Sunday 31 January 2010


Mary's Mosaic Monday @ the little red house is gathering more and more followers and participants each week.
The variety and creativity inspires me to try different techniques and search out unusual subjects for my own mosaics.

Discarded coquilles (shells) from the fish market at Port en Bessin strewn along the beach as the tide came in yesterday afternoon.

Friday 29 January 2010

A Pig in Provence is Food For Thought

Two weeks ago Jain @Once in a Blue Moon launched her Food For Thought meme and two of my favourite blogger friends Sarah @HFTS and Carol @ Serendipity took part. Click on the links to see which books they recommended.

Food For Thought combines three of my favourite things: reading, cooking/eating and photography. I guess technically that's four things?? C'est pas important!

The book I have chosen to share with everyone this week is "A Pig in Provence. Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France" by Georgeanne Brennan. You can find it here at Amazon.

Georgeanne Brennan has written numerous books about cooking and gardening and has received both the James Beard Foundation Award and the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award for her writing.

She discovered Aix en Provence as a student and returned several years later, to buy a small farmhouse, with her first husband Donald and their young daughter Ethel.

This book spans 30 years and tells the tale of their first home, their lives back in California and Georgeann's return to Provence years later with her second husband, Jim.

Before they acquired a pig, Georgeanne and Donald kept goats and Georgeanne began making goat's cheese, the first batches she describes as inedible and unsalable then.....

"Finally, one day I unmolded a batch of cheese that felt different. Each round, dimpled with marks from the mold, felt firm and heavy in my hand as I turned it out for the final time.
I put one of the pristine cheeses on a plate and cut a V shaped wedge. The interior was solid and smooth, creamy and white. I tasted it. It was soft, slightly tangy and very, very good. I called Donald and Ethel, who took tastes, and we danced around the room, holding hands".

Each of the eight chapters introduces the neighbours who inhabit the area, Mme. Rillier who sold them the goats, M.Gos who supplied the pig.

Farming friends Marcel and Marie who hosted wonderful harvest suppers and also"La mise à mort" when the time came to slaughter the pig.

Each chapter ends with a recipe:

Goat Cheese Salad with fried Bread.

Braised Pork Shoulder with Mustard and Capers.

Juniper Rubbed Chicken Stuffed with Wild Mushrooms.

Bouillabaisse, Toulon style.

Vegetable soup with Basil-Garlic Sauce.

An Aioli Feast.

Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Thyme, and Lavender.

Tomato Tart.

Making the tomato tart was simplicity itself and it makes a delicious light lunch served with a mesclun salad.

Georgeanne no longer hosts her Cookery School in Provence, due to the weak dollar situation, however, your can read here about the Provence in California- Culinary Weekends held at her Small Farm in Northern California and here you will find her web site.
I rate this book: **** Four Stars and I think you'll like it too.

Thursday 28 January 2010

B is for DOG

O.K. so, you already know about Ben and I guess you thought that for Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday I'd take the easy option and just post some shots of him.
Ben as a pup.

Well, if I did that then I'd have to do this..............................
Bess and Ben

Bess as a puppy
Bess all grown up.

Bess and Blue.




and who could forget..........................By George!

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Hooray for Hollywood & Oscar for VTT

I just found out from my good friend Sarah @ HFTS that there is a new meme in town called Alphabe - Thursday @ Jenny Matlock's blog.
I'm a little late joining in as A was the letter of the week, last week, but better late than never is what I always think so, A is for...................Academy Awards!!
The countdown to the nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards has just 6 days to go and the Oscar ceremony will take place on Sunday March 2nd.
So, hopefully Colorado Lady Suzanne with have her computer back up and running in time for her very popular Vintage Thingies Thursday as I share with you some Hollywood glamour and an intriguing tale from yesteryear.
Porgy & Bess star Pearl Bailey.

A few years ago,whilst mooching around a very large Antiques Fair in Le Mans, I came across a nondescript black, plastic folder containing a number of signed black and white Metro Goldwyn Mayer studio photographs of Hollywood "Stars" from the 1940's and 50's and a handwritten notecard. I'm not a collector of Hollywood ephemera or autographs but something about the small collection and the added personal touch of the notecard "spoke" to me. After a very short haggle about the price the folder came home with me.
I did sell some of the pix on eBay shortly thereafter to a collector in New York who knew a lot more about them than I did and probably was rubbing his hands in glee at the bargain he got that day, c'est la vie.
I still have some of them and more importantly to me I have the notecard too, perhaps I'll use them in some way one day. (Mamie Jane if you are reading this I need your creative input here!)

The card was addressed to Dear Countess de Beauregard and signed Jean Douglas.
It reads:

" These pictures arrived just lately - and I only hope you hadn't given them up forever!

