Sunday, 28 August 2011

1001 Courgette/Zucchini Recipes

O.K. it's a slight exaggeration.
I don't have 1001 courgette recipes to share with you today, but if like me you have been growing your own courgettes this summer you probably feel like you've tried at least that many ways to prepare them.
Here are a few that I've tried.

Courgette, mushroom and mozzarella tart
Like pizza only better!
Lemon Zucchini Muffins
I took Lynn's recipe for Lemon Zucchini Bread which she posted on her blog Happier than A Pig In Mud and tweaked it to make muffins.

Courgette chutney
I love to make chutneys and found a great recipe for spicy courgette chutney on the River Cottage  website, it's delicious.

Chocolate zucchini bread
The chocolate zucchini bread was another recipe I found on the BBC Good Food website. I have a monthly subscription to the magazine but use the website to search for recipes to match the ingredients that I have to hand.

Courgettes and tomatoes
waiting for goat's cheese and thyme
stuffed chicken.
It's easier to print the recipe from there rather than prop the magazine up in the kitchen where I inevitably spill something onto the pages.

Courgette & Brie soup
I've had the New Covent Garden Soup Company's Book of Soups for many years and have tried quite a few of the recipes.

One we like very much is Jason Stead's Courgette & Brie Soup.

Here's the recipe (tweaked just a bit):

450g/1lb courgettes/zucchini, sliced.
2 medium sized potatoes, about 350g/12oz, peeled and chopped.
1 onion (white or yellow) finely chopped.
1.2 litres/2 pints vegetable stock (a stock cube is fine).
225g/8oz Brie. Remove end rind and cut into pieces.
salt & feshly ground black pepper.

Put the first 4 ingredients into a large saucepan .
Cover, and bring to the boil then simmer gently until the veggies are tender. This'll take about 15 mins.
Stir in the brie until it melts.
Allow the soup to cool a little then blitz it with a hand blender or in a liquidiser.
Taste for seasoning.

This is a versatile soup that can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Think about pouring chilled soup into small shot glasses or expresso cups as an amuse bouche, a great way to greet guests as they arrive at your house for a dinner or cocktail party.
Just in case you feel you need to add more "ways with courgettes" to your repertoire, click on the following links.

Courgette, mushroom and mozzarella tart. (BBC Good Food)
Lynn's Lemon Zucchini Bread
Pam the Jam's River Cottage Courgette Chutney
Chocolate Zucchini Bread (BBC Good Food)
Goat's cheese & thyme stuffed chicken (BBC Good Food)

Joining the Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays
Weekend Cooking @ Beth Fish Reads
and also La @ A Musing Potpourri
for the End Of The Summer Celebration Party
August 31st.

P.S. Sending all best wishes
 to any of my blogger friends
 who are suffering
 at the hands of Hurricane Irene this weekend.
Stay indoors and stay safe!

Friday, 26 August 2011

The last Pink Saturday of summer.

Another week has flown by, another week of thunder and rain, soggy vegetables in an even soggier potager and the sound of falling leaves.

But the sun did peek through from time to time and as these photographs taken on Thursday afternoon reveal there is still plenty of pink to be found in the garden.

The hydrangeas which have really brought the garden to life this year with their bright pink blooms are fading now but still beautiful.
The roses climbing up the house and garden walls and the standard roses in the flower beds are giving us one last hurrah!

Fleur is ten months old now and loves nothing more than to chase Ben our cocker spaniel around the garden, which is what they were doing whilst I took the photographs, hence the pink tongues!
The hardy fuschia has bloomed profusely all summer long despite being invaded by a climbing nasturtium or two.

Joining Beverly @ How Sweet The Sound
for the last Pink Saturday of summer.

Click on the link to join in.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

What a surprise!

Every morning whilst sitting up in bed drinking tea I like to gaze out of the bedroom windows at the surrounding countryside.
There are usually at least three or four Normandie heifers in my line of sight. The field next door is home every year to a small herd of 11 of them.
A heifer in case you didn't already know is a female bovine between 2 and 4 years of age who hasn't yet given birth to a calf. Then she's a cow.
So you can imagine my delight not to mention shock, on Friday, when I spied this little chap running across the meadow.

All that chasing soon tired him/her out and so it was time to head back to mum for a rest.

Later that day we caught up with the farmer who owns the heifers and asked him about the calf.
"C'est une erreur"! he said.

It seems one young heifer met up with a neighbours taureau, quite unchaperoned, and this little guy only 3 days old, was the result of their romance.

After rounding up the rest of the herd the farmer with his wife and sons caught up with the mum and her little one, loaded them into the trailer and took them up to the farmyard to be better cared for.

Au revoir Tinkerbell! (it may be daft but that's the name I gave the calf as soon as I saw it flitting around the field!).

Joining The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays #62
with this bucolic tale from rural Normandy.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The foyer/entry/hall back-story - circa 1997.

Last week I really enjoyed taking part in the Room By Room party, hosted by cottage and vine, with photographs of the hall here at the Presbytère.
You left me some very nice comments, merci!
After reading some of them the Senior Partner was overheard to mumble "if only they'd seen what it looked like when we moved in"!
Click here if you missed the "after" post.
So I thought it might be fun to show you what the hall did look like all those years go, in 1997, before and during the major house renovation.
We'll call this the "before" post.
I went through all the photographs that we took to document the work done and scanned them into my PC.
Those of a sensitive disposition may wish to look away NOW!

