Sunday, November 7, 2010

Start thinking about choucroute ...

And once more did they hie them to the lair of that which is called Yog Sothoth, Eater of Souls, Destroyer Of Worlds, and That Which Chews The Slippers. And there did they propitiate it as is prescribed in the dark works (but the TV guide works just as well, if you don't happen to have a copy of the arcane version), and turnèd they the little knob, and lo! the central heating came on again. And a bloody good thing too, for it was starting to get just a little nippy.

Although you wouldn't think it to judge from the weather we've been having recently - up in the 20s yesterday! Can't last - didn't, of course, today was gray, dismal, and there was snow around 1100m. Not a good sign, as far as I'm concerned.

Last weekend of course was All Saints: Toussaint, in these benighted parts. It's that time when absolutely everyone heads off to the cemetary to stick great pots of flowers on top of old Uncle Wossname. If you're cheap, and untroubled by moral scruples, it's also a really good time to pick up some cheap flowers to stick around the house.

I've discovered something else to avoid: pinching the nerve at the base of yer spine. (For some strange reason, the frogs refer to this as the sciatic nerve. I suppose it"s just possible that they know what they're on about.) Whatever, hurts like buggery, and had me hobbling around like an old man for a couple of days. It's not so much the moving, just changing position from prone to upright, and vice versa - made getting into and out of the car a bit delicate. Whatever, I'll remember not to laugh so much next time. (Can't even think how it happened, actually. Just bent down to pick up a piece of wood, and on straightening up - ouch!)

On the bright side, at least the phone and the PC are more or less under control.  The phone works as well as one could expect, and I can even make and receive phone calls with it: the PC does more or less what I want, apart from the occasional hiccup. Like, insisting on recognising a prototype Win CE card as a GPS Camera (whatever that may be), and not letting me debug it. I suppose I can live with that.

Oh, don't try eating these. They're really pretty, I agree, only mildly psychotropic in small doses (and purgative too, I believe), apparently mortal if over-indulged in. Yep, these are ricin seeds. Who'd've believed our old friend Jacques was a closet terrorist, happily cultivating the raw ingredients for insidious weapons of mass destruction? You just can't trust anyone these days.

I suppose it must have been a month or so ago that they started bringing in the grapes: now it's time to start making some serious wine.  You can tell when, like me, you follow a Peugeot van with about a tonne of sugar in it: I'd say around 40 25kg sacks of sugar. Either they've an awful lot of jam to make, or there's a few hectolitres of wine that they feel requires chaptalisation. Personally I'd thought the grapes were sweet enough to not need that: apparently I'm wrong, or maybe they're trying for for "sticky" this year.

As you can probably tell, I've been wandering around Chambéry again, camera in hand.  Off to the Chateau de Boigne to see the trees losing their leaves under a brilliant blue sky, then the usual Saturday lunch with Sophie.

And for once, made it simple. Oeufs pochés Rossini, even simpler than eggs Benedict, and just as nice in my opinion. Still involves poaching eggs, though, so if you're uncomfortable with that you should probably leave the room now. (Really, it's not that difficult. Hell, even I learnt how to do it.)

The traditional recipe calls for croutons: knowing that these are nothing fancier than fried rounds of bread, I'm more than happy to use buttered toasted muffins. Bloody sight easier, and tastes just as good. Anyway, having prepared a bit of sauce béarnaise (add a dose of tomato concentrate/ketchup to it if you want to call it sauce Aurore), toasted the muffins and poached the eggs, just lay the muffins out on a serving dish, stick a good thick slice of foie gras on each and slide an egg on top, and stick them in the oven for five minutes whilst you make the salad.

When that's done, pull the eggs out of the oven, slosh some sauce over the top and serve. Do not expect applause: adolescents apparently don't do that.


  1. Did you take these pics? They're lovely.

  2. Thanks. Yeah, all mine. One day I'll learn how to use my camera properly and won't have to get rid of 90% of the photos ...