My husband and I were very thrilled with the entire Iata (sic) conference, and it was a very great pleasure knowing you and your husband. We're certainly looking forward to seeing you both again in the not too distant future".

My google search produced Jean Douglas - an actress working in Hollywood in the late 1920's and 30's who was credited only as "the blonde" in the Oscar nominated (Best Art Direction) 1930 movie The Vagabond King, starring Jeanette MacDonald.

Lana Turner
Elizabeth Taylor.

Hollywood legend, diva and my personal favourite: Miss Judy Garland.

Also included were photographs of some of Hollywood's leading men of the day: Red Skelton, Walter Pidgeon and Van Johnson.

Happy VTT everyone.

Sunday 24 January 2010

Happy Birthday Mary on Mosaic Monday.

It's Mary's birthday and there is a party going on over @ the little red house on this Mosaic Monday.

Wishing you a wonderful day Mary, with flowers from Monet's garden at Giverny, formal palace gardens in Portugal and my own humble plot.

Saturday 23 January 2010

Scenic Sunday on Portugal's Silver Coast

Bom dia,
Today I thought that for Scenic Sunday 80 hosted by the Holleys you might enjoy a complete change of scene with photographs from our trips to Portugal in 2005 and 2008.
We'll leave behind the snow and floods in gloomy grey Normandy to walk through the streets of Obidos
and gaze over the blue Atlantic Ocean at Praia D’El Rey on Portugal's Silver Coast.

Misericordia Church, situated just outside of Obidos town.
Painted frescoes nearby.

Até a vista.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Water, water everywhere for Outdoor Wednesday.

For Outdoor Wednesday hosted by Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer I thought you might like to see what greeted us when we took our walk last Sunday.

Road flooded!
Remember the bricks in Monday's Mosaic?

The photo above shows that same path, now under water at the far end where the river breached it's banks.

This is the field next to the path.

DH decided we should carry on. "It won't be too bad" he said........................I blame Jeremy Clarkson, and watching too many episodes of Top Gear!
Well, we made it through, just, but to be on the safe side I suggested that after the walk we take another way home. He concurred.
This photo taken from higher, dryer ground shows the road that we just came along. It's that long stretch, from the tree with mistletoe in the centre, that divides the two flooded fields and ends by the lonesome stranded tree. There was a small stream flowing swiftly across the road and the water in the field on the left was higher than the road! How does that work?


Have a great Wednesday and be sure to visit Susan in sunny Georgia, and all the other participants sharing Outdoor tales today.

Monday 18 January 2010

Brick Lane........for Mosaic Monday

I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend and are ready for a new week in blogland?

Monday has arrived and it's foggy & cold here in Normandy, so I'm heading over to Mary's Little Red House for Mosaic Monday and will lose myself, for little while, enjoying the photographic delights on show. Why not join us?

My mosaic is composed of photographs that I took on one of our Sunday walks in September last year.

Some of the footpaths between the fields are nothing more than two long ruts made by the tractors going back and forth.

To reinforce the ground and keep the mud at bay the farmers dump all sorts of "stuff" from demolished buildings, which get broken up even more as they drive over it firming up the ground.

In the nearby village of Lison there is a brick works and it seems that some of their product was surplus to requirements and made it's way to this footpath. You can just make out the names of some local villages on some of the larger pieces.
Before I go I must just mention Pink Week over at Teresa's blog: Blooming on Bainbridge. which I discovered recently through a visit to Jane's blog: Blondie's Journal.
Don't you love bloggers?

Thursday 14 January 2010

Normandy Cheese Board or Le plateau de fromage.

I'm linking this post to January's Fête du Fromage International Cheese Tasting Event taking place at Chez Loulou where wonderful cheeses from all over the world are being celebrated.
Normandy produces many cheeses but in this region, Calvados, three cheeses stand out above the rest.
I would think that most people have heard of Camembert but perhaps Livarot and Pont-l’Evêque will be new to you?

When dining out in any local restaurant le plateau de fromage will usually be offered before the dessert course. Quite often accompanied by a small glass of Calvados, apple brandy.
A favourite restaurant of ours is Le Pommier in Bayeux because of their Menu Saveurs Normandes.

I am quite partial to Camembert or Pont-l’Evêque which are soft and creamy textured cheeses and I usually return from the Thursday market in Le Molay Littry with one or both of these.

The Cheese Specialist.

Paired with a cup of home made vegetable soup and served with fresh crusty bread they make a simple but delicious lunch.

For myself I find Livarot is an acquired taste but I do enjoy it as part of a more formal meal.

The Cheeses of France is an excellent website full of information, click here to learn more about Normandy's specialities and do check in @ Loulou's place for the grand International Cheese Tasting Event.

Bon Appétit.