Friday 30 July 2010

Confused, I know I am??? Google what's going on?

I'm writing this quick post today in case some of my blogfriends are concerned that I've had too much sun whilst working in the garden and have finally "flipped out".
Yesterday I received several emails from bloggers in reply to an email that I apparently sent to them on the 27th July.
All of them were polite enough not to mention whether or not they had found my email strange, although one person did point out that the meme I was inquiring about was months ago and that I had taken part at the time?
Confused, I know I am.
Today I received an email reply from a fellow member of the Quimper Club International, the topic being our upcoming meeting in Savannah this October.
Now, I know that I wrote to this lady several months ago and so when I received a reply I thought how lovely! Then I noticed that the date of the email she was replying to was also 27th July.
Further investigation of my quimperpix google account shows that none of my January emails (with various topics such as snow & winter, etc.) were sent, until July 27th.
So, if you were expecting to hear from me back in January rest assured, I didn't ignore you, it's just that my replies were "lost in space"!
I bet when you finally received a reply, a couple of days ago, you thought "what the heck is this, is this girl loopy??"
I'm blaming it all on the internet gremlins that strike from time to time and will wait to see who else writes back this week, it could be quite interesting.
Has anything like this ever happened to you?

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Courgette Fritter Recipe a la Fanny Flagg

Gayle over at Garden of Daisies has requested the recipe for the courgette fritters featured in my last post.
Adapted from Fannie Flagg's squash croquette recipe found in the Original Whistle Stop Cafe Cookbook.
Firstly, in a large saucepan, bring to the boil in 1 cup of water 2 pounds of courgettes and 1 cup of chopped white or yellow onion, add half a teaspoon of salt.
When the courgettes are soft, drain well to remove all the excess liquid, transfer to a large bowl and mash coarsely with a potato masher adding quarter of a cup of butter and seasoning with white pepper.
To this mixture you then add 2 egg yolks, 1 cup of crushed saltines (you can also use TUC biscuits or even Doritos, as I did last time), and half a cup of self raising flour.
Stir everything together.
Beat 2 egg whites, until stiff peaks form, and fold into the courgette mixture.
Heat vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan, drop heaped tablespoonsful of the mixture into the hot oil and deep fry until golden.
Sprinkle with fleur de sel and serve, voila!
Makes 12 if they like it and 18 if they don't.

Monday 26 July 2010

Farmer Maggie, c'est moi!

My mini bragfest about the potager last week harvested me some very kind comments.
Mary @ A Breath Of Fresh Air has even taken to calling me Farmer Maggie because of the abundance.
Connie @Living Beautifully, a keen gardener too, wanted to know a little more about the plot so here are some more pix and a few facts.

Two years ago I revamped the vegetable beds which were in place when we bought the property and created 3 long raised beds.
My new BFF is asleep on the bench, not doing her job at all!
Guess I'll have to stand in.
In the bed behind me potatoes waiting to be picked, in the bed in front from the left lavender, rosemary, rocket & sage somewhere in the pumpkin patch, tomato plants and a second crop of haricot bean seedlings just coming through.
They are roughly 22 feet in length and 6 feet wide.
The beds are plenty big enough for our needs and I can manage them myself, calling upon Sean the G only once in Spring to rotivate them and again in the autumn to put the potager to sleep for the winter.

Picking courgettes, with help from Mr Ben.

I usually grow the same things each year, salad leaves, spinach, beans, tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkins, potatoes and a few herbs. This year I added salad onions to the mix and they did quite well.
Courgettes (zucchini) a favourite of mine.

Transformed into one of my favourite summer dishes to make: courgette fritters (delicious) adapted from the summer squash recipe found in Fannie Flagg's great cookbook "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe".

Gardening and cooking, how good is that?

Thursday 22 July 2010

Alphabet Soup and au revoir Mrs M.

When Miss Jenny began A-T back in January I was a bit slow off the mark and missed linking up with the letter A. So, I linked to Suzanne's VTT instead!
I'm so pleased to have the chance to finally link my A post to Alphabet Soup Thursday, now I have a full set.
Mrs M, it's been so much fun being in your class. I'll miss our Thursday get togethers but will pop in from time to time to see how my favourite teacher is getting along.
Au revoir.

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.
Ava Gardner.
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!)
Esther Williams.

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.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Mother Nature's Bounty.

You probably know by now that I love to grow my own vegetables in the potager outside my back door?

I love looking out of the kitchen window and "watching my garden grow".

I can spend hours out there planting, weeding, watering and nuturing, it's the number one priority for me during the summer.
So, just to show you what I've been doing instead of blogging, some photo's of Mother Nature's bounty which we have enjoyed this past week.

Am I allowed to brag a little bit?

On the menu this evening.
Bon appetit.

Saturday 17 July 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday #183

Today I'm flying high across the globe to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia to join in with Hey Harriet's Shadow Shot Sunday #183 to share some early morning shadows of Virginia Creeper vine leaves.
Photo on left: Upstairs landing windowpane.
Photo on right: Kitchen wall & door frame
72 brilliant photographers landed at Harriet's place ahead of me, so why not fly over yourselves and see some of the great shadow captures on display?
Have a wonderful week everyone.

