Saturday, 25 October 2014

Baked Chicken with Beer and Herbs

Every 3 months ish, when we lived in England, we would get-together with my sisters, their other halves and my parents and have a themed evening. We took it in turns to be the host, plus have the honour of choosing the theme. We’ve been doing this for years but today will be the first one we’ll miss. But, we can still join in, but from a distance. The theme for tonight is Beers of the World. Its not easy buying a beer in France, well I haven’t found any apart from Guinness, so I had to improvise. The darkest beer I could find was Leffe Brune for this recipe. It was lovely although I overcooked it slightly.

Baked Chicken and Beer 

Ingredients Method
8 pieces of chicken, thighs or drumsticks
1 whole garlic, peeled
4oz smoked bacon pieces
3 carrots chopped into chunks
12floz dark beer
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon juniper berries (optional)
1 tablespoon mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
Gas 6/200c/400f – Serves 4

Place all the ingredients in a baking dish and pour over the beer.
Bake for 1 hour turning the chicken every 15 mins. Serve.

Be careful, as if you overcook the dish like I did, you will loose the caramel sauce.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

La Domaine de Péré - Fête d'automne

Every year in October, La Domaine de Péré, holds it autumn fete. Set in beautiful grounds near the hamlet of Prissé-la-Charrière, the domaine, built in the 1500’s, welcomes more than 5,000 visitors over the weekend. There were over 100 exhibits selling plants, fruit trees, bulbs, roses, skin products, clothes, spices, handmade toys, ceramic pots, homemade jams and jellies, there was a lot to interest the visitor. We definitely didn’t need any jam or jelly, but we were after some screening plants to put at the bottom of the garden. We love the tall grasses, so choose 4 different varieties that grow to over 2 meters high. The only thing that eludes us is a Pampas Grass, we've not seen one for sale yet. We found out when we got home, that we could have looked around the house, perhaps next time.
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Domaine de la Pere (1)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A week has flown by!

Well where did that week go??? We have said goodbye to our guests already, no sooner had they landed, they have taken off again. But, we’ve had a great time spending the last few days visiting Châteaux de Javazay at Chef Boutonne and Coulon in the Marais Poitevin. We had a little peek in an estates agent window. If you want a house alongside the canals, they are very expensive. We have had a lovely relaxing week and we hope they’ve enjoyed their stay as much as we did having them.

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Coulon

Sadly I couldn’t go with them to the airport on Tuesday morning, as I had another attack of Labyrinthitis during Monday night and the room was spinning big time. I've got tablets leftover from my last episode, so I’m just waiting for them to kick in. I had loads of jobs planned and can't do any of them. I hope it clears quickly as I have a fruit garden to weed and walls to finish in the lounge. I’m not allowed to be poorly, too much to do!!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

First Visitors

On Tuesday we welcomed our first visitors, Roger’s Mum and Dad. We picked them up from La Rochelle airport and after a slight detour (to much chatting in the car and not paying attention to the signs) we brought them home.  They’ve not been to France before so we’ve tried to give them a flavour of the country – the chateau at La Rochefoucauld, the resistance memorial at Chasseneuil and the market at Melle. We had a lovely walk along the river La Somptueuse and saw the lavoirs at Sompt. They couldn’t stay without giving them some work to do, so they have helped pick up our walnuts. We have loads, which will be pressed into oil later in the year. We are having a very relaxed time, which is what holidays are all about.

 R & D
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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Le sablage a commencé

Yippee, the sandblasting started on Saturday but after a troublesome morning. The hopper wasn't pumping the sand properly, apparently due to the humidity, but after some swearing from the boys (which always seems to work!!), the hopper pulled itself together. The hall looks like a beach and the utility room is just covered even though the door has been blocked up!!! The upstairs had been blocked off too, but it still managed to get into every room. I just can’t describe the dust and sand, it’s everywhere and sleeping in a very dusty bedroom just wasn’t fun. But, there was no point clearing up as we are at it again today. We hope to get the sandblasting finished today, but that wont be the end of it. Most of the pointing has been done with cement, not chaux, so we have a lot of chipping out to do in a couple of weeks time. But, we have to have a thorough clean tonight and tomorrow, before Roger’s Mum and Dad arrive on Tuesday. Hope they don’t mind living in a very dusty and gritty house :)

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