Sunday, 22 May 2016

Gardening and Gastronomy

Hello dear Peeps!
GARDENING NEWS...

I hope all is well with you. Yesterday was a gloriously warm and sunny day: today is grey, overcast and with a few spit-spots of rain. It's still warm though. Mr FD and I started work early, and have planted lots of things! 
I was going to post the Gardening News here (as you can read from the title) but it got a bit long and unwieldy, so I have posted the Gardening part over at The Teapot and you can pop over there to see what we've been up to. Here's aphoto to whet your appetite though:




IN OTHER NEWS....
 
 Trish has received her Beathles zentangle, so I can show it off here:


She seems to be quite pleased. It's not a very original idea, and I admit to copying the silhouettes - I'm not that artistic! - but  I am happy with it as a piece of ZIA.. 

When I know Kezzie has got her TARDIS one I'll show you that. I'm now working on a horse for Michelle at Boulderneigh . I'm not sure when I'll finish,as I think the next few weeks will be busy, but it's nice to have something to pick up from time to time.


The Calligraphy workshop went well. Everyone (except one lady) produced something they were pleased with, to take home. The unfortunate lady was left handed and I struggled to be able to help her. We tried all kinds of pens, and then I suggested she tried doing flourishes on her normal handwriting, but she didn't, finally, seem too bothered. My friend, who roped me into it in the first place, said that Paulette was probably just happy to be there for the company.

For my payment I'd asked everyone to bring socks...so I have another 16 pairs to send to Socks for Refugees. I must parcel them up this afternoon. Martine (my friend) has however suggested that I should ask for some remuneration so will be giving me some advice about how much to bill the Association for.


News on the Pissing Cat. As I said yesterday, I bought a couple more litter trays AND triedputting bowls of biscuits on the top stair where Bib tends to pee. We thought it was working until I looked more closely at one of the bowls of biscuits. They looked particularly soft and swollen. Yes! She'd been pissing into the biscuits!! Well, as they were soaking up the urine, and it wasn't going all over the wooden stairs, and they're not too expensive we've decided to call it a win-win situation and continue to put them down! And the other bowl of biscuits on the other side of the stairs seems to be as popular as ever - all the cats are eating them!

AND NOW... Food this week...

Yesterday was steak burriotos. Very yummy, with lots of salad, tomato salsa and guacamole.

TODAY: Fish stew BUT this isn't the recipe I'm using. I got the one I'm using from a blog, but I don't know which blog now. D'oh! Luckily I printed the recipe off but I can't link to it now. My recipe uses the same "broth" ingredients, but just white fish and prawns, instead of all the other exotic fish mentioned in the recipe.

MONDAY: Falafels, salad, pita, houmous.

TUESDAY: Parmesan Pork Chops, garlic broccoli and smashed rosemary potato. This is from a blog with some fantastic sounding Slimming World recipes - two chubby cubs - but while the recipes are fab, the blog part is a little "fruity" . I find it hysterical, but if you're easily offended, you might want to just scroll down to the recipe itself. I can see I may be linking to this blog quite a lot.

WEDNESDAY: Duck breast and duck potatoes from the freezer and green beans. Mr FD is in charge. It's our 31st Wedding Anniversary today but I'm still going out dancing without him!!

THURSDAY: Pasta, with corizo and courgette in arrabiata sauce. No recipe. Just cooking really...

FRIDAY: Don't know. Maybe we'll go out for our anniversary. That would be nice.

Thank you for your comments, as always.
JULIE: I rather like this music if I'm working - a bit ethereal and odd, but I do like it! Maybe it's something you'd enjoy too.

POMPOM: We saved you some tart but you didn't arrive. We're having it for lunch today! It was yummy. Let me know if you go to the Cat Café!

KEZZIE: We enjoyed the lentil and squash curry (although the coconut yoghurt made it a little too sweet for my tastes) I too aml reading a book partly set in France during WW1. It is V good (see yesterday's post) Please let me know when you've got your TARDIS zentangle.

As Kezzie enjoyed it, here's another snippet from "Teaching Donkeys to Dance" by Fat Dormouse. Our heroine, Katie, has arrived in France on her way to a new life in France. Forced by circumstances to travel alone, leaving her fiancée back in England, she is alone on her first night.



