Monday, November 28, 2022

Hangin' on

Almost all of the grape vine leaves have dropped to the ground. But, here and there, a few hang on.

Any leaves that are left will be cut off when the vines are pruned.

Yesterday's lunch of shepherd's pie (made with leftover Thanksgiving lamb) was very good. We have half of it leftover, not to mention the last chunk of the lamb roast. That went into the freezer for another meal to be decided. So that makes at least five meals for two out of the one roast. Gives turkey a run for its money as far as leftovers go.

Today we'll take a break from lamb to do a chicken cashew stir-fry with snow peas. We'll have egg rolls and potstickers on the side. Tomorrow: pizza with pancetta. Yum!

Sunday, November 27, 2022

The apple of my eye

There's a small apple tree out along the vineyard road. It never seems to grow and it bears only a few small apples each year.


Saturday's market run was kind of a bust. The fish monger didn't have any cockles nor anything resembling a clam. Mussels, yes, but I didn't want those for a white clam sauce. Then I looked for clémentines, but those I found were pricey and didn't look very good. Finally, I walked down to the Italian store for tortellini, but there were none. I bought some ravioli (stuffed with ricotta and artichokes), some pecorino cheese and some pancetta instead. We made a tomato sauce to go with the ravioli and they were delicious.

I'll go to a bigger market a few towns over on Thursday to look for cockles again. As for today, Ken's making a version of hachis parmentier (shepherd's pie) with some of the leftover Thanksgiving lamb.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Make like a tree

I still haven't raked up any leaves in the driveway. Oh well. The wind is doing a good job collecting them into piles. I did, however, get some other outdoor work done yesterday. Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid (little by little, the bird builds its nest).

A maple leaf in the driveway.

I'm going into town this morning for the market, the first time I've been in weeks. I want to look for some coques (cockles) or other clam-like critters for a lunch of linguini with white clam sauce. And clémentine season is upon us so I'm hopeful I'll find some of those. I also want to stop in to the Italian boutique for a few items for future meals. It's chilly this morning, but there's no sign of rain in the forecast.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Funky feline fotos

Bert's getting to be an old cat. He'll be seventeen years old on his next birthday (May). He moves a lot slower than he used to and he spends a lot more time napping. He especially likes to be close to the fireplace. He still catches mice, but not as often these days. So here he is, stretched out on the sofa with legs in the air. Silly cat.

Bert likes fleece blankets.

Our Thanksgiving day was low-key and without incident. Except for one: the digital meat thermometer gave up the ghost, so we were thrust into a low-grade panic trying to figure out when to take the lamb out of the oven. I found an old analog meat thermometer whose accuracy is questionable and it served. The roast was perfectly done on the small end, but a little underdone on the large end. Not a problem; we'll cook it a little more during the leftover phase.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Pumpkin spice

I moved to France before the whole "pumpkin spice" thing happened in the US, so I'm not really familiar with all of the details. These are the spices that go into my pumpkin pies.

Left to right: ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground cardamom, ground cloves, ground ginger, and whole nutmeg.

This one, however, has no pumpkin. I didn't grow any this year and all the pumpkin I had roasted and put away in the freezer is gone. This pie is made with butternut squash, a fine substitue for pumpkin. I could have got pumpkins at the market, but Ken found a beautiful butternut at the store the other day and I decided to use that. Sweet potatoes would have worked, too.

Blind-baked crust ready for the filling.

I made the dough early yesterday morning and kept it in the fridge until I was ready to make the pie. Before I made the filling, I blind-baked the crust using pie weights to keep its shape.

The finished pumpkin pie. Serve each slice with a dollop of cream if you like.

The filling was made with the squash, eggs, cream, sugar, and the spices you see. The whole thing baked for about an hour. After it cooled, I took the pie out of the pan and slid it onto the cake/pie plate. We cheated and each had a piece yesterday afternoon. There's plenty left for today. And beyond!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022


This plant is called, I believe, lamb's ear. It has many names in French including oreille d'agneau, as you'd expect. There was a good-sized patch of it in this spot when we moved in, but over the years it's gone away, except for two or three survivors.

One of the few remaining lamb's ear plants among the ivy and weeds.

Since we're having gigot d'agneau (lamb's leg) for lunch tomorrow, I thought a photo of a fuzzy lamb's ear would be appropriate.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

From the archives

I took this photo at the abbey at Fontevraud, not far from Chinon, back in 2003. The weather hasn't been good for taking the camera out lately. It may be better this morning; I'll have to wait until the sun comes up to see. It's my morning to take Tasha out.

Greenery in a courtyard inside the Fontevraud Abbey, September 2003.

Thanksgiving (US) is getting closer. It will be low key, just the two of us (plus the animules). We're trying to finish up some leftovers before we roast our traditional leg of lamb on Thursday. Then we'll have even more leftovers. I'll make a pumpkin pie on Wednesday. I'm also thinking of going to the market on Saturday in search of cockles for making linguini with white clam sauce. It's become a sort of tradition to help break up the meals of leftover lamb after Thanksgiving. There will likely be some food fotos coming up. Be warned!