Sunday 29 July 2012

Cafe Portebleue in Verteuil

                               Another superb meal last night at Cafe Portebleue in Verteuil. 

                        The food was excellent, with fresh produce and cooked to perfection, 

Chicken on skewers with a Riata Dip

Scallops on Blackpudding

                              The staff are very friendly, helpful and can't satisfy you enough. 

Porc stuffed with Mozzarella and spinach, and the creamiest potatoes ever..

             Duck Breast with a Pineau Sauce.


Cafe Gourmand

The ambience of the restaurant is very relaxing and it was lovely to hear the buzz of people enjoying their meals.

                                                I do highly recommend this restaurant.

The village of Verteuil sur Charente, which would be beautiful in any location thanks to its stunning Chateau and picturesque old houses, is made even more delightful by its setting on the banks of the River Charente, from which the village and the department take their names. Verteuil sur Charente is also set amidst the typical Charantaise countryside of sunflowers and corn, and is within reach of all of the most popular attractions of this region.

Friday 27 July 2012

Our stay in Lincoln

While we were over in the UK visiting family we stayed with them in Lincoln. Lincoln is a beautiful Cathedral & University City, along with an amazing Castle.

Lincoln is built at the point where there is a gap in the Lincoln Cliff (a limestone escarpment running north-south and rising to 200 feet (60 m) in height, also sometimes called the 'Lincoln(shire) Edge' or 'Lincoln Heath').  Lincoln is thus divided informally into two zones, known locally as uphill and downhill.

The uphill area comprises the northern part of the city, on top of the Lincoln Cliff . This area includes the historical quarter, including the Cathedral.

 Lincoln Castle and the Medieval Bishop's Palace, known locally as the Bail (although described in tourist promotional literature as 'the Cathedral Quarter'). It also includes residential suburbs to the north and northeast. The downhill area comprises the city centre and the suburbs to the south and south-west. The aptly named street Steep Hill connects the two (although it is too steep for vehicular traffic, which must take a more circuitous route).

This divide marks out Lincoln from other historic cities in England and elsewhere in Europe. Whereas in most such cities, the chief historical buildings (cathedrals and castles) tend to be centrally located and intermingled with the present-day city centre, in Lincoln they are separate.

The divide was also once an important class distinction, with 'uphill' more affluent and 'downhill' less so. This distinction dates from the time of the Norman Conquest, when the religious and military elite occupied the hilltop. 

We saw this horse drawn carriage that takes you from uphill to downhill.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

What an eventful day in the Jardin..

Well we were out today tidying the garden, weeding and cutting the grass, so it's all done, and not have to worry about it while we are away in the UK for a few days. It was a mild day, not much sunshine which was good, as we could get a lot more work done.

Lizard Eggs

I was weeding the Herb Garden, hoeing away, when I came across little white ball things, they looked a bit like Mint Imperials, didn't pay much attention until a few more appeared. I decided to stop and try and work out what they were. After a bit of research I was told they were Lizard eggs, by this time it was to late, as they had now been exposed they are more than likely to die, so felt quite sad.

In the afternoon, we finished off the gardening, my hubby was cutting the grass on the sit on mower when he came across a Great Green Bush Cricket, it was very big. So strange to see these 2 things happening in one day, and never seen them before. I suppose the joys of living in Rural France.

Monday 9 July 2012

Potager is producing well..

Our Potager is now producing some lovely Fruit & Vegetables. One of the things we wanted to do when we moved to France was to try and be self sufficient, so this we are building up. I have started Pickling and Jam making, and getting a good store together. Our Salad has been lovely, Cucumbers we are going to be undated with them, and the Lettuce has taken really well. Tomatoes need a bit more sunshine, but they too are coming on well and producing a lot of fruit.

Visit from the Roe Deer..

The other evening after having an Apero in the Garden, as we were walking in, right in front of us stood 2 Deer, they just looked at us, I wish I was more prepared with my camera, so I snatched at the shots, which I needn't have done as they posed quite well.

Deer in the field
Spotted us
Posed for a photo
A quick look round
Time to go

It made our evening seeing them so close and not at all fazed at seeing us. This is 2nd time they have got close to the house.

How to Pickled Beetroot..

I have picked quite a few Beets from the Potager, so I am Pickling them for my 1st time. It looks ok, so time will tell if they taste ok :-) The unusually high nitrate level in a beetroot apparently helps reduce blood pressure.

I will show you my step by step of Pickling.

Beetroot washed and boiled

Skin removed

Cut into slices

Boil White Vinegar with Peppercorns

Sterilise Jar in the oven

Pack Beetroot to the brim

Pour Vinegar & Peppercorns to the brim of jar

Seal and Viola

In the Garden...

After having a busy day in the Garden, with grass cutting, weeding and attending the Potager, we relaxed in the evening with an Apero in the garden, admiring our hard work. Garden is looking pretty now, taking it's time but getting there.

Todays produce from the Potager

We bought our youngest Grandson a swing for when he visits, his cousins have the bigger version, so now he won't be left out..

Wednesday 4 July 2012

How to make Blackcurrant Jam..

 It was such a sunny day yesterday that I thought I would pick my Blackcurrant's,as I decided I would make my Blackcurrant Jam and write about making it. 

 I thought first I would do a little bit of research regarding Blackcurrants etc and I came across this. 

Cardiovascular Health

A high intake of fruit and vegetables has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. For example, it is well-known that the flavonoid-rich diet of the French, who drink a lot of red wine, is good for you . Blackcurrants are a natural, readily available and rich source of flavonoids.

How do flavonoids reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease?

Eating foods and drinks that are rich in flavonoids can benefit the cardiovascular system in a number of ways. Studies have shown that drinking wine or juices rich in flavonoids helps to improve the function of your blood vessels.Scientists have also shown that flavonoids can reduce blood stickiness in both laboratory tests and in humans . This means reducing the chance of forming small blood clots which can injure the blood vessel lining and stops them working.

As well as stop blood vessels working properly, small blood clots release harmful chemicals that can increase the formation of bad cholesterol (also known as oxidised low density lipoprotein), which sticks to the blood vessel walls. Eventually this can lead to a narrowing of the arteries, which will prevent the blood flowing around the body efficiently and could lead to increased blood pressure.

Now I find this interesting as I am one of 4 children and have always drank Red wine, and mostly daily with my meal etc. I am the only child who doesn't have heart problems, like my siblings, as I was always told that Red Wine was good for you. So maybe a tipple like the French is good for your health...along with eating fruits that are rich in flavonoids and Vitamin C.

How to make Blackcurrant Jam

Step 1)  Wash and remove and stalks attached to the blackcurrant's.

Step 2) Boil Blackcurrant's with water in a deep pan.

  Step 3) Once the fruit has softened add the Sugar, (I warm mine first in the oven)

Step 4)  Boil and keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then boil rapid for 5 mins.

Step 5)  Do a Pectin test.

Step 6)   Get your Jars ready, I sterilise mine in the oven, and useful to have a funnel.

Step 7)  Fill each Jar to the top, make sure the Jars are warm, then put the wax seal on.

Step 8)  Put the lids on straight away as they will form a vacuum and seal tightly, and then put your labels on.



Just made some scones to have with my Jam...