Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Using Up - Plum Sorbet

Spoke too soon, I have Rogers cough and sniffles. I can cope with the runny nose but the cough is so flippin annoying. The constant hacking is driving me crazy and irritating for Roger too, even though he doesn’t complain as he’s knows how it feels. Also, we’re not getting much sleep but hopefully it will clear soon as there’s loads that need to be done. We had hoped to visit a flower show at Pamproux on Easter Monday, but didn’t fancy being outside in the wind and rain, never mind there will be others. Anyway, that’s enough of me feeling sorry for myself. Here’s another recipe using up some of our plum mountain that I made a few weeks ago  – plum sorbet. Easy to make, the colour is amazing and tastes delicious. Weirdly it has a creamy texture even though there’s no cream in it. I also made a fig version, the colour not so appealing, but tasty all the same.

Sorbet 1

Mixing the ingredients of which there aren’t many.

Sorbet 2

The sorbet before popping in the freezer, what a colour.

Sorbet 3

Delicious icy sorbet.

Fig Sorbet

The fig sorbet before freezing.

Ingredients Method
700g Plums
150g Sugar
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tsp lemon juice
Put all the ingredients into a bowl, mix and leave for 30 mins.

Pop into a liquidizer and blend until smooth, leave to chill in the fridge for an hour.

Pour into a freezer proof dish and freeze until set, stirring every 30 mins. Simple.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Sowing Seeds

What a great little gadget this is, a paper pot maker, a gift given to Roger ages ago. You take 2 pieces of paper 30cmby 10cm approx, wrap round the pot maker leaving 3cm overhang at the bottom, fold the bottom over, push into the base which crimps and seals the bottom. It didn’t get much use in England, but here in France I’ve made loads using the supermarket magazines that come in the post, as long as it’s newspaper type paper. They are the perfect size for planting just one seed per pot and these little pots take up less space than even the smallest plastic ones, so we can start off more veg in the greenhouse. Alongside these we have some papier mâché ones too and both types of pots have been sown with tomatoes, courgettes (not so many this year), beans, peppers, chillies, cabbage, brussels and caulis. Once the seedlings are ready, the pots can be planted straight into the ground without disturbing the roots and the paper will decompose. I’ve got more seeds to sow in the coming weeks.

Pot Maker
Seeds 1
Seeds 2

Thursday, 24 March 2016


A few weeks ago we bought a couple of scratch cards from our neighbours son Louis, with all money raised going towards his school and we won a prize – yippee. But what had we won?? A game called Mölkky. Still none the wiser we had to ask Google for some help and it turned out it was a game similar to skittles but with a twist. The object of the game is to get exactly 50 points by throwing the wooden baton, called a Mölkky, at the skittles. If you knock down more than 1 skittle you score the number of skittles, but if you only knock down 1 skittle you score the number on the skittle. If you miss all the skittles 3 times in a row, you’re out and if you go over 50 your score is reduced to 25 points. What makes this a little different, is the skittles are stood back up where they fall, so their positions change all the time. This is going to be a perfect summer game.


Monday, 21 March 2016

Wedding No1 - Natasha and Charlie

We had another whirlwind trip to the UK for our first wedding of 2016, our niece Natasha and Charlie's. Held in the pretty church of St Peters in Terwick followed by a lovely reception at The Old Thorns near Liphook. It was great for all their family and friends to be together for their special day. There were some beautiful touches on the tables, slate coasters with painted lavender motifs plus lavender flavoured chocolate for the favours, handmade wire animals for the table centres and an amazing wedding cake, 1 layer chocolate, 1 layer lavender and 1 layer that can’t remember and it was so delicious. We wish them both all the very best for the future. In January our great-niece Eleanor Rose was born, so it was lovely to meet her for the first time, love those cute chubby cheeks. And I hope you all appreciate the new trend set by Joshua, men wearing fascinators.

It’s taken a few days to post this because when we returned, we had no internet or phone for 4 days and Roger had also picked up a stinking cold. It turned out we had a problem with our line, which Orange fixed when they said they would, but they couldn’t fix Rogers cold.