The original, white painted, front doors -  notice there's no lock or door handle.
The staircase and walls were clad in cheap boards and beading. The previous owner removed the wall and ceiling lights, when it went dark each evening we switched on torches to find our way about the house.
This is Sam one of the builders mates.
It was very dirty work getting them off and the walls beneath were in a dreadful state.
Can you see the loops of electrical wire just hanging down?
These wires were taped together and led from the junction box on the landing to the wall lights - very dangerous.

The entire house needed to be rewired. The wall was replastered where needed and battened for the new plasterboards.
The staircase was rotted through in places, serious restoration was called for.

With work going on in virtualy every room of the house simultaneously, tools and implements, not to mention, other things too, came to rest in very strange places!

What was stashed in the hall depended very much on what was happening in the rooms either side!

The underneath of the cantilevered staircase, which rises up through the centre of the house to my attic craft room in the eaves, had to be rebuilt and replastered.

Starting to look a lot better!
Walls plastered and painted, new central heating radiator (1 of 17) installed.

Mr. J Ribet, Artisan.
Jacques is adding the extra finishing touches. Bespoke plaster moulding for baseboards; dado; ceiling coving and interior doorways.

Finally the big day came, new doors!
The new outside lamps had been installed just a few days before.

There may well be bare wires and lightbulbs hanging from the walls but hey, the new doors are on!

Walls finally painted in pale yellow shades (tick), artwork and mirror hung (tick), new rugs and stair carpet laid (tick), 18th century original handmade terracotta floor cleaned and repolished (tick). Chandelier had yet to be sourced!

It took us almost 2 years to renovate this old house. During that time we had about thirty artisans working here, some of them practically living with us every day.
Builders; electricians; tilers; plumbers; master carpenters; plasterers; gardeners and tree surgeons.
I made what seemed like thousands of teas and coffees, the kettle was always on.

Two years ago we finally finished the restoration when we had the house completely reroofed.
Click here to see some more about that adventure!

Hope you've enjoyed the "before" post, it's been fun looking back at what we went through and maybe I'll do it again after next month's Room By Room party?

Linking this post to Debra's Vintage Inspiration Friday party @ Common Ground,
 I always find great decorating ideas there.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Celebrity Cook - Along with Rachel Ray

This month Lynn @ Happier Than A Pig In Mud has challenged us to a cook - along with Rachel Ray.

I have to tell you that I'm enjoying this monthly party very much, partly because some of the Chefs that Lynn has chosen are unknown to me.
I have seen a few Rachel Ray shows on TV, during vacations spent in Hilton Head, SC. and I believe she will be coming to the FoodNetwork channel, on satellite TV over here, sometime soon.

I always enjoy trying new recipes and Rachel Ray has some that are very simple and easy to follow.
For this cook - a long, I made.........................

and served it with

Click on the links for these recipes which were featured in an episode titled
"Steppin' Out" 
Together they make a great 30 Minute Meal. 

 For "afters" I made Rachel's big sister Maria's

A perfect summer dessert.

Bon appétit

Friday, 12 August 2011

Pink Saturday

Inspiration for Beverly's Pink Saturday party this week
came from some pretty pinks
which make my craft room/sanctuary/attic bolt hole
one of my favourite places to be.
Pink scrapbook pages,
 Pink Daytimer (love it!),
 Pink Roses from the scrapbook
 and Pink Radley dust bags and boxes.

I didn't take part in last weeks Pink Saturday but I visited quite a few of those bloggers who did.
One blog which was new to me is Raindrops and Daisies.
It caught my eye because of the doggy thumbnail pic and the title Pink Tongue!
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm a sucker for pooches, so how could I not click through?
When I visited the blog I discovered that a Mr Ben lookalike lives there!
Poor old Oscar broke his leg when he jumped over a wall and landed on some ice, he's been back and forth to the vets ever since.
Hope you're feeling better now Oscar.

This weekend Pink Saturday is participating in
The Miracle Makeover Weekend
Click here or on the sidebar button to find out how you can play a part in
Charlie's Miracle Makeover.

Bon weekend a tout.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Room By Room with cottage and vine

Rene @cottage and vine has launched a new monthly party this week
 which will feature our homes "Room By Room".

Do please come on in.

The first party is taking a look at entrys/foyers, or what we Brits would call "the hall".

Because the hall here at the Presbytère is a T shape with the staircase going up on the left and doors leading off left to the dining room, right to the library and at the back into the cloakroom, there isn't room for too much furniture.

The ornately carved chest of drawers and the mirror above are permanent residents. I change the objects on top regularly to suit the seasons.

I have a large pewter collection which is usually only displayed during the autumn and winter months but some pieces I love more than others and keep them out year round, such as the bowl, jug and plate.

The clock and the chair are mainstays of the entry way decor too, the plant in it's blue and white delft jardiniere tends to wander from room to room, again depending on the season.

The antique oak captains chair was a gift from friends many years ago, the quilted cushions are vintage and came from an antique fair in Maine.

Some architectural details

A view of the garden through the double front doors

Thanks for taking my Open House Tour,
 I hope you enjoyed your visit,
and thanks too, to Rene for hosting Room By Room.
Click here or on the sidebar button to take more house tours .

Linking this post also to
Bunny Jean's Wednesday Bunny Hop
a new weekly meme.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Seasonal, Scenic Sunday & Mosaic Monday

Instead of following the path that we usually take for our Sunday walk through the Normandy countryside this morning we headed in a different direction.

We crossed a low bridge in the village of Ecrammeville and walked along the bank of a tributary of the River Aure.

I was pleased that I had my camera with me so that I could capture the scene to share with the Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays

and Mary @ the little red house for Mosaic Monday.
I think that this house that I glimpsed across the fields looks a lot like ours!
Click on the links or on the sidebar buttons to visit the other particpants joining us today.