Monday 12 July 2010

Z is for ZEN; my MP3 player

Alphabe-Thursday this week marks our last day of lessons before we head off for our summer break and in Mrs Matlock's class we have reached the final letter of the alphabet "Z".
Therefore Z is for Zen.
What is Zen?
Wikipedia says it is this:
Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism. The Japanese word Zen is derived from the Chinese word Chán, which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which means "meditation" or "meditative state."
Well, let me show you another type of ZEN.
That's right it's my sweet little MP3 player where I keep my Music & more importantly Books!
I love to listen to books when on a journey.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows "read by Stephen Fry is on there ready for my next long flight to the US.
Doing the housework, vacuuming & dusting, is much less arduous if I bop along to some great Motown Classics at the same time. I just pop ZEN into it's little pink Minnie Mouse sack and off I go.
Who can resist Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"?
A couple of times each year I have a mammoth load of paperwork to file for Mr B's business and the only way to face this onerous task is to listen to a book. It usually takes about two full length paperbacks to finish the job.
Last week it was "Second Opinion" by Michael Palmer, when I finished that I began "Gone Tomorrow" by Lee Child.
Don't tell Mr B but I think I have a crush on Jack Reacher. Working amongst the vegetables in my potager is my time to meditate, and experience Zen, then I choose to listen to Chakra Healing or more often Deepak Chopra's "Soul of Healing Affirmations".
"My body is the garden of my soul, of my soul". See you in class.

Sunday 11 July 2010

Bright Red Poppies.

Each winter I throw vast amounts of wild bird seed hither and yon in the garden, aiming for the grass. However, I think some went into one of my flower beds as this year beside the japanese quince and in amongst the roses are these cheeky chaps.
Red poppies or to give them their posh latin name papaver rhoeas. So, to brighten up the start of the week some pretty mosiacs for Mary's Mosaic Monday @thelittle redhouse and some wise words for Tracey's Weekly Words To Live By @ Notes From A Cottage Industry.

"The end is where we start from".
T.S. Eliot.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Y: is for Yorkshire Tea & Delia'sYorkshire Pudding.

I should imagine that not many of my US followers know too much about the Wars of the Roses?
No, not the movie with Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner!

The Wars of the Roses were a series of civil wars fought in medieval England from 1455 to 1487 between the House of Lancaster and the House of York.

The name Wars of the Roses is based on the badges used by the two sides, the red rose for the Lancastrians and the white rose for the Yorkists. Major causes of the conflict include: 1) both houses were direct descendents of king Edward III; 2) the ruling Lancastrian king, Henry VI, surrounded himself with unpopular nobles; 3) the civil unrest of much of the population; 4) the availability of many powerful lords with their own private armies; and 5) the untimely episodes of mental illness by king Henry VI.Source:
The end result of the Wars of the Roses was that Henry Earl of Richmond killed Richard
Of Gloucester at the Battle of Bosworth, became Henry VII and went on to found the Tudor Dynasty.
Now, (or nethin as we say in Lancashire) that was a few hundred years ago and I have to say that there is still some slight rivalry between the two counties.

However, on our recent trip back to the UK we stayed in a great little gastro pub with rooms, the New Inn, in the village of Marsden situated in the West Riding of Yorkshire, just a few miles outside of Saddleworth, where my family now reside. It was lovely.

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Marsden like this:
MARSDEN, a village and a township-chapelry in Almondbury and Huddersfield parishes, W. R. Yorkshire. The village stands on the river Colne, adjacent to the Manchester and Huddersfield canal and to the Manchester and Leeds railway, under the backbone of England, 4¾ miles E of the boundary with Lancashire, and 7¼ SW by S of Hnddersfield; is a large place; and has a station on the railway, a post office under Huddersfield, and fairs on 25 April, 10 July, and 25 Sept.
Source: A Vision Of Britain Through Time.

Although I am a born and bred Lassie from Lancashire, (that is not me in the vt! I just wanted you to hear the tune) I have to admit that there are some things that the folks over in Yorkshire have done well, and one of them is to produce Yorkshire Tea!
If you like your tea strong, this is the one for you.
Check out this fabulous website to find out all about it.

Another very special foodstuff to come out of Yorkshire and one that I think everyone knows about, is Yorkshire pudding and if I say so myself the ones that I make are Historic! In a good way!
Helping to make Yorkshire puddings, a traditional part of the family Great British Sunday Roast when I was growing up, was a treat for a young girl and over the intervening years I have tried and tested many different recipes.
However, I always come back to Delia's classic Yorkshire pudding recipe, (well, we do share the same family name: Smith).

I hope you've enjoyed our little virtual visit to Yorkshire, England, now head on over to Mrs Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday Class for more Y posts from around the globe.
See you at break time (recess)!

Sunday 4 July 2010

Cherry Ripe!

“When I sound the fairy call, gather here in silent meeting,
Chin to knee on the orchard wall, cooled with dew and cherries eating.
Merry, merry, take a cherry, mine are sounder, mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter for the eater, when the dews fall, and you'll be fairies all.”
Emily Dickinson. (American poet,1830-1886)
I think this is the first time, in almost 14 summers spent living here in Normandy, that our cherry crop has produced enough for us and the birds to enjoy
I'm joining in with two great meme's with this post; Mary's Mosaic Monday @ the little red house where we're celebrating red, white & blue.
I hope my cherries, nestling in their red, white & blue vintage Quimper bowl, qualify!
And, Weekly Words to Live by @ Tracey's blog, Notes From A Cottage Industry.
Hope all my US pals are enjoying the holiday weekend, have a great week tout le monde.