Fall is around the corner, we already had some cold days and lit the wood stove twice this week, but today is a sunny warm day again, ideal to work in the garden. Our tomato plants are still covered in unripe ones. They don’t taste anything like the sweet juicy red ones, rather acidic and won’t reach full growth or optimum ripeness with the fall temperatures. So instead of admitting defeat, I decided to enjoy them as a tasty green treat: a homemade green tomato chutney. My husband and I are already looking forward to this tasty side dish with its deliciously, sharp, puckering and astringent flavour.
Christmas traditions and Christmas customs, two millennia of worldwide religious and secular celebration, yuletide is celebrated around the world in lots of different countries. Merry moments are just around the corner! It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.
This year not being able to do extended shopping for Christmas presents, I had to rely on the Internet to order some of my presents. I bought loads of presents during the year on auctions for good causes, as I wrote before, but in the end you realize how much more you need and then with an ill husband, there is no way you can go shopping, so instead I spend hours on the Internet searching, to choose the right presents for every age. (more…)
Not many plants bloom during frozen winters, but the mysterious, magical, mystique, evergreen mistletoe (from the Old English misteltãn), with its yellowish flowers (male and female flowers are found on different plants) and white, but poisonous berries, does. It reveals itself now epically, as the cold weather made the leaves drop from its deciduous, dormant host trees. (more…)
We all know that adding green plants into the home in general can help to promote a calming, and natural aura that can help to de-stress and relax as well. In the old days, evergreens were believed to keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness. We don’t see this custom anymore as pagan or heathen, the “Christmas” tree or “Holiday” tree, has become a luxury commodity, the promise of festivities, fun, family time, cosy moments.
Christmas is ever so close now and most people are getting in a Christmassy mood. Where in Europe it used to be all about the tree, decorations and presents, it now has become all about Santa Claus too. So what if you could tell the kids, you could track his journey from the North Pole to America…
With the optimum sunshine in addition to a balanced rainfall, we have here in the heart of Cathar country, 7,800 hectares of vines spread over 41 villages around Limoux (25km south of Carcassonne) produce the wonderful local delicious gem “Blanquette de Limoux”, with its sparkling effervescence. Watching bubbles in my glass, always has a mesmerizing effect on me, the tingling sensation the fine bubbles cause and the fact that Blanquette is the ideal pairing for so many dishes, makes it my favourite drink for the festivities.
The Christmas tree is proudly standing in our living room; cards are on their way, decoration done… What more do I need to do, one could think. Ah, and then comes the main thing: Christmas dinner! With my family arriving after a 12 hour drive from Belgium on Christmas day, us just back from a night in Carcassonne’s loveliest lush hotel after marvelous breakfast (one has to spoil oneself sometimes), it starts to dawn on me, how on earth will I be able to serve a luscious Christmas dinner the way I would like it (perfect that is) and decorate the table… coming home round 12 midday (count 2 veggies for the party!). Ready for some free recipes?
Food as fuel, yes, but drinks and tantalizing desserts, are considered the nightmare of our figures. Maybe that is why “desserts” spelled backwards is “stressed”, I guess. The French, no strangers to desserts, will see an exuberant dessert and drool an ‘oh-la-la’. They know the famous “palate cleanser“ has a way to cheer people up and love being dazzled at the finish of a meal. And for Christmas the hopes are high! (more…)
With Christmas on our doorstep, we all start thinking about our table décor, how to make our table sparkle, whether it’s a formal or relaxed dinner. For my parents the only way to set a table was with matching sets of dishes or china. Nowadays dreaming of vintage table settings at your rustic, nostalgic or just cosy parties, wedding reception, baby shower… setting the table with your vintage collections, is considered as “the” creative outlet! And who can resist designing a culinary stage including this blue china Broadhurst Ironstone lovely creamer or jug, with its blue pattern on white background, decorated with flowers and “The English scene”.