Natasha and Charlie

Natasha and Charlie with their cousins.

Jo and Eleanor

Little Eleanor with mum Jo.


My nutty BIL Gary, Josh, Sam and Darrel who’s looking a bit serious.

Joshuas Hat

Setting a new trend.


Pretty wedding favours but the chocolate had been eaten.


The beautiful cake.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Using Up - Walnuts

With 3 walnut trees we get a lot of nuts, so the first year we made walnut oil and last year we swapped bags of nuts for wine and honey. We had people drive from an hour north to do this, which I found odd, but when I asked, they said, there were no walnut trees in their area and one couple had even been to house in the past to collect the nuts. We loved doing this as we can offload our mountain of nuts and get goodies in return. But, we still nuts that were cracked 2 years ago, so I made these little raisin and honey biscuits. The recipe only used a sprinkling on the top but it’s a start.

Walnut Biscuits 2
Ingredients Method
100g butter
100g castor sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 egg
50g raisins
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tbsp salt
50g chopped walnuts
Grease or line a couple of baking trays.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the honey and the egg and beat well. Add the flour, raisins and salt and mix in well.
Make small balls of the mix, place on the baking trays then press some of the nuts onto the top. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes on Gas4/180c/350f.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

New Ceiling

Progress in the bedroom has been a bit slow as we had issues with the ceiling, trips to Niort, lovely meals out and other bits and bobs. We took down the old dark ceiling and after I’d spent 2 days priming the wood, we decided not to reuse it because moving the walls gave us lots of odd lengths. So when we started to put them back up again, it looked like a patchwork quilt which we didn’t like. After a chat we decided to buy new wood, the correct length, but there were only a few pieces in stock, so we are having to wait for the next delivery but we did put up what we’d bought. In the meantime Roger’s got one door in, more plasterboard has been bought for the en-suite and new cupboard, beams have been sanded and that’s where it’s stopped. So, with a lull in the weather we decided to get out into the garden, giving our lawn it’s first cut of the year, planted some shrubs and bulbs and had a general tidy. Having a wander round things are started to bud and blossom, the cherry trees, raspberry canes and the apple trees all have leaves. Roll on our new fruit.

Bed 1 1

Taking down the ceiling.

Bed 1 3

Removing the insulation.

Bed 1 1

Insulation back in and new ceiling started.

Bed 1 1

Sanding more beams.

Bed 1 2

One door in, trim needed.

Touch of Spring

Touch of Spring.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Using Up - Plums and Figs

Continuing our romp through the freezer, we still have loads of plums and figs to use up, but I needed some different ideas with what to do with them. I loved the look of this recipe, an open fruit pie, so rustic, no soggy bottom, packed with fruit and no faffing with fluted edges. Very quick to prepare if you have pastry to hand and very delicious.

Filled Fruit Pie 1
Filled Fruit Pie 2
Filled Fruit Pie 3
Ingredients Method
680g of any fruit you have
75g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp semolina
1 egg white
3 tbsp sugar
Prepare your fruit and mix with the caster sugar. Roll out your pastry to a 35cm circle, leaving all the ragged edges and lay on a lightly greased or lined baking tray.
To stop your bottom going soggy, brush the pastry with the egg yolk and sprinkle over the semolina.
Pile the fruit in the centre of the pastry and wrap the edges of the pastry around the fruit. Brush the pastry with the egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at Gas 6/200c/400f for 35 minutes.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Using Up - Half a Pot of Cherry Jam

This pot of cherry jam was bought just after we moved here to make a cheesecake and then was abandoned in the fridge. We’d had the odd spoonful on our toast, but because I now make my own jam, it just never got used, so I found this recipe for Raspberry Buns and thought it would be a great way to use it up. Mine didn’t look like the pictures at all and getting the jam in the middle was a bit more fiddly than the recipe suggested. So next time I will make a ball, push my finger in to make a hole, add a dollop of jam and try and cover it over. Even though they looked a bit more rustic, they were very tasty and didn’t last long.

Jam Filled Cakes
Jam Filled Cakes 2
Jam Filled Cakes 3