Tuesday, 26 March 2019

In My Cottage Kitchen

One of our lovely neighbours gave us a bag of leeks and beetroot which inspired me to try some new recipes!

I made some creamed leeks which also doubles up as a great pasta sauce! The recipe is by Tom Kerridge and may be found HERE

I also used the leeks in a tasty Chicken, Bacon and Leek Cottage Pie (makes a change from minced beef!) - recipe HERE

I wanted to make the most of the huge beetroots so I enjoyed making some Caramelised Onion and Beetroot Relish. I haven't tried eating it yet as it's best to wait three weeks but you may find the recipe HERE

It was quick and easy to make if you don't mind sterilising jars etc.

 I boiled up the rest of the beetroot and pickled it.

 As I make a fair amount of different chutneys that all contain a considerable quantity of onions, I bought myself a pair of onion goggles. Yes, you may laugh! I was fed up of having streaming eyes every time I chopped up onions.

And they work - no more tears when chopping those onions!

I saw a recipe for Crispy Parmesan Garlic Baby Roasted Potatoes which sounded tempting. I tried it (I left out the garlic) and I will definitely be making these again! Recipe HERE

On the sweet side of things, I've made an easy and delicious Mary Berry Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake. My friend Val gave me some mouthwatering homemade sweet mincemeat and I found an easy recipe for Mincemeat Crumble Bars which were a great success - recipe HERE

 And, last but not least, some lovely multigrain bread baked in my bread machine! 

Thanks for popping by!

Maggie xx

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Making the Most of the Good Weather - Managing the Willow

When we arrived the very wet weather changed to a couple of weeks of sunny almost Springlike weather.

We decided to make the most of this, working outside, managing some of the willow trees that grow prolifically here.

One of the trees had fallen down during some windy weather back in November. We had dealt with most of the branches back then but there was still the stump left.

Chris cut the remaining branches from the stump.

I wheeled the logs into the barn to stack for firewood.

I suggested that we could used the stump as a rustic seat for now.

Chris was rather sceptical of the idea but cut the stump to make a flat surface to sit upon.

As you can see, it worked rather well!!

We then started on an overhanging willow, cutting it back to just above head height to make it more manageable in the future.

Chris assessed the direction of fall and then cut a wedge. He then made a cut on the opposite side to the wedge.

It fell perfectly!

We then cut the larger branches for firewood and shredded the smaller branches.

The next willow to work on was at the front. It was leaning precariously and some of the top branches had reached the telephone line.

There were lots of branches to be taken out before tackling the main branches and trunk.

But we got there in the end.

Thanks for visiting!

Maggie xx

Friday, 22 February 2019

Guingamp and Menez Bré

We popped to see our friends Bob and Val in the Côtes-d'Armor.

They had a new lamb!

After investigating beekeeping equipment at a large garden centre, we took a stroll around the historic town of Guingamp.

There is speculation that the fabric gingham may have been made here and named after the town.

Guingamp has the remains of three successive chateaux.

There are extensive works continuing at the Chateau Pierre II which was razed to the ground on the order of Cardinal Richelieu, reducing it to three towers.

Apparently a primary school was on the site of the chateau until the 1990s when it was removed in order to further excavations.

The following day we took the dogs for a walk on the nearby hill of Menez Bré in the commune of Pédernec.

There are breathtaking views from the top.

There is a small chapel on the top of Menez Bré, the Chapel of Saint-Hervé. It has foundations that date back to the sixth century. Recently restored, the chapel has no electricity and the two new bells are rung by hand.

There is sculpture is in progress on the hill. A huge granite block has been placed there and will be sculpted into a representation of Saint Hervé.

If you look carefully you can see Saint Hervé's wolf on the lower part of the granite block. I'm not sure if the markings on the block are part of the artist's process or are there to give an idea of how the statue will look. 

 The artist is Jacques Dumas who has sculpted some of the huge statues at La Vallée des Saints (Valley of the Saints). I searched for him on Google. His work is awe-inspiring and is definitely worthy of a look. Here's a link to some of his work: Work of Jacques Dumas

Thanks for popping by!

Maggie xx

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Walk at the Seaside

Settled in after a week, it was time to visit the seaside!

Not too far away and easy to park, we drove to Le Pouldu.

We walked along the coastal path that led us to the Plage des Grands Sables (Beach of the Big Sands).

In the summer, this beach is packed with families enjoying the sea and sand.

But, at this time of year, it's almost deserted. Spencer can run around to his heart's content. Dogs are allowed on this beach from October to May which is wonderful.

Spencer loves going in the sea to fetch his ball.

Chris and I love the peace and tranquillity...

and the fresh sea air.

We then climbed up to the coastal path again and walked along to the Plage de Bellangenet. The sea is always rougher and choppier here.

The waves were sufficiently high for a few surfers to appear.

There's much enjoyment to be had watching a dog running in and out of the waves...

...and rolling in the sand!

Here's a little movie of our day!....

Thanks for popping by!

Maggie xx