The Sacrifice (and raspberry ripple muffins)

donkey bee.jpg
Photo: whatsthatbug.com

I’ve just spent a fascinating five minutes watching another giant hornet (or it might be the same one – brown head, brown wings, yellow striped jumper, six engines…) trying to take off with a cat biscuit that one of our mob left in their dish outside on the terrace. Our cat biscuits are about the size of a British penny, so that gives you an idea just how big these pesky beasts are. The locals call them donkey bees – not sure why that is – maybe because of their penchant for carrying things around. Anyway, he was having trouble getting enough lift, so he solved this by nibbling all around the edges of the biscuit to make it a bit smaller – hey presto, we have lift off. He’s probably got a very fully tummy though, so I’m not sure whether he’ll make it safely to his destination with his prize. Continue reading “The Sacrifice (and raspberry ripple muffins)”

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Poulet au vinaigre

IMG_1989 (600 x 450)Yes, well spotted, that’s ‘chicken with vinegar’ to you and me. I know it doesn’t sound particularly appetising, but it’s not vinegar as we know it in the UK, and of course the dish involves wine, posh vinegar, garlic and tarragon, so things are getting better already.

We’ve been in France a couple of times this summer – I lived there for some time during the 1980s, but have hardly visited since, so it’s been fun re-encountering some of the absolutely delicious food I remember from my youth. I lived in quite a rural area, so the restaurants served good, tasty, country food to a clientèle mostly made up from farmers and shopkeepers (and the odd British cook from a neighbouring restaurant, of course…) Continue reading “Poulet au vinaigre”

Sticky fig & orange muffins

IMG_1184 (600 x 450).jpgWe are off to New Zealand to visit Robin’s son and daughter-in-law in two weeks time. It will be just coming in to spring there and I can’t wait for cooler weather, so that I don’t have to have crazy hair all the time. We had some chores to do in town this morning (involving two trips to the local municipality and one to the tax office – opposite ends of town and it’s market day, so no possibility of driving between the two and finding a parking space). When I left home, I looked like a relatively normal person (as normal as you can be when you step out into a swamp that is over 40 centigrade and 70% humidity, that is). When we arrived at the municipality offices for the second time, having crossed town on foot twice now, I caught a glimpse of myself in the full length mirror window and wondered how I’d managed to get past security without being detained for my own safety. Continue reading “Sticky fig & orange muffins”

What to do with that Swiss Chard in your veggie box

IMG_1162 (600 x 450).jpgToday is probably the hottest since we arrived back – ironic, since we’ve just moved into September. This morning it was 44 degrees, but has now cooled to a more manageable 34, so I might yet venture out – according to our little weather station, the temperature has been as low as 27 at some point since midnight – not sure when that was, I must have missed it while I was asleep. When I had my morning swim, I complained that the pool was starting to get cold – a quick temperature check assured me it was still 32 degrees in the water – it must have been the super-hot air temperature confusing me. Either that or I really have turned into a total wimp. Continue reading “What to do with that Swiss Chard in your veggie box”

The easiest muffins in the world

IMG_0964 (600 x 450)We’re back in Turkey after a very swift visit to France, with a night in Amsterdam thrown in on the way home.

We managed to miss the floods and the strikes, and were treated to even better weather than they were having back here – hah!

I thought I’d better leave France while my bottom would still fit inside an aeroplane seat – those croissants and pains aux raisins are just TOO dangerous for comfort. It is so hard to believe that something so deliciously light is so calorie-laden. At least our pool is now warm enough for swimming, so 2km for me today – half already done, half to do when I’ve finished writing this. Continue reading “The easiest muffins in the world”

Slow roasted tomato and red pepper soup (5:2 recipe)

IMG_0954 (600 x 408).jpgI am very excited because tomorrow we are off on an unexpected jaunt to the Jurançon wine district in France and then travelling back here next week via Amsterdam – a city I have always wanted to visit. Getting to places from here is never simple, so we are going by a very convoluted route, which involves four different airlines. (*Sighs dramatically*) The route was originally going to involve the TGV, but in view of the strikes, we’ve decided to avoid that option. Continue reading “Slow roasted tomato and red pepper soup (5:2 recipe)”

Slow-roasted chicken with lemon & garlic

Roast chicken (480 x 600)Whenever I’m stumped for ideas for what to make for dinner, there’s quite a good bet that we end up with roast chicken in one form or another. There are so many variations – sometimes we have classic French-style poulet aux herbes, others we go a bit more exotic with Thai or Chinese flavours, and then there’s the good old British roast with stuffing and roasties. Continue reading “Slow-roasted chicken with lemon & garlic”

Moroccan spiced carrot & lentil soup (5:2 recipe)

IMG_0871 (600 x 450)It’s Tuesday so it must be diet day. Hey ho, that also means Don Draper Day, though we’ve just reached the end of Season 6, so not long to go now. I am not sure where we will spend our evenings when we are no longer gadding about in 1970s Madison Avenue, though it will soon be too warm for sitting inside after dinner, so perhaps the timing is excellent. Continue reading “Moroccan spiced carrot & lentil soup (5:2 recipe)”

Spinach, goat’s cheese and walnut tart

IMG_0859When I have a weird collection of vegetables in the fridge that need using up, my thoughts immediately switch to one of three things: soup, curry, tart. I bought a big bunch of spinach at the weekend, not really knowing what I was going to do with it, and there it was, still glaring at me when I opened the fridge to get the milk this morning.

There were also a couple of tired leeks and half of a wedge of goat’s cheese, which I must confess is long past its sell-by date (things like goat’s cheese shouldn’t have a sell-by date in my opinion – it just gets tastier. If it really has gone over, it will be sporting some kind of colourful mould that will give you a tip-off that it’s going to try to kill you if you eat it). Continue reading “Spinach, goat’s cheese and walnut tart”