Monday, 30 May 2016

Exposition à Tusson


I think we’ve had typical English bank holiday weather here this weekend, thunderstorms, wind and heavy rain, even though it’s not a bank holiday here. So on a rainy Sunday we drove to Tusson in the Charente to listen to a presentation about members of the resistance. These brave men and women did so much to help the war effort, many losing their lives in combat, by being shot or in concentration camps. Many risked their lives to help British soldiers, non more so than 3 French men, Rene Rousseau, Maurice Rousseau and Lucien Gody who helped the only 2 surviving members of Operation Frankton, Major Hasler and Marine Sparks to escape. They were seen aiding the men and reported to the authorities, arrested and sent to Germany where they were never seen again. There was an exhibition alongside the presentation, with exhibits loaned by their families and local collectors. A very interesting if not sobering afternoon, but part of history that should not be forgotten.

Tusson 1
 Tusson 2

Mock up of Radio Londres, used by the resistance.

Memorial 1

Memorial to the French men who helped Major Hasler and Marine Sparks at Beaunac.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

We’ve been in the Wars ….

…….over the past couple of days, all self inflicted. Firstly me :-


I managed to get crap in my eye while sanding down another beam and yes, I know, I should have been wearing a mask. But I made it worse by rubbing my eye over and over, so it got sorer and sorer and no amount of bathing it was going to remove the boulder that was under my eyelid. We were visiting friends that evening and it wasn’t easy trying to see them through a weeping, swollen eye. Sue came to my rescue with a saline wash and after a nights sleep the pain had gone away, just some puffiness left. Note to self, wear a mask next time. Today I managed to whack myself in the lip, which is now swollen, with a lamp. Don’t ask.

Now Roger :-


Helping out with some pruning, he managed to slice his finger with the secateurs instead of cutting the wisteria! The garden was awash with expletives and luckily I had my camera handy, so I managed to get this photo before the plaster went on. He’ll do anything to get out of the washing up.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

La Grotte de Villars

Our annual trip with our French club took us to the caves at Villars, close to the historic town of Brantôme. The caves were discovered by potholers in 1953 and run a total of 13km and over time the underground river has carved out beautiful galleries featuring stalactites, stalagmites and calcite formations. Later, in 1958 paintings were found on the walls showing horses, goats and men and are estimated to be 19,000 years old. The calcite is gradually covering the paintings and once it’s a centimetre thick, they won’t be visible anymore. It’s not easy to capture the beauty of the caves well on camera or the scale but here’s a couple of the best ones.

Caves 1
Caves 2
Caves 3

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Using Up - Ras el Hanout - Chicken Tagine


This is another of those ingredients that I bought for one recipe and then it got forgotten at the back of the cupboard. Very forgotten as the expiry date was 2014, but it looked and smelt fine so I went on the web to see what I could do with it. Nothing was inspiring me, but then I noticed the peel off recipe on the back of the tin. It was chicken tagine, a mix of chicken, fruit and the spice blend and served with couscous on the side it was absolutely delicious.

Tajine 1

Ingredients Method
4 chicken thighs
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp Ras el Hanout
300ml chicken stock
2 apples. sliced
8 dried apricots, halved
50g prunes, chopped
Freshly chopped coriander.
Score the chicken thighs 3 times, then mix together with the onion, garlic, Ras el Hanout and olive oil in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Fry the chicken mix in a large pan for 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add the stock, cover and simmer gently for an hour.

Add all the fruit and simmer for another 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with couscous or rice.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

What we spent in April


Bit late posting our spend for April and we've gone a bit over budget which isn’t good, not a lot, but a bit. Our spend was 120€/£96 for the month which is 30€/£24 over budget. Knowing that we still have loads in the freezer, I’ve gone through all 3 of them, tidied them up and written a list of what we have. It’s very scary seeing your food all over the floor and we have a lot of it, so much so that May is going to be a minimal spend month, to get our budget back on track.

Trying not to waste anything I save all my scraps of bread, pop them in a bag and stick them in the freezer. They can then be made into breadcrumbs and used in fishcakes, for stuffing or sprinkled on top of pasta mixed with grated cheese.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Couldn’t have picked a better Week…

… for the weather. With temperatures in the high 20’s every day and not a drop of rain, my Mum and Dad had picked the perfect week for their visit. The week was very relaxed with us chilling in the garden with a lovely glass of bubbly or beer, visiting the garden centre and pottering around the garden. Because our greenhouse is sited in the wrong place, only getting the sun in morning and Roger fearing if we tried to move it, it would just fall apart, my Dad helped Roger make a new cold frame for our very sad veg plants. It’s now sitting in the sun and wow what a difference in just a few days, the beans and cucumbers have shown their faces at last. Even though it was my Mum’s birthday on Thursday and should have had all the treats, we had some treats too. Lovely flower and veg plants which are now in the garden, wine, liquorice comfits for me and chocolate brazils for Roger. Thank you both for a great week, for spoiling us and helping in the garden xx

Visit 1

Mum playing Molkky.

Visit 2


Visit 4Visit 5

A couple of courses at L’Assiette for Mum’s birthday meal.

Visit 3