This gallery contains 5 photos.
This gallery contains 5 photos.
Each summer, many of the villages in Derbyshire open their gardens to the public. It’s a chance to wander around behind the scenes, collect ideas and eat cake! We opened our garden this year for the first time and became quite obsessive about preparing for it in the lead up.
No need to guess which was the most popular cake…the chocolate one went immediately
Thanks to Bern, Kev and Hilary for their weeding, planting and cake baking skills…..
Also on locally was an evening of opera with two professional opera singers Meeta Raval and Oliver Gerrish who have formed the New Georgian Opera company. http://www.newgeorgianopera.co.uk
Meeta and Oliver sang highlights from a variety of operas, they enthralled and at times left the audience gobsmacked at the sheer power, volume and sweetness of their voices. If you get a chance book your tickets well in advance for next year – this is an event not to be missed. Check out Facebook.com/bonsallopengardens, http://www.bonsallopengardens.co.uk Meeta and Oliver were helping to raise funds for the Bonsall Field Barn Project. This project aims to save and restore the 115 little limestone field barns around Bonsall. http://www.bonsallfieldbarnproject.org
It was a really lovely weekend. Some people make a proper weekend of it and do all the gardens, attend the Bonsall Opera and do one or two other villages at a time and stay over in a local pub. Here’s a link to find out when they are all open: http://www.opengardens.co.uk/open_gardens_in_derbyshire.php
Can anyone send me a good receipe for Clafouti? Mine looks ok but tastes like a cherry omelette…..what went wrong? There’s a little of Jon’s cherry jam in the glass….also a bit too sweet and not enough cherry taste. So far the best way is straight from the tree!
With a beautiful chestnut mare called Twiggy……
What we’ve learnt looking after Twiggy the horse:
She likes being stroked and having her mane and tail de-tangled (you can get special brushes for this), Stella let us use her horse brushes, and a special de-tangling spray, but it’s better to spray it on the brush rather than the mane as it can scare the horse if they’re not used to it..
She likes the sound of your voice and to sing to her is very calming, she half closes her eyes and almost falls asleep her favourite song.. “I like you eyes, like your nose, like your fingers, like your toes…”
She prefers hay to frozen grass on the field in winter
She loves her oats, carrots and apples
She is very calm, even when you’re de-ticking her, it’s best to put her bridle on so she knows she needs to stand still
We’re going to miss you guys…..
It was minus 5 degrees here in the shade of the stable this morning and we had to break the ice in the water troughs for the horses. We gave all the animals extra hay to eat as the fields were frozen.
For lunch we’re having black pudding and pears. The French often pair black pudding with apple, but here’s something a bit different. When our friends (and what great cooks they are) Stuart and Sonya were staying here recently, Stuart cooked spiced pears with the black pudding. He fried the pear quarters in butter and chilli and served them with the fried black pudding. He removed the skin of the black pudding before frying so it’s extra crispy. I shall always cook my black pudding that way now – delicious!
H A P P Y N E W Y E A R!
Christmas greetings from the ‘animals outside’……..
We’re staying near St Emilion so had to go and have a look at this famous wine growing area. The wines from this small area of Bordeaux are really worth trying. They are expensive but when you try them you can taste why. Full bodied, earthy, spicy, chocolaty, plummy. We bought a few bottles for Christmas and as presents, not Grand Cru but from 2010 vintage. The taste….the smell…ummm
St Emilion is a beautiful town, set on a hill, with a backdrop of chateaux, limestone cliffs and vineyards as far as the eye can see. Most of the Grand Cru St Emilion wine is grown in the area immediately surrounding the town on the limestone cliffs.
What makes a good Bordeaux wine? It’s a mixture of grapes, terroir, climate, minerals in the soil… nobody can really say exactly what is the ‘Bordeaux factor’ that makes it superior to other wines. The grapes used in St Emilion wine are Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
If you want to eat something unusual and from the classical French menu you could try lampreys cooked in red wine for example, or confit de canard. The whole food experience is there from very haute cuisine at the top of the town to a range of inexpensive and sometimes quirky restaurants down the hillside.
If it’s a nice day and you don’t want to sit inside you could have a picnic from the bakery at the bottom of the hill, good variety of quiches (tomato and feta, quiche lorraine) and they also sell little bottles of wine.
There’s a marked walk around the edge of the vineyards taking in views of St Emilion and some of the grand Chateaux. The path starts to the left of the bakery….
Here are some descriptions of the St Emilion wine:
The Merlot in St. Emilion offers tasters lush, soft textures, richness and concentration with flavours of plums, blackberry, licorice, chocolate and black cherry. The Cabernet Franc adds aromatic qualities like flowers and spice as well as tannin and structure. St. Emilion can also be earthy, spicy and deliver notes of tobacco and truffle, as well as fresh cherries when it ages.