Saturday, August 16, 2014

If you go down to the woods today...

... you might find some mushrooms!!  I did and I wasn't even looking for them!!!  I'd long since resigned myself to the fact that all the secret mushrooms spots here were to remain eternally secret to me, seventeen years of living in this valley and never found one. Until today that is...

... two 'cepes' and five 'chanrelles'!!
Combined with what the garden had to offer we had ourselves quite a feast this evening - Croute Savoyard and salad.

There's no particular recipe for a Croute - every family has their own depending on what's in the pantry.  It's one of those fantastically frugal dishes, originally made with stale bits and bobs - dry bread dipped in white wine to soften it up, the 'Croute' (the hard rind of a piece of cheese), the end bits of ham etc all covered in cream and baked in the oven.  For mine I added my 'two cepes and five chantrelles', some left over potatoes, an egg and a sliced tomato.

My own secret mushroom spot, I almost feel like a local!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fruit glorious fruit - Mirabelle

Tiny and sweet, in a 'boozy' pie (as a friend called it), a mixed fruit tart, jam or simply left on the table for nibbles, this years Mirabelle are delicious and bountiful.

For the August Chamonix Ladies Book Club meeting (pot luck buffet) I used the following pie recipe...

Pastry case 
800g of pitted Mirabelles (any plums would do)
1 egg
120g sugar
100g slivered almonds
65g melted butter
100ml 'eau de vie de prune' (this is basically a distilled clear alcohol made from plums but grappa could be used as a substitute or just leave it out altogether!)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and bake blind the pastry case for 5 mins
Put the fruit into the pastry case and cook for a further 15 mins
Mix the sugar, egg, butter, almonds and alcohol (I used only a small shot glass full)
Cook for 20 mins or until golden

the bouquet was for Sylvie, this months book club host
... for the kids I substituted the alcohol and slivered almonds for wild raspberries, rhubarb and powdered almonds...

... and a simple plum jam was turned into something a little special with the addition of a few spoons of lavender honey.

Oh how the garden is good to us!!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 - July

There a change of destination for this months Slow Living Essentials Monthly Nine.  After creating and running the monthly link-up since 2012,  Christine has passed the baton to Linda at Green Haven


Lots of jamming going on: strawberry freezer jam, blackcurrant jam, red current jelly, red & blackcurrant jelly and apricot & strawberry curd.  Also been brewing up some infused vinegars - clove & garlic and raspberry. Have found that Rémi's hockey kit drying rack is great for herbs and have some lovely mint, sage and oregano drying out in the garage for use this winter.  I'm finally going to give soap making a whirl so have a batch of dried calendula flowers macerating in sunflower oil to put in my blend.

Despite the abundant rain we've been having (apparently the wettest July since 1965) the garden is blooming.
It's lovely to pop out there every day, even if it's just to pick some lettuce and gather a few eggs

summer herbal tea mix - mint, borage, lavender, raspberry + leaf, black-currant leaf and nettle
Potatoes, carrots, leeks, courgette, pumpkin & butternut squash, kale, cabbage, onions, garlic, gherkins, peas, green beans, rhubarb, plums, red & black-currants, parsley, sage, rosemary, chives, mint, oregano, edible salad flowers, swiss chard, corn, sunflowers and calendula.  See my recent garden post here.

OCM - Oil Cleaning Method!  for someone with quite oily skin this has been something of a revelation.  Simply rub the oil of your choice - I've been using a sunflower/castor oil mix - on your face in place of soap or other cleanser, and rinse off with warm to hot water.  Nothing else.  I was a bit wary at first as it didn't feel like I was getting all the oil off, but come next morning, my skin feels wonderful.  The great thing with oil is a little goes a long way, so this method is very economical.  No plastic bottles to recycle every few weeks either.

Turned this rarely worn dress into a tunic by cutting the frill off.  I rather liked it as a dress but it tended to blow up and reveal my underwear to the world.  Now I can wear it over jeans where as before it was a tad too long. 

Not a lot going on the knitting/crochet front at the moment, but I was inspired by Rémi's wood burning to have a go myself.  I think I shall make a few more as Christmas present (with a nice pot of jam).


Quite by chance, while watching a hockey game, I got to chatting with a friend who told me his dyslexic nephew had been helped with some kind of physiotherapy.  He was a bit sketchy on the details so I called our physio and she gave me the number of a qualified Kinesiologist here in Chamonix.  It's hard to sum it all up in one short paragraph but the idea behind Brain Gym, as it is also known, is to stimulate both sides of the brain and get them working more efficiently together.  It's not a cure for dyslexia by any means but I'm convinced that any yoga/workout, for whatever part of the body, can only be beneficial.

I'm afraid I come up a bit short here this month!

A short holiday in Montsapey at summer house belonging to Richard's dad's family.  The house has quite an interesting story that deserves a post in it's self - which it is going to get just as soon as I locate some old pictures.

Despite the soggy weather July get a thumbs up from us...

... and how was your July?