Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Confit onions.

Confit is a French word that is used to mean something cooked long and slow either in it's own fat or butter. I didn't take pictures of the onions in the pan as I have a stinking cold and the onions were making my eyes and nose stream! Not good to cooking you may think, but I needed something warm and comforting and this seemed like a good idea.
I started with four large onions and 30g of butter. A teaspoon of salt, half tsp of black pepper and a tsp of sugar (I used 2 because I like it sweet).
Cook over a very low heat for at least 2hours. You know it's ready when the onions finally start to brown. That's where the delicious flavour comes from.  This is a small Kilner jar so shows how much the onions have reduced.
I left about two tablespoons in the pan with some of the butter and added a beef stock cube, a little water to make a soup and about half a cup of sherry. Brandy is usually used or sweet sherry. I had neither so instead used Shaoxing rice wine and it was delicious.
I toasted some french bread topped with cheese and soaked it in the soup. This was total comfort food and possibly even better for a rubbish cold than anything else.
The jar of onions will keep in the fridge for a least a week and can be used instead of stock cubes or  in sauces. I'd like to try using more sugar and less butter next time to make a proper sandwich chutney as that's a favourite of mine with cheese and ham :D

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

More from France.

The weather has been so windy and stormy in England this week that it's quite difficult to remember back to the quiet, gentle days of our stay in France. There are times since I've been back that I've almost been overwhelmed with longing for the peace and solitude - soon we'll return.
The warm still evenings, sat outside with a bottle of Blonde as we watched the sunset
and the crisp sunrises, damp with mist and dew
as the sleepy Hamlet slowly woke up with little hurry to start the day.

We foraged in the woods and used the bounty there to make our food delicious.
Pork, apple and chestnut stuffing for a very delicious roast.
The sunsets were amazing, even as the mist descended, dragons roamed the skies.
Nearby was the holy well of Saint Germaine. A whole day is celebrated in his honour and the Hamlet is overrun with visitors.
Generally speaking, Christian wells are usually created at the sites of ancient springs, sometimes dedicated to much older deities (dare I say Pagan?). I found the original spring and where it burst out of the undergrowth. We followed it.
The woods around the spring were abundant in all things from mushrooms to whole carpets of fat juicy chestnuts.
The pathway was well used and further along we followed some very large hoofprints. Someone had ridden a big horse along here.
After a spell under heavy undergrowth, the spring emerged and grew into a small river. This was the beautiful light under the heavy autumn canopy.
Where the trees thinned out we heard wolves. Thankfully they were the other side of the clearing and heading away from us. It was a special moment, but I wasn't ready to meet them.
My companion wanted to know what I was photographing. "Nothing!" I fibbed ;)
The Fly Agaric were quite impressive and I did expect to see a fairy or two. I wonder if they're very different to English fairies???
It doesn't look so impressive here, but we called this the 'Indiana Jones' bridge as it was above the river, rickety and ready to collapse at any moment. We still used it to get across though. The horse had waded through and up the bank. I don't blame him!
Back home I had to dry my boots out as they were thoroughly soaked and so were my feet!
I may have a few more pictures to share before I give in and stop daydreaming about another place. My home needs some work, especially in the garden which looks like a tornado stopped for a visit!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Walking over water.

We crossed the ocean and walked in another land.  Although the day was damp and misty, the beauty of Fougeres was not dimished in any way at all. We sat in the shadow of the castle and ate home made pasties and crisps.
The castle was so beautiful but we could only explore outside as it was closed for the winter.
There were still plenty of places to walk and explore, although these stairs were so very steep and I stayed close to the wall!
This little French cat tried to come with us, oh, she was adorable <3
Amid all the grey was a beautiful splash of colour.
Our home for the week was an enchanting little Breton cottage, set amid a sleepy Hamlet.
I fell so in love with this place.
We had our morning tea in the sun
and cooked lovely meals in this kitchen.
We walked for miles through valleys and towns, but mostly we took time to rest and think.....