Nov 21 2004

Autumn into Winter 2004

Autumn

Autumn is suddenly fading into winter. The wind blows, leaves fall like huge crispy golden snow flakes and colour vanishes from the valley. The smell of the wet, fallen leaves takes me back, in a split second, to my London childhood, to Kensington Gardens, the Round Pond, The Broad Walk, Christopher Robin, Peter Pan. There I am walking home with Nanny in my little tweed coat and gaiters kicking leaves into the air. Fifty years on I watch my own little grandchildren playing in the leaves on the farm just as I did along the pavements and under the Plane trees. They help me to muck out the donkeys’ stables too, which is a slow and hilarious affair. Flo-jo is too small just yet and may only look on, but Bee and Harry get right down to it. Bee, two and a half, shrieks that the chickens are pecking her bottom. She has to duck and weave to avoid being sprinkled with donkey poo as Harry man-handles a huge shovel into the wheelbarrow, all the while regaling us with a running commentary about his future life as a farmer or maybe a “plane flyer“. He‘s four.

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Nov 21 2004

Quinces and Tomatillos

Quince Ratafia

Quince1

Quince Ratafia will be wonderful by Christmas. It will add a glow as we drink it with the Christmas Pud and the Mince Pies. It will cheer up vanilla ice cream and add a sparkle to the winter fruit salad. Added to the pork gravy or stirred into a pheasant and apple casserole, it will enrich and bring a sweet wintry depth to the sauce.

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Nov 02 2004

Letter from Brittany. October 2004

Marcel

My Dear Sally,

What a dull summer we have had in Brittany! Nature was in a very bad mood this year and very cross with human beings ! All the vegetables in the garden were rotten before being ripe – the fruits had no taste. I have made a lot of jam, but this year will not be a good vintage! We had a lot of big storms coming from the sea, but our lovely old house resisted with bravoure the attempts of the gods! “La Fée Margot”, the wicked Fairy Margot, living very close in the Croquelien woods, thought, I think : “that house is 600 hundred years old, it is a young girl and it can have some more fun!!!”
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Nov 02 2004

Gourd, quince and green tomatoes

Tomatos

Gourd en gratin

Cut the gourd in two, put it in the oven (180o) and leave it till the inside is soft.
Empty the flesh of the gourd and put it in a bowl. Smash it with salt, pepper, a soup spoon of cream, a pinch of curry, a handful of chives (cut in small pieces), put it back in the gourd, spread on it grounded parmesan, put some little pieces of butter and put it back in the oven. Grill it slowly and eat immediately.
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