29 September 2012

Pumpkins in the autumn sunshine.

We have nice sunny days again where I live in france. After being indoors for three days because of rain, we decided to take a pic-nic & drive around taking roads we don't usually use. I'm so glad, as look what I found.
These were growing in a potager near to the roadside and I couldn't resist taking these photos.

Known as potiron in French.


Just think what wonderful lanterns these would make.
My grandchildren in Denmark want me to send these to them.

All shapes, colours and sizes.

This one was growing on a plant  twisted all around a wire fence.

I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon.

.This one I found at my daughters.
Lovely autumn colours, tempting me to get my paints out !

Hope you liked sharing my autumn sunny afternoon 'a la campagne'. 

Enjoy your weekend

A bientot.

Barbara Lilian.

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26 September 2012

Easy one pot meal for Autumn.

This is one of my other half's favourite meals.
Sausage & Lentil Simmer

 I love this because it's a meal he cooks for me.

 I'll share his recipe with you, then maybe your other half can be coaxed into
putting a chefs hat on & cook it for you.

Maybe your thoughts of lentils, is food for the health freaks or maybe not to every ones taste.
 But if you've never eaten them give them a try, I did & cooked like this they are really tasty.

These are the best lentils, French of course.
But I'm sure any other green lentil would be just as good.

I'm not sure where the recipe came from. 
It's one I cut out from a magazine & added to my recipe file.

I hope you can read it.

 Why is it, scanned things come out with a blue tint ?
Maybe some one with 'hints on blogging' can help out on that !

Simmer nicely for about 40/45 mins.


Nice plump sausages.

An option,  add a little bit of colour to top it off.

et voila.


Bon appetit.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

A bientot

Barbara Lilian
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20 September 2012

Now I know Autumn is on it's way.

How strange our weather has been today, we had 3 seasons in one day.
This morning we woke up to see ground frost, by midday the sun was warm so we ate our lunch on the deck by the pool, then enjoyed a swim, well my other half did, I'm a bit of a wimp ! when it comes to dipping in the pool, the water needs to be bath temp. for me. Even though the pool temp. was 26 deg. so he told me ! So I decided on having a snooze on a sun lounger, more my style.

Then a walk was on the cards, well more like a stroll, not too energetic only up the lane from my house, and as you can see by the photos I didn't come back empty handed. When I go walking at this time of the year I always have a plastic bag in my pocket just in case, as you never know what little treats you might find.

Look what I found.
Yes Blackberries, not many, but enough to make a dessert.

As I'm trying to get back to improving  my sketching & aquarelle painting,
 I took a few photos of the berries hoping it will inspire me.


Well by the time I'd worked on the photos I'd taken, trying to enhance & crop them, to feel that they were good enough to show on my blog, I feel pleased with myself as I've now started on a few sketch's. If I think they are worth showing, I might pluck up the courage to let you have a peep. If you like to see really good journal sketch's take a look at Sketchbook Wandering it's one of my favourites.
I've been a late learner in a lot of things that I'm now loving to do, so tackling the art of taking good photos will have to be my next challenge. I'm enjoying putting a post together for my blog, so to me that's the main thing.  

I hope you enjoyed the touch of Autumn after my stroll down our lane.

A bientot

Barbara Lilian

15 September 2012

Almost the end of Summer

When I lived in England, and the month of September arrived, I always thought, that's it summer's over now, but here in central France where I live I've found that September is a lovely month. Fortunately we're still enjoying warm sunny days by the pool and as we had a late start to good summer weather this year, all the summer flowers are now at their best. Hopefully as we've been given a good forecast for the next 2 weeks, our summer will stretch out a little bit longer. Naturally some of the leaves have started to change colour and the early mornings & evenings are dewy & slightly chilly, so the signs of Autumn is on it's way. A new season which will be a joy for all it's colours and the fruits on the trees to enjoy, also searching in the woods for the hidden mushrooms, if I'm lucky enough to find them. I've never quite mastered the art of  'trouver les champignons'.

Today we've spent a lovely day with some of our friends who are staying in the house which we rent, called 'La Petite Maison'. I thought you might like to have a peep.

La Petite Maison terrace
with a grape vine covered pergola & the beautiful climbing Campsis,
 with it's vivid flame coloured trumpet flowers.

The grapes and Campsis growing happily together.

La Petite Maison.
A peep inside the cottage, with it's cosy lounge.


One of the many hanging baskets.
Still looking good.

Preparing to share aperitifs on the deck with our friends, on their last night.


Their last view of La Petite Maison for another year.


Hope you liked seeing the end of summer at La Petite Maison.
Au revoir.

A bientot.

Barbara Lilian.

10 September 2012

Vin de Noix - Aperitif.

I'm now back home after a busy summer, making sure  all of our visitors had an enjoyable holiday in our gites So now I can get my life back to  normal, what ever normal is.
When we moved here to France which is now 23 yrs ago, our English friends asked what will you do with yourselves when you get to retirement age? That's another thing, what is retirement age? I used to think it was when you reached 60 and stopped working, and you where automatically slotted into the category of being too old to do most things. Well I've well past that age & everyday we are doing things I had never dreamt I would be doing.
This summer I had the chance to experience making Vin de Noix, which is an aperitif in the Dordogne region of France, which is well known for it's Walnut trees.
While I was holidaying at my daughters her 'Belle Mere' (mother in law) was also visiting, so we spent a very pleasant time together and picked some walnuts from the trees in my daughters garden, then she showed me how to make  Vin de Noix. This is her old recipe which was passed down from her grand mother, which I will translate for you. There are lots of variations of making Vin de Noix, but I like the idea of using an old traditional method. 
Maybe next year if you get the chance to find some walnuts at a market or be fortunate enough to have a walnut tree of your own, harvest them while they are still green, which is very important! you might like to try my now cherished French recipe.

Recipe for Vin de Noix


3 litres of GOOD red wine.
1 Litre l'eau de Vie (alcohol des prune 45 deg )
20 Green walnuts
750 gr. sugar

Chop the green walnuts into small pieces & put into a wide necked glass container. If you can find an old flagon or demi /john similar to the one shown in the photos which we used, all the better. add the  alcohol and leave for 1 week. Then add the red wine and leave to macerate for 45 days. Now add the sugar and give it a swirl from time to time to make sure all the sugar is completely dissolved. Pass the liquid through a filter taste & if necessary add more sugar  to your required taste. Leave in a dark place, the longer you can leave it the better the taste.

Just a tip. use gloves when cutting the walnuts as the tanning will stain your hands. or do as shown in the pics. put plastic bags over your hands in true French country style, also do not use a wooden chopping board as it will be no use after.

l'eau de Vie

Cleaning the demijohn


The walnuts are usually ready at the end of June around Saint Jean’s feast day 24th June which is the correct time, specified by French tradition. Important thing  about this recipe is unripe walnuts, still in the green outer casing and feel soft when pierced with a pin.  If you're reading this in the autumn, you're too late to make it this year. But you’ll know how to make it  for next year. Bon chance.

Chopping the walnuts.

 Vin De noix

Good health, Cheers, a la votre.

A bientot

Barbara Lilian

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