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Hodge Podge Casserole


By definition a casserole is a compilation of ingredients cooked slowly to develop the flavours fully. Then there's the other type of casserole known as leftovers plus everything including the kitchensink. We're very conscious of not wasting food and will generally eat leftovers the next day. By the third day however the dogs get lucky. We often make a big batch of Bolognese sauce and freeze portions which can then be transformed into cottage pie, lasagna etc. Last night we used the remains of the day before's cottage pie to make another concoction of sorts with the addition of parsnips, chick peas (of all things) and even leeks. Served the lot with a creamy spinach side dish. Not exactly ha...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  71 Hits

The Golden Goose


Today at the local village market, I ordered my Christmas goose. What a delight to choose between a white fat bird, another variety which is more elongated like a duck or the smaller Guinea variety which is dark feathered and comes in at around 3.5 kilos. I asked about the fat content as goose fat is positively the best for chips and was assured that the fat will be plentiful. So delivery on 23 December just after dawn in the village square. Only in France does one wax lyrical for several minutes about food. And the same supplier sold me a half dozen eggs laid this morning. The chickens didn't lay last week as it has been cold and wet plus they're losing their feathers which means they're ge...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  91 Hits

One of the strangest things I've seen....


...a 'pigeonnier', or pigeon coop, handcarved out of stone in the attic of a house once belonging to a former President of France. I am told that birds always come home to roost (when I stupidly asked if they did). Humans therefore differ from their feathered friends as many a man and woman don't sleep in the same bed every night... Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  85 Hits

Is there anything more evocative?


Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  84 Hits

Preparing for Winter...


...wood is cheap in France due to the plentiful forests. Our trusty wood burner keeps us warm and repels the mice who have all migrated to the neighbour next door (he caught 30 in one week!). Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  101 Hits

La Toussaint


La Toussaint is celebrated on 1st November in France. Across the land, families gather at the graves of their dearly departed and place chrysanthemums, symbol of death. Known as 'flowering of the tombs', generations of families unite in order to remember the dead. France remains a devoutly Catholic country and maintains its traditions which to me, orphan and without siblings, is wonderful to observe. The Catholic faith is also civilising: families abandon their differences for an annual pilgrimage where it is not about them but those who have died. I went to mass last Sunday and as much as I groaned at the priest's extra long homily, the message of loving one another as Christ loved us was n...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  72 Hits

Savour life the French way...


Today in our weekly village market a new face appeared and the queue at his stall was long. An earthy perfume wafted towards me and the memory of more than thirty years ago sprang back as if it were yesterday. Me poking a stick into foliage at the base of oak trees in forests where hunters wouldn't hear or see you unless you shouted out to alert them of your presence. A ritual after the first heavy rains in October and finally, once the sun would reappear, albeit briefly, off I would go in feverish anticipation, basket in hand. Oh, delectable cêpes, which appear miraculously out of the earth. Local foragers never reveal their secret patch which in some families, has yielded the prized delica...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  76 Hits

Sometimes we get squashed by life..


...and it can finish us off. But if we have an ounce of life left, with the strongest will we can bounce back. It ain't over 'til it's over. For Rikki and Sita. Er....you lost. On my morning dog walk near my home in France. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  136 Hits

How to make a Spinach and Ricotta Pie


Photos copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  104 Hits

Anyone who loves Tintin...


...will love this guy. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  37 Hits

One of those weird moments...


I take a lot of photos but I can't remember taking this one. According to my 'phone, it happened at 16.38 today. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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  42 Hits

Vegetarian for a day


Sometimes we go off meat and fancy being virtuous. This was our supper last night: macaroni pie made with milk, cheese, eggs, peppers, onions, tomato, chives and a hint of garlic. Add a few slices of courgette on the side. A thrifty way of using up veggies. Photos copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  115 Hits

Nothing makes me happier


Than seeing my old dog brought back to life by having his two younger 'brothers' racing around him. My family. Photos copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  128 Hits

From the farm to my table


We visit the local market on foot every Thursday where a couple have been trading their farm produce for years. Such is their reputation that the queue is long for fresh lettuce, peppers, parsley, melons, peaches, apricots, anything which is in season and even their own honey. The taste and value are in incomparable. The same applies to fresh chickens, eggs laid that morning, ducks (wild or domestic), handmade unpasteurized cheeses, freshly caught local fish, even oil made from grape pips. So the carrots are a bit wonky and not that glorious irradiated Chernobyl orange. But the flavour! Thank you, God, for letting me return to the land of my soul. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  46 Hits

Preparing for the village fete


...by making buntings. Took us three hours! #ILoveFrance Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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  45 Hits

How to BarBQ chicken in 38 degrees C


Use a wood fired stove and stay cool by starting to cook when the punishing sun  goes down. That, unfortunately, means eating at 9.00pm, later than I would like. Today at my house in SW France. Wood collected on dog walks. #savethefuckingplanet Photo copyright SvD. #ILoveFrance #Buggerbrexit Original link
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  126 Hits

Happiness is....


...babies snoozing on mum's lap. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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  0 Hits

They died so that millenials could be free


10 June 1944, Oradour-sur-Glane. Look it up: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oradour-sur-Glane Photos copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  130 Hits

Newest member of our family


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  130 Hits

Porridge days...


...after a long, dry, sizzling spell, the oats are ready for harvest. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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  164 Hits