She had made herself some sandwiches before leaving the house that morning, and so sustained herself on these as she drove down the motorway. The driving rain made the first part of the journey difficult, but after about an hour the clouds began to thin and the sun shone weakly.  Katie began to enjoy the journey and sang along to the Crowded House CD that was playing. Rob had suggested she took a few days over the journey, but she had already booked her hotel room at Chartres for that night, and so pressed on without stopping. It was some distance and she was slightly concerned that she would not be able to find the hotel. However, the directions from the motorway junction that the hotel had sent her were clear and easy to follow, and she was booked into her room and soaking in a hot bath well before dinnertime.

Because she had got up early that morning, Katie did not plan on staying up late; besides, being alone in a hotel, with nothing but French programmes and CNN news on the television did not make for an enticing evening. Taking her paperback book into the restaurant with her, Katie was one of the first to choose her meal. She read for a while but began to get distracted as the restaurant filled up; she imagined stories about each of the guests. There was an older couple, seemingly respectable, but in fact a pair of assassins on their final mission before they retired; the good looking young man in the corner was eating his last meal before a sex change operation; the pair of young girls were running away from provincial life to become dancers at the Folies Bergeres – they were certainly beautiful enough for it, she thought; the older gentleman – who really was very distinguished – was… Katie couldn’t decide on the backstory for him and was unconsciously staring at him, when to her horror, he raised his glass to her. Blushing with confusion she dropped her eyes to her plate of mixed crudités, only to start with embarrassment as he pulled out the chair and sat opposite her.
“Mademoiselle,” he began.
 

“I’m sorry,” she stuttered, “I really didn’t mean to stare at you, it’s just that I’m a bit lonely and I was wondering about you – Oh, God, that sounds even worse. What I mean was –“
Mademoiselle do not worry. I, too, am a little lonely, but,” he held up his hand, “I am respectably married and on my way home to my wife after a conference in Boulogne. I do not suggest any naughtiness but perhaps we could share a bottle of wine, eat our meals together and talk. You seemed sad yet somehow hopeful when I saw you. I thought that you would be interesting to talk to.”
Katie smiled at his impeccable English, spoken with a strong accent.
“That would be nice. Thank you. My name is Katie Harmer.”
“And mine is Charles Logisse. I am pleased to meet you, Miss Katie Harmer.” He turned to the waiter and ordered a bottle of the house red.
“The house wine here is very good,” he explained, “I am not being cheapskate. I know because they buy it from my vineyards.”
Charles smiled, his eyes crinkling in an attractive manner.
“Your vineyards? I am impressed,” Katie said. “Please, tell me about how you got into the wine business.”

So her charming companion told his story, of how he rescued his grandfather’s failing vineyards in Beaujolais area, bringing them from near ruin to a small but successful business, supplying independent hotels such as this with a good vin de table. In return, Katie recounted her history of the decision to move to France, and the trials of finding the home that she so longed for. She considered unburdening herself to this amiable stranger, telling him of her growing doubts about Rob’s commitment to their new life in France and, to be honest, to their life together; however, things were still confused in her own mind, and she wasn’t exactly sure of what made her feel this way, and so she decided to keep her counsel. 

“So,” Charles summed up, “I was correct. You are sad because you have left your fiancé, your friends, and your family, but you are hopeful, because you have anticipation of a good new life in this little town where you have bought your apartment. Is this not so?”
“Yes, that is right. I am sad – but thank you, Charles. You have helped make this evening, my first evening in France, much easier, and extremely pleasant. I have enjoyed talking to you.”
“And I to you, my dear Mademoiselle. Your fiancé is indeed a very lucky man. If I were he, and if I were not married, of course, I would not have let you go so easily. I pray, have a good night’s sleep and a pleasant onward journey. I leave very early in the morning and so will not be here for breakfast, but I thank you for being a wonderful dinner companion.” He took her hand and bowed over it. “Goodnight, Miss Katie Harmer.”
“Good night, Charles.”

Katie leant back in her chair, watching him as he left the dining room. She sipped the last of her wine, musing on how much she had enjoyed the evening, and the attentiveness of Charles, as he had concentrated on what she wanted, on how she felt, which was so different to the casual way that Rob treated her, assuming that she would be there to supply his needs on demand, be they for food, companionship or sex. She began to understand how much Rob took her for granted, and, being honest, how much she treated him in a similar way. Not for much longer, she decided; this would be their opportunity to change the way they treated each other, and to build on what they had between them. The future was indeed bright, and she could look hopeful.