Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck
Roosting on the gate

2011 - My second year of blogging in Brittany

I felt I would like to share some of the photographs I have taken so far this year and some from other years. I live in a beautiful part of Brittany and just love being here. It's a lovely place to photograph and enjoy being in through all the seasons and hopefully this blog will show you where I live my life.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bread and an Afternoon at the Races

I’d been meaning to make bread for ages and about two weeks ago I managed to uncover the bread machine in the utility area and set about trying to remember what to do.  I didn’t recognise this machine so maybe it was one I bought secondhand, and I didn’t have an instruction manual for it.  The only source I found on the internet wanted $9.99 for it plus postage.  Online I found a couple of basic bread recipes and combined them adding a bit of sugar and some olive oil to the ingredients listed.  The bread mushroomed over the top of the baking tin and I finished it off with seven minutes in a very hot oven before cooling it on a rack.

In Cornwall I used to just use my machine for kneading and then halved the dough making six rolls on a baking sheet and a loaf in a loaf tin.  I couldn’t quite wait for it to cool and indulged in the first two slices thickly buttered with the butter melting into the bread – the texture was lovely and it was really scrummy!  I am hopeless at cutting a whole loaf but finally managed to find suitable blades for my electric knife and cut a passable slice (or was it two or three or four slices?), once the loaf had cooled down properly.   It was hard to stop eating it and golden syrup on top of thick butter seemed just the way to go.  I haven’t bought a loaf since, but have been experimenting with different flours and other ingredients.  Today’s loaf and rolls had sunflower seeds and sage in the dough and very good it is – I’ve just had some with buttery, garlicky prawns.

Lots of my time this week has be spent up on the field sorting out the weeds on the veggie patches and sowing, potting on, planting and watering veggies.  It is coming under control now and I’m so pleased we’ve done the polytunnel cover. 

I wished the goats further when I discovered that they had somehow managed to open a small bolted door from the barn to a hen run where a newly planted Bramley and a Cox’s Orange Pippin apple tree had been trying to settle in.  The Bramley was almost completely severed.  I have packed it with damp kitchen roll and wound it round with duct tape in a vain hope of it surviving.  The COP was chewed off 18”/45cm above the ground and the top part was in several bits.  This the second year running they have done this.  The small bolted door has now been screwed shut – hopefully this will thwart even my Houdini-like goats.

The last few days the weather has been glorious and today I was invited to go with friends to Corlay races at the Hippodrome.

I've never been horse racing before and it was a great introduction in a very civilised atmosphere.  €6 to get in and no parking charge.  We were then given a programme so we could study the form and choose what horse to lose our shirts on.  First we watched them being led round the paddock and then the jockeys mounted.  We walked over and placed our bets.  No odds - the money paid over is, I am told, added up and then a proportion of it is divided between the winners. 

This was a feisty horse - a surefire winner.  On the second circuit he was in the lead but finally came in last.  Here are my four losing tickets!   The standard bet is €2 for a win or for a place.   So I can still afford to eat this week.

We then took our places in the stand and watched the races in glorious sunshine.  There was a quality artisan icecream seller and I was treated to a vanilla icecream in a cone with a raspberry sorbet scoop too - lovely.

It was a very pleasant way to spend a sunny afternoon and although there were apparently 2500+ people there it didn't seem like it  No drunks, no disputes, no litter just a lovely day out.

There is a restaurant above the stand we were in where you can have lunch and a grandstand view of the races for just €16. 

I started a book in the garden yesterday and finished it before I went out this afternoon - Ripe for the Picking by Annie Hawes.  A light read about an expat in Italy - not demanding and pleasant enough.

Three things I like:
1.   An impromptu afternoon out with friends.
2.   Coming back home to the smell of fresh baked bread.
3.   A neighbour popping in with a container full of roses and herbs.