooler carefully placed to get the benefit of the cold water!)

    Finally it got so wet we decided to go to the cinema!! We saw "Florence Foster Jenkins" which was very good.

     After the film we went for a stroll, trying to be upbeat about the weather, but we gave in finally, stopped for a coffee, and then decided to go back to Mimet to book into the restaurant there for dinner. Though we did pause to take a photo of this street sign

    I'd quite like to live on Rue Rifle-Rafle!

    However, continuing our luck, the restaurant was fully booked for a wedding party, and we couldn't find anywhere else in the vicinity (bizarrely!) However, we finally stumbled on a reasonably pleasant looking restaurant, where I had...

    Baked camembert with honey and walnuts.

    pumet de cochon - not sure what cut of pork this is, but it was certainly good!


    then Carpaccio of pineapple with a mango ice cream.

    SUNDAY: We had an enjoyable breakfast, sitting in the sunshine, and chatting with the owner. Then we said Goodbye to the blind dog


    (who didn't seem too bothered!)

    And we drove home. We bought some picnic food on the way back;, which we ate in a motorway service area, but we were home by about 4.00. It had been a lovely break.

    Saturday, 16 July 2016

    Light and Dark

    Hello dear Peeps. I am happy to have your company - thank you for dropping by.

    Like much of the world, we are in a subdued mood here in Dormouse Towers: with the turmoil and instability in the world at the moment I find it difficult to be optimistic. The events in Nice, the  effects of Brexit, the failed coup in Turkey...these are just the big events that are going on. Around the world there are other less "news worthy" events happening. When searching for information to add into my post over at The Teapot I came across a site listing all the terrorist attacks that have occurred this year. It is truly shocking. Many of them we never hear about on the global news, but every day in several countries there are attacks, and deaths. For example, on just one day, 12th July, there were 6 different attacks, in Iraq, Saudi Arabia,  and Nigeria resulting in the deaths of 59 people. This is our world.

    We feel hopeless and useless - at least, I know I do, - but I suppose all we can do is resolutely continue to live our lives normally, and try to bring light and love into this world of darkness.


    So in the face of fear, and pain and evil I can only pray that I will be one who can bring light, love and compassion to the world. Hold your loved ones a little closer and appreciate them today, for there are many who can no longer do that.



    So now, a couple of cute LOLcats to bring some fluffy loveliness to your heart







    And on with the mundanity of life here in a small village in France...

    The planned hog roast was a bit of a disaster - Mr FD thought it was an all-afternoon event, so we turned up at 6.00 to find it had closed down! So we had Friday's planned sausage, aligot and green beans on Thursday, while watching "What We Did on our Holiday" - a really amusing film. Great fun, and well recommended

    It has David Tennant in too, which is a bonus!

    On Friday we had the meal I'd planned for Wednesday, as on Wednesday we'd had the impulse buy of spare ribs.

    TODAY: Friend Cathy and I are going to see a Sting tribute this evening, so we thought we'd make an evening and have a pizza out. Mr FD is going to cook himself liver and bacon. Yeeuch.

    SUNDAY: Cottage pie - not made from a recipe. Just mince-y mixture with mashed potato on top.

    I'm not quite following this recipe, as the one I have uses peanut butter - which has made Mr FD happy. VERY happy...He has a penchant for crispbread with peanut butter and cheddar. A friend at church gave me a huge block of cheddar from their trip to the UK, so Mr FD is having slabs of the stuff on peanut butter. I am trying to be more restrained, as cheese-eating needs to be reduced on my cholesterol-busting regime. TBH, it's hardly "busting" any cholesterol, but I am making an effort to restrict myself to one helping of "baked goods" a day, and my lunchtime sandwich fillings have changed to less processed meat and cheese.

    TUESDAY: The rest of the cottage pie.

    WEDNESDAY: Mexican bean burgers, salad, potato wedges

    THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY - no idea! We're going away on a little break! We have tickets to see David Gilmour in the arena at Nimes, so we are staying with a friend on Thursday night, and then in a B&B near Aix en Provence on Friday and Saturday nights.


    We want to have lunch here



    on Thursday. We've eaten here before and it is very good. It will give us the opportunity to buy a little something for Isabelle to say "Thank You" for putting us up too. They sell lots of delicious things to eat and drink.


    We may also slip a little something into the basket for ourselves. We love their balsamic vinegar and fig salad dressing!

    Other than that we don't know where or what we'll be eating, but I'm sure we'll find nice places! 


    Thank you once again for your comments.

    CAROLE R - definitely Lyon for food! And there are lots of places serving fish. In fact quenelles de brochet (pike quenelles) are a speciality of Lyon. My MiL doersn't eat meat and she has always eaten well in Lyon. One of our favourite places to go with her is Le Sud which is right near the centre of the city. Let me know if you decide to go - I can give you other recommendations too.

    SWEET THINGS CREATE: Thank you too for your comment! I always wonder what to do with things I create - I try to give them away mostly - but it's comforting to know others have the same problem!!


    I hope you all have a good week, full of light and love and peace. Take care, and I'll try to post sometime soon after our break away.