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.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Rain, rain, rain and baking - not the weather - food!

This year seems to be galloping along.  I can't believe it's already eleven days into 2014.  The weather has continued much as it finished 2013.  Rain, rain, rain and more rain.  The short cut I take up a grassy slope to the lane on my way to the animals is now too soggy to climb.  Where water might usually run along the ground, there is actually a small waterfall coming down off the road surface.
As a result of the appalling weather I have been baking and cooking more than usual.  I am also trying to stop using all the freezers and am aiming to use up the food from one of them instead of continuing to buy things so often.  Lately my bread hasn't been rising well, but I have changed my recipe and now I'm not having a problem.  This white loaf and the three rolls I made with the same dough, which had sunflower seeds and cheddar cheese added, rose beautifully and tasted great.
I also cooked a duck and ate the leftovers in a pie, in the same way as I did the pie below, which had chicken and ham in it.
One day this week, I managed to drop a box into which I'd put six of our eggs for a neighbour.  I ended up using the whites for meringues, which leaked a little but tasted just fine.
Now for the obligatory proud Mum and Grandma bit:  here are Libby and Charlie - taken last week and Oliver and Mia taken over Christmas.
The Christmas tree was taken down on twelfth night and somehow I managed to struggle out to the garden with the naked tree and leave it on the terrace.  Although I love Christmas and all the stuff that goes with it, when the tree is up I can only walk one way round the kitchen table and it's good to have my home back to normal again.

It was good to get back to bowls after the Christmas break and we had yet more new members so I feel really positive about the Club's future.  I was told that the lane between St Gelven where we play and the village before it had been flooded last week so it was lucky that the water had gone down enough to drive along that way.  The waters are high everywhere though and all the streams and lakes have overflowed their banks.
Although I have a steel, I have never been good at sharpening knives.  I dropped off a dozen kitchen knives to my neighbour, Christian, who sharpened some for me previously, back in the summer.  Yesterday, his wife, Paulette, came round to return them all keen and seriously sharp.  I have never managed to cut onions into such small pieces and so neatly.  
In the evening Paulette and Christian had aperitifs to which the whole hamlet were invited.  In my head aperitifs are drinks before a meal and it's always difficult to know if you are staying for a short time or staying on for food.  Last night everyone had nibbles with the aperitifs, most of us drinking kir, the Breton favourite of cassis and champagne or sparkling white wine. 

We then sat at the table and had various cold meats, radishes, cornichons and bread, then mini, mini, quiches followed by a selection of cheeses and to finish far Breton cooked with prunes and the Epiphany cakes, galettes des rois with the hidden fève.
Fève means "bean", the tradition dates back to Roman times, when a real bean would be baked into the cake in the same was that we put a coin in a Christmas pudding.  Some bakeries still use a real bean, but these days it is more often a little porcelain figurine which is found in someone's slice and they are crowned King/Queen for the day.  Jean-Luc found the little figure last night and was duly awarded the golden crown.   It was lovely evening with lots of laughter. 
Yesterday was a very social day for me as friends, on their way back to England, came for lunch.  I made chicken, gammon and mushroom pies with spiced red cabbage, buttered carrots and mash.  Uncooked pies on the left.  On the right, this was a plate I repeated today, without the leaf decoration, for my lunch and, of course, the pastry rose much better when there weren't guests to feed!
Going back to the weather.  The damp air with the early morning mist has shown up lots of lovely spider webs throughout the garden.   I find it very difficult to photograph them, as to focus on something so fine is problematic with the camera seeking out more solid items.
Three things I like:
1.   The weather today, which is now sunny with blue skies and no rain - a temporary change but very welcome.
2.    Collecting the first duck eggs for a very long time now that they're laying again.
3.    Finding half price chocolate truffles on the post-Christmas supermarket shelves.


  1. Lovely looking food, hope the weather improves!

  2. Still raining here yesterday, Paul, and freezing overnight. I think it's going to be a long winter! Local farmers are talking about snow arriving at the beginning/middle of next week.

  3. Amazing how much weather you get there, looking forward to all them snowy